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Round-up: 12 Braswell-based Mini-ITX boards

Jun 26, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 15,918 views

[Updated: June 28] — In recent weeks Aewin, ASRock, BCM, BioStar, ECS, and MSI have collectively announced a dozen Braswell based Mini-ITX boards that are all able to run Linux.

In late March, Intel announced four Pentium and Celeron branded processors under the Braswell code name, and earlier this month they reached market. The Braswell chips, which have already shown up on COM Express modules from Adlink, MSC, Nexcom, and Portwell, on a Qseven COM from Congatec, and on a 3.5-inch SBC from Nexcom, offer similar CPUs and GPUs to those of Intel’s Cherry Trail Atoms. However, the Braswell SoCs add desktop-like features such as SATA support.

In recent weeks, a number of Braswell based Mini-ITX board announcements have been filtering in. Here, we’ve collected a dozen Mini-ITX boards from six vendors, although aside from processor differences, there are really only nine distinct board designs that differ in I/O and features. Factoring in different processor choices, you get 17 distinct SKUs.

Nine distinct Braswell Mini-ITX designs, from Aewin, ASRock, BCM, BioStar, ECS, and MSI
(click images to enlarge)

Intel’s Braswell SoCs are to the 14nm “Cherry Trail” Atoms, such as the Atom x5-8300, x5-8500 and x7-8700, what the “Bay Trail-D” Celerons (such as the Celeron N2920) are to the “Bay Trail-I” Atom E3800 SoCs. Like the Cherry Trail Atoms, the Braswell SoCs move up to the much improved Intel Gen8 graphics, thereby supporting up to 4K (3840 x 2160 pixel) resolution. Triple displays are supported, but some of the boards below support only dual displays.

The Braswell chips are as follows, with both TDPs and Intel’s own Scenario Design Power (SDP) designations. Note that even TDP pertains only to the chip’s thermal envelope, not to actual real-world power consumption:

  • Pentium N3700 — 4x Braswell cores @ 1.6GHz (2.4GHz burst); 2MB L2 cache; 6W TDP (4W SDP)
  • Celeron N3150 — 4x Braswell cores @ 1.6GHz (2.08GHz burst); 2MB L2 cache; 6W TDP (4W SDP)
  • Celeron N3050 — 2x Braswell cores @ 1.6GHz (2.16GHz burst); 2MB L2 cache; 6W TDP (4W SDP)
  • Celeron N3000 1x Braswell core @ 1.04GHz (2.08GHz burst) with 2MB cache and a 4W TDP (3W SDP)

BYOL (bring your own Linux)

Although none of these boards overtly mention support for Linux, they all appear to offer standard controllers and functions based on mainstream chipsets, and these typically are well supported for Linux by their silicon vendors. Most of the product pages do list Windows support, however, although a few, such as BCM’s MX3150N, make no mention of OS support at all. Of course, you can load your own Linux on all these boards, but you may be missing out on some useful Windows utilities or applications that are bundled with the products. (On the other hand, Linux fans tend to have all the utilities and apps they need readily available, at no cost.)

Only about half the Mini-ITX boards in this roundup are explicitly described as fanless, which is generally something Mini-ITX vendors like to highlight. However, as far as we could discern, none of the boards we’ve included have fans attached to their processors, and it’s likely that many systems built with these boards can run fanless, depending on the intended environment and expected system loading.

Only one of the boards in our roundup is described as being built in the Thin Mini-ITX form-factor: Aewin’s MB-8305. Of course, they all have the same 170 x 170mm Mini-ITX footprint.

Most of the boards top out at 8GB of RAM, although a few go up to 16GB. All the boards offer gigabit Ethernet and SATA 3.0 (6Gbps) ports, although often only in single helpings, and they all offer mini-PCIe sockets, PCIe slots, or both. Most of the boards have seven or eight USB ports, equally split between 3.0 and 2.0, but most have only four coastline USB ports. The notable exception is ASRock’s Mini-ITX boards, which feature 12 USB ports — six of which are on the rear panel.

When noted by the vendor, the boards are said to support commercial 0 to 60°C temperature operation, although MSI claims its Mini-ITX boards offer “high temperature” support via MIL-STD-810G, so their range may be wider. The ASRock IMB-154 and IMB-155, meanwhile, feature a wide-range power supply.

Next, we take a closer look at our dozen Braswell Mini-ITX boards. Following the discussion, you’ll find a quick-reference chart that summarizes all their key specs, along with links to each board’s product page.

