The MINIX 890GX-USB3 is another one of the increasing number of Mini-ITX boards on the market. This new form factor has sort of blown up lately and a number of manufacturers have jumped in with their offerings with everything from the P55 to the P/H67 being offered in this format.
One item that is of concern with the MINIX design is the 20-Pin ATX power connector. We found this a little odd given that 24-Pin has been the standard for a few years now. It also makes us wonder if we are going to have power issues as we push the 95 Watt CPU envelope. Another item that may shy people away from this board design is the need for DDR3 SO-DIMMs. These can get expensive if you are looking for higher speed or capacity. We are very happy to see the solid caps (from a good vendor, too).
After seeing the 20-pin connector for power, we were even more surprised to see a single 4-pin Aux power connector. The cooling on the power regulators is decent, but it is not a firm connection. You can lift it up off of the components very easily. This is a concern for our future testing, especially since we are going to be trying to run the board at over its rated power draw.
Looking at the shot below, you can see that this board is cramped! The 4-pin header visible is the one you are supposed to use for the CPU. Can you imagine trying to get the CPU cooler connected to that? I can and it can be quite a pain. Thankfully there are two other 4-pin fan headers that you can use, so do not worry.
Continuing our short walk around the MINIX 890GX-USB3, we find that the heatsink for the 890GX chipset is about a flimsy as the one covering the voltage regulators. In fact, when we first touched the heatsink it rocked right off the chipset with very little resistance. We also see the single PCIe x16 slot that graces the MINIX. This is not a bad thing at all, as it means you can certainly drop in a high-powered GPU if that is what you want.
The MINIX 890GX does have four SATA 3.0 ports. This is a nice touch and goes well with the two USB 3.0 ports.
Flipping the 890GX-USB3 over, we find a Mini PCIe x1 slot. This houses the n-spec wireless card normally, but can fit any Mini-PCIe card as long as it is no more than 50.95mm.
The I/O ports are fairly well laid out on the MINIX 890GX. You have two GBe LAN ports, two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 ports and a nice selection of video and audio out options. It is quite a lot to pack into such a small area.