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XFX Double D R9-280X-TDFD Radeon R9 280X 3GB 384-Bit GDDR5 CrossFireX Support Video Card
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

3 out of 5 eggs Incompatibility issue with UEFI/Secure Boot 07/23/2014

This review is from: XFX Double D R9-280X-TDFD Radeon R9 280X 3GB 384-Bit GDDR5 CrossFireX Support Video Card

Pros: I was drawn to the XFX brand because:

1) It is the only graphics card manufacturer that offers lifetime warranty.

2) They make the nicest-looking cards - their newest generation Double Dissipation coolers are particularly beautiful. I like that they don't cater to the hideous "gamer aesthetics" which every other GPU board makers use.

The card(s) runs great on my wife's computer, but encountered some issues on mine (read below for info)

Cons: I purchased two of these - the first was a regular edition, which refused to work in my PC. So I purchased a second, Black Edition card, in the hopes that it might make a difference. It still didn't work.

The card powers on fine, but simply does not get detected by Windows. My motherboard does see it, but displays it with PCIE ratio of 0x. The card does not output any signal to the monitor and I am forced to tinker with the BIOS through onboard graphics.

Initially, I thought it was a PSU issue (I had a Raidmax 700W PSU), so I upgraded to a better PSU (EVGA SuperNova 2 750W) hoping it would resolve the issue. It did not.

I performed extensive research into the issue, and noticed that a lot of users experiencing the same problem were able to resolve it by setting their motherboard's CSM (compatibility module) to "Legacy ROM Only"). This is not limited to XFX cards - apparently, a lot of R9-series GPU's have compatibility issues with the UEFI/Secure Boot feature of Windows 8.

Unfortunately, in my case setting CSM to Legacy and turning off Secure Boot did not make any difference. My motherboard (an Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe) simply refuses to work with this card. I have tried every PCIE slot and tinkered with all the relevant settings in the BIOS; I even tried all the older versions of the BIOs for my motherboard. Nothing worked.

I contacted both XFX and Asus tech support regarding the issue, and both companies suggested doing what I was already doing - which is setting CSM to Legacy mode and turning off Secure Boot (XFX also did confirm that their firmware does NOT support UEFI/Support Boot. I think Sapphire's boards have confirmed support for this)

This is a real bummer and my absolute first time encountering this sort of issue with a GPU.

Other Thoughts: I have a feeling the majority of people who left a negative review for this card due to DOA (especially "repeated" DOA) was actually experiencing my issue, and didn't do their research on the matter. Their cards were likely fine; they should have tested it on another platform or taken it to a local store for testing.

Both of the cards that refuse to work on my motherboard worked perfectly fine on my wife's board (an older AMD platform, Asus Sabertooth 990FX). There would appear to be a very specific incompatibility issue between the XFX R9 280X cards and the Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe motherboard (I think I read some people with the XFX 280X working fine on lower tiers of the P8Z77 board, so I don't know what it is)

In any case, I let my wife keep the Black Edition card but I was forced to return the other card to the seller. :( A true bummer, because I care a lot about the looks of my hardware and the XFX cards simply look the best out of all the brands.

READ FULL REVIEW
XFX Black Edition Double D R9-280X-TDBD Radeon R9 280X 3GB 384-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: I was drawn to the XFX brand because:

1) It is the only graphics card manufacturer that offers lifetime warranty.

2) They make the nicest-looking cards - their newest generation Double Dissipation coolers are particularly beautiful. I like that they don't cater to the hideous "gamer aesthetics" which every other GPU board makers use.

The card(s) runs great on my wife's computer, but encountered some issues on mine (read below for info)

Cons: I purchased two of these - the first was a regular edition, which refused to work in my PC. So I purchased a second, Black Edition card, in the hopes that it might make a difference. It still didn't work.

The card powers on fine, but simply does not get detected by Windows. My motherboard does see it, but displays it with PCIE ratio of 0x. The card does not output any signal to the monitor and I am forced to tinker with the BIOS through onboard graphics.

Initially, I thought it was a PSU issue (I had a Raidmax 700W PSU), so I upgraded to a better PSU (EVGA SuperNova 2 750W) hoping it would resolve the issue. It did not.

