Looking for an Intel Atom alternative? This might very well be your answer. ASRock has launched the PV530 micro-ATX motherboard, designed to offer a compelling yet energy-efficient computer experience – low cost does not necessarily mean low performance. Using an integrated VIA PV530 central processing unit (CPU) and VIA VX900 IGP chipset, it is targeted at low-power desktop users who seek for the best value-for-money products.
Going into details and numbers, the VIA PV530 processor is based on the ‘Esther’ microprocessor architecture, which uses a low profile NanoBGA2 package measuring just 21mm x 21mm. The PV530 rides on a 800MHz front side bus (FSB) and has a clock speed of 1.8GHz.
The ASRock PV530 has a micro-ATX form factor; perfect for small cases or HTPCs. ASRock is no stranger to introducing unique features, such as front panel USB 3.0 headers on their latest Intel and AMD motherboards. On the PV530, ASRock is allowing two different memory configurations – DDR2 or DDR3, with both types of DIMM slots present.
Integrating all the features of a northbridge and a southbridge, the VX900 is a single-chip Media System Processor, as VIA calls it. While there is hardware acceleration and decoding for major HD video formats, the integrated VIA Chrome9 HCM 3D graphics core only supports up to DirectX 9. However, with the CPU and graphics both already on the mainboard, the ASRock PV530 is still a pretty good deal for building a simple home theatre PC (HTPC).
Furthermore, the PV530 supports Instant Boot, Instant Flash, and overclocking features OC Tuner and OC DNA. For those of you who are new to this, ASRock Instant Flash is a proprietary yet user-friendly BIOS flash utility. It is embedded in the Flash ROM, which is used to update the system BIOS without having to enter operating systems like MS-DOS or Windows.
The OC DNA utility provides a convenient way for user to share overclocking settings with others. It helps you to save your overclocking settings in the operating system and simplifies the complicated recording process of overclocking settings. With OC DNA, you can save your overclocking settings as a profile and send the profile to your friends.
For those who are interested in packaging details, you are going to find some interesting software inside the box. Trial versions of commercial applications such as CyberLink DVD Suite and Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi MB are bundled for your multimedia enjoyment.