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MSI Z77A-G45 Thunderbolt LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: None so far - still in the build process

Cons: Horizontal USB3 port is HARD to access in medium/large size case.

Other Thoughts: I've built about 15 systems from scratch and moved motherboards between cases about 15 more. Never bent a pin till tonight. The USB3 connector is nearly impossible to access in a medium large (Antec One) case once installed. I tried to tease the connector in. Shoulda pulled the board to plug in but you are not supposed to have to.

If you get this board or another with the horizontal plug BE CAREFUL.
This really is a poor design. The connector body on most case USB3 plugs is large and heavy and hanging it "in front" of the board would put it into the drive cage on many smaller cases.

I'll pull the board, straighten the pins and once I get the plug in and board running I'll update this review in a couple days.

MSI N650ti-1GD5/OC BE GeForce GTX 650 Ti BOOST 1GB 192-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: Good Price, good reviews

Cons: Unusable drives

Other Thoughts: Win 8.1 will not stay up for more than 30 seconds with this card the drivers active. Runs in safe mode only.

Tried 5 different drivers:
The ones shipped with the card
Current Gamer Ready Certified from Nvidia
Current "regular" certified from Nvidia
Current beta from Nvidia
The ones that Windows Update installed

In every case my system crashes to POST after 20 to 30 seconds with no errors showing in the logs.

System runs fine with Nvidia GT610 (certified drivers from Nvidia) and a Radion 6770 card.

Asus P6T (x58) motherboard
RevoDrive x2 240 PCIe SSD. (this may be the incompatibility source but it is my boot drive so without doing a complete re-install of Win8.1 there is no way to know)

Manufacturer Recertified OCZ RevoDrive X2 OCZSSDPX-1RVDX0240.RF PCI-E 240GB PCI-Express x4 MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: Fast for a while

Cons: BIOS Memory hog
Random freezes when "working"
Random boots (without BSOD, straight to power reset)
Lost one of the "drives" on day 4

Other Thoughts: Asus P6T (x58)
i7-920 12 GB (3x4)
DDR3 Crucial RealSSD, 120GB (on Intel on-board)
2 Spinners (on Intel on-board)
1 Optical (on Intel on-board)

Where to start...
Right out of the box there was the issue of causing my other raid controller to not be seen at boot by the BIOS. This seems to be an issue with the size of the memory space used by the SiliconImage controller in the motherboard memory space (Google it, Tom's HW has a explanation). Problem overcome by PULLING THE BATTERY from the motherboard then reconfiguring my onboard Intel controller to ACHI. Now all the drives appear.

Next issue was that imaging my Win8 install won't boot because of not having the correct driver INSIDE the image which causes blue screen at boot, even in safe mode. So I had to install Win7 because my Win8 is upgrade only... Then got Win8 installed and updated then broke it trying to re-image my old SSD with a backup of my old install.

Then Win7 won't install – BSOD Replace Video Card – Fixes BSOD (or did it?)

Win8 back up and running... still random freezes and "Rate my Performance" causes reboot (straight to power off again NO BSOD). The log at \windows\performance\winsat shows last action is a video test over and over.

Try to under-clock video card 10% no joy, 20% no joy, 30% What the Heck...

Drive error - no boot. Only 3 55 gig drives in RAID at boot. Boot to OCZ tools, only 3 of 4 appear there. Cold boot, no change. Shut down to cool 30 minutes, no change. Junk Junk Junk. I can't wait to get this Piece of Scrap out of my box and put my old video card back in. I bet it is fine. This is an interesting toy, but I'll be loathe to trust a replacement. I WILL however partition it such that I can rebuild the array with 3 drives and reinstall from backup image, long enough to get it back onto a REAL SSD. Not being able to support my on-board Intel controller in RAID mode is unfortunate too, though I had taken apart my old array of spinners some months ago. I never bothered to reconfigure the controller to ACHI after that. If it ain't broke don't fix it. I'll update after the RMA process and let everyone know how that process went.

If you buy one plan on:
1. Reset BOIS memory and use a 2nd RAID with caution as most boards don't have enough memory space for this one and another.

2. Plan on a clean install. Perhaps if I had been able to boot my old install prior to the image it would have had the driver in-place so that when it showed up as the boot drive it could have survived. I sure couldn't get it to update the driver after being imaged into the array.

3. Partition the array at less than 75% for your boot partition so that if needed you can rebuild the array with 3 of 4 drives so that when 1 goes down you can rebuild with 3 and still fit your image onto it. This may also help the GC to keep performance at peek if you leave the 25% unallocated.


David A.'s Profile

Display Name: David A.

Date Joined: 10/12/10

  • Reviews: 5
  • Helpfulness: 3
  • First Review: 11/26/12
  • Last Review: 12/09/13
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