A Closer Look
I really don’t know what I was expecting, but I really didn’t think it would be so small. Just a hair over 6.5” x 6.5”, it doesn’t seem much bigger than a postage stamp.
Other than size, the board is a typical ASRock board, blue PCB with ASRock’s usual fixtures. Of course with a board this small, you aren’t going to get a layout like an ASRock ATX board, but it actually isn’t too bad. Stuff is a little scattered around, but ASRock was able to fit in a couple of chassis fan connectors. Layout is greatly helped with the exclusion of IDE and floppy connectors.
The board comes bundled with an Intel Atom 330 processor. I have had absolutely no experience with any of the Atoms, so this is very new to me. The Atom 330 has been around since late 2008, it is a dual core 1.6gHz 45nm CPU with hyperthreading so it will have four data threads. It has a FSB of 533mHz and max TDP of 8 watts. The last CPU I stuck in a socket has 130 watts. This will be interesting.
You might wonder why ASRock did not use one of the newer Atom processors, such as the Atom D510, which is also a dual core 1.66gHz processor. I have to assume that the main reason is that the newer Atoms all have internal memory controllers that only support DDR2 memory. The Atom 330 is as powerful as the D510, both utilize the 45nm process, but the Atom 330 uses an external controller that allows either DDR2 or DDR3 memory. My research has shown that this gives systems built with the A330ION an extra boost over other Atom systems.
With Mini-ITX, you are allowed one PCI expansion slot. ASRock filled that with an x16 PCI-E slot. The hard part is deciding what to put there. I would imagine that I will put a PCI-E TV tuner card I have in that position.
There are four SATA 3Gb/s ports that support RAID 1 and RAID 0.
The A330ION supports up to 4GB of DDR3-1066 memory. Yeah, I know that doesn’t sound like much, but how many people actually have the max amount of memory in their rig? Of those that do, how many of those rigs actually use more than 4GB (or six on a triple channel)?
Just thought I’d add another couple of close-ups to show the layout. May need the installation booklet to find everything on this one.
The I/O panel actually has more than I would have expected with a pair of Powered eSATA ports. There is also PS/2 keyboard, Sub-15, DVI, HDMI, 4 x USB 2, 1 x LAN, optical S/PDIF, and HD Audio.
Not much here in the way of accessories, but everything that most people will need…a pair of SATA cables, a Molex/SATA power cable, and the I/O shield.