Passively cooled Bay Trail board has full-sized slots, microATX footprint

Intel's Bay Trail SoC has popped up on another PC motherboard. Unlike most implementations, which stick to the Mini-ITX form factor, Biostar's J1900MH2 opts for a larger microATX footprint with plenty of room for full-sized slots, extra expansion options, and a beefy passive heatsink.

Source: Biostar

As its name implies, the board is powered by the Celeron J1900, a quad-core Bay Trail variant with 2GHz base and 2.4GHz burst frequencies. Two full-sized DDR3 DIMM slots tap into the SoC's dual memory channels, while three expansion slots hang off the chip's PCIe controller. One of those slots has a physical x16 connector, but don't get your hopes up—each of the PCIe slots is limited to a single lane of Gen2 connectivity. Bay Trail only has four PCIe lanes built in.

The chip's fourth PCIe lane is devoted to a Realtek Gigabit Ethernet chip. Dual SATA 3Gbps ports are available for internal storage, and there's a SuperSpeed USB port for fast external drives. You also get dual USB 2.0 ports at the back and a header for two more on the board. Video outputs include HDMI and VGA.

ASRock offers a similar microATX Bay Trail model for only $69.99, so I'd expect Biostar's take on the concept to be likewise affordable. The extra slots make the board an intriguing option for a low-power DVR loaded with multiple TV tuner cards.

Comments closed
    • willmore
    • 5 years ago

    For those comparing prices, I just picked up a J1800 based board for $37 from NewEgg. Also, a low end dual core Haswell era Celeron was $22 at fry’s.

    Sales, mostly, but pretty common these days.

    • willmore
    • 5 years ago

    I can’t make it out from the photo, but are those isolation areas around the MB/case mounts near the audio portion of the board?

      • Chrispy_
      • 5 years ago

      It certainly does look like that, yes.

      I wish all motherboards were designed like that, because background interference being passed over to headphones is just so unnecessary and so easily avoided.

    • Shambles
    • 5 years ago

    I suppose you could use this for an HTPC. Would this even be powerful enough to do Steam streaming though? A fanless machine under the TV is a nice idea, and this is a lot less expensive than a NUC.

    (Ewwwww Realtek NIC :/)

      • Waco
      • 5 years ago

      Yes, easily. My Bay Trail tablet can do streaming over Steam without any trouble.

    • Takeshi7
    • 5 years ago

    I wish a manufacturer would put all 4 of bay trail’s PCIe lanes on one slot. It might be nice to upgrade from the crappy integrated graphics to a dedicated card.

      • Chrispy_
      • 5 years ago

      Pffft, you can’t game on Bay Trail in any meaningful way. Games crave IPC and even the Pentium quad cores running at 2.4GHz struggle.

      I bought a 2.13GHz Bay Trail netbook for my mother this year and it’s a huge upgrade from her old N450 Atom but Bay Trail is in a completely different league to Ivy/Haswell – something between a quarter and half the performance of even a low-clocked dual-core ivy.

      On the desktop if anyone wanted to put a discrete graphics card with a Bay Trail platform they’re doing it wrong. This Biostar platform costs $70, right? Well there are no S1150 celerons yet, but for under $100 you can get a Biostar board with a 3GHz Pentium that is probably 3x the speed, and for $80 you can get something at least double the power in an 1155 Ivy board with a dual-core celeron.

      Bay trail is low-cost, low-power and fanless. Those are the selling points. If you don’t want low-power and fanless (because you want to put a discrete card in it) then spend similar money on a hugely more capably budget Ivy/Haswell setup.

        • Takeshi7
        • 5 years ago

        There’s no reason the discrete card can’t be fanless as well. I have an AMD E-450 computer and it can run Source games like Portal no problem. A fanless Bay Trail with a small discrete card should be even better.

        • Waco
        • 5 years ago

        Bay Trail does a lot better than most think…

        • smilingcrow
        • 5 years ago

        LGA 1150 Celerons:

        [url<]http://ark.intel.com/products/series/43522/Intel-Celeron-Processor-G1000-Series-for-Desktop#@All[/url<]

          • Chrispy_
          • 5 years ago

          Cool, didn’t realise they’d released the socketed versions yet.

