AMD’s Bulldozer microarchitecture was originally designed with mainstream and high-performance applications in mind, but eventually its development took a turn to focus solely on mainstream mobile and desktop PCs. Today, processors based on AMD’s Excavator architecture — the pinnacle of Bulldozer’s evolution — are positioned as entry-level solutions and compete against lower-end products from Intel, including those powered by Atom-class processors that were designed from the ground up to be cheap and energy-efficient. Looking to fill a need for fully integrated motherboards for this market, Biostar has launched a Mini-ITX motherboard that is based on AMD’s Bristol Ridge APU and is meant to compete against Intel’s Gemini Lake-based offerings.

The Biostar A10N-9630E Mini ITX Quad Core SoC motherboard is powered by the A10-9630P with two Piledriver modules clocked at 2.60 GHz – 3.30 GHz (four cores in Bulldozer’s classification) with 1 MB L2 cache per module as well as AMD Radeon R5 GPU with 384 stream processors (GCN 3rd Gen). The SoC has a TDP of 35 W and it was initially designed for laptops as well as compact desktops.

Overall, Biostar compares CPU and GPU performance of the SoC to that of Intel’s Celeron J4105 SoC with four Goldmont Plus cores clocked at 1.50 GHz – 2.50 GHz as well as Intel’s UHD Graphics 600 with a TDP of 10W. Based on Biostar’s benchmarks, AMD’s processor offers a significantly higher CPU efficiency as well as a massively higher GPU performance (see performance figures below).

While AMD’s Bristol Ridge platform is clearly more power hungry than Intel’s Gemini Lake, it is also considerably faster, which is fine for desktop machines. But there is a catch. AMD’s Bristol Ridge has the company’s UVD 6.0 decoder that supports up to H.265 codec version 1 main profile (for 4K content) for 8-bit content, but not VP9. By contrast, Intel’s Gemini Lake has a video decoder that supports both H.265 and VP9 as well as 10-bit HDR (for 4K content). Considering that low-power desktops are usually used primarily for media playback, the Gemini Lake has an edge over the Bristol Ridge.

Since AMD’s Bristol Ridge uses a BGA form-factor, the A10-9630P chip cannot be upgraded. Meanwhile, the A10N-9630E board has everything a typical inexpensive platform does, including a PCIe 3.0 x16 slot that runs in x8 mode (as Bristol Ridge has 8 PCIe lanes for graphics) and allows to install a graphics card that supports all the latest and greatest video decoding capabilities, two DDR4 memory slots supporting two 16 GB DDR4-2400 modules, an M.2-2280 slot supporting SSDs with a PCIe 3.0 x4 or SATA 6 Gbps interface, and two SATA 6 Gbps connectors.

I/O capabilities of the Biostar A10N-9630E are fairly standard for entry-level PCs, so it has two display outputs (a D-Sub for legacy monitors and an HDMI for modern screens with HDCP support), a GbE port with LAN surge protection (controlled by the Realtek RTL 8111H chip), four USB Type-A connectors (two USB 2.0, two USB 3.0), PS/2 ports for mice/keyboards, and 7.1-channel audio connectors.

Brief Specifications of Biostar's Bristol Ridge Mini-ITX Motherboards
  A10N-9630E
CPU AMD A10-9630P APU
PCH integrated
Memory  2 × DIMM slots, up to 32 GB of DDR4-2400
Storage M.2 1 × M.2-2280 SSD with SATA or PCIe 4.0 x4 interface
SATA 2 × SATA HDDs or SSDs
Graphics AMD Radeon R5 integrated GPU
PCIe 3.0 x16 slot operating in x8 mode
Wi-Fi -
WWAN -
Ethernet 1 × GbE (Realtek RTL 8111H)
Display Outputs 1 × D-Sub
1 × HDMI
Audio 7.1-channel audio (Realtek ALC887)
USB Internal 2 × USB 2.0 Type-A
2 × USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
External 2 × USB 2.0 Type-A
2 × USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A
Additional I/O -
Power 24-pin ATX

Biostar has not announced pricing of its A10N-9630E Mini-ITX motherboard, though it made it fairly clear that we are dealing with an entry-level product, so one can make guesses.

Related Reading:

Source: Biostar

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  • PeachNCream - Monday, March 16, 2020 - link

    I agree that it can be frustrating, but its been stated before that Anandtech is not being given pricing information by the companies themselves and it is not for lack of asking. Companies that release this sort of data without including prices do so at their own peril. In any event, we should be careful not to dump blame on AT for the problem. Reply
  • Ghostline91 - Monday, March 16, 2020 - link

    What range can we expect this type of board to cost though Reply
  • MASSAMKULABOX - Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - link

    It cant be too much ..BUT .. itx with , say, j4105 , costs £83 quid ..Its not a massive leap in CPU (300vs400) I'd prefer to see 2x .
    Will keep an eye out , to replace an n3455, idle and full power consumption is an important consideration.
    Can this be overclcocked ? probably not
    Reply
  • KRAKENEMALL - Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - link

    SO OLD.
    MINI ATX ON 300 WATTS RYZEN 3200G HERE FOR $325 WITH SHIPPING ALL TOGETHER AND RUNNING RAM 3000. i CANT GAME UNLESS RES DOWN TO 720P@30 FPS OC.ED 3,8GHZ AND 1600 FOR GPU AND ALL STABLE WITH STOCK COOLER, OTHERWISE IT WAS 720P @ 12 TO 15 FPS AT STOCK STATS.
    WHAT IS THAT A10 GONNA DO BUT SHOP ON AMAZON AND WATCH YOUTUBE TO COMPETE WITH 1O INCH TABLETS?

    AND YOU DARE CALL THAT ENTRY LEVEL , WHAT THE FUCK. HOW ABOUT A DIGITAL WATCH WITH CALCULATOR IS NEXT GEN ENTRY LEVEL? HOW LONG IS THE INDUSTRY GOING TO SHIT ON TECHNOLOGY FOR HIGHER PROFIT?
    Reply
  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - link

    Gemstones of knowledge like the post above are why I read user comments. Thank you for your enlightened and highly articulate thoughts. You said what all of us were really thinking. Reply
  • Kryptonite704 - Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - link

    The all caps lock wall of text just screams sophistication lol Reply
  • lordkiwi - Thursday, September 24, 2020 - link

    I built a NAS using the A10-8800P this march and I love it to death. I went to build a second unit and my motherboard vendor went out of stock on the A10-8800P and offered me a free upgrade to A10N-9630E. I didnt mind the minor upgrade but one thing bothers me. using the NVMe slot disables the onboard SATA. That was not the case on the A10-8800P. Any ideas why? Reply

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