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Categories > Embedded Solutions > Biostar > BIOSTAR A68N-5545 AMD A8-5545 (Quad core 1.7G, turbo 2.7G) Processor AMD A70M Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo

Rating + 4Rating + 4Rating + 4Rating + 4Rating + 4 Eclectic but capable board for light gaming and productivity
Pros: - Offers better overall (i.e. multi-threaded) CPU performance than competing Apollo Lake J3355, J3455 and J4205-based Mini-ITX solutions at roughly the same cost. Benchmarks for the Piledriver-derived A8-5545 show improved single-threaded performance over the Jaguar-derived A6-5200 on this manufacturer's earlier board, nearly as good as of the aforementioned Apollo Lake CPUs.
- Built-in Radeon HD 8510G with 384 stream units.
- Supports dual-channel memory, unlike some competing solutions.
- 16X (in size though electrically 8x) PCIe slot for those who'd like a proper standalone GPU. Many competing boards have only a small 1x connector.
- Included CPU fan isn't as loud as I feared when not at full tilt, which it rarely is with the integrated GPU disabled.
- Board layout permitted much better cable routing in my Antec ISK case than the ASRock H67M-ITX it replaced.
- Gigabit ethernet, thorough (though thoroughly unnecessary) tweaking options in the BIOS, etc.
Cons: - What we have here is a Piledriver/Terascale 3 notebook APU from 2013 soldered onto a desktop motherboard. It's HD 8510G graphics are considered Legacy and will not be receiving updates (that said, a WHQL certified driver from 2015 that works perfectly fine is installed automatically by Win 10). The CPU, though capable, has nowhere near the IPC of modern offerings from either AMD or Intel.
- With only a 19W TDP there isn't enough thermal headroom for simultaneous, aggressive CPU and iGPU clocks. Enjoy ping-ponging back and forth between being CPU- and GPU-bound. A dedicated GPU is strongly recommended for gaming use.
- The BIOS allows you to manage the behavior of the CPU fun, but not the case fan. Sadly, manual control there is necessary for silent operation.
- 7.1 HD Audio proclaimeth the marketing material but you'll only be getting that over HDMI as there are only three mini-jacks out back and no SPDIF header like on earlier boards.
Other Thoughts: As I wrote in the title, this is an eclectic little board and I advise you to consider your needs carefully prior to purchase. If you're looking to get the optimal gaming performance per dollar, you're much better off buying a used Core 2 Quad Dell and stuffing a GeForce 1050 or similar in it. My goal was to get an broken, 2012-era system up and running again at minimal cost and this board allowed me to achieve that and a bit more. Out came my truculent ASRock H67M-ITX w/Pentium G630T, in went this board with my original DDR3-1066 sticks and Radeon HD 7570 and in a few minutes I was back in my walking simulator, weeping over tales of teenage self-discovery.
Given what I'd heard of AMD CPU performance circa 2013 I was worried I'd be CPU bound even with my lowly Radeon HD 7570. Thankfully that was not the case. I'm now able to run Life is Strange at 1080p / High Preset at 30-40fps with 100% GPU usage and ~75% CPU on the first couple cores, ~10-40% on the other two. Temps are in the mid 50s (Celsius) - dress appropriately.
Reviewed By:Auston S.,3/23/2017 3:21:38 PM
This reviewer reports that his/her technical understanding of this type of product is and has owned this product 1 day to 1 week.
This user purchased this item from Newegg

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Categories > Embedded Solutions > Biostar > AMD A68N-5200 AMD Fusion APU A6-5200 Quad-Core Processor Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU/VGA Combo

Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5 Bang for the Buck
Pros: Add an SSD and some RAM It's awesome.
Cons: None
Other Thoughts: Using an external sound card to control a 5.1 surround sound home theater system, Also as a media Center, and a DVR running Linus Mint. No stutters no lag. Lowered the CPU to 1800Mhz and the APU to 533Mhz so I could drop the voltage and keep the fan speed to almost 0.
Reviewed By:Terry A.,3/20/2017 8:08:24 PM
This reviewer reports that his/her technical understanding of this type of product is and has owned this product 1 month to 1 year.
This user purchased this item from Newegg

