A Closer Look...
Exciting no? Gigabyte certainly think so, flamboyantly boasting the E350N's "333" feature set of USB 3.0, high speed charging for Apple iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch and of course full SATA 6.0Gb/sec through its four RAID compliant ports.
Inside you will find a fairly standard accessory set - I/O shield, Driver CD, 2 x SATA cables and a fairly comprehensive manual.
Let's cut to the chase and show you the product itself. Unlike the new Gigabyte P67 lineup, motherboards such as these do not feature the updated black colour scheme. Needless to say however, the E350N USB3 is far from revolting...as far as inanimate electronic components are concerned anyway.
The board layout itself is usable enough. SATA cables are not particularly accessible with an expansion card fitted however those with the foresight to connect redundant cables in advance will not be troubled by this.
All in all there seems to be a sufficient number of I/O interfaces all round however as we had mentioned earlier, integrated WiFi and even Bluetooth would have been the icing on the cake. Particularly when 802.11n is common in many homes now and Gigabyte convenience features such as proximity hybernate (a feature, that puts your computer to sleep once your phone is out of range) command an external bluetooth adapter.
Note that Gigabyte have done away with e-SATA. We expect a number of manufacturers to follow suit on space saving boards such as these. Really, with two 5.0Gb/sec USB3 ports in place, you are unlikely to miss it.
Naturally with a motherboard of this size, there are size constraints to adhere to when designing its heatsink module. The end result is a fairly spartan solution, with a low density arrangement of fins and a 40mm fan that has left us rather concerned. How noisy could it be? Lets find out.