Gigabyte B85N Phoenix-WiFi
This board has one notable layout difference from the other two. See where the front-panel header is, high on the right edge? That could be good or bad, depending on your case and how you want to route your wires. In a full ATX or microATX chassis, you may wish to run your front-panel wires under the motherboard if wire length, grommet or mounting-hole placement won't let you route them behind the motherboard tray. You can also clearly see the mSATA connector, at 10 o'clock from the CPU, just below the audio jacks. It includes the hold-down screw too, which I've seen forgotten (that screw is already on the board). In the box, you get two SATA cables, the motherboard driver CD, a separate CD for the Wi-Fi card, an I/O plate and the wireless card's antenna, which sits on your desk.
Perhaps due to some additional features, this board’s layout is somewhat busy. Among other anomalies, the battery is not held in a clip, but is wrapped and stuck to the back of the USB3.0 and LAN connector housing. Writing on the wrap indicates it is a CR2032, but don’t plan on dropping in to a Wal-Mart or Home Depot if you need a replacement. Similar to CMOS batteries in many laptops, it is connected to the board with a two-pin header, so you’ll need to get one with the same polarity, or do some creative slicing and re-taping. The CLR_CMOS pins do not have a jumper cap, and are not near the battery (or its pins), but instead are two-thirds up the right edge, behind the front panel header, which is there too instead of being in its usual place on the bottom left. If there isn’t a cable-management hole nearby, you may want to run your front panel wires under the motherboard before you mount it, to keep them hidden. Just above the front panel header on the right edge is a COM port header. If you need an actual serial port though, it is a separate purchase. The chassis and CPU fan headers, both 4-pin PWM, are below that in the center of the right edge. On the left side of the board, just below the rear panel audio connectors is a mSATA connector. This connector is rated for 6Gb/s. The hold-down screw is included, and is pre-installed on the board. There are three white SATA 6Gb/s connectors, one on the front edge, and two behind the RAM slots. One of the latter is almost up against the PCIe slot, but the side where a locking clip would be is not obstructed. The RAM slots have locking levers on the right side only, so there’s no clear indication that RAM has been fully seated. The front edge has a USB3.0 header and a USB2.0 header to the left of the previously mentioned SATA 6Gb/s connector. On the other side of that is the single black SATA 3Gb/s connector, then the 24-pin power connection. All capacitors are solid, and the board also uses ferrite-core chokes.
Here's the main UEFI screen, giving the familiar overview:
The Advanced Frequency Settings page seems to have a bug in it; the reported frequency is not consistent with what the multiplier suggests.
With a 35x multiplier, why is it showing 3.99GHz? This produced the following results, showing the expected ~3.5GHz minor overclock (and not much effect on temps):
I decided this board needed a bonus picture, even if it's low-quality:
All around the edges are orange LEDs. Turning them off doesn't even register a 1W difference in power consumption. They can be set to full brightness (as they are here), 50-percent brightness and/or pulse mode, which is more like breathing. Alternatively, you can turn them off entirely. The effect is interesting, though it does force us to again ask who might want to buy this board? It is rather anomalous, sucking down more juice and running hotter than the other two boards in our round-up. Moreover, it doesn't facilitate RAID, though it does have enough ports to support a backup drive. Or, you could use Windows' software-based RAID 1.
What this board definitely offers is amazing network performance. Look at the upload speeds, especially from the wireless controller. Media-serving HTPC, anyone? Despite higher power and heat, it didn't impose higher (or noisier) CPU fan speeds. We're still looking at less than 20W of difference, which might not matter to some enthusiasts. But if you need the network performance and number of ports this board offers, it may be just the ticket.