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ASRock C2550D4I Mini ITX Server Motherboard DDR3 1600/1333/1066
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

5 out of 5 eggs awesome NAS Motherboard 12/21/2014

This review is from: ASRock C2550D4I Mini ITX Server Motherboard DDR3 1600/1333/1066

Pros: Upgraded the BIOS and firmware to the most current works like a champ with FreeNAS. The IPMI is great because I have the NAS in a place not easy to get to so can remotely manage most things via the web interface. Uses ECC memory which is recommended for freeNAS an am currently using Crucial CT51272BD160B 4GB low voltage sticks. Uses regular DIMMs rather than the laptop size a lot of these C2550/C2750 motherboards use so more choices and cheaper memory. Tons of SATA ports, 12 overall. Easily saturates my Gigabit LAN when doing data transfers and uses intel based NICs.

Cons: No USB 3 on the back.

Other Thoughts: Would rather have had an active CPU cooler as the passive one does not cool the CPU very well unless you push a lot of forced air through the enclosure which ends up being louder than a regular CPU heat sink fan.

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BIOSTAR J1800NH Intel Celeron J1800 Dual-Core Processor Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU/VGA Combo
  • Owned For: less than 1 day

Pros: Small, does not draw much power and does stay under 60 C in a small fanless enclosure (not that I would recommend that you do that). Also pretty cheap.

Cons: Documentation leaves a lot to be desired and there does not appear to be any speed controls for the two system fan connectors so if you're looking for a quite build make sure you have some other way of controlling the fan speed. Also Biostar cheaped out with some of the Capacitors so not sure how long these boards will last. Might want to spend a few bucks more on the Gigabyte board Newegg sells instead as it looks to be a better build quantity.

Does not have drivers to support Linux so while I got some distros to start the boot process they all choked when it came time to load graphical drivers. This will probably be fixed by the Linux community sooner or later but may take some time.

Other Thoughts: OK got this yesterday and spent over 4 frustrating hours trying to get FreeNAS to boot on this thing, tried everything including trying to just get various distro's of Linux to boot just to try and find out what's going on. Lesson learned is that you must set the CSM (Compatibility Support Module) to enable for anything other than windows 8 to boot.

Can't say how well this will work with FreeNAS as it is limited to 8GB RAM and does not have ECC support but I'm just playing around with it to learn so don't really care. If you really want to do it right get the ASRock Avoton based boards (they're $200+ more than this one but worth it in my opinion if you're serious about running a real NAS and not some plaything like what I've got).

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AMD A10-7850K Kaveri 12 Compute Cores (4 CPU + 8 GPU) 3.7GHz Socket FM2+ 95W AD785KXBJABOX Desktop Processor AMD Radeon R7 series
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: Zippy little processor, great graphics that can run mid-level games surprisingly well. Considering that it only uses 95 watts for what amounts to a low/mid end graphics card and a 4 core processor that performs almost as well as a i5 Sandy bridge is pretty impressive. Using 1866 RAM and got 7.4 for the processor and 6.9 for the graphics on the Windows Experience Index. Very good for a HTPC where you want to do more than watch movies with it, good all round performance.

Cons: The price for this is a little too high without the free Battlefield 4 coupon, realistically would say the price point should be around $139.99. Also the CPU cooler is not the greatest but really isn't that bad.

Other Thoughts: Pain in the neck getting the drivers right, swapped out an A4-5300 for this which is the only way I would have been able to update the BIOS for the motherboard. If you do what I did then make sure you un-install the old drivers before you install the new ones otherwise you won't get the full graphics performance.

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Ken S.'s Profile

Display Name: Ken S.

Date Joined: 02/03/04

  • Reviews: 6
  • Helpfulness: 3
  • First Review: 07/22/11
  • Last Review: 12/21/14
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