Joined on 12/21/06
Excellent for media center HTPC DVR drive
Pros: - Quiet for HTPC - Small enough for mini-ITX - Large capacity for many hours of HD recording - Runs cool - Suited for DVR applications, which is what I am using it for.
Cons: - None so far
Overall Review: I am using this a my bedroom HTPC which is a mini-ITX HTPC that uses Windows Media Center and a networked SiliconDust HDHomeRun Prime to DVR TV. For the longest time I was using a 128GB SSD for both the OS and recordings but research made me paranoid enough to realize I was better off off-loading the recordings and live TV buffer to a regular drive and saving the write-cycles on my SSD. My mini-ITX case, a Realan E-K3 can fit 2 x 2.5" HDDs so I moved my OS to a 64GB SSD and my recordings/buffer to this 1TB drive. My biggest worry with adding a regular drive to a mini-ITX HTPC were heat and noise. This drive has neither. You cannot hear it at all and temperatures in this small case have remained the same. Despite being 1TB, this HDD is the standard height for 2.5" devices so it fit perfect. This then should have no problem fitting in a notebook. This in combination with an mSATA SSD in a notebook would be an excellent combination -- have the OS on the SSD and media on the 1TB drive. As for performance, I am not doing much to tax the drive but I don't notice (and don't expect to notice) a difference with the live TV buffer on the hard drive now. I do have what seems like some crazy number of hours of recording space now which is great in case I am not able to sweep the programs to my home server before space runs out. I can also keep copy-once recordings on this drive instead of moving them to the server which means they now won't show up on my other HTPCs that cannot see them. Overall, this is a great drive. I make a HTPCs for other people and if they want space for media or live TV buffer/recordings, this is definitely the drive I will use.
There is a little man on a typewriter inside
Pros: I stimulated the economy by buying this?
Cons: It sounds like someone is typing on a typewriter inside my new HDD. I downloaded the SeaTools application and it fails on the Long self-test but doesn't say what it failed on thanks to an additional failure to write to the log file. This started about 10 minutes after I finished installing Window 7 x64. Updating the firmware made no difference. I don't think this HDD is long for this world. PITA.
Overall Review: I knew when I bought this as part of a combo I was making a mistake. There's a reason this was thrown in there: it's junk. I don't even want it replaced for another which is the only option with combos. This was my first and last Seagate drive. I should have stayed with Western Digital. In 20 years of buying WD drives I've never had one fail. Lesson learned about Seagate and about Newegg combos.
Incompatible with i5-4590S
Pros: This board has all the pros of the thin mini-ITX form-factor with all the features needed for an HTPC or desktop PC. It's priced in the same range as other mini-ITX motherboards which means in the end it comes out cheaper because all that's needed for a power supply is an AC adapter (19V 7.4mm * 5.0mm tip).
Cons: Even after updating the BIOS to 0602 this motherboard will not boot to the BIOS with an i5-4590S installed. I tried two different CPUs and two different H81T/CSM motherboards with the same results. I also tried earlier versions of the BIOS. The i5-4590S is on the QVL as of version 0503. This has become a very expensive project as a result of having to buy two CPUs and two motherboards to figure out the issue and it definitely the motherboard. Inserting an i3-4130 and G3220 it boots up no problem.
Overall Review: Don't try to run a Haswell Refresh CPU on this motherboard. Despite being advertised to work with the newer CPUs if you update the BIOS, it doesn't work and you will be out your money unless you're actually able to get a refund. It works great with the i3-4130 and G3220 though.
