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4 out of 5 eggs Good board on sale but has quirks 12/18/2015

This review is from: GIGABYTE GA-970A-UD3P (rev. 2.0) AM3+/AM3 AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

Pros: The best bang for the buck in 970 boards because it had 4 phases of digital VRM plus a doubler for pseudo 8 phases, plus a RAM phase.
Overclocks to 4.5 GHz, Prime stable, with a small BCLK bump. Goes to 4.4 without BCLK adjustment.
Gets to 4.6 - 4.7 GHz without full Linpack or Prime before throttling. Can do Cinebench multi at 5 GHz with an 8320E or 8370E.
Unlike most 970 boards this board has a robust enough VRM power delivery system. Pity about the small heatsink but it's inexpensive.
Runs my 2400 speed RAM at 2133 with tight timings even though board only rated for 2000.

Cons: VRM heatsink is inadequate when overclocked. Needs a lot of airflow (and fan noise) even at 4.4 GHz and 1.36V on an 8 core FX.
Northbridge paste was dried up and lost contact with the chip due to it cracking up, thickly applied by factory also.
Plastic pushpins for northbridge get easily damaged if you remove the northbridge to change the paste, poor contact results.
Big computer stores don't tend to carry replacement pushpins.
Cold bug BIOS bug. If you set your multiplier above 22 the board won't boot except from BIOS. Both BIOS versions have the bug.
You have to use BCLK to get above 4.4 GHz because of the cold boot bug.
Board will begin to throttle even with APM off once you pass about 1.4 or 1.41 Vcore. Don't expect more than 4.6 GHz without throttling.

Other Thoughts: Gigabyte needs to fix the cold boot bug with the 22.5 or higher multiplier for 2.0 boards. This is reported by multiple people.

I suggest running a water loop or an AIO for your processor so you have more space to mount a larger VRM cooling fan. The VRMs on this board need a lot of airflow to keep up with an overclocked 8 core chip. Monitor VRM temps with HWINFO64 to see how far they will climb with your cooling setup. I am running a 140mm fan to blow onto and past the VRM sink. Check your northbridge temps and make sure you have good airflow going to the northbridge.

This review, like most of the others here, is for the 2.0 board. 1.0 hasn't been available for quite some time. 1.0 has VIA sound (which is generally considered worse than Realtek) and apparently does not have the cold boot bug with a 22.5 or higher multiplier. It also has some extra parts that enable one to adjust things like northbridge and hypertransport voltage which were removed for the 2.0 board.

If you want maximum overclocks you need a Sabertooth or Crosshair because each MOSFET has to deal with 33% less current due to it having 8 true phases (plus like two phases for RAM).

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NZXT Phantom 530 Black ATX Full Tower Computer Case Includes 1 x 200mm Front, 1 x 140mm Rear 2 x USB 3.0  Fan Controller
  • neweggOwned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: Front 200mm fan produces quite a bit of air and has three speed switches.

Hard disk bays are removable which helps airflow a lot.

PCI-e slot covers have air holes, although I just remove the slot covers.

Lots of ports for cabling and water tubes although there could be even more tie-down holders in various places for jury-rigging internal case fans and such.

Looks pretty nice. I prefer the white version but the lack case is also nice.

PSU has plenty of space for pulling in air and a filtered intake.

Can mount a radiator on the bottom of the case in front of the PSU or put a water pump/res combo there like I did.

Pretty roomy.

No plexi window on the opposite panel so you can lay down the case to work in it without scratching everything.

The light switch is a nice touch, although I would like to see a second light inside the case.

Has good feet.

140mm exhaust fan instead of an outdated 120mm like some large cases still have.

Finger-twist screws for the side panels and for all the drive bays.

Cons: Fan controller is not PWM. It would be better to have the case fans on PWM.

The front portion of the top panel has no air holes so a 360mm radiator suffers. It is also tapered so if the fans are in pull there is little space for the first fan on the rad. Even in push there is not a lot of space for hot air or holes for it to readily escape through.

