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Pros: Were I to count every single component and each individual transistor on each of my two cards card and list them individually among the pros section, it would not be enough.
Cons: It runs kinda hot when at full load, the back plate isn't included. Power consumption is a bit high, my UPS is no longer adequate and will need to be replaced. The cards make me want to custom liquid cool stuff, and me spending all of my money is never a good thing.
Other Thoughts: I bought two of this card to replace a pair of EVGA 660 Ti's, as the 660's are starting to show a bit of slowdown in modern games. Specifically Metro Last Light. Truth be told, me buying two may have been a bit... overzealous. One of these cards can handle pretty much anything I throw at it, including Metro. But when I throw Metro at it, they get warm. Like, 80-90 degrees warm. EVGA software and a slight rearranging of components and ventilation fixed that easily, and the cards rarely pass above 75. The real test will be with the games coming in the next few months.
My only real gripe is that the cards didn't come with the EVGA back plates factory installed. I mean, the 660's did, why not the more expensive cards? All things considered, complaining about 30 bucks more after 1k spent does seem a bit ridiculous, so I'm not exactly losing my mind over it.
Pros: Good cage for a small home server or NAS box. The color matches my case almost perfectly. I needed the extra space and having placeholder covers on my server is a no-can-do situation. Bought this on a whim. Build construction is excellent, the removal system is well thought out, and the locks don't jiggle like I more or less had expected. Feels very high-quality.
Cons: Can't disable the HDD recognition lights. Disabling the activity lights is a plus, but it didn't go far enough. I have my server by my bed and the lights are awfully bright. But that's me nitpicking more or less for the sake of it. I'm not losing sleep over it or anything.
Other Thoughts: I have three drives in the cage set up as a RAID 1 with hot spare. Build speed of a new RAID is decent, not really noticing a loss in transfer speed to the drives in the RAID cage. The connection is for all intents and purposes transparent and does not negatively impact anything in any way.
I was hoping to be able to put a high-performance fan on it since I had a few laying about, but I haven't gotten around to it yet. The stock fan keeps the drives (Seagate 3TB Barracudas) plenty cool despite being stored in the hottest room in the house and always on.
Pros: This board was given to me during an Intel event. The total cost to me was $0 and came with a 3770K (for the same price), so I technically have no reason or right to complain about it. Not that that'll ever stop me. The board was initially to be gifted away but I ended up using in when the mainboard in my home server failed exactly 2 days after I received the Intel board. The previous machine's config was a Core 2 Duo/mATX Gigabyte board/DDR2 RAM, so everything save the case and drives had to be scrapped. Installation was a breeze, though the board uses more standoffs than I had on hand (and a few more than is standard for an ATX board). The BIOS flash was easy to perform, and the board is running steadily at stock clocks on version 64 (which is current as of this writing). The board recognized a processor and desktop RAM from a previous PC build without issue, and has been running without a single hiccup since it was first installed. So long as it continues to operate normally, I am content.
Cons: The dual LAN cards in the board I received are not the same model. One is the Intel 82579V and the other is an Intel 82574L. The 82579V card does not have drivers for use with Server 2008R2. Bummer. I found a set of rigged drivers that allow for it to be used, but since I'm using a LAN PCI card in this build, both of the board's LAN cards have been disabled for the sake of compatibility. The remaining board chipset features are recognized normally in the OS, and the Windows 7 drivers work without a problem.
I have noticed a bit of instability in the BIOS, mostly right after the update to version 64. I was forced to enter maintenance mode (shuffle the jumper on the 3-pin around to do this) and reset the board/delete all profiles to get it working. The BIOS version the board shipped with and the one Intel marks as current are very different animals despite being meant for the same board. My EVGA-based desktop PC suffers from this shuffling of features as well, so I've been forced to become well-versed in dealing with a buggy BIOS after updating.
Other Thoughts: Being a desktop/enthusiast class board, I was bound to run into some weird problems when building it into a server PC. Very little of the board's capabilities are being utilized, both to save on recources necessary to utilize them and to minimize power consumption. Thus far I have disabled both LAN controllers, the secondary SATA 6GB chipset, the audio controller, and have minimized the memory footprint of the onboard video controller. The CPU is clocked at stock values with turbo boosting disabled, and the RAM is set to a minimal 1600Mhz. There are no front USB/audio ports to connect, and the only headers I have connected are the power button and HDD LED. One PCI slot is currently in use for LAN, and three drives (one SSD, two HDD) have been installed. This is a very minimal PC being utilized only for file sharing and RDP use. The Intel board performs in this role quite admirably and has served well in the stead of the ancient C2D build it has replaced.
I can easily say that I would recommend this board for a low to mid-level gaming PC, but higher-end gamers may want to throw a little more money at their computer screen for something beefier. For what I'm doing with it, this board is overkill. But as they say, if you're going to kill something, you might as well kill it a whole lot.
System specs (Frankensteined mostly from old gaming builds):
Intel i7 2600K
G.Skill Ripjaw 8GB 2133Mhz kit (@1600Mhz)
COOLER MASTER Elite 310 Case
OCZ Vertex4 128GB SSD
WDC 1TB/1.5TB HDDs
Realtek PCI GBE LAN controller
AND NOTHING ELSE!