Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Biostar's J1800TH is Thin Mini-ITX Board for Embedded Applications

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 16 comments

Despite having "TH" in its name, this thin Mini-ITX board from Biostar is not named after us.

In what appears to be a product named after us, Biostar has built the J1800TH. Unfortunately, the TH does not stand for Tom's Hardware but rather just 'thin,' referring to the form factor. This is a Thin Mini-ITX board with a J1800 SoC from Intel on board.

The J1800 SoC is simply a dual-core processor that runs at 2.41 GHz with an on-die chipset and an on-die GPU, which runs at up to 792 MHz, and it supports up to 16 GB of DDR3L-1333 memory. This specific motherboard has two SO-DIMM slots. The board has no PCI-Express, but that shouldn't be too surprising, as anything this board is meant to do does not include the need for dedicated graphics. It does have a Mini-PCI-Express connector, which we can only assume is meant to be used with wireless cards. Storage connectivity is handled by two SATA2 (3 Gb/s) ports, along with a single SATA-power out port.

Rear I/O is quite minimal, providing you with power in, a single USB 2.0 port, a single USB 3.0 port, Gigabit Ethernet, an HDMI connector, VGA, stereo audio out, and lastly, a microphone jack.

Potential uses for a board like this are in thin clients, digital signage, and kiosks. The J1800TH can be used in office applications, but due to the limited I/O and minimal processing power, we would hesitate to do so.

Follow Niels Broekhuijsen @NBroekhuijsen. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Discuss
Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the News comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

This thread is closed for comments
  • 1 Hide
    IInuyasha74 , August 18, 2014 4:20 PM
    With only two USB slots unless there is a USB header onboard this things seems ill-equipped for any tasks.
  • 1 Hide
    Phillip Wager , August 18, 2014 8:16 PM
    Quote:
    With only two USB slots unless there is a USB header onboard this things seems ill-equipped for any tasks.

    one usb port can support like 52 usb devices you are just looking at a tangled mess of adaptors but i do see a header for a external case usb
  • 2 Hide
    IInuyasha74 , August 18, 2014 9:31 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    With only two USB slots unless there is a USB header onboard this things seems ill-equipped for any tasks.

    one usb port can support like 52 usb devices you are just looking at a tangled mess of adaptors but i do see a header for a external case usb


    Yea thats true, but every USB hub device divides the max speed of that USB port between however many devices are connected. Not to mention the other boards roughly the same size with the same CPU or pretty much the same CPU and already have more USB ports. Its good they have the header, but given it probably only costs them about five cents for each USB port they add in cost I don't see any reason why not to of added more. I guess they were thinking of the limited thin form factor, but several board makers have put USB ports on with the narrow end against the board, which would of made plenty of space so I don't really see or understand that as a viable reason either.
  • Display all 16 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    James Mason , August 19, 2014 9:47 PM
    Why would it need more than 2 usb ports?

    It's designed to be put behind a large touchscreen tv/monitor so you have an interactive office building information desk. There was a similar one installed (while i was still there) at a place I worked. It allowed people who were coming onto the corporate campus to get more interactive update on what conference room they were supposed to go to.
  • 1 Hide
    IInuyasha74 , August 19, 2014 10:58 PM
    Quote:
    Why would it need more than 2 usb ports?

    It's designed to be put behind a large touchscreen tv/monitor so you have an interactive office building information desk. There was a similar one installed (while i was still there) at a place I worked. It allowed people who were coming onto the corporate campus to get more interactive update on what conference room they were supposed to go to.


    Well that is one use for it but used in a home for example to make a tv more like a smart TV as they are called now would typically have people wanting to connect mouse, keyboard, and USB flash drives at the very least. For use as a PC in a small business it falls short in many places it could be used because its common to need to connect printers, keyboards, mice, flash drives, scanners and several other devices by USB. Granted some of those can be done other the network, but to make a small cheap printer work as a business print system typically needs a computer connected to it like this, which seems one of the ideas for its design.

    Though honestly for use with a smartTV or a touchscreen display for use like you described is really kinda of useless now since numerous android and linux devices exist now that are the size of a smartphone or smaller and made to connect to a TV and do this exact same thing but use much less power, much less space, and since they come with RAM and storage onboard already and typically cost less than this board product above really makes this product a poor choice for those kinds of things. Ones like the Rhasberry Pi B+ even come with 4 USB ports. Granted its performance is lower, but when you are talking about a device meant to only display information, play videos, browse web pages, or other similar small activities it won't matter.

    Guess what I am trying to say is above the lack of USB ports creating problems for many places it could be used (like a print server, or home lite HTPC) other products already exist that are cheaper, more efficient, some are more user friendly, and some are quad-core units making them faster also at times. So this product just seems kind of a waste.
  • 0 Hide
    mrmez , August 19, 2014 11:54 PM
    Since when is a dual core 2.4Ghz not good enough for 'office tasks'??
  • 0 Hide
    IInuyasha74 , August 19, 2014 11:57 PM
    Quote:
    Since when is a dual core 2.4Ghz not good enough for 'office tasks'??


    Since that dual core is an Intel Atom CPU that is actually meant for tablets. Trying to use it like an office PC with several documents open and a dozen web pages would lead it to lag pretty bad.
  • 1 Hide
    James Mason , August 20, 2014 10:14 AM
    Quote:


    Well that is one use for it but used in a home for example to make a tv more like a smart TV as they are called now would typically have people wanting to connect mouse, keyboard, and USB flash drives at the very least. For use as a PC in a small business it falls short in many places it could be used because its common to need to connect printers, keyboards, mice, flash drives, scanners and several other devices by USB. Granted some of those can be done other the network, but to make a small cheap printer work as a business print system typically needs a computer connected to it like this, which seems one of the ideas for its design.

