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GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD5H LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

5 out of 5 eggs Well built and feature rich 09/16/2014

This review is from: GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD5H LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Pros: This is going down in my book as my favorite motherboard ever of all my builds. The quality is superior to many other of my past motherboards and it does not skimp on features. I will not list all of the features as they are all listed here in some of the other reviews but one that I look forward to using is the M.2 port which is ridiculously fast (10Gbps) and is a future proof feature on this board. You also get SATA express (10Gbps) so this is great to have both options available. Currently I am using 2 SSDs in raid-0 and I would never go back to anything other than a raid-0 config with SSDs but this port is a game changer and I look forward to upgrading to a single SSD in the future. I will wait for prices to drop later to upgrade.

The board is built very well with easy to read white print on black background and even though I wasn't a fan of the gold heat sinks, they are kind of growing on me after it went into my Antech 900 case. The board has black durable solid state capacitors that are rated at an amazing 10K hours. The CPU socket is gold plated which is going to protect it from corrosion over time. I expect this motherboard to easily last 10 years but most likely longer although I will have already upgraded like I usually do every 3-4 years. This board is built solid with longevity in mind. The board even has humidity protection with glass fabric PCB wove design. I am really shocked with how well this board is built with so many options for the price.

If you are like me and use a lot of USB 3.0 ports, this board will not disappoint. There are 6 USB 3.0 ports in the rear (along with 2 USB 2.0 ports) but keep in mind that the front USB 3.0 ports have a direct link to the Z97 chipset. I had to find this information in the manual and many people will miss this. So keep this in mind.

There are so many graphical options such as VGA, DVI, HDMI which are on the board or you can use 2 way sli or 3 way crossfire solutions. I really did not like having boards that would only do either sli or crossfire because of upgrading but this does them both so no worries and again future proofing you to the best your money can buy.

There is an onboard power button, CMOS clear button, reset button, single and dual bios switches, a debug display and an onboard voltage meter which is perfect for the overclocking enthusiast.

The board comes with both a Intel LAN and Killer E2200 network connectors. I have a Killer network card in my Alienware M18x laptop and love it. I have not tested this much on this board but with the latest bios (F8) it seems to be working fine. This board is rev 1.1. The only difference in rev. 1.0 and 1.1 is the audio noise guard with LED lighting so don't worry too much about the rev 1.0 over the 1.1 The website is easy to navigate and find drivers which I fully enjoy over the ASUS website for my previous board which was always a pain.

Cons: The only con I can find is that I thought I got a DOA board and was about to pull my hair out. I finally got the bios flashed and changed some voltage settings and it is now stable. I believe my power supply is the cause of this and will be replacing it soon. I am also in the process of buying another graphics card for this build so I am not taking full advantage of this board yet.

Other Thoughts: Paired with a Intel Core i7-4770 I am extremely happy with the motherboard and the performance. I still have more testing I want to do and will update this review later but right now I feel like I my M18X Alienware laptop is slow compared and that speaks volumes IMO.

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Seagate ST500LM021 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 2.5
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: This drive preformed well as expected and speeds are on par with advertising. I placed this in my Alienware M18x laptop to use as a secondary storage and amazed at the transfer rate when copying large files. Even loading of games was a lot faster than my older 7200 drives in my desktop. Average read was 120 MB/s and write was 82 MB/s. I am still going to do some tuning but this was transferring from a SSD which I believe helped the transfer speeds a lot. 32MB Cache and 6.0 Gb/s is very welcome on this drive.
This drive stayed pretty warm and of course a lot warmer than my SSD drives but this was expected. I believe it would have no problems placing this in a console such as a PS4 as far as heat issues goes. This was not tested so I cannot say for sure.

Cons: The only con I could find is that you can find larger capacity drives if speed is not an issue. You get what you pay for though and this is the trade off. For me, playing games, I want the fastest speeds I can get so this is definitely worth the extra cost though because I can load up the same game with this drive compared to my desktop 7200 RPM drives that only averagee around 80 MB/s read. The only con I could find is that you can find larger capacity drives if speed is not an issue. You get what you pay for though and this is the trade off. For me, playing games, I want the fastest speeds I can get so this is definitely worth the extra cost though because I can load up the same game with this drive compared to my desktop 7200 RPM drives that only average around 80 MB/s read.

Other Thoughts: This was tested in an Alienware M18x with a core i7 2820 processor, 8GB ram, 2X2GB graphics cards and an Intel 520 series 120 GB SSD. If you can afford SSDs then you wont be disappointed with them. This drive however is a larger in capacity and still pretty fast. If you are not looking for insane transfer rate, then this drive will keep you happy for years to come.
Just make sure that your device does have a SATA transfer rate of 6.0 Gb/s to use this to the fullest performance. I made the mistake a while back getting a faster drive than my mother board could handle and until I switched it into a new computer it was getting around 40 MB/s less read speeds.
This would be great to place in a laptop and do a raid-0 array which I always recommend. I even use raid-0 on my business machines and have never had a problem. Of course make sure you always back up your data especially when using a raid-0 array.
This is a nice drive at a great price especially for the transfer rates. You won’t be disappointed!

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Linksys EA3500-NP SMART Smooth Stream Gigabit Dual-Band Wireless N750 Router IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, IEEE 802.3/3u/3ab
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Setup could not be easier. Insert the CD and follow visual prompts with very simple instructions. The router searches for your modem and will do all of the setup for you. All you have to do is follow the on screen prompts. It really does not get simpler than this. Comes with Router, ethernet cable, power cord and CD.

Speed tests were spot on to internet advertised speeds and consistent each time tested. HD video playback was excellent with no issues to a smart TV locacted in another room aprroximately 12 ft from the router. No issues connecting up to 4 devices at a time to the router and believe it would have no problem handling a few more.

Very sleek design and looks nice sitting on a desk. There is no lighting other than the back of the router where the ports are located so it is not distracting which is an added benefit to this router for those who like less distraction, but this can also be a con, see below.
Has USB 2.0 port for printer, sharing or storage capability. It makes hooking up a networked printer easy so that it can be used on multiple devices. Sharing files from a external hard drive is great for this also.

Cons: No wall mounts. This is not a deal breaker but it would be nice to have this option for those who like to place their routers up high for maximum range or out of the way and even concealing it on the backside of a desk.

No lighting other than the rear of the router. There is no way to tell if this router is getting power without looking at the rear where the ports are located. No a big con, but troubleshooting would involve looking at the back of this router.

Other Thoughts: This is a very good small compact router for a medium sized home with multiple devices. If you are using a few devices (5 or less) in a single story home than you will have no issues with this router. The simplicity of this router makes it an excellent choice for those who want a trusted brand with very little input from the user. Plug and play could not be any easier than this.

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Ms. D.'s Profile

Display Name: Ms. D.

Date Joined: 12/28/04

  • Reviews: 29
  • Helpfulness: 16
  • First Review: 01/06/05
  • Last Review: 05/12/14
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