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This review is from: Cooler Master ThermalFusion 400 - High Performance Thermal Compound
Pros: It's some of the easiest spreading compound I have used.
Cons: I can't say it's any better than average for heat transfer, but for most people who don't plan on overclocking to the sky a few degrees won't matter anyhow.
The spreader that's included is garbage. Throw it out.
Other Thoughts: I'm hoping this has a good shelf life as I don't use thermal compound often, but when I do, I need it immediately.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: ASRock Z97 Extreme6 LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Pros: Well packaged! When I received the motherboard, the box it came in had suffered some pretty bad damage that caved in a good portion of the bottom where the motherboard itself sits. I unpacked it and carefully looked over the board but didn't see any sign of damage to the board. The packaging includes a thicker foam padding than any other board I have seen that covers the edges and most of the back side of the board that is held in place with zip-ties, and I really think this saved the board from being destroyed. There was even visible damage to the foam, but the board is safe and worked when I got it hooked up in my system! This may seem like something insignificant, but it's part of the whole package and could save your board too!
Great UEFI BIOS features that are easy to use, as well as somewhat detailed explanations of what they do, and a guide to show you around the sometimes unique functions of the motherboard.
Large heatsinks on VRMs and chipset to keep them cool when under strain.
CMOS Reset button on the rear I/O panel so you don't have to even open your case to reset if bad settings prevent your computer from booting.
12 phase digital VRM can deliver more power than you'll probably ever need. (Including an unintentionally typed 1.75V on my i5-4670K. OOPS! DO NOT try this at home!)
Easy to use manual overclock settings as well as the quick-and-dirty “Optimized Overclock Settings” which seem to be programmed with lots of extra voltage to help ensure stability, so make sure you have a good CPU cooler before you try overclocking. but you can always play around with it yourself or tweak the pre-loaded settings to lower voltage to your needs. This board is definitely designed for strong overclocking.
More SATA III and USB 3.0 ports than you can shake a stick at. (I don't know who came up with that phrase, but I'm pretty sure they made it in anticipation of this motherboard.)
Great sound quality. I don't consider myself an audiophile in any way and I only have an older 2.1 setup I have reused through a few computers and a headset for gaming but it sounds clearer at higher volumes than it did on my previous computers.
There is an option to contact ASRock technical support straight from the UEFI BIOS, and they have a fast and helpful support team. Contacting them straight from the BIOS sends them information about your system's configuration so they may better help you. This does not allow you to see replies from tech support however, so you will still need a second working computer to access your email in order to read responses if you are unable to boot into your operating system for any reason.
Cons: This first con isn't an issue with the board itself, but rather one of the chipset: The PCIE 3.0 bandwidth on the Z97 chipset only supports x16 lanes that are shared with AT LEAST 4 ports on the board that include the two PCIE 3.0 x16 slots, the Ultra M.2 slot, and the SATAe. You cannot use the Ultra M.2 and SATAe at the same time, you must choose one or the other as they share the same x4 bandwidth. Also, using either one of them will reduce the available bandwidth to the second PCIE x16 lane for a second GPU down to x4, meaning if you plan to run two video cards AND use the SATAe or Ultra M.2, you will be running them at x8/x4 bandwidth which may affect whether or not you are able to use Nvidia SLI.
May have trouble recognizing USB devices. I had to plug my mouse and keyboard into the USB 2.0 ports on the front panel of my case and wait a few seconds for them to recognize, THEN plug them into the rear USB 3.0 ports and they worked fine. This may work by plugging into the USB 2.0 port directly on the board if you do not have case USB ports available.
One of the VRM heatsinks did seem a little loose and I tried tightening it but it was as tight as it gets, but it still makes contact and that's all that really matters.
Other Thoughts: The BIOS is great and includes features you'd never even expect, including a dehumidifier option and an interactive map of your motherboard that allows you to see what ports are being used by what hardware. It could really come in handy if you have most of your SATA or USB ports occupied and don't remember what is plugged in where and need to detach a specific piece of hardware. This map can literally show you exactly where it is plugged in at with just a few clicks and now trial-and-error fuss.
Only time will tell the durability of this board, but every single capacitor on this board is one of the 12,000 hour Japanese capacitors they advertise. It isn't just for your CPU or your RAM, it includes all capacitors on this board (with the only exception being the high quality Nichicon audio capacitors); They're all very high quality, durable parts, and coupled with the 15µ gold contacts SHOULD last a very long time.
The CMOS batter and reset jumper are located in an odd place, and the jumper WILL be obscured by any large CPU heatsink. That being said, the CMOS Reset button on the rear I/O panel achieves the same thing without having to deal with that annoying little jumper in the first place. There's still plenty of room for a large CPU cooler, just make sure your RAM heatsinks are not too large.
Some of the USB and SATA ports, and some expansion ports including the PCIE 2.0 x16 slot are controlled by the ASMedia controller and not the Intel Z97 chipset. That's to make up for some of the bandwidth that the Intel Z97 chipset is lacking to allow all of these ports.
All-in-all, the pros outweigh the cons by a HUGE margin so I still have to give this 5 eggs. ASRock did a great job of packing all of these features and ports in with a low price tag. I would highly recommend the board at this price.
Pros: Works great for single-graphic card setups, cheap, comes with enough SATA and MOLEX connectors for the average build.
Cons: Only one MOLEX cable, but they are getting outdated. They are really only used for case fans in cheaper cases and it was just barely enough to stretch across the case and reach both the front panel and rear/top fans in my mid-tower case (Antec 300). However, I did re-install it in a different computer and didn't even need to use the MOLEX connectors at all, they are just stuffed out of the way.
The SATA cables may barely reach the drives. There are two cables, one longer with three connectors and one shorter with two. The shorter one may just barely reach the top 5.25" drive in a smaller mid-tower case. If the three cable one is used to reach a 5.25" bay it won't reach the 3.5" bays. This was almost a problem in my Antec 300 with three 3.5" HDDs and one 5.25" disk drive. I had to use the SATA with three connectors for my disks and the one with two connectors was stretched as tight as I could get it to reach the top disk drive.
Other Thoughts: This is definitely a budget PSU and should not be expected to have very low voltage ripple, but it stays within specification and works well, and Corsair does make good PSU's so a 500W Corsair for $30 after MIR is easily one of the best deals that Newegg has.READ FULL REVIEW