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Pros: The build is what I come to expect from Gigabyte: high quality connectors, solid caps, and a dual BIOS. Sometimes it's hard to quantify quality but you know it when you see it.
It has (4) memory slots, this is getting less common in the uATX form factor. It's great to have two open slots for future expansion without loosing the original investment in memory.
It has (8) SATA ports that are on (2) banks which can be configured separately in the BIOS. Very handy for quirky devices or legacy connections.
Has legacy PCI, LPT, & serial connections; while not very useful to many home users they are still very commonly used business machines that must talk with other hardware.
It supports 4pin PWM fans on the CPU & two case fans. This makes for a quiet machine and longer fan life.
It shipped with BIOS version F6 (of F7) so out of box CPU support is good. The OS free BIOS update in EUFI works great, & is especially handy for Linux users. With Dual BIOS there is no fear of bricking your board due to a bad download or power failure during the update.
TPM support. I haven't used this feature yet but plan to in the future, and when I want to it will be there.
Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon 64bit works perfectly with the default drivers. No need to pay for an OS unless you choose to.
Cons: Crapware is installed by the driver CD by default. You can uncheck the box to avoid this but I think it should be unchecked by default.
The SPDIF plug on my board is soldered on visibly crooked enough for me to notice it without looking for it. I consider Gigabyte to be a top quality manufacturer and the fact they let this pass QC is a little disappointing.
No heat sinks on VRMs. When stress testing my 65W CPU the VRMs got a little warmer then I would like them to be. If you plan to run one of the larger APUs at high load for extended periods of time (such as gaming) you may want to install aftermarket heat sinks on the VRMs.
The USB ports by the KB/Mouse plug are relatively stiff and entire plug assembly visibly flexes significantly when you plug something in. It flexes so much I believe after prolonged use solder joints problems would develop so to avoid this possible issue I used these plugs for my 'permanent' devices like the KB & mouse.
Other Thoughts: I bought this board to be used mainly as an HTPC & web surfer. With a modest A4-6300 & 4GB RAM it streams video and decodes DVDs in HD with ease. With (2) open RAM slots, (6) open SATA ports, an open PCIE3.0 slot with crossfire support, & almost every supported APU faster then my current one my upgrade path is good.
When the time comes this board is outdated it will live its remaining years as a NAS server, programming uControllers via the serial connection, or controlling CNC servos via a PCI card. Having legacy connections gives me lots of options and options are always good to have.
Invest in a quality board and it will last years, buy with one eye for now and one on the future.
A quick shout out: I love the egg!
AMD A4-6300 APU
G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 1600 F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ
EVGA 80+bronze 500W power Supply
120GB Silicon Power SATA SSD
360GB Seagate SATA hard drive
This review is from: Rosewill RX355-U Aluminum 3.5" IDE USB 2.0 External Enclosure
Pros: Made of metal
Has cooling fan with adjustable speed
Comes with base stand
Cons: Fan can be a little loud on full blast but you really don't need to run it that high.
Other Thoughts: This is a high quality external case. If you have an IDE drive still laying around you are trying to make into an external you won't regret buying this case.
Works with Win7-64, Win8-64, & Linux Mint 17-64.
Works well with generic media
Cons: A little loud, but aren't they all
Other Thoughts: Works in Win7-32, Win7-64, Win8-64, & Linux Mint 17-64.
Works well with free ImgBurn software.