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This review is from: ASRock Q1900DC-ITX Intel Celeron J1900 Motherboard/CPU/VGA Combo
Pros: Powered by surplus laptop brick
4 x SATA ports (2 x SATA2, 2 x SATA3)
VGA, DVI, and HDMI video
Cons: None that I don't expect to be cured with updated alternative OS software
Other Thoughts: I bought this to make a fanless sealed box NAS server with 2 x 4 GB PC1333 laptop memory and 2 x 2TB NAS disks. Had to disable USB3 ports to boot FreeBSD 9.x as found in FreeNAS and NAS4Free. I could backport kernel patch and build from source, but I'll probably limp along without USB3 and keep playing until FreeNAS makes it to FreeBSD 10.
FreeNAS bigots insist on ECC for ZFS, and these consumer Bay Trail-D boards don't have it. Buy a server board with an Avoton and 16+ GB ECC memory if you want to do things the "right" way. I am willing to experiment with this consumer board with a pair of mirrored ZFS disks.
I hope ASRock sells a lot these fanless DC-powered Mini-ITX boards, and that other MB makers follow suit. ATX and even SFF power supplies are not good matches for these <100W systems (including disks). I know one can use the popular DC - DC converters to power ITX boards with 24 pin ATX interfaces, but I prefer to be able to use laptop bricks directly.
Just for fun I installed Linux Mint 17 (xfce) on an SSD on this board, and it just worked. Boots in around 15 seconds with absolutely no fiddling. Result: instant desktop / browser computer. I'll probably try XBMCBuntu at some point to see how it might function as an HTPC
Came out of the box with UEFI secure boot disabled, so no trouble booting non-Windows OS's. Didn't try any Windows OS's.
Other things I plan to try are using the Serial and Parallel port headers for talking to various pieces of industrial gear.
Pros: Performance improved as expected over original 5400 rpm Seagate drive
Cons: One mounting screw hole seemed slightly out of whack. I didn't really check the screw to see if it was the screw or the threads. Since I'm not sure which was the case, and it mounted securely, I'm not going to dock it an egg.
Other Thoughts: I decided to do a clean Windows 7 Pro install by restoring the Factory Recovery image that I burned onto DVD from the original drive. I then used GParted live booted from a USB thumb drive to move and resize the partitions. Caught up on all Windows maintenance, and now the laptop runs better than new. None of my 3 other WD blacks have failed in 5 yearsREAD FULL REVIEW
This review is from: ORICO H4013-U3-BK USB 3.0 4 Ports Hub
Pros: Attaches to computer with detachable / replaceable USB 3.0 male A/ male A cable. You can use a shorter or longer one as needed. There is also a mini-coaxial 5V jack if you need to feed your devices power, though it doesn't come with an external power supply
Cons: None so far
Other Thoughts: Haven't tried it with actual USB 3 devices. My wife uses it as a mini-dock for her keyboard, mouse, and printer for her Lenovo Thinkpad 530. It seems to work fine with USB 2 or USB 3 host portsREAD FULL REVIEW