Closer Look - MG-630I-7159
At first glance, the MG-630I-7159 seemed like a really good option for home theater PCs (HTPCs) because of its size and onboard video connection options. When we took a closer look, we couldn't help but feel like our first impressions were spot on. Since this is a micro-ATX board, though, you can't expect to put three or four TV tuners in an HTPC with this board due to the limited expansion slots. As you can see in the picture below, the board has a green PCB, features all black connectors, and sports a black heatsink on the MCP.
Overall, we found the MG-630I-7159's layout to be logical and easy to work with. Despite its small size, the board packs in quite a few connectors. Additionally, there is plenty of space around the CPU socket for big coolers. For expansion options, XFX included two PCI slots, one x16 PCI Express slot, and one x1 PCI Express slot. To the left of the x16 PCI Express slot, you can see one of the four fan headers on the MG-630I-7159.
Just like many of the boards available today, the MG-630I-7159 features four 3Gb/s SATA ports, which are all nestled in a corner. Next to the SATA ports is the speaker, the case connections header, and a two-digit debug LED, which shows POST codes to help users troubleshoot problems. We always like to see this feature added to boards as it can save time if the system doesn't boot properly. As we move down the board, you can see the floppy and PATA drive connectors (one of each, which is also fairly common nowadays). The second picture below shows the 24-pin ATX power connector, the 4-pin CPU cooler fan header, and the two DIMM slots. Recall that the memory operates in single-channel mode.
There are several other aspects of this board worth pointing out. As you can see in the first picture below, XFX included a power and reset button on the MG-630I-7159, which can definitely come in handy. To the left of those buttons, you can see two of the four fan headers. The final connector that we wanted to focus your attention on is the eSATA connector in the second picture. It is located directly behind the external USB and eSATA connectors (near the middle of the picture).
Before we end the tour of the board, we need to take a look at the rear I/O panel. The MG-630I-7159 includes the following connectors: PS/2 mouse, PS/2 keyboard, HDMI, SPDIF out, DVI, VGA, four USB 2.0, eSATA, LAN, and six audio ports. We think that HDMI connector is just begging to be hooked up to a huge HDTV.