Jetway NF81-T56N-LF Review (Page 3 of 12)

Page 3 - A Closer Look, Board Layout, Test System

Resembling our previously reviewed Jetway motherboards, the company maintains the same no-frills approach to the construction and design of the NF81-T56N-LF. We can still see the same green colored circuit board that measures in at 17cm by 17cm; just like all other mITX motherboards. Similar to the NC98-525-LF, the NF81-T56N-LF uses 100% solid state capacitors. Solid state capacitors are all the rage these days, due to their improved reliability in the long run. A large aluminum heatsink on the right side with a small fan hides the AMD G-series T56N processor, while the slightly smaller heatsink to the left sits over the Hudson E1 chipset. The fan is required due to the heat generated by the processor and its attached GPU, as it does run hotter than some other embedded processors. There is also a bunch of ports that some users may find useful for commercial applications, as this board is intended for such a market. These include the inverter and LVDS header, COM ports, and other specialized interfaces home users find little need for.

The bottom right corner of the motherboard is where the SODIMM slots are located. Although there may be two slots, it is only possible to run the RAM in single channel configuration, due to the limitations of the Hudson E1 chipset. Installed memory is designed to run at DDR3-800 to DDR3-1066 (PC3-6400 to PC3-8500) with up to 8GB capacity. A 3-pin fan connector can also be seen above the SODIMM slots; this can be used to replace the CPU fan at anytime with a more desirable one if necessary. Of course, underneath the heatsink with the fan is the T56N eOntario CPU. Along the sides, more solid state capacitors can be seen.

Going to the bottom right corner, we find many important input/output connectors; these are topped off our course by the blue SATA 6Gb/s ports. Five of such ports are located here; all of them are natively supported by the Hudson E1 chipset. RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 are all available. There is also a mSATA port on the left side next to the Mini PCIe slot. mSATA ports are commonly used for small SSDs, and could be used in really slim PCs, since this would reduce the size needed in the exclusion of a full size hard drive. The Mini PCIe port could easily be used for something such as an internal WiFi card, which is desirable on embedded systems or HTPCs. Although the target market is not necessarily for HTPCs, but more for digital signage, POS systems and more commercial usages, this does not mean you can use it for such a purpose either. Also found in this corner is the standard 24-pin ATX power connector. This is a welcome addition, since it allows for standard ATX power supplies, which gives more power and are much more easier to find. The usual connectors such as the front panel and speaker headers are also located here. In our photo above, we can also see a Fintek F71869 chip, which is an I/O controller used for hardware monitoring and PS/2 keyboard support.

Located at the top right of the motherboard is the CMOS battery in addition to a series of specialized connectors like the inverter and LVDS header. The second mentioned header is for stuff like laptop screens, making it a very suitable motherboard for embedded or specialized systems. This may include point of sale terminals, semi-portable computers, and many other specialized solutions. Again, more solid state capacitors can be seen here, followed by another 3-pin system fan connector. Slightly visible to the right are two Realtek RTL8111E chips for its dual Gigabit LAN. Located below that is the VIA VT1705 6-Channel HD audio codec and two USB internal headers.

Finally, around the middle is the focal point of this motherboard: The AMD Fusion processor and its chipset. As previously mentioned, the heatsink to the right with the fan on top cools the AMD T56N eOntario processor, while the smaller passively cooled heatsink on the left cools the Hudson E1 chipset. The T56N runs at a clock speed of 1.6GHz, and has a built in AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphics processor. The AMD Radeon HD 6310 utilizes shared main system memory, with no dedicated memory available for the graphics processing unit -- unlike the NVIDIA ION 2 on the Jetway NC98-525-LF. From this angle, we can get a clearer shot of the VIA VT1705 6-Channel HD audio codec, and the two Realtek RTL8111E PCI-E LAN chips located near the top left in our image above.

Unlike most stock Intel Atom builds without any third party graphics, our Jetway NF81-T56N-LF with the AMD Radeon HD 6310 supports more than just the good old analog video output on the back panel. From the left to the right, we have a single PS/2 input port for either a keyboard or a mouse for legacy compatibility, two USB ports, HDMI port, DVI port, VGA port, two Gigabit Ethernet ports, four more USB ports, and three 3.5mm audio jacks. Video is, again, provided by the AMD Radeon HD 6310, which gives much better decoding performance than a stock Intel Atom build. The Jetway NF81-T56N-LF also features more than enough USB 2.0 ports -- with six of them in the back alone. Counting the internal headers, that makes a total of eight USB ports, which should be more than enough for most users. Personally, I would replace the PS/2 connector with a more modern connectors such as eSATA, but there are some commercial applications that could benefit from the PS/2 connector in legacy operations. At the end of the panel, three 3.5mm jacks are powered by the VIA VT1705 6-Channel HD audio codec for up to 6-channel output, where two of the three jacks can be used for multichannel outputs in place of the stock line-in and microphone inputs. This will most likely not to be a big issue, since most common chassis have front panel input jacks for audio anyway.

Our test configuration are as follows. Unfortunately, our closest comparison was the Jetway NC98-525-LF, which uses DDR2 desktop memory; while the Jetway NF81-T56N-LF uses DDR3 SODIMM RAM. Other than that, we tried to keep the two configurations as close as possible, save for the integrated parts. If you look at our specifications listed below closely, you will notice the only common variable is the hard drive, haha.

System 1:
Motherboard: Jetway NF81-T56N-LF
CPU: AMD Brazos eOntario T56N (Embedded - 8*200, 1.60GHz, 1MB L2, 40nm Bobcat)
CPU Cooling Integrated (Motherboard)
Graphics: AMD Radeon HD 6310
Memory: OCZ OCZ3M13332G PC3-10666 1x2GB @ DDR3-1066 8-8-8-24 CR2
Chassis: Apex DM-387
Power: 275W ATX
Sound: VIA VT1705 6-Channel HD audio codec (Integrated)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB 7200RPM SATA
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1

System 2:
Motherboard: Jetway NC98-525-LF
CPU: Intel Atom D525 (Embedded - 9*200, 1.80GHz, 1MB L2, 45nm Pineview, Hyper-Threading enabled)
CPU Cooling Integrated (Motherboard)
Graphics: NVIDIA GT218/ION 2
Memory: Kingston Value Ram PC2-6400 1x2GB @ DDR2-800 5-5-5-18 CR2
Chassis: Thermaltake Element Q
Power: 60W DC
Sound: Realtek ALC662 (Integrated)
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500GB 7200RPM SATA
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1

Page Index
1. Introduction, Features, and Specifications
2. Bundle, Chipset, BIOS
3. A Closer Look, Board Layout, Test System
4. Benchmark: AIDA64 CPU
5. Benchmark: AIDA64 FPU
6. Benchmark: AIDA64 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 (RMAA 6.2.3) Analyzation
12. Power Consumption and Conclusion