Anandtech finally has a detailed review of AMD's new E-350 technology. The verdict: better and less expensive than Ion 2.
Asus has a fanless motherboard due out soon but with what appears to be a high pricetag of €150. It's technically fanless but their Ion 2 board had an identical heatsink and ran really out - you would need a case fan.
We are also testing a fanless Nano-ITX fusion board.
A lot of our customers in remote areas still need a DVD drive to load software and media. These days it is no more expensive to get a DVD drive that can also write DVDs and so we have released a new product, the Aleutia D1, which uses our popular D-series chassis and combines a really low power Intel D945GSEJT mainboard (same as found in the T1) with a DVD-RW drive.
It also has space for two hard drives making it ideal as a lightweight RAID box.
We're always looking into ways to lower the cost and power consumption of personal computers, and so increase access to computers. Intel's Atom technology is our preferred route - offering "good enough" performance for office tasks and web browsing. I personally use an Atom D525-based T2 Pro for my office PC and, especially, with an Intel SSD, performance is more than adequate.
But the web is changing in a way that challenges the nettop spec. Everything is heading online and people increasingly want to watch HD films on youtube and locally and this requires either a fast processor or a decent GPU and software that can utilize the GPU.
XBMC can do this for local files and Flash 10.1 can do it in Windows for HD online content. (Flash 10.1 on Linux is still a joke.)
So the challenge for us is a PC with a low cost processor and a good GPU. Ion would seem to be the answer but it produces so much heat and even Ion 2 misses a lot of features. And Ion 2 is still expensive (£100+ for the board).
We like our PCs to be small but the reality is micro ATX boards are much better value. This Asrock PV530 motherboard costs just above £35/$50 and has a 1.8GHz VIA processor and a PCI Express 16 slot. I am sure we could make it fanless and then add a fanless Ati 5450 Video Card that consumes just 13W of power. Anandtech has extensively reviewed this - Sandy Bridge technology aside it's practically the perfect HTPC card.
The challenge is how to allign the card horizontally and how to make a a long case that's not too tall so you can fit everything inside an HTPC case that looks like a DVD player.
The picture says it all but suffice to say our popular P1 is now a much tougher fanless boat PC with a case that dissipates heat and a pair of serial ports to enable GPS connectivity without having to rely on fiddly USB to serial adapters. The power supply can take anything from 6 to 26V making it perfect for running off 12V batteries (14.4V fully charged, 11.2V when nearly empty) the case is nearly sealed to reduce the damaging effect of salty, moist air.
Available right now for £299 plus VAT with a 250GB hard drive or £389 plus VAT with a solid state drive for a "No Moving Parts" PC.
Fully tested and compatible with SeaPro.
Available Monday the 17th for £349 ex VAT the Fanless X1 Server combines an Intel Atom N550 Dual Core Notebook Processor (2 x 1.5GHz) with 2-4GB of RAM, a 2.5" SATA-II drive (up to 1TB) and either a Dual Gb Lan Configuration or 5 Gb LAN ports. With idle power consumption of 16W and peak power consumption of just 24 Watts, the X1 is ideal as an always-on proxy server. A fanless design ensures longevity in the field and the X1 is not only VESA/Wall mountable but small enough you can wrap your hands around it.
In the 5 Gb LAN option, 3 of the LAN ports support WoL (Wake-on-LAN) making this system ideal for server applications.
Dell has launched a dull, full size PC with a new Sandy Bridge i5 processor (the 95W 2400). Comes with spinning hard drive, and 5 fans (power supply, CPU, video card, and 2 case fans). Aleutia is using the i5-2400s in the relaunch of the D2 and it will be FANLESS (passively cooled CPU, case, and power supply).
A lot of our customers are still nervous about using SSDs as their primary drive. They might be great to store the OS and Apps on but over time they will degrade. Indeed certain server processes can burn through an SSD in days. Better controller chip technology and Windows TRIM support has helped this but it's still a grey area. Intel estimates that at 5 hours per day, 7 days per week, you will get 5 years of use on Windows. One of the things we're looking at is configuring SSD systems with a separate SLC Flash Module (1-2GB) that would serve as a dedicated swap partition.
In the meantime, check out this Windows 7 Utility:
I ran it on the T2 I've used as a Desktop since November.
Remember the schism between Chipzilla and their former spouse Nvidia that erupted when the Ion Chipset was announced? Nvidia took Intel's crummiest, cheapest processor (the Atom 230) and paired with a decent IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor), the Nvidia 9400 (same as was used in MacBooks). Their argument was that the GPU was the new CPU. You just need something basic for word processing and when you want to watch Flash or videos in 1080p you let the GPU do the heavy lifting.
It sort of works on Windows but Flash 10.1 for Linux is a joke and you still throttle the processor.
As usual, Anand Lal Shimpi has offered the most thorough analysis of Intel's new Sandy Bridge lineup with a special focus on the 95W 2500K and i3 2300. The latter is a natural refresh for our i3-540 based line of H3s and D2s PCs but sadly isn't available until February 20th.
Came across ITX Gamer ,a great site focussed on the high end of mini-itx computing. They've been regularly reporting Mini-ITX motherboards ready for Chipzilla's latest CPU line up, the Sandy Bridge i3, i5, and i7 Processors (Socket 1155). These give off less heat, use less power, and are way better value (especially at the top end). Spoke to a few distributors today and seems Intel's DH67CF will be first available in the UK, followed by Gigabyte, Asus, and Foxconn and ECS likely early next month.
Site has a great mini-itx motherboard comparison tool as well: