On the basis that the E350N-USB3 is built on the exact same platform as the Asus E35M1-M PRO we tested two weeks ago, it comes to no surprise that from a performance perspective there is very little to show. As you could have guessed, they perform near enough the same; better than the Intel Atom, acceptable GPU performance and very good load power consumption. I suppose the best way to describe the E350N-USB3 is to discuss what we didn't like about the Asus.
This was briefly discussed during the introduction but we must stress that the optimal form factor for AMD Fusion is Mini ITX. The whole purpose of buying into this platform is its great thermal/power characteristics and the performance that it delivers for its insignificant footprint. This sort of equipment is there to be used inside a budget desktop, laptop, network attached storage or at most, a home theater pc. You shouldn't really need more than 4 SATA ports, nor do you need more than one expansion slot. If you do, then you're probably better off buying an AMD Athlon II for £50 and a reasonable enough AMD 785G/880G board for under £70. It really is as simple as that.
Speaking of price, this was another gripe of ours. Weighing in at nearly £120, the Asus E35M1-M PRO had a significant feature set. However this price combined with its form factor left it swimming with much bigger fish - this is not good at all.
Returning to the Gigabyte E350N-USB3, it does solve one of the above issues in that it is Mini ITX. That's right, shove this board into a low profile MITX case with a passive 65W power brick and away you go. It can even be placed in a chassis that can be bolted to your flat screen monitor's VESA mount. Discrete low power computing for a very small outlay.
What we are less sure about right now is pricing. As it stands, there is no official price for the board in the UK. However on the basis that the E350N USB3 has a smaller feature set than boards such as the E35M1-I Deluxe (Mini ITX, Fanless Heatpipe, WiFi, Bluetooth equipped), which can be found for ~£115, we are hoping to see the board retail between £80-100. Within this price range the E350N USB3 is a gem.
Pricing factor withstanding, we were impressed with what Gigabyte had to offer; a very capable solution for the masses.
- Mini ITX Form Factor
- Atom killing performance
- No WiFi/Bluetooth