Biostar Reveals Lineup of Socket AM1 Motherboards

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knowom

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I really like this particular form factor that's a expansion slot or two smaller than the reference Micro ATX form factor, but has that extra bit of expandability that Mini ITX is just lacking.Could probably squeeze 4 so-dimm slots in this form factor if they wanted higher memory capacity options as well and 2 full size PCIe 2.0 x16 slots could likely be done as well and be pretty desirable.Nvidia should add a SLI slot to Maxwell 750 ti when it receives a die shrink and make a single slot design or dual board/dual chip design. They could pack so much GPU performance in such a tiny form factor if they did so and I don't think the heat or power would even be much concern.Whatever AMD's response is to Maxwell it should have crossfire support and be a single slot solution they'd defiantly have a hit on their hands.
 

lp231

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desktop version were socket 754, 939, 940. Then it went on to socket AM2... up to the current AMD FX, which runs on socket AM3+.
The old FX was called AMD Athlon 64 FX and it ran on socket 940.
 

waethorn

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The 2 boards at the bottom aren't Micro-ATX. They are a variant of Mini-ITX called Mini-DTX. It differs from ITX in that it allows for 2 expansion slots instead of 1. The holes line up with ITX, and any case designed for ITX that has 2 slot covers is technically a DTX case (unless the case is designed for a PCI[e] riser like some of the gaming-centric SFF cases like those used for Steam Machines and such).
 

waethorn

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So far, the Asrock Mini-ITX model still looks like the model to beat. It has 7.1 analog audio hookups, mini-PCIe for optional WLAN (I wish it was mSATA though - straight mPCIe SSD's are impossible to find anymore), and DC input as an option (for use with ultra-small cases).Zotac seems to be always be pretty feature-competitive with their ITX motherboards though. Perhaps if they release one, it'll have the WLAN features included and will ship with antennae.
 

waethorn

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True, but all main PC processors are moving to SoC designs anyway. AMD says that the standalone FX CPU's days are numbered, and Intel has said that future chips of theirs will be SoC's as well. The good news with this is that you don't have to repurchase a motherboard if the socket (and voltage) are the same in a future chip upgrade because the board just becomes a cheap chip "dock" for connections and you only have additional chips if there is a need for supplemental connection controllers. Even so, it becomes far less expensive because you no longer have a traditional chipset soldered to the board. The bad news is that Intel says that post-Haswell chips will all be soldered BGA only (which AMD says they're not doing any time soon), so you'll have to buy a new motherboard anyway. What the customer could've gained by getting an entire processor and chipset in one is lost with a soldered design.
 

waethorn

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Tell me something: if the PCI-e controller is now in the SoC, does that mean that if a future AM1 chip comes with enough PCI-e lanes to support a PCI-e x16 slot, then can an existing AM1 motherboard with a physical x16 slot will support a video card at "full" speed?

I guess it would also depend on whether or not socket AM1 has enough pins to handle that too, right?

*Note to TOM'S*: please do a big review on AM1 when more parts are made available and dig into this question a bit deeper. I'd like to know more about future upgradeability potential with the platform. Some of these questions will undoubtedly come up with higher-end mainstream platforms such as the post-Kaveri A-series SoC's as well as Intel's future mainstream SoC platform.
 

__Miguel_

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The 2 boards at the bottom aren't Micro-ATX. They are a variant of Mini-ITX called Mini-DTX.
Thank you, someone remembered this one. Mini-DTX, while not very popular (maybe because it was thought up by AMD?), is NOT really plain Mini-ITX...

Tell me something: if the PCI-e controller is now in the SoC, does that mean that if a future AM1 chip comes with enough PCI-e lanes to support a PCI-e x16 slot, then can an existing AM1 motherboard with a physical x16 slot will support a video card at "full" speed?I guess it would also depend on whether or not socket AM1 has enough pins to handle that too, right?
Hmm... The answer might be "yes" IF there are enough traces on the motherboard connecting the SoC/CPU/PCIe Controller (depending on how you want to call it) and the PCIe 16x slot.In practice, however, I assume most, if not all, manufacturers will prefer to simply NOT bother with extra traces, which would make the motherboard more expensive to create (both on R&D and actual manufacture, since tracing is rather time consuming, and more traces mean having to also add extra interference protection to the motherboard).

Also, it would depend on the CPU's pinout: PCIe traces need to have somewhere to link to, and if there are not enough pins on the CPU, you might not be able to connect as many traces as you need. This is the reason pinouts on Intel CPUs have been grown quite a bit ever since the PCIe controller was moved to the CPU socket area (and also why there's a limit on the number of PCIe lanes available from the CPU). As far as I can tell, this CPU needs to have traces for PCIe, memory, power, and all sorts of I/O (USB, DVI/HDMI/VGA, SATA, audio, etc.), so my guess is there are not really that many free pins, if any, to add to either the memory or PCIe interfaces.

