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This review is from: ASRock Z97 Pro4 LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Pros: This motherboard is very nice for the price. I am a bit late on this review but I was waiting for the new Pentium k g3258 chip to release so I could have some fun testing the combo.
Very solid board with high quality components built in.
My 2400 Mhz RAM had no issues, plug and set XMP profile and booted right up.
The A-Tuning software is very easy to use, this is my first Intel board and even then it was simple to use and understand. The fan control in the software could be a bit more extensive but that's it.
Intel NIC is at least as good as the one on my Crosshair V Formula Z. Fast and zero issues there. You can set profiles for better performance depending on the task.
The sound card is OK, not great but still good for a board at this price point.
Nice color scheme, I hate the lighter blue on so many boards these days.
Unlike others I had a great X-Fire experience with it - I immediately ran Unigen Valley in X-Fire when I got this up and running and my scores were near equal to my AMD set-up (FX 8350/CHFVZ) at PCI-E 2.0 16x by 16x. In 3Dmark11 of course the Physics and CPU score were lower but I actually had a better graphics score by 100 points or so than my best on the AMD and that was at stock 3.2 Ghz with a dual core Pentium.
It has Thunderbolt and various other connectors the most will never used but if you need them they are there.
I had the G3258 overclocked to 4.2 Ghz and the Northbridge and VRM's seems to handle it very well, staying nice and just as cool as the socket temps. Max about 45C.
Cons: For this price I could only find a couple of things I would change.
1) The board is narrow which causes some issues for me like plugging in the 24 pin and I can see right through to the back of my Corsair 750D case. I am not keeping this in that case so it wont matter later but looks funky now.
2) Not enough fan headers, especially 4-pin. If I was going to use this with the set-up it's currently in I would need a fan controller and I hate them.
I feel a bit guilty but because of this I can't give it 5 Eggs but it's close.
Other Thoughts: I don't really know what PCI-E lanes run at in X-Fire, (16x X 8x or 8x X 8x) I tried to look it up but can't seem to find the real answer. I am just not sure but I can say this, "the PCI link speed on the top slot was 8 Gbps max and on the bottom card it was 5 Gbps Max. On my CHVFZ @ 16x X 16x 2.0 they both ran at 5Gbps max. Not sure if PCI-E 3.0 makes that much difference but it seemed to do well. Some are saying that this won't be very good for X-Fire and with more powerfull cards it may be the case but I haven't experienced that at all.
System as tested -
Asrosk z97 Pro4
Intel Pentium k g3258
G-skill Trdent-X 2400 C10 2x4 Gb
Full watercooling for the CPU with a 3 x 120mm X 45mm thick rad, XSPC photon 270 pump/res combo and XSP Raystorm waterblock.
Powercolor HD7870 Devil
Powercolor R9 270x Devil
Seasonic SS 660 platinum PSU.
This review is from: GELID Solutions GC-Extreme Thermal Compound
Pros: I had a heat issue with one of my GPU's and guessed it was poor TIM application and it was but I never expected a 20C drop in temps. That's right 20c right off the bat. I am seriously impressed with this thermal paste and now use it for everything. I have some more on the way as I write this.
Applies very easily.
Other Thoughts: Well worth the money.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: SAMSUNG 840 EVO MZ-7TE120BW 2.5" 120GB SATA III TLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
Pros: This is very fast for the price due to Rapid mode which you can enable in Samsung Magician. Very quick boot times even out of the box.
Not much else as it's an SSD and the main reason to have one is speed.
Cons: None yet. Can't comment on reliability because I haven't had it long enough to tell.
Other Thoughts: It was somewhat slower than my 840 pro 128 Gb as expected but in Rapid mode I it blows away the 840 pro not in Rapid mode.
I got 755 Sequential reads and 417 sequential writes in Rapid mode and for $.50+ a Gb that is extremely impressive. I have yet to run the 840 pro in rapid mode so I can't compare that. Just buy it if you are looking to get into the SSD game. Price to performance per GB you cannot beat it with anything out there.