Any recommendations on a fan-less mini ITX motherboard with a 4x-16x PCI-E slot? Something a few years old ideally, as I need to keep costs down.

Current set-up is with a fan-less Asus J1800-c, which runs really well, but only has a 1x PCI-E slot.

I've set-up OpenBSD on this system with no problems so far and was going to go on and repurpose an Cisco EA2700 as a wireless AP/ethernet switch...


Have decided a one-box solution would be better. Acquired an Intel 4 port GB Ethernet card... then to my horror realised it required a 4x PCI-E as minimum.

Have been out of the system-building game for so long I hadn't realised the slot had changed so much!

The board spec must have a low watt power passive CPU. A Celeron would be fine, as with the J1800-C. Must also have 1 gigabit ethernet port.

Would ideally take the 4GB RAM, which is laptop style DDR3-1333, and low voltage (1.35V), and ideally have at least 1xUSB3 port, 1 Gigabit ethernet port, and one SATA3 port.

5 years old at most, as it needs more juice than a simple router/firewall requires, due to running snort and various other in-line traffic sniffing stuff.

I'm currently running the machine on a 90W Pico-PSU, and its stable. But suspect that won't be sufficient when the intel 4-port ethernet is added, as it requires about 10W.

So the lower the power draw of the CPU/motherboard, the better.

1 Answer 1


Lowest Cost option:

ECS KAM1-I (V1.0) AM1 $25

Number of Memory Slots 2×240pin

Memory Standard DDR3 1600 non-ECC, Un-buffered

Maximum Memory Supported 16GB

Channel Supported Single-channel

Expansion Slots

PCI Express 2.0 x16 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16

Mini Card Slots 1 x Mini PCI Express x1 slot(s) Mini PCI Express X1 slot(s) doesn't support Mini SATA

Highest price option:

ASRock AM1H-ITX AM1 $50

Number of Memory Slots 2×240pin

Memory Standard DDR3 1600/ 1333/ 1066

Maximum Memory Supported 32GB

Expansion Slots

PCI Express 2.0 x16 1 x PCI Express 2.0 x16 Slot (PCIE1 @ x4 mode)

Mini Card Slots 1 x Mini PCIe

And as for a CPU:

AMD Athlon 5350 Kabini

Core Name Kabini

Cores 4

Threads 4

Operating Frequency 2.05 GHz

L2 Cache 2MB

Manufacturing Tech 28nm

64-Bit Support Yes

Virtualization Technology Support Yes

Integrated Graphics AMD Radeon R3

Graphics Base Frequency 600 MHz

Thermal Design Power 25W

Note: 25W was the lowest TDP I could find. Lowest wattage intel chip I could find had TDP of 53W.

  • Micro-ATX is a fair bit larger than Mini-ITX, and a 25W TDP CPU is a bit high for running fanless.
    – Mark
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 22:25
  • Oops, you are entirely correct on the ATX form-factor, although I do have to say I have run passive on a 25W TDP CPU, although it was a decent size copper fin/blade style sink. Will edit/redo Commented Dec 7, 2016 at 0:00

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