- Performed well with our test configuration, has HDCP-compliant HDMI audio/video output, integrated design makes it suitable for a silent PC or a media centre
- SATA ports are awkward to use
It's small, it's neat, it's very affordable and it has good features. It isn't an ideal choice for a gaming PC (never say never!), but the MA69GM-S2H is worth considering if you're thinking about building a silent PC or a media centre.
Price$ 115.00 (AUD)
For a quiet media centre or a silent PC, an inexpensive AMD-based system is still an attractive option and Gigabyte's MA69GM-S2H motherboard reinforces that fact. It has a micro-ATX form factor, so it can be installed in a mini-tower ATX case or even in some home-theatre-style cases, and it has all the functionality that's required of a media centre PC.
It can be furnished with an AM2 socket-based AMD CPU and DDR2 RAM, and it has a PCI Express slot for a graphics card. However, it comes with an integrated ATI Radeon X1250 graphics chip, which relies on 128MB of main memory to store graphics data. This solution is ideal if a quiet system is sought, but it may not be a powerful enough option for everyone's needs.
We tested the board using an AMD Athlon 64 X2 5000+ CPU, 1GB of DDR2 800MHz RAM and a 500GB Western Digital Hard drive. WorldBench 6 recorded a score of 79, which is better than we expected considering the integrated graphics. For watching movies and ripping and listening to music, the configuration we used was more than ample, but it struggled to display a free-to-air high definition digital TV signal; stuttering was evident when we maximised the window on our 22in LCD screen (at a resolution of 1680 x 1050) -- standard definition channels didn't stutter. Once we installed a GeForce 7600GT-based graphics card, we were able to watch high definition shows smoothly in full-screen mode.
As for installation, the board has a simple layout, with one PCI Express x4 slot located above the PCI Express x16 slots, and two PCI slots underneath that. There's plenty of room between these slots, the CPU socket and the memory slots. The board's AMD690 chipset (which houses the Radeon graphics chip, too) is passively cooled, but it does get very hot when the integrated graphics are in use. The only problem we have with the board is with its Serial ATA ports, which are located right on the edge of the board and face forward, rather than upward. It makes it tricky to plug in drives once they're installed, especially if drives are placed near these ports. These ports may also prohibit the board from being used in some home theatre-style cases.
Those of you after a silent system will appreciate the integrated graphics and the dynamic fan control for the CPU. The board kept our CPU fan spinning at an inaudible level except when the processing load was full.
For connectivity, the HDMI port on the rear panel can be used to neatly hook up a video and audio signal, but DVI and D-Sub video and optical and analogue audio ports are also available (it also comes with a TV-Out bracket for Component and S-Video connections). The rear port cluster lacks legacy ports apart from PS/2, which makes it look rather sparse. It has gigabit Ethernet, four USB 2.0 ports and a FireWire port, and more of the latter two types of ports reside as pin-headers on the motherboard (for connecting to the ports at the front of a case, for example).
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® Portable SSD
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Google Daydream VR headset
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Surface Pro 4
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Intel Coffee Lake 8th-gen Core processors release date rumours
- Intel's mobile future is in blazing modems as it buries Atom failure
- PC prices will continue to go up due to shortage of components
- Radeon Vega vs. GeForce GTX 1080 Ti? AMD, Nvidia announce dueling events at GDC 2017
- Toshiba's in chaos, but not quitting PCs -- yet
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSolutions Software DeveloperVIC
- FTApplication Support SpecialistNSW
- TPSOE AdministratorQLD
- FTFinancial ERP Customer SME / Solution Consultant / System AccountantNSW
- FTTechnical Business AnalystNSW
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- CCSenior Storage System Engineer -NetApp & TSMNSW
- FT.Net DeveloperVIC
- TPFull Stack .NET DeveloperWA
- CCTest Automation EngineerVIC
- TPBusiness Intelligence Program ManagerVIC
- CCGun Java Developer wanted...VIC
- CCDesktop Engineer l WollongongNSW
- TPSolution Architect - IntegrationQLD
- CCBPM Technical AnalystVIC
- TPOrganisational Change ManagerQLD
- TPPerformance Test Analyst - Perth BasedQLD
- FTPresales Solutions ArchitectQLD
- FTIt Security and process analystNSW
- FTSenior Business Project ManagerNSW
- FTDatabase DeveloperACT
- TPDigital Strategist - Newcastle BasedNSW
- CCSenior Technical Business Analyst - ITMSP - Melbourne CBDVIC
- CCTechnical Support AnalystACT
- CCSenior Storage System Engineer - NetApp SpecialistNSW