Although we've known for a while that AMD has been working on the Yukon and Congo platforms, what we didn't expect was to see mini-ITX motherboards based on them. Gigabyte has launched two new motherboards, on based on the Yukon platform with two choices of CPU and one based on the Congo platform with three slightly different configurations.
The Yukon boards are maybe the most interesting boards, as they'll be a major Atom competitor. The 690E chipset might not be as good as AMD's 780-series, but it's still miles ahead of Intel's 945 and on top of that, the Gigabyte boards have HDMI output and optical S/PDIF. The two models are the GA-2AIEL1-RH and the GA-2AIEL5-RH, which shares the same PCB design from what we can tell, but with some minor differences.
The GA-2AIEL1-RH comes with a 1GHz Sempron 200U processor on an 800MHz Hyper Transport bus and it's limited to using DDR2 400MHz memory. The GA-2AIEL5-RH on the other hand uses a 1.5GHz Sempron 210U processor on the same bus speed, but with support for DDR2 667MHz memory. The GA-2AIEL1-RH is fanless while the GA-2AIEL5-RH needs a small cooling fan on top of the heatsink.
The hardware spec's should make for a very affordable system in terms of components and both boards have four SATA ports, a Compact Flash slot that is bootable, a x4 PCIe slot, although for some reason it only has x1 bandwidth, Gigabit Ethernet, a D-sub connector, four rear USB 2.0 ports with headers for four more and 5.1-channel analog audio which can be expanded to 7.1-channel with the use of the front audio pin-header.
The only problem we can see is that Gigabyte had decided to add these boards to its industrial PC product line, which most likely means that they won't be as cheap as they could be due to the inclusion of things like LVDS, DIO, TPM and up to four serial ports. Hopefully Gigabyte will realise that there's a consumer demand for a product like this and as such will introduce a slightly cheaper model without the industrial PC components and longevity requirements.
The GA-2AIEV-RH will come with three different chipsets, and we're not quite sure why Gigabyte has done this, but it will be available with the 780MN which should be the Congo platform chipset, the 780M and the 780E. We're not quite sure what the difference is between the various models, but only the model with the 780M chipset seems to support component video output alongside coaxial S/PDIF out. The other two models are otherwise identical.
The boards take AM2 and AM2+ processors up to 65W and offer everything the previous two boards do with some minor changes. For one, the GA-2AIEV-RH features two memory slots with support for DDR2 1066MHz (CPU dependant) and the PCIe slot has been upgraded to a x16 slot, although limited to x8 bandwidth. A second Gigabit Ethernet port has also been added, alongside two more SATA connectors. Again, Gigabyte seems to target a wide market with this board and we're concerned that it might be too expensive for consumers interested in it.
Finally, we have something of an oddity here, the GA-6AIEV, which seems to be very similar to the GA-2AIEV-RH, in fact, so similar that Gigabyte put up the picture of it instead of the GA-2AIEV-RH on its website. The layout is slightly different as the GA-6AIEV seems to have six analog audio jacks and a mini card (notebook style PCIe) slot which has replaced the Compact Flash slot on the GA-2AIEV-RH. We can't tell you much more about this board, but we'd expect Gigabyte to launch it in due time.
You can find the GA-2AIEL1-RH product page here, the GA-2AIEL5-RH product page here and the GA-2AIEV-RH product page here. You can also find some early benchmarks of the GA-2AIEL5-RH and the GA-2AIEV-RH here (in Japanese)
Image courtesy of Impress PC Watch
Image courtesy of Impress PC Watch