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The Brazos Round-Up: Eight AMD E-350-Based Motherboards

Rounding Up Brazos-Based Boards

Buying a low-cost, high-efficiency platform is kind of like choosing a cable package. For a few dollars more you can always get a killer feature that you really want. But then it seems like the features that are still missing really aren’t that much more expensive. It's a clever scheme to keep you constantly thinking about the next-best thing just a few dollars up the ladder.

You might face the same sticky decision when it comes time to shop for that inexpensive PC: go for the budget gold, or spend a few extra dollars on a faster processor (and then a few more dollars on a better graphics card, and a bit more on more memory, and...it really never ends). But AMD is hoping that its Brazos platform gives you enough compute horsepower, enough graphics performance, and enough value to squelch that never-ending desire to push just a little bit further. If you want a solid idea of what the platform includes, check out ASRock's E350M1: AMD's Brazos Platform Hits The Desktop First.

Today we have eight different Brazos-based platforms, priced from $115 to $175. If you're dead set on saving money, one of these setups should be able to satisfy you. Now it's time to figure out which tier in this little sub-market serves up the best value.

E350 Fusion Motherboard Features
ASRock E350M1/USB3Asus E35M1-I DeluxeECS HDC-IFoxconn AHD1S-K
PCB Revision1.001.011.01.0
CPUAMD E-350 APUAMD E-350 APUAMD E-350 APUAMD E-350 APU
ChipsetAMD A50M FCHAMD A50 FCHAMD A50M FCHAMD Hudson D1
BIOSP1.20 (02/24/2011)0902 (04/15/2011)4.6.4 (03/24/2011)A931022 (04/19/2011)
100.0 MHz Clock101.3 (+1.30%)100.0 (+0.0%)101.9 (+1.9%)100.0 (+0.0%)
Internal Interfaces
PCIe x161 (x4-mode)1 (x4-mode)1 (x4-mode)1 (x4-mode)
PCIe x1/x4None1x mini PCIe (Filled)1x mini PCIe (Filled)None
Legacy PCINoneNoneNoneNone
USB 2.02 (4-ports)2 (4-ports)2 (4-ports)2 (4-ports)
USB 3.0None1 (2-ports)NoneNone
IEEE-1394NoneNoneNoneNone
Serial Port1NoneNone1
Parallel PortNoneNoneNoneNone
FloppyNoneNoneNoneNone
Ultra-ATA 133NoneNoneNoneNone
SATA 6.0 Gb/s4542
SATA 3.0 Gb/sNoneNoneNoneNone
4-Pin Fan1None12
3-Pin Fan121None
FP-Audio1111
CD-AudioNoneNoneNoneNone
S/PDIF I/ONoneOutput OnlyOutput OnlyOutput Only
I/O Panel Connectors
P/S 211None1
USB 2.04266
USB 3.0242None
IEEE-1394NoneNoneNoneNone
Network1111
eSATA111None
Digital Audio OutOptical OnlyOptical OnlyOptical OnlyNone
Digital Audio InNoneNoneNoneNone
Analog Audio5353
Video OutDVI-D, VGA, HDMIDVI-I, HDMIDVI-D, VGA, HDMIDVI-D, VGA, HDMI
Other DevicesNoneBluetooth Transceiver 802.11n AntennasBluetooth TransceiverNone
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA4x SATA 6Gb/s 1x eSATA 6Gb/s4x SATA 6Gb/s 1x eSATA 6Gb/s4x SATA 6Gb/s 1x eSATA 6Gb/s2x SATA 3Gb/s
Chipset RAID ModesNoneNoneNoneNone
Add-In SATANoneNoneNoneNone
USB 3.0EJ168A PCIe2x D720200F1 PCIeASM1042 PCIeNone
IEEE-1394NoneNoneNoneNone
Networking
Gigabit LANRTL8111E PCIeRTL8111E PCIeAR8151 PCIeRTL8111E PCIe
Wireless LANNoneAR9285 PCIeRTL8188CE PCIeNone
Wireless PANNoneAR3011 USB 2.0AR3011 USB 2.0None
Audio
HD Audio CodecALC892ALC892VT1708BALC662
DDL/DTS ConnectUnspecifiedUnspecifiedDTS ConnectUnspecified

