Motherboard, Reviews, Video

Review: Gigabyte E350N-USB3

Gigabyte sent to our labs a middle class motherboard that has as specific detail to equip the “AMD Fusion” technology, that allows her to combine the processor + graphic card […]

Gigabyte sent to our labs a middle class motherboard that has as specific detail to equip the “AMD Fusion” technology, that allows her to combine the processor + graphic card + the northbridge on a single chip. So let’s take a look at this E350N-USB3

GIGABYTE was founded in 1986 in a small lab by four young engineers passionate to make their mark on the industry. GIGABYTE remains dedicated to the core belief of improving the lives of our users by manufacturing products that are high-performing, reliable, and of excellent quality.

With over 20 years of manufacturing knowledge, GIGABYTE thrives on delivering the latest technology to users around the globe. We develop, test, and manufacture a wide range of products following strict quality and environmental control standards.
Our reputation as a pioneer in motherboard innovation has allowed us to diversify our product range to include graphics cards, notebooks, desktop PCs, PC components, cellular phones, server and datacenter solutions, and more.

Source: Gigabyte

Features

The new addition to GIGABYTE’s small form factor HTPC motherboard range features AMD Fusion Technology with DirectX 11, SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0), SATA 6Gbps, an HDMI interface.
This board in addition to the Ultra Durable 3 standard features the 3xUSB Power as well as the On/Off Charge technology that allows you to charge faster all or you USB devices.

AMD Dual-Core E-350
The new generation of AMD Dual-Core E-350 processor with AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics (DX11) integrated for entry-level desktops continues to provide innovation through integrated graphics built directly into the CPU, enabling smaller and more energy efficient designs.

AMD Hudson-M1
The AMD Hudson-M1 FCH(Fusion Controller Hub) provides additional flexibility and upgradability with up to 6 ports of native SATA3 6Gbps storage interface and also expansion ability for USB3.0 and various features support.

3x USB Power Boost
GIGABYTE motherboards feature a 3x USB power boost, delivering greater compatibility and extra power for USB devices. GIGABYTE’s unique USB power design is also able to efficiently regulate output over the full voltage range, which greatly enhances USB device compatibility. In addition, dedicated lower resistance fuses ensure lower voltage drops, and provide more stable and plentiful power delivery.

Supports SATA 3 (6 Gbps)
The AMD Hudson-M1 chip present of the board enables high-speed SATA rev. 3.0 compatibility, delivering 6 ports native 6Gbps link speeds for twice the data transfer rates of SATA rev 2.0 (3 Gbps).

Supports USB 3.0
The motherboards supports USB 3.0 technology through an onboard USB3.0 host controller. This controller also allows in addition to the standard backwards compatibility an extra power supply to hungry devices that could be plugged on these ports.

Supports DDR3 1333+
Delivering native support for DDR3 memory up to 1333MHz, this UD3 series motherboards allow users to easily reach higher memory frequencies at lower voltages; achieving higher memory performance with lower power consumption to run higher memory intensive applications such as high-definition video 3D games with ease or benchmarks.

Supports ErP Lot 6
The ErP (also known as Energy-Related Products Directive) is part of the European Union’s environmental regulations policy. It is based on concern for the environmental as the proliferation of electronic devices continues, and how to improve energy efficiency for a better and greener life. GIGABYTE supports ErP and produces motherboards that help you effectively improve system efficiency.

First look

When we see this image we can say that the box is pretty small (but perfect for the size of the motherboard) and we are right because measures 230 x 75 x 200 mm approximately. It advice about some of the technology and features that are included within its circuitry such as Ultra Durable 3, Japanese capacitors solid cores with more than 50,000 hours of life, etc. Also claims the acceleration 333, by the way this acceleration will give us USB 3.0, 3x more in the power of the USB and S-ATA 3.0 ports.

The bundle is quite simple, it just gives us: 2 manual for use and installation of the motherboard, also a DVD that includes all drivers and utilities, and also the I / O Shield back-panel and 2 S-ATA cables.

