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Pros: This motherboard is being used in a media server, and installing it was a breeze. It fit well, and everything was in a great place for the case I used! Everything on it seemed to be solid, and quality parts were used. I was quite excited to see it in action!
After I got it working (see Other thoughts, as it may not be a con on Biostar), I installed Windows 7 on an SSD. Between the SSD and this motherboard, everything is fast! Windows boots in ~7seconds, and everything is very responsive. I was fairly impressed at that lil Celeron!
Cons: Well, after everything was said and done, drivers installed, server mounted and plugged into my TV via HDMI (1020p), I grabbed a beer and settled down to watch my first high-def movie! And it was beautiful! Except - did I just see a little bit of flickering?? I waited a while, and indeed, at some points there are...unsmooth movements in the video, especially when there's a large update to the frame. 99.9% of it plays perfectly using VLC media player, but that 0.1% is rather noticeable and disappointing. And, that was only 720p.
I bumped things up to a 1080p file, and... it's worse as expected. I guess Intel HD wasn't quite what I was hoping it to be... I'll try different players and see if I can fiddle with things to make it work, but at the moment I just feel like I dumped $250 into a system that's marginally acceptable. I'll update this review if it's found to be something not of this motherboard's fault, but... well, continue reading into the "Other thoughts" section.
Other Thoughts: Perhaps I'm being a bit hard on this motherboard already due to two things that may or may not be its fault. First, was initial power-on. I installed everything, turned it on, and got a series of indefinite beeps. Checked online, and it's either bad PSU or BIOS. Reset the CMOS using the jumper, and it posted! For a few seconds, until the screen displayed heavy video artifacts, and the system crashed and rebooted into the series of beeps - BIOS just re-corrupted itself. I was about to RMA the board, but thought I'd start messing with the RAM. Removed one 2GB stick, left the other, and symptoms persisted. Removed the 2nd stick, and no/bad RAM beeps as expected (after resetting CMOS jumper). Replaced the 1st stick into the 2nd's slot, and it works after another CMOS reset! Placed the 2nd stick back in, and it still works! So, I guess the RAM just needed re-socketed (both RAM and board are brand new, and I paid attention to the clips clicking fully in every time). I've never had RAM corrupt the BIOS before though, so that was extremely odd. But, problem solved and memtest passed.
2nd issue is the system I was building didn't have a DVD drive, but all I had was a Win7 DVD. So, I had to move Win7 installation files onto the USB stick. Nothing I haven't done before. But, I had one hell of a time trying to get the motherboard to boot off the USB stick! It would see the stick, and the stick was set up properly (though by the end I was trying several different things), but it would just give me a blank cursor whenever I tried to boot off the USB. After getting frustrated after several attempts, and running out of time, I started trying different fixes at the same time - different USB stick, different installation files, different USB port, different file systems... At one point it started working and everything else was happy from there!
---I just now tried the other USB stick, original USB port, etc. and of course now it's working for every combination! The heck?! This motherboard, or SOMETHING with this system, seems to be fighting me every step of the way! And of all my battles (including ones I haven't written here involving drivers), I can't justify putting my finger on the motherboard for any of them. I think it's trolling me, but I can't prove it...
Pros: Does what it's told. It puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.
Works as advertise! Seems solid. We'll see how it holds up over the years. No heatsinks, fins, or other fancy crud means these fit perfectly inside my mini-ITX system.
Cons: I had a scare with these guys, but I don't think G.Skill is the one to blame. In fact, I'm not sure what is - maybe just myself. After building the system, it would give a beep code of either bad PSU or bad BIOS. Cleared the bios, it would boot, but the video would display artifacts and the system would reboot back to the beep code. I was about to RMA the motherboard, till I started swapping out the ram for shizzles and giggles. Took one out, no effect, too the other out, no ram, put the last one back in the first spot - works! Put the other one back into the second spot - still works!! Guess I just needed to re-seat the RAM. But never heard of bad RAM (well, bad socket or connection) actually corrupting the BIOS before... Weird. Ran Memtest, and everything's working great now.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: Plantronics - GameCom 780 Over-the-Ear Headset + ORCS Must Die 2 Download
Pros: I'm quite pleased with these headphones! I come from using a $200 pair of headphones, with a headphone amp, and a $150 sound card, and obviously these cannot compare in terms of sound quality. But, my old headphones had the cushioning peeling off and the cord worn down, the amp is over 7 years old, and my soundcard died and always had issues with my desktop microphone. I'm not the audiophile I once was, so I just went with some USB headphones instead of dealing with a sound card, and I gotta say I'm quite happy with the value! No, these won't blow your mind in terms of sound quality, but they're really good for gaming and youtube videos or whatever!
The microphone is very clear and loud - my gaming buddies love that for me! It's easy to position, and bend into place. It has a rather convenient microphone mute switch on the back (see cons), and rocker-switch volume control.
They're pretty dang comfortable right out of the box, and I'm sure they'll get more comfortable as they break in. The velvet cups seem quality, and I don't think I'll have to worry about any part peeling off or coming undone after several years of use.
The game comes on a card inside the box you can activate via steam. I won't review the game itself here though. The drivers come on a CD, and isn't the bloatware I suspected it may be. The driver and it's application are small, minimal memory usage, and just works without any fluff. Click the headphone icon in the taskbar and you can turn off Dolby surround and change the mode. Settings button in it opens Window's settings, which I actually prefer. I would never normally use this app, but I installed it for the sake of giving these a comprehensive review, and in the end decided it was worth keeping.
Cons: The folding feature of these microphones is a joke. It doesn't conserve any space, and puts everything in a worse position where they can get broken or the speaker crushed! Thankfully I don't plan on travelling with these, and if I do they're cheap enough that I won't care or I'll just wear them around my neck.
The microphone mute button physically disconnects the microphone. This isn't really a bad thing, except it gave me a great way to compare the noise quality of the cable: it's significant, but not enough to take an egg away. There is static on the line, even if the microphone is muted via the button - you need to mute it using Windows to be completely rid of it. I kinda wish the button muted it via software instead. As for voice chat, the static isn't at all noticeable.
The Dolby Surround is a nice feature, but don't get your hopes up. It's a cheap trick, and I wasn't really expecting to be wowed by the "surround sound experience", nor was I. It's taking a stereo signal and doing some fancy stuff to it to make it sound surround-ish. Point is: it's still stereo. If you configure a game to be surround sound, then all the noises that are supposed to be behind you won't play at all. The audio still bottlenecks at 2 channels for stereo. In theory, they COULD implement surround sound experience with stereo headphones (we only have 2 ears after all), but at this price it's just not going to happen.
And, my last gripe: the cord. They say it's a tough, quality, and rugged cord. Good thing, because I've already ran over it twice with my chair! The cord is long, which is good for reach, but it's not coiled at all, and just flops all over the place. I'd tuck it in somewhere, but I actually move to another desktop frequently so it just pulls out and falls to the floor when I roll back. I'm gonna have to devise somekinda mechanism or find a spring-loaded cable reel for these guys...