High-value performance appears to be ASRock’s goal in its E350M1-USB3, with nothing more than a pair of USB 3.0 ports separating it from more basic designs. The board still includes a four-lane PCIe x16 slot however, which could give some entry-level gamers hope for a low-cost upgrade (providing they're willing to give up the compact form-factor).
While some of ASRock’s competitors add a Wi-Fi card to their board’s mini PCIe slot, the E350M1/USB3 doesn’t even have mini PCIe connectivity. It does have HDMI however, and you can add your own USB 2.0-based Wi-Fi adapter relatively inexpensively.
In a market split between active and passive coolers, ASRock adds a 40 mm fan that keeps AMD’s E-350 APU cool under load. Proponents of silence might worry about the tiny-diameter cooler buzzing like a bee, but we’d rather have a little noise than throttling. Thermal testing will determine if any of its competitor’s passive cooling solutions are really up to the task.
Most mini-ITX cases have little room for add-in drives, so we’re not really disappointed in ASRock’s sparse selection of cables. Two of the motherboard’s four SATA connections are addressed, and that's probably plenty for most applications.
ASRock adds a 1.3% default overclock to the E-350 APU, likely in an effort to gain some advantage over competitors in benchmark tests. Several of its competitors have similar overclocks, and that makes it harder to single out one company for criticism. ASRock’s best performance advantage is probably its support for DDR3-1333 memory, shown in GPU-Z as a 667 MHz GPU memory clock.
We didn’t find any reference clock controls in ASRock’s UEFI, even though a relatively complete set of voltage levels were addressed. Higher-than-standard frequencies were limited to the optional DDR3-1333 DRAM ratio
ASRock allows users to save up to three custom configurations as user profiles, though this feature is less significant when when you take into consideration that overclocking is fundamentally unavailable.
DRAM timings are adjustable. The E350M1/USB3 defaults to its highest DDR3-1333 ratio and our memory’s default CAS 9 timings without requiring any manual adjustment, though.