Once out of the anti-static packaging, this mini-ITX format (170 mm x 170 mm) mainboard is pretty small in hand. The PCB is blue and both memory slots and PCI-E and S-ATA are light blue, a detail that he usually does Gigabyte on it’s low/middle rang blue series mainboards.

On this rang of mainboards, gigabyte chose to use metal screws that will allow the buyer to change in case he wished to, to change the default onboard cooking gear.

The rear/back panel is composed of 1 PS2 port (available to connect keyboard or mouse), 1 SVGA or D-Sub port, 1 DVI port, 1 HDMI port, 1 optical output port, 4 USB 2.0 ports, 2 USB 3.0 (can also work like 2.0), and finally 6 audio jacks.

This cooler is made of aluminum material and has a matt black paint finish. In the center there is a small fan that measures 50 x 50 mm. As we check the BIOS, we read that the rotation speed of it is about 5000 RPM and is fairly quiet. Besides the cooler not only covers the APU chip but also the chipset Hudson M1.

On this mainboard, we can find 2 modules for rams memories supporting up to 8 GB of Single Channel DDR3 at speeds from 1066 MHz to 1333 MHz OC (just enough to move the multiplier to overclock that frequency).

The board comes as shown by that pic with 4 Sata3 ports. Basic but plenty enough and sufficient for a HTPC designed board.

There is only one PCI-E x4 (even if it looks like a PCI-E 16x). We suppose the aim of that port is to allow the plug of a discrete graphic card to help the CPU to run a little higher demanding graphics.

So now, lets take a closer look to the onboard chips gathered by this mainboard but also it’s onboard layout.

In-depth look

This board has 3 phase power (mad of R50 japanese solid capacitors). Combined to the APU this allows the board to reach a power consumption as low as 18W.

This is the heart of this motherboard, called “APU”. Within the processor are fused DualCore E-350 “codename zacate” which runs at a speed of 1.6 GHz, and a HD6310 video card with its core running at 500 MHz by default and the third roomate inserted into the chip is the IMC (internal memory controller).

Now you’re seeing the second heart of the platform, the M1 Hudson chipset. It is in charge of carrying out most of the work that is herited from the know absent southbridge.

Nothing better than have 2 BIOS if  any of them fails for some reason, and as we clearly see in this pic, Gigabyte includes us that technology known as DualBIOS on this motherboard.

Here is the NEC/Renesas D720200AF1 chip. It is responsible for 4 USB 3.0 ports, 2 of them are on the rear panel.

Just a few millimeters away from the APU we find the clockgen RTM880T-792 which basically is responsible for managing the voltage and frequency pulse given to the CPU.

Another chip well known by the consumers of Gigabyte is the ALC892 that can provide high quality sound through the 6 audio jacks and optical output present on the rear panel.

If we wanna connect to the Internet or to other type of network such as Lan here is the cheap that you will use, the Realtek 8111E chip.

Gigabyte decided include the 4-pin connector to deliver more power to the processor that although not required for its low TDP of 18W, you might think will be fulfilling a support function. Next to it is the BIOS battery and put it back (in the picture is not clearly visible) 2 pins that if contact is the phenomenon known as “CLEAR CMOS”.

If we fall short and need more USB ports we can go to these connectors that provide 2 extra USB ports each one, white give USB 2.o ports and light-blue give USB 3.0 ports.

If you want to connect headsets or microphone at the case, you can do this using this “panel” compatible with the AC’97 or HD formats.

Something unusual and therefore rarely seen, is that some motherboard includes a Debug Reader port. You may wonder what it does and the answer is quite simple, is for connecting a circuit that have 2 LEDs that according to the numbering or position that is delivered you can know if it has some error or failure on the motherboard.

Technical details

In this table you can find all the details about what we just talked about:

CPU
  1. Built in with an AMD E-350 Dual-Core processor
  2. Built in with an AMD Radeon HD 6310 (DirectX 11) graphics core
Chipset
  1. AMD Hudson-M1 FCH
Memory
    1. 2 x 1.5V DDR3 DIMM sockets supporting up to 8 GB of system memory

* Due to Windows 32-bit operating system limitation, when more than 4 GB of physical memory is installed, the actual memory size displayed will be less than 4 GB.

