One of the most interesting corners of the PC marketplace is the Home Theatre PC market. In this niche size matters, but unlike the rest of the market the smaller the better as the term ‘shoebox build’ perfectly sums up how much ‘room’ builders have to work with! Here Micro-ITX motherboards rule as their small 17cm by 17cm form-factor allows the board to have all the necessary features required of the build, but none of the dross. Unfortunately, even though these boards are smaller than their M-ATX and ATX brethren they usually cost just as much and sometimes even more! That is why we are reviewing the Biostar Racing B150GTN as, with an asking price of only 70 dollars (USD), this motherboard bucks the trend and offers what is potential one heck of a value.
Make no mistake, even though this board cost less than a small 1TB Hard Disk Drive it actually offers an incredible number of features. Firstly, as it is part of the ‘Racing’ series it offers built in LEDS, an impressive LED lighting controller, and comes with a LED light strip. This is a feature that may not interest everyone, but can add a little dazzle to a budget build. The same holds true of the storage options included. Not only is there four SATA ports as well as an M.2 port, but this little bad boy comes with a U.2 port so that uber-high end NVMe SSDs like the Intel 750 can be used without populating the single PCIe 3.0 x16 slot! Few HTPC users will care, but for an ultra-portable system that one feature can make a huge impact in overall system performance.
Beyond such features the B150GTN is packed with all the basics. A good BIOS, bloat free software, a clean layout, decent ALC892 integrated sound, Intel based Ethernet, even a surprisingly good seven phase power delivery subsystem. Taken as a whole on paper this down right inexpensive motherboard may just be one heck of a value. So let’s take a closer look, take it for an extended spin and see if the Racing B150GTN does indeed pack as much value as it appears to on first blush.