MSI intros AMD Fusion-powered HTPC motherboard

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If you've been itching to building a Fusion-based HTPC, the wait is nearly over. First shown during CES, MSI officially greeted its AMD Brazos-powered E350IA-E45 Mini-ITX motherboard with a press release earlier this week. The board will come with AMD's E-350 "Zacate" APU pre-installed, which has two 1.6GHz Bobcat processor cores paired and an integrated Radeon HD 6130 with a total TDP of only 18W.

Despite that low thermal envelope, MSI has opted to install a small fan along with the heatsink instead of relying strictly on passive cooling like Asus' E35M1-I Deluxe A50M. The company doesn't mention noise levels, but we'd expect the fan to be nearly inaudible given the board's intended purpose.

The E350IA-E45 has two unoccupied DIMM slots with support for up to 8GB of DDR3 1333MHz RAM, and it has a single PCIe x16 slot (limited to x4 speeds) in case you want to install a discrete graphics card. I/O includes gigabit Ethernet, four SATA 6Gb/s, 10 USB 2.0 (four via headers), two USB 3.0, PS/2, 7.1-channel audio with S/PDIF-out, as well as D-Sub and HDMI outputs that are wired to the IGP.

We haven't seen any pricing information for MSI's board, but Asus' competing product is expected to be 153 (roughly equivalent to $210). That seems expensive, but it's a reasonable premium over the slower Atom/Ion HTPC boards. Shipments should begin by the end of January or early February.

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