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Asus E35M1-I Deluxe Fusion Mobo & Thermaltake Armor A30 Review

KitGuru isn’t a  Fusion Platform virgin, we know the baseline to expect from our previous reviews. The Asus E35M1-I Deluxe takes this baseline and kicks it into touch. From the moment we opened the box we knew we had something very special in our hands.

The Asus E35M1-I Deluxe has the best bios of any of these boards, offering not only mouse support and dedicated fan controls, but an advanced section with a plethora of overclocking options to ensure you get the most from the capable Zacate E350. We even scaled DDR3 memory to 1600mhz, well above AMD’s official platform specifications.

We managed to achieve a 20% overclock with AMD’s low power workhorse and this translated into real world, noticeable gains in all our testing when compared against the reference speeds. Video encoding times were reduced by 6 minutes and even Cinema4D received a little performance related kick in the pants.

The Atom D525 doesn’t even come close to the Zacate E350 with a 200mhz clock advantage, and when clocks are equal the differences are even more apparent. Simply put, the AMD E350 Fusion system outperforms Atom by up to 20% – despite the fact that it’s clocked 200MHz slower.

The Asus custom cooling solution is absolutely brilliant, using such a large heatsink means that the little cooling fan can be removed for a completely silent media experience. Even when overclocked the Asus E35M1-I ran cooler than the reference AMD board at default speeds.

Lets not forget the Armor A30 chassis. It made a perfect partner for the Asus E35 M1-I motherboard, helping to ensure that the heatsink received a fair amount of airflow. The case generates very little noise and has a fantastic cooling methodology. A single 90mm fan pulls in cool air from the front, over the hard drives, and is forced out the back, with ambient, rising heat being sucked out of the top of the chassis. It is a classic cooling methodology that has been proven to work over the years and with Thermaltake’s excellent choice of quality fans, it can easily run 24/7 with only a whisper.

If you are in the market for a low cost high definition media centre, then this Asus and Thermaltake partnership would be our first choice. In the follow up to this article we are going to see if this system is capable of being used as a secondary gaming build, hooked up to a big television. Even though our previous reviews of Fusion technology have used lesser power supplies, our choice of 550W PSU means we can easily slot in a performance graphics card. Is it worth spending extra on a discrete graphics card? If so, which one?

KitGuru says: You do pay a premium for this Asus E35M1-I Deluxe motherboard, but in our opinion it is worth every penny. The Thermaltake Armor A30 is very well put together and offers great cooling proficiency while generating very little noise. Both products earn our highest award.

Cost of Asus/Thermaltake Media system:

Total: £407 inc vat.

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Asus E35M1-I Deluxe Fusion Mainboard

AMD ‘Zacate’ Fusion APU with Integrated Radeon HD6310 graphics

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Rating: 9.0.

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