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Sapphire Also Displays Pure Platinum Z77i Mini-ITX Motherboard

Sapphire's growing motherboard lineup as a new entry in the form of the Pure Platinum Z77i. This socket LGA1155 motherboard is based on the Intel Z77 Express chipset, and is built in the super-compact mini-ITX form-factor, making it ideal for gaming PCs that are LAN party-animals. The motherboard is designed to draw power from a 24-pin ATX, and a 4-pin CPU power connector. The LGA1155 socket is powered by a simple 4-phase VRM, which uses ferrite-core chokes and compact driver-MOSFETs. The VRM should be strong enough to handle CPUs that aren't heavily overclocked.

The LGA1155 socket on the Pure Platinum Z77i is wired to a PCI-Express 3.0 x16 slot, and two DDR3 DIMM slots, supporting up to 16 GB of dual-channel DDR3 memory. The Z77 PCH gives out two internal SATA 6 Gb/s, and two SATA 3 Gb/s ports. Display connectivity includes one each of DVI, D-Sub, HDMI, and DisplayPort. There are a total of four USB 3.0 ports, two on the rear panel, two by headers. Rounding off the connectivity are 8-channel HD audio, gigabit Ethernet, and Bluetooth.

MSI's Other Socket FM2 Motherboards Pictured

Apart from the premium A85XA-G65, and mini-ITX A85IA-E53, MSI has two other mainstream socket FM2 motherboards, the A85MA-E35, and A55M-P33 (F2).

The A85MA-E35, like its mini-ITX cousin, has a misleading name. It is actually based on the AMD A75 FCH chipset. The socket FM2 APU is powered by a simple 5-phase VRM, it is wired to just the two DDR3 DIMM slots, and a PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slot. Other slots include two PCI-Express 2.0 x1 and a legacy PCI. Display outputs include DVI, D-Sub, and HDMI. All six SATA 6 Gb/s ports from the FCH are wired out as internal ones, the board features a total of four USB 3.0 ports.

MSI Unveils Mini-ITX Socket FM2 Motherboard A85IA-E53

MSI's second most interesting socket FM2 motherboard is the A85IA-E53, perhaps the first socket FM2 motherboard in the mini-ITX form-factor. Although its name says otherwise, it is based on the previous-generation A75 chipset, which is no big deal, there's no room for eight SATA 6 Gb/s ports from the A85 FCH, anyway, and you still end up with four 6 Gb/s ports. In the limited board space, MSI was able to cram in a 5-phase VRM to power the APU, a power design consisting of 24-pin + 4-pin power inputs, two full-size DDR3 DIMM slots supporting up to 16 GB of dual-channel DDR3-1866 MHz memory, a lone PCI-Express 2.0 x16 expansion card slot, display outs that include HDMI and D-Sub, 802.11 b/g/n, and Bluetooth.

Streacom FC9 and FC10 Spec'd

Streacom's newest duo of silent all-aluminum cases for HTPCs, the micro-ATX FC9, and the ATX FC10, inch closer to their Computex 2012 launch. Their specifications were leaked by the company's Chinese website. Both cases ensure the machines running in them stay quiet, and remain completely fanless, because their bodies double up as heatsinks for sensitive components, such as the processor. Both cases are made of brushed silver and black (sandblast finish) color options.

Measuring 348 x 289 x 100 mm (WxDxH), the Streacom FC9 supports motherboards in the micro-ATX and mini-ITX form-factors. It features one 2.5-inch drive bay, and a 3.5-inch bay, which supports 2.5-inch drives. It also has a bay for a slimline slot-loading optical drive. A CPU base makes contact with the processor (LGA775, LGA1155, LGA1156 supported), which conveys heat to a side panel via four copper heat pipes. All six panels of the case are made of thick aluminum sheets, some of which are ridged to increase surface area for heat dissipation. The case features three low-profile expansion slots.

Lian Li Announces Three New Ultra-Compact Cases

Lian Li today announces three new brushed aluminum cases, PC-Q02, PC-Q03, and PC-Q16, designed for modern users who need a compact central storage hub to share information among all their latest generation mobile devices.

The Lian Li PC-Q02, PC-Q03, and PC-Q16 take advantage of the increasing efficiency of small form factor motherboards and progressively cheaper hard drives, and are able to hold the essential storage hardware in a small form factor. They also have high-quality features that are to be expected from Lian Li including: elegant brushed aluminum frames, easy-to-remove pop-off panels, USB 3.0 connectivity, rounded yet stable aluminum feet, as well as many tool-less features to make installations and upgrades easier. These three chassis also all have a dual LED power button which turns blue when on and glows red while reading.

