Gigabyte, BIOSTAR, MSI offering mini-ITX boards with Celeron Bay Trail chips

MSI recently introduced a small form-factor PC motherboard that comes bundled with a low power Intel Celeron J1800 processor. That makes it one of the first motherboards that DIY PC builders can use to put together a system with an Intel Bay Trail processor. But it’s also notable because it’s cheap. The MSI J1800i is expected to sell for about $60.

But it looks like MSI isn’t the only company to offer a small, cheap, low-power motherboard that could form the basis of a pretty nifty home theater PC (or other low-power system).

Gigabyte and BIOSTAR bother have their own models… and they’re also priced at around $60.

biostar j1800nh

As of early February, 2014 it’s not easy to find any of these system boards in US stores yet, but at least one retailer is taking orders. Directron is offering the Biostar J1800NH for $56.

That’s a pretty good price when you consider that the Intel Celeron J1800 chip alone sells for up to $95 at other stores.

Intel’s Celeron J1800 processor is dual-core chip with a max CPU speed of 2.58 GHz, a GPU that tops out at 792 MHz, and which supports up to 8GB of RAM. The chip is based on the same architecture as the Atom processors found in recent Windows tablets such as the Asus Transformer Book T100 and Dell Venue 8 Pro. But with a TDP of 10 watts, the Celeron J1800 packs a bit more punch than its Atom siblings.
gigabyte j1800-n

The boards from MSI, Gigabyte, and BIOSTAR offer a few SATA ports, PCI Express slots, HDMI, VGA, and Ethernet jacks, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports, and all the other goodies you’d expect from a desktop PC.

You’ll need to supply your own case, power supply, memory, storage, and operating system if you want to turn one of these boards into a fully-functional PC — so these $60 boards aren’t exactly Raspberry Pi killers.

via Fanless Tech

  • min009

    Where’s the quad core option? I would gladly pay extra $15 for it.

    • http://romanovskis.blogspot.com romanovskis

      waiting for j2900

      • D

        Yeah baby. Me too…

  • Jo

    I wonder how much the total hardware costs difference is between these and the fanless Bay Trail NUC (including case, drives, PSU, etc.).

    • D

      I bought the new 2820 Bay Trail NUC and those are $130 without mem and HD. So about $250 built as well. SO these are basically price comparable as the NUCs come with the case and PSU built in. NUC is going to be louder though especially when the fan revs. So these will probably be better since their fanless and you can buy the quad board for only $10 more. Quite the deal.

  • Robo

    Alas only 2 SATA connectors, otherwise these would be great as a base for a small NAS (OK, 16 GB memory would be desirable too).

    • Pete

      The 2 SATA ports and 8 GB limit is a limitiation of Bay Trail-D. For more, you’ll have to spend more for a different chip. If you want to stay with Atoms then you can get a more expensive Intel Avoton or Rangeley based motherboard.

    • D

      What about using an external 4 bay raid enclosure via USB3 or esata to turn it into a FreeNAS box? I was just considering last night something like the Mediasonic HF2-SU3S2 for $99 attached to one of these for a FreeNAS Plex server. Not sure if it’s got the CPU power for that or not though. Anyone know? Looking to build a super low power Plex server that I can leave on that’ll stay 5w idle & up to no more than 25w when rendering. Thought this would be an ideal set up.

  • Robert

    Anyone know of comparisons done between the J1800 and IB/SB Celerons like the 1037U? I was curious if this matches the performance of those because the boards are about the same price. I’m guessing the 1037U has better single threaded performance but didn’t know how multi threaded performance compares. Might be interesting to see how they fare against Kabini boards too.

    I’m glad these are coming out at a low price, the 847 and 1037U boards were almost $100 when they came out, which for that price you can buy buy an H61 or H81 ITX and $40 Celeron box processor which sorta defeats the purpose.

  • jacob019

    If only they had dual NIC.

    • D

      I’ve always been curious why the need for two NICs. Can you fill me in on the benefit?

      • jacob019

        So you can use it as a router. We have several offices all with a single internet connection and a VPN link back to HQ. At each location I have a computer running Linux with two NICs, one for the WAN and one for LAN. The LAN port connects to a switch with many computers wired to it. The computer assigns DHCP addresses and performs NAT to share the Internet connection with the network, it also routes data over the VPN so that all computers at each office behave as though they are one one local network.

      • D

        Ah. I see. Makes sense. Cool. But what OS do you use for it? dd-wrt or some full linux distro? Easy to config?

      • jacob019

        I just use Debian. Only takes 10 minutes to set up after installation. Debian is great because of the package management. There’s no fancy GUI or web interface, but everything just works and there’s tons of support out there. iptables for the NAT and firewall, openvpn for the VPN, and dnsmasq for DHCP and DNS forwarding.

  • PK

    These boards state Windows 8 compatibility. Any chance Windows 7 would work?

    • http://www.fanlesstech.com/ FanlessTech

      In March ;)

  • http://g33ky.de/ Dr. Azrael Tod

    uhh… i’d like to exchange my old atom330-board for one of these… but since they come with the need for standard ATX-Power-Supply, i would have to buy pico-PSU or one of the likes and insert more cables into my computer then i’d like to.

    further thats another step up in the pricing for the whole system

    :-/

  • http://jedibeeftrix.wordpress.com/ Jedibeeftrix

    missed opportunity.

    i like the gigagbyte board, except for:

    i would rather have had the 10w four core celeron at 2.0Ghz, and;
    with only 2x sata slots mSATA would have been far more useful than mPCIE

  • http://home.comcast.net/~tomleem BigGoofyGuy

    I wonder if more will get into assemblying a computer themselves with these low prices for boards? A benefit of assemblying it oneself is one can chose what operating or software one wants to install without having to pay for an operating system or software one does not want.

  • D

    Awesome. I’ll be buying the J2900 Quad version of this MSI board when it hits. Finally fanless. Finally. I’ll also get a PicoPSU & AC adapter and small $40 case for it. Then I’ll just swap out the board every year with the next generation fanless mobo. SO happy they are finally here. I’ve been waiting YEARS for SOC to be powerful enough to do useful tasks. Total price will be around$250 for board, 8Gb mem, PicoPSU, AC adapter, & case. Already have an old 60gb SSD. But even with that, these can be built for $300. Considering they are 5 WATTS IDLE!, and SILENT, that is the big selling point. They run XBMC & Plex flawlessly and surf better than any ARM option out there right now. Full x86 feature set make these the best value on the market right now and in the coming few years will only double in speed while still silent and super low power. I’m sold. I won’t be buying any more power hog, full sized PCs with fans anymore. I’m done with those. It’s a new era. Intel needs to guarantee Win7 driver support tho.