  1. Single channel memory architecture
  2. Support for DDR3 1333(OC)/1066 MHz memory modules
Onboard GraphicsIntegrated in the APU:

    1. 1 x D-Sub port
    2. 1 x DVI-D port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920×1200

* The DVI-D port does not support D-Sub connector by adapter.

  1. 1 x HDMI port, supporting a maximum resolution of 1920×1200

 

Audio
  1. Realtek ALC892 codec
  2. High Definition Audio
  3. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
  4. Support for Dolby Home Theater
  5. Support for S/PDIF Out
LAN
  1. 1 x Realtek 8111E chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)
Expansion Slots
  1. 1 x PCI Express x16 slot, running at x4
    (The PCIEX4 slot conforms to PCI Express 2.0 standard.)
Storage InterfaceFCH:

  1. 4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors supporting up to 4 SATA 6Gb/s devices

* SATA3 2x performance are maximum theoretical values. Actual performance may vary by system configuration.

USBFCH:

  1. Up to 8 USB 2.0/1.1 ports (4 on the back panel, 4 via the USB brackets connected to the internal USB headers)

Renasas D720200 chip:

  1. Up to 2 USB 3.0 ports on the back panel

* USB 3.0 10x performance is a maximum theoretical value. Actual performance may vary by system configuration.

Internal I/O Connectors
    1. 1 x 24-pin ATX main power connector
    2. 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
    3. 4 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors
    4. 1 x CPU fan header
    5. 1 x system fan header
    6. 1 x front panel header
    7. 1 x front panel audio header
    8. 1 x S/PDIF Out header
    9. 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 headers
    10. 1 x debug card header

* This port is mainly used by repair technicians for debugging and problem diagnosis.

  1. 1 x chassis instrusion header
  2. 1 x power LED header
  3. 1 x clearing CMOS jumper
Back Panel Connectors
  1. 1 x PS/2 keyboard/ mouse port
  2. 1 x D-Sub port
  3. 1 x DVI-D port
  4. 1 x HDMI port
  5. 1 x optical S/PDIF Out connector
  6. 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  7. 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
  8. 1 x RJ-45 port
  9. 6 x audio jacks (Center/Subwoofer Speaker Out/Rear Speaker Out/Side Speaker Out/Line In/Line Out/Microphone)
I/O Controller
  1. ITE IT8720 chip
H/W Monitoring
  1. System voltage detection
  2. CPU/System temperature detection
  3. CPU/System fan speed detection
BIOS
  1. 2 x 16 Mbit flash
  2. Use of licensed AWARD BIOS
  3. Support for DualBIOS™
  4. PnP 1.0a, DMI 2.0, SM BIOS 2.4, ACPI 1.0b
Unique Features
    1. Support for @BIOS
    2. Support for Q-Flash
    3. Support for Xpress BIOS Rescue
    4. Support for Download Center
    5. Support for Xpress Install
    6. Support for Xpress Recovery2
    7. Support for EasyTune

* Available functions in EasyTune may differ by motherboard model.

  1. Support for Smart Recovery
  2. Support for Auto Green
  3. Support for On/Off Charge
  4. Support for Q-Share
Bundle Software
  1. Norton Internet Security (OEM version)
Operating System
  1. Support for Microsoft Windows 7/ Vista/ XP
Form Factor
  1. Mini-ITX; 17.0cm x 17.0cm

 

BIOS

The BIOS on the motherboard includes the usual findings present in any other Gigabyte board. What is striking and curious at the same time is that it includes options for overclocking, to access these menu options we must go to the menu MB Intelligent Tweaker (M.I.T.). Now why is curious and striking to see those options on this board? Just because the motherboard was not designed for overclocking and the manufacturer is far from recommend that activity on this model.

Check out the following video that will walk you through the actual BIOS.

Testing protocol

Now let’s move on to the testing!

