By: Jonathan Kwan
July 9, 2010
When we tested the Jetway NC96FL-510-LF and Jetway NC94FL-510-LF mini-ITX motherboards last month, we were pleased with its low power consumption, low space requirements, and low cost. However, for users who still want to retain such attributes to a certain extent, but also want a little more desktop-like performance, the two products as aforementioned with Intel's Atom D510 processor probably aren't going to be your first choice. Fortunately, Jetway has a yet another solution for you. Utilizing AMD's 785G chipset and an AM2/AM2+ CPU socket to accommodate a wide range of AMD desktop processors, you are pretty much only limited by the cooling solution mounted over your processor and how much money you want to spend. Need something cheap and decent? Slapping on an older Athlon 64 X2 will run you less than $50. Want something faster? How does a quad core Phenom sound? Created in conjunction with ATI Radeon HD 4200 integrated graphics, the Jetway NC84E-LF is a significantly more fully featured motherboard than its Atom based counterparts. To see how this mITX board steps up in real life, we took one on, installed it in our custom test configuration, and pulled it through our usual battery of tests. Read on to see what we found!
Our review unit of Jetway's NC84E-LF came in a small corrugated cardboard box from the company's offices in Hong Kong, along with the NC94FL-510-LF mITX motherboard we reviewed a few weeks back. Using DHL International Express, everything arrived to our doorstep halfway across the world safely and securely -- despite the shipping box being a bit beat up like last time, its contents were in mint condition. Here is another one of those infamous DHL stories though: I put the package on hold due to problems with customs charges, and once it was resolved accordingly, I called in to ask for a redelivery attempt. I had to check with DHL three times before the package was redelivered to me -- two days after my most recent call. The fact that it takes more time to reschedule a delivery after numerous calls than it takes for the package to travel from Hong Kong to our offices here in Calgary is particularly interesting in my opinion.
Our review unit of the Jetway NC84E-LF arrived in a retail box. The design of the package consists of a classical high tech background implemented with a predominantly blue color scheme. Jetway's logo and slogan resides at the bottom right corner, while statements such as "Energy Saving and Environmentally Friendly" are situated at the upper left corner. There is a matrix of icons identical on the left and right side of the box, describing the recommended uses of this product -- one of which is 'gaming machine'. Unlike the Atom-based Jetway mini-ITX motherboards I reviewed over a couple weeks, the NC84 is actually a bit closer to living up to this claim, although it unfortunately lacks a PCI Express slot for users looking to install high performance graphics cards. It is important to point out that all Jetway mini-ITX motherboards have identical packaging; the only differentiating property with regards to its contents inside is a small sticker with the model number and very brief specifications on the side of the box. So if you are in a computer store digging through these Jetway motherboards, you will certainly have a lot of fun searching for alphanumeric designations like 'NC94FL-510-LF', 'NC96FL-510-LF', 'NC84E-LF' (Which is already becoming a problem in my closet), and then finding out what the model numbers actually mean, haha.
Before we move on, let's take a look at specifications of the Jetway NC84E-LF, as obtained from the manufacturer's website:
CPU-Z screenshot of the motherboard tab running Jetway's NC84E-LF in Windows 7 Professional x64. At press time, we were using Jetway's BIOS revision dated May 4th, 2010. This is the latest BIOS revision at the time of writing this review.