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Pros: - Genuinely quiet & cool
- Fan doesn't turn on until 65C, keeps it below 75C
- Whisper quiet even when it is on; I have a quiet build, and I can only barely tell the difference when the card is under load
- Idles around 45C
- Good value, especially with the free game
- Plays Witcher 3 at 1440p at 50 FPS with only a few inconsequential settings turned down, 60 at 1080 virtually maxed out (save for the nVidia hair stuff)
- Builtin hardware video encoder can record gameplay footage in CBR with almost no effect on framerate
Cons: - Not as powerful as I had hoped (but I had my expectations set WAY too high)
Other Thoughts: I'm really happy I purchased this card; I expected the claims about noise and temperature to be a little inflated, but I was surprised with how much better they turned out to be in practice. They really are true--the fan doesn't turn on until it needs to, and it REALLY doesn't need to be on all the time.
I used this card to refresh my PC for Witcher 3, since the GPU was probably the part needing the most attention. I upgraded from an MSI Radeon 7950, whose most bothersome quality was its propensity to spin up excessively loudly, so the noise features of this card have been a godsend. It performs appreciably better, having fewer framerate issues on newer titles at better settings than I was becoming accustomed to.
I had skimped before when building my rig--spending at most $200 on GPUs. I only got the 7950 at that price secondhand from a friend. Boy am I glad I ponied up for this one; I expect it to fare much better for much longer. The circa-$300 price tag (when accounting for the free goodies) is great value.
ASUS Sebretooth x58 Motherboard
20GB G-Skill 1866 MHz DDR3 RAM
Samsung 850 Pro 256 GB SSD
620W Cooler Master M2 Silent Pro PSU
Pros: Relatively quiet fan, even under load. Cools pretty well, too -- I've never seen it break 80C, and idles at a good ~30C.
Solid DX11 support helps in many games
Despite its age, it can still run most PC games at high specs, if not maxed out, at decent framerates
Support for all modern connectors, including DisplayPort!
Overclocks rather smoothly to some 800MHz or so for me, which is where I've been running it.
Cons: Zotac's rebate process never worked for me. I don't remember how much the rebate was, but after a while I just gave up on collecting it.
Will -not- work with more than 2 displays.
Other Thoughts: The 2-display thing is apparently an nVidia thing, so I don't let that count against it really. Just be warned that, at this time, if you're looking for a 3+ display setup, your only options to keep them all as separate desktops are either some really high-end (expensive) cards or multiple GPUs, and I ultimately settled for the latter option.
Even after almost 3 years, though, it admirably powers most games on the market and it's lasted this long without any problems. Go for it if you can find it cheap (I'd say <~$160), but don't believe any rebate offers from Zotac.
This review is from: Rosewill CHALLENGER - Black Gaming ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Three Included Fans - 1 x Front Blue LED 120mm Fan, 1 x Top 140mm Fan, 1 x Rear 120mm Fan - Two More Optional Side 120mm Fans Supported
Pros: Spacious -- Fits my Hyper 212+ CPU cooler and 2GPUs on a full ATX board without any problems
Cooling -- The default fan arrangement is pretty good for a case in its price range, and you have the option of adding even more fans for even more airflow
Plenty of expansion slots, probably more than most will make use of, but the presence of a couple of 3.5" slots along with several 5.25" bays allows most to expand as suits their fancy
Completely tool-less installation of most components, the exception being PCI cards, which require a regular Philips screwdriver. I personally don't mind this at all.
Bottom-mounted PSU helps with stability and makes it straightforward to route power cables
Cons: A little thin. With my Hyper 212+ CPU cooler installed, I can't use the upper fan slot on the side anymore.
Poor tiedown spots. I had to get a little creative to do cable routing because the tiedowns that were available didn't align with my routing plan, which is a pretty simple one IMHO
Other Thoughts: This case has served me well over the years, and it's probably the best one you can get for its price, especially when it's on sale and drops to ~$40.
Also, not really a con, but I've been discouraged from seriously entertaining the idea of using the two side fan slots because they're on the same panel you pull off to tinker inside. It seems like it'd complicate using the fan pins on my motherboard, anyway.