The launch of Braswell, to replace Bay Trail-D, is going to slowly emerge over the next few months. We reported on the initial launch of SKUs as leaked, but it would seem that MSI is taking point by formally announcing three motherboards in the ECO line. We reviewed the B85M-ECO at the end of last year and came away relatively impressed, stating that this is a market that MSI could seize. At the time I did not know what the next product would be, but Braswell is MSI’s answer.

The three motherboards are all in the mini-ITX form factor, differing only in the SoC under the hood. At the high end is the MSI N3700I ECO with a quad-core Pentium N3700 at 2.40 GHz, followed by the Celeron N3150 (quad-core, 2.08 GHz) and the Celeron N3050I (dual core, 2.16 GHz).  All the boards are reported to support H.265 (HEVC) hardware decoding, and support for 4K via HDMI 1.4b, via the Gen 8 graphics on the Cherry Trail based 14nm SoC.

All the boards have two DDR3L-1600 SO-DIMM slots for support up to 8GB of DRAM along with two SATA 6 Gbps ports, a PCIe 2.0 x1 slot, gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0. The cooler is passive, which for a 6W SoC sounds about right. Judging by the images, we’re looking at a 2.1 audio codec on board (probably the ALC662 normally found in laptops) as well as a COM port and VGA/HDMI ports.

Unfortunately all my MSI contacts seem to be out of office right now, so getting more detailed images for analysis, release dates and pricing is on hold. I will update with more information as we get it.

Source: MSI

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  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - link

    "support for 4K via HDMI 1.4b"

    So it's still 4K30Hz, just like 1.4 and 1.4a. Seems like an odd way to phrase it. HDMI 2.0 or DP should really be mandatory for any new device in this modern 4K age. Honestly it looks like they are just taking whatever leftover parts they have sitting around and pulled a Frankenstein.

    What's the target for this? POS? Home theater? Old man's garage?
  • Mr Perfect - Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - link

    I'm guessing it's for embedded or digital signage use. Just look at that raft of legacy ports: 2x PS/2, Serial, VGA. This is for maximum compatibility with old hardware that no one can bring themselves to replace, so it must be targeted at businesses.
  • nathanddrews - Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - link

    That's the only thing that makes sense. I'd love to see one of these with no legacy ports - just DP, USB 3.1, and dual-NIC.
  • Samus - Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - link

    These aren't targeted at the HTPC market. The GPU likely couldn't handle 4K60Hz very well.
  • Achaios - Friday, April 10, 2015 - link

    What "modern 4k age" are you talking about?

    "When it comes to general users: Roughly 9%-10% of all people are on a 1680x1050 or 1600x900 screen, while 55%-60% of users are on a resolution below 1600x900. The most popular resolution is 1366x768 with an approximate 30% of the global population using it.

    For gamers, approximately 14% use a screen with a resolution of either 1680x1050 or 1600x900. Roughly 45% of gamers are on a resolution below 1600x900, with 1366x768 having a 24% representation. 1366x768 is not the most popular resolution amongst gamers though, since 1080p screens are used by 34% of all gamers."
  • Achaios - Friday, April 10, 2015 - link

    As of mid-2014, Steam's survey shows that 3840x2160 is the primary resolution for 0.01% of its ~75 million users.
  • Valantar - Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - link

    As usual, the amount of SATA ports is disappointing. I'd love one of these for my HTPC, but anything less than four SATA ports is out of the question (and 6 would definitely be preferable). It's the same with the AM1 platform as well. Am I in a very, very small minority, or are motherboard vendors missing out here?

    I know I could get a PCIe controller card, but I'd really like to avoid that.
  • ChefJeff789 - Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - link

    I hope we're not in the minority. I seriously considered building a new HTPC a few months back, and was very disappointed by what low-cost boards I had to choose from, not to mention the dismal state of low-cost HTPC cases. Is it so much to ask for a simple, low-power system that has more SATA ports than I know what to do with? Seems like everyone is moving towards the insanely limited-use BRIX/NUC form factor. I won't mind once 500+ GB SSDs are at the same price point as 1TB HDDs, but for now it's just obnoxious.
  • Flunk - Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - link

    The chipset only supports 2 SATA ports so any more would require a extra controller. Which is why you're not going to see many of these cut-rate low-end boards with more than 2 SATA ports.
  • Flunk - Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - link

    By chipset I mean SoC.

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