Sapphire Pure Fusion Mini E350 review

Does this tiny motherboard shine like a jewel?

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When it comes to performance, well you might well take one look at the test results and say, "What performance?", but even these performance figures outshine the old EPIA boards' stuttering attempts at running benchmarks.

But out-and-out performance isn't what this type of motherboard is about, it's more about be able to offer adequate performance - especially video playback - at low power requirements, in a small, tight space where the lack of heat production is of real importance, making them ideal for very small form factor HTPC's.


As mentioned in the introduction, the difference between the two Sapphire boards is the type of DDR3 memory supported.

The Pure White Fusion uses two standard 240-pin DIMM slots while the Pure Mini Fusion uses two SO-DIMM slots, the slots normally associated with notebooks.

Using a pair of smaller memory slots has given Sapphire more elbow-room to work on the motherboard, which has allowed them to include a mini-PCI slot which can be used to house something like a Wi-Fi card in. Just as Zotac has done with its Intel based H67ITX board, only Sapphire hasn't included any bracketry to help with mounting the aerial(s).


You might think that a motherboard this small would be light on features, but the Pure Mini Fusion can hold its own against many a full size board; five SATA 6Gb/s ports, two USB3.0 and three USB ports, VGA and a single link DVI outputs, HDMI, Bluetooth, eight channel audio and integrated Gigabit LAN.

There's also a single PCI-E x16 slot for a discrete graphics card, but it only runs at x4 speed.

We liked


This time around, it appears that the ITX format has a lot going for it as AMD's Fusion technology has made it possible to combined adequate performance and power saving with a half-decent, usable feature set to make the format an interesting proposition for people wanting to build a very small media platform.

We disliked

It's a real shame that Sapphire didn't include a Wi-Fi card with the Pure Fusion Mini E350, especially as it went to the trouble of adding Bluetooth to the board. Even worse, there's no provision for mounting an aerial(s), should you have brought a third-party Wi-Fi card.

Verdict

Although its early days for AMD's latest technology, it works well and is ideal for very small form factors, something that Sapphire has proved quite nicely with the Pure Fusion Mini E350.

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 TypeE-Series
Integrated Processor ModelE350
Integrated Processor Cache1 MB
Integrated Processor CoreDual-core (2 Core)
Memory TechnologyDDR3 SDRAM
Brand NameSapphire
Form FactorMini ITX
Maximum Memory8 GB
Green CompliantYes
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityWEEE
64-bit ProcessingYes
Number of Memory Slots2
Graphics Controller ManufacturerAMD
Graphics Controller ModelRadeon HD 6310
Audio Channels7.1
BluetoothYes
Gigabit EthernetYes
Number of SATA Interfaces5
Number of Total Expansion Slots2
eSATAYes
HDMIYes
DVIYes
Number of Network (RJ-45) Ports1
Network (RJ-45)Yes
Total Number of USB Ports6
Number of USB 3.0 Ports2
Total Number of Onboard USB Ports4
Number of Onboard USB 2.0 Ports4
PCI Express StandardPCI Express 2.0
Total Number of PCI Express Slots2
Memory Form FactorSoDIMM
Number of eSATA Ports1
Width172.7 mm
Depth172.7 mm
ManufacturerSapphire, Inc
Product ModelIPC-E350M1
Product NamePURE Mini IPC-E350M1 Desktop Motherboard
Package TypeRetail
Product LinePURE Mini
Controller TypeSerial ATA/600
Manufacturer Part Number52036-00-40G
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.sapphiretech.com/en/
Marketing Information

The SAPPHIRE Pure Fusion Mini E350 is a mini-ITX mainboard featuring the E350 (Zacate) APU from AMD. Zacate is the first generation of APU a combination of CPU and GPU computing technologies onto a single die to improve the performance of both visual and data-intensive tasks. For the first time it combines high-performance serial computing and parallel graphics processing cores on a single chip.

Despite the huge feature set, the SAPPHIRE Pure Mini E350 features very low power consumption. Its very compact mini-ITX (170 x 170mm) format is ideal for integration into small format or embedded systems. It supports Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems for a new class of performance from highly integrated systems.