Date Joined: 12/27/03
Pros: This is a no frills board perfect for a low power NAS. GbE, PCI-E x8, up to 16GB of RAM, and 4 on-board SATA ports make it a very attractive board at this price point.
Cons: It would've been nice to have a second GbE, but at this price, I can't really fault it.
Overall Review: This has a true PCI-E x8 slot. While this is an older CPU, none of the newer embedded Celeron or Pentium motherboards have a x8 slot, they're all x1. This is an important feature if you're planning to run a SAS/SATA HBA such as an IBM BR10i or M1015. I run this board with 2x 2GB Crucial DDR3 1600, IBM M1015 HBA, 8x WD Red 2TB, 2x 1TB WD Red 2.5", all running under Open Media Vault. Easy on the electric bill, easy to run, and just stays out of the way. In the end, I normally don't shop Biostar when looking for motherboards. My main brands are Asus and Gigabyte, but they lost out due to lack of the PCI-E x8 slot. Nice board, nice price, great for a NAS on a budget.
Pros: Plays everything I've thrown at it on maxed settings quite nicely. This one also runs nice and cool. For comparison purposes, the 560Ti it replaced was a space heater, getting so hot it would make me break a sweat every now and then. The blower-style cooler is also rather quiet, the 120mm fans in my case mask the sound of the blower. This truly is an enthusiast card at a mid-range price point.
Cons: Nothing, but it would've been mighty nice to get a voucher for a game or two. As somebody that has been building gaming PC's the the better part of 2 decades, enthusiast cards always came with a couple of games to flex the muscles of the new piece. Sadly, most manufacturers have stopped doing this over the last decade.
Overall Review: If you're on the fence about this one, get it, especially if you're coming from a 500 or 600 series card. It's a heck of an upgrade and should hold you over for a few years. I was hesitant at first, but my 560Ti was getting long in the tooth. It could play all of my usual games just fine, but the 1GB of VRAM was very limiting. Having the GTX 970 with 4GB gave new life to my games, both old and new.
Pros: Excellent router once flashed with OpenWRT. I have 3 of these in a WDS setup, giving me a full wifi signal everywhere in my house, as well as my garage and backyard.
Cons: Factory firmware is not good. This may be the reason for so many negative reviews. Factory firmware is flaky, my primary router needed a reboot every so often. OpenWRT and DD-WRT will alleviate any bad taste the factory firmware left behind.
Overall Review: This router is hardware limited to a 19dBm signal, while some others using the exact same Atheros chipset are capable of signals near the 30dBm range. Do not waste your money on larger antennas, since they will not offer any benefit with the hardware limiting the signal strength. Revisions B1, B2, and C1 are ripe for OpenWRT and DD-WRT. Revision A1 is not supported.
Pros: Works excellent with XBMC Linux, as provided by Pivos. Plays everything Ive thrown at it, including 720p h264 over N wifi. The Pivos Forum is a great resource and will help you getting the XIOS up and running in no-time.
Cons: The remote seems like an afterthought. It gets the job done, but a standard universal remote or the official Android XBMC Remote app work much better. The factory remote is fine for initial setup, but afterwards, you'll be much better off with what I mentioned above.
Overall Review: It was a steal for $80, but at the current price, there are more capable boxes with beefier hardware.
Pros: Theres tons of room to hide unused cables, thus keeping great airflow throughout the case.
Cons: Very heavy. Once you load it down with hardware, youre not going to want to move it often.
Overall Review: Definitely get the hot-swap bays, as the factory bays are a very tight squeeze once loaded with drives. Another thing to do is build a rolling platform for this beast. I bought 4 casters and a piece of shelving, makes moving it MUCH easier.
Pros: Awesome card for Linux RAID. Very fast transfer rates, card works right out of the box.
Cons: Cant use locking SATA cables due to the way the ports are laid out. You can always grab a pair of needle nose pliers and remove the locking tab from one end of your SATA cable.
Overall Review: Would be nice if Rosewill made a 8-port PCI-E x8 card.
Pros: This is the best $100 media center you will find, period. Once you jailbreak it (with Seas0nPass) and install XBMC, the sky is the limit. Its handled everything Ive thrown at it, plus it works great with Hulu and Icefilms.
Cons: Doesnt come with an HDMI cable. I already had quite a few on hand, but just a forewarning to potential buyers.
Overall Review: I have 4 of these around the house, 2 hard-wired and 2 running over wifi. Ive set up a SQL database on my media server to sync my media libraries between them. Its nice being able to pause a movie in one room and pick it back up in another. The ATV2 runs nearly the same hardware as the iPhone 4, with one exception, 256MB of RAM vs the 512MB in the iPhone 4.
Pros: Mates perfectly with the new Supermicro Atom D510 board. Im running 6x 1TB Western Digital Black drives on Ubuntu Server 10.04 with 2GB of Crucial DDR2-667. The memory is a bit overkill (system never uses more than 512MB), but the more the merrier. I planned on using the Chenbro mini-ITX server case at first, but it simply didnt have enough hard drive bays for the motherboard I had chosen. Im also running an Antec Earthwatts 380W PSU with this build.
Cons: I had to buy a blank 5.25" bay shield, since Im not using an optical drive. The LED fan in the front is pretty bright, and should not have been used in production. For those that plan on keeping this on the desktop, the fan is an eye sore. I replaced mine with a low-RPM Scythe fan. It cut down on the noise and got rid of the overbearing blue.
Overall Review: Lian Li makes a 5.25" to dual 2.5" bracket that can be used for extra storage space (sold at Newegg as well). Im using a Rosewill RC-218 SATA II controller and booting off of a RAID 1 with 2x OCZ Vertex 30GB SSDs. This is the ultimate case for a very small footprint server, and like I said, the new Supermicro Atom D510 board seems to have been made specifically for this thing.