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Pros: I used to be skeptical about sound cards, but after using this I can say without a doubt it's worth it.
-> Much louder sound (used to keep my system at 100% volume, now it's anywhere from 30-40%)
-> Lots of customization in provided software
-> Unbelievably clear compared to on-board
-> Better looking than most sound cards (It even has a glowing white logo)
-> Great virtual bass
Cons: -> No individual 7.1 ports
-> Occasionally there is crackling, but it is quickly fixed by resetting customizations to default and playing with the dials again
-> Microphone was not default, had to go into the settings and change it from "Line In". Not really a major issue, just a little confusing out of the box
Other Thoughts: Overall, I went from someone who never thought a sound card was worth it to someone who can't go without it any more. It just sounds simply amazing. I'm hearing things in game I never would have been able to hear before and I'm hearing music in a whole new light. Definitely recommended.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: Overall, this card does what it's supposed to do and does it well.
-> Great price point
-> One of the top tier Phenom II's and probably one of the last to be released of the architecture
-> Very noticeable difference in loading times (in games and general software) from my old 3.1 dual
-> High compatibility with older and newer boards
Cons: I had a pretty big issue with heat. My old CPU had my system idling around 27 degrees, including my big, huge GTX 560 overclocked. However, when I swapped out CPUs my system suddenly shot up to 60+ degrees idling and 80+ while in game. I had to buy a new case, fans and heat sink to get the temperature down, but didn't have to buy anything too expensive.
Other Thoughts: It's very possible my temperature gauging programs were off, but using the same software I'm back to idling around 29 degrees. This is using a HAF 912 case (with 2 additional 200mm fans) and a Coolermaster 212 Plus heat sink.
With a decent cooling system, the heat isn't an issue. It actually runs quite cool in my system. Aside from that, it performs great and I honestly don't think any upgrade from this would provide a noticeable difference.
Pros: > Easy, dynamic overclocking
> Allocating CPU load to graphics card is an awesome feature (where supported)
> Very high performance (benchmarked as outperforming the more expensive Ti version multiple times)
> Runs fairly cool (~27°C idle, ~36°C in game, ~56°C in game with full hyperdrive overclocking) in a not-so-well ventilated case
> Great design, packaging
> 3D support, if applicable
Cons: > Had some issues with drivers. Screen started to "glitch out" and nVidia drivers were constantly crashing. Had to manually re-install drivers and roll back a few times, but haven't had any issues since
> ASUS Smartdoctor (with hyperdrive features etc.) seemed a bit buggy at times. Certain options left screen hanging
> "ASUS Splendid" option would crash explorer.exe
> Fairly large (not much of a con, nowadays)
> Takes 2 PCI power connectors/4 4-pins (again, not much of a con)
Other Thoughts: First, I want to say that I bought this card with an old power supply and didn't have enough connectors to actually power this beast. Older PSU's or a computer filled with extras may not have enough... remember to double check. Not much of a con since this is pretty commonplace now.
Overall it's a pretty great card. The factory overclocking makes this easily the top of the 560's under the Ti and under certain situations it even outperforms that. Pretty much the only issues experienced with this card so far have been software related. Had it not been for the minor software glitches this would have been worth 5 eggs. Probably the best nVidia card for the buck.
Great high-end budget card all in all.