Joined on 09/03/07
The Little Motherboard That Could
Pros: - It works. - Not exorbitantly priced. - Built-in wifi adapter has optional external antenna hookup. - Pleasant color scheme. - Orange-colored LEDs line the underside of the board. They can pulse (or remain lit solid), have adjustable brightness (100% or 50%), or be turned off entirely.
Cons: - Only two fan headers (one CPU fan header and one system fan header).
Overall Review: - Fan headers, where art thou? For a CLC which consumes both the CPU header and a system fan header (the Corsair H60, for instance), consider buying a splitter, or even a fan controller. Really not a big deal, but it would have been nice to have one extra system fan header. - The wifi adapter functions without an external antenna. The board comes bundled with a fairly high quality external antenna with a magnetic base, which is a nice gesture for those who need the extra range. - My life is bland enough, so it's nice to find a motherboard that has a little color on it (other than blue, or black, or whatever shade of brown ASUS is feeling like this month). - The LEDs are only on the bottom of the motherboard, which creates a subtle underglow effect. My build was in a Corsair 250D, and the LEDs shine through the mesh siding; I disabled them in the BIOS. - Drivers: Put the included disc in the drive, install the network adapter driver, remove the disc from the drive, then remove that optical drive from your crowded mITX case and download the rest of the drivers from Gigabyte's website. - Purchased/shipped from NewEgg. Box wasn't crushed. Even if it was, that's probably because the delivery guy sat on it, which isn't NewEgg's fault. I took a little bit to think about more cons, but nothing came to mind. This board is solid, and has given me no trouble; at least in the week or so after building. Nice job to the folks at Gigabyte.
It Doesn't Look Like a Microwave
Pros: - Panels are easily removed with thumbscrews. - Hard drive mounts are tool-less. - Sturdy construction; doesn't feel like a hunk of plastic. - Many cooling possibilities for such a small case. - Lots of anchors for wire ties. - Every intake vent has a filter. - Has a window and doesn't look like a microwave like some of the other mITX cases.
Cons: - Front USB ports are upside down. - Side panel can be finicky to install and remove.
Overall Review: - Again, it doesn't look like a microwave or mini fridge. Are you listening, Fractal Design? - Mounting the hard drives takes a little patience. The trays are plastic and flimsy, but they stabilize once a hard drive is in them. I recommend installing them before you install other components. - The side panel has six little clips that have to be perfectly aligned in six little tracks before it will slide forward. It's not a good design. - I'm using a Corsair H60 in there, but there's room for a 240mm radiator if I decided to do that. Note that there is very little clearance between headers on the "top" of the motherboard and a fan/rad there. I owned the Corsair 350D prior to using this. The 250D, while much smaller, has the same high quality and smart design. Building in the 250D is very easy, just as long as you can handle all of the cable management that comes with a smaller case.