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Pros: I'm going to start of the review with looks and aesthetics. First off, this is a really good looking and well designed board (Wouldn't expect anything less from Gigabyte) Color scheme of black and gold on the VRM heatsinks look good and it's nice that this board is a black pcb. You may have trouble finding gold internal components such as heatsinks or RAM but finding black shouldn't be a problem. Build quality looks awesome as well. Capacitors are soldered tight and are not loose or bent.
This is Z97 chipset which supports Intel's latest 5th gen Broadwell chips that are due for release and is backwards compatible with 4th gen Haswell. The Z97 chipset also supports M.2 and SATA Express which significantly increases data throughput for SSDs.
UEFI is easy to navigate and easy to use as well. The latest version was preloaded onto the board so there was no need to update from the get go. All typical functions are accessible without any hindrance whatsoever.
External I/O is average but good in my opinion with regards to the price point of this mobo. 6x USB 3.0 ports are included which has effectively replaced the older USB 2.0 ports these days but Gigabyte decided to through in 2x USB 2.0 ports fo rgood measure. Dual LAN which is neat but not often used is also included. Finally your typical 8 channel audio, VGA, DVI and HDMI ports are included. No Display Port but it does not matter since it does not enjoy widespread usage in the industry unlike HDMI and DVI.
Internal I/O is relatively decent as well. 8x SATA 3.0 headers are included which allows plenty of connectivity to internal drives and optical media bays. You also have 1x SATA Express port included which makes use of the Z97 functionality. Not in widespread use at the moment but allows for a certain degree of future proofing when it comes to SSD throughput speeds. SATA Express allows for a theoretical throughput of 10 Gb/s and makes use of the PCI Express bus for SSD throughput. Good thing about this is that it is backwards compatible with legacy SATA devices. Definitely looking forward to putting that to use in the future. Your typical 4x Dual Channel DDR3 RAM slots are included. 2x. USB 2.0 and 2x USB 3.0 headers are also included giving plenty of options for external connectivity. With regards to PCI Express you have plenty of options. The board supports 2 way SLI and 3 way crossfire which gives you multiple options for use of graphics card and 2x PCI 1x ports are also included for use of additional cards. 2x legacy PCI cards are also included but may not be useful since sit right underneath the PCI Exppress x16 ports. 1x M.2 port is included which allows for use internal SSDs. However it is important to note that you can only use either M.2 or SATA Express at a time, not both since they share the same bus.
Overall installation is breeze since I have been doing this too many time already. Components snapped into place easily and booted up without a problem
Cons: No 3 way SLI which I personally prefer over 3 way crossfire.
More I/O options
No Display Port
No DDR4 but this really isn't a con considering the price point of the mobo and the fact that DDR4 has reached widespread market saturation yet.
Other Thoughts: System Specs
- Intel Haswell i7 4770K
- Zalman CNPS9900A Heatsink
- Corsair Dominator 1600 DDR3 RAM - 2 x 8 GB modules
- Samsung EVO SSD 1 TB
- Seasonic Gold 750W PSU
- ASUS GTX 760 graphics card
- Windows 7 Professional
First off, boot speed. Booted up incredibly fast, within 8 seconds to the login screen. Temps were stable idling at around 27 - 30 C and with light load at 31 - 34 C. Didn't get a chance to do an overclock but past builds utilizing Z97 chipsets have not failed me at all. Spent about two weeks with moderate usage and no problems whatsoever.
Other little additions to this board such s DualBIOS, Killer E2200 and Audio Noise Guard; I really don't know how relevant these are with regards to improvement over past boards but history has shown that such additions are meaningless and gimmicky. I personally don't pay attention to these additions and I don't think they make a mobo a good mobo or better than other guy's mobo. When people come up to me and ask me how do I choose, I tell them to compare the I/O, the chipset, and main features to see what suits them the best with regards to their build. This is a solid mid-range board which provides a good amount of options to those looking to build a nice system on a moderate budget. Definitely not your typical enthusiast board but it gets the job done.
This review is from: DEEPCOOL Gamer Storm Lucifer V2 CPU Cooler 6 Heatpipes 140mm Silent PWM Fan
Pros: Packaging is awesome. Aesthetically pleasing though quite bulky but we are talking about a huge cooler here. Parts are in order and overall product is well packaged.
First look, extremely large and pretty heavy. Mirror like finish complements builds going with a silver look and fits well with most color schemes. Most high end large heatsink fan combos these days are about this size. Cheaper than water cooling but very effective at bringing down those temps. The fan is optional but adds an optional active cooling solution on top of passive cooling provided by the heat sink.
