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OEM Production 2550L2D-MxPC Intel NM10 2 x 204Pin Intel GMA 3650 Black Mini / Booksize Barebone System
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: Great form factor, solid platform for Linux desktops (Linux Mint, Peppermint both work fine.) Using a single 4GB SO-DIMM as recommended, Works completely fine as a desktop/study computer for Middle and High-School students. Not a gaming system, but that would be silly. Quiet but not silent. Good that it has dual NICs, even though I am using a Rosewill WiFi dongle that worked out of the box.

Video output using stock Linux drivers works fine.

Cons: Would be silent with a passive CPU cooler as some other Atom mobos use. Or even with a slim 120mm mounted on the faceplate.

No reset button. No front audio ports. Wall mountable, but no brackets included. No GPU expansion. SATA II (3Gbps) only.

Other Thoughts: This is a very nice ITX case with a 60w power brick. I am tempted to swap in a low-power Ivy Bridge ITX mobo and enhance the cooling with a horizontal CPU cooler. Wall-mounted with an exposed Typhoon or similar fan, this might make an awesome and attractive i3 build.

It would also make an awesome router with pfsense or Smoothwall.

Single 4GB SO-DIMM
64GB Sandisk SSD
Linux Mint Maya 64-bit LTS
Rosewill WiFi USB dongle
Acer AL1912 VGA monitor
CM Storm QR Pro with Cherry Blue MX switches
Gear Head LM 6000U laser mouse

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MSI H61M-P31/W8 LGA 1155 Intel H61 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

2 out of 5 eggs Evil UEMI "BIOS", Bad Docs 07/25/2013

This review is from: MSI H61M-P31/W8 LGA 1155 Intel H61 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

Pros: Cheap. 1155 socket. Reasonable form factor/layout.

Actually, I quite like the layout. All the front panel headers -- including HD Audio -- are at the top of the PCB, so no Audio cable wandering under the PCI video card. +1 for that.

Cons: Yesterday I built three systems. An i7 VM host/workstation, an AMD 6-core/12-disk ZFS file server, and a little nothing i3 desktop computer using this motherboard. Two of those systems are up and running, despite the Gigabyte UEMI they both had. This one? Nothing but boot problems.

Using the "UEMI" or "Legacy + UEMI" settings available, optical drives (tried two brands) mostly don't show up as bootable. Sometimes they do, so I was able to (I thought) load Win 7 Pro, Xubuntu 12.04 LTS, and Linux Mint 13 LTS. None of them showed up as bootable drives after installation. (Windows was 32-bit; I tried it out of desperation.) The result of any install was either (a) no bootable drives found or (b) find the boot drive manually, but then boot to a black screen. On-board or PCI VGA and DVI were both tried.

Next, I will try installing to a new, never used hard drive to see if I can avoid any MBR formatting that may cause problems.

Other: The UEMI looks like a bad translation into English. Missing words, mis-spellings, odd phrases. The pin-outs for the front header are not silkscreened on the PCB, and the one-page "manual" in 20+ languages has generic and inaccurate header information.

Other Thoughts: Sometimes all you need is a cheap 1155 motherboard. Try a different one. I've had a very different experience with ASRock low-end UEMI, so look there.

This would be a one-egg review except for the audio header. The single person who seemed like he (or she) cared about this board did really well there, and I'd personally like to see that innovation carried over to all the boards I buy.

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XION XON-560 mATX/ ITX Meshed Mini Tower Case, USB 3.0, White/Blue LED
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

4 out of 5 eggs Good value for money with style 07/09/2013

This review is from: XION XON-560 mATX/ ITX Meshed Mini Tower Case, USB 3.0, White/Blue LED

Pros: Nice looking, very well thought-out features. Thin, but very smoothly attached side panels, nice paint inside and out. Good match between paint and plastic. Room for lots of drives and fans. Easy side panels to window. Good size; not too small, not too big. Good base for case modding.

The designers saved money in the right places, and added features in the right places.

Cons: Needs more fan filters (tops, sides, bottom all missing filters). Silverstone 120mm filters can be added everywhere except bottom (PSU) and front. Lots of metal BEHIND the front fan to reduce airflow and increase noise -- Dremel it out for better airflow.

Other Thoughts: I cannot speak to the OEM fans -- I never even tried them.

I build PCs for other people professionally, but this was a build for my wife to replace a Lian Li ITX case that sat on her desk. It needed to be attractive, not too large (mATX mobo) and have room for a mirrored pair of WD Reds, a boot SSD, and a large drive for backups. I modded the front fan grill for better air flow, windowed the side panel, and added filters everywhere I could.

A Fractal white-bladed case fan exhausting out the back, an Arctic CPU cooler with a white fan, and an ASRock motherboard in black made for a really striking white/black system. I added custom LED lighting with changeable RGB colors, so the black/white interior can be subtle or shiny as and when desired.

I did not try a giant 200mm fan on the side, mostly because it would have been a dust-sucker, but it would be pretty simple to do.

Bottom line was a nice-looking case with small features that kept surprising me -- in a good way.

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Ron G.'s Profile

Display Name: Ron G.

Date Joined: 08/23/10

  • Reviews: 10
  • Helpfulness: 9
  • First Review: 10/13/09
  • Last Review: 08/29/13
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