Zacate-equipped Gigabyte Mini-ITX mobo pictured

AMD isn’t going to release its Zacate accelerated processing unit for a little while still, but that hasn’t stopped a photo of a Zacate-based Gigabyte Mini-ITX board from leaking out onto the web—thanks to X-bit labs and an anonymous "industrial source" who allegedly sent the image. The pictured board looks pretty compelling, with PCI Express x16 connectivity and AMD’s top-of-the-line E350 APU, the same one we got to test last month, installed out of the box.

The Gigabyte GA-E350V-USB3 also has four Serial ATA ports, two full-sized DIMM slots, USB 3.0 connectivity, and from the looks of it, at least DVI and VGA display outputs. Based on the "DDR3 1800+" label on the board, it would also appear that Gigabyte will offer some overclocking functionality. Interesting.

If one thing doesn’t really enthuse me, though, it’s that pint-sized fan stuck onto the processor heatsink. That’s gotta be a 40-mm fan, and those are known for producing annoying whining noise, getting clogged up with dust, and slowly dying in an agonizing crescendo. I think a bigger heatsink with a larger fan, or perhaps no fan at all, would be more appropriate for a small-form-factor Zacate rig.

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    • Joel H.
    • 9 years ago

    The 40nm fan shouldn’t be a problem–there’s no intrinsic reason a 40nm fan should be lower quality than a 120mm fan–Zacate hopefully doesn’t generate enough heat to make noise an issue.

    As for no one seriously wanting to game on Zacate, if we’re talking enthusiast-level gaming, no. With that said, it’d be great to see a CPU+GPU combo that can at least run games at basic detail levels effectively.

      • Bauxite
      • 9 years ago

      If you can do it with a small fan, you can do it with a bigger fan running slower and quieter. You usually only go small because you have no choice or don’t care, there is plenty of room on that board.

      Small fans just generally suck, the sub 80mm market has no real design effort at all. They all seem to be used for stuff that has no noise consideration whatsoever: industrial/server room or just plain old cheap trash.

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 9 years ago

        And every laptop, ever. Oops, there goes your theory.

    • Edgar_Wibeau
    • 9 years ago

    Zacate offers 4 PCIe 2.0 line, plus the Hudson Southbridge also offers four lines. The USB 3.0 controller eats one of those. Plus because the four lines from the APU and the four from the chipset won’t be capable to form one PCIe (x6 or x8) port, the PEG slot will most likely wired to x4 PCIe 2.0 only.

    Not that this is a problem as nobody will seriously want to game on Zacate.

    Decent board, I hate the 40mm fan though and I’d prefer all 6 SATA ports to be populated. To me the AMD Nile board from Zotac introduced some days ago is a better layout.

      • Bauxite
      • 9 years ago

      Its not even x16 physical, you can tell from that shot that only around half the traces are there.

      My guess is like yours: x8 physical, x4 electrical/logical

      Having the full plastic connector versus an open end is usually better though. Even some x1 cards have the same common pcb “tongue” which helps to seat them securely, and loose traces are just begging for a short.

      I don’t want to game on a zacate desktop either, but they sure seem like a perfect base for a low profile cablecard tuner htpc 🙂

      PS another vote to lose that dumb cooler: go with a large *[

        • FuturePastNow
        • 9 years ago

        “Physical” refers to the size of the slot and what kinds of connectors physically fit in it.

        That is a physical x16 slot.

      • cygnus1
      • 9 years ago

      I will probably end up with one of these populated with some sort of storage controller that I can hook up to a SAS/SATA port expander in a low power FreeNAS or Openfiler server.

    • jdaven
    • 9 years ago

    I still don’t understand why such a low power CPU needs the extra 4-pin ATX power connector. How much power is delivered to the CPU via the 24-pin power connector these days? None?

    I only ask because the separate routing of power cables between the 4 and 24 pin connectors can be a hassle and mess up air flow somewhat.

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      It’s probably an overclocking thing, and also because normal desktop boards, mini-ITX included, are just wasteful. For years and years, the desktop counterparts of low power laptop platforms have been using multiple times the amount of electricity to do pretty much the exact same things. Oh, but you can plug in a Radeon 5970! *double face palm*

      • Bauxite
      • 9 years ago

      Having a little EE backround I will chime in.

      Even though the standard 24 pin connector delivers plenty of amps for a laptop cpu, using the also very standard* “extra” connector probably makes the power routing design easier. (and probably cleaner as a bonus)

      *on desktops, even many itx

      BTW, the 24pin used to be 20 as shown by many current psus having a hybrid plug, seeing a trend here? 🙂

      • esterhasz
      • 9 years ago

      It’s there to provide enough power for the PCIe slot.

        • jdaven
        • 9 years ago

        Is that correct? I thought the 75W that can be drawn from the PCIe slot came from the 24 pin ATX power connector.

        • Duck
        • 9 years ago

        That is not true and is very clearly not true just by looking at the board layout.

          • esterhasz
          • 9 years ago

          I should have said: the 4pin 12V line is there so the juice from the 24pin can go to PCIe.

      • Duck
      • 9 years ago

      Nooooo it doesn’t work like that. It delivers 12v DC which go though the voltage regulators that you can see at the top and then onto the CPU. Why /[

    • OneArmedScissor
    • 9 years ago

    I wouldn’t think noise with the fan would be an issue, as it’s not going to get hot. Laptops have tiny fans cooling much high power computers with even more restricted air flow, and it works just fine.

    So then the question is why it even has a fan…I guess Gigabyte doesn’t trust people to not stick it in an enclosed space and leave Linpack and Furmark running.

    • esterhasz
    • 9 years ago

    The 40mm fan does not inspire confidence indeed, but one must admit that these have been getting better over the last years…

    I’m pretty sure I’ll use something in that line for an overdue update to the homeserver/HTPC box in the living room…

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