Joined on 11/18/02
Excellent Sandy Bridge Motherboard
Pros: It works without a glitch (so far, at least). Has been running Xen XCP 1.1 first beta without problems and test installations of various versions of modern Linux distributions worked flawlessly.
Cons: Limited number of slots, but then again this is a Micro ATX server board with the Cougar 204 chipset. 4 PCIe x8 physical, two x8 and two x4 electrical. Some people don't like the fact that one of the 1GB ports is from the chipset and isn't in various older distributions (Supermicro is releasing '+' versions to address this); not a problem for me and that port performs well (although not yet put to serious test).
Overall Review: The basics of the build: Intel Xeon E3-1230 Sandy Bridge 3.2GHz Kingston 4GB 240-Pin SDRAM ECC Unbuffered DDR3 1333 Model KVR1333D3E9S/4G, 4 unmatched sticks bought in two different transactions a week apart. Elpida dies and they're rather small. LSI SATA/SAS 9211-8i 6Gb/s PCIe 2.0 RAID Controller Card using the stock IR firmware. Some Cheetah 15K.7 and Constellation ES drives. SeaSonic M12II 620 Bronze 620W. Fits nicely and seems to keep cool in a Silverstone Raven RV02B-EW.
Good System Disk
Pros: Inexpensive, solid system disk, pairs well with cheaper, larger magnetic hard disks.
Cons: None given its positioning in the market.
Overall Review: George N.'s reviews cover this well, it makes a good system disk, ideally under-provisioned, which I do with disk partitioning. Works flawlessly with Supermicro X9SCM and X9SAE motherboards and Ubuntu 14.04 and FreeBSD 10 respectively. The former has been in service on my main machine for 6 months as I write this micro-review.
Inelegant for thick hard disks
Pros: Works pretty much as advertised, leaves plenty of room between two hard disks for ventilation (see Cons). Nice, solid feel, build quality is very high.
Cons: Can't mount two "thick" hard disks (Seagate Savvio 10K.3 ST9300603SS in this case) in the same parallel orientation. In the world of PATA or parallel SCSI this would have been a showstopper, in the world of SATA and SAS a simple half twist of one or two cables solves this "problem". But it doesn't look elegant if you care about that sort of thing. I should have measured it, but the way I did it probably took up more than one 3.5 inch disk slot.
Overall Review: Like some other mounting systems where the holes for the disks have to be recessed, getting the screws into the (rubber grommet) holes can be tricky. I've found that a little bit of Bostick Blu-Tack works wonders for this problem; it's a product of Australia but easy and cheap enough to find in the USA.
Seems to play well with Sandy Bridge CPUs
Pros: 4 unmatched sticks bought in two separate transactions a week apart are working well in a Supermicro X9SCM-F motherboard. Elpida dies and they're fairly small. Price has been dropping lately.
Cons: Price started dropping just after I bought my first two sticks, but not enough to be painful.
Overall Review: Basic memory that just seems to work. Of course Intel and Supermicro get a lot of credit.
You pays your money and yous takes your chances
Pros: Inexpensive and it conducts electricity (don't have my receiver yet but I'm sure it will be fine).
Cons: I was shorted 8 inches plus or minus about 2 inches. Not a big deal but they aren't a company that biases their manufacturing to give you a tad more than what's claimed to be in the package.
A truly fine basic board
Pros: An excellent basic board for high resolution 2D graphics, well supported by Linux without needing the nVidia binary blob driver. Small, no fan, no muss no fuss.
Cons: As noted, not for games, heavy duty 3D or HPC.
Overall Review: Don't be fooled by the low resolution picture of this board showing one plug in the back, the kit comes with a Y adapter that breaks out the two DVI interfaces.