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Pros: Oh, Intel, it has taken years of being pummeled by ARM-based hand-helds for your marketing geniuses to tell your engineers to make this chip. But all is forgiven! Bundling a desktop CPU with a graphics processor, all at a low power is just what I need for my laptop-replacement desktop.
Unlike laptops, where you plug them into a remote monitor and you can't get max resolution, or something weird happens to the display, when I plugged this into my old Hann 1680x1020 it went to max res. And it would've gone higher.
Cons: I wish Intel would package a better CPU fan with their processors. I can hear the bearings creak on this one--loudest part of my new system.
Other Thoughts: See my Gigabyte GZ-2SL3BI Mini-ITX case review for config.
Nice thing about this chip is that you save money on low-end desktop systems by not having to buy a graphics card. Saves space too. Allows for small power supplies. I can build a system for the same cost as an all-in-one. Can't find port replicators for low-end laptops, and they don't have the port options as a desktop, or number of SATA, etc. This processor opens back up the low-end system builder's market. Building a low-end system based on this chip means that the motherboard manufacturer and you use the same h/w platform. So does everybody else. This means that your config of drivers is being shared by everyone else, so unique-system problems are eliminated.
Remember--when you get a chip with an embedded graphics, like this, you are not only buying the chip but you're getting Intel's graphics package, including the driver. Intel drivers tend to have less bugs than other graphics drivers. Problems where the system crashes going into/coming out of standby are most likely graphics driver-related, so your choice of graphics drivers plays a large role in your system stability.
Pros: I've build Asus systems for years. This is my first Gigabyte. I'll be buying Gigabyte from here on out. Asus has built up a name, and now charges a premium for it. As Asus sells greater volumes, their quality on high end is still good, but is slipping for their bulk products. Gigabyte has always had more features.
I have yet to find a USB keyboard as good as my LiteOn PS/2, so I was happy so see at least one mb that still has a PS/2. Sure, I could use an adapter, but native is faster and more solid. Nice having the usb 2.0 ports mounted where the PS/2 port is, so you can put your mouse cord next to the keyboard cord like your used to.
Yea, it's been 5 yrs. since I built a system. But what a treat this board has been. It spends such little time in the bios. All my Asus's take forever to complete bios. I haven't even checked into enabling fast-boot mode. Plus the menus just look so much better than Asus.
Nice having both an DVI and HDMI. And Gigabyte is smart enough to realize that nobody needs an analog VGA port on a desktop anymore.
Why, oh why, don't more manufacturers include wifi on their mb's, especially a small form factor like mini ITX. I mean, there's these huge ATX mb's that cost $300+ and why can't they throw in a wifi even if you don't need it? But on something this small with no PCIex1 slots, there's no way to mount a wife internally, so you get stuck with another usb thingy hanging off your pc. Not to mention saving a few dollars h/w cost.
Cons: I wish it had an eSata. Reason is this. On a mini ITX, it makes sense to only use an optical drive when installing windows and apps, and just keep the drive in a closet. To do that, you have to plug in the drive externally, and I always prefer native over usb.
Another thing is that the driver install was a bit daunting. I got frustrated trying to install from zip file and dropped back to the disk. Yea, it's me, I know, but it wasn't as easy as Asus installs from over the years. I gave up trying to figure out where the driver was for the 2nd lan port.
Other Thoughts: My config is listed under Gigabyte GZ-2SL3BI Mini-ITX review.
My mb is a version 2.0, so one might assume that they quit making 1.x versions and that all the stock for 1.x has been depleted.
I suppose the 2nd lan port is supposed to be a maintenance port for a remote server, or something like that...I haven't really figured that out. I'd trade it for an eSata in a heartbeat.
Pros: -- Size was just what I was looking for, otherwise, it's a 3-star box.
-- The box included mounting screws for the mboard, built in mounting screws for a 3.5" drive, and those tiny mounting screws for a slim DVD player (but no mounting screws for a 2.5" drive )
-- Also, the slot in the front is a detachable/reattachable front plate covering an optiona slim DVD player
-- The power supply has a 20+4 ATX power cable, meaning it has the 20 and the 4 pin parts separate but can be used side-by-side
-- The power supply's small fan faces outside the box, and is a quiet fan
Cons: -- The power supply's power cord package consists of the following: the two 20+4 ATX power cords; a cpu mb power cord; a 2.5/3.5" SATA power cord; a case fan power cord; a legacy 4-pin power cord. Unfortunately, there's no 4-pin to slim SATA power adapter. Had I known that, I could've at least ordered it (can't find locally), but the problem is that the one I found is long w.r.t. the case size, whereas Gigabyte could've added a short one for pennies. There's little spare room for cables to begin with.
-- The disk drive cage is combined with a support beam, and this combination cage+beam is difficult to mount, especially with a slim dvd. Without removing the plastic case cover, and with a slim drive, there was no way of removing the cage+beam combo w.o. removing the outermost ram module. It's difficult (or impossible?) to remove the slim drive without taking the cage+beam off.
Furthermore, the heads for the mounting screws for the 2.5" drive are covered by the slim drive.
-- The case screws shut, and with the rats nest of cabling, it can be tricky (at least for me) to slide the cover on and off.
-- If Gigabyte had laid things out better, you could cram more stuff in this case.
Other Thoughts: My system:
Core i3-4130T cpu
Gigabyte GA-H87N Wifi mb
G.Skill Ripjaws X series 8Gb DDR 1600/PC3 12800
Samsung 840 250G SSD
LiteOn 8x slim internal DVD burner SATA
LIteOn SK-1788 Black and Grey PS/2 wired keyboard
windows 7 home premium SP1 64 bit OEM
-- The plastic teeth thingies on the Ripjaw X memory take up valuable space, but even if they weren't there, there probably wouldn't have been enough clearance to remove the cage+beam.
-- I can't see any way of putting in a PCIe graphics card on a mboard that has a slot. There's no opening on the side of the case for a card's hdmi, etc. ports. Plus the cables are sized to run across the PCIe slot. And, of course, 150w PS probably wouldn't be enough.
-- I took the case fan out per other reviewer's experience. Haven't had any problems, but only running for 2 days.
-- Cabling is tight in this box, have to plan carefully. I think the cables are sized just right, but you have to be patient and lay things out carefully.
-- You might want to pass on the slim dvd player. But looking at the case, if you wanted to have a SATA data+pwr cable dangling out of the case, you'd either have to cut metal or cut into the mb's jack covering plate, which is cardboard/plastic. Probably somebody can think of something more clever than me.
-- With no slim dvd drive, there's be enough room to add another 2.5" drive, and attach it with cardboard, rubber bands, velcro, or who knows what.
-- For that matter, there looks like there might be enough room to stack a 3.5" drive--one of the new, slimmer ones--and still have room to slip a 2.5" drive under it. Heck, if you were handy, you could probably fit a slim 3.5" drive plus two 2.5" drives in (no slim divd, of course).