Installation of Win 7 went fine, though validation online is still a pain in the butt. Downloaded the latest drivers from Gigabyte's site, and the video drivers refused to load. Used the one off the cd that came with the motherboard with no problems.
Here it is, ready to run....actually using it for this post.
After a few tests for stability, I went into the bios and did a bit of simple overclocking. I'm not set up to push the envelope, but wanted to reach 3.2ghz, which is normal speed for the more expensive Thuban processor from AMD, the 1090T. And I wanted to do this on stock voltage settings. Both were very, very easy to do. I'm running at 3.29ghz, 235 x 14 and temperatures are quite good even when running Prime95 on all six cores.
There are many people running this processor at 4ghz on air, so the Thuban core cpu's seem like fine prospects for any overclockers out there.
So that's the end of this budget build. What would I do differently? I might wait for a good buy on an Antec case with psu included. The Antec 300 is at $65 right now at Newegg. The Kingwin hsf, though much better than the stock fan, would not be one I would choose again. It cools well, the price was right, and most of the time is very quiet, but the fan is not particularly quiet at top speed. Part of that may simply be the blowhole letting more noise straight out at me than I am used to.
Expenditures for parts: Heatsink/fan $19.99
Motherboard and cpu $309.99
No shipping charges on anything.
Total spent: $473.95. I already had all the peripherals, the operating system, the optical drives and the hard drives, so this is a bit deceiving for this level of computing power. If you are wondering about the rebates, Silverstone was very fast in getting it back to me. Corsair is slower, but still sending them.
There are a few interesting tidbits about this motherboard. It has two SATA controllers; one has six 6gb ports, the other has two 3gb ports. I'm using AHCI with the main controller, but I left the slower Gigabyte controller in IDE mode and hooked up my optical drives to it.
Though it has USB3, there are only two ports, and not many of the slower USB2...but there is a whole line of usb headers on the board. Quite a lot of the room is taken up with audio and video ports on the back, and it seems like this motherboard would be an excellent choice for a home theater computer.