By: Kenneth Kwok
June 3, 2011
For quite some time, Intel has been unopposed in the low budget computing department. From the first underclocked Intel Celeron powered Eee PC, to the latest generation of Intel Atom based computers, this whole sector of the market has been dominated by Intel. The major competitors have tried to get a share of the market before with VIA's Nano and AMD's Athlon Neo, but both have failed in this perilous quest. Most of the problems with these two processors were their availability, interest from consumers and manufacturers, and, for the latter part, power draw and heat. With these processors, the incumbent was basically unmoved and still left with the majority of this market sector. Despite these setbacks, AMD had tried yet again to break into this market. Today, we have one of the first few Brazos based motherboards from Jetway. Jetway is known mostly for their commercial and industrial products, but since the Mini-ITX fad, more and more users are taking a serious look at Jetway. Well today, we managed to get our hands on the Jetway NF81-T56N-LF -- which has an AMD Fusion processor with built-in graphics. It is similar to that of the Intel Atom D525, but they provide an integrated AMD Radeon HD 6310 instead. The processor itself is the AMD eOntario T56N, which is said to perform similar or better in comparison with the Intel Atom D525, and it isn't even the top of the line in the Brazos line of CPUs. So without further adieu, let's take a look at how well the AMD Brazos based Jetway NF81-T56N-LF performs against the well established duo of Intel Atom and NVIDIA's ION 2.
Our review unit of the Jetway NF81-T56N-LF motherboard came in a small white corrugated cardboard box from Jetway's office in Hong Kong. The shipping method used to ship this package was DHL International Express, which took less time than expected to arrive at our Vancouver, BC doorstep. It seems like DHL has really improved for me over the years, as in the past when I used to receive DHL packages, I was always ready to pick it up at the depot. Lately, the packages have been sent when I am around and in good condition as well. Let's just say this is a big improvement from my previous experiences, and I would love for them to continue as they are now.
Our sample unit of the Jetway NF81-T56N-LF came in retail packaging. Similar to all our previous Jetway mini-ITX motherboard reviews, it uses the exact same packaging and front design. The only way to tell the difference is a small label on the rear side of the box that shows the model and the serial number. In terms of design, the classical 'high tech' background is centered around the blue color scheme used around the box; on top of that is the standard "Energy Saving & Environmentally Friendly" motto found at the top left corner in white font. The yellow and white Jetway logo can be found near the bottom right corner. An assortment of icons can also be found around what seems to be an ion ball near the middle of the front flap. Surrounding it is a set of globes that can be found in the background of the same flap. As with the Jetway NC98-525-LF we have reviewed a while back, there are many usages listed on the side of the box. One of which that we like to touch upon in more depth is the 'gaming machine' feature. This may not have been possible on the Jetway NC94FL-510-LF and Jetway NC96FL-510-LF, or at least not it would not be advisable to play some games unless one is up for a slideshow when gaming, but it was certainly a possibility on the Jetway NC98-525-LF. With the Jetway NF81-T56N-LF, this should be possible, thanks to the eOntario processor and its onboard ATI Radeon 6310 (Actually, Jetway says 'gaming' in the context of gambling-gaming -- using their mITX motherboards as an integrated solution in slot machines. -- Editor).
Before we move further along into the review, let's take a look at the specifications as obtained from Jetway's website.
Here is a CPU-Z screenshot of the CPU tab running Jetway's NF81-T56N-LF motherboard, featuring AMD's eOntario T56N processor running at 1.60GHz. For some strange reason, CPU-Z reported it running at 800MHz, which is incorrect, as it runs at 1.60GHz with no throttling support.