Which would ultimately mean that, short of a socket change, this is probably as good as this CPU line will get in terms of external interfaces (memory and PCIe). I totally support a review on the AM1 line, though.

Cheers

Miguel
 

Impatienc3

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The 2 boards at the bottom aren't Micro-ATX. They are a variant of Mini-ITX called Mini-DTX.
Thank you, someone remembered this one. Mini-DTX, while not very popular (maybe because it was thought up by AMD?), is NOT really plain Mini-ITX...
Tell me something: if the PCI-e controller is now in the SoC, does that mean that if a future AM1 chip comes with enough PCI-e lanes to support a PCI-e x16 slot, then can an existing AM1 motherboard with a physical x16 slot will support a video card at "full" speed?I guess it would also depend on whether or not socket AM1 has enough pins to handle that too, right?
Hmm... The answer might be "yes" IF there are enough traces on the motherboard connecting the SoC/CPU/PCIe Controller (depending on how you want to call it) and the PCIe 16x slot.In practice, however, I assume most, if not all, manufacturers will prefer to simply NOT bother with extra traces, which would make the motherboard more expensive to create (both on R&D and actual manufacture, since tracing is rather time consuming, and more traces mean having to also add extra interference protection to the motherboard).Also, it would depend on the CPU's pinout: PCIe traces need to have somewhere to link to, and if there are not enough pins on the CPU, you might not be able to connect as many traces as you need. This is the reason pinouts on Intel CPUs have been grown quite a bit ever since the PCIe controller was moved to the CPU socket area (and also why there's a limit on the number of PCIe lanes available from the CPU). As far as I can tell, this CPU needs to have traces for PCIe, memory, power, and all sorts of I/O (USB, DVI/HDMI/VGA, SATA, audio, etc.), so my guess is there are not really that many free pins, if any, to add to either the memory or PCIe interfaces.Which would ultimately mean that, short of a socket change, this is probably as good as this CPU line will get in terms of external interfaces (memory and PCIe). I totally support a review on the AM1 line, though.CheersMiguel
Just a heads-up guys, the PCIe x16 only runs at x4 speeds.. So no, it wont run at full potential of GPU's.. But it does mean that you can put in a GT210/220 if your APU cant run 1080p smoothly! I'm in progress of scratch building a HTPC for well under £150 with one of these being put in when they're released. Otherwise i'll be pushing £165 for a celeron/GT210 combo..
 

__Miguel_

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Actually, while the current AM1 APUs can't drive more than 4 PCIe lanes, the socket itself might be able to (though I seriously doubt it). That's where I was going to.

What that means is that, while the current AM1 APUs will never be able to drive more than a PCIe 4x slot directly (and I won't even mention switches), it may well be that the socket allows for expansion, with future AM1 APUs being able to drive more than 4 PCIe lanes.

IF (and that's a big IF) that's the case, AND the motherboard manufacturer actually printed the complete set of pathways (another huge IF, as I've noted before), then there would be an upgrade path to APUs with more expansion capabilities in the future. I wouldn't hold my breath for it, though.

As for 1080p video decoding (I'm assuming video decoding only, since this is clearly not a gaming APU), I'd be shocked if the APU wouldn't be at least as good as the G210/GT220 series, if not even way better. Also, the 200 series is entering EOL status (driver support will end this year), so that's not fun, either.

Cheers.

Miguel
 

Impatienc3

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I see where you're coming from now.. Although if they did that, wouldn't it make the current APU's sort of redundant? (If you're using a cheap APU and Mobo with a decent GPU? Provided that the APU doesn't bottleneck the GPU..)

And I have no idea how good these APU's will be, as apparently the laptop equivalents are terrible? I just want to make a cheap Blu-Ray/1080p streaming pc for the TV!

 

__Miguel_

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Well, integrated graphics has always been a stopgap solution for video processing. No matter how good IGPs get, dedicated cards will always be better, if nothing else because they can be several times the size, and have MUCH more power pumped into them. So, while it would be a bit odd to add even a low-tier dedicated card to one of these motherboards, as long as the CPU side can keep up (don't expect any miracles, though, this is a low-power part), adding it should increase performance.

Whether you'd WANT to do it, however, is a completely different question... hehe


I don't know this APU too well (still waiting on that review!), it seems to me that this is somewhat of the Atom of the AMD line.

Bad news, Atoms aren't really that good (though they have been getting better) in terms of CPU performance, so these shouldn't be too great, either.

Good news, even the newer Atoms can handle 1080p with no problems, and I seriously doubt these APUs will ship without at least UVD2, so that means you should be able to just slap OpenELEC on it, and get a decent streaming PC (an original ION handles just about everything fine with that OS, though it's missing audio bitstreaming, and a couple of other stuff). Blu-Ray on a Linux-based box might be an issue, though, but W7 with an external Blu-Ray player should work just fine.
 
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