Unboxing and closeup:
The Mini E350 comes with a case backplate, two SATA cables, instructions, driver CD, and a Sapphire-branded logo sticker for your case.
The motherboard is very compact, putting some laptop boards to shame. It has seven USB ports, two of them 3.0-capable and one of them doubling as an e-SATA port. An eighth port slot is taken up by the Bluetooth, essentially a mini-USB adapter permanently attached to what could have been another peripheral option. Built-in AGP, DVI, and HDMI ports will make sure you can use any display you’ll need, and the beefy audio system includes an optical SPDIF port.
Taking a short tour of the board, it’s worth noticing that while small, it doesn’t seem cramped at all. That’s due mostly to the AMD E350 chipset and the features integrated into the processor, which saves a lot of motherboard real estate. The processor itself looks drastically under cooled for such a workhorse, but the chip runs at a lower voltage and temperature than other standard processors, eliminating the need for a constant tornado to keep it cool. The board has two SO-DIMM slots (that’s laptop RAM, the best choice for a space-saver) and one PCI-Express 2.0 x16 slot in case the onboard graphics doesn’t cut it for you. There’s also a Mini-PCI port (another laptop feature) for additions like onboard WiFi capability – about the only feature that isn’t already built into the board. Standard motherboard features round out the rest, including a useful status/debug LED that will give easy-to-read error codes in the event of failure. Lastly, the five SATA-3.0 ports are shoved off to the corner of the mainboard, providing a good starting point for wire routing.