E350 Fusion Motherboard Features
Gigabyte E350N-USB3Jetway NC85-E350-LFSapphire Pure Fusion Mini E350Zotac FUSION350-A-E
PCB Revision1.02.01.0Unspecified
CPUAMD E-350 APUAMD E-350 APUAMD E-350 APUAMD E-350 APU
ChipsetAMD A50M FCHAMD Hudson-D1 FCHAMD A50M FCHAMD A50M FCH
BIOSF2c (03/15/2011)A02 (04/14/2011)0.31 (05/13/2011)1.01 (04/18/2011)
100.0 MHz Clock100.0 (+0.0%)101.4(+1.4%)101.4(+1.4%)101.4(+1.4%)
Internal Interfaces
PCIe x161 (x4-mode)None1 (x4-mode)1 (x4-mode)
PCIe x1/x4None1x mini PCIe (Empty)1x mini PCIe (Empty)1x mini PCIe (Filled) 1x x4 (Open for x16)
Legacy PCINone1NoneNone
USB 2.02 (4-ports)2 (4-ports)2 (4-ports)1 (2-ports)
USB 3.0NoneNoneNone1 (2-ports)
IEEE-1394NoneNoneNoneNone
Serial PortNone111
Parallel PortNoneNoneNoneNone
FloppyNoneNoneNoneNone
Ultra-ATA 133NoneNoneNoneNone
SATA 6.0 Gb/s4454
SATA 3.0 Gb/sNoneNoneNoneNone
4-Pin FanNone1None2
3-Pin Fan221None
FP-Audio1111
CD-AudioNoneNoneNoneNone
S/PDIF I/OOutput OnlyNoneBothOutput Only
I/O Panel Connectors
P/S 211None1
USB 2.04644
USB 3.02None22
IEEE-1394NoneNoneNoneNone
Network1111
eSATANoneNone11
Digital Audio OutOptical OnlyNoneOptical OnlyOptical Only
Digital Audio InNoneNoneNoneNone
Analog Audio6355
Video OutDVI-D, VGA, HDMIDVI-D, VGA, HDMIDVI-D, VGA, HDMIDVI-I, HDMI DisplayPort
Other DevicesNoneNoneBluetooth Transceiver802.11n Antennas
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA4x SATA 6Gb/s 1x eSATA 6Gb/s4x SATA 3Gb/s5x SATA 6Gb/s 1x eSATA 3Gb/s4x SATA 6Gb/s 1x eSATA 6Gb/s
Chipset RAID ModesNoneNoneNoneNone
Add-In SATANoneNoneNoneNone
USB 3.0D720200F1 PCIeNoneD720200F1 PCIeVL800-08 PCIe
IEEE-1394NoneNoneNoneNone
Networking
Gigabit LANRTL8111E PCIeRTL8111E PCIe88E8057 PCIeRTL8111E PCIe
Wireless LANNoneNoneNoneAR9285 PCIe
Wireless PANNoneNoneAR3011 USB 2.0None
Audio
HD Audio CodecALC892VT1705 PCIeALC892ALC892
DDL/DTS ConnectUnspecifiedUnspecifiedUnspecifiedUnspecified
  • gameworm
    The Zotac board actually is available on Newegg

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813500068
    Only problem is that it is $160 instead of $130

    Otherwise very nice roundup. I've been thinking of using one of these for a server/NAS.
    Reply
  • vaughn2k
    Wow! AS-rocks!
    Reply
  • noob2222
    Odd timing for the roundup, Llano just came out, these will be discontinued asap.

    Not good for much save storage, but that wasn't tested. Would have much rather see an A8 board roundup since they are on newegg now. Picked up one myself for my htpc/storage setup.
    Reply
  • Mathos
    noob2222Odd timing for the roundup, Llano just came out, these will be discontinued asap.Not good for much save storage, but that wasn't tested. Would have much rather see an A8 board roundup since they are on newegg now. Picked up one myself for my htpc/storage setup.
    Uh no, Brazos is bast on the Bobcat core which is a low power version of Bulldozer. These are meant for ultra portables and netbooks, nettops, ultrathin notebooks and the likes.

    Llano is the entry level desktop APU until they switch from Stars cores on those to the newer bulldozer cores.
    Reply
  • noob2222
    mathosUh no, Brazos is bast on the Bobcat core which is a low power version of Bulldozer. These are meant for ultra portables and netbooks, nettops, ultrathin notebooks and the likes.And yet this roundup is .... desktop boards.

    And brazos has nothing in common with bulldozer.
    Reply
  • BulkZerker
    mathosUh no, Brazos is bast on the Bobcat core which is a low power version of Bulldozer. These are meant for ultra portables and netbooks, nettops, ultrathin notebooks and the likes. Llano is the entry level desktop APU until they switch from Stars cores on those to the newer bulldozer cores.
    noob2222And yet this roundup is .... desktop boards. And brazos has nothing in common with bulldozer.

    Net TOP. Meaning a low power ITX board. Brazos is merely a stopgap till AMD has the tooling to kick out tons of BD cores. Though I will agree this roundup is a bit late it is at least thorough.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    gamewormThe Zotac board actually is available on Newegghttp://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod 6813500068Only problem is that it is $160 instead of $130Otherwise very nice roundup. I've been thinking of using one of these for a server/NAS.
    Good call--that board only recently became available, after this story was scheduled to be published. We've since updated the conclusion and price chart to reflect the market as of July 4th, 2011.

    Cheers,
    Chris
    Reply
  • GaMEChld
    BulkZerkerNet TOP. Meaning a low power ITX board. Brazos is merely a stopgap till AMD has the tooling to kick out tons of BD cores. Though I will agree this roundup is a bit late it is at least thorough.
    Brazos is NOT a stopgap, it is meant for very low power applications. It's basically AMD's take on Atom style devices. Bulldozer is not meant to scale to this low power envelope. That's why there are already plans for Brazos successors. Ontario/Zacate will be replaced by Khrishna/Wichita. Llano will be succeeded by Trinity, which is Bulldozer based. Zambezi is supposed to be succeeded by something called Komodo, which I haven't read much about.
    Reply
  • silverblue
    Trinity and Komodo are both Enhanced Bulldozer. As such, Trinity will not be using Zambezi cores.
    Reply
  • Well, aside from a few bits about Brazos being a stop-gap based on Bulldozer being wrong, the basic premise of "odd timing for a Brazos roundup" holds true.

    Llano for laptops is out-freaking-standing, Llano for desktops is amazing for cheap OEM-built desktops and small form-factor HTPCs. TBH, it shouldn't excite much of anyone else, nor was it intended to replace Phenom II + dGPU for enthusiasts.
    Reply