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GIGABYTE GA-X99-Designare EX (rev. 1.0) LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

4 out of 5 eggs Excellent motherboard with options to spare (a few nits too) 08/08/2016

This review is from: GIGABYTE GA-X99-Designare EX (rev. 1.0) LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Pros: - Dizzying array of features
- USB type C
- Latest M.2 offering
- Overclocking features
- Thunderbolt 3 support (see cons)
- The ability to update/upgrade BIOS via "Q-Flash" without the CPU (or memory) being present. This is a *VERY* slick scenario. In the past, various boards required a specific CPU and/or you couldn't update the BIOS to support a newer/better CPU - unless you had an older/lesser CPU. This removes that entire issue. To this one point, you could run into any issue, be able to unplug/disconnect CPU/RAM/various cards and still be able to perform an upgrade of the BIOS (especially if it's some form of compatibility fix).
- M2 to U2 adapter is available (see other). Enables running NVMe (2.5”) via the M.2 port. (Recommend just moving to an SM961 series device instead)
- Would highly recommend this board to anyone who is looking for a well-rounded, high caliber setup.

Cons: - Integrated WiFi for a motherboard of this caliber almost seems like a "step down". Considering the horsepower that this thing can produce… Single gigabit ethernet might even be considered slow. Would have preferred WiFi as an "option", but include Bluetooth. There are 1300Mbps WiFi APs, thus for such a flagship motherboard - there should be a matching inclusion (if included).
- BIOS interface is not always snappy.
- There’s no thunderbolt 3 card available for this motherboard. Located a note that it may be a ‘certification issue’. So, while the motherboard may be capable (and advertised as supporting) - this feature is currently unavailable.

Other Thoughts: - Overclocking with higher end CPU requires some serious cooling. Expect to use a liquid cooler.
- If using a heavily populated motherboard (cards/M.2), your PCIe16 slots will all be operating at x8. May not be an issue, depending on use.
- Make sure that the selected CPU for the system build is one that supports 40 PCIe lanes (not 28), check the Intel ARK site (ark.intel.com) to determine what CPU works for your expected build (see high end desktop CPUs).
- Would like to have seen a dedicated port for NVMe drive. Even two ports would have been good. The M2 to U2 adapter can add noise to the signal (given speeds and data throughput), that could create data corruption.

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Linksys EA9500 MAX-STREAM AC5400 Next Gen MU-MIMO Tri-Band Smart Wi-Fi Router with 8 Gigabit Ports and Seamless Roaming
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

Pros: - This device simply doesn't stop.
- For most consumers, this is the WiFi router that they’ll want (or need) to have.
- Bandwidth across numerous devices and then some. Impression is that you have endless bandwidth (locally). Upstream performance appears to be relatively good as well.
- 8 gigabit ports provide ample expansion for most users.
- While this won’t “increase range”, it helps to reduce the negative effects of distance and walls.
- Excellent warranty.
- 4x4 MU-MIMO, for compatible devices this increases performance.
- For standard devices, the performance still appears to be stellar.
- Running it across a period of time, the firmware appears to be sound. No notable performance drops or [apparent] memory leaks over time.

Cons: - Extremely large.
- As result of size (and hardware), this unit is particularly heavy.
- Cannot be wall mounted.
- In order to make this an effective centralized unit, it will likely not be something that goes unnoticed.
- Expensive (although given how well this performs - the cost is well worth it)
- Given price and specs, should be able to more granularly control certain aspects.
- When used in AP only mode, many configurations are not available. For prosumers, this is a significant ding against the unit. Various configurations (for WiFi) that are available in standard mode and should be available in AP mode, cannot be configured. Extremely disappointing.

Other Thoughts: - A "no-frills" version that can be wall mounted as an "AP only" would be very nice. Powered via POE would make it just that much better.
- One of the few things that might be considered “missing” is PoE support for some of the 8 gigabit ports.
- Reducing by one egg due to significant loss of WiFi configuration options when in AP mode. This should absolutely *not* be the case, especially at this price point. Cannot recommend as an "AP Only", due to feature loss. Would highly recommend in other modes. If LinkSys resolves this issue, would recommend as "AP Only", too.

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TP-LINK Touch P5 Wireless AC1900 Touch Screen Gigabit Router
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

5 out of 5 eggs Viable solution 06/01/2016

This review is from: TP-LINK Touch P5 Wireless AC1900 Touch Screen Gigabit Router

Pros: - Good range and reception
- Touchscreen is a nice addition
- Performance is generally good
- Firmware appears to be *very* consistent.
- Purpose built, doesn't include all sorts of widgets/features/functions that distract from the main reason to purchase (wireless connectivity).
- Lightweight (see cons).
- Switching performance (wired) is very reasonable at price point.

Cons: - Tends to run a bit 'warm' (compared to preference).
- Pulls more power than some units (eg: to run touchscreen)
- Requires additional cooling/ventilation compared to other units.
- Lacks some of the WiFi controls and settings that would be highly preferred. A little too 'simplified' - in my opinion.
- Despite being lightweight, is a bit large. If you're looking to wall mount, this requires some wall real estate.

Other Thoughts: - If this unit were designed to be 'non-touchscreen' with a smaller form factor (base) and had built-in POE, it would be just about perfect for anyone looking to deploy WiFi around their house. Smaller form factor and lack of screen would likely remove some excess power consumption.
- The touchscreen was initially concerning, thought it might be 'gimmicky' but in this case - it works well without sacrificing purpose (WiFi service).
- Apple Laptops appear to regularly end up with a transmit rate of <900 and an occasional >1000. Suspect that it's an "Apple thing" as other devices are maintaining a higher transmit rate (even at longer distances).
- Would like to see an option for the screen to 'wake up' or periodically display performance statistics for WiFi. Such as min/max/average connected speed, throughput, etc.

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Anonymous's Profile

Display Name: Anonymous

Date Joined: 02/17/03

  • Reviews: 60
  • Helpfulness: 22
  • First Review: 05/01/05
  • Last Review: 08/08/16
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