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Pros: The GIGABYTE GA-G1.Sniper Z97 is a full featured motherboard for socket 1150 CPUs, which I paired with an i7-4770k. The specs are build and component quality appears to be high quality. It uses quality and long lifespan black solid capacitors and Japanese branded Nichicon audio capacitors. Audio is a big focus on this board, so I’ll begin there. The Creative Sound Core3D Quad-Core Audio Processor gives great sound, and is noted to offload workload from a CPU. It has gold plating and looks nice. The plugs on the back are also gold plated. It has an upgradeable OP-AMP and several options for gain boost for high impedance speakers/headphones. There are good software options with the SBX Pro Studio Audio Suite. Clean power goes to the dedicated USB DAC-UP for clean, low-noise power for digital-to-analog audio converter, so it is good to connect USB speakers/headphones. The motherboard also has dedicated audio hardware zone, which is also indicated with red LED lighting. The network is a Killer E2200 (Qualcomm Atheros, gigabit) and has options to easily prioritize network traffic. Supports multi-GPU with both Crossfire and SLI. Appearance wise it has a red and black theme. It works with 4th and 5th Generation Intel CPUs. There are a variety of video output options (Displayport/HDMI) on the motherboard, but I used a dedicated graphics card.
Installation of an i7-4770k (Haswell) and two 4 GB sticks of DDR3-1600 RAM was simple, it supports up to 32 GB and up to DDR3-3000 RAM (overclocked). I upgraded from a Gigabyte P67 motherboard running Win 7 64-bit. A couple restarts and installation of motherboard drivers and other drivers and all was fine. One SSD and one 3 TB spinning disk, connected to the SATA 6 gbps ports. I didn't need to reinstall Windows, but I did need to reactivate Windows, which was simple via a phone call. It was rock solid at the stock settings, very simple to get up and running. CPU overclocking from the BIOS has a classic view and UEFI with mouse support. Handy power/reset and clear CMOS buttons are right on the motherboard.
The cpu heat sink/fan I am using is not exotic, being a Hyper 212 Plus, so at 4.4 GHz, the voltage and temperature was higher than I liked during summer, so I settled at 4.3 GHz and have been running at that for several weeks. The voltage is 0.12 V offset from default of 1.10 V, so it maxes out at 1.22 V and still steps down voltage and frequency within Windows for lower power use and temperature. There are many BIOS options to further tweak individual voltages. I have not had any crashes, blue screens, or error messages in that time, remarkable stability for the motherboard, even when pushed via overclocking.
Cons: At very high overclocks (>=4.4 GHz), I hear some audio noise coming from my case when all cores loaded at 100%. I’m not sure of the source, so this could also be a limitation of my 7 year old 500W Seasonic PSU.
Other Thoughts: Using BIOS version F5, but there is a newer version. I have 4 other Gigabyte motherboards (2x P35, 1xH61, 1xP67 chipsets) in use at the current time and each has been reliable. They make a durable and quality product.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: SYBA SY-PEX40039 PCI-Express 2.0 SATA III (6.0Gb/s) Controller Card
Pros: The installation of this PCI-Express card was simple, open case, insert into PCI-E 1x slot, tighten screw, connect a SATA cable between the card and hard disk. My use was to add additional ports, since my MythTV server running on Ubuntu was maxed out at 6 hard disks. No software was needed, the disk was easily found in Ubuntu Linux. The full performance of a 6 Gbps was not my first concern, since data rates would not be maximized on the spinning drive.
Cons: None for my needs in Ubuntu Linux.
Other Thoughts: Good reviews, so see others for Windows usage.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: Acer H6 H276HLbmid Black 27" 5ms HDMI IPS panel Widescreen LED Backlight Monitor
Pros: Good looking monitor with IPS panel with LED. It is much thinner than other IPS panels I have used before. The thin bezel on the side makes it attractive for my use as the center monitor in a three monitor setup using Eyefinity. No dead pixels. Color reproduction looks good without recalibration. No bleeding that I could see. Accepts several form of input, DVI/HDMI/VGA for some flexibility and avoid the need to adapters or special cables. Good value.
Cons: The stand is a weakness, since it is not adjustable, and it does not have Vesa mounting capabilities.
Other Thoughts: I did not test the speakers, but can’t imagine them to be of much use. I would have been fine if none were includedREAD FULL REVIEW