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This review is from: MSI H81M-P33 LGA 1150 Intel H81 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
Pros: Tidy, compact (less than 7x9 inches), two SATA3 ports for SSD's (yeah!) , two SATA2 ports for large mechanical drives, two USB3 ports (yeah!), two variable speed fan jumpers (+ one single-speed jumper) And oh yes, really inexpensive!
Dead simple installation with an I3-4130 and an 8-gig stick of ram, one SSD, and two 3.5" SATA drives.
I attached the CPU and stock cooler with the MB on a flat surface, out of the case. Then I inserted the memory stick and installed the MB with 6 screws. The back ports shroud fit the case perfectly, the screw holes aligned perfectly. Installing fan, power, USB, audio, SATA and JFP1 connectors was trivial. Lots 'o room in the case with this small motherboard.
Installed Windows 7 (which does not have the necessary ethernet drivers), then inserted the included CD and installed the missing drivers, and it was good to go.
Also runs Linux Mint 15(which does have the necessary ethernet drivers)
Cons: The quick installation guide shows jumper layouts for JPF1 and JPF2, but the drawing is a bit ambiguous. However you can go the the "Manufacturers Product Page" and download the manual, and on page 22, in addition to the drawings, there is a link to a Youtube video that resolves any questions.
Other Thoughts: I can't speak to the overclocking capabilities due to CPU constraints.
The graphical BIOS is OK, I guess. But I think the visual clutter clashes with the simplicity (from the user perspective) of the hardware. If I have a lot of information to visually extract from a screen, I want a layout that is also dead simple. Note this seems to be a drawback of all graphical BIOS systems from all manufacturers, not just MSI.
After years of assembling my own workstations, (usually with fairly expensive, large, robust motherboards), I have become quite enamored of these really simple, small motherboards that are so much easier to configure and install.
This review is from: Rosewill R101-P-BK 120mm Fan MicroATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Pros: Inexpensive, small, simple, sturdy, lightweight, and sometimes spacious. I used this with the BIOSTAR H61MGC to build a small office file-server, and there was gobs of room. The trick was to remove both side panels and install the hard drives first. Mount the memory and CPU on the motherboard, outside of the case, and then install the motherboard. And finally, install the power supply. Very few sharp edges. Lots of screws! Hah! And no need to screw in offset posts, the sheet metal is deformed, drilled and tapped to accomdate several standard motherboard sizes. Four 3.5" drive bays. (Three 5.25" drive bays available for 3.5" drives with adapters. ) With both sides off, mounting drives is not too tedious.
Cons: No tool-less hard-drive installation.
Who needs three 5.52" external drive bays?
Case fan is noisy at full speed.
No dust filters.
Not a good case if you expect to be swapping drives in and out on a regular basis.
Other Thoughts: Remove both side panels before removing the plastic face panel. There are 2 locking plastic fingers on each side (out of 3 each side). And on each side each finger needs to be shifted sideways in opposite directions to disengage from the sheet metal.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: BIOSTAR H61MGC LGA 1155 Intel H61 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
Pros: Inexpensive. Small. Used in a Rosewill R101-P-BK Micro ATX case and there was gobs of room. Runs OpenIndiana (Open Solaris 5.11), with app-IT with ZFS with mirrored 2TB drives. Permits the OS to spin down drives during periods of inactivity. Used with an Intel G530, 8BG of memory, an old 250GB drive for the OS, and 2 2TBB drives for storage. (ZFS handles the mirroring). Drives 1920x1080 display just fine (no video gaming capabilities needed here)
Cons: No USB 3.0
Other Thoughts: Small is beautiful. With the video capabilities, the file-server, can be used as a backup developement machine in a pinch.READ FULL REVIEW