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Monday, 22 December 2008 14:53

Jetway NC81-LF mITX tested - 2 NC81-LF board

Written by Eliot Kucharik

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Review: Nice AM2+ board with BIOS quirks


While Jetway is not taking the high-end approach, this board still is an all solid capacitor design, which is still quite rare in the mini-ITX market. Instead of using a PCIe slot, Jetway just used a PCI slot. This will be enough for an HTPC machine, but will prevent you from putting in a more serious graphics-card. It has plenty of options: Four SATA II connectors with RAID support, two eSATA, 4x USB 2.0, 2x Gb LAN, VGA, DVI and HDMI. Sadly, Jetway opted only for a 2.1 sound solution, but the HDMI output is capable of 5.1 sound.

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Using the AMD 780G chipset with 128MB DDR2 sideport-memory gives the board superiority against most competition. Jetway installed the weakest Gb LAN solution available, which is a Realtek RTL8111C, a very cheap solution with some drawbacks in performance; and at this price-level it was short-sighted. As mentioned before, there is only a 2.1 audio solution with the Realtek ALC662. Surprisingly, the small heatsink for the 780G chipset is sufficient to keep temperatures at acceptable levels.

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The board features a 3+1-phase VRM, which could work with 95W TDP CPUs, but we strongly advise only to use max. 65W TDP CPUs. Small cases have the disadvantage that airflow is considerably lower compared to a standard tower case. So, the lower your CPU TDP, the better. Due to its highly integrated design many chips are on the back-side of the board. You will find the second SO-DIMM slot also on the backside, so if you are using only one module make sure it's placed on the back-side not to prevent upgrading later.

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The package is quite sparse with only one SATA cable, one HDD cable, I/O shield, serial-port cable, manual and driver disc. At this price-level we had expected more.


Testbed:

Jetway NC81-LF (provided by Jetway)
AMD 780G/SB700

CPU:
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3400+ 1.80GHz (provided by AMD)

Memory:
OCZ SO-Dimm Kit 2GB PC2-6400 CL5 (provided by OCZ)

Graphics Card:
Onboard HD3200

Power supply:
ITX 80W external/internal power supply

Hard disk:
Seagate Barracuda 7200.9 80GB (provided by Seagate)

DVD-Drive:
Optiarc AD-7543A



(Page 2 of 4)
Last modified on Tuesday, 23 December 2008 08:31
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