Tiny motherboards roundup from Computex

Part one of two

WE FIGURED WED do a small roundup of some of the small form factor motherboards that we spotted at Computex to try and keep it all in one place so to say. We’ve got a few interesting boards to show, a few unusual boards and some we don’t quite get. This is the first of two where we take a closer look at some products from ASRock, DFI and Giada.

To keep things simple, we’re going to do this in alphabetical order, so let’s start with ASRock. The company was showing off not one, but two VIA Nano models, namely the PV530 and the PV530-ITX. The PV530 is using a rather odd form factor which is not quite mATX and note quite DTX, while the PV530-ITX uses the standard mini-ITX form factor. According to the specs below the board, ASRock is using a 1.8GHz VIA PV530 processor on both of these boards, but we’re not quite sure what that is, as VIA hasn’t announced any processors with that specific model name.

The chipset for both models is the VIA VX900 which is VIA’s latest single chip solution. Both boards have a PCI slot, two SATA ports, four rear USB 2.0 ports, as well as headers for an additional four ports, two PS/2 ports, a serial and parallel port, a D-sub connector, 10/100Mbit Ethernet and three audio jacks. The PV530-ITX supports two sticks of DDR3 memory while the PV530 supports either two sticks of DDR2 or one stick of DDR3 memory. The PV530 also has a x16 PCI Express 2.0 slot which allows it to be fitted with just about any standard graphics card.

Next up we have an oddity from DFI, it’s an industrial motherboard called the LR101-B16M and it sports an Atom N450 processor, Intel’s ICH8M and an S3 Chrome 435 ULP GPU. This board can handle four simultaneous display outputs at once, split between VGA, LVDS, HDMI and two DVI ports. The board also has a rather unusual layout in that it has a PCI Express x1 slot behind the PCI slot and you’d need a special riser card to take advantage of both slots. There are also three SATA ports, two SO-DIMM slots and a low profile IDE connector on the board.

Next up we have a new player, a Chinese company that goes under the trade name of Giada, although the company appears to be called JieHe technology. The first board is a fairly conventional mini-ITX H55 board with a single PCI Express x16 slot and two DDR3 DIMM slots. The board also has four SATA ports, DVI, HDMI and D-sub ports, and optical S/PDIF, four USB 2.0 ports and Gigabit Ethernet.

However, the company was also showing off a low profile mini-ITX board which doesn’t seem to be intended for the consumer market called the MI-ION2. As the name suggests, this board features Nvidia’s ION 2 discrete GPU and it also has an Atom D510 processor and Intel’s NM10 chipset. The board still manages to pack a lot of features despite the read I/O being low profile. You get HDMI and DVI connectivity, optical S/PDIF out, Gigabit Ethernet, a pair of USB 2.0 ports and even a pair of audio jacks. The board also has a pair of SO-DIMM DDR2 memory slots, two SATA ports and is powered by a 12V power brick.

We’ll be bringing you more small form factor motherboards from J&W and Jetway in part two of our roundup of tiny motherboards from Computex.S|A

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