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Categories > Embedded Solutions > Raspberry Pi > Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Broadcom BCM2837 64bit ARMv8 QUAD Core 64bit Processor powered Single Board Computer running at 1.2GHz

Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5 Great single board pc
Pros: Processes things quickly
presoldered pins (unlike pi zero)
Three connection methods
(wifi, ethernet,bluetooth)
Cons: None
Other Thoughts: Can be powered perfectly through samsung charger, it runs a 800mb bukkit server with little to no lag.
Reviewed By:Anonymous,3/19/2017 7:19:53 AM
This reviewer reports that his/her technical understanding of this type of product is and has owned this product 1 day to 1 week.
This user purchased this item from Newegg

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Categories > Embedded Solutions > ASRock > ASRock J4205-ITX Intel Quad-Core Pentium Processor J4205 (up to 2.6GHz) Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo

Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5 Works For Me In Linux But READ THIS CAREFULLY
Pros: Dead quiet since the CPU (actually SoC) is passively cooled. I could barely get the CPU to "warm up" very much while compiling the Linux kernel. That does not mean you don't need a case fan; other stuff inside your PC case might need a fan to move air across them to keep them cool.

All 4 onboard SATA ports worked fine for me. I added a card (Syba/Iocrest SY-PEX40039) with 2 more SATA ports that use the ASmedia chipset (ASM1062 rev.1) and that add-in card works fine in my system. I did not detect any conflicts with the onboard ASmedia SATA chipset (ASM1062 rev.2). That means you can have up to 6 SATA drives attached to this board.

I had no problems booting from a simple USB stick in a USB 2.0 back panel connector. This is a USB 2.0 header on the board that I did not test.

I did not test the USB 3.0 back panel or onbard connectors.

The LAN chipset is Realtek 8169GR. So far it has not given me any problems.

The BIOS default for video output is "auto". My system had no problem detecting the attached VGA cable to a flat panel monitor and sending output to it.

I checked the BIOS version using the built-in function in the BIOS that can access the Internet using DHCP (no need to manually set any IP parameters). No updates were found, so that means I should have the 1.20 BIOS according to the web site and I confirmed that using the "dmidecode" CLI program in Linux. That built-in BIOS checker/updater feature is a real "nice to have" in any system.

Update: 16GB of RAM is supported and very useful when running lots of Linux services.
Cons: You MUST turn "enable" the CSM option in the BIOS or else the system may not boot under Linux. I did not test this option, I simply enabled it based on searching the Internet for Linux issues related to this board. Without getting really technical here, enabling the CSM module enables various "legacy" features (like boot ROMS on add-in boards, etc.) found in non-UEFI motherboards.

Also "disable" the Windows 8 Secure Boot and Intel Trust Technology (PTT) features unless you are absolutely certain that you are using a signed Linux kernel that has keys located in the "secure boot" function of this board. What does this mean? Most Linux kernels are unsigned or do not have keys included in the "secure boot" function, so having this feature "enabled" so you can "dual boot" Windows 8 or Windows 10 will cause you Linux boot failures.

In order to have the system "beep" when it boots up, you have to "enable" that option in the system BIOS and add a buzzer (not included) to the board.

The included manual from ASRock looks like it was printed on a Laserjet with a failing black toner cartridge. Talk about almost too faint to be readable. I guess there is no QA at ASRock for their manuals. Do yourself a favor and "save your eyesight" by downloading the PDF from the ASRock web site.

Update: No mSATA or "M2.storage" connectors, not even on the underside of the board, but adding any of those connectors will take away from the number of available PCIe lanes from the SoC. Before complaining about the number of PCIe lanes or wanting more of them, I think Intel intentionally designed the SoC to not have many PCIe lanes. Fewer PCIe lanes means no x4, x8, or x16 slots, few SATA connectors, and probably much less heat generated in the SoC; you know that PCH/NB/SB chipsets tend to "run warm".