Aewin MB-8305

Aewin’s low-profile “Thin Mini-ITX” board gives you a choice of quad-core Pentium N3700 or Celeron N3150, as well as the single-core Celeron N3000. Dual SODIMM slots let you load up to 8GB of DDR3L RAM.

Aewin MB-8305
(click image to enlarge)

Dual gigabit Ethernet ports are provided as well as dual HDMI ports and an internal 24-bit dual-channel LVDS interface for displays A SATA 3.0 port handles storage duty along with an option for an SSD via an mSATA connection. The latter is supported by one of the two full-size mini-PCIe slots, while the other supports a SIM slot.

The MB-8305 provides an RS232/422/485 COM port, as well as five RS232 headers. Four USB 3.0 ports are available, with two of them on the coastline, and there are two more USB 2.0 connections inside. An audio line-out jack is joined by internal headers for line-in, out, and mic. Additional I/O includes GPIO, SMBus, and an LPC header for an optional TPM module.

ASRock IMB-154 and IMB-155

The IMB-154 and IMB-155 are listed under an industrial section of ASRock’s website, separate from the company’s three, general purpose “ITX” models covered farther below. Unlike the ITX models, the similar IMB boards are not billed as being fanless, and they support only 8GB of DDR3L 1333/1600MHz RAM instead of 16GB.

ASRock’s IMB-154 (left) and IMB-155
(click images to enlarge)

The ASRock IMB-154 is aimed at POS, kiosk, and automaton applications while and IMB-155 targets panel PCs. The IMB-155 lacks the IMB-154’s second SATA 3.0 port, which on the IMB-155 can optionally be used as an mSATA connection. The IMB-154 instead offers a standalone mSATA port.

The IMB-154 also lacks the IMB-155’s PS2 port or three coastline serial ports, two of which support RS-422/485 on the latter model. Instead, the IMB-154 offers internal six serial headers instead of three for the IMB-155. On the IMB-154 two of those support RS-232/422/485.

Otherwise, the two models are the same. They both default to a quad-core Celeron N3150, but other options appear to be available. Displays are supported with coastline VGA and HDMI ports, as well as an internal 24-bit dual-channel LVDS interface that can instead by used for eDP. Unlike some of the models included here, triple displays are possible.

The IMB-154 and IMB-155 rear I/O panels are further equipped with dual gigabit Ethernet ports, audio in and out jacks, and four USB 3.0 ports. Four USB 2.0 connections are available internally, along with a half-size mini-PCIe slot, a PCie x1 slot, a TPM interface, and either 8-bit GPIO or a Parallel port connector. The boards are notable for their wide-range 12-24V DC-In power supplies.

ASRock N3050B-ITX, N3150-ITX, and N3700-ITX

ASRock also offers three fanless Braswell Mini-ITX boards that appear to be aimed at consumers in addition to commercial applications like signage. The dual-core, 2.08GHz N3050B-ITX, quad-core, 2.16GHz N3150-ITX, and quad-core, 2.4GHz N3700-ITX appear to be identical except for the different processor models, which are indicated by the names. The only other apparent difference is the dual-core N3050B-ITX has two SATA 3.0 connections instead of four, and it also lacks a mini-PCIe slot. All three have a PCIe 2.0 x1 slot, however.

ASRock’s N3050B-ITX (left) and N3150-ITX/N3700-ITX
(click images to enlarge)

All the boards support 16GB of DDR3/DDR3L-1600 RAM via dual SODIMM slots, and have DisplayPort, DVI, and HDMI ports, with triple display support. A Realtek ALC892 codec is available for 7.1 CH HD Audio. ELNA audio caps are said to improve audio quality.

The N3050B-ITX, N3150-ITX, and N3700-ITX boards feature 12 USB ports — there are four coastline USB 3.0 ports, with two more on headers, and two USB 2.0 ports, with four more on headers. Other coastline ports include gigabit Ethernet, PS/2, SPDIF audio out, and analog audio jacks. Also provided are four SATA 3.0 ports, as well as headers for a COM port and TPM.

The boards have three operational modes (Eco, Normal, and Sport) with different power/performance ratios. ASRock Full Spike Protection, meanwhile, protects against surges, ESD, and spikes, such as those caused by lightning.


Designed primarily for gaming, medical, and retail applications, BCM’s fanless MX3150N ships with a quad-core N3150 clocked down slightly to 2.08GHz. The board supports 8GB of DDR3L-1600 RAM, and there is only one SATA port.

(click image to enlarge)

The MX3150N stands out with it dual gigabit Ethernet ports, and it also features a PCIe x1 slot and dual mini-PCIe slots, one of which has mSATA support. Triple display support is available via dual DisplayPorts and an HDMI port. There’s also an internal 18/24-bit dual-channel LVDS interface, which can be put to work as an eDP connection.