I performed extensive research into the issue, and noticed that a lot of users experiencing the same problem were able to resolve it by setting their motherboard's CSM (compatibility module) to "Legacy ROM Only"). This is not limited to XFX cards - apparently, a lot of R9-series GPU's have compatibility issues with the UEFI/Secure Boot feature of Windows 8.

Unfortunately, in my case setting CSM to Legacy and turning off Secure Boot did not make any difference. My motherboard (an Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe) simply refuses to work with this card. I have tried every PCIE slot and tinkered with all the relevant settings in the BIOS; I even tried all the older versions of the BIOs for my motherboard. Nothing worked.

I contacted both XFX and Asus tech support regarding the issue, and both companies suggested doing what I was already doing - which is setting CSM to Legacy mode and turning off Secure Boot (XFX also did confirm that their firmware does NOT support UEFI/Support Boot. I think Sapphire's boards have confirmed support for this)

This is a real bummer and my absolute first time encountering this sort of issue with a GPU.

Other Thoughts: I have a feeling the majority of people who left a negative review for this card due to DOA (especially "repeated" DOA) was actually experiencing my issue, and didn't do their research on the matter. Their cards were likely fine; they should have tested it on another platform or taken it to a local store for testing.

Both of the cards that refuse to work on my motherboard worked perfectly fine on my wife's board (an older AMD platform, Asus Sabertooth 990FX). There would appear to be a very specific incompatibility issue between the XFX R9 280X cards and the Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe motherboard (I think I read some people with the XFX 280X working fine on lower tiers of the P8Z77 board, so I don't know what it is)

In any case, I let my wife keep the Black Edition card but I was forced to return the other card to the seller. :( A true bummer, because I care a lot about the looks of my hardware and the XFX cards simply look the best out of all the brands.

READ FULL REVIEW
IN WIN 904 Silver 2mm/4mm Aluminum Tempered Glass ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

3 out of 5 eggs GORGEOUS case, but... 07/23/2014

This review is from: IN WIN 904 Silver 2mm/4mm Aluminum Tempered Glass ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Pros: The IN WIN 904 is hands-down the best-looking computer chassis I've ever seen. I bought two of these for myself and my wife, and they look absolutely incredible with interior lighting.

The craftsmanship / construction quality / material quality are all among the highest I've ever seen (and I've been building PC's for 15 years). The aluminium frame and tempered glass side panels are both machined to perfection with no sharp corners or edges. Speaking of the glass side panels, they look absolutely stunning with interior lighting - the effect cannot be achieved with typical acrylic panels (the way light refracts through glass is very different). The aluminium frame is a solid quarter-inch thick; just very sturdy construction.

The case provides ample room for cable management - it's designed so that all the internal cables can be tucked away behind the motherboard. The case even comes bundled with extension cables for the 20+4 pin motherboard power and 4+4 pin CPU power in case your PSU doesn't have cables long enough to reached around behind the motherboard.

There's also about 4 inches of clearance between the rear of the motherboard and the case's back panel, which serves to hide all the cables going into the back of the PC. The result looks very sleek indeed.

Cons: The praises aside, this case has several design flaws... the worst of which is the way water cooler support is implemented.

The 904 is extremely cramped inside - in fact, it's the most cramped mid-tower case I've worked with, which pretty bad considering its exterior dimensions nearly rival my old full-tower case (the exterior size "bloat" is created by all the clearance for cable management). This is already somewhat unacceptable for a $200+ chassis, but to make matters worse it doesn't have enough room to support interior mounting of a 120mm water cooler (speaking of which, the exhaust fan slot only supports 90mm, which is unacceptable in this day and age - who uses 90mm fans anymore?)

This meant if you have a water cooler, it must be mounted on the exterior (on the back panel). This creates a whole slew of issues:

1) The back panel cannot be removed once a water cooler is fully installed (i.e. connected to the CPU) - this is a HUGE problem because the easiest way to access the connections on the back of the PC is by removing the back panel. This means once you installed a water cooler, the only way to plug / unplug anything from the back of your computer is to remove the side panels, then grope around in the dark (even with a flash light, it's very difficult to see through the holes on the back panel - especially with a big water cooler radiator blocking your view...)

