Since I was asked to look at the $60-$80 segment, I suspect this board was in that range when THG ordered it; the price may have come down some. It is a nice board, it would not have been unreasonable to make it "Recommended" rather than merely "Approved," although I suspect that one of the ASRock H97 boards may be close enough in price to make that a higher bang/buck proposition.
I think this is the motherboard that I said Biostar should have submitted for the sub-$60 LGA-1150 motherboard round-up, back in April.
I wouldn't have minded having it come across my bench back then. But I think Joe is right, it was probably just above the price range back then. This would have been tough competition for those other four boards, especially with the four RAM slots. That's something you get with a full-width board. That and a secured board edge ( I really don't like boards that are narrower than the spec and just hang off the edge ). Then again, the H81 chipset can't handle more than two DIMMs, even if you have the space. That's yet another advantage B85 has.
The lack of a TOSLINK doesn't bother me. The board does have the header if you want to buy the break out adapter. But if you don't have Dolby Digital Live or DTS-Connect, you can only get 5.1 audio over the S/PDIF from pre-encoded sources, like a movie DVD. Game sounds and every other generated audio is reduced to 2.0, which you can get from the 3.5mm jack. So unless you're using your computer to watch a lot of movies, and you're using fiber optic cables for audio instead of HDMI, there's not a lot of need for it.
you're joking, right? Practically every motherboard that left the factory in Q1/Q2 2014, has the support for "haswell refresh" cpus.
I wanted a definite statement. There are boards in distant parts of the world that lack this feature.
Firstly, apologies for not making my intention clearer. I knew exactly what I meant but, as a teacher, I should have been less hasty.
I advise a lot of people around the world on system builds as so many of us do. What often comes up for budget systems is the PCPartpicker note. – Some Intel B85 chipset motherboards may need a BIOS update prior to using Haswell Refresh CPUs.
Many of these posters are spending all the money they have on their first build and are full of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) Often, nothing I can say will persuade them that they do not need a Z97 board like their mate told them to get.
My statement was intended to prompt the reviewer to add wording to the review similar to what SuperVeloce suggested. Say This motherboard supports haswell refresh cpus.
We regulars use this site a lot and 'know' all this stuff, but it is also important to remember the first-timers.
He is right, DonkeyOatie i mean, i also built a system for a friend and i was stressed up until the system booted if i would have to run around to use another cpu to bios update so that the haswell refresh cpu i had would work.
It's good to see an article about something i'm already using. I looked for a lot of mainboards around and bought this one about 1 year ago. I decided on this one because it has 4 dimm slots and PCI slot. I looked H81 and found out that it's only has capability of PCIe 2.0 - which manufacturers forgot to mention - and after this discovery i started to look for B85 or cheap Z87 option. After a while I found this mainboard.
After using 1 year I can tell it's a good buy but i have a problem and could not solve this. At time I started using there's no problem but after sometime passed it started. When I make cold start it hangs on F9 state and i have to make a hard reset to start it normally. If you guys have a clue to fix it i'll be appreciated.
Have a good day.
Although it is only a year old, you might try replacing the CMOS battery. Do that, reset the BIOS to defaults, and see how it goes.
Sorry I mispelled. My mainboard hangs on BIOS state 9C. I tried to CMOS reset, changed memory banks, change all memory, make memory test, change operating system but nothing has changed. It stucks at 9C and when I reset it starts without any problem. It has warranty but i don't want to send it if I can fix it.