    Though honestly for use with a smartTV or a touchscreen display for use like you described is really kinda of useless now since numerous android and linux devices exist now that are the size of a smartphone or smaller and made to connect to a TV and do this exact same thing but use much less power, much less space, and since they come with RAM and storage onboard already and typically cost less than this board product above really makes this product a poor choice for those kinds of things. Ones like the Rhasberry Pi B+ even come with 4 USB ports. Granted its performance is lower, but when you are talking about a device meant to only display information, play videos, browse web pages, or other similar small activities it won't matter.

    Guess what I am trying to say is above the lack of USB ports creating problems for many places it could be used (like a print server, or home lite HTPC) other products already exist that are cheaper, more efficient, some are more user friendly, and some are quad-core units making them faster also at times. So this product just seems kind of a waste.


    I think it's really intended for exactly what they said at the end of the article, "thin clients, digital signage, and kiosks." A customized thin client (although I don't know why you'd need a custom one) really only needs an internet connection to connect to a terminal server. the two USB ports are for the local keyboard and mouse, and that's all you should be hooking up to a thin client anyways.

    You're right it would be bad at all those things you mentioned, because it's not designed to be good at them anyways.
  • 2 Hide
    mrmez , August 20, 2014 6:28 PM
    I setup and OC'd a Raspberry Pi for some very basic office stuff.
    Opening programs was a pain, but if you didn't close them it was perfect for email, internet, open office etc.
    Thats only the size of an old mobile phone and with a bunch of accessories is only $100.

    The Pi has a pretty bad cpu, but excellent gfx. Perfect for HD videos, digital signage etc.
    If you are going to have weak underpowered garbage, it may as well be cheap and tiny. No point in Mini ATX.

    PS. There are also much more powerful products than the Pi that are the same size and don't cost much more.
  • 0 Hide
    IInuyasha74 , August 20, 2014 8:42 PM
    Quote:
    I setup and OC'd a Raspberry Pi for some very basic office stuff.
    Opening programs was a pain, but if you didn't close them it was perfect for email, internet, open office etc.
    Thats only the size of an old mobile phone and with a bunch of accessories is only $100.

    The Pi has a pretty bad cpu, but excellent gfx. Perfect for HD videos, digital signage etc.
    If you are going to have weak underpowered garbage, it may as well be cheap and tiny. No point in Mini ATX.

    PS. There are also much more powerful products than the Pi that are the same size and don't cost much more.


    Yup thats what I have been saying :) 
    If you need something to do this, there are much better choices.
  • 0 Hide
    sukiblr , August 30, 2014 5:56 AM
    How much does this mobo from Biostar cost anyway
  • 0 Hide
    christinebcw , August 30, 2014 9:57 AM
    I'm curious about the use of SATA-II ports instead of SATA3's. Do the SATA3 memory controllers generate that much more heat? I doubt they'd add $1 to parts and assembly, so I'm back to wondering "heat levels" with a large, doubting question-mark. (I'm imagining one of those roadside warning signs, scrolling out messages from a filled-up Seagate 8Tb drive... uh huh...)

    Oh wait. ATOMs have SATA-IIs... that's why. It's a bandwidth-thing.
  • 0 Hide
    IInuyasha74 , August 30, 2014 4:48 PM
    No idea how much it costs yet, since searching for it doesn't have any listings. Seems they still aren't out yet.

    christinebcw: Hello again :) 
    I don't think the reasoning for SATA II over SATA III was because of heat, I think its because of the really low performance parts. I am thinking they decided that either no one would bother with a SATA III device trying to be as cheap as possible, or that the CPUs are so weak they couldn't take full advantage of SATA III transfer speeds. So given that they probably decided to just save an extra 5 cents instead of trying for it.
  • 0 Hide
    christinebcw , August 30, 2014 4:50 PM
    Yes, it's an ATOM chipset limit, nothing more - that's the built-in memory controller. Nothing too skulduggerous about this... I just don't know how they think I'm going to stick all those helium-filled 8Tb drives on this thing... it's so small... so lightweight!
  • 0 Hide
    IInuyasha74 , August 30, 2014 5:01 PM
    Quote:
    Yes, it's an ATOM chipset limit, nothing more - that's the built-in memory controller. Nothing too skulduggerous about this... I just don't know how they think I'm going to stick all those helium-filled 8Tb drives on this thing... it's so small... so lightweight!


    You got some 8TB Helium drives? Nice.
    Yea this is pretty limited for that. Kind of what I was mentioning earlier, to me it seems there is a better solution for any task than this thing. If you needed to go cheap out of the way storage there are Android offerings like Raspberry Pi, or if you have a little more cash there are a ton of $35 motherboards waiting to be paired with a $50 CPU and you will have 6 SATA III's with a little shopping ready to give you fast access.
  • 0 Hide
    christinebcw , August 30, 2014 6:41 PM
    We have disk burning kiosks with an HDD and 3-4-5 burner-drives, and occasionally we could get by with a single-burner environment (which would mean pre-burning a stack of disks, and letting the single drive pop out replacements constantly rather than at some multiple-disk interval).

    And the "helium drive" reference was merely a joke towards this product's "lightweight" status, as if HGST and Seagate would be running Danny-Deckchair races as their next conventions.