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Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB3 review

A teeny-tiny, and fully-featured motherboard, but still a little weedy

Verdict

Gigabyte ga e350n usb3

Mediocre CPU performance put the kybosh on our first review of the AMD E-350 fusion processor. Unfortunately, there's little the E-350-powered Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB3 board can do to change that.

The performance of the 1.6GHz dual-core processor remains only slightly superior to Intel's equivalent Atom processor.

That's particularly disappointing given the E-350 out-of-order instruction execution. In theory, that should make AMD's new Fusion chip much faster than the Atom's simpler in-order architecture.

In practice, however, the GA-E350N-USB3 with AMD E-350 chip onboard still requires six and half minutes to labour through the CineBench R10 rendering test.

To put that into context, the fastest desktop processors are around 13 times quicker. For the record, overclocking isn't a realistic option, with 1.8GHz proving to be the highest stable CPU core frequency.

As for graphics performance, 80 DX11-class stream shaders give the E-350 very respectable raw 3D throughput. But as our benchmarks prove, the CPU simply can't keep up.

Even in a game as undemanding as Call of Duty 4, playable frame rates are out of reach.

That's a shame, because this board is otherwise very promising.

The PCIe x16 slot allows for gaming-class graphics to be added, for instance. And the pair of USB 3.0 ports ensure speed transfer of data to and from external peripherals. You also get a triple whammy of video ports, including VGA, DVI and HDMI, and 6.1 surround sound.

We liked

Gigabyte has given this AMD Zacate-based board some impressive desktop features including PEG16 graphics, USB 3.0 and a full-featured BIOS that even provides several overclocking options. Impressively, Gigabyte has crammed all that into a Mini-ITX form that suits the lower-power processor perfectly.

We disliked

There's only so much you can do with a weak-performing processor. The AMD E-350 fusion chip simply doesn't have the chops to deliver a satisfactory all round computing experience. In that context, high end features such as overclocking support and discrete graphics are effectively redundant.

Final verdict

With everything in mind, it's best not to think of the Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB3 as a cut-price alternative to a proper desktop PC platform.

Instead, thanks to support for AMD's excellent UVD3 2D video feature set, it's an excellent basis for a compact, low-power home cinema system.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDesktop Motherboard
Chipset ManufacturerAMD
Chipset ModelA50M
Onboard VideoOn-board Video Chipset
Number of PCI Express x16 Slots1
Integrated Processor ManufacturerAMD
Integrated Processor ModelE350
Integrated Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Brand NameGigabyte
Form FactorMini ITX
Total Processor Supported1
Maximum Memory8 GB
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots2
Graphics Controller ManufacturerATI
Graphics Controller ModelRadeon HD 6310
Audio Channels7.1
Gigabit EthernetYes
Number of SATA Interfaces4
Number of Total Expansion Slots1
HDMIYes
DVIYes
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Total Number of USB Ports6
Number of USB 3.0 Ports2
PS/2 PortYes
Number of PS/2 Ports1
Total Number of Onboard USB Ports4
Number of Onboard USB 2.0 Ports4
PCI Express StandardPCI Express 2.0
Total Number of PCI Express Slots1
Width170 mm
Depth170 mm
ManufacturerGIGABYTE Technology, Inc
Product ModelGA-E350N-USB3
Product NameUltra Durable 3 GA-E350N-USB3 Desktop Motherboard
Product LineUltra Durable 3
Controller TypeSerial ATA/600
Manufacturer Part NumberGA-E350N-USB3
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://uk.giga-byte.com
Marketing Information

GIGABYTE Ultra Durable 3 design, featuring 2 ounces of copper for both the Power and Ground layers which dramatically lowers system temperature by delivering a more efficient spreading of heat from critical areas of the motherboard such as the CPU power zone throughout the entire PCB. GIGABYTE's Ultra Durable 3 also lowers the PCB impedance by 50%, which helps to reduce electrical waste and further lowers component temperatures. A 2oz Copper layer design also provides improved signal quality and lower EMI (Electromagnetic Interference), providing better system stability and allowing for greater margins for overclocking.

Package Contents
  • Ultra Durable 3 GA-E350N-USB3 Desktop Motherboard
  • Motherboard Driver Disk
  • User's Manual
  • Quick Installation Guide
  • 2 x SATA Cables
  • I/O Shield