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This review is from: Foxconn D180S Intel Dual Core Celeron J1800 Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU/VGA Combo
Pros: Cheap. Did I mention cheap? Adequate desktop performance if you can get it to work.
Cons: This thing has a terrible EFI BIOS, as others have commented. I wouldn't have spent enough time in the BIOS to notice if I hadn't had all sorts of issues with the mobo. I could never get it to boot from any optical drive, SATA or USB, even after updating the BIOS to the latest version. In fact, it wouldn't even boot up with one of my SATA DVD-RWs attached (the drive works fine with another system). I tried it with 2 boards, same thing. Nor would it boot to or recognize a 32 bit version of Ubuntu blown on to a USB stick with unetbootin, though it would boot from a 64 bit version. Also, it wouldn't let me use a msdos-style partition table on my drive, it needed to be gpt, which requires a gpt boot partition. Also, the thing doesn't seem to shut off cleanly in Ubuntu 14.04, I still get a light on my card reader until I toggle the switch on the power supply. Probably another symptom of a crummy BIOS.
Updating the BIOS was a pain and didn't solve any of the issues I was having. Hint for Linux users: to switch to the USB stick from the shell type in "fs0:" This is DOS notation, which I guess I vaguely remember from 20 years ago, but isn't explained in the documentation, either on the PDF manual or Foxconn website. The on-screen prompts implied that typing fs0 would be enough, without the colon. Also, I had to reset the board with the clear-CMOS jumper after updating. I don't think I'll bother flashing the other two boards.
Also, the board is extremely picky about RAM. And only one SODIMM slot. And it has a CPU fan. I've never seen a J1800 board that required a fan, most had a robust heat sync, which was adequate. The fan is quiet enough, but is obviously cheaper than a decent heat sync and will probably fail after a while, taking down the system with it. If I'd noticed it had a CPU fan I wouldn't have ordered the unit, even for $35 with free shipping.
It is not too well endowed in the rear-panel ports department. It has a serial port, which is pretty obscure, I'd rather have a DVI or more USB. And only a PS/2 keyboard port. What's the point? If you are going to have a PS/2 KB add a PS/2 mouse port so folks can use legacy KVM switches and rodents.
Other Thoughts: I bought 3 of these things to replace some old Athlon XP systems for desktop work. It took quite a bit of effort, but one is set up and behaving OK, for the most part except for some ACPI weirdness and occasional glitches with X. Still, I don't think I'll RMA the boards if I can blunder through their many issues. It is too much of a hassle, and if I can get them all up and running they will make adequate low-power desktop machines.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: ECS Liva 4GB/64GB 2GB DDR3L RAM installed Mini / Booksize Barebone System
Pros: The stats looked good, if it had worked as advertised it would have been great for my purposes. Low power usage and silent.
Cons: The '40 second' assembly is a joke, the "Quick Installation Guide" was so vague as to be almost useless, & I had to web search how to put the thing together. Specifically, the antenae for the wifi/bluetooth would not snap in to their slot, at least not with my big finders, so I ended up trying to use electrical tape to attach them. The device should have come pre--assembled, there was no reason to have the consumer wrestle with it.
Anyway, I could have spared myself the trouble. When I turned the unit on I could not navigate the BIOS 95% of the time. The unit would be unresponsive to key strokes, except Control+Alt+Delete, which would reboot the box. The unit would not boot either from a USB DVDRW nor a USB stick formatted with Kubuntu 14.04 and Ubuntu 14.10 most of the time. Sometimes it wouldn't even light up a monitor. I finally managed to install Ubuntu 14.10 on it, by dint of sheer OCD cussedness but it would freeze up within a few minutes or simply shut itself off. And most of the time rebooting the machine would not light up the monitor.
Neither the wifi nor the bluetooth were recognized by Ubuntu, I'm not sure if that is because I couldn't secure the antennas or not. But the system was so unstable I didn't try hunting down other drivers for it. The couple of times I successfully booted it into Ubuntu after installation it came up in about 25 seconds, but sometimes it would just give me a black screen for many minutes & I'd let it thrash away and come back to find that it had finally booted. But as soon as I interacted with the computer it crashed.
Other Thoughts: I tried everything I could think of with this unit. But it was so flakey and random I can't tell you for certain what "worked" and what didn't. Maybe I got a defective one, some folks seemed to have a better experience. It is getting RMAed.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: ASRock Q1900-ITX Intel Celeron J1900 Motherboard/CPU/VGA Combo
Pros: Smallish, cheapish, 4 SATA ports, 3 video outputs, 2 memory slots, quiet (fanless), uses little power.
Cons: The box looked like it came pre-opened. I'm not sure if it was already RMAed and just repackaged, but if it was, that is a major bad. I've never had good luck with refurbs and avoid them like the plague, depite being a cheapskate.. As usual, the first thing I do with a motherboard/CPU is to put it on a static mat, plug in a stick of RAM, keyboard, monitor & power supply and connect the power jumpers with a screwdriver. The PS fan barely turned over and then stopped, then started and finally after about 30 seconds spun up, but it never lit up my VGA monitor. I tried again with a different PS and a different monitor, same result. I was about to RMA the thing, but decided to try again with a HDMI cable to my TV. Surprise, surprise, I was in to the UEFI bios. I messed around with several different bits of hardware and found that this thing will not light up a VGA monitor in the UEFI. HDMI & DVI worked. Clearing the CMOS and installing the latest 1.20 version of the BIOS did not help. What's more, though the fan would turn the board wouldn't light up ANY monitor with the first PS I tried, which was a new inbox Corsair CX430 I bought from Newegg. It would spin the fan on the PS, but not boot. It is booting with a 650 watt Corsair at the moment. Running a big PS like that kind of defeats the purpose of a low-wattage board
I stuck in a USB stick and booted Xubuntu 14.04 i386 and the VGA monitor came to life (it was also plugged in to another monitor with DVI), and once XFCE booted up I configured both monitors in side-by-side mode. It seems to be performing OK, I'm still running off the live USB stick. Temps are quite a bit warmer then on my Biostar J1800NH, which has the dual core version of this Celeron processor.
Other Thoughts: I came really close to RMAing this board, and may still do so if I can't get it to run with another PS. It is fated to plug in to my TV via HDMI so I guess the VGA not turning out at boot isn't that big a deal, but it is pretty annoying and not something I've ever seen before with any other board. This is my first Asrock and may well be my last if things don't start going better.READ FULL REVIEW
Display Name: Edmund B.
Date Joined: 12/18/05
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