I'm amazed at the power that we are getting from these tiny PCs. It was only a few years ago that netbooks were all the rage and now everyone has moved on to these tablets. HP just had that big sell off because of their failed sales. $400 tablets went for $99. People ate them up in a flash. The only problem was that these tablets didn't sell for a reason. That would be the WebOS that is installed on them. It is all unfamiliar to all the Apple and Android junkies out there. Therefore, there is a complete lack of good third party support. It's one of HP's pitfalls when it comes to their devices.




Now, back to the topic of computing. AMD had recently launched their Llano lineup of processors that was poised to hit the small and mobile computing market hard. We saw the technology enter many areas with good reviews. We were introduced to the FCH term (Fusion Controller Hub if you still don't know) and shown it's positive impact. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to truly see Llano in it's optimal environment. My only FM1 motherboard has been a full sized ATX motherboard. Llano was made for small computing, as such I need to see the APU in something smaller. Unfortunately, I can't run out and buy a new Llano notebook. I'll have to use the next best thing.



Enter the Gigabyte GA-A55M-DS2 microATX motherboard. The GA-A55M-DS2 was designed for budget multimedia computing. The GA-A55M-DS2 features the A55 FCH which is the little brother to the A75. This means that there is no USB 3.0 or SATA 3.0 support. However, there are 8 USB 2.0/1.1 and 4 SATA 3Gb/s ports inside. This supports up to 32GB of 1.5V DDR3 memory with speeds up to 1866MHz. Sound is controlled with a Realtek/VIA HD codec and there is a Atheros GbE LAN chip onboard. AMD Dual graphics is supported with the A55 FCH. This means the APU can be paired with a discreet GPU in Crossfire for boosted graphics performance. Gigabyte also features their "Ultra Durable 4" technology which offers humidity, electrostatic, heat, and power failure protection.