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|20th May 2008, 16:29||#1|
Join Date: May 2002
Jetway JNC62K mini-ITX motherboard
At under £90 including VAT, the board is certainly good value for its size and niche appeal. A good mini-ITX board can easily set you back £150, and usually an Intel mini-ITX board will need to add the cost of a CPU as well. While this doesn't have the grace of a few other HTPC-orientated mini-ITX boards we've seen (Albatron's AMD 690G with component outputs was especially nice), unless you can find an AMD 780G based one we suspect this could make the smallest possible Blu-ray capable machine you can buy (we'd love to see some mods around this). 45W or 65W AMD CPU's are exceptionally inexpensive, and literally anything you buy now will be HD-capable. Yes, the GeForce 8200 did have a fit at VLC and it used nearly 50 percent CPU, however Elephants Dream is one probably of the most intensive 1080p DivX videos out there so there's still plenty of overhead before things become a slideshow.
If you're unconcerned with size and are interested in IGP performance instead, the GeForce 8200 guns ahead into the distance in our real world general productivity benchmarks compared to the other IGPs—even the AMD 780G on the micro-ATX Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H board. However if you're buying for video playback performance then the AMD 780G is still the one to buy – it's just simply more consistent and quite frankly, AMD still continues to do video acceleration better with more intuitive drivers and a more consistent UVD-enabled product list.
Specifically, is Jetway’s JNC62K worth buying? Absolutely. While it's not as inexpensive as a micro-ATX board, it is still great value for its size if you’re looking to build a very small home theatre PC. All in all, it's a very low power and tiny motherboard with HDMI and DVI (with HDCP) and oodles of other features that vary its application. It even has a comprehensive BIOS that really surprised us – you'll rarely find this elsewhere on mini-ITX, however you wouldn't really want to overclock on it because of its 65W limitation.
Is it worth it over a VIA C7 EPIA or future Atom mini-ITX boards? Again, yes! Just for the general productivity performance alone, regardless of the fact a premium VIA C7 board like the Jetway J7F5M, which comes complete with a 2.0GHz C7, for £163.33 will be more expensive than the JNC62K and an AMD Athlon 64 X2 4850e 45W CPU, and you won't even get HDMI or HDCP.
The JNC62K is the right balance of efficiency – getting your work done in the minimum amount of time, while using a fraction of the power (and physical size) a full ATX case labours you with.
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