You know, I have a bit of a soft spot for ultra small motherboards that offer "okay" performance, yet come with decent integrated processor and graphics subsystem that just oozes with features and value.
Good examples of some products we have tested in the past where Intel Atom based, and heck... let's not forget about the impact that NVIDIA ION made, the combination of a small form factor motherboard, an "okay" processor and power full graphics sparked and ignited the netbook and net-top market.
Also another segment suddenly became interested in these products, the HTPC audience. And when we look at the SOHO segment, a lot of NAS servers these days are equipped with small form factor products with ATOM.
AMD however never had a real viable answer to this development and years ago they decided to pursue and bore into a new direction, yeah amongst others... Fusion, a combination of a processor and graphics processor integrated into one small die.
The idea is simple, but more complicated to manufacture then you think. AMD calls this APU, it is a processor with embedded graphics core merged directly into the die. A development that from here on will dominate the processor industry and a technology that will eat away a large piece of the IGP and low-end graphics card sales pie.
Intel started something very similar with the high end Sandy Bridge products, AMD is doing it vice versa... they start at low-end, the net-top and net-book market.
For prices hovering in the 100 EUR bracket you can purchase yourself some amazing stuff, and sure let me immediately make clear that this is not high-end processor kit in terms of performance, contrary... this is netbook / entry level performance at best, but the combination of the GPU+CPU=APU is something that is very interesting. We peek at the cutest mITX 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 imrpessive for the money as you'll notice DDR3 support, SATA-600 support, DVI/HDMI support, gigabit Ethernet, 8-channel audio support and then the integrated dual-core processor at 1600 MHz and in that processor embedded DX11 ready graphics core.
The product we test today is based on the AMD E-350 APU -- Atom level processing performance with an AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics on-board.
Have a peek what we are talking about and then let's head into the article.