With the socketed version of Kabini formally announced by AMD, motherboard manufacturers are in full swing in announcing their line up to AMD’s budget range.  AMD’s goal is to get the Kabini platform to $60 for motherboard and processor, which cuts into motherboard margins and does not often leave much room for innovation.  ASRock is doing something a little different on one of their motherboards which is worth a closer examination.


First up is the AM1H-ITX, a mini-ITX motherboard that is equipped with two ways of implementing power.  Users can either use a traditional power supply, or use a DC-In jack that draws power from a standard 19V laptop power adaptor:

In terms of small form factor systems, this removes the need for a bulky internal power supply (or even a pico-PSU) and changes into a console-esque arrangement, reducing the volume of the chassis needing to house the system.  The motherboard itself supports two DDR3-1600 DIMM slots, a PCIe 2.0 x4 lane, a mini-PCIe slot, four SATA 6 Gbps ports (two from an ASMedia controller), a COM header, a TPM header, four USB 3.0 ports (two via ASMedia), Realtek RTL8111GR gigabit Ethernet and Realtek ALC892 audio.


The AM1B-ITX is another mini-ITX product, this time including a parallel port, four SATA 6 Gbps (two from ASMedia), four USB 3.0 ports (two via ASMedia), Realtek RTL8111GR gigabit Ethernet and a Realtek ALC662 audio codec, putting it on a lower price point to the AM1H-ITX.  There is no DC-In jack here, nor a mini-PCIe slot; however there is a PCIe 2.0 x4 slot, a COM header, a TPM header and dual DDR3 DIMM slots.


The other product in the lineup is a micro-ATX offering which seems very stripped down to provide all but the basics.  Alongside the two DDR3-1600 DIMM slots are two SATA 6 Gbps ports, two USB 3.0 ports on the rear IO, a VGA port, a combination PS/2 port, a Com header, Realtek Ethernet and ALC662 audio, a PCIe 2.0 x4 slot and a PCIe 2.0 x1 slot.

ASRock is expecting these models to be available from 4/9.  I am awaiting information on pricing and will update when we get it.

Source: ASRock

Product Pages: AM1H-ITX, AM1B-ITX, AM1B-M

Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • Daniel Egger - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Some prices already popped up in European price comparison sites: eg.

    The AM1H-ITX carries quite a premium at 47€ compared to the AM1B-ITX at 29€.

    There seem to be two more boards from Asus showing up.
  • schizoide - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    I find these offerings interesting primarily due to the PCI-e slot. There are no bay trail atoms available with that.

    $60 mobo+CPU
    $50 cheap mITX case
    $0 power brick from a laptop you threw out 10 years ago
    $150 NV 750Ti
    $260 = bargain basement steambox
  • Daniel Egger - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    You forgot some important components like storage and memory... Also from scanning the current online prices I think a worthy CPU and the 19V Mobo will be closer to 100€ (or $130) than $60.
  • schizoide - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Even $400 would be a pretty nice steambox. Kabini is more than fast enough on the CPU side, and a 750Ti is just a smidgen slower than current-gen consoles.

    I guess at $400 I might wait to see how the $500 steamboxes from Alienware/etc measure up.
  • ozzuneoj86 - Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - link

    I would definitely not call this more than fast enough on the CPU side. In highly multithreaded situations it will be more capable, but in poorly threaded applications it'd be like trying to use a Pentium 4. I know passmark isn't the most reliable benchmark ever, but for what its worth:
    A4-5000 multi-threaded = 1924
    Core 2 Duo E6850 multi-threaded = 1968 (and that's a dual core)

    A4-5000 single-threaded = 593
    Pentium 4 2.53Ghz single-threaded = 605

    Obviously its a nice CPU considering its low TDP, but it is by no means fast enough for gaming, of any kind. You'd probably have better all around performance from a Celeron 1037u based system, since they are significantly faster in single threaded performance. If you're adding a GPU, I see no reason to go with Kabini.
  • extide - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    You would be crippling the 750Ti quite a bit, with only a PciE 2.0 x4 connection, though.
  • schizoide - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    This came up a couple years ago, there was an article that tested various then-current video cards at only 8x, 4x, and 1x lanes. 8x was no change at all, and 4x was something like 15% performance degradation.
  • schizoide - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Here we go, tracked it down.


    I basically remembered it correctly. 8x was no change at all, and 4x was between 5% and 10% slower depending on the GPU and game.

    Would be interesting to see someone repeat this with recent videocards, and the 750Ti in particular.
  • DanNeely - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Anandtech's done it a bit more recently (2 years ago vs 3) with the 7970 and got similar results with only 3/10 games taking a 10%+ hit on 2x 3.0 lanes (equivalent to 4x 2.0).

  • schizoide - Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - link

    Even better.

    Would love to see an article about "lopsided" gaming machines with weak CPUs and relatively power GPUs at very low prices. The thought of a $400 gaming computer is really attractive.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now