J&W Intros M001 Nettop

J&W introduced a new fanless nettop and IPC, the M001. Driven by Intel "Cedar Trail" Atom D2550 or N2800 or N2600 processors, the M001 packs a nano-ITX system board. It has one vacant DDR3 SO-DIMM slot, supporting up to 4 GB of memory. For storage, there is one 2.5-inch SATA 3 Gb/s drive bay. Connectivity include 802.11 b/g/n, gigabit Ethernet, three USB 2.0 ports, SD/SDHC/MS/MS Pro/MMC card reader, HDMI and VGA display outputs, and RS232 serial (COM). The ridged metal body doubles up as a heatsink. Minus the antenna and stand, the system measures just 135 x 128 x 45 mm. Pricing and availability information is awaited.

Source: FanlessTech

Lian Li Introduces PC-Q09FN Upgraded Mini-ITX HTPC Case

Lian Li today announces their new brushed aluminum mini-ITX HTPC case, PC-Q09FN. The more roomy PC-Q09FN improves upon its predecessors, the PC-Q09 and PC-Q09F, with more hard drive storage capacity and improved cooling.

With the upgraded dimensions of 11.65” x 5.51” x 7.48” WxHxD (296mm x 140mm x 190mm), the PC-Q09FN gives DIY computers builders the space to install the essential hardware for home theater applications. Lian Li's PC-Q09FN supports a slim optical disk drive and a 3.5” HDD that can easily be taken in and out using the included thumb screws with rubber suspensions to reduce vibrations. A removable 2.5” hard drive cage allows up to three SSDs to be installed in this mini-ITX HTPC.

Intel Unveils NUC Mini Computer

Although at a much "smaller" scale, Raspberry Pi did to mini computers what iPad did to tablets (wake up a nearly dead product segment), and now a section of the market likes computers to be as small and potent as the ARM-driven Raspberry Pi. Although at a different end of the price and performance spectrum from the Raspberry Pi, Intel has reason to believe its NUC mini computer could achieve market success. NUC (Next Unit of Computing) is a mini box computer for the retail channel, which is roughly the size of a modern wireless router, but as powerful as a mainstream laptop.

The NUC owes its computing power to Intel Core i3/i5 "Sandy Bridge" dual-core processors (probably in the BGA-1023 package), with Intel HD 3000 graphics, and dual-channel DDR3 memory (SO-DIMMs). The logic board measures 100 x 100 mm, and has all the essential connectivity crammed into it, including umm...10 Gb/s Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, 802.11 b/g/n, and HDMI with multi-channel HD audio. This board is smaller than VIA's NANO-ITX (120 x 120 mm) form-factor. The rest of the ABS plastic enclosure's volume is spent housing the cooling assembly. Informed sources predict that while the NUC won't be priced in the hundereds or thousands of Dollars, it most certainly won't be priced at $25. A starting price of $100 seems realistic.

Sources: SweClockers, ExtremeTech

Giada Also Intros HM65 Tiny System Board

Giada also introduced a tiny nano-ITX system board based on Intel HM65 mobile-on-desktop platform, featuring a low-power "Sandy Bridge" Celeron/Core processor. The board is designed to run off external DC power input. The board can be used as a micro-server. Apart from a standard SATA 6 Gb/s port, it has two slots, a mini PCI-Express (for WLAN+Bluetooth cards), and an mSATA (to hold its OS SSD). SO-DIMM memory slots, we imagine, are on the reverse side of the PCB. The system can be programmed to run headless, or there is a host of connectivity options along the top of the board, including USB, HDMI, D-Sub, Ethernet, and stereo line-out. The PCI-Express interface below is for an additional PCB that expands connectivity.

Giada Intros MI-HM65T Mini ITX Motherboard

The versatile new MI-HM65T Mini ITX motherboard from Giada is at home in all environments, including the factory floor, tough monitoring and control applications, embedded computing, office desks, and the home. Built around Intel's HM65 chipset and the Sandy Bridge platform, this motherboard brings users high performance and almost unlimited connectivity, with economical power consumption. It offers all the industry-standard features of a desktop PC in a tiny package, to support a wide range of applications.

Powered by Intel's fast Core i7, i5, i3 or Celeron 867 CPUs, supported by up to 4GB of memory, with onboard integrated graphics and video support, the Giada MI-HM65T can easily take care of almost any task you throw at it. This tough but tiny powerhouse handles industrial control, monitoring and automation applications as well as office and productivity, or home entertainment.
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