          Which makes my point even more valid – it’s only $10 more for a Celeron with at least double the performance, SATA ports, PCIe lanes and of course all the shiny things in the MCP that they couldn’t fit within Bay Trail.

          Don’t get me wrong, I love Bay Trail but it’s a pretty stupid thing to put discrete graphics into. If you can afford the thermal/power constraints of even a lowly 60W graphics card, you can certainly afford the 35-53W of a low-cost Haswell processor. It’s not as if the Bay Trail IGP is useless, it’ll decode HD video perfectly well and whilst you can’t game on the IGP, a passively-cooled GPU is unlikely to offer compelling gaming either.

            • smilingcrow
            • 5 years ago

            “a passively-cooled GPU is unlikely to offer compelling gaming either.”

            You can get a passive GTX 750 Ti.

            • Chrispy_
            • 5 years ago

            It’s not common. You can also get a passively-cooled processor.

            Trying to avoid pedanticity, Bay-trail is usually passive because it’s in the 8-20W category. GPUs aren’t usually passive because they’re in the 60-300W category. There are always outliers but using those is just being pedantic for the sake of argument.

            • smilingcrow
            • 5 years ago

            When mainstream manufactures have been making passive GPUs for years it’s hardly pedantic to say they are an option.
            If I’d said 3rd party passive coolers then that would be obscure but when Asus and the like make passive GTX 750 (Ti) models then it’s a mainstream solution.

            • Chrispy_
            • 5 years ago

            Again, you’re picking extreme examples. Most of the passive GPUs are barely better than IGPs (HD6450, Geforce 620 etc) and any of the higher wattage fanless GPUs come with [i<]strict[/i<] guidelines stating that they are [b<]NOT[/b<] designed for a passive PC. You need lots of airflow to dissipate 60W from a passive card. If you've ever tried one in a fanless case you'll know they're not viable without either a huge case (for convection and surface area) or some forced airflow in the vicinty of the GPU. From plenty of experience with point-of-sale PCs and enclosures, I'm going to say that you need no more than 40W per cubic foot for a fully fanless setup. Anything less that that doesn't have enough space for proper convection and doesn't have enough surface area to dump that heat. Bay Trail is great for this, you can get 7.5W variants with C2D performance on less than 10% of the power budget.

            • smilingcrow
            • 5 years ago

            What’s with the BS about extreme examples! They are just regular retail products with a slight premium over the fanned version. What’s so extreme about that?

          • Takeshi7
          • 5 years ago

          10W TDP vs 35W TDP minimum is not acceptable to me.

        • raddude9
        • 5 years ago

        [quote<]Pffft, you can't game on Bay Trail in any meaningful way.[/quote<] Well, maybe you could if you could plug a decent graphics card into a Bay-Trail board. [quote<]Games crave IPC [/quote<] I think you are mistaken. Haswell chips have a higher IPC than Ivy Bridge chips, so you're saying that you can game better on a 2.2Ghz Haswell than on a 3.6Ghz Ivy Bridge! What games actually prefer is Instructions Per Second, not Instructions Per Clock. Much more importantly though, games actually crave a good graphics card and that Bay Trail chip is easily good enough to drive a mid-range card..... if it had a 4x PCIe slot.

    • DarkMikaru
    • 5 years ago

    Why Only 2 SATA ports on a board like this? Why? Don’t they realize that no enthusiast in his right mind would build this as a daily PC? SOC’s such as this are being drafted for Server / HTPC duty only for the most part.

    Recently, I was commissioned to build a small file server for a client and I could not for the life of me find an Embedded MiniITX / MicroATX board that had at least 6 SATA ports available. Not a one. Well I did find one and it was 200 bucks lol. 2 Ports are fine as a Kiosk or Hulu / Netflix streaming PC I guess. But 2 ports out of the box just ain’t gonna cut it.

