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Pros: It lights up a 6 watt maximum SoC CPU/motherboard with a stick of low voltage 203 pin DDR3 and a SSD. No smoke or sparks yet. Inexpensive.
Cons: Annoyingly noisy. It is the only moving part on this rig, the CPU is passively cooled. Probably this means one of the bearings is defective. It will probably fail at some point. But the power draw on this rig is so low it will probably keep on plugging away after the fan has failed completely.
Other Thoughts: At least the good news is that at least I'll know when its on. It will be tucked away in a cubby hole where I won't be able to see the ITX case power LED.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: COOLER MASTER Elite 110 RC-110-KKN2 Midnight Black Steel / Plastic Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case with Standard Size ATX PSU and 120mm Radiator Support Compatible with Standard ATX PS2 (not included) Power Supply
Pros: Small, cheapish, allows mounting 3x3.5" drives black. Gives you the choice of USB 2.0 or 3.0.
Cons: Mine didn't come with a power on button connected. I thought something was fishy when I pushed the button before I mounted the motherboard, and didn't feel like I was connecting to anything. When I hooked up the motherboard I found that it wouldn't light up. I took off the front plate and looked and there was nothing connected to the power on button. I finally ended up wiring the reset 2-pin cable to the power header on the motherboard, so I have to remember to turn the machine on with the reset button. Pretty sloppy quality control, I'd always had good luck with Cooler Master cases before (normally the Elite 120).
The instruction page was, of course, multilingual gibberish, but I wouldn't deduct an egg for that, it is par for the course. Also, it would be nice to have to had the option to mount an external optical drive, or at least a 3.5" card reader.
Other Thoughts: I guess I just got a defective one. Weird.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: It is small, quiet, and when it is working it seems to have sufficient grunt for desktop tasks, it can more or less play 1080p video, plus it is very low energy (~6 watts for the CPU, apparently). And it wasn't too expensive. It boots quickly with a SSD. And there is a header for USB 3.0, so many cases only have front USB 3.0 ports these days. PCI Express x1 instead of a full sized PCI-E slot. Who would put a real video card on an underpowered Celeron.
Cons: This board is very picky about RAM, even after applying a UEFI update that was supposed to correct this problem. The update was a pain, it kept stalling out in the "BIOS", requiring me to restart the machine and process about a half dozen times. I had to pull another stick of RAM out of a computer to boot.
Then the board gave me piles of grief booting from a USB stick using unetbootin, multisystem, & YUMI. I used a USB DVD-RW, which seemed to put the fear of Dog into the thing, the next time it booted from a unetbootin 15.10 Ubuntu 64 bit beta, and I installed. And yes, I checked, Secure Boot was disabled.
Once I got Ubuntu installed I found that the VGA kept flicking off at irregular intervals, in some cases staying off, necessitating a hard reboot or use of the MagicSysRq sequence. So I installed XFCE, figuring it would be less finicky than Unity, which uses some funky compiz wizardry. And the problem was better, but still there. I hooked up a HDMI monitor to the unit as well, and the problem has not reoccurred in about 45 minutes, the board will eventually be hooked to a HDMI TV if I keep it, but that is still a major black mark. I know I'm using a beta release on a very new 8th generation Haswell chipset, but the very recent (4.2.0-11-generic) kernel should handle it and I've installed this image on another machine (Macbook Air 4.2) without artifacts.
The panel header is crammed right next to the right SATA port, which made it a pain to jumper when I was testing the board outside of the case. However there was a serial header that looked just like the FPANEL header in a good location next to the Clear CMOS pins (which I actually needed a couple of times). Speaking of which, what's the deal with all the legacy gunk on the I/O panel? I can kind of understand PS/2 mouse & keyboard ports, and maybe even a serial port, but really, a parallel port? At least confine that to a header on the board and give us something we can use, maybe some extra USB ports or a DVI output.
Also, it vexes me that Intel has seen fit to burden this class of motherboard/CPU with only 2 SATA ports. From what I can tell these Celerons are largely used as low-powered home servers and HPTVs and would benefit from a couple more SATA ports.
Other Thoughts: I still might return this motherboard if the screen flickering comes back. I've had trouble with Asrock Celeron boards before. One reboots often, one has a defective VGA port. I've only had 3 Asrock boards, so that is beginning to be a pattern. I may shun this company in the future.READ FULL REVIEW