Foxconn AHD1S-K review

£100
Price when reviewed

The recent arrival of AMD Fusion, which combines processor and graphics into a single chip, hasn’t revolutionised the low-power computing market but it has, at last, provided manufacturers with a viable alternative to Intel.

Foxconn AHD1S-K review

Motherboard manufacturers have been quick on the uptake, first with the Gigabyte GA-E350N-USB3 and now this, Foxconn’s mini-ITX AHD1S-K. It delivers a benchmark score of 0.49, which is marginally slower than the Gigabyte, but still faster than Intel Atom-based systems we’ve seen.

As with the Gigabyte board, two full-size DIMM sockets are included instead of the SO-DIMMs we’re accustomed to seeing on Atom-based boards, and there’s support for a maximum 8GB of DDR3 memory. Both boards have a single PCI Express x16 slot, but with both it’s restricted to x4 speeds – enough for a low end graphics card but little else. It’s a shame Foxconn has been hampered by Fusion’s specification, because, physically, all its lanes are present and correct.

Foxconn AHD1S-K

The Foxconn impresses thanks to a broad range of on-board connectors. The passive cooling means that two fan connectors are free, both four-pin with PWM compared to the Gigabyte’s pair of three-pin jumpers, and there are also headers for TPM and infrared modules alongside a chassis intrusion detection connector.

All the basics are present elsewhere, too, although the AHD1S-K isn’t quite as flashy as the Gigabyte: there are just two SATA 3Gb/s ports compared to the four SATA 6Gb/s sockets on the GA-E350N-USB3, and there’s no sign of USB 3 to supplement its six USB 2 ports, HDMI, DVI-D and D-SUB outputs and PS/2 port. Even the BIOS isn’t as welcoming, with a similar range of options organised into numerous confusing categories.

And while that passive cooling sounds good, it has an unwelcome side-effect: heat. We stress-tested the board’s processing and graphical cores and found both rocketed to 100 degrees within minutes, and the heatsink didn’t dissipate heat too well, either, hitting a peak temperature of 96 degrees soon after. That’s worrying enough on our test bench; when placed in a claustrophobic chassis without any cooling, the situation won’t improve.

The Gigabyte wasn’t much better either: with a 40mm fan attached to the smaller heatsink, it hit a maximum temperature of 90 degrees with the heatsink itself hitting around 70 degrees.

At £83 exc VAT, it’s cheaper than the Gigabyte’s £105 exc VAT, and thus makes more sense if you’ve got spare components lying around. But that extreme heat puts paid to its prospects; when it reaches dangerous temperatures that quickly, we’re reluctant to recommend it.

Details

Motherboard form factorMini ITX
Motherboard integrated graphicsyes

Compatability

Processor/platform brand (manufacturer)AMD
Processor socketBGA-413
Motherboard form factorMini ITX
Memory typeDDR3
Multi-GPU supportno

Controllers

Motherboard chipsetAMD Fusion
Number of Ethernet adapters1
Wired adapter speed1,000Mbits/sec
Graphics chipsetAMD Radeon HD 6130

Onboard Connectors

CPU power connector type4-pin
Main power connectorATX 24-pin
Memory sockets total2
Internal SATA connectors2
Internal PATA connectors0
Internal floppy connectors0
Conventional PCI slots total0
PCI-E x16 slots total1
PCI-E x8 slots total0
PCI-E x4 slots total0
PCI-E x1 slots total0

Rear ports

PS/2 connectors1
USB ports (downstream)6
FireWire ports0
eSATA ports0
Optical S/PDIF audio output ports1
Electrical S/PDIF audio ports0
3.5mm audio jacks6
Parallel ports0
9-pin serial ports0
Extra port backplane bracket portsnone

Diagnostics and tweaking

Motherboard onboard power switch?no
Motherboard onboard reset switch?no
Software overclocking?no

Accessories

SATA cables supplied1
Molex to SATA adaters supplied0
IDE cables supplied0
Floppy cables supplied0

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