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GIGABYTE GA-F2A88XM-D3H FM2+ / FM2 AMD A88X (Bolton D4) SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
  • Verified Owner
  • neweggOwned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Don't be fooled by the low price. It is a good motherboard for the money.
I purchased this MB as part of a combo with an AMD A10-7850k and 8GB of G.Skill sniper 2133Mhz Ram. As the price for these three items fell below $300, it became too difficult to pass up.
Assembly was pretty easy (except when I seated the CPU), and the computer posted the first time I pressed the power button. I didn't need to use another CPU to update BIOS. Apparently this MB will work if it has the F4 BIOS version or newer.
The layout of the motherboard seemed pretty logical, as the headers for the Front I/O port and SATA cables made it easy for good cable management. I had no trouble installing the RAM after installing a Cooler Master Hyper 212 plus. The board is also pretty thick, which makes it less stressful when mounting the MB to the case. There is little to no flex in the board, and will likely hold a large discrete graphics card just fine.
This board also seems to overclock the CPU well. I currently run the CPU's four logic processors at 4.0 Ghz, and the eight graphics processors at 900Mhz. I'm sure I could overclock the system a bit more, but I don't need to since I only do light gaming. It runs pretty cool, quiet, and stable at 30 degrees Celsius, more or less, and I want to keep it that way.

Cons: As others have stated, there isn't a whole lot of bells and whistles on this motherboard, but if you're looking for that, look for a full atx motherboard that has them.
There is only one HDMI output, along with one DVI and one D-Sub output. If you have three monitors that have one of each, you're in luck, but then again, you might as well buy a discrete graphics card if you're going to use that setup.
There are two USB 3.0 ports, as well as four USB 2.0 ports on the back. That could be a problem if you have a boatload of peripheral devices. But for the average budget-builder, that shouldn't be a problem at all.
The BIOS is feature-rich, but a bit confusing. It also is a bit sluggish if you use the mouse to navigate through it. Other manufacturers seem to build more streamlined BIOS for their motherboards. It takes a little getting-used-to, but works just fine.
For some reason, I cannot charge my iphone off of the USB 3.0 ports. I probably have a problem with the drivers, and need to find an updated version. When I do, I'll write another review.

Other Thoughts: Some people have complained about there being no heat spreaders or pipes for the MOFSETS on this board. I don't see this as a problem because I don't need to push my computer too hard.
For those of you who have a hard time getting the MB to recognize faster RAM memory, go to advanced frequency settings in your BIOS. Look for Extreme Memory Profile and set the configuration to Profile 1. My MB did not recognize the 2133Mhz until I set it it up that way. So try that out first before posting hate messages online. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Cooler Master N200 - Micro ATX Mini Tower Computer Case with Front 240mm Radiator Support and Ventilated Front Panel
  • Verified Owner
  • neweggOwned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: There are a lot of things I learned about computers after building a first computer, and choosing a good case from a reputable company is one of them. Unfortunately, my first computer build did not use this case, but a cheaper model from a lesser known manufacturer. That was my first mistake and I regret it because I did not know what I was missing out on.
First off, if you intend to built a computer using an m-atx or itx form-factor, this will not disappoint. There are many upgrade options to choose from: four mounting points for 2.5" SSDs located throughout the interior, removable HHD cages on top and bottom, a spacious interior for large discrete graphics cards and good cable management, and the option to mount liquid cooling through the front of the case. Cooler Master crafted a mini-masterpiece using quality materials. Nothing felt cheap in this case. The filters are a nice fine metal mesh, instead of the cheap packing foam other manufacturers use for their cases. I encountered few sharp edges, had plenty of additional hardware, and everything on the front I/O panel works! The inclusion of two very quiet three-pin fans and a computer speaker made me extra happy.

Cons: I have very few complaints about this case, but I did find a couple of things that bothered me.
There is only one 3.5" drive bay, which I knew before I bought this case. It's no problem for me because I only needed one optical drive for a computer. But if you plan to include an external fan controller or flash card reader, you may be out of luck.
The only true gripe I have for this case is how troublesome it was to mount my SSD. I bought a Crucial M500 120GB drive, but found out that it could only be mounted upside down on the HDD cages. This proved a problem for me when I tried to connect the power cable to it. I eventually had to mount the drive to the motherboard tray to save me from using an extra cable from my modular PSU.


Joseph W.'s Profile

Display Name: Joseph W.

Date Joined: 11/23/13

  • Reviews: 2
  • Helpfulness: 2
  • First Review: 07/20/14
  • Last Review: 07/20/14
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