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  • Brilliant UEFI mini ITX board - too bad it's only single core!

    posted by nPete on 12/30/2012
    9

    Involvement:Expert (understands the inner workings) - Ownership:1 day to 1 week

    Pros:

    I bought this board mostly because I wanted to play with an UEFI motherboard that wasn't stuck with features from the last decade, and boy does this board deliver!

    I was of course a bit weary with purchasing a hardware from a manufacturer (Colorful) I had never heard of, but the board seems to be of very good quality, and the Colorful engineers appear to have done an excellent job cramming many exciting features in there. And really there's plenty too like here, with USB 3.0, DDR3 PC3-10600, PCI-E 16x, VGA + DVI + HDMI, 4 SATA 6.0 Gbps (yes, I confirmed that a SATA 6.0 Gbps was really using that speed in Linux) and a COM port.

    After a prompt installation of Slackware 14.0 x64, everything seemed to be recognized alright, including audio, and I found myself playing 720p mkv videos in KDE with mplayer, and without too much trouble, though 1080p seems to be another story...

    During video playout, with a single 3.5" HDD, the whole system consumed about 45W, which isn't too bad.

    Cons:

    Well, at 1500 MHz and a single core, you're not going to win a prize in number crunching...

    Also 1080p videos were lagging behind the audio, though this may be due to hardware acceleration not being used.

    OtherThoughts:

    Drivers and BIOSes are available from http://www.colorful.cn/ColorfulProductdetails.aspx?id=446a88fd-38fe-42c4-be21-03a6862c896d though, if you're using a modern Linux distro, you shouldn't need much from that page.

    My board came with the IGE24003 UEFI BIOS, but I was able to upgrade to IGE24005, which is the latest, without issue.

    Also, having the BIOS flash chip on a removable DIP socket, as is the case on my board, is very nice, be it for people like myself who plan to tinker with it, or if you ever experience a bad flash.

    Bottomline:

    If you're looking for a small, modern, full featured PC to play with, and don't care that much about processing power, look no further: the Colorful i-AE40 should have all the features you need.

    If you need a bit more processing power however, you may wait for DX to offer a dual core version of a similar system.

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