Usually in the sub 150-dollar price range people can expect to get a rock bottom, ‘entry level’ motherboard that has as many corners cut as possible so as to hit the rather low asking price. Usually this corner cutting does not matter all that much but certain lowered expectations usually have to be taken into account. Sometimes however there is a diamond in the rough which can not only take on all comers in its own price bracket but can also be favorably compared to more expensive options. Basically when looking at such inexpensive motherboards most are going to be cheap but with some careful attention to details consumers can sometimes find one that may not cost all that much but is anything but a ‘cheap’ motherboard. The GT7 really is one such example as it proves the average buyer does not need to spend a fortune to get a solid motherboard with a good feature set. Yes compromises have been made, but this motherboard has a darn good mix of features that are well beyond what you will usually find in this price range.
This motherboard may not have as many value added features as say $200 motherboards, but what it does offer is well executed and are in excess of what is usually found on sub $150 priced motherboards. Features such as not only offering dual BIOS chips and a physical switch but actually taking things to the next level and using sockets for the BIOS chips. Trust us when we say that this one feature alone can make all the difference between an expensive RMA and a simple trip to a depot to pick-up a ‘good’ chip. More importantly this piece of mind is darn hard to find on anything but premium priced motherboards.
The same holds true of the onboard diagnostic panel and onboard power and reset buttons. While these are more touch-sensitive than we would like the very fact this inexpensive motherboard has them is a step up from the average entry level motherboard. This however is only the thin edge of the wedge as Biostar has also included a surprisingly good BIOS with decent RAM abilities. All of which add up to a surprisingly capable motherboard.
Now with all that said there are a few areas that are touch less than optimal, and may turn some consumers off. For instance, this motherboard is lacking in the number of USB ports on the rear IO area with zero USB 2.0 included. The rear IO should have enough for most consumers, but some may feel underwhelmed. The same holds true of the onboard sound solution. While it is indeed electronically separated from the rest of the motherboard, and while yes the onboard controller does have its own EMI shield, the use of the lower performance Realtek ALC898 instead of 1150 and less than audiophile grade op-amps is a touch disappointing. It should be good enough for most, but some will find it a bit underwhelming.
On the positive side this motherboard does have an ace up its sleeve in the form of not only a very good onboard LED lighting controller, but actually comes with an LED light strip! That too is well beyond what consumers can expect to usually find in this price range. Overall this motherboard certainly will not win any extreme overclocking records, nor will it be mistaken for a $350 (USD) ‘Deluxe’ motherboard, but we doubt many will ever guess its actual asking price. Instead most will guess it to be in the $175 -$180 (USD) range… and that is impressive to say the least considering it only cost about $140 (USD).