Alerted by one of STH’s awesome readers, it seems as though ASUS is now offering at least three Intel Avoton motherboards based on the Intel Atom C2550 and C2750 SoCs. ASUS is taking a somewhat interesting approach by offering additional hard drive or SSD connectivity but also adding a M.2 SSD slot. All four of the new ASUS offerings will utilize the Avoton’s onboard Intel i354 controller and Marvell PHY. This combination is now supported out of the box with the most recent Ubuntu and CentOS versions among others. All three motherboards are based on a 6.7″ x 6.7″ mini-ITX form factor.
Low Cost Entry Motherboard – ASUS P9A-I/C2550/4L
In what is likely to be the least expensive of the trio of new motherboards, the P9A-I/C2550/4L combines quad gigabit LAN with an M.2 SSD slot (which disables one of two SATA III slots if used), Intel Atom C2550 SoC, and two full sized DDR3 DIMMs. There also appears to be a PCIe 2.0 x4 electrical slot with a x8 PCIe connector.
Low Cost Storage Platform – ASUS P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L
ASUS here takes the value model above and adds dual Marvell 88SE9485 controllers sporting four SFF-8087 Mini-SAS connectors. Combined with the two onboard ports (or one SATA 6.0gbps port plus one M.2) for a total of 18 drives that can be connected to this platform.
Higher-end Storage Platform – ASUS P9A-I/C2750/SAS/4L
Essentially this platform is very similar to the ASUS P9A-I/C2550/SAS/4L. One gets the dual Marvell 88SE9485 controllers but ASUS changes the SoC from a quad core Intel Atom C2550 to an eight core Intel Atom C2750, effectively doubling multi-threaded performance.
Overall this is a great development as the market is certainly heating up. These Intel Avoton processors have significantly better performance than previous generations of parts and with at least four major manufacturers supporting barebones platforms now (excluding solutions like the HP Moonshot cartridge), this is great for potential consumers.