ASRock E350M1 AMD Fusion APU Motherboard

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The ASRock E350M1 is not the most feature-rich model currently available, but that doesn't mean it is not worth considering. There is full-sized DIMMs with an option to run at a higher 1333MHz, plus a fair number of RAM timings to adjust. The audio codec is a higher end ALC892 from Realtek with support for 7.1 Analog and Digital (via optical) surround. The UEFI BIOS with GUI and mouse support has also been adopted which is a plus. A big step up from the literally ancient form of BIOS we're all familiar with. The ability to overclock the APU would've been welcomed, even if reports are indicating the gain is minimal, only a few above the base 100MHz (like Sandy Bridge). Still, as with the option to run at higher memory frequencies, this sort of configuration can take all the extra help.

That isn't to say ASRock's E350M1, or E350 in general for that matter, is an underdog. No sir and/or ma'am! It may have only 1600MHz under it's belt, 80 Stream Processors in it's GPU and single channel memory, but it can easily out-do what it's competition is capable of.  It may struggle slightly with the more modern games at higher res with eye candy cranked but that wasn't it's intended purpose remember. Older games like Oblivion were able to be played quite well at 720P and amazingly the ingame settings didn't have to be sacrificed! This was ment to be Netbook, Nettop or lighweight Laptop APU, so the fact it can even game as well as it does is a testiment to it's power.  While the PCIe slot is full length (x16), it is only x4 electrically, but even still a card like the HD5770 is able to play a good supporting roll if you did want to use it as a more Gaming-HTPC roll.

Seeing as the E350M1 is not a Netbook or Laptop, but a mITX desktop board, leaving it to fill the Nettop or HTPC roll. No doubt it will manage either of those very well as it has no problems surfing the web, nor did it's video playback seem to show any signs of hesitation on either 720p or 1080p movie trailers (downloaded and YouTube). Lets not forget that it also has five SATA-III 6Gb/s ports as well (4+1 eSATA), three more than that of a P/H67, and something none of it's intended competition offer.

ASRock has recently released a USB3 model if you're needing that feature, aptly named E350M1/USB3, but it is otherwise unchanged. The standard E350M1 can currently be found available online for $109 at NewEgg, yet is Sold Out at this time. Not surprising given it is $20 cheaper than the next E350 board!


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