Asus to launch two more Atom ION boards

Giving Zotac some competition

ALTHOUGH ASUS ALREADY has an Atom Ion mini-ITX board on the market it looks like the company is getting ready for round two with its upcoming AT3IONT-I and AT3IONT-I Deluxe boards. We don’t have a lot of details on these boards, but from what we can tell from the single picture that has surfaced so far, it looks like Asus is getting ready to take on Zotac.

The picture we found is from Overclockers Club, although there are no additional details to go with it. However, we did manage to dig out a few specifications and even some pricing details and an availability date. The board is quite different from Asus’ previous attempt at making an Atom Ion combo as gone are the active cooler and the PCI slot.

In place of the old cooler is a huge passive heatsink that covers the central part of the motherboard. The PCI slot has been replaced by a x16 PCIe slot and a short mini PCIe slot, although the latter has already been populated by a mini PCIe WiFi card of unknown type. From what we can tell from the slightly blurry picture the board has up to six rear USB 2.0 ports, HDMI and D-sub connectivity, a PS/2 port, Gigabit Ethernet, optical and coaxial S/PDIF out, three audio connectors, a Bluetooth USB dongle and possibly eSATA as well as an antenna connector for the onboard WiFi card.

The board also has two memory slots and four SATA connectors, as well as headers for an additional four USB 2.0 ports. Asus has also added support for DDR3 memory, although this is unlikely to offer any huge real world advantages over DDR2 on this platform. The difference between the Deluxe and standard versions appears to be the inclusion of a remote control and an external 90W power adaptor. This means that the Deluxe version can fit in smaller cases and a Molex connector on the board is used to power the hard drive and optical drive.

This puts Asus squarely in Zotac’s corner of the mini-ITX market, but with the advantage of having a much wider distribution network than Zotac. Asus is also a far more well established brand, despite Zotac’s fair success in the mini-ITX market. The standard version is listed for about $185 in Europe while the Deluxe version is a steep $245, although these prices do include 19-20 percent sales tax. This is slightly more than Zotac’s products, but we’re sure it’ll even itself out once the boards become available in the US. Scandinavian retailer Komplett has the boards listed with a preliminary availability from January 20th.S|A

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