Still, with all of the "cons" that I have listed here, I cannot find any good reasons to deduct any eges. I knew what I was buying before I bought it. I researched my purchase thoroughly before spending my money.
Other Thoughts: You MUST USE a very recent version of the Linux kernel if you expect this board to work. Why? This "series" of low power Intel processors ("Apollo Lake" family, Goldmont cores, which means this SoC uses/needs Intel "Broxton" in your choice of Linux kernel) was quietly released in 3Q2016. Linux kernel development takes about 3 to 6 months to catch up to CPU releases, and then the "release distributions" need time to incorporate the new Linux kernels into this distributions. In my case I am using Gentoo Linux with the 4.9.6 kernel and the system boots just fine.

I did not test the M2.WiFi connector. Note that title "M2.WiFi". That means that slot does not support any type of M2 storage card, just a WiFi or combo WiFi/Bluetooth card. The M2 slot only has space for a short card.

If you use an add-in SATA card, check the hard Drive Priorities section of the BIOS to see which SATA device will be accessed first by the system. Sometimes an add-in card will "take priority" over any onboard connectors.

The add-in PCIe slot is only "x1" so trying to use any "fancy" add-in graphics cards is not going to happen unless you can settle on a video card that has a PCIe x1 connector.

There are lots of options to tweak and adjust in the BIOS. Just remember this: "If you don't know what it does, then don't change it."

Overall, for a "low cost" PC-based Linux system I find this board and this CPU (SoC) combined with 16GB (2x8GB modules) of DDR3-L 1600 memory (Kingston KVR16LS11/8) to be "very snappy" at the command line and while moving through the BIOS screens. Note: I did not test any graphical interfaces so far since there's only so much time in a day, or night in this case.

Yes, I would buy another one of these boards if I had the need to do so.

Updates:
Power usage with 5 WDC Red 1TB 2.5 inch drives and 1 Mushkin ECO2 SSD (6 drives total active on the system) shows 33 watts on a Kill-O-Watt meter. The number moves up and down a few watts but seems to "center" on 33 watts. YMMV

When both a HDMI (flat panel TV) and a VGA monitor are connected BEFORE POWERING ON THE SYSTEM (that's important), both monitors are detected and both will show command line output, but the VGA monitor may cutoff the left and right edges of the output while the HDMI output is fine. Any monitor connected to the system after it powers on will not be detected.

I did not test any version of M$ Windows on this system so I cannot comment on experience under M$ Windows. Nor did I attempt to get Linux X-Windows working on this board, but I have successfully gotten KODI (1920x1080 resolution to a large flat panel TV) to run on a different ASRock board based on the Intel J3160 SoC. Also, I do not "game" so i cannot comment on gaming performance on this board.

I disable "Secure BIOS" and CSM on all motherboards where I run Linux because different distributions behave differently in the presence ("enabling") of either or both of those features.

I added a buzzer to my motherboard so I could hear to boot-up beep. No problems.

The vertical SO-DIMM sockets on this board are remarkably "snug". It does take some force to firmly insert a memory module into them, so place the board ona flat surface to insert the DIMMs BEFORE installing the board in it's case. I guess a "snug" memory socket that is better than having a loose connection. I like seeing vertical SO-DIMM sockets rather than the "lie flat" version of SO-DIMM socket. While the "lie flat" version might cover up mothing of importance on the surface of the board, I think vertical sockets give the board's layout designer better/more choices on where to place components. Even though 1 socket does stand in front of the "front to back" airflow pattern over the SoC, the Intel J4205 SoC does not generate sufficient heat for that obstruction to matter.

