Hey there everyone, I have decided to start up my own review blog for the pc components that usually get missed out. E.g. the cheaper budget components. Here is my review of the budget AM2+ gigabyte motherboard M68M-S2P.
Hello there and welcome to Jack-O-Bytes reviews. In this post I am going to be talking about the cheap but cheerful Gigabyte M68M-S2P AM2+ motherboard.
I have used this board in 2 of my PC builds so far and I have found them very easy to install and setup. This board is designed for budget builds around the £200-£400 ($320-$640) area. Even though this board costs only £32 ($51) it comes with some very nice features that you would expect to find only on more expensive boards. These include a 3+1 phase power design that uses solid capacitors and also AM3 CPU support for up the Phenom II x6 1055T CPU. This basically means that for £32 ($51) you can get a motherboard that is capable at supporting full 6 core CPU's.
This motherboard has the following output and inputs on the I/O panel;
* 1 x PS/2 keyboard port
* 1 x PS/2 mouse port
* 1 x parallel port
* 1 x serial port
* 1 x D-Sub port
* 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports
* 1 x RJ-45 port
* 3 x audio jacks (Line In / Line Out / MIC In)
As you can see it still has the standard PS2 keyboard and mouse plugs which in my opinion are a good thing as not all people have moved onto USB peripherals. It also has one parallel port as well which I don't see much use of as many boards have done without these for quite a while and I don't really know any one that still uses one. It also has a serial port which also seems a little out of date. Of course some people still use these features so gigabyte have added them any way. The only video output on this board is a VGA D-Sub port which for some people may not be all that great. Many other boards now use DVI and/or HDMI plugs instead. Of course many people still use VGA instead of DVI so that is a fair move by Gigabyte considering they have also added serial and parallel ports. It seams as though this board is aimed at people that want the performance of a new computer but do not want the costs of replacing all their other peripherals as well. The Gigabyte M68M-S2P only has 4 USB ports on the back but for a £32 ($51) I don't see this as a bad amount. It has a gigabit Ethernet port which is easily fast enough for almost every ones Internet and home network systems as well. The main let down on this board is that even though it features 7.1 channel audio it only has 3 3.5mm jack sockets. This means that when you want either 5.1 or 7.1 channel audio you loose use of the microphone and line in plugs.
This motherboard has the following internal connectors;
* 1 x 24-pin ATX power connector
* 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V power connector
* 1 x floppy connector
* 1 x IDE connectors
* 4 x SATA 3Gb/s connectors
* 1 x CPU fan connector
* 1 x system fan connector
* 1 x front panel connector
* 1 x front panel audio connector
* 1 x CD In connector
* 1 x SPDIF In/Out connector
* 2 x USB 2.0/1.1 connectors for additional 4 USB 2.0/1.1 ports by cables
* 1 x clearing CMOS jumper
This board uses the standard 24 pin motherboard power socket which is located next to the RAM slots. This is the ideal place to have the plug as it leads the thick power lead from the PSU away from the CPU area and thus avoiding the cable getting stuck in the CPU fan or getting in the way of mounting an aftermarket heatsink. This board also has a 4 pin power connector that is next to the CPU socket in the top left of the board. This is also in a good place as it allows you to route the cable over the PSU and down into the socket thus avoiding the CPU heatsink and fan again. I am happy to see that gigabyte have also included a floppy disk connector on the M68M-S2P board as this shows that it is again thinking about people that may still use legacy components and formats. The M68M-S2P also has 1 IDE port that is great for people that want to just upgrade their motherboard, RAM, and CPU without having to get a new SATA hard drive. This board has 4 SATA 3GB/s connectors great for if you want to setup a computer with multiple hard drives for backups or data storage. It also has support for RAID 0,1, 5, and 10. This is great as you can create high performance drive setups.
The quality of this board feels very solid. It has solid capacitors around the CPU which shows quality as they cost more and are more reliable than regular electrolytic capacitors. The M68M-S2P also looks good quality as all the other capacitors are perfectly vertical and none are leaning over suggesting that the board has been put together well. The last small sign of higher quality is the colour scheme. Having components with matching colours shows that some thought and attention has gone into making this board look good as well as perform good. It also shows that they haven't just been sloppy and used whatever parts were available at the time of manufacture or whichever were offered cheapest.
Overall I would say that this motherboard is medium quality using high quality solid capacitors in the most importand area and then high quality electrolytic capacitors elsewhere to help keep the price down a little. CPU's is great and the RAM support of upto 1066Mhz speed is OK but not as good as the newer DDR3 motherboards that have been released. What more can you want though from a great budget board other than stability, ease of setup, performance, and high support for old and some newer technologies.