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This review is from: Intel NUC NUC5PPYH, HDMI, VGA, Intel HD Graphics, USB 3.0
Pros: - Compact and quiet
- Easy to install memory and hard drives
- Full-size HDMI connection
- Legacy VGA connection
- USB 3.0 all the way around
- Decently fast quad-core processor (though non-hyperthreading)
Cons: 8GB of RAM maximum -- not exactly sure if this is a definite con or not at this point, as this is being used a lightweight Windows 10 conference room computer.
Windows 7 is virtually impossible to install on this machine. Even though Intel provides a utility to slipstream USB 3.0 drivers into the Windows 7 installation media (usually a USB flash drive), once Windows 7 is installed and boots for the first time, you'll find that nothing connected to the USB ports (like a keyboard and mouse!) works.
It seems that the Intel utility installs drivers onto the Windows 7 installation media, but those drivers are not installed along with Windows 7 on the hard drive, rendering the system useless after the install because you cannot use your keyboard and mouse after the installation procedure completes, reboots from the hard drive, then asks you to create a user account. It's very difficult -- some would say impossible -- to create a user account without a keyboard and mouse.
Still, the reason we wanted Windows 7 was because we owned a license and wanted to immediately upgrade it to Windows 10. Luckily, we received the unit just after the Windows 10 November update, which enables the installation of Windows 10 using Windows 7 or 8 serial numbers (whereas previously you needed to install Windows 7 or 8, then upgrade to Windows 10). This allowed us to install Windows 10, which recognizes USB 3.0 devices by default, and bypass the whole install-Windows-7-then-immediately-upgrade-to-Windows-10 Rube Goldberg process.
Other Thoughts: This is a nice machine to run a large, flat-screen TV from in our office's conference room, and replaces a bulky and hot ATX-form-factor desktop for doing things as simple as showing Excel documents on the TV screen, connection to GoToMeeting/WebEx screen sharing sessions, and using Remote Desktop to connect to more powerful computers for demonstrations.
We paired this up with 8GB of Crucial SO-DIMM 1.35V RAM and a 120GB Samsung 850 EVO SSD. It has a miniscule form-factor, boots quickly, is responsive enough for our needs, has wireless and wired network connections, and is quiet. All in all, with all components, it's a nice, little computer for under $400.
This review is from: CORSAIR Hydro Series H50 120mm Quiet Edition Liquid CPU Cooler – Intel Only
Pros: Straightforward installation, decent cooling, quality parts.
Cons: Not as quiet as you'd think
Other Thoughts: I bought this cooler to replace a stock Intel heatsink/fan combo for an i7-4790k which has not been overclocked. Installation was pretty straightforward, and I was able to install the cooler without removing the motherboard from the case (Lian Li PC-Q36WX), though it was a bit tricky.
Corsair's recommended use for this cooler is to reverse the flow of air in your case, so what used to be your exhaust fan will likely become your intake fan now. This wasn't an issue because my power supply takes air from inside the case and vents it outward (though those with hotter rigs might not want to do this as it will increase the temperature of the air being pulled into the power supply).
Some have commented on the bracket that goes on the backside of the motherboard on LGA1150 boards, claiming that they need to warp the bracket in order to get the posts to line up -- this is not true, and likely what they've done is installed the bracket inserts in the wrong holes. If you're installing on an LGA1150, realize that just because you put a nut in the upper left-hand hole on one corner doesn't mean that the other nuts go into the same hole on the other corners -- look closely at the bracket hole labels and you'll see that you're going to need to install the nuts in non-symmetric holes on each of the 4 corners.
With the nuts installed in the correct places, the bracket fits perfectly and needs no warping or bending at all for a successful installation.
Those with more open-air cases (like the Lian Li PC-Q36WX mentioned, with it's thin, aluminum chassis and ventilation mounts on both sides of the case) might be disappointed if they were looking to reduce the amount of noise put off by their coolers. With the Corsair H50, you will be able to hear both the CPU pump as well as the radiator fans, though it's not "loud" -- just audible. I suspect using this in a more soundproof case, like a Fractal Design Define R4, would be closer to "silent" -- but for more "open" cases, it will likely be as loud as your stock cooler.
Temps are ok -- idle around 80 F, peak at just under 140 F -- well within the thermal design for this processor.
All in all, it's not a bad cooler, it's good for smaller mini-ITX builds, and it's cool to say my rig is now liquid cooled, but this thing is not nearly as silent as I expected and it doesn't really cool my processor any better than a decent heatsink and fan combo would.
Pros: Capacity, speed, cache, RAID-compatibility
Cons: Failure rate is abysmal. I'm batting 0 for 3 right now.
Other Thoughts: Bought two of these for a web server build, and one exhibited problems right off the bat. Rather than waste time with an RMA, I decided to simply purchase and overnight ship another -- which also is exhibiting problems now.
Today, my SMART status went from "A few bad sectors" to "FAILURE IS IMMINENT" on one drive, and the other drive has over 1,200 bad sectors (and counting). The third drive shows no bad sectors, but will fail and disappear from the system after copying about 30GB to it.
The RE3 line was incredibly reliable -- I have had nothing but trouble with the RE4 line, with regard to the 1TB capacity drives.
Time to switch back to some lower-capacity Velociraptors until I can wait for 3 RMAs to go through -- and even then, can they be trusted? The reports of receiving recertified drives instead of brand-new drives via warranty is scaring me. I paid for brand-new drives, which I have received absolutely 0 usable life out of, and I'd like to receive some fully-functional, brand-new, working drives. I certainly hope that happens in the RMA process.
Not happy and definitely surprised.