I am running ZFS storage on the 5 WDC RED 1TB 2.5 inch drives in this computer. A ZFS purist would say, "Don't do it because the board does not support ECC memory." and they would be right about that detail, but ZFS will install & load and 16GB of RAM is plenty of room to support ZFS given the drive space while the loading on the CPU is not very high at all.
Reviewed By:Anonymous,3/13/2017 11:34:17 AM
This reviewer reports that his/her technical understanding of this type of product is and has owned this product 1 day to 1 week.
This user purchased this item from Newegg

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Categories > Embedded Solutions > Intel > Intel Joule 570x developer kit with expansion board, single

Rating + 1Rating + 1Rating + 1Rating + 1Rating + 1 Do I really need a lawyer
Pros: There is a lot to like about this board.
Cons: The fact that is can't capture video at all is not one of them.
Other Thoughts: I really wanted to like this board. It's a fast, got tons of features and capabilities. It's solidly made by an American company that I thought I could trust. So what's not to like? It doesn't do video capture at all. The core module MAY be ready to but what you get in this "developer" kit needs further development before you will capture a single frame of video. The HDMI port on the board is output only. On top of that in my reading of the Joule Module data sheet it's not clear if the core module supports video capture. Encoding and decoding yes but it doesn't seem to support any kind of video input. I may be wrong. I hope someone point's out an expansion board the gives the core module the capture capability they claim. But until then I won't be capturing any video using this "kit" or any part of it. This really bothers me because in reading the feature set I thought I had found what I was looking for. Instead I found that I may need a lawyer to read the marketing copy before I waste money on another not-up to-its-own-hype-product again. Especially from Intel. Shame on you.

P.S. I was forced to give it the one star that I gave. Buyer beware.
Reviewed By:Scott G.,3/12/2017 10:49:06 PM
This reviewer reports that his/her technical understanding of this type of product is and has owned this product .
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Categories > Embedded Solutions > ASRock > ASRock N3150M Intel Quad-Core Processor N3150 (up to 2.08 GHz) Micro ATX Motherboard/CPU/VGA Combo

Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5 Great product for the price
Pros: -Runs quiet and cool even the "Sports Mode"
-Very fast for everyday usage (Internet and Office work)
-Works great with Windows 10
Cons: Very sensitive , specially if you have a case with integrated spacers (molded metal that is part of the case)
Reviewed By:Anonymous,3/12/2017 12:51:28 PM
This reviewer reports that his/her technical understanding of this type of product is and has owned this product 1 week to 1 month.
This user purchased this item from Newegg

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Categories > Embedded Solutions > ASRock > ASRock N3150M Intel Quad-Core Processor N3150 (up to 2.08 GHz) Micro ATX Motherboard/CPU/VGA Combo

Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5 Solid product for the Money. Does what it is supposed to do given the low price.
Pros: Affordable and has a lot of connectivity (6 USB 2.0, 4 USB 3.0, VGA / HDMI / DVI, 2 RS-232 Serial/COM ports, and Parallel. Perfect for either Hometheater / Audio use or Point of sale with legacy print and bar code scanners.

3 PCIe slots on a sub $70 embedded CPU mainboard.

Low wattage. CPU does get warm under load but with a 120mm fan that came with the case it keeps it quite cool. Low noise and if you manage it well you can get a completely silent PC with it.

To all the Windows 7 complaints. Folks its OS that is now 3 generations old (Win8, Win10, Win10 anniversary update). USB 3 and Thunderbolt weren't really around much back then. This isn't on ASRock. You want to run an older OS then you have to have the chops to get it working. The machine has SIX USB 2.0 ports. You should have no issue getting a mouse/kb going with a Win7 install and then after update the chipset drivers to get USB 3.0. I just did this with the ASRock QC5000-ITX. It was a cakewalk.