Hardware :

Software :

  • Windows 7 Ultimate compilation 7600
  • Drivers included at the bundle
  • PCMark Vantage
  • WinRAR 4.00
  • x264 benchmark
  • HDTach 3.00
  • Cinebench R 11.5
  • AIDA 64 Extreme edition v1.64
  • MaxxMEM² Preview v1.84
  • Super Pi 1.5 XS MOD
  • Wprime 1.55
  • H.A.W.X. 2
  • S.T.A.L.K.E.R. : Call of Pripyat
  • 3DMark 06
  • 3DMark Vantage
  • 3DMark 11

The results shown are the product of the average of 3 runs for each benchmark or application used, so it manages to give a more clear and realistic vision of the real performance of the hardware that is being reviewed.

The tests were run under 2 profiles “Stock and OC”, due to chance that we have no other platform like or directly competitive to compare this system. The overclock was 10% completed both the processor and the video card and applied on an individual basis depending on whether the application was two-dimensional (2D) or three-dimensional (3D). The reason for separation is based on avoiding unnecessary overheating the chip (remember that both are fused processor, video card and northbridge on a single chip).

System tests

Windows 7 Ultimate since its inception became the issue that most users choose when to install an operating system. Building that includes a utility that in this medium know as “benchmark” gave way to run it to see how well the Fusion platform on this operating system. As shown in the graphic is in the tests applied to the processor where it reaches the worst performance of any case that does not mean far less to talk of a processor is poor, the opposite is a great fighter and did not object to implement and successfully complete testing. On the other hand, to the surprise of many where better performance was achieved in tests which came up 3D entertainment applications known as games.

NOTE: The max score on this benchmark is 7,9.

Having already warmed the motor approaches when trying to run more demanding and critical applications, however there was a software on the hard drive that proved the overall system by exposing it to a large number of applications that everyone who has access to a PC makes a continuous daily use such as web browsers, word processors, image management, video playback in HD and many more. All features mentioned above make direct reference to the PCMark Vantage, which incidentally is available for download since 2009 so we could still say that it is current with their evidence.

An important point in choosing that combination of processor and motherboard to buy for many users is that such a combination is able to encode videos with good picture quality in a short time.
There is a codec called x264 which is currently one of the most used to carry out the task of encoding videos in high definition and fortunately for many there is a benchmark in such a codec.
On this occasion we were slightly when test performance as the default when running the benchmark was tested at a resolution of 720 x 480 resolution is just the most widely used in plasma televisions, LCD and LED traded more smoothly in much of South America, so it will most likely find a TV that shows the resolution in these parts of the world.

NOTE: Was executed in a 720 x 480 resolution.

As we continued testing the system environment to see how it could possibly get to behave during a continuous and daily use we decided to process 100 Mb with the latest version of WinRAR, and we can say that the task was turned really easy for our system because in just 3:14 minutes (194 seconds) average had completed that task, and it became a little easier when we apply the 10% overclock on the processor where got time decreased by 8.3%.

To test the performance of SATA ports we select software that is called HDTach in version 3.00. Within 2 main options offered to measure performance, we select the first test is a relatively short (quick bench zone 8mb).
The average reading rate on the one hand left us quite happy with the result obtained, and on the other side rather unhappy because at least in this specific benchmark overclock the processor did not mean any direct or indirect increase performance.

NOTE: Was used a SATA 2.0 interface device.

Cinebench R11.5 will be responsible for squeeze second at second our two cores through its complex virtual gear that works to render a photorealistic 3D scene. Idea to take a test scene contains about more than 2,000 objects containing over 300,000 polygons, which uses sharp and blurry reflections, highlights and shadows, procedural shader, antialiasing, and more.

AIDA 64 Extreme Edition is the new name that reappears Everest Extreme Edition, that if with new owners as FinalWire paid the copyright Lavalys to occupy the base code of the program without having some type of legal problem.
Includes all the features-which incidentally are updated- which met that ancestor such as information display system in detail, temperature, drivers, etc.
Among all the benchmarks that we have available to select we choose the FPU (Floating Point Unit) benchmarks that basically serve to meet the processor’s ability to solve complex mathematical calculations.

