Mini-ITX mobo mixes dual-core Atom, Ion, USB 3.0

Asus isn’t kidding around with its latest Atom motherboard. The company seems to have attempted to cram as many features and components as possible into a mini-ITX form factor, and it appears to have succeeded. The AT5IONT-I is a sight to behold.

At its heart, this board includes a dual-core Atom D525 processor and next-generation Nvidia Ion graphics with 512MB of dedicated RAM. Both components are soldered on and hidden behind a massive passive heatsink. The remainder of the board’s surface houses an open-ended PCIe x4 slot, dual SATA ports, and what looks like two DDR3 SO-DIMM slots. Meanwhile, the I/O pane brings together HDMI, eSATA, and USB 3.0. (Yes, this Atom motherboard has USB 3.0 connectivity.)

Talk about a nice home-theater PC mobo. There is one little caveat, though: the price. According to Fudzilla, Asus will charge over €140 in Europe for this product. That means U.S. pricing may end fall north of $150, which just ain’t cheap for an Atom board. Then again, considering how much Asus packs on that tiny circuit board, you could probably still get away with a relatively cheap AT5IONT-I-powered HTPC build.

Comments closed
    • willyolio
    • 9 years ago

    agreed. jdaven’s build is most definitely missing a giant passive heatsink.

    edit: damnit, this is supposed to be a reply to #33.

    • jdaven
    • 9 years ago

    I can build a much faster entire mini-ITX computer on newegg for just $47 more dollars than the cost of this motherboard/cpu combo. Add another $15 for a dual core celeron 2.5Ghz version ($45 mini-itx MB as well).

    ARK PI-01 (UV coating) Black Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case 300W Power Supply $35

    Western Digital Caviar Blue WD1600AAJS 160GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5″ Internal Hard Drive -Bare Drive $39

    ZOTAC GF6100-E-E AM3/AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA nForce 430 MCP Mini ITX AMD Motherboard $45

    AllComponents 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel kit Desktop Memory Model AC2/800X64/2048-kit $41

    AMD Sempron 140 Sargas 2.7GHz Socket AM3 45W Single-Core Processor SDX140HBGQBOX $37

    Total $197

      • Skrying
      • 9 years ago

      This board isn’t designed to be the cheapest mITX rig you can build. It has other goals in mind such as passive cooling. It’s like me posting that I can build a much faster mITX system. I can, I just did in fact. But it misses the point.

        • jdaven
        • 9 years ago

        So what you are saying is that sometimes the more expensive form of a pc is better than the function of another pc even if its faster and cheaper. Interesting.

          • MrBojangles
          • 9 years ago

          Of course it is.Who needs function and compatibility when you got style. Just ask Mr. Jobs he’ll be happy to put five upside ya face for even suggesting otherwise.

      • cheesyking
      • 9 years ago

      NM I’m a fool

      • MadManOriginal
      • 9 years ago

      Why do that when there is the Mac Mini?!?!?! Would you dare incur the wrath of Jobs and the Apple cult by actually i[

    • cygnus1
    • 9 years ago

    Seriously guys? That looks like water cooling ports to you? It’s pretty clear that those are just end caps on the heat pipes. And if you look at the top down picture, there’s nothing between the heat sink fins except the heat pipe.

    Water cooling ports… you guys are silly.

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      Yeah, I thought that seemed pretty apparent from the top-view pic.

      • eitje
      • 9 years ago

      yes, they did look like water cooling ports to me. thanks for not being a dick about my misconception.

    • eitje
    • 9 years ago

    I’m incredibly tempted by this product. I love tiny computers, and I am intrigued by what appears to be water cooling ports.

    • mesyn191
    • 9 years ago

    God why don’t they just do something like this but use a AthlonII Neo K125 or 325 and a 5570.

    You’d use a more power but you’d also get _much_ more power to boot both in terms of CPU and GPU performance for a similar price. It’d be perfect IMO.

      • Deanjo
      • 9 years ago

      Ever try to play HD content on a ATI chipset using one of the popular linux HTPC solutions. Not happening.

        • mesyn191
        • 9 years ago

        I haven’t but AFAIK they’ve improved quite a bit lately. Personally I’d use win7 but that is just me so I wasn’t thinking about Linux support.

    • Bensam123
    • 9 years ago

    Pales in comparison to actually offering a socket onboard for a desktop processor as well as a full size PCI-E x16 slot.

    This is like adding 2GB of video memory to a low end video card.

    • marvelous
    • 9 years ago

    Great but not for everybody who wants a HTPC. You can get a $50 ITX mobo at newegg that accepts core 2 duo.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      I often think the same thing about normal ITX boards vs. Atom, as the Atom desktop platform does not really save power or money, but good luck finding built in wi-fi, USB 3.0, and the HD video and surround sound wizardry this has right out of the box. It may only have an Atom, but at least it’s dual-core, so all the bases are covered.

      I don’t know what the deal is, but the options for standard desktop mini-ITX boards just suck. There’s always something missing. I’d rather just buy a run of the mill laptop instead of most of the options out there.

    • Shinare
    • 9 years ago

    So does the PCIe x4 slot mean no high end vid card?

    • Spotpuff
    • 9 years ago

    That is some awesome looking cooling! Overkill is always appreciated, especially when it comes stock.

    • iatacs19
    • 9 years ago

    is the nVidia GPU still connected with a PCIe x1 ?

    • xtalentx
    • 9 years ago

    That thing is a piece of art. I wish it took a better CPU – I might buy it and put it in a clear case.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 9 years ago

    Are those freaking water cooling ports on the port cluster above the DVI connector?

      • tay
      • 9 years ago

      That would make little sense practically, but what else could they be!

      • Convert
      • 9 years ago

      I was thinking they make contact with the IO backplate in order to transfer heat. That doesn’t appear to be the case though in the pictures.

    • cegras
    • 9 years ago

    Even if the motherboard looks impressive, shouldn’t it perform exactly like the Zotac all in one solution from a while back?

    • NeelyCam
    • 9 years ago

    Yeah, but..but.. it’s an Atom!

    Also, in my book, 3 SATA ports is the minimum for a HTPC: 1=OS SSD, 2= BluRay drive, 3= 1+TB HDD for media. Having only two SATA ports drives you into using Momentus XT Hybrids for OS and data.

    I guess I could run the cable to the eSATA port, but that’s just ugly.

      • Convert
      • 9 years ago

      Just stream your media from a network location.

        • Deanjo
        • 9 years ago

        Then why even use a motherboard? Just buy one of the many cheaper media playback devices such as Asus’s OPlay

          • Skrying
          • 9 years ago

          For control. I don’t want to be tied down to what Asus (or whoever) decides to support with their device. I’d rather have the choice of software and hardware.

    • Pasdepardon
    • 9 years ago

    This is very interesting, indeed. Thank you.
    Now gotta find relevant ION chipset reviews….
    And what’s the most powerful GPU you can use on a PCIex4 lane, if any?

      • Corrado
      • 9 years ago

      Technically, they should all work. The back of the port is open so an x16 card should fit in and, in theory, work just fine. Whether that happens in practice, I don’t know.

      • fr500
      • 9 years ago

      you can use any but you can expect from 2 to 15% decrease on performance….which is really irrelevant since any modern GPU will be bottlenecked by the atom processor

    • Jigar
    • 9 years ago

    That’s one series mobo.

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