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Fractal Design Define R4 Black Pearl w/ USB 3.0 ATX Mid Tower Silent PC Computer Case
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: Solid Construction, Design, and Durability. Aesthetically appealing.
Phenomenal Acoustics. I've never owned a chassis that silenced my components as well as this.
Excellent thermal management. The included fans circulate airflow remarkably well. Their RPMs can be gauged as well.
Front panel USB 3.0 + Audio header placement is excellent.
External 5.25 bays are limited, but will do for a general purposes.
Excellent cable management options.
2.5in HDD/SSD mounts are easy to use.
Supports full size ATX motherboards and graphics cards.
Once your components are installed, you'll realize this chassis is very spacious.
Bottom mount PSU, excellent for heat flow.
Supports top-mount 200-220mm (rectangular diameter) radiators for water cooling systems (Perfect for the H100)
Front air filter is easy to remove and clean.

Cons: It's a bit heavy, but after purchasing this, you will understand why.

Other Thoughts: I moved the rear mounted fan to the front of the chassis to pull air into the tower. The process takes a few minutes- it's well worth it. Cables can be draped together from behind the hard drive cage for cable management.

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GIGABYTE GA-Z87X-UD3H LGA 1150 Intel Z87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: Strong and sturdy motherboard. Solid construction. Even the included back panel was sturdy.
All motherboard components are easily accessible, with the exception of the right angle SATA ports.
Included driver disc works perfectly for the initial operating system install, however updated drivers and BIOS files are available online for download (GET THEM).
Full Intel Haswell support (LGA 1150).
Convenient LED Displays and Button schemes on the board. No more shorting/flipping jumpers.
Excellent expansion options, PCIe 16x/1x and 32 Bit, as well as USB/Audio headers.
TPM Support- not many motherboard manufactures have mainstreamed this.
UEFI BIOS is highly customizable, many options to choose from.
Overclocking potential, although limited options to manipulate.
Low FSB Heat output. Many onboard thermal sensors.
Many Fan Headers to work with, especially for water-cooled setups.
UEFI Bootloader is functional.

Cons: USB3.0 Support is weak during preinstall, non-UEFI boot, and during normal Windows operations.
Any connected USB storage devices will not be immediately recognized after returning from sleep/hibernate mode.
BIOS must be updated to correct certain bugs and BSODs that occur during operating system install and daily usage. The latest BIOS temporarily addresses the USB issues shown above, but there are still bugs to be worked out.
PCI Express bandwidth is divided up among installed peripherals.
For Crossfire/SLI: each added card will split the available bandwidth; 16x-8x-4x will be the order, for each card added, under PCIe 3.0 specifications.
The PCIe 1x ports operate under PCIe 2.0 specifications.
I am not sure if the 16x ports will downgrade to 2.0 specifications if the 1x slots are allocated.
Onboard multiple display support is weak (using Intel’s integrated graphics); a GPU is required.
Enabling External eSATA ports will disable the two internal SATA ports (Marvell Controller).
Internal UEFI BIOS update utility is buggy. I highly advise users to use the Windows application to update.
Right-Angle SATA ports are an inconvenience in small chassis/cases.
Installed RAM Specifications were not automatically detected, however, the settings can be corrected easily through the BIOS. I suggest you stick to your stock timings, as overclocking with 4 installed RAM modules immediately resulted in consistent BSODs.
Driver support for Windows 7 x64 is stronger than Windows 8/8.1 x64.
Audio through HDMI seems to lose sync with video output. Alternative solution: map audio through either the analog connections or the optical output.
Strange humming noise was being emitted through the analog audio connectors until updated drivers from Realtek were installed.
Gigabyte’s included software is bloatware (resource intense) to the operating system, however some software may be useful to some users.
Intel’s RAID Controller conflicts with the Marvell RAID Controller; either you use one or the other, not both. If the Marvell controller is being used and both internal SATA ports are occupied, Hot-Plug Support no longer is a stable option.

Other Thoughts: System Configuration
Case: Fractal R4 (N82E16811352020)
PSU: Corsair Enthusiast TX650 (N82E16817139020)
MOBO: Gigabyte GA-Z87X-UD3H (N82E16813128592)
CPU: Intel i5-4570 [Socket 1150] (N82E16819116896)
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws 1600Mhz 16GB (4x4GB) (N82E16820231315)
GFX: Integrated Intel HD Graphics
SDD: Samsung 840 Pro 256GB (9SIA2W00ZD1539) x2
HDD: WD40EFRX 4TB (N82E16822236599)
OPTI: LG WH12LS38 Bluray Burner (N82E16827136239)
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 and Windows 8 Pro (x64)

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TP-LINK TL-WN881ND Wireless N300 PCI Express Adapter, 300Mbps, w/WPS Button, IEEE 802.1b/g/n, 64/128 bit WEP, WPA/WPA2
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Easy installation. Two antennas and a low profile bracket are included with packaging. Driver disc contained software and drivers for all versions of Windows, however updated software/drivers can be found online through TP-Link's website.
Adaptor supports all standard wireless encryption methods, including WPS.
PCIe 1x interface maintains high bandwidth availability. Under consistent use, adaptor does not output much heat.

Cons: A standard disc rather than a minidisc would be appropriate. Disc drive had to be flattened out before use.
Initial installation caused computer to be unresponsive. Once updated drivers were installed, system regained functionality.
Adaptor must be disabled and re-enabled to function properly after resuming from standby/hibernate. Updated drivers did not resolve issue, however issue may remain as an isolated incident.
No 5ghz support.

Other Thoughts: TP-Link wireless card manager software isn't lightweight for some systems. I suggest installing the drivers for the adaptor through the windows device manager, and allowing windows to configure the device through the network configuration utility.

System Configuration:
Biostar A55MH AMD FM1 Socket
AMD A4-3400 APU, Stock.
8GB DDR3 1600mhz in Dual Channel
Seagate 500gb 5400rpm SATA
Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (x64)

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Ibrahim H.'s Profile

Display Name: Ibrahim H.

Date Joined: 11/08/05

Achievements:

  • Top 1000 Reviewer
  • 100 Reviews
  • Reviews: 113
  • Helpfulness: 40
  • First Review: 03/07/06
  • Last Review: 05/20/14
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