    However, I do like Biostar and have had great experience with them. I’ve used them since my first Socket A build and never had a problem. But 2 Sata ports…. killin me man..killin me…

      • Deanjo
      • 5 years ago

      I believe the ports do support port multipliers.

      • EndlessWaves
      • 5 years ago

      As usual, blame Intel for the lack of ports.

      I’m not sure about the J1900 specifically but the closest server version of the chip, the C2530, only supports two SATA ports so it wouldn’t surprise me if that was the limit without dedicating a PCI-E lane to a separate controller.

        • DarkMikaru
        • 5 years ago

        Though I agree with you, unfortunately it seems AMD has followed suit. As most of their AM1 & Embeded APU boards are also sporting the 2x SATA 3G port hotness and the more expensive boards with 4. Ideally, I was hoping to find something similar to my beloved Asus C60M1.

        [url<]http://www.asus.com/us/Motherboards/C60M1I/[/url<] To Deanjo, as this is just a home server build I'd rather have dedicated ports and one less point of failure should things go south. But thanks for the suggestion. Just didn't want to have to spend more money on add on cards and such ya know. Anyway, makes me wonder what market research says 2 ports is ok for the majority of the boards out there. As these aren't going in OEM Desktop machines I wouldn't think.

      • Takeshi7
      • 5 years ago

      If you want a server, Intel wants you to pony up for Avoton.

      • UberGerbil
      • 5 years ago

      You’ve got three PCI slots, fill them up with [url=http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&DEPA=0&Order=BESTMATCH&Description=sata+controller&N=-1&isNodeId=1<]SATA controllers[/url<] and attach almost as much storage as you want.

        • DarkMikaru
        • 5 years ago

        Right, agreed. But the client wanted the system to be as small and unobtrusive as possible. Current needs only called for 2x 3TB drives with a 60GB SSD as the OS drive. Original Cases I was looking at were the Cooler Master Elite 110 / 130 or the Silverston Sugo SG05.

        Anyway, I think going with the larger Thermaltake Urban S1 with 5 bays has a better upgrade path. So not a complete loss really, as the client agreed. But was just saying it would be nice to have more choices similar to the Asus C60M1 I currently employ.

    • bittermann
    • 5 years ago

    This might be good news if it wasn’t for the mobo being Biostar, the king of “never” updating their drivers or software.

      • crabjokeman
      • 5 years ago

      I’m pretty satisfied with my TA890FXE. I received “some” BIOS updates.

    • jjj
    • 5 years ago

    Funny how i’ve lost all interest in such products when i realized how the perf compares to phones and tabs.
    Do i really want a PC with phone perf that gets obliterated by Denver?

    BTW would be nice if you guys would compare some phone and PC CPUs ( laptop and older ones included), not something we see often.
    Wonder how a quad Denver on 20nm or 16FF would do against a Nehalem (I7 920), maybe next year.

      • Deanjo
      • 5 years ago

      Guess you aren’t the hobbyist or enthusiast type.

        • jjj
        • 5 years ago

        Would be interesting to hear about your line of thought when making that statement.
        Some very creative logic stunts must be required. If anything using x86 is the boring thing to do.

          • Deanjo
          • 5 years ago

          If you can’t think of multiple uses of a very low power, cheap, x86 based system you simply can’t be considered more than just a plain jane computer user.

        • End User
        • 5 years ago

        [quote<]Wonder how a quad Denver on 20nm or 16FF would do against a Nehalem (I7 920), maybe next year.[/quote<] Sounds like an enthusiast to me. Edit: although we won't see ARM competing with i7-920 class hardware for a few years.

      • NTMBK
      • 5 years ago

      Who says Erista will still be using Denver?

        • jjj
        • 5 years ago

        Well, they invested plenty in their own custom core and that’s what Denver is. If it’s the same core as in the 64bit TK1 or an evolution of it, it’s still Denver even it might get some extra code name. Using A57 makes no sense unless Denver turns out to have an unfixable fatal flaw so reassn says so.

