Asus AT3N7A-I as the best choice for your Full HD Mini HTPC?


I have published an article about this great motherboard before (right here), but I believe that this awesome piece of hardware deserves to be described in much more details. I believe that this is most powerful Mini-ITX motherboard with such functionality. You probably will ask in this place “Why do I think so??? There is quite a few motherboards with similar CPU…”.

Yea… there is… But this board have something more! It have an integrated ION platform! It is a solution you really want to have included on your mini htpc! Thanks to ION your computer will be able to decode and play a real Full HD movies without any CPU usage!

Most of you will now say…”So what?? There are great Zotac motherboards with same chipset… Who cares about another one made by Asus…??”.

Don’t you really see the difference?? Ok… there is no rush… Let’s look on both motherboards:

Zotac IONITX VS Asus AT3N7A-IDo you see it? Really? You don’t??? Yes I know that ZOTAC have integrated WiFi Lan card… So what??? Asus have gigabit LAN card you can connect to your router and it is much better for sharing multimedia with your LAN than any WiFi (besides you may connect it to router with WiFi…). But it is not the difference I am talking about… I can not believe you can’t see it… Please look closer… Ohh… Ok… let me show it:

Asus VS Zotac - PCI slotYes… I know that ZOTAC have a mini PCIe slot or you may put something on USB… But have you ever seen any good tv tuner on mini PCIe or USB??? Even if you did… how much does it cost??? ZOTAC was first to release Mini ITX motherboard with ION. It’s why this motherboards are so popular… but if you want to build real HTPC with possibility to record or timeshift Live TV you must have PCI slot!

Currently I have my mini HTPC build on Epia MII12000. It is old motherboard but it is really cool because of it’s hardware MPEG2 decoder. I use it with my great TV tuner – Hauppauge WinTV-PVR-350 that have hardware MPEG2 encoder. It let me to watch and record TV without CPU usage. And I would definitely expect the same from my future motherboard when I upgrade to ION ( Full HD rules 😀 ). With some cheap PCIe or USB tuner I can not expect it! And I do not want to use my CPU for it as such HTPC may be doing a lot of other things (lan storage, web server, security monitoring etc) that would not be possible when I need CPU for multimedia features.

Additionally I do not want to spend a few hundred bucks for new TV card when I will upgrade my HTPC. My current one is doing really great job so why should I get rid of it? It is why I believe that the best choice from ION motherboards on the market is ASUS. And what is your opinion..? Please share in the comments.

This motherboard is available at Amazon: Asus AT3N7A-I

1 Responses to “Asus AT3N7A-I as the best choice for your Full HD Mini HTPC?”

  • Personally, I think that the Asus M4A88T-I Deluxe is a far better board as this comes with both full PCI slot and also onboard Wifi plus it allows you have control over which CPU goes into it.

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