In the past, our customers never quite took to Mini-ITX boards designed around the AMD mobile processor platform. We carried a few AMD-based mainboards with some Geode and Mobile Turion 64 X2 options, but the demand for them was slim. When a supplier would introduce a new platform that used an AMD mobile processor, we would give the board/system due consideration. But when we compared this board/system to a similarly priced Intel Core 2 Duo option with comparable features, it just didn’t make sense to bring it in. And, our customers didn’t seem to mind.
And, the focus here is on mobile processors, not desktop ones.
But, now enters Fujitsu, a major technology provider with a strong global presence. They announced their first Mini-ITX board in June 2009, the Industrial D2703-S. Our product team eyed this board with great interest. Yeah, it was an AMD mobile platform, but it was so packed with unique features, we couldn’t resist bringing it in. And, it was a Fujitsu board. German engineered and German manufactured—this makes a huge difference in quality. I know, because I have a 1996 VW Jetta, and that car is incrediby reliable and well designed. I am always baffled by how much trunk space I actually have because, from the outside, it doesn’t seem like I would be able to fit a refrigerator in there, but I’m pretty sure I can. Okay, maybe a mini fridge…
The D2703-S was not available from any U.S.-based distribution channel until now. We’re carrying just one version for the time being—the D2703-S with an AMD Mobile Turion 64 X2 1.8 GHz (TL-56) processor. A fanless Mobile Sempron version is available for project customers. We hear there will be more Mini-ITX options coming soon, so our hope is to offer a larger selection as these boards become available.
Here’s a quick run-down of the specs:
- Temperature-dependent cooler controlling and monitoring via internal microcontroller
- Dual Gb LAN
- Trusted Platform Module (TPM 1.2)
- PCI- and PCI Express-Support, (PCIe x1)
- 4x SATA connectors with RAID 0, 1, 1+0
- 8x USB 2.0 support
- CompactFlash Slot (vertical) – this is awesome because so many motherboard manufacturers put CF slots on the bottoms of boards without realizing they’re creating a possible incompatibility with many of our Mini-ITX enclosures
- 2x IEEE 1394 FireWire 400 (one back panal port and one onboard connector)
- LVDS connector and LVDS inverter, DVI-I, VGA
- Integrated ATI Radeon X1250 Graphics
Power is supplied by either an external 24-volt supply (board has integrated power) or an ATX-power supply unit. This was such a draw for us! Typically, mainboards with integrated power are much more expensive than ones without and most Mini-ITX enclosures come standard with a power supply, so you pay twice for a power source. The D2703-S allows for either/or, without such a hefty price tag. With a 1.8 GHz AMD Mobile Turion 64 X2 TL-56 processor, this board comes in at $319. A 24-volt, 120-watt AC adapter can be added for $35.
And, for project customers looking to standardize on a platform, the D2703-S features an extended lifetime of up to 5 years. Not to mention, the technical support and automated product change notifications are really impressive.
Some other items to note: The D2703-S also offers a Silent Fan Function. A microcontroller controls and monitors all connected fans based on temperatures (processor and chipset), and provides for silent and stable system operation without failures due to overheating. Using the Silent Drives Function, HDDs and ODDs can be switched into a quiet mode via the BIOS, thus considerably reducing the systems noise level. Also, it features a BIOS Recovery Function, so BIOS recovery is possible even if the system BIOS fails.
We’ve also tested this board in most of our enclosures: you can see which Mini-ITX cases it’s compatible with here. Our only real beef with this board so far: the height of the heat sink and fan combo isn’t ideal.