Asus E35M1-M Pro: AMD Fusion Motherboard

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Asus E35M1-M Pro: AMD Fusion Motherboard

February 13, 2011 by Lawrence Lee

Product
Asus E35M1-M Pro microATX Motherboard
Manufacturer
Street Price
~US$140

Since AMD's acquisition ATI in 2006, we've been waiting for a Fusion processor that combines a central processing unit and graphics processing unit on the same chip. That was where the future was headed, and the future is finally here. Unfortunately, GPU acceleration in general applications has had a slow adoption rate, making these new chips less versatile than we would have predicted five years ago. Also, it took so long for Fusion to arrive that Intel actually beat AMD to the punch. Sandy Bridge not only extended Intel's mid to high-end CPU performance and efficiency lead over AMD, but also integrated a surprisingly decent GPU onto the same chip.

The first wave of Fusion products are designed not to compete with Intel in supplementing mainstream desktop computing power with integrated graphics. The market for AMD's first Fusion products is less upscale but relatively strong. The majority of modern PC users live and breathe on the web, and don't need much horsepower. This accounts for the success of Intel's Atom processor, which is slow but fast enough for many people to get through an average day. For people on the go, the superb energy efficiency also allows Atom PCs to be more mobile, as they can run unplugged for longer periods of time.

The one thing Intel neglected to do was to produce a graphics chip for Atom capable of smoothly playing the multitude of video material now available to us. Play Flash or anything better than standard definition video on an Atom based system and things bog down as the CPU chugs away, trying to handle decoding processes that it simply isn't optimized for. This is a problem given the rapid deployment of HD video everywhere. Nvidia's ION graphics for Atom is a successful solution, but it's not cheap. With ATI's graphics expertise, and no licensing deals to get in the way, AMD is perfectly poised to offer a cost effective alternative.


A Fusion APU die shot.


Consolidating three chips into one, the AMD's desktop APU has a TDP of only 18W.

AMD calls the new platform "Brazos" — it is an APU (accelerated processing unit) containing a "Bobcat" CPU and a Radeon 6000 series GPU, with a FCH (Hudson Fusion Controller Hub). Like Intel's LGA1155/1156 platforms, the Northbridge portion of the chipset has been eliminated, with some functionality passed to the CPU and the rest consolidated with the Southbridge into the FCH (Intel calls their version PCH). Bobcat CPUs were designed to be simpler, cut-down versions of standard AMD Athlons, with a targeted thermal envelope of 10W or less.

AMD Fusion APU Comparison
Model
CPU Clock
CPU L2 Cache
GPU
GPU Clock
TDP
AMD E-350
2 x 1.6 GHz
1 MB
HD 6310
500 MHz
18W
AMD E-240
1 x 1.5 GHz
512 KB
HD 6310
500 MHz
18W
AMD C-50
2 x 1.0 GHz
1 MB
HD 6250
280 MHz
9W
AMD C-30
1 x 1.2 GHz
512 KB
HD 6250
280 MHz
9W

The first generation of APUs are split into two lines, 18W "Zacate" models with Radeon HD 6310 graphics, primarily for desktop use, and 9W "Ontario" parts with slower Radeon HD 6250 graphics for mobile devices. Being from the HD 6000 series, they both feature DirectX 11 support, AMD's new video decoder, UVD 3, and are manufactured using a 40 nm process (as are the CPUs). Interestingly, these APUs have no official model name (Sempron, Athlon, Phenom), just a simple model number.


Box.


Package contents.

Our first Fusion product is the Asus E35M1-M Pro, a motherboard with a soldered-on E-350 APU, featuring a dual core 1.6 GHz CPU and a Radeon HD 6310 GPU. At US$140, it competes with various Atom/ION mini-ITX combinations, but it is a microATX board. Asus does make a mini-ITX version, the E35M1-I Deluxe.

