MSI E350IA-E45 - AMD APU Fusion review -
Final Words & Conclusion
Final words and conclusion
Much like the initial E350 board we tested, the overall experience of a E-350 based platform for me equals to fun. 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 extraordinary well also. Your overall applications will run fine, heck we even photo shopped on this platform which as really okay and sure, while very limited you can play a game or two. HDD/SSD performance will be fine, our tests did show peak limitation.
SATA 6G performance is really poor, with our Vertex 3 SATA 6G SSD which can do 500 MB/sec read/write .. we hardly even touched 200 MB./sec, that surprised us and well, it's just poor. The reality is also that a system setup based on E350 is not about extreme performance, but still .. on SATA 6G we expected a whole lot more.
USB 3.0 performance on this board was quite good really, albeit slightly slower it was matching SATA2 tested performance with up-to 175MB/sec read and 120MB/sec write performance.
The video accelerator, it's capacity and features astounded me the most though. I'd have no problem with a little E-350 based mITX motherboard functioning as HTPC whatsoever. It's power efficient and offers downright superb 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 top, use a coaxial or Optical Toslink for your audio, makes it near perfect for the budget.
The Fusion infrastructure created here is working out really well, you'll have a fairly well performing product (for our standards) on which you can manage all your generic and daily stuff on quite well. The key factors of the product tested today is the combination of the CPU+GPU, yep that APU works out well. Especially in the HD video segment this could be a really interesting product. Not only video, but also audio gets passed over HDMi or if you prefer a coaxial or even optical TOSLINK output.
Next to that the product will shine at power consumption. The initial Gigabyte board we tested consumed more power then this one from MSI, our average top power consumption was just over 35 Watt, which kind of makes you giggle when you realize you are decoding full 1080P content on the HDTV.
The one small negative we have to mention on this board was that tiny fan sitting on top of the APU. At default it's set at 100 RPm, which simply is noisy. Make sure you setup proper fan control in the BIOS as the fan can even disable itself when the system is in idle with low power temperatures. However when the APU is hard at work you'll likely hear (audible, not massively noisy) that fan regardless, which is a bit of a downer for HTPC setups.
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 quite honestly a very interesting prospect. And if you just need to build a nicely functioning net-PC, then sure go for it.
So whatever your use will be, this is net-top 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. The more advanced version of the board + APU like tested today sells for just 115 EUR as we speak, and that just makes whole lotta sense to us !
We peek at the cutest mITX motherboard from MSI today, 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 for the money as you'll notice DDR3 support, SATA-600 support, 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.