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Pros: This is basically an addendum to my last review a few months ago. It's still the only real option if you want a "modern" chipset on a AM3+ microatx form.
Cons: My system died. I booted it up after coming home from a hard day at work and after about a minute the screen suddenly froze. I tried restarting it, but no POST. I wondered if maybe my mild OC/Unlock with my 960T processor might not be cutting the mustard anymore, so I powered the system off, didn't seem that warm, and reset the CMOS. Then I powered it back on. No post. Err... that's not good.
The next day I decided to pull everything out of the case and try getting the system to POST. When I did, I found that one of the two pins that hold the chipset heatsink down had popped up so there was no contact between chipset and heatsink. The system ran fine for months without me going into the case, so I'm unsure how this happened.
Other Thoughts: All I can say is look over the pins that holds the heatsink onto the AMD chipset. If it doesn't look pushed in real well, you might want to do something about it.
Now I just have to figure out how to send this in for warranty work. I didn't see exactly how that works on the ASRock website...
This review is from: ASUS Xonar DX 7.1 Channels 24-bit 192KHz PCI Express x1 Interface Sound Card
Pros: Excellent signal to noise ratio. Dolby Digital Live. Really adds punch to your sound. I previously was listening to music and movie soundtracks through onboard audio and most recently through my Radeon HD6950 HDMI port. I felt like the sound system it was hooked to was sounding a bit anemic and read that the audio carried through a video card's HDMI was really not very good. So I bought this one seeing that it had pretty much everything I was looking for as a HTPC enthusiast.
Cons: No true Windows 8.1 sound drivers that are not beta. No decent documentation walking you through your options and how to get sound through the SPDIF Optical port besides putting in the dongle.
Other Thoughts: This is actually not a very new sound card. The technology for sound cards really hasn't progressed a whole lot in the last few years, so there really hasn't been a need for newer models. I bought this card because I was looking for a sound card as my Auzen X-Mystique was PCI and my video card covered that slot up.
If any of you are having trouble getting sound out of the Optical out, try this: First, go to the Asus website and get the most current drivers for your OS. Go to your Windows Sound Mixer and take it off the SPDIF Optical and put it on Speakers. Then go into the Asus Xonar application and select a multiple speaker setup and select SPDIF Optical. Now test your sound. I had to turn the volume WAY down. The movie I was testing it on wasn't letting me hear a voice track. When I changed it in the Asus Xonar application to Dolby Digital Live, I could hear everything as intended.
Mind you, I found the critical piece of information (change Windows Sound Mixer from SPDIF to Speakers on a google search that led me to a particular FAQ page on the ASUS website. I'm not sure I would have otherwise thought to do that.
I would have deducted an Egg for this not being a smooth operation, but the sound quality really blew me away.
This review is from: Fractal Design Define Mini Black Silent MATX Mini Tower Computer Case
Pros: This is actually a *very* nice case. It really looks SLICK. If you have any doubts, you should watch the video all the way through.
I bought this case because I am planning to replace my old HTPC case (Silverstone LC-17) with a mini tower that I'll have on a small shelf mounted under a mounted big screen TV. I plan to regain about 2 feet of room in this process of doing away with the TV stand.
This two biggest selling points to me with this case:
1. It's built to be quiet. Real quiet. There's a ton of sound dampening material in the frame of this case, yet it still gives you the flexibility to do other things with it, such as adding more (or different) cooling or add a lot more storage.
2. Wait until you get into the later half of the video. You'll see something interesting; at least it was very interesting to me. This case was built with the thought process that the person using it might go through multiple processors, multiple methods of cooling, and multiple mainboards before they move on to a newer case years later. In particular, they have a cut out area under the mainboard where you can EASILY access the mounting mechanism for the processor heatsink. This means you NO LONGER need to remove the mainboard completely to try a different heat sink and fan or add water cooling. When I saw that, all I could say is "SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!"
Cons: The one negative... It cost a egg in rating. I apologize to those that may deem this unfair, but there's a dent in the side panel and the front bezel of the case doesn't fit *quite* flush with the rest of it. I don't know if this was caused by shipping or by NewEgg's handling of it. The truth is, there was a LOT of packing material to protect the insides, so someone in the packing/shipping process was really rough with it if that's what happened. I don't know if the side panel can be replaced, but I do know I would not like paying to return the panel I have.
NewEgg doesn't allow half-egg ratings, so a full egg had to be taken for this displeasure.
Other Thoughts: I find it very difficult to see how anyone can really go wrong selecting this case. If you can find it on sale, it's a no-brainerREAD FULL REVIEW