J&W is a motherboard manufacturer that we suspect many North Americans would not have heard of.  Based in Taiwan, they have put together an Mini-ITX 890GX + SB850 AMD package featuring USB 3.0, SATA 6Gb/s, a Radeon HD4290 with 128MB DDR3 onboard memory, core unlocking, dual Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI/DVI-D/D-Sub ports, and a mini PCIe slot for WiFi Cards or SSD.

With onboard RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 (which supports the SATA 6Gb/s) and a PCIe x16 Gen 2.0 slot for a beefier graphics card, J&W have literally tried to fit everything possible in the small form factor.  As a result though, DDR3 SO-DIMM laptop memory is required, rather than standard DDR3. 

So, fancy a 6-core mini-ITX system, with USB 3.0, SATA 6Gb/s, onboard RAID, and support for multiple video outputs?  Initial pricing is estimated at $180, which is quite a lot for a mini-ITX board, but few other mini-ITX boards can boast such an array of features.  There is also an issue of North American supply - J&W are fairly active in Europe and Asia, and could expand into North America if demand for their products is high enough.  A good product at the right price will always encourage demand, so we can't wait to see if this board performs as good as it sounds.



Winner of the Computex 2010 'Best Choice, IC and Components' Award, the A890GXM-AU from ECS is also a board worth considering for the future if you plan on an AMD upgrade route but want a full ATX sized motherboard.  Similar to the J&W, ECS combine a 890GX + SB850 platform with a HD4290 and 128MB GPU DDR3 onboard, core unlocking, 5x SATA 6GB/s with RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 supported, and dual Gigabit Ethernet.

USB 3.0 however is supplied via a PCIe 1x card, and the back panel contains Display Port/HDMI/DVI-D/D-Sub connectors as well as 6 USB 2.0 ports.  The A890GXM-AU offers three PCIe Gen 2.0 slots in an x16/x16/x4 configuration, however the third PCIe is directly under the second.  Audio is supplied via a Realtek ALC892 HD Codec, with 7.1 Channel output through the rear panel.  This board currently retails at $120 (after a $15 Mail-In Rebate).  ECS also market this board with their ‘15 micron gold’ paraphernalia – this is in relation to the PCI/PCIe slots, which have 3x as much gold on the pin connectors than most other boards – according to ECS, this reduces the resistance between the connects, allowing for cleaner signals to travel through, as well as improving the longevity of the socket if components are being put in and taken out frequently.

Socket LGA 1155 - Intel
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  • TGressus - Thursday, June 17, 2010 - link

    Other side...
  • AstroGuardian - Thursday, June 17, 2010 - link

    Dude!! That's a power input connector not an output!
  • silverblue - Thursday, June 17, 2010 - link

    ...to go with my XP1700+ and 512MB of RAM, but it started exhibiting instability after only a month. Wouldn't work at 133MHz RAM/133MHz FSB. Had to periodically drop it to 100MHz FSB and eventually after some time at 100/100, it wouldn't even boot. Along the way I got some more RAM, a new PSU and even applied some thermal paste to the NB (as was recommended for such boards at the time - the heatsink was extremely hot), no help... got a KT266A board and instantly saw a noticable performance increase - it was that good.

    The shop I bought the KT266A board from said they'd had nothing but trouble with the K7S5As. Well, they would say that, wouldn't they? Still, it was a decent board, if only it had worked properly.
  • xeopherith - Thursday, June 17, 2010 - link

    I bought one ECS board that was rated really well in the 'budget performance' category years ago and it treated me well. Honestly I cant remember how long ago it was but I know it was after 2003. I never really thought of ECS as a bad company, they just weren't really ever geared for performance.
  • silverblue - Thursday, June 17, 2010 - link

    The price is a little high but considering what you get on such a small board, it's definitely worth considering. I've never actually seen a desktop board that uses laptop memory before - quite ingenius if you're low on space.
  • Acanthus - Thursday, June 17, 2010 - link

    They built trash boards and have had crap end-user support for a very long time.

    Market all you want, the people with memories aren't going to let it slide.

    No bios updates, crap website, slow RMAs, piss poor QC, incompatibility issues with power supplies and memory... the list goes on and on.

    I wont trust them with my money, ever.
  • Ben90 - Thursday, June 17, 2010 - link

    Not even one picture of the girls....
  • METALMORPHASIS - Thursday, June 17, 2010 - link

    Just got through cleaning and installing new software on a friends ECS board machine from 5 years ago.
    It still works fine today even w/win7 on it.
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, June 18, 2010 - link

    is cheesy.
  • paihuaizhe - Sunday, June 20, 2010 - link

    (nike-alliance).(com)=>is a leading worldwide wholesaler company (or u can say


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