Intel's new Atom processor was meant from the beginning to catch the eye. It can offer enough computational power for those that only want to navigate over the Internet, write something in a Word document or listen to MP3s, and it comes with the reasonable low price users wish. The new emerging desktop machines that use the chip, also known as nettops, would require a motherboard fit for the above description. ECS's P945GC is one of them, and we'll take a better look at it today.
The new board comes with almost everything integrated on it. It features an integrated Atom 330 processor, integrated sound, 10/100 Ethernet and integrated graphics. All you need to get it up and running is a piece of DDR2 533 memory and a storage drive. The integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950 has a max Dynamic Video Memory of up to 8MB. The board supports up to 2GB of DDR2 memory. Though it lacks a PCI Express x1 slot and a PCI Slot, the ECS 945GCT-D version has them. The back panel includes PS/2 Keyboard and Mouse ports, 1 COM, 1 D-SUB, 4 USB, 10/100 Ethernet and 6 channel (5.1) audio ports.
The ECS 945GC is a first custom designed board coming with a mini-DTX form factor. It measures up to 200x170mm, which is about ¼ of a regular ATX motherboard. Yet, it can fit into an ATX/MATX casing due to specially designed mounting holes. Most importantly, the board only needs 55 watts to operate, which is amazing in terms of power efficiency. Above all, the price for ECS's product stays in the $75-$99 range.