A few days back, we reviewed the Gigabyte Brazos platform - the E350N-USB3, found it to be pretty good and an ideal solution as an HTPC board. MSI is another popular vendor in India which has started selling Brazos boards as well. Their E350IA-E45 model is next in line for review.
MSI's Brazos offering
As the model name suggest, the MSI E350IA-E45 is also powered by the same AMD E-Series 350 APU and the AMD Hudson controller, which means integrated USB 3.0 support thanks to the Renesas-NEC collaboration with AMD. Let's see if it's any better than the Gigabyte.
Missing DVI port at the back of the MSI E350IA-E45
It has the same number of memory slots, the same number of SATA3 ports, USB3 ports and also the single PCI x4 slot. The MSI has more USB2 ports though. There are few visible differences, one being the ALC887 audio chipset in place of the ALC892 used on the Gigabyte board. There’s also a SPDIF connector present but a DVI connection missing on the MSI E350IA-E45.
A small cooling solution is all the E350 needs
The cooling solution on the MSI board isn’t as massive as the one on the Gigabyte, but judging by the heat generated on the Gigabyte board during the tests, it shouldn’t be a issue.
MSI E350IA-E45: A Cheaper Brazos Arrives
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