Features of the Biostar AMD GeForce 6100-M9
The motherboard layout is very clean and uncluttered. Rear ports are stacked to maximise space in the classic small form factor layout. PCI-E/PCI slots, memory slots and the CPU slot are all brightly coloured - this doesn't sound like a noteworthy feature, but try digging around in a cramped micro-ATX case and you'll be thankful that you can see what you're aiming for so easily.
The power slot supports standard 24-pin supplies, but also handles the older 20-pin configuration in case you haven't upgraded your power supply to a newer version.
Space on the board has been maximised also. There are heatsinks on the North bridge and South bridge, but they've been positioned to cause minimum disruption. The South bridge is in line with the PCI slots, but unless you're using an abnormally long PCI card this won't be a problem. It could potentially cause problems with a PCI-Express graphics card with a large heat sink running along the length of the card though, and if you're considering purchasing this board with a dedicated card (which may be the case, once you see our benchmarking results!), then keep this in mind when shopping around.
As the chipset is nForce-based, it comes with the standard range of nVidia on-chip products - nTune, networking, NVMixer, MediaShield, storage protection, 3GB/s SATA (aka SATA-II) and RAID. RAID is becoming standard on home systems, which is great to see - there's nothing more heartbreaking than losing 200GB of data to a failed drive.
Networking on this board is unfortunately limited to a 10/100 adaptor - considering that the next chipset up support 10/100/1000 networking, and most chipsets on the market these days also provide gigabit LAN, this is a little disappointing. Biostar could have added in a third party gigabit network controller but then again that would have added to the price of the board and Biostar are aiming to make this one pretty affordable.
The bundled software consists of the nVidia unified ForceWare drivers and the Biostar monitoring, overclocking and Winflash utilities. The in-OS utilities let you keep a close eye on the system in terms of heat and performance and also let you overclock aspects of the board from within Windows. You can also backup the BIOS from within Windows and download and flash the BIOS with the latest version from the Biostar website - very useful indeed.
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