      • Andrew Lauritzen
      • 5 years ago

      > obliterated by Denver

      Uhh… what are you basing that on? Please don’t say Geekbench (and even then). Although I guess you may have revealed your agenda in the reply to Deanjo, so yeah 🙂

      Sometimes the phone marketing stuff gets a bit out of hand and it’s partially due to bad benchmarking on mobile. I think things will get better but temper your hype a little bit in the meantime. For Denver in particular it is pretty hard to trust benchmarks as representative as any of the common ones can practically just be micro-optimized in the translation layer.

        • chuckula
        • 5 years ago

        Geekbench is AWESOME!

        My x86 tablet CPU actually works for a second or two, then goes out for a 15 minute coffee break, then I get the geekbench results that are mysteriously slower comparatively speaking to every other benchmark I run. I’m sure Geekbench is the reliable one while everything else I use is rigged!

        • End User
        • 5 years ago

        Multiple benchmarks show high end ARM solutions being very competitive with the quad core Celeron J1900:

        Geekbench 3
        Basemark X 1.1
        GFXBench 3.0
        SunSpider 1.0.1
        Kraken 1.1
        Google Octane v2

          • Andrew Lauritzen
          • 5 years ago

          Yep, I’ll give you “competitive with bay trail”. “Obliterated”? No.

          That said, that’s a great list of why we need better benchmarks in mobile :S
          – Browser/web-based benchmarks are not particularly useful for architecture analysis; they’re all about the software.
          – gfxbench is graphics obviously… even then there’s very little control over quality of output, driver optimizations specific to gfxbench, etc. It’s like the very early days of 3dmark…
          – geekbench is heavily weighted by tests that use hardware acceleration. While that is relevant for the given workloads (encryption), it tells you nothing about general architecture performance. There’s also a lot of problems with the other tests as geekbench tends to write fairly naive code and then try to convince the various platform compilers to not do too much optimization.
          – basemark I’m not particularly familiar with – hopefully it sets a higher bar 🙂

          Really you need both some tests that are not trivially optimized by OEMs (i.e. something like the SPEC GCC test – have fun doing app-specific optimizations for that!) and you need someone to keep a watchful eye over what’s happening in the field (like futuremark does to some extent these days with drivers and so on).

          In mobile you have the additional complication that you really have to test something to do with power efficiency when hot (which almost no reviewers do…), but that makes all of the tests per-device rather than per-CPU/model. To some extent it also starts to depend on ambient temperature and airflow too… but the reality is that many of these mobile benchmarks do depend on these things whether they are explicitly controlling for it or not.

          Anyways enough soapboxing, but I think we really do need a call to action for better benchmarking in mobile. It feels like the 90’s in PC benchmarking again and in some ways it’s actually worse…

          • chuckula
          • 5 years ago

          It’s great that ARM is finally competitive with Atom in performance (at least the 2013 model Baytrails we are still stuck with until Intel clears the inventory).

          However… I never said my x86 tablet was running Atom.

            • End User
            • 5 years ago

            Which CPU is in you tablet?

      • End User
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]Do i really want a PC with phone perf that gets obliterated by Denver?[/quote<] Excellent point.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 5 years ago

      [quote<]obliterated by Denver[/quote<] Sunshine....on my shoulder....makes me happyyyyyyyyyy ([url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBLnN4R_PM0<]at 120db[/url<])

    • MadManOriginal
    • 5 years ago

    This would make a nice NAS board. 1x lane is enough for a few HDDs with a cheap expansion board. I would choose this one due to the dual channel memory.

      • Kurotetsu
      • 5 years ago

      The Celeron J1900 doesn’t support ECC memory. If you care about that for a NAS (I do), then this isn’t really a good option.

      [url<]http://ark.intel.com/products/78867/Intel-Celeron-Processor-J1900-2M-Cache-up-to-2_42-GHz[/url<]

        • cmrcmk
        • 5 years ago

        Why do you require ECC for a NAS box? I’m not trying to be confrontational but am curious what value you see? I’ve always understood ECC to be just a little extra protection for systems that need the best uptime possible. I wouldn’t see it as a requirement for a home NAS box.

