AMD's next generation of low-power Beema and Mullins APUs are on the way, but don't tell motherboard makers. They're busy cranking out boards based on the previous generation. A slew of AM1 mobos for socketed Kabini chips were released earlier this month. Biostar also rolled out a new Mini-ITX model with a mobile Kabini APU soldered on, and ASRock has followed suit with a similar product of its own.
The QC5000-ITX/WiFi uses AMD's A4-5000, which has quad Jaguar cores clocked at 1.5GHz, Radeon HD 8330 integrated graphics, and a 15W TDP. This is the same chip found on the Biostar board and in numerous budget notebooks. It should have enough horsepower for basic computing tasks and HTPC duty, but don't get your hopes up for gaming.
Despite the APU's modest thermal envelope, ASRock opts for active cooling. A passive heatsink would be better for home-theater applications—and pretty much anyone who doesn't like the high-pitched whine typically produced by smaller fans.
Otherwise, the QC5000-ITX/WiFi looks reasonably well equipped. The rear cluster houses a trio of digital display outs, and it even sports a digital S/PDIF audio out. There's plenty of USB 3.0 connectivity, too, and the onboard networking is solid. The board has a wired Gigabit Ethernet jack in addition to support for 802.11n Wi-Fi. Users also get dual DIMM slots, four 6Gbps SATA ports, and a PCIe x16 slot limited to four lanes of Gen2 bandwidth.
It's a little odd to see fresh products attached to a processor that's nearly a year old. Perhaps AMD and its partners are trying to clear chip inventories to make room for new hotness from the Beema and Mullins generation. If that's the case, the QC5000-ITX/WiFi should be priced to move. I don't see the board selling online just yet, though.
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