ASRock E350M1: Enter Brazos
ASRock’s E350M1—its first Brazos platform—looks a lot like the first Intel Atom-based motherboard I ever picked up, but more modern. It has one passive heatsink and one lower-profile heatsink cooled by a fan. In the early Atom days, that active sink would have covered the chipset. Here, it sits atop the 18 W Zacate APU, while the FCH gets away with passive cooling.
Right above the processor and chipset are two DDR3 memory slots. The E350M1 will take up to 16 GB of memory, but remember that both slots feed a single 64-bit channel. At 1066 MT/s, you’re looking at up to 8.53 GB/s maximum, regardless of whether you drop in one module or two.
The Mini-ITX board boasts a single PCI Express x16 slot for upgrades. Don’t expect miracles from it—there are only four second-gen lanes coming from Zacate, feeding that slot. Then again, you probably wouldn’t want to buy anything beyond a mid-range discrete card, given the probability of a processor bottleneck.
Four internal SATA 6Gb/s ports and one back-panel eSATA connector take advantage of most of Hudson’s storage connectivity. The I/O panel also plays host to six USB 2.0 ports (another four are accessible through onboard headers). Gigabit Ethernet is enabled through a Realtek RTL8111E controller tied in to one of the FCH’s four PCIe links. And the integrated graphics engine drives two display outputs simultaneously, letting you pick between VGA, single-link DVI, and HDMI. Anyone not getting audio output over HDMI can tap into analog 7.1-channel output or digital output via TOSLINK.
Like its latest P67-based platforms, ASRock arms the E350M1 with a UEFI. The setup looks identical to what Thomas covered in his recent P67 Motherboard Roundup, with settings naturally altered to match the Brazos platform’s unique capabilities.