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ASUS GeForce GTX 960 STRIX-GTX960-DC2OC-4GD5 4GB 128-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: Small and not power hungry. Plays GTA V at 1080p at full ultra settings and gets me 55 FPS. Quiet even when gaming at full tilt. The card is classy looking and has a rigid back plate. And playing GTA V at 1080p with all the settings maxed out uses a little more then 3 gigs of video memory so do yourself a favor and spring for the 4 gig version.

Cons: No real cons as of yet.

Other Thoughts: I had an ASUS Strix 970 in my Skylake i5 machine and took it out to use in SLI in my X99 system. This card isn't quite as fast but is only on an average 5-8 FPS slower then the 970 at 1080p. Why pay the extra cash for those few FPS? I can't speak to the included software because I don't use it.

VANTEC UGT-MST100 Multi-size mSATA to SATA Converter Board
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

5 out of 5 eggs It works 09/14/2015

This review is from: VANTEC UGT-MST100 Multi-size mSATA to SATA Converter Board

Pros: It works as advertised. Am using an Intel mSATA drive as the boot drive for my production unit. No difference from a regular SSD drive. Easy to set up and use and all hardware required was included.

Cons: Hard to mount the bare board in a chassis but I simply stuck it on with some Velcro.

Other Thoughts: Thought the mSATA conn on my ASUS Gene VII would host an mSATA SSD but no luck so I was forced to purchase this. It saved me sending the mSATA drive back and was inexpensive.

GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-UD5 (rev. 1.0) LGA 1151 Intel Z170 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: The first impression of the Z170X-UD5 is that it’s all black. There are some gold highlights on the 3 beefy heatsinks but mostly the board is black. There is a measure of silver too. The 3 PCIe X16 slots have metal covers over them, ostensibly to keep them from cracking under the weight of heavy video cards. There are also 3 chrome or maybe gold covers, one over the AMP-UP audio chip, one for the Intel gigabyte lan controller and one for the Turbo B-Clock overclocking chip. But mostly the board is understated black. My first impression is sturdy, solid and good looking.
The Z170X-UD5 is currently the top of the ladder of Gigabyte’s Z170 chipset regular, everyday Ultra Durable boards. That’s not to say it doesn’t overlap their gaming series but it eschews the gaudy red and white color scheme of the gaming series for a more sedate black and gold. It does feature top of the line items like (2) 32 GB/s m.2 ports as well as a high end Realtek ALC1150 audio chipset and the use of Intel’s Alpine Ridge controller for the USB 3.1 ports. This is most definitely not a stripped down motherboard. I also like that it uses Intel Gbe lans instead of Killer.
After getting through the Windows install things went smoothly. I noticed Gigabyte has jettisoned the ugly, garish gray and orange UEFI advanced BIOS and gone with the more sedate classic view. This is no great loss as the advanced screen was hard to figure out and just a waste. The menus are intuitive and easy to navigate if a bit bland.
The Gigabyte App Center has changed slightly and for the better I think. Now the icon brings up 2 columns of apps and there is no scrolling necessary. It’s now bland gray and white, changing to blue when you click on an app. The System Information Viewer now benchmarks your fans the 1st time you run it and the interface is slightly streamlined. Easy OC now only has 1 overclocking level. In the case of my 3.5 gig i5 it was a sedate 4.1 gig. I clicked on it and it appeared to take but there was nothing to show it had. It It’s still not anywhere near the level of ASUS but it is better than it was.

Cons: I used an Intel core i5 6600k processor, 8 gigs of Crucial 2400 DDR4 ram and an ASUS 970 video card for my basic install. Things went awry immediately when the USB key I use to install windows wouldn’t work It kept asking for a CD/DVD driver no matter what USB port I put it in. This USB key has worked fine any number of times but on the Z170X-UD5 no luck. So I used a DVD and Windows 7 installed properly. Things went well until I tried to install the Gigabyte drivers on the DVD. The install program kept asking me if it was OK to install drivers without knowing the publisher. This was OK until it got to the USB drivers and unfortunately it did it after it removed the Microsoft drivers, leaving me with no USB keyboard or mouse to click the dialog box. That meant rebooting and hoping it would work a second time which it didn’t so I had to go looking for my old PS2 mouse and hook it up to install the USB drivers. This really only rates as an irritation until you realize a lot of people out there might not have a PS2 mouse and would be left upset and angry. This is just a rookie mistake Gigabyte! Get your drivers right!

Other Thoughts: I’m going to take off a star for my driver and USB problems. For me it was an irritation but for someone else it might be a lot bigger problem. That said, once I got Windows installed the motherboard was rock solid. If you have a Haswell system then there’s probably no need to update to Skylake unless you really want that USB 3.1 magic. Performance is pretty much the same. And bear in mind you need a motherboard, processor, memory package because this board uses DDR4 memory. That’s a big cash outlay for what amounts to a very small improvement.
The onboard video is improved over Haswell but still no use in even moderate gaming. GTA V crashed every time I tried it using the onboard video. One nice thing is that the onboard video supports 4K resolutions at 60 Hz using a Display Port cable. Of course gaming is out of the question but it did run fine for me and wasn’t the least bit slow and there was no ghosting as I moved the cursor.
If you need to put together a new system then the Z170-UD5 is a decent candidate. I’m not a fan of the software but it works well enough. It’s definitely better then what came with my X99 board. To be fair a board like this is better paired with an i7 unlocked processor but none wire available in time for my review. The i5 6600k is excellent for gaming where hyper threading doesn’t mean much so as a mid-level gaming machine this system is definitely a winner. A thumbs up for sure.


Patrick H.'s Profile

Display Name: Patrick H.

Date Joined: 07/18/03


  • Top 1000 Reviewer
  • 100 Reviews
  • Reviews: 179
  • Helpfulness: 85
  • First Review: 12/23/03
  • Last Review: 09/14/15
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