Braswell SoCs appear on fanless Asus microATX boards

— 9:49 AM on May 18, 2015

Otherwise known as Braswell, Intel's latest Atom processor combines upgraded graphics with 14-nm fabrication. We've already seen the chip pop up on several Mini-ITX motherboards from MSI, and now, it's been spotted on a couple of Asus microATX boards.

The N3050M-E and N3150M-E are pretty much identical apart from the SoCs hiding under their passive heatsinks. The former is based on the Celeron N3050, which has dual cores with a peak burst speed of 2.16GHz, while the latter uses the N3150, which pushes its quad cores up to 2.08GHz. Both chips have 6W thermal envelopes.

Source: Asus

As one might expect, the boards are somewhat limited by the SoC. They have dual DIMM slots, but total memory is capped at a reasonable 8GB. Don't get too excited about the PCI Express x16 slot, either. It gets a single lane of Gen2 bandwidth, just like the x1 slots. Braswell only has a handful of PCIe lanes built in.

The chip's integrated GPU eliminates the need for a discrete graphics card, but there are limitations there, too. The HDMI output only scales up to 1920x1200 resolution at 60Hz. Although 4K output is supported, the maximum refresh rate is just 30Hz.

Storage options include dual SATA 6GBps ports and four USB 3.0 (two in the rear cluster, plus two more via on-board headers). Realtek handles audio and Gigabit Ethernet duties.

According to FanlessTech, which first spotted the boards, prices are set at €75-85. That works out to $85-96 USD with a direct conversion.

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