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Looking for a good mini-itx or other small form factor board

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  • Looking for a good mini-itx or other small form factor board

    Hello all,
    I'm hoping someone can help me choose a good board to use for my carputer project. There are a couple of things I'd really like to have on the board that I haven't been able to find.

    1) I want it to have ION2 graphics or something as good capable of handling HD video. No GMA 3150 or 3450s, these cannot handle HD video well, I've already tested them.
    2) Would really like for it to have 2x Mini PCIe (or 1 mini PCIe with built in wifi elsewhere on the board) with support for an mSata SSD. I'm actually a little confused on this, more on that below.
    3) The smaller form factor the better, but no larger than the standard Mini-ITX of 6.7" x 6.7"

    I thought I had found a board that met my criteria:

    But after reading the reviews one person states that mSata will not work with it only older netbook style SSDs. This is what has me confused, what is the difference between an mSata SSD and other PCIe SSDs? I can't find any Mini PCIe SSDs listed on new egg that are not listed as mSata. Does it take a special PCIe slot to support these or is it simply something like where the screw holes are?

    Thanks for any information!

  • #2
    The Jetway NF81 has an AMD Fusion APU which should take care of your HD graphics needs, and it has a standard mPCIe and an mSATA port. There's also a nano-itx board with Fusion/mPCIe/mSATA but it's not available yet. Intel's NUC could be an option later this summer, but anything smaller than Mini-ITX is going to have onboard power, not ATX.

    The physical interface for mSATA and mini PCIe are identical; the difference is in the signaling. So, you cannot use a mPCIe wifi card in an mSATA port, or an SSD in a mPCIe slot (unless it's actually a mPCIe SSD, which is possible). There are actually three different signaling conventions for storage devices using the same mPCIe interface, mSATA, or USB. mSATA is the most straightforward and will hopefully become the default with Intel pushing it. There are also some proprietary systems out there used by laptop manufacturers, and those vary in both the length of the card and the signaling.