          • Deanjo
          • 5 years ago

          [quote<]I've always understood ECC to be just a little extra protection for systems that need the best uptime possible. I wouldn't see it as a requirement for a home NAS box.[/quote<] ECC has nothing to do with uptime but everything to do with data integrity. You want to make sure that the data you are putting on the platters is not being corrupted in the read / write process from ram. One flipped bit can render your data useless that you are trying to save to disk. ECC is not a necessity but it offers safeguards.

            • demani
            • 5 years ago

            Yes, this.

            I wish there was some way to get ECC at this price level. (or even approaching this price level)

            • fade2blac
            • 5 years ago

            The best I came up for a low-cost, low-power server with ECC was a Lenovo TS140 for less than $200 AR and cash back. This seems like alot more than ~$70, but you get alot more that just a MB/CPU combo.

            The base model TS140 comes with an i3-4130 processor, 1x4GB ECC, MB w/Intel C226 chipset, 5.25″ DVD drive, Case w/fans, a 280W 80+ Bronze PSU (w/nonstandard 14-pin MB connector). The case is set up with two empty 3.5″ HDD caddys and can be fit with up to 5 drives total if you also use the 2×5.25″ and 1×3.5″ expansion bays (ie. swap the DVD drive for a HDD).

            A few people claim that idle power with just an SSD and an OS that can properly enter low power states is 20W or less. I’m still waiting for X-mas before I get to officially start playing around with mine.

    • Deanjo
    • 5 years ago

    [quote<]The extra slots make the board an intriguing option for a low-power DVR loaded with multiple TV tuner cards.[/quote<] As long as your tuner cards have hardware encoding.

      • 3SR3010R
      • 5 years ago

      Hauppauge tuners have hardware encoding.

      A pair of HVR-2255’s would be sweet.

      [url<]http://www.hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hvr2255.html[/url<] even the older hvr-2250's have hardware encoding. [url<]http://hauppauge.com/site/products/data_hvr2250.html[/url<]

        • Deanjo
        • 5 years ago

        I realize that, just pointing out that many of the others that rely on software encoding may have an issue.

    • XTF
    • 5 years ago

    The passive aspect is nice but a Celeron and H81 board are much faster for the same price aren’t they?

      • Deanjo
      • 5 years ago

      Where are you finding a [u<]passively cooled[/u<] Celeron + H81 board for the same price (roughly $70)?

      • Flying Fox
      • 5 years ago

      A Celeron is at least 100 bucks. Pentium’s are cheaper but it is still just a CPU. The AsRock that was mentioned is 70 bucks with CPU [i<]and[/i<] motherboard.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 5 years ago

        There are some cheap Ivy Bridge or maybe Haswell Celeron boards with soldered CPUs for this price. Not socketed though.

        • elMojo
        • 5 years ago

        Actually, a Haswell-based Celeron is [url=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HCM8QQE/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER<]$43[/url<] for just the CPU. This CPU [i<]and[/i<] [url=http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HUFEUQ8/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER<]MSI H81 motherboard[/url<] is $93. You can shave another $10 if you're willing to go outside the [url=https://techreport.com/review/27488/tr-christmas-2014-system-guide/3<]"Big 4"[/url<] motherboard makers, but that's not recommended. I do agree that the platforms are not really comparable, though. Bay Trail is freakin' [i<]fanless[/i<], for chrissakes (Celeron is 54W). Also, $23 (or 33% more expensive) is a signficant difference. However, I think many buyers on a budget (who don't need a fanless computer) are better off spending that extra $23 to get a much faster CPU/GPU, 4 SATA ports (instead of just 2), 6 USB 3.0 ports (instead of 1), and a real PCIe x16 slot (just in case 4K/8K video becomes a thing).

      • albundy
      • 5 years ago

      in certain circumstances, i would agree. if your using this for a nas box, then chances are that you will be actively cooling the drives anyway, so what’s an extra fan on top? amirite?

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