The larger form factor is used by Asus to maximize features — for example, the board has five native SATA 6 Gbps ports, eSATA, USB 3.0, and FireWire. It has a PCI-E 16x slot that runs at 4x, but this isn't a big issue as a graphics card that can take advantage of more than four PCI-E lanes will be bottlenecked by the CPU. It also has overclocking options, and like Asus' Sandy Bridge boards, a UEFI with a graphical user interface (rather than conventional BIOS) and support for their new software suite.

Asus E35M1-M Pro: Specifications
(from the product web page)
CPU AMD CPU on Board ;Integrated dual-core AMD® Zacate™ 18W Processors
AMD Cool 'n' Quiet™ Technology
Up to 2 "Bobcat" cores,DX11 GPU,FT1 BGA
Chipset AMD Hudson M1
System Bus Up to 2500 MT/s ; UMI Link
Memory 2 x DIMM, Max. 8 GB, DDR3 1066 Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Single Channel memory architecture
* Please refer to www.asus.com or user manual for Memory QVL.
Expansion Slots 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 @X4
1 x PCIe 2.0 x1
2 x PCI 3.0
VGA Integrated AMD® Zacate™ graphics
Max. UMA Memory Size: 1G
Supports DVI with HDCP compliant with Max. resolution: 1920X1080 @60 HZ
Supports HDMI™ Technology with max. Resolution up to 1920X1080 @ 60Hz
Supports RGB with max. Resolution 2560X1600 @ 60Hz
Supports Microsoft® DirectX 11
Hardware Decode Acceleration for H.264,VC-1, and MPEG-2
DVI Single-link
Dual VGA output support: RGB & DVI, RGB & HDMI
Storage Southbridge
5 xSATA 6.0 Gb/s ports
1 xExternal SATA (6Gb/s Ready)
LAN Realtek® 8111E Gigabit LAN
Audio ALC887-VD2 High Definition 8-Channel Audio (3jacks)
- Optical S/PDIF out port at back I/O
- Supports Multi-Streaming, Vista Premium;Anti-pop Function (Power On/Off; Resume S3/S4); Front Panel Retasking
* Choose the chassis with HD audio module in front panel to support 8-Channel audio output
USB ASM Controller:
- 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (@back)
Chipset built-in:
- 12 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (8@board, 4@back)
ASUS Unique Features ASUS EPU
ASUS AI Suite II
ASUS Turbo KeyII
ASUS Turbo Key
ASUS TurboV
ASUS Anti-Surge
ASUS low EMI
ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
ASUS EZ Flash 2
ASUS My logo 2
ASUS EFI BIOS(EZ Mode)
ASUS Fan Xpert
Overclocking Features Intelligent overclocking tools
- Turbo Key
- Turbo Key II
- TurboV
SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection)
- FSB tuning from 80MHz up to 300MHz at 1MHz increment
Overclocking Protection
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
Back Panel I/O Ports 1 x PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse Combo port
1 x DVI
1 x D-Sub
1 x HDMI
1 x External SATA (6Gb/s Ready)
1 x IEEE 1394a
1 x LAN(RJ45) port(s) (Gigabit LAN)
2 x USB 3.0/2.0
4 x USB 2.0/1.1
1 x S/PDIF Out (Optical)
8-Channel Audio I/O(3 jacks)
Internal I/O Connectors 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 connector(s) supports additional 8 USB2.0 ports
5 x SATA 6.0Gb/s
1 x IEEE 1394a connector
1 x CPU Fan connector(s)
1 x Chassis Fan connector(s)
1 x LPT connector
1 x S/PDIF Out connector
1 x 24-pin EATX Power connector
1 x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector
1 x Front panel audio connector
1 x COM connector
1 x System Panel connector
1 x Turbo key II Switch
BIOS 32 Mb Flash ROM , EFI BIOS, PnP, DMI 2.0, WfM 2.0, ACPI 2.0a, SM BIOS 2.5
Accessories User's manual
1 x I/O Shield
2 x SATA 6.0Gb/s
1 x CPU FAN
1 x Support DVD
Support Disc Drivers
ASUS PC Probe II
Anti-virus software (OEM version)
ASUS Update
Form Factor uATX Form Factor
9.6 inch x 7.2 inch ( 24.4 cm x 18.3 cm )



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