When we looked at AMD’s Kabini platform, AMD in its press materials pitted their high end APU against the Pentium J2900 in terms of price and performance. The only issue from the reviewer’s standpoint was the availability of the Pentium J2900 in a retail product. At the time, the J2900 was found only in OEM devices, or a single system was found through Google Shopping. Fast forward a few months and we are now seeing a small wave of J2900 motherboards coming to market for custom home builds. ASRock look poised to release the Q2900-ITX and Q2900M to meet that demand.

As both motherboards are using the quad core J2900 at 2.40 GHz (2.66 GHz turbo) and 10W, both are supplied with large fanless heatsinks to provide the cooling. The CPU is soldered on to the motherboard (this is an Intel limitation) meaning upgrading is not possible, but the CPU does offer dual channel DDR3, 2 MB of L2 cache and Intel HD graphics.

The Q2900-ITX is an ITX motherboard that relies on SO-DIMM DDR3 memory. The standard Atom chipset ports are here – two SATA 6 Gbps, two SATA 3 Gbps, four USB 3.0 ports, a PCIe 2.0 x1 slot, a mini-PCIe slot (for WiFi) and three standard video outputs (VGA, DVI-D, HDMI).

The Q2900M goes up to the micro-ATX size, which affords use of full-sized DDR3. Note how each of the DDR3 DIMMs are at right angles to each other, which comes across as really, really odd.  The PCIe lane layout is a little different, giving a full sized PCIe slot capable of PCIe 2.0 x4. There is also two other PCIe 2.0 x1 slots, however judging by other motherboards of this ilk, using the PCIe 2.0 x4 will disable the other PCIe ports or vice versa.

Pricing and availability is not yet announced.

Source: XtremeHardware

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  • nathanddrews - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    ECS has a fanless J2900 board for $105, so I would assume that this one (with better features) to be at least $20 more. Toss in a fanless GTX 750 and it would make quite a capable, silent, little gaming machine.
  • Cygni - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    I've currently got a 35w Ivy Bridge underclocked that can handle multiple concurrent streams well, but the fan is definitely kicking on to get it done. I just don't have faith that Bay Trail can handle stream encoding, plus Windows background processes, plus running the Media Center GUI. If it hurts an Ivy Bridge, I feel like you would probably need a Haswell to do this at a lower wattage. Hard to say without some tests *COUGH COUGH* Ian or Anand, looking at you *COUGH*

    It's just frustrating because every year I'm hopeful that we will hit the holy grail (a truly fanless HTPC internal cabletuner box), and it seems perpetually a few years away.
  • StrangerGuy - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    I dunno why fanless it's such a omghuge deal when I can do that on a 3+ year old 2500K clocked all the way down to 1.6GHz at <10W and still beats the living crap out of baytrail. On an ITX board with full PCI-E 16x to boot.
  • speculatrix - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    I think you misunderstand the purpose of the board then. There are loads of small motherboards which can be fitted with Haswell CPUs, and I'm sure you could make one fanless or virtually fanless.
  • mczak - Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - link

    I don't think the PCIe slot can be x4, the specs don't seem to mention it neither. Baytrail-D/M only has 4 pcie lanes in total, so unless there's a pcie bridge chip (unlikely in this price bracket imho) a populated x16 slot would not only mean disabling the PCIe slots but disabling the (realtek) LAN as well which is probably unacceptable. So, my guess is the full sized PCIe slot is mostly there for looks, being x1 as well (the other possibility is that it's x2, disabling one of the other slots if populated).
  • Morawka - Wednesday, August 6, 2014 - link

    if the price is right, this is a great way to make your own NAS. ReadyNAS 2 bay with a lot less specs cost you $400 with no drives. This will probably be $120 + $50 case and you got a value NAS
  • asendra - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    THIS. Put this inside a FD Node 304, which allows up to 6 3,5" HDs, and you have a very decent and stylish NAS for much less than a Synology 414 would cost.
    You could even install Xpenology on it if you want to have all the features Synology Nas have.
    Hell, you could install a full blown windows or linux and have a NAS + media player all in one, even steam streaming in a not so far future. Yeah you could do this before cheaply with amd chips, but with much higher power consumption.
    Only think missing is dual LAN for link aggregation.
  • mcknig.k - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    I am in the process of building a NAS + media player/server. I had originally thought of using an i3-4150 and Gigabyte H97n m-ITX board. This seems like a much cheaper alternative ($120 cheaper to be exact). But with only two SATA3 ports, you think this would serve NAS well?
  • asendra - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    Well, I'm not an expert but It should work well enough. It's definitely faster than the CPUs NAS vendors use, and easier to upgrade ram etc. This board only has two SATA ports, but there are board s with 4 ports and a J1900, the predecessor to this ones, so they should be releasing more options with different connections soon.
    Yo could always add a pcie adapter with more SATA ports also, if you don't need the pcie port for anything else.
    The only use cases where I could see it struggling with would be transcoding of 1080p video, and if you were to use ZFS for your NAS drives with compression, and deduplication etc
    Which OS and which case were you looking to use?
  • frenchy_2001 - Thursday, August 7, 2014 - link

    SATA3 is only required if you use SSD. No HDDs can deliver 300MB/s+ of continuous bandwidth (most HDDs peak around 150MB/s lately, so even SATA1 would be barely limiting).
    The 4 SATA ports may be a restriction if you intend to have many drives, but SATA2 will not. Might even be interesting to have your OS drive on USB and then use all 4 ports for storage...

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