We wanted and we had to show performance that lurks in the background of reports rams, that performance that moves the IMC or better known as the internal controller and memory on this motherboard is hosted within the APU.

MaxxMem was executed quickly and so we’re facing a daunting picture, the low performance obtained by these high-end memories due to the poor than is IMC, clearly AMD has yet to continue to work and refine this further to allow 100% advantage of any memory . However, and despite the increased overclock nearly 9% return, failed to be sufficient to uncover the potential of the memories that we were occupying.

Two of the many benchmarks we use do not require much explanation as to what are in this massive world of overclocking. One of them is called Super Pi and makes rough calculations based on the number 3.14 benefit primarily the frequency of the processor and memory latencies. Unfortunately only takes advantage of 1 core (benchmark type: mono-core).

The second benchmark that also requires no further explanation is the wPrime. Also responsible for making calculations, but unlike the Super Pi which is mono-core (so occupies only 1 processor core) that is multi-core and more demanding load.

Graphics tests

AMD says that the graphics card that resides inside the APU (HD6310) is able to run casual games, so we have selected 2 games that do not require great system to play decently.

As a first stage for free and feel the power of HD 6310 was HAWX 2, where we can say with absolute certainty that the gaming experience would become quite pleasant because there was a good average FPS (frames per second).

NOTE: Was executed at DX11 mode.

To compare the situation we put a second stage that was with S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: “Call of Pripyat”, which was presented as a game much more complex because it mainly presents as many shadows in the four situations that delivers the game.

NOTE: Was executed at DX10 mode.

Approaching the end of the long and arduous day of testing and benchmarks were missing most famous and we understand best, it comes the 3DMarks in 06, Vantage and 11.

One detail that was put aside to get picture back side of the box the motherboard, where as a propaganda says that in this specific benchmark can get over “+2000 3DMarks” you can check and confirm that information by clicking here. Now remember what I just told you, look at the chart and draw your own conclusion.

It seems that as the years pass the picture gets more complex, as when running 3DMark Vantage in mode Performance throw an error warning that probably the score obtained in this way would not represent the real performance of the scheme as recommended change Entry way. It was in that mode where the situation was more favorable and the video card was free to give us FPS.

It was impossible not to test the latest version of this amazing collection. The performance was while this benchmark was executed was also expected and although we applied a 10% overclock on the video card, the increase in 3DMarks not a favored equally.

Conclusion

As is usual in our reviews in this section we were analyzed with cool cloths and express what was best and what needs to improve the revised hardware, this time a motherboard.

The best

  • Relation price/performance
  • Format
  • Innovation
  • Overclock

Relation price/performance, at the mains hardware stores this motherboard should not cost more than US$ 100, quite cheap if we think we’re buying processor, video card and motherboard and have a combined within a great performance.

Format, mini-ITX format that has made this motherboard fully compatible with over 90% of the case that currently exist, and is ideal to take up in a low profile case.

Innovation, who have succeeded in combining the processor, video card and northbridge in a single low power chip breaks new ground, and that is called innovation.

Overclock, even though the BIOS limits the overclock was totally surprising and nice to see that it is entirely possible increase in a couple of megahertz frequency of the processor and video card.

Should improve

  • Performance in the IMC
  • Include dual-channel to the rams

Performance in the IMC, looking the test that was executed to see the performance we believe that performance is still low and needs improvement.

Include dual-channel to the rams, a pretty big disappointment was that we get to not find the dual channel system on this board even though it only has 2 memory modules for rams.

Award

Passed all the tests that appeared in front without putting any objection and a quite acceptable performance, well also surprised the reviewer who was on duty with his special feature that brings “the fusion of the processor, video card and northbridge on a single chip”, therefore it has decided to deliver our award “Recommended”.

Thanks

Overclocking-TV is grateful with the company Gigabyte (Latin America) and especially with Santiago Huang for their support and cooperation that they offer to us.

About Martín Soria

This guy is the Editor-In-Chief at our South America & Spanish Division. Works hard doing guides, reviews, articles and a lot of things. If you want contact him send an email to el.os-17@overclocking-tv.com