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MSI A88XM-E45 FM2+ / FM2 AMD A88X (Bolton D4) SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: The board itself has good features and decent layout. For a small mATX PC it's as feature packed as your likely to find for the sub 75 price. At the time of my purchase it came with a code for Battle Field 4 which still sells for 60 bucks. Very little to fault the board without nit-picking.

Cons: The minor issues that people, and myself have with this board was on the support side. Some posts are talking about USB issues, which I had myself. For those of you concerned or having issues, it's in the fact that the USB 3 drivers are not posted on the MSI site for the board. They are not installed with the chipset drivers. The Live Update utility does download them for you if you run it, as well as the BIOS. A 1 egg reduction, for shipping a product that needs a BIOS update out of the box and not providing a simple driver on the motherboard page [where people are looking] that would solve every ones issue with the USB. I never had this kind of issue with ASRock.

Other Thoughts: The board is great as far as feature and design. If you make sure to install the Renesas USB 3 driver, not listed on the motherboard page, and go ahead and flash the BIOS right away, you can avoid the minor snags some of us have hit. The driver is on the DVD under others. or the Live Update will download it. Forget the link in the MFG response here, it's a dead link. Run your setup disc after OS install and you should be able to give 5 eggs.

ARCTIC Freezer A11 CPU Cooler for AMD, 150W Cooling Capacity, 3 Direct Touch Heatpipes, <23dBA Fan Noise
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: Mounting was fairly straight forward. Size was a little bigger than I imagined, but not too big. Easy fan removal makes installation and service simple. Long 4 pin fan lead. Low comparative cost.

Cons: Package does not include back plate, and has a very small contact surface. I feel the heat pipes could have been staggered better for dissipation. Design seems to place a lot of torque on CPU surface. Contact surface not evenly polished. Fan / Sink mount is only 2 direction, to front of case or to the rear, no up or down.

Other Thoughts: The design and included parts for this Fan/Sink involve removing existing mounts on your motherboard and reusing the screws and back-plate from those mounts. In my case it worked fine, but I now need to store those parts for possible future use. Seemed to be a cost cutting trick, not worth the saving to me. The contact surface is much smaller than expected. The area not much bigger than a nickel, seems small compared to the CPU, about a forth of the surface area. The AC website diagrams the actual processor being much smaller than the area of the external CPU face, maybe this is somehow more effective but seems counter intuitive. The instructions while clear enough, instruct that the sink be tighten down until they bottom out and can not be tightened any further. Illustrations actually show the proper way is for the two metal mounts to bow up when tightened. In fairness most mounts I've used before always left me wondering how tight to go, without having a definitive stopping point, so this is neither positive or negative. All in all I think my initial impression is was not positive, but the product went in easily, and mounted securely, so I can not call it negative either. Other than not being able to point the airflow up into the PSU fan as I would have preferred I can't really say anything is wrong with the function or feature of this fan/sink. In retrospect, I might have gone with the Cooler Master Hyper T4 instead, but other than not including it's own back-plate and screws and a seemingly small contact surface, I can not fault the product. I would like to see a future redesign correct these things but I have no doubt it will be more effective than stock AMD fan/sink.

Corsair Obsidian Series 350D CC-9011028-WW Black Aluminum / Steel MicroATX Case
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

4 out of 5 eggs Perfect for mATX Builds 12/25/2013

This review is from: Corsair Obsidian Series 350D CC-9011028-WW Black Aluminum / Steel MicroATX Case

Pros: Layout and space are perfect for a well loaded micro ATX system. Well placed open space for larger graphics cards. I considered a sound dampened case but decided to sacrifice mfg. sound batting for a better layout. I did my own sound proofing for cheap with foam rubber sheets from local Hobby Lobby. Turned out great, system is silent and pretty to look at inside and out.

Cons: As mentioned by others, the removing of a plate to add a ROM drive, kind of ruins the otherwise nice clean looks of the face of this case. I would love to see a revision of this case that uses a drop down ROM cover, that hides the drive when closed.

A bigger issue for me was the top vents. Todays components make a lot less heat, quiet is more of a premium then cooling. I have 4 120mm fans cooling my system not counting the big fan in the PSU. Anyone that decides they need to mount 2 more 140mm fans in the top really needs to rethink fan farming. If not eliminated in a future revision they should include a sound proofed cover like other Corsair models.

Other Thoughts: I paired this case with an AsRock Z87M Extreme 4 micro ATX and 4770K CPU cooled by a XIGMATEK Dark Knight II SD1283 and replaced the case fans and cooler fans with 4 BitFenix fans 2ea. [N82E16835345067 & N82E16835345001] I went with ADATA Pro 900's SSDs and got a deal on an MSi HD7870. RAM was an easy choice 16GB GSkill Sniper N82E16820231518 all power with a Corsair AX760 PSU.

I have to put my ear next to the system to hear it and that's with the doors off. I found 1/8th in. black foam sheets at Hobby Lobby made by Silly Winks that cut and fit easily inside the case and doors and look better than the factory sound proofing. I also custom cut a piece to fill the space on the top of the case.


Mark H.'s Profile

Display Name: Mark H.

Date Joined: 12/08/01

  • Reviews: 17
  • Helpfulness: 16
  • First Review: 10/27/05
  • Last Review: 02/15/14
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