By: Jonathan Kwan
June 4, 2010
Quick: Name all the differences between the Jetway NC96FL-510-LF and NC94FL-510-LF. It is a '4' rather than a '6' in the name, you say? Well... I guess you are technically correct, haha. Now, repeat the names of both products without looking back. Yeah. I don't know about you, but personally I did not find the name very memorable at all. After writing an entire review on Jetway's NC96FL-510-LF mini-ITX motherboard a couple weeks ago, I still resort to copying and pasting the model number every single time! That said, if you look past the complicated alphanumeric naming scheme currently employed by Jetway, the company actually makes a pretty impressive line of mini-ITX motherboards. While the Jetway NC96FL-510-LF features the same Intel Atom D510 dual core processor as the NC94FL-510-LF we are reviewing today, the latter lacks an integrated DC to DC converter, and therefore does not need a direct 12V DC input from an external power brick. There are a few fundamental technical differences as well. While the NC96 has four of its PCI Express lanes provided by the NM10 chipset to a mini-PCIe slot, Gigabit LAN, and two Serial ATA ports, the NC94 has all four lanes routed to a single PCI Express x4 slot in place of a standard PCI slot. This means the NC94FL-510-LF has more flexibility when it comes to modern add-on card upgrades, and generally better compatibility because it accepts standard ATX plugs for it to easily be fired up and made ready to go. Generally speaking, the differences extend beyond just its name and power delivery method. At about $10 cheaper than the NC96 at press time, how well does this motherboard step up in application? Read on to find out!
Our review unit of Jetway's NC94FL-510-LF came in a small corrugated cardboard box from the company's offices in Hong Kong, along with the NC84E-LF mITX motherboard we are reviewing in a couple of weeks. 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, all of 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 NC94FL-510-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 for recommended uses of this product -- one of which is 'gaming machine'. Even though it has a PCI Express x4 slot, I am sure a product with an Intel Atom D510 and integrated graphics would make a hardcore 'gaming machine'! 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. 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 NC94FL-510-LF, as obtained from the manufacturer's website:
CPU-Z screenshot of the CPU tab running Jetway's NC94FL-510-LF motherboard, featuring Intel's Atom D510 dual core with Hyper-Threading processor. We have certainly made some serious progress in the past few years, seeing how even low budget CPUs are now readily available in dual core configuration nowadays!
1. Introduction, Features, and Specifications
2. Bundle, Chipset, BIOS
3. A Closer Look, Board Layout, Test System
4. Benchmark: EVEREST CPU
5. Benchmark: EVEREST FPU
6. Benchmark: EVEREST Memory
7. Benchmark: PCMark Vantage
8. Benchmark: 3DMark06 Professional
9. Benchmark: PassMark PerformanceTest 7.0
10. Benchmark: SuperPI 1M, Cinebench R11.5
11. Onboard Sound Frequency Analysis
12. Power Consumption and Conclusion