ASRock ION330 Motherboard Review :: Board Layout

04-18-2010 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun

Like every other ION board the A330ION motherboard is a mini-ITX sized board designed to fit into mini-ITX cases and larger. This is perfect for the Home Theater PC as those tend to be smaller, designed to fit in a small space on the entertainment center. The CPU and chipset require little power (8W for the Atom 330) and the heat given up by either is rather small as well.


ASRock ION330 Motherboard Review Board

Board

ASRock ION330 Motherboard Review Rear of PCBMolex

Rear of PCBMolex

ASRock ION330 Motherboard Review Battery

Battery

ASRock ION330 Motherboard Review MCP79A

MCP79A


Starting at the upper right hand corner of the board we find the battery for the board in an upright position. Below the battery is the MCP7A-ION chipset which is covered by a small heatsink. Inward of the battery are two USB 2.0 headers. The CPU is near the center of the A330ION board with a heatsink and a small fan to cool the CPU while in operation.


ASRock ION330 Motherboard Review DIMM slots

DIMM slots

ASRock ION330 Motherboard Review Atom 330

Atom 330

ASRock ION330 Motherboard Review Nuvoton chip

Nuvoton chip

ASRock ION330 Motherboard Review USB headers

USB headers


The board has two DIMM slots for Dual Channel DDR3 memory. The board can hold up to 4GB of DDR3 1066/800MHz unbuffered memory. As the memory controller is on the MCP7A-ION chipset and not the CPU as on the Pinetrail platform, the memory supported on the board is DDR3. Intel chipsets that support the Atom 330 CPU do not support DDR3 memory. The newer D5xx series CPUs which have the memory controller on the CPU supports DDR2 memory. DDR3 memory support will be added later this year.


ASRock ION330 Motherboard Review
ASRock ION330 Motherboard Review
ASRock ION330 Motherboard Review
ASRock ION330 Motherboard Review

Power on this board is provided by a 24-pin power connector on the bottom of this board. As the power requirements for the Atom 330 CPU (8W) and MCP7A (17W~) are very low, the board does not require additional power for the CPU that the bigger brothers from Intel does. Note that the board does have a requirement for a PSU as one is not provided as part of the bundle but most any PSU will work with this boardís requirements. There is a Chassis Fan header then the Front Panel header making up the remainder of the bottom of the board. Expansion on the board consists of a single PCI Express 2.0 x 16 slots for external graphics cards. I would suggest a low profile one for HTPCs.


ASRock ION330 Motherboard Review
ASRock ION330 Motherboard Review
ASRock ION330 Motherboard Review
ASRock ION330 Motherboard Review

The A330ION board has four SATA 3Gb/second ports. As the MCP7A-ION chipset supports RAID 0, RAID 1, NCQ and AHCI natively, the board can have up to four drives striped or mirrored together in an array. The equivalent Intel chipset does not support these features except for AHCI and Native Command Queuing. Onboard sound is provided as noted before by a Via VT2020 CODEC which is adequate for most every user. The back I/O on the board has a single PS/2 port for PS/2 keyboard, four USB ports, 2 powered USB/external SATA combo ports, a HDMI connector, a D-Sub connector and a DVI-D connector. The last thing on the rear I/O is six audio jacks for the onboard audio and a RJ-45 Gigabit LAN jack. .