Sapphire Pure Fusion Mini E350 APU Mainboard Reviewajmatson - February 23, 2011
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Sapphire has chosen to go with a dark color scheme for the Fusion Mini E350 board. The design is very small since this is a Mini-ITX board which only measures 6.8 inches square. Don't let the size fool you though because it has a lot to offer. They have included high-end features such as onboard USB 3.0 support, integrated Serial ATA III 6.0Gb/s connections and even integrated Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR for support of your media peripherals and streaming devices such as your cell phone and iPad. Even with everything the Sapphire Pure Fusion Mini E350 has to offer, the use of strategic positioning kept the board free from clutter so the natural airflow of the case and system will keep the already cooler components even cooler. Since the CPU cooler is smaller due to less heat being generated by the APU and chipset, there is no need for a large bracket to hold it into place so the back of the board only features several screws for holding on the heat sinks. I will explain more what the APU and chipset is below so let's move on to the connections offered by the Mini E350 mainboard.
On the back panel there are a number of connections available for you to get the most from your system. For video, the Fusion Mini E350 offers a VGA connector, a DVI connector and even an HDMI port for your HD video needs. Two of the video ports can be used at the same time for multiple displays without the need for an additional video source. When it comes to connectivity, Sapphire has included a Gigabit LAN port powered by the Marvell 88E8057 controller and integrated Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR with the Atheros AR3011 chipset. There is no integrated wireless. However, you can add it with the Mini-PCI Express slot but there is no antenna to route through the back panel. When it comes to audio, the E350 has the standard audio ports including an SPDIF connector. For further expansion, the board offers an eSATA 3.0Gb/s connector as well as four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports.
Just as with the back panel, Sapphire has a number of headers and internal connectors for your use. At the bottom of the board is a full size PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot. Perfect for a more powerful discrete GPU. This slot is only for use with graphics cards and operates at x4 bandwidth. There is also a Mini PCI Express 2.0 x1 connector for use with full size or half height cards such as internal wireless LAN. Keep in mind however, there is no antenna connection on the back panel so you will need to route the antenna elsewhere. For the headers, starting on the bottom left above the x16 slot there is the front panel audio and SPDIF out header, then to the right of the Mini PCI Express slot there is a COM header, a Debug LED and two USB 2.0 headers. Above the ATX power connector there is the front panel headers for power, reset, etc. On the top of the board there are the two SO-DIMM memory slots which support two modules up to 4GB of DDR3 1066MHz memory in a single channel configuration. To the right of the memory slots there are the five SATA III 6.0Gb/s ports and a POST speaker.
With the heat sink removed we can get a nice close up look at the E350 Fusion APU. The chip is rather small considering the power it packs. The APU is a dual core processor clocked at 1.6GHz and has an L2 cache of 512KB per core. The voltage required for operation is between 1.25 - 1.35 volts with a maximum TDP of 18 watts and a maximum operating temperature of 90°C. The GPU integrated into the APU is a Radeon HD 6310 graphics core with full DirectX 11 support and a GPU clock speed of 500MHz and has 80 unified shaders. The second chip is the AMD Hudson-M1 FCH (Fusion Controller Hub) which uses a x4 first generation UMI (Unified Media Interface) with a transfer rate of 2.5GT/s, support for up to 6 SATA III interfaces with AHCI 1.2 support and 4 channel HD audio. Currently there is no RAID support for the Hudson M1 chipset which is a bummer for a media platform but not a deal breaker.
Now that we have the hardware down let's take a look at what the BIOS has to offer us.