Installation wise this was a breeze. Parts were all present, nothing out of place and the installation book was simple enough to follow. For installation I pulled off my old Zalman 9600 and added this onto my LGA 1150 board running a Core i7 4770k. Despite the weight of the heat sink, the back brackets were sturdy enough to hold in place without warping the mobo. After screwing the mobo back into the case, it held up pretty well and the fan started up right away upon booting. More details will be provided later.
This heatsink features a copper base which is a must for adequate thermal dissipation. The six heatpipes help with drawing the heat towards the top which is then dissipated by the numerous large fins and the optional 140mm fan. The fan remained very quiet throughout testing and there was no overall increase in noise.
As expected, cooling was excellent with this heatsink along with the fan. Idle temps hovered around 28-30 C. Load temps were around 39-42 C and Max load alongside overclocking generated temps of 49-52 C. Very cool if you ask me and definitely typical of large heat sink such as this.
Decently priced and good bang for you buck in terms of cooling.
Cons: Despite running very cool this is a monster and much larger than standard heatsinks and definitely much larger than any water cooling solution. I barely had enough room to clear the memory DIMM sockets and installation of the fan required some tweaking to allow it to sit on the heatsink properly. It also isn't a good looking heatsink if you are looking to maximize on aesthetics during your build.
Other Thoughts: A few tips with installation. 1. Handle the fins with care as you can easily cut yourself. Gloves are probably recommended if you get cut a lot handling fins. 2. Buy and use Arctic Silver thermal paste instead of the included thermal paste. It is the best on the market, provides a good conducting bridge to dissipate heat from the CPU. 3. Get an extra pair of hands for the installation of the back brackets. Trust me on this, installation will go a lot faster and will be done properly.
YMMV with regards to ease on installation as it will depend on your mobo and case. Small cases are not recommended since this large of a heatsink has a high tendency of interfering with wires and obstructing airflow despite its finned design. Obviously this would be a choice of a high end cooling solution instead of someone building a budget pc and most likely will be utilizing a large case of some sort...generally speaking. It is a good solution for those looking for "cooling" specifically on a budget and is on par with most closed loop water coolers on the market. However, its size and obtrusive design may interfere with installation of other components and diminishes and aura of sleekness that is present in the build. Definitely something to keep in mind here. I had to knockoff 1 egg due to size and ease of installation, otherwise a solid 5. Definitely a bit more time consuming to install but well worth it with regards to the massive cooling benefit you get with this. Overall a decently priced heatsink which offers massive cooling benefits.
This review is from: FREMO P130 13000mAh Power Bank External Battery Charger for iPhone, iPad Air, mini, Galaxy S5, Note, Galaxy Tab, Nexus, HTC One, One 2 (M8), PS Vita and other Smartphones and Tablets (made by SCUD)
Pros: The charger is very sleek and compact. Highly portable and easy to store. Closely resembles the aluminum styling of aluminum apple devices alongside a white border. Design is very similar to other top notch external battery chargers on the market.
As expected from the numerous of tests that I have done with the charger, it definitely lasts a long time and can recharge a simple device such as a smartphone several times depending on the battery size. LED battery indicators are low profile and complement the overall design of the charger. Attached devices charge pretty quick depending on which port you use. While charging my Galaxy Note 3 from 15% to 85%, charge time was similar to that of charging via computer USB, around 86 minutes. This was done utilizing the 1A USB port. Unfortunately I do not own any Apple device whatsoever to test the 2.1A port but Android devices can be charged via the 2.1A port. One plus is simultaneous charging utilizing both USB ports for two different Android devices. Devices charging via the 2.1A port charge a tad bit quicker than the 1A port, around 30 min to an 1 hour quicker.
With regards to charging the charger itself, FREMO went with a standard Micro USB-B port which is pretty commonly used for charging Android devices etc. Charge time can varied from 8-11hours depending on how many LED indicators lit up. In my tests, I only charged the charger when only 1 LED was lit.
While charging and discharging, the overall charger remained relatively cool and never overheated.
A micro USB cable is included which is pretty standard of most external battery chargers. No case is included but considering it's metal design, it should withstand the rigors of daily use.
Cons: No case included.
Other Thoughts: A very solid charger. Would work well in situations where there is no access to power to charge most portable devices such as a smartphone or mp3 player. When compared to most chargers on teh market, the FREMO P120 definitely stands among the top 5 in my opinion. Battery capacity is superb, build quality is excellent and there is fairly consistent charging time after time. Price may be an issue for some folks especially when pitted against competing brands that hold the same capacity. However,with the facts that I mentioned above the FREMO P130 is well worth the money.READ FULL REVIEW