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Pros: Solid board. Wonderfully stable - overclocked a processor I thought couldn't hit 3.8 all the way to 4.2 nice and stable (boots at 4.3 but is somewhat unstable :-( ). Yeah, a phenom II x4 955 at 4.2 GHz can't be beat in just about anything by a FX-8150... sad!
All SATA ports or 6GB/s, USB 3, adjustable fan speeds in the UEFI config, UEFI is *AWESOME* - using AHCI/RAID barely even slows down POST ;-)
Cons: One SATA port was re-routed to the rear for eSATA... would have preferred to have that as an internal SATA, but that is a minor annoyance... one most won't give a rat's posterior about.
Other Thoughts: I think I've built a good 20+ systems with ASRock boards. Had ONE failure, and ASRock was quite quick and addressing the issue and handling the RMA. Had the replacement board back a solid week earlier than I had expected. They wouldn't cross-ship, though :-( (not even with a credit card to secure it - though they may have fixed that by now)READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: ASRock A55M-HVS FM1 AMD A55 (Hudson D2) HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Pros: High quality components (for the price range), every desirable feature (again, for the price range).
Small. Even for mATX, it is small. In all directions. This is a pro for me, others may be less inclined to consider this a pro as they want to fill up empty space.
UEFI - YEAH BABY! SATA AHCI doesn't cause any additional boot delay, 6xSATA ports, PURE AWESOME for ~$50! Enough fan headers and USB (2.0) headers to make me plenty happy. Also comes with an LPT1 header (does anyone still use those??).
No issues, as usual, from AsRock (twenty-odd boards, only one problem ever - and AsRock quickly replaced that board... I may just be lucky? [my next one will be DOA, I'm sure... :-(]).
The best part, really, is the software disc. I just put it in, tell it to install All Drivers Only - and walk away. ~30 minutes later I come back and the system is fully configured and ready to go!! FANTASTIC!
Will be buying PLENTY more!
Cons: I have to stretch to find a con, to be honest. If there would be any, it would be the placement of the PCI-e x1 slot. Seems like many devices would conflict with the chip-set heat-sink. This is an ongoing problem with AsRock, though. Some boards have a carved out section of the heatsink to allow installation of longer PCI-e x1 cards... but not this one... it just has a lower profile heatsink - which MAY work... but it doesn't seem like it is low-profile enough for that use....
Other Thoughts: All around a nice and stable board with EASY setup & configuration.
Running AMD A6-3670 (2.7GHz quad core), 8GB G.Skill DDR3-1333 and a standard complement of other quality components.
This review is from: Corsair Carbide Series 300R Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Pros: Build quality is superb!
No sharp corners, no needed items not included.
Fantastic cable management setup - you can't even tell I have cables in mine from the "show" side! (except for the two fans on the side).
I managed to cram all of the following in with room to spare:
ASRock 970 Extreme 4, 8GB GSkill RipJaws@1600
Phenom II x4 955 @ 4.2GHz, Saphire Radeon HD 6870
3x 3x320GB Hard Drives
1x Crucial Adrenaline (added today... ;-))
1x LG DVD-RW w/ lightscribe (the best at any price!)
RAIDMax 730W something or other... works well! ;-)
Swiftech 240MM radiator (top mounted, internally)
2x 120mm slim fans on radiator (pushing UP).
2x 140mm front fans (one came with the case)
3x 120mm case fans (two on side for GPU/board)
1x Thermaltake P500 pump w/ AquaTemp reservoir
1x Thermaltake Reservoir front panel
Hexagon-shaped holes improve air-flow and reduce noise.
PSU and front fans dust filters (well.. screens...)
Molex pass-through in rear of case to
Cons: You have to stretch to make these into serious cons:
1. The microphone and headphone jacks are reversed on the front. Many many people complain about this... haven't looked into fixing it, but I imagine it wouldn't be too hard...
2. Seems the front panel does not have any sensing so you can't setup different profile for your headphones vs your speakers... VERY problematic when switching from a 5.1 system to headphones... I just set speaker-kill and 7.1, using the front jack as side speakers... works on everything except 5.1 sources... you'll have to down-mix to stereo to fix that...
3. USB 3.0 header REQUIRED for front USB. Does not include a (cheap, but kinda hard to find) adapter for USB 2.0. I bought a Cooler-Master 700005000-GP from their store, but had motherboard problems before it ever arrived and bought a motherboard with a USB 3.0 header to replace it... oh well, it was $7.99 shipped...
Other Thoughts: Those cons really are very minor - not worth docking an egg... though if I could do a half-egg, I would do so...
One thing to note, though, is that you will most likely spend much longer than normal assembling a machine with this case (and ones like it). Not because it is more difficult (quite the contrary), but because you will be taking more pride in your work and trying to make things work exceptionally well.
I spent about seven hours assembling my system - but that includes a very fancy water-cooling setup (I was able to route my plumbing BEHIND the motherboard tray, around and above the exhaust fans and above the board to the water-block... just SUPER-SWEET! (using 1/2" OD)
With water-cooling, capacity is almost everything...