Intel recently launched Braswell processors to succeed to their Bay Trail processor family, using 14nm lithography, a newer generation Intel GPU, more L2 cache, and various other improvements. Some ASRock motherboards based on such processors are now listed on Newegg starting at $58.99 with ASRock N3050B-ITX motherboard (dual core processor), and $69.99 for the quad core version (ASRock N3150B-ITX).
Apart from the different processors, both mini-ITX motherboard mostly share the same specifications:
- System Memory – 2x 240-pin DDR3/DDR3L 1600/1066 for up to 16GB RAM
- Storage – 2 x SATA3 6.0 Gb/s Connectors, support NCQ, AHCI and Hot Plug
- Audio Codec – Realtek ALC887 Audio Codec, 7.1 CH HD Audio
- Expansion – 1x PCI Express 2.0 x1 Slot
- Rear panel ports
- 1x PS/2 Mouse Port; 1x PS/2 Keyboard Port
- 1x COM port; 1x Parallel/LPT port
- Video Output
- 1x D-sub (VGA) port up to 1920×1200 @ 60Hz
- 1x HDMI port up to 2560×1600 @ 60Hz
- Dual display supported
- USB – 2 x USB 2.0 Ports; 2 x USB 3.0 Ports
- Audio – Line in / Front Speaker / Microphone.
- Connectivity – 1x Gigabit Ethernet (Realtek 8111GR)
- Internal Connectors
- USB – 2 x USB 2.0 headers (Supports 4x USB 2.0 ports) ; 1x USB 3.0 header
- 1x COM Port Header
- 1x TPM Header
- 1x Chassis Intrusion Header
- 1x CPU Fan Connector (3-pin)
- 1x Chassis Fan Connector (3-pin)
- 1x 24 pin ATX Power Connector
- 1x Front Panel Audio Connector
- Dimensions – Mini-ITX form factor
The motherboards ship with a quick installation guide, a support CD, a rear panel I/O shield, and two SATA data cables. The GPU found in Braswell processors supports H.264 @ level 5.2, H.265/HEVC @ level 5 (GPU accelerated), and VP8 video codecs.
To get a complete system, you’ll also need memory, storage (HDD or SSD), a power supply unit (PSU), and an enclosure, but you should be able to get a complete system for $150 and up depending on your requirements. You could also buy Intel N3050 NUC on Amazon for about $145, but you’ll still need to add memory and storage.
ASRock explains the system supports Windows 10, 8 and 7 (64-bit), but Linux should be supported too, at least the Yocto Project has specific support for these low power Braswell processors, so hopeful that means a fully working kernnel (and drivers) will be available, but this needs to be tested/confirmed…
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