ECS KBN-I + AMD E1-2100 "Kabini" APU
In a very good deal, the ECS KBN-I/2100 mini-ITX motherboard that features an AMD E1-2100 dual-core "Kabini" APU can be found for just over $30 USD. How though is the performance of this ultra low-cost motherboard + APU combination when it costs less than a Raspberry Pi? Here are some benchmarks and the Linux impressions.
The ECS KBN-I/2100 motherboard sports the E1-2100 Kabini APU and normally sells between $60 and $85 USD depending upon the Internet retailer. Last week with a deal at NewEgg where it was priced for $57 USD with a mail-in-rebate that dropped the price to $33 USD, I decided to pickup the board. I'm not too interested in a dual-core Kabini being the performance junky that I am and with already being very satisfied with AMD's Kaveri on Linux, but at just over $30 USD it's an unbeatable combination for a low-power APU with mini-ITX motherboard.
The KBN-I/2100 mini-ITX motherboard has the E1-2100 processor passively cooled with an aluminum heatsink that covers nearly half of the motherboard. The E1-2100 APU features integrated Radeon HD 8210 graphics, two CPU cores running at 1000MHz, support for up to DDR3-1333MHz memory, and has a 9 Watt TDP. Intel's Bay Trail on Linux (be sure to read our Bay Trail NUC Linux performance article) ends up being more appealing, but for the low-cost this dual-core Kabini should be some interesting competition.
The ECS KBN-I/2100 has two DDR3 memory slots that support up to 32GB of DDR3-1333MHz system memory and there's one PCI Express x16 2.0 slot for those wishing to install a discrete graphics card (there will be a Radeon HD 8210 vs. discrete GPU Linux graphics comparison coming later on Phoronix). For storage, there are two Serial ATA 3.0 connectors.
This motherboard has a VIA VT1705 audio CODEC and for Gigabit Ethernet is an RTL8111E ASIC. USB connectivity on this low-cost mini-ITX motherboard includes two USB 3.0 ports and six USB 2.0 ports.
Real I/O panel ports include a single PS/2 port, one serial port, the standard analog audio ports, one HDMI port, one analog VGA output, two USB 3.0, and four USB 2.0 ports.