Pros: Worked with intended motherboard
Overall Review: I purchased these to use with the Giada MI-D2550GT-M motherboard. They work perfectly. Both sticks passed Memtest 86+ and I was able to install OpenELEC no problem. Specs: Iwill S197-H80 case Giada MI-D2550GT-M motherboard 12V 5A AC adapter 16GB USB stick
Perfect for OpenELEC with a little tweaking
Pros: - Built-in DC-DC power-supply so only AC adapter is needed (12V 2.5x5.5mm like picoPSU) - Quiet fan with great fan control in BIOS - Very low power (30W max measured with Kill-a-Watt) - Built-in Nvidia GT610 well supported in Linux/OpenELEC - Awesome for low-profile cases, especially with side-venting - mSATA slot
Cons: - LVDS is default video so when installing OpenELEC it can be a little tricky to get HDMI output (see below for fix) - No power to USB header when turned off which for certain IR receivers means it cannot be turned on from off - Lousy self-service support via Giada website; no documentation, drivers or BIOS updates available; site VERY SLOW
Overall Review: First thought: ignore the comment in the other review about Linux and the GPU. This motherboard mates the Nvidia GT610 to the Atom D2550. The PowerVR GPU is not used. It works perfectly for Linux and with a little tweaking, OpenELEC. Other thoughts: I've built several systems for clients using this motherboard. Almost all are for OpenELEC or XBMCbuntu though a few are for Windows. This version has an mSATA and one regular SATA slot presumably for an ODD. The fan is very quiet and the fan speed can be fine tuned in the BIOS which is great. It runs OpenELEC very well since the NVIDIA GT610 has very good driver support. With OpenELEC it's a bit tricky to setup at first because the HDMI is not the default output. You'll see the OpenELEC splash screen and then all is dark. To fix this first be sure to install OpenELEC with SSH and then do the following: 1. Plug in either an HDMI or VGA cable to the display and connect a network cable. 2. Boot OpenELEC and let it go from the splashscreen to the blank screen. 3. SSH into your OpenELEC system (usually called ‘openelec’ on the network) 4. Find the device ID for the monitor output (usually for HDMI it is DFP-1) cat /var/log/Xorg.0.0.log | grep DFP 5. Copy the NVidia config to where it's read from cp /etc/X11/xorg-nvidia.conf /storage/.config/ 6. Change to that dir and then edit the file cd /storage/.config nano xorg.nvidia.conf 7. Add this line in the Device section (with the right number for your device): Option "UseDisplayDevice" "DFP-1" 8. Exit and save 9. Reboot There is additional information on this process on the XBMC site. Besides this bit of tweaking, the only other real downside to this motherboard is the poor Giada website. There are no BIOS updates, no driver updates, no downloadable documentation. Support has been pretty responsive though. Overall, I would not hesitate to purchase this motherboard for OpenELEC/Linux. It's quiet, low-power, doesn't need an external DC-DC PSU (just the AC adapter) and runs really well.
Good thin mini-ITX motherboard with some quirks
Pros: - Excellent price point - Very good fan control via eSF utility - On-board 19V DC power - Many features for mini-ITX PC - Intel-compatible CIR header - Works with easy to find Dell 19.5V 4.74A AC adapters from old/dead laptops making reuse possible
Cons: - Geared very much towards AIO so many useless headers for regular PC - GUI BIOS has no mouse control, some features like fan control cannot be changed - Hangs on boot with card reader plugged into USB3 - Only one display output for regular desktop use - mSATA standoffs not compatible with mSATA SSD screws - BIOS documentation does not match the shipped BIOS - Website hosted in Taiwan and very slow
Overall Review: I bought this motherboard to make a small office PC in the Realan E-Q6i case. I installed a G530 CPU, 4GB of DDR3-1333 SO-DIMM, a Crucial m4 64GB mSATA SSD and a Dynatron K199 CPU cooler. This motherboard is dead simple to work with, especially with these components. The only install issues I had were first with the mSATA SSD. The motherboard standoffs did not take the screws that came with the SSD. No screw I could find would fit and none were in the box. I ended up having to use electrical tape to hold the SSD down. The second was installing the CPU cooler. There are some components on the back that interfere with the install of the backplate. I had to add some spacers to the backplate brackets so the components would not be crushed. Once assembled on boot, the BIOS came up and was surprisingly a GUI BIOS. However, there is no mouse support. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to change the fan control from normal to silent. I ended up having to do this with the eSF utility. I'd rather not run the utility but change it in the BIOS. Form rules over function here and the documentation shows a different BIOS so it's of no help. The website is of no help either and is very slow. A nice thing I discovered is that this motherboard is compatible with older Dell 19.5V 4.74A AC adapters that I have from some old dead laptops so I was able to reuse those and save money. These can easily be found all over making a cheap build even cheaper. This motherboard also appears to have an Intel-compatible CIR header. I have not tried it yet but I have a Intel CIR receiver on the way to see if it'll work. The only other place to find an Intel CIR header is on much more expensive Intel motherboards. The included CD has some decent utilities and all the usual bloatware. It will try to install some even if you think you are just installing the drivers so beware. The eSF utility is worth installing for fan control. The custom setting works well for keeping the PC quiet. It works very well for fine-grained control. One issue I've been having is if our card reader is plugged into the USB3 port, boot hangs until it's unplugged. This might be due to a BIOS setting -- perhaps it's trying to boot from USB and hanging. I need to check this. Overall though, I will buy this motherboard again for mini-ITX builds especially given the price point. It can fit in the smallest of cases and without the need for any cables. It's a very good value especially considering the on-board DC power supply and the ability to use a laptop adapter that's very inexpensive and easy to find -- maybe even for free. It has its quirks but they can be lived with. The one I'd like to solve the most though is the BIOS fan control selection.