To all the people complaining about slow performance. You get what you pay for. It's not a barn burner of a CPU. It's great for pedestrian tasks like media playback, office applications, web browsing etc.
Cons: Wish there were 4 SATA ports by default.
Reviewed By:Mark B.,3/9/2017 7:55:48 PM
This reviewer reports that his/her technical understanding of this type of product is and has owned this product 1 day to 1 week.
This user purchased this item from Newegg

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Categories > Embedded Solutions > ASRock > ASRock J3455-ITX Intel Quad-Core Processor J3455 (up to 2.3GHz) Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU Combo

Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5 Perfect HTPC/NAS Upgrade
Pros: Cheap
4k hardware decoding
4 sata ports
Low power usage and more than enough processing power for most people.
Cons: Only 4 sata ports, but more not to be expected on a mini-itx. Additional pcie x1 sata controller can expand available storage.
Only 1 PCIe x1 port, again would not expect more on mini-itx
Other Thoughts: No problems installing arch linux, lxde, and kodi. Updated bios to 1.2 before anything else.
*Took a while to find 'Option "Hotplug" "false" ' for xorg.conf to disable intel display hotswapping
*Issues with onboard DP to HDMI 2.0 chip and HD audio passthrough when running 4k 60hz, check kodi forum about apollo lake if this is your main use.
Reviewed By:Anonymous,3/9/2017 5:15:41 PM
This reviewer reports that his/her technical understanding of this type of product is and has owned this product 1 week to 1 month.
This user purchased this item from Newegg

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Categories > Embedded Solutions > Raspberry Pi > Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Broadcom BCM2837 64bit ARMv8 QUAD Core 64bit Processor powered Single Board Computer running at 1.2GHz

Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5 Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Broadcom BCM2837 64bit ARMv8 QUAD Core 64bit Processor powered Single Board Computer running at 1.2GH
Pros: installed OSMC and runs perfect on it.
Cons: none
Other Thoughts: would buy again.
Reviewed By:Anonymous,3/8/2017 5:02:44 PM
This reviewer reports that his/her technical understanding of this type of product is and has owned this product 1 month to 1 year.
This user purchased this item from Newegg

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Categories > Embedded Solutions > Raspberry Pi > Raspberry Pi 3 Model B Broadcom BCM2837 64bit ARMv8 QUAD Core 64bit Processor powered Single Board Computer running at 1.2GHz

Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5Rating + 5 This is a great SBC with enough power to surf the web and more
Pros: This SBC needs at least 5 volts and 2 amps, 2.5 amps is better. So make sure you use a good USB cable to feed it power if you are using a USB source. Given that amount of power it is rock solid. It runs Chromium browser just fine. I have created a video with it but that is not it's forte. It is best suited for surfing the web and addressing email, or as a hotspot, nas, repeater, piratebox, etc...
Cons: Doesn't have a power switch but it only pulls 2 watts or less powering a fan so why turn it off? If you feel you must turn it off you can with the halt command which brings the power usage down to 1 watt or less still powering the fan. Then just remove the power.
Other Thoughts: This SBC is sensitive to under-power so if you are powering it with a battery make sure it can put out a solid 5 volts and 2 amps or more and that the USB cable is high quality so you don't get too much voltage drop across the cable.
If you push it to 100% on all 4 cores it can heat up and start throttling even with the heatsink kit. A 5 volt 40 mm fan running on 3 volts can cool it right down to safe temperatures. You can get the 3 volts from the GPIO.
There is no mystery to how this SBC boots an OS. It looks for the fat32 boot partition on the micro-sd card and boots from there. It can either boot an OS in another partition on the micro-sd card or on a USB flash drive, or another storage device. There is no MBR or such, just the boot partition. So, you can copy the files from the partitions of the image you download into the respective partitions on the storage device.
Using Linux I use losetup and mount to mount the partitions of the image and then use rsync to copy the files. I am sure there is a way to do it with MS windows but I am not familiar enough with that OS. You can also use dd in Linux but you lose control of the partitions size and locations.
Search the web for info about this SBC. There is a lot of projects and how-tos.
Reviewed By:Lee P.,3/6/2017 1:46:39 PM
This reviewer reports that his/her technical understanding of this type of product is and has owned this product .
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