Choosing The Right AM1 Motherboard
It's always easiest for me to write value conclusions when the differences in price outstrip the dissimilarities in hardware design. This is exemplified by the similarly-configured $50 and $36 motherboards from Asus and MSI.
For one dollar less, you could get Gigabyte's AM1M-S2H, the FlexATX motherboard that fits superbly into a microATX case, but doesn’t fit at all in the mini-ITX form factor evangelized by Asus and MSI. The larger Gigabyte board gives you two PCIe x1 slots that simply don't fit on a mini-ITX board, though. Conversely, MSI exposes a mini-PCIe slot to serve a similar function within the limited scope of notebook-based parts.
I don’t like giving value awards to a majority of contenders in one of my round-ups. But Gigabyte and MSI really do serve two different markets. The only thing bad I can say about them relates to the APU I used to test, which costs almost twice as much as the boards, but won't satisfy many of our readers. Of course, I can’t deny either company an award based on market factors beyond their control. Thus, Gigabyte’s microATX / FlexATX AM1M-S2H gets its value award for its chart-topping position...
...and the $1 more-expensive MSI AM1I gets its value award specific to the mini-ITX form factor.