The ASRock D1800M is a microATX motherboard that comes with a Celeron J1800 “Bay Trail-D” dual-core CPU soldered. It has one USB 3.0 and two SATA-300 ports, but its highlights are actually its low TDP and low cost.
The Celeron J1800 is an SoC (System on a Chip), meaning it has the CPU, GPU, memory controller, and chipset in the same chip. Even with all these components, the chip dissipates only 10 W. Despite its name, the Celeron J1800 is an Atom CPU targeted to desktop computers. It runs at 2.41 GHz (2.56 GHz boost clock) and has 1 MiB of L2 cache.
The Bay Trail-D family has also four-core processors, under the Celeron (Celeron J1850 and J1900) and Pentium (Pentium J2850 and Pentium J2900) brands, all of them with 10 W TDP, so you can find similar motherboards based on those quad-core processors too.
You can see the ASRock D1800M motherboard in Figure 1. It uses the microATX form factor, measuring 8.9” x 7.2” (226 x 183 mm).
Figure 1: ASRock D1800M motherboard
The ASRock D1800M comes with one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (which actually runs at x1 speed) and two PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots. This means that the speed of an add-on video card will be limited by the low communication speed with the CPU.
We missed an M.2 (or even an mSATA) slot that would allow us to install an SSD module on the motherboard and also a Mini PCI Express slot for installing a Wi-Fi card based on this form factor.
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The Celeron J1800 CPU can access DDR3L (low voltage) memory up to 1,333 MHz, in dual-channel mode. According to ASRock, the D1800M supports memories up to 1,333 MHz.
The motherboard has two memory sockets, being compatible with low voltage (1.35 V) and standard (1.5 V) memory modules. Notice that the D1800M uses standard desktop modules, while some other motherboards based on the same processor use smaller SODIMM (laptop) modules.
You can install up to 16 GiB on this motherboard if you use two 8 GiB modules.
Obviously, you have to install two memory modules in order to enable dual channel access, which is recommended if you want to achieve the best performance possible.
Figure 3: memory sockets; install two modules for the best performance
[nextpage title=”On Board Peripherals”]
The Celeron J1800 CPU supports two SATA-300 ports, and the ASRock D1800M motherboard brings only those two ports, as shown in Figure 4.
The Celeron J1800 CPU supports six USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port. The ASRock D1800M offers six USB 2.0 ports, three at the rear panel and three available through two headers located on the motherboard, and one USB 3.0 port at the rear panel.
The motherboard does not support FireWire or Thunderbolt ports.
The motherboard supports 5.1 audio format, generated by the processor with the aid of a Realtek ALC662 codec, which offers a signal/noise ratio (SNR) of 98 dB for the analog outputs and 90 dB SNR for the analog inputs, with 24 bit resolution and up to 96 kHz sampling rate. These specifications are reasonable for the market this motherboard was designed.
The portrayed motherboard has one Gigabit Ethernet port controlled by a Realtek RTL8111GR chip.
In Figure 6, you can see the motherboard rear panel with two PS/2 connectors for keyboard and mouse, VGA output, DVI-D output, three USB 2.0 ports, HDMI output, one USB 3.0 port, Gigabit Ethernet port, and the shared 5.1 analog audio jacks.
Figure 5: motherboard rear panel
In Figure 6, you can see the accessories that come with the ASRock D1800M.
[nextpage title=”CPU and Voltage Regulator”]
In Figure 7, you can see the Celeron J1800 CPU without its passive cooler, and the voltage regulator of the ASRock D1800M, which uses only two phases. Since the TDP of the chip is only 10 W and there are no overclocking options, the voltage regulator circuit is not really crytical in this motherboard.
Figure 7: voltage regulator circuit
The ASRock D1800M uses only solid capacitors, and all coils on this motherboard are ferrite ones.
If you want to learn more about the voltage regulator circuit, please read our tutorial on the subject.
[nextpage title=”Main Specifications”]
The main specifications for the ASRock D1800M include:
- Socket: FCBGA1170 (Celeron J1800 2.41 GHz CPU soldered to the motherboard)
- Chipset: embedded in the CPU
- Super I/O: Nuvoton NCT6776D
- Parallel ATA: none
- Serial ATA: two SATA-300 ports controlled by the CPU
- External SATA: none
- USB 2.0: six USB 2.0 ports, three at the rear panel and three available through two headers on the motherboard
- USB 3.0: one USB 3.0 port, on the motherboard rear panel
- FireWire (IEEE 1394): none
- Thunderbolt: none
- On-board video: Intel HD, embedded in the CPU; one VGA, one DVI-D, and one HDMI connectors
- On-board audio: produced by the chipset together with a Realtek ALC662 codec (5.1 channels, 24-bit resolution, 96 kHz sampling rate, 98 dB SNR for the outputs, and 90 dB SNR for the inputs)
- On-board LAN: one Gigabit Ethernet port controlled by an Realtek RTL8111GR chip
- Buzzer: no
- Infrared interface: no
- Power supply required: ATX
- Slots: one PCI Express 2.0 x16 slot (working at x1), and two PCI Express 2.0 x1 slots
- Memory: two DDR3-DIMM sockets (up to DDR3-1333, 16 GiB maximum)
- Fan connectors: one three-pin connector for the CPU cooler, and one three-pin connector for an auxiliary fan
- Extra features: none
- Number of CDs/DVDs provided: one
- Programs included: motherboard utilities and drivers
- More Information: https://www.asrock.com/
- Average Price in the U.S.*: USD 60.00
* Researched at Newegg.com on the day we published this First Look article.
The ASRock D1800M is clearly aimed at users who wants to build a desktop computer, spending as little money as possible. The motherboard has only the already few features of the Celeron J1800 chip: two SATA-300 ports and one USB 3.0 port. It is a lot less than most mainstream motherboards, but it is what you will actually need to build a super-inexpensive desktop computer with one hard disk drive. The lone USB 3.0 port allows you to use a high-speed external drive and also external devices such as digital cameras, tablets, and smartphones.
The TDP of only 10 W is another highlight, since it allows you to save money on the power supply, cooling, and your energy bill. And, if you keep in mind that the motherboard with the CPU costs only about USD 60, you will have to agree that it provides a terrific bang for the buck.
The only things we actually missed were one M.2 (or even mSATA) slot and a Mini PCI Express slot to install a Wi-Fi card.
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