AMD's low-power Kabini APU is coming to the desktop, and motherboard makers are lining up products to support it. The latest batch comes from ASRock, which is rolling out three different models based on the AM1 platform.
As one might expect given the budget nature of the processor, the boards are pretty basic. One of them has an interesting trick up its sleeve, though. The AM1H-ITX comes with an external DC input in addition to a traditional PSU plug. Either connector can be used to power the board.
The AM1H-ITX doesn't ship with a DC adapter. Fortunately, notebook-style power bricks are generally cheap and passively cooled. DC input is perfect for automotive PCs, and it has intriguing potential for home-theater PCs.
Speaking of HTPC duty, the AM1H-ITX is loaded with TV-friendly digital video outs. It has a dedicated S/PDIF audio output, a Gigabit Ethernet jack, four 6Gbps SATA ports, and four USB 3.0 ports (two at the rear and two more via an internal header). Expansion options include a Mini PCIe slot for Wi-Fi cards and a physical x16 slot for larger fare. The x16 slot is limited by the four lanes of Gen2 connectivity in the CPU, of course.
Next to the AM1H-ITX, the other boards look considerably less interesting. The AM1B-M above has a microATX form factor and adds a PCIe x1 slot. However, it also leaves out the Mini PCIe slot and most of the rear-panel ports. The AM1B-ITX pictured below is similarly spartan, but at least it has a couple of digital video outs and extra SATA ports.
The two Mini-ITX boards seem best suited to Kabini's strengths. Unfortunately, the associated press release is devoid of pricing and availability details. We've asked ASRock for clarification and will update this story when we hear back from the company.
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