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Cons: SLOW. I know that is to be expected with an eco drive, but this drive is so slow that I can't watch a movie on my HTPC and download something in the background without playback stuttering. Had to put the OS on a separate drive to solve the problem.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: Great feature set, easy install, nice upgrade for HTPC, layout works fine in a cramped case.
Cons: 1) The resolution of the UEFI BIOS is all wrong for my LCD TV (which has a resolution of 1920x1080 and is connected over HDMI). Only the middle region actually shows on the display so, I have to lug a monitor downstairs and plug it in if I want to tweak the BIOS settings.
2) The BIOS that ships was really out of date. I tried downloading the latest, but the flashing utility in the BIOS complains that the BIOS downloaded from ASUS' website is "NOT an EFI BIOS" and won't flash it.
Found a BIOS on the driver CD for the Mobo that would flash, but to flash to the latest, had to download the BIOS file, rename it, put it on a USB drive, put the USB drive in a particular USB port, and then use the new bios flash button on the motherboard. Really a pain, and the instructions are just not clear on why it is that way.
3) No PCI slots. Had to buy a new PCIe-1x tuner card (not too broken up about it, wanted a new one anyway.)
Would easily bump it up to an egg or two if the BIOS quirks get resolved.
Other Thoughts: Decided to upgrade my HTPC using parts leftover from upgrading my main rig. Picked this board because of the small form factor while still having support for 4 memory slots and optical audio.
Silverstone ML03B HTPC Case
ASUS F2A85-M PRO Motherboard
AMD A10-5800K Trinity APU
Crucial M500 OS Drive
4x2GB G.Skill DDR3 1333 F3-10666CL8D-4GBHK
AVerMedia AVerTVHD Duet PCTV tuner
This review is from: Foxconn DH839-MT300K Black Steel MicroATX Desktop Computer Case 300W Power Supply
Pros: Wanted a beginning HTPC case, and this one fit the bill. Great small case, integrated PSU is plenty powerful and still quiet when paired with the ASUS M3A78-EM, 65 W Athlon, 1 SATA HD and 1 SATA DVD drive.
Contains rubber stand offs at key points to reduce vibration and noise from fans and drives.
People complain about the drive cage, but I actually really like it. Drives fit in the there well, and there are clips on the underside for cable management.
Because I used only SATA drives, I was able to get a very well laid out case with excellent airflow. I actually think I will be able to use a fan less heat sink on the CPU because the fan on the side blows across the processor and the case cover has vents right over CPU. This is good because the stock AMD heatsink/fan is way to loud for a HTPC. Case temps are in the low to mid 30s, CPU temps in the high 40s, low 50s (but that's a function of the poor heatsink/fan, not the case.)
Cons: Front bezel is plastic and mine was damaged on the corner (shipping?). Will talk to NewEgg about getting a new bezel, but I'm happy enough with the case that I won't RMA it if I can't get a new one.
Case is longer/deeper than I realized. At about 15 inches, it sticks out of my shelf by about half inch.
Accepts only half-height PCI cards. Not a problem because I used a mobo with everything integrated onto it, but might matter to others. There are plenty of half height TV tuner cards, so that's a problem.
It can be hard to get the cover back on after the build. This is due to the rubber stoppers below the drive case. You have to press down on the cover pretty hard to compress the rubber enough so that the cover will slide forward and lock.
Other Thoughts: I saw a lot of true HTPC cases with more features here on NewEgg, but for my first HTPC build, I didn't want to spend too much. This case fits the bill well. Once I get things figured out, I may upgrade, but this case will still makes a good, quiet, and small system.READ FULL REVIEW
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