Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) is the latest manufacturer to launch an HTPC motherboard armed with AMD's new Brazos platform. The company's Mini-ITX HDC-I board
comes with a single or dual-core E-series APU (codenamed Zacate) and the Hudson-M1 chipset. Both the E-240 and E-350 APUs combine Bobcat processing cores with Radeon HD 6310 integrated graphics and offer plenty of performance for HD video and 3D graphics.
In our recent review
of the competing Asus E35M1-M Pro motherboard, we found the AMD E-350 to be more powerful than systems driven by the Intel Atom 330 and Nvidia Ion. The Fusion chip provided a snappier experience during basic use and it outmuscled the Intel/Nvidia duo in virtually every 3D application we tested. Cramming the CPU and GPU cores in one chip is also more power efficient, with the E-series APUs having a mere 18W TDP.
The HDC-I cools AMD's latest hardware with a passive heatsink and features two DIMM slots, one PCIe x16 slot (electrically x4), one Mini PCIe slot that's presumably meant for a Wi-Fi adapter, and four SATA 6Gb/s ports. The rear I/O panel includes six USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, DVI and VGA-out, one eSATA, Gigabit Ethernet, a Bluetooth dongle, and 7.1-channel audio outputs with optical S/PDIF. No word on pricing or availability.