There are four USB 3.0 coastline ports, plus headers for three more 3.0 ports inside. There are also headers for dual USB 2.0 ports, giving you nine potential USB ports altogether. Also available are four RS232 headers, as well as dual rear-facing audio jacks for the Realtek ALC892 codec.

BioStar N3150NH Ver. 6.x

BioStar makes no claims of fan free operation for its N3150NH Mini-ITX, and the system includes system fan monitoring and a fan header. The N3150NH is touted for its moisture-proof PCB, ESD and surge protection, and a charger booster for up to 42 percent faster charging of iOS devices. You also get some software, including a BioRemote home theater app, but they’re all likely Windows only.

BioStar N3150NH Ver. 6.x
(click image to enlarge)

The BioStar N3150NH lets you load up to 16GB of DDR3L RAM to back up the quad-core Celeron N3150, which is here said to run at 1.6GHz with a turbo boost to 2.08GHz. The system offers dual SATA 3.0 connectors, a PCIe slot, and a rear-facing gigabit Ethernet port. Other coastline I/O include HDMI, VGA, audio, and PS2 keyboard and mouse ports.

Also on the coastline are a pair each of USB 3.0 and 2.0 ports. There are two more USB 2.0 and one more USB 3.0 interfaces available internally, giving you a total of seven USB ports. Other internal I/O includes printer, serial, fan, and audio headers.


The BSWI-D from Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) appears to be a fan-cooled system, judging from its pair of smart fan connectors. Highlights are said to include ESD protection, Realtek ALC662 6-channel audio, ECS Durathon Technology for better reliability, and support for Intel VRD (Voltage Regulator-Down) 12.1 technology. There is also an assortment of Windows 8.1 software, including an ES Intelligent EZ Utility app.

(click image to enlarge)

The BSWI-D lets you choose from Pentium N3700, Celeron N3150, or N3050 processors. Up to 8GB of DDR3L-1600 RAM is supported. The system provides a gigabit Ethernet port, plus HDMI 1.4, VGA, audio, and PS2 ports on the rear panel.

Also on the coastline are a pair each of USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports. Three more USB 2.0 interfaces are available internally for seven USB ports total.

Other internal I/O includes a half-size mini-PCIe slot, dual SATA 3.0 ports, dual serial ports, and a Parallel port. There’s also an LVDS interface, but BSWI-D supports only two simultaneous displays instead of three.

MSI N3050I ECO, N3150I ECO, and N3700I ECO

MSI was one of the first companies to announce Braswell-based Mini-ITX boards back in April. The similar N3050I ECO, N3150I ECO, and N3700I ECO are touted for their fully passive cooling solutions. The processor options differ, as indicated in their names, but otherwise the three boards look to be identical.

MSI’s N3050I ECO, N3150I ECO, and N3700I ECO share a common design
(click image to enlarge)

The MSI boards support up to 8GB of DDR3 1333/1600MHz, and offer dual SATA 3.0 ports. On the rear I/O panel, you’ll find a serial port, audio jacks, PS2 connectors, and VGA and HDMI ports for dual displays. There is also a gigabit Ethernet port, as well as four USB ports, split between 3.0 and 2.0 ports, and four more equally split internal USB connections.

Other internal I/O includes a PCIe slot, two more serial connections, and a TPM header. The MSI Mini-ITX boards are said to offer “Military Class 4” protection (MIL-STD-810G) against ESD, EMI, humidity, and high temperatures, but no details were provided.

The boards are also touted for M-Flash for storing BIOS data to a USB flash disk, as well as fast boot and automated “Live Updates.” These are probably all Windows only, however.

Summary table and further information

Pricing and availability were usually not listed for the above Mini-ITX boards, but they should all be shipping soon. The table below summarizes the key specs of all of the Brasswell-based Mini-ITX roundup.

Summary of key specifications
(click image to enlarge)

More details on all these boards may be found in the links below:


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6 responses to “Round-up: 12 Braswell-based Mini-ITX boards”

  1. dezldog says:

    TY for the info, but it would be crazy cool to see these features in a matrix!

  2. sst says:

    no one have cir ?

  3. steve says:


    All nice boards, but I have not found a place to shop/buy rhe ones I am interested in Aewin and BCM – it is like they are exclusive for industry only.

  4. Stan says:

    Hi. Thanks for the review! It would be helpful to know whose NICs are being used. It’s been my experience that Intel NICs are close to 10 times faster than RealTek, Marvell, etc., NICs, After discovering this, I will only consider motherboards with Intel NICs. Best regards.

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