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Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB3 Motherboard Review

By on March 21, 2011
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The smallest of them all.

Good: Small size, Quiet operations, Smooth HD playback
Bad: Expected more than two USB 3.0 ports given the name, E-350 processor provides netbook level performance
Price: AED 580
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Now I have reviewed a couple of Micro/Mini-ATX motherboards over the past couple of months, but nothing says discrete like Gigabyte’s 6.7″ x 6.7″ GA-E350N motherboard. Based on the recently released AMD Brazos chip, the GA-E350N comes with an obvious AMD E350 Fusion CPU running at 1.6GHz partnered with an HD 6310 integrated graphics processor.

The most recent AMD Fusion based M-ATX motherboard I looked at was the ASUS E35M1-M which gave decent performance for its puny size. Now keep in mind that everything on the motherboard is upgradeable through the various expansion slots except for the CPU. No matter what, you’re stuck with a dual core AMD E-350 APU with its onboard graphics processor. Of course, you can always add a proper graphics card via the PCIe slot which runs at x4, but you’re not going to get anything out of it since the whole system is extremely bottlenecked by the CPU.

That said, the AMD E-350 Fusion APU was designed with low level of processing in mind, while at the same time providing enough power to easily handle HD video content. Thus the E-350 APU is the perfect processor for HTPCs. Once you have a motherboard like this, you only need additional ram, a minimalistic PSU (400W and below will do nicely) and terabytes of hard disk space, because that’s the main function here; watching HD movies. In which case you may also want to couple it with a nice bluray player as well.

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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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