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Pros: *received this router fully upgraded to latest US firmware revision and pretty much all was superb and easy to set up
*great WiFi speed boost over my former Linksys E2000 router (n-band running Tomato firmware)
*was able to achieve stable 64 MB/s (512 Mbps) transfer rate of huge 4Gb file from PC HDD over 5GHz wifi to PC laptop (HDD as well)
*very good GUI which is both nice and pretty intuitive (check below for IPv6 config notes below under cons)
*very good range, seems twice as strong as my former E2000 box with internal antennas
*no problems with simultaneous running of both 2.4 & 5GHz wifi, no dropouts for days (I have old Asus tablet that doesn't support 5GHz like our all mobile devices do, so it's a great thing for me who had to run 2 old boxes so far)
*worth the money!
*USB File server share and FTP works fine and is pretty much automatic
*gotta love the dual core 800MHz CPU :)
*I love it, even tho it's white ;)
Cons: -My only real grief is the white color and no wall mount :( but that is not even worth hacking off an egg for, since that's just cosmetics
-A bit of headache with IPv6 configuration as the default option (non-temporary address) doesn't work with Comcast. In short I set IPv6 WAN type to DHCPv6, then toggled IPv6 Prefix Delegation option, hit save and reboot router. Then go back to C8 GUI and check if LAN side of IPv6 is set to SLAAC and if the correct IPv6 prefix was picked up - NOTE: it's NOT the one like WAN IPv6 address! It must be one like WAN IPv6 Address Prefix, now if DNSv6 addresses were picked up automatically and correctly then you should be all set, so then reboot your PC and voilla, all works fine :) Any other approach to this fails miserably ;)
-USB 3.0 port didn't like my Patriot Supersonic USB 3.0 32GB stick and ran at USB 2.0 speeds when transferring files over network (max 20 MB/s while I was truly expecting ~90 MB/s)
-Do not disable the NAT boost functionality as the transfer speeds for WiFi will drop, that however cripples some functionality (cannot enable statistics or bandwidth QoS otherwise).
-TP-LINK online support pretty much does NOT exist yet for this router, tried it, got no reply in 24 hrs so gave up with the ticket(wanted to ask about something when I initially ran into IPv6 issues).
As you can see no real world problems here, a few glitches and minor drawbacks and all runs pretty much flawlessly. The firmware I am sure will be updated further to provide even more flexibility, stability and performance, this is just the beginning :)
Other Thoughts: My Archer C8 was Firmware Version: 3.16.27 Build 20140903 Rel. 75232, Hardware Version: Archer C8 v1 (US)
My ISP (Comcast) seems to top out around 126 Mbps down and 12-13 Mbps up, not bad for a 105/10 plan :)
Speeds tested with Xfinity Speedtest (powered by Ookla) for PC/laptop or Speedtest android app for phones.
1) reference PC with Atheros wired NIC
IPv4: 126 Mbps down / 12 Mbps up
IPv6: 124 Mbps down / 12 Mbps up
2) Mobile Speedtest results over 5GHz WiFi:
a) Samsung GS3 T999 (android 4.4.4): 92 Mbps down / 13 Mbps up (over 2x improvement!! on downstream vs E2000 router, was 40 max)
b) Motorola Moto X (android 4.4.4): 64 Mbps down / 13 Mbps up (slight downstream speed degradation vs E2000 router, was 71 max)
c) HP Envy laptop win 8.1x64, Intel 7260AC adapter:
IPv4: 126 Mbps down / 12 Mbps up
IPv6: 124 Mbps down / 12 Mbps up
An AMAZING 4x speed boost from barely 34 Mbps over IPv4 n-band E2000 router! IPv6 was reaching up to 93Mbps on old router with n-band, still a nice boost of 33%!
Pros: *great price for such board! no gimmicks on board and all I tested works fine up to speed with no unnecessary stuff
*2x awesome gigabit NICs - intel and atheros/bigfoot, choice is yours, very helpful if someone runs Virtual Machines and wants to separate subnets or simply offload traffic from host network connection
*6x USB 3.0 ports on rear I/O (Intel and Renesas), amazingly I had zero issues with ports going through Renesas chip (wasn't the case on my older builds)
*Since BIOS F8 the UEFI is a solid overclocking tool for latest 1150 chips, minor issues detected (read below)
*very clear sound from Integrated audio (much better than on my former expensive ASUS Maximus Z77 Extreme board!)
