Products like tested today are just great fun. The overall experience is really okay actually. Doing a little photoshop on it or browsing the web, it really is fast enough for what it is. With memory as cheap as it is these days just chuck it full. Combined with a cheap SSD (and sure that's a bit controversial considering its price category) it's a very decent experience.
So to describe it a little more clear -- the usability is at a fun level. It's not at all high-end and please do not confuse the purpose of a product like shown today with that either. You however can browse the web really well, even with very rich web content. Next to that you have your HD video capability working well also. Your overall applications will run fine, heck we even photoshopped on this platform which was really okay. Gaming however is a big no-go.
The product has just one SATA3 / SATA 6G port we admittedly have to acknowledge that with our Force 3 GS SATA 6G SSD which can do 500 MB/sec read/write we barely touched 350 MB/sec. The reality is also that a system setup based on the ECS NM70-I2 is not about extreme performance.
A bit of a miss is a lacking USB 3.0 controller on this board. Intel didn't feel a need to integrate it into the chipset and adding a 3rd party USB 3.0 chip likely was too expensive in this class or perhaps even impossible due to lacking and free to utilize PCIe lanes.
Using the GPU as video accelerator in say a HTPC runs quite nice, not perfect I'd title it borderline of maximum capacity. It however is power efficient and offers nice quality with software that can utilize the graphics core as video accelerator. In combination with the sheer silence of these setups AND the fact that you can hook it into HDMI or if you wanted to for your video and audio, makes it near perfect for the budget. We do miss an Optical TOSLINK output though. So you are required to use HDMI as audio pass-through. Overall the the NM70 infrastructure created here is working out well, you'll have a fairly well performing product (for its class) on which you can manage all your generic and daily needson quite well. The key factors of the product tested today is the combination of the CPU+GPU. Especially in the HD video segment this could be a really interesting product.
The product will bring a smile to your face in terms of power consumption. Our average (not peak) power consumption was roughly 30 Watt, which kind of makes you giggle when you realize you are decoding full 1080P content on a HDTV. If I look purely at the HTPC demographic for a second here then surely decoding and enhancing 1080P content without framedrops at 35 Watts is is a very interesting prospect. And if you just need to build a nicely functioning net-PC, then sure go for it.
Where a board like this would shine though is NAS functionality. You can drop 400 EUR for a QNAP NAS server, but for 75 EUR you can purchase this motherboard, add a 30 EUR 200W PSU and 25 bucks for some DDR3 memory and you already have it running. Drop say 35 EUR on a small chassis and really, that's your baseline costs right there. Install FreeNAS and for 165 you got yourself a build (storage not included).
So whatever your use will be, this is net-top class performance at it's best. You can browse the web, listen to music, watch Full HD DXVA video's, and pretty much have heck of a lot of fun with it. Compared to AMDs E350 however the latter one is offering quite a bit more thanks to a much better embedded GPU. But this solution is cheaper, I mean you get to have a Celeron 847 with Nm70, Gigabit LAN, 6 channel audio, a SATA6 port, PCIe x16 Slot all with an integrated GPU that is FullHD compatible for roughly 75 EUR. Recommended as it is great value.
Intel 847 with NM70 review We test Intel Celeron 847 with NM70 today with the ECS NM70-I2 mini ITX motherboard, have a look at some of its performance on the CPU and GPU side of things but most of all, we'll discuss features as what these products bring to the table is just downright impressive.