2) Having to mount the radiator so far away from the CPU means you will be forced to mount the water pump upside down (most AIO water coolers have the tubes going into the pump on the right side; this chassis forces you to rotate the pump so the tubes are on the left side). Unfortunately, if your water pump has a cool back-lit logo on it, it will be upside-down. This may seem like a small issue, but considering that the 904 is meant to be a windowed case that showcases the interior of your PC, this is actually unacceptable.

3) The chassis also forces you to install the radiator upside-down (with the tubes going into the radiator on the top, rather than on the bottom). This is actually something Corsair specifically said NOT to do (I once sent in a support ticket for my H80 and that's what they said).

Furthermore, the chassis did not leave enough room for larger PSU's. My EVGA SuperNova 2 750W power supply barely fit into this case. It literally had less than an inch of clearance (I actually had to apply force to push the PSU into place - was very worried about damaging the modular cables, too).

Lastly, the optical bay is located too far away - a standard-length SATA cable will JUST barely reach your optical drive from the motherboard. I can imagine if you have a shorter SATA cable or a motherboard with SATA ports located further up will cause some issues.

IN WIN designers obviously measured everything to fit "just right" - but they really should have left some leeway on account of people who have larger components.

Other Thoughts: I have very conflicting feelings about the IN WIN 904. On one hand, it is drop-dead gorgeous-looking once properly set up. On the other, it was nightmarish to work with.

My biggest gripe about this case remains the way the water cooler support is implemented. Having to mount the radiator on the exterior of the case looks extremely silly and seems to defeat the whole purpose of the back panel (which is meant to make the case look sleek and pretty, not with a big ugly radiator sticking out of it). I personally find the way water coolers are handled on this case to be borderline unacceptable.

Additionally, you should note that this case has one of the worst C/P ratios of any chassis (you can buy some REALLY fancy performance cases for $200). Considering that, for $200+, you only get:

- 2 fan slots, one supporting only 90mm (who uses those anymore?) and no additional ventilation (the case is completely sealed and relies solely on the fans to move air, which would be fine... if it supported more fans)

- Poor water cooler implementation, and no support for dual-slot (120mm x2) water coolers.

- Only 3 HDD bays and 1 optical bay.

Compare this to the Cooler Master N400 mid-tower chassis (which I used to build a system for my family), which costs only $60:

- Much better ventilation, with metallic meshed front panel and vents on all the panels (sides, top, bottom).

- Supports tons of fans and water cooling options. You can mount 7x 120mm fans in that case; two of the mounting locations support dual-slot (120mm x2) water coolers and the rear slot supports the typical 120mm water cooler.

- Much better expansion capacity; 2 optical bays and 7 HDD bays.

All in all, my conclusion would be that despites its high price, the IN WIN 904 does NOT qualify as an enthusiast-friendly product because it simply does not support a lot of enthusiast-grade hardware. It's a great choice if you want to build a nice-looking PC that's air-cooled and don't do tons of overclocking. But if you are looking to build a performance PC, this case is not for you (regardless of whether or not budget is an issue).

My suggestions to IN WIN:

- This case will SERIOUSLY benefit from more interior space. It needs to be at least 2-3 inches wider, to support taller CPU coolers, as well as to allow for interior mounting space for 120mm water cooler. The interior mount for water cooler is particularly important due to the aforementioned issues with having to mount the radiator on the back panel of the case.

- Additionally, the case should be 4-6 inches longer, to support larger PSU's as well as to allow for more HDD bays.

- The optical drive bay on the bottom of the case should have a cable inlet on the side of the enclosure, rather than the rear.

Anyway, 3/5 Eggs:

1 Egg: Great aesthetics.
2 Egg: Great craftsmanship and materials.
3 Egg: Reviewer bias (I embrace it despite its flaws)

1 Egg Off: Terrible water cooler implementation
2 Egg Off: Cram

READ FULL REVIEW

Kimahri Y.'s Profile

Display Name: Kimahri Y.

Date Joined: 02/05/02

  • Reviews: 7
  • Helpfulness: 4
  • First Review: 11/23/11
  • Last Review: 07/23/14
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