*was able to overclock my i7 4790K to 4.7GHz with 1.27v vcore (+0.085v offset) for daily use and it is stable as rock 24/7 and under x264 stress tester
*tested with Windows 8.1 Pro x64 in Secure Boot mode, no issues! (one note on enabling Secure Boot in UEFI tho)
*came pre-loaded with BIOS F8, tested also with BIOS F9e (beta) and all seems to be working fine
*8 SATA 6G ports (2 of which are Marvel), but only 4 natively available from Intel if Sata Express or M.2 is used (6 native if those aren't utilized).
Cons: Was looking really hard for any and found literally 1 major issue (not fo rme tho) and 3 minor "issues" (rather improvement requests for BIOS/UEFI developer team):
- all fan headers look like they support PWM (4-pin sockets), but only 1 CPU fan header truly does. Personally it's not a problem for me since I run all fans from fan controller adn need just 1 PWM output from board to run them in automatic mode. However, people liking to utilize multiple PWM fans connected to board might be in trouble tho as those fans will run at full throttle always.
- my AMD Radeon RP1866 memory kit (1866MHz 2x 8GB natively rated at 9-10-9-27 3T @ 1.50v) were unable to load XMP timings as per manufacturer sticker, because BIOS does not support 3T command rate (tried it manually too, no dice), however those same sticks with XMP enabled still worked fine (and tested clear error-free under MemTest86+ 4.20) with automatically accepted by BIOS timings of 9-10-10-27 2T. My request would be to add native support for 3T command rate to BIOS so such sticks as mine could fly as rated per sticker at their finest.
- enabling Secure Boot in BIOS/UEFI is a little over-complicated, first (only available in Classic Mode) requries selecting Windows 8 OS mode, then requires one additional step, one must switch to Secure Boot Custom mode, then scroll down to Keys submenu and load/install the default keys, then the Secure Boot mode can be switched back to Standard (and all works fine since). Default Keys must be loaded every time the CMOS is cleared or new revision of BIOS is flashed. Would be nice if this toggle was available in Smart mode too or simply the deaults were already Win8 and keys pre-loaded, so user would only decide if Secure Boot is enabled or disabled.
- would be also nice if Gigabyte was applying up-to-date CPU microcode patches for 1150 family in their recent BIOSes. I found out that latest BIOSes, both the official F8 and beta F9e are missing the last 3 CPU microcode updates, they come with Haswell microcode revision 19, while there are newer ones out there (1A, 1B and 1C).
Other Thoughts: It seems there might be still K-SKU CPU stability issues above vcore 1.33v AND with power-saving features enabled (C-states, EIST, C1E), that might result in random reboot under stress with BSOD 101, I found that disabling power saving features (all C-states) in BIOS/UEFI usually stabilizes the processor if the VCORE is truly enough and VRIN is bumped up to keep enough delta (e.g. default cushion of 0.6v above vcore). It would be nice if another BIOS update patch added some more stability to higher K-SKU clocks with power saving featues enabled.
Example of my unstable clock was multiplier 48x and vcore of 1.37v, unstable with C-states enabled, stable with C-states disabled. There also was a certain dead spot on vcore at exactly 1.34v, unstable at all, while former 1.33v was "almost" stable. COuld have been my CPU problem too, since Haswell has the IVR on the die. It could be all CPU dependent, but it could also mean there is still something about the board/bios that is responsible for such behavior.
I can see how all K-SKU owers were complaining on random reboots on pre-F8 BIOSes, chips were running with power saving features enabled, even with low overclocks the vcore was bumped up high (1.4v?) with potentially not enough VRIN and power saving features (C-states, C1E, EIST) enabled.
From other things, I love using the new graphical UEFI mode (Smart HD), but I seem to be missing 2 features here and for altering those 2 things I always had to switch to Classic mode, features are related to Boot sequences and Secure Boot. Only in Classical mode I can switch to Windows 8 mode and enable Secure Boot and only here I can also disable the CWM (which I don't need at all). All the rest is available in Smart HD, great work on that, I love the new UEFI!
Tested configuration with following components:
i7 4790K @ 4.7GHz with 1.27v vcore (wasn't able to fully stabilize 4.8GHz with my CPU running up to 1.38v vcore)
AMD RP1866 2x8GB RAM
2x Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 240GB SSD in RAID0
WD Black 4TB HDD
2x EVGA GTX 670 2GB in SLI
Watercooled CPU and GPUs with D5S pump and 360+240 radiators.
Pros: * worked when it worked
* pretty fast transfers up to 150MB/s over USB 3.0
* worked with up to 4TB drives
Cons: * annoying power down and spin up on its own every time PC wants to access any drive in OS
* started acting up after I upgraded mobo from Z77 to Z97 then Probox died
Other Thoughts: * Lasted 1.5 years
* Pretty much worth its price if you need something inexpensive quick
* It's not perfect and won't last forever so think twice before getting it