Front fan is somewhat blocked by the bracket for attaching the drive bays so even if the bays are removed the airflow is not optimal.

The compression fit of the plastic panels makes it noisy to get them on and off and sometimes rather sloppy (really having to yank)

There are no air holes in the panel for using a fan behind the motherboard.

The 5 1/4" drive bay is riveted in so you have to leave it, cut it out, or somehow undo the rivets.

Mine came with two "RESET SW" front panel headers and no "POWER SW" header but I figured out which "reset" was the power header.

Manual is minimalist.

No foam on panels to curb high-pitch noise.

Removing dust filters for cleaning is not as easy as it could be.

SSD mount behind the motherboard has minimal cooling, if any. I taped mine down right below the front intake fan after removing the drive bays.

I had to swap in all the standoffs from my HAF case to get my 970A-UD3P 2.0 motherboard to post. The larger ones in this case apparently aren't compatible with that board.

Other Thoughts: The high position of the exhaust fan, in comparison with the intake, seems to encourage heat from the GPU to be pulled upward through the case. I would think that having direct air paths would be more efficient. Why not have two 200mm intake fans, one at the top of the front and one at the bottom of the front and a partition to keep GPU heat away from the top half — with a second 140mm fan mount on the bottom of the back to pull out GPU heat? This would create two direct air paths.

I have no idea why the 140mm side fan holder is placed where it is. It seems like it would just interfere with the airflow from the front fan.

The ATX design is anachronistic. It's not good for cooling the VRM area or for dealing with GPU heat.

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LIVA 32GB 2GB DDR3L RAM installed 32GB eMMC Storage
  • Verified Owner
  • neweggOwned For: 1 day to 1 week

4 out of 5 eggs Has some flaws, but good for $110 11/15/2014

This review is from: LIVA 32GB 2GB DDR3L RAM installed 32GB eMMC Storage

Pros: Fanless! and thus completely silent, very small and cute, quick to boot, compatible with Windows 10 preview, has a USB 3 port, comes with RAM/storage/wifi/bluetooth, only has one screw, dual core, heatsink takes care of the chipset not just the processor. VGA port is good for people who have old inexpensive VGA-only flat panel monitors they want to make use of. 22nm Intel chip sips power. eMMC storage is fast enough for general use. ECS didn't waste resources on Windows 7 or 32-bit Windows support (it makes sense to focus). Installing Windows 8.1 or 10 from an external USB DVD was a piece of cake.

Cons: The wifi and bluetooth antennae aren't preinstalled which is annoying. The included installation diagram makes it look like the plastic covers should be pulled off which will destroy the leads. Installing these antennae is quite annoying because there isn't much space to work with. Antennae aren't external, which reduces signal strength. A third USB port is really needed on this. Two is just one port too few. Everyone says it's difficult to open the unit once it has been closed, so one person sanded down the bumps. The website leads you to two dead-ends if you don't go to the LIVA tab when trying to get to the downloads for it. There are two driver installation glitches as noted below.

Other Thoughts: You don't need to use the CD at all, just download the drivers from the website. It's possible to install external antennae (see the Youtube video iS9gZkoRwsw for the walkthrough) which is what I am going to do. I think the white version looks nicer than the black. DisplayPort would probably be more useful than a VGA port. The downloaded bluetooth driver won't install unless you go into a subfolder (Win64) and run the "inst" application. Also, the UART driver may give you a notice that there is a newer version or the same version already installed. You have to ignore that and install the driver to get the bluetooth card to work. 32GB of eMMC is on the small side, but for $110 for everything this still seems like a good value for a PC. The BIOS update won't run in Windows 10 preview. All the drivers install fine.

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Anonymous's Profile

Display Name: Anonymous

Date Joined: 10/12/04

  • Reviews: 13
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  • First Review: 12/25/06
  • Last Review: 12/18/15
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