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MSI FM2-A75MA-E35 FM2 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: I am replacing a few dozen desktop computers and have been testing different fm2 microatx boards before committing to a particular one. This is the 4th board I have tested (1 asus fm1, 2 gigabyte fm2, 1 msi fm2). I had been pretty disappointed throughout the process until I got to this one.

Long story short: out of the boards I have tested this one is the most stable, has the best layout, least buggy bios, most sensible thermal settings, and paradoxically the lowest price.

Slightly smaller than other microatx boards left-to-right. The advantage is that you can insert the board into a small case without having to go in at a sharp angle and without having to remove drives/cables. However the trade-off is that the right edge is not supported by standoffs/screws so when you insert memory sticks be sure to hold the right-edge with your hand.
Sata ports point perpendicular to the board (toward your face). The L-shaped sata ports that point parallel to the board make sense on full atx especially if it's going in a large (server) case with lots of drives, but on microatx the perpendicular configuration used here is easier to work with.
Larger than normal northbridge heatsink, which these fm2 boards really need if you pick a 100w apu (see my ga-f2a75m-d3h review if you are curious why).
8 rear usb ports instead of the usual 6 these boards tend to have.
Good fan header positions, built in beep speaker.
Only requires a 4-pin motherboard power connector instead of an 8-pin. Some other boards have 8-pin connectors and will not boot unless an 8-pin is connected even if they don't need the power. This might matter to you if you are upgrading and keeping your old power supply. Note if you have an 8-pin already it will also work with this.

Out of the boards I tested this one also consumed the least power at idle (23w at wall) with the following hardware:
AMD A8-5600K 3.6GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) Socket FM2 100W Quad-Core
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
SeaSonic S12II 430B 430W ATX12V V2.3/EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE PSU
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 heatsink/fan

Cons: Only 2 ram slots, 16GB max. This may matter to you depending on your intended use. I am installing these with 8GB as light-use desktop machines and they will probably never be upgraded so it had no impact on my decision.

No toslink (optical) audio connector. Not a big deal for most but I like to have these if I were using this as a htpc board, particularly if it were being paired with an old receiver that predates hdmi. The omission is not surprising considering the low price.

Other Thoughts: During the testing I had one Asus board, a "corporate stable model" supposedly guaranteed to be available for a year that Asus discontinued after a few months. One Gigabyte model with weird intermittent capacitor buzzing sounds under load and buggy bios. The last model, a Gigabyte ga-f2a75m-d3h was the most disappointing model as it is highly unstable out of the box. I wrote a detailed review for that product, basically with newest bios on default settings and a 100w apu the northbridge will overheat under load. Even if you fix that issue it will still randomly reboot under heavy usb traffic.

Similar to another reviewer here, I had previously stuck with Asus and Gigabyte boards as safe bets, however in the last year they both seem to have taken a dive. In the last few months I have run across multiple problematic models from Asus and Gigabyte, in multiple form factors, on both Intel and AMD chipsets. There is a lot of chaos in the motherboard market right now and Microsoft added more fuel to that fire by pushing OEMs onto UEFI. Asus/Gigabyte keep releasing buggy bios after buggy bios and then abandon support as soon as they can shift focus to a new model. MSI for whatever reason seems to be weathering the storm better than others, I have been pleasantly surprised by both their Intel and AMD boards as of late.

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GIGABYTE GA-F2A75M-D3H FM2 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

3 out of 5 eggs Unstable with 100w cpu but fixable via bios 02/06/2013

This review is from: GIGABYTE GA-F2A75M-D3H FM2 AMD A75 (Hudson D3) HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

Pros: Decent layout, cost, and available ports.

Cons: Unstable with 100w cpu under load with default bios settings. Possibly due to insufficient northbridge cooling. But it can be made stable by disabling "core performance boost" in bios.

Other Thoughts: I've spent the last couple days fighting with this thing and finally got it stable, I am posting this in the hope that it might save someone in a similar situation a bit of time.

I build a couple dozen machines a year and this is the first Gigabyte board I have had that was unstable out of the box with default settings. I could boot it up and have it idle just fine, but if I put 4 cores under load, or 2+ cores and the gpu, then it would shut itself off.

(relevant hardware)
GIGABYTE GA-F2A75M-D3H FM2 AMD A75 motherboard
AMD A8-5600K 3.6GHz (3.9GHz Turbo) Socket FM2 100W Quad-Core
G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 8GB (2 x 4GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
SeaSonic S12II 430B 430W ATX12V V2.3/EPS12V 80 PLUS BRONZE PSU
COOLER MASTER Hyper 212 heatsink/fan

I ruled out the psu by trying two different units. I ruled out the memory by running memtest overnight without errors or crashes. I ruled out the os by reproducing the crashes in both Win7-64 using prime95, and in Ubuntu64 using cpuburn. I also had it crash using both the F3 bios and the just released F4 bios. At this point I decided to try watching the power consumption numbers (Kill A Watt) and temp/fan readings.

With default bios settings the idle/load power consumption is 26w/146w at the wall. Under load the cpu/gpu temps are nominal but the "tmpin2" northbridge aka "temperature #3" in Open Hardware Monitor will rocket up from 14c to 93c in under a minute and the motherboard will shut itself off in 2-10 minutes under load every time.

I decided to check around the bios and noticed that "core performance boost" is set to auto by default. The description says it's the same as the old "Turbo Mode" and temporarily ups the cpu frequency if the power/temp numbers indicate it is safe to do so.
This setting can be found (in F4 bios) by tapping delete when the machine starts to get into bios, then:
(M.I.T.) > (Advanced Frequency Settings) > (Advanced CPU Core Features) > (Core Performance Boost): Disabled

After disabling this the machine now appears to be stable. I have run prime95 for 3 hours now and it would not make it over 10min previously. Power consumption under load went from 146w to 135w. Idle stayed at 26w. Northbridge sits at a scary 92c under load, but doesn't crash.

I don't know the exact cause of this problem but if I had to guess a couple scenarios are:
1. Gigabyte put a northbridge heatsink on that is sufficient for the 65w apu but not the 100w apu. If you look at all the other socket FM2, A75 chipset, microatx motherboards on newegg they have much larger northbridge heatsinks.
2. The "core performance boost" setting ignores the northbridge temp when ramping up the cpu, but the emergency thermal shutoff mechanism pays attention to it.

Hope this helps.

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Logitech LS1 Black 3 Buttons Tilt Wheel USB Wired Laser Mouse
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: more than 1 year

3 out of 5 eggs mouse is decent but middle click will fail 01/09/2013

This review is from: Logitech LS1 Black 3 Buttons Tilt Wheel USB Wired Laser Mouse

Pros: Been using one of these for about 1.5 years now. My criteria when searing for a mouse are: wired, laser, not overly large or heavy, no side buttons. This mouse meets all of these requirements.

Cons: As others have stated the middle click will fail under normal use. The wheel will continue to scroll but depressing the wheel for middle click will suddenly stop working. I had initially thought it must have been a browser or OS setting change due to the sudden and complete failure of middle clicking. However I used the xev program under Ubuntu which shows raw mouse input and nothing registers when middle-clicking now. Kind of a bummer since I use it daily for opening new browser tabs.

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American S.'s Profile

Display Name: American S.

Date Joined: 11/22/06

  • Reviews: 6
  • Helpfulness: 6
  • First Review: 08/16/10
  • Last Review: 02/19/13
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