Fanless HTPC: Intel Pentium J2900 Bay Path-D Quad Core & Asrock Q2900-ITX Overview

In our budget CPU summary earlier this year, AMD's Kabini Athlon 5350 prevailed against Intel's Bay Trail-D Celeron J1900, and proved to be better at playing and coding workloads, while Intel's chip consumed 30% less power and elsewhere who could keep up with the performance.

Although both require a similar initial investment and offer comparable overall performance, we found the AMD package to be more attractive considering the upgradeability, as Intel Bay Trail-D chips are soldered directly onto motherboards in the BGA packaging.

As AMD's best AM1 APU, the Athlon 5350 has four 2.05 GHz Jaguar cores, 2 MB L2 cache and a 128 SPU GCN GPU. Similarly, Intel's Quad-Core Celeron J1900 runs at 2.0 to 2.42 GHz, has the same cache, and is paired with an IGP set from the Ivy Bridge era at 688 to 854 MHz.

Because these two platforms are so evenly matched, we're excited to see if Asrock's latest Bay Trail-D creation can help give Intel an edge. The Q2900-ITX ships with a Pentium J2900 on a Mini-ITX board for $ 104 and costs directly compared to AMD's Athlon 5350.

At first glance, the Pentium J2900 from Intel looks almost identical to the company's Celeron J1900, since both quad-core parts are non-hyperthreading, have 2 MB L2 cache, and up to 8 GB DDR3L-1333 RAM support and even use the same Intel HD graphics engine.

Where they differ is the raw clock rate. The Pentium can run its processor cores at 2.41 GHz 20% higher with a 10% higher maximum boost frequency at 2.66 GHz, while its GPU has the base clock of the Celeron, but up to 896 MHz instead of 854 MHz can burst.

Asrock Q2900-ITX

At $ 104, the Q2900-ITX appears to be a solid foundation for a compact and quiet budget rig that not only comes with the quad-core J2900, but also comes with a fanless design to reduce or reduce system noise eliminate.

The board supports a single PCIe 2.0 x1 connector, a mini PCIe connector and three graphics outputs, including VGA, DVI and HDMI. For storage, two SATA 3Gb / s ports are connected to the J2900 processor, while the ASMedia ASM1061 chip was used to provide a pair of SATA 6Gb / s ports.

Although the Intel specification specifies a maximum memory capacity of 8 GB, the Q2900-ITX claims to support 16 GB of memory.

Asrock has integrated Gigabit LAN with the Realtek RTL8111GR controller and 7.1-channel HD audio with content protection using the Realtek ALC892 audio codec.

There is also no shortage of USB 3.0 support. Two ports are located on the I / O control panel and two more via an integrated header that are connected to the ASMedia ASM1074 chip.

For a budget motherboard, the Q2900-ITX is surprisingly well-equipped, and the mini PCIe connector means adding a wireless solution should be cheap and easy.

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