In part one of this Mini-ITX series we examined nine motherboards with integrated CPUs. In part two, we will take a closer look at Mini-ITX boards with AMD Socket FM1 processor sockets, compatible with the previous generation AMD A processors.
If you're wondering why we are reviewing Socket FM1 boards, it's because there aren't any Mini-ITX Socket FM2 boards yet for AMD Trinity processors. For Socket FM1 there isn't a lot of choice either, we only received two samples for our test - one from ASRock and one from Gigabyte.
It's a shame there isn't more out there, because a Mini-ITX board with an AMD A4, A6 or A8 processor could potentially be a very interesting combination. The integrated GPU is more powerful, and the CPU is faster than in the boards we discussed in part one. For a HTPC using Windows Media Centre, a board with an AMD A4 or A6 processor is a better choice than an AMD E-350, despite the higher energy consumption. You can find an AMD A4 board for around £40 already, so the price difference is minimal.
The AMD A75 chipset that these boards use supports 4x USB 3.0 and 6x SATA600. We tested the boards in combination with an AMD A8-3850 processor.
On the ASRock A75M-ITX motherboard, the Socket FM1 processor socket is positioned in the middle. The board has a PCI-Express x16 slot and two DDR3 memory slots. There are four SATA600 ports, along with 1x eSATA. The board features 6x USB 2.0, 4x external USB 3.0, Gigabit LAN and a Realtek ALC892 audio codec with THX software. VGA and HDMI are the monitor connectors.
The BIOS is fairly comprehensive and even has a few overclocking features, including the ability to make profiles. The performance is about the same as that of the other motherboard in this review, but it's clearly more energy-efficient. You can read the rest of Mini-ITX motherboards preview - Part two on Hardware.info.