IntroductionMicroATX boards at the ready !
AMD has always been a popular choice for budget systems. Its chips' high work-per-clock-cycle ratio and moderately low price point has made it a favourite amongst smaller system integrators. Just look at the number of AMD-based systems that are currently being flouted on eBay. However, AMD isn't just about budget price and modest performance. The all-new FX-5x and Athlon 64 Clawhammer processors have pushed up AMD's top-end performance to, arguably, beyond Intel's current reach.
Power can come in small packages, too. Our recent look at a number of SFF (Small Form Factor) systems left us with a favourable impression. They offered features that went above and beyond a number of regular boards', amalgamated this into a cute chassis, and they looked good on your desktop. SFF systems are fine if you're building once and once only. It's kind of a pain to have to change components over in a congested area. The middle ground between a SFF PC and a standard, large case lies with the microATX format.
MicroATX motherboards, literally square in form, can reside in smaller cases with accompanying smaller PSUs. The idea is to take away unused, unnecessary PCB space yet keep stability and the features count intact. Today we're having a look at two curious microATX boards from Biostar. Both revolve around AMD's chips, but the significant difference is in the chips' architecture. Let's take a closer look.