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This review is from: MSI 970 Gaming AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
Pros: It turns out that I needn't have worried about overclocking with "surprise" voltage - the higher-than-expected voltage I found upon checking with CPU-Z was merely an error with that version of the software (fixed with the latest version, 1.70+), not the board itself. I wanted to make sure to adjust my review! My FX-8320 is still running just fine at 4.6 GHz, and seems to run better at 4.7 on this board than on a 990FX board that it is normally in.
The board itself has performed flawlessly. The upgraded sound is a really nice feature...it makes it difficult to use boards without it!
For the curious, I tested the 970 Gaming with a Phenom II x2 555 I had sitting around. This board unlocked the x2 555 to a full quad core, overclocked and stable at 3.9 GHz. The VRMs on this board are great!
Cons: Would still love to be able to manually enter a static voltage :)
Other Thoughts: I'm beginning to prefer this board over a M5A99FX Pro R2 that I have - while some of the power controls of the other board are nice, the MSI 970 Gaming strikes a nice balance between outright overclocking performance and features like enhanced audio. This is quickly becoming my favorite AM3+ board, and definitely the best in its price range for someone like me.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: FUNC MS-3 Revision 2 FUNC-MS-3-R2 USB Wired 5670 dpi Gaming Mouse
Pros: This is the mouse that singlehandedly switched me from a claw grip to a palm grip, especially for general computer use. I had the rev 1 version, and loved it - it's still working, but I've had to clean out the primary switches to keep it from double clicking after 6+ months. Anyway, glad they made the revisions they did for this model - the new switches are noticeably better, along with the scroll wheel.
It's an amazingly comfortable mouse - but it's definitely for palm grip users only! Not to mention those with larger hands. The sensor in both revisions worked flawlessly for me, on multiple surfaces (it's an Avago I think, similar to the sensor used in the SteelSeries Sensai, Mionix's, some Roccat's - the Kone+ used one I think). Anyway, no skips or jitters on a Func Surface 1030 r2, but it works fine on a Razer Goliathus and Destructor 2 as well.
Software is clean, simple, and easy to use. The entire product just seems more...sophisticated than most products in this category. I feel like I can set it on my desk in my office and not feel like I have to explain myself. Love the soft-touch finish and the overall shape, along with the customizable lighting and unique, subdued method of showing profile/DPI status (the three orange/white LEDs on the "seam").
Oh, and it stores profiles LOCALLY - as in, on the device itself. No silly cloud drivers to get in the way, no internet connection needed to restore your settings. *This is the way it SHOULD be!*
Cons: The only downside to the settings software that I've found is when bringing your Func MS-3 r2 to a new machine. If you want to change the already customized settings (stored in mouse memory), you'll need to install the settings software - no big deal, but it doesn't detect the customized settings on the mouse, so you'll need to start over. NOTE - your customized settings ARE stored on the mouse, if you don't want to change anything when moving to a new computer you're fine, but if you just want to change one profile's button assignment you have to redo all of them. Not that big of a con - there's a backup and restore function in the software, so you can just import your profile again on a new machine to get around that issue.
Personally, for gaming, I feel the palm grip is inherently inferior for precision.... (braces for flurry of angry responses...) I just can't get the same minute movements from my wrist and palm like I can my fingertips. Still, it's so comfortable... Anyway, that's pretty much personal preference, and with practice it's nothing to worry about.
Other Thoughts: I like what Func is doing with their peripherals. I like their no-nonsense approach to the software and design of their products. I like that they get out of their own way to just let YOU use your computer and are content to blend into the background - that's how peripherals should work, in my opinion. Doesn't hurt that they look great sitting on a desk though, I suppose :) Oh, and the price is better than anything else with these features - especially if you like customizable LEDs. Well done Func!READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: MSI 970 Gaming AM3+ AMD 970 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
Pros: Beautiful board - makes me wonder what the AM3+ platform would have been like if manufacturers had launched with more products like this. While it's a little late, at least there's an option now with Killer/Atheros LAN, upgraded sound (it sounds great - you CAN notice the difference, and I personally am a huge fan of the LED path lighting) and some style. While it's a bit more expensive than some other 970 series boards, the included features and overall package are WELL worth the money, in my opinion. The red accents are pretty subdued, so even if you don't like red you probably won't notice them inside a case. The included accessories are nice, you just get a sense of a premium product throughout the whole presentation. Easily a 5-egg product from the initial impression. Handles an 8320 @ 4.6GHz / 1.502V rather well, although getting it there was...an experience - better suited for the Cons section...
Cons: I'm not by any means an avid overclocker, but I've been overclocking CPU's since I built my first desktop (Pentium 4 - man, have I learned a lot since then!). This is the first time I've ever been afraid I've damaged a processor, and it's because of the non-intuitive (and straight dysfunctional, in my humble opinion) method of voltage control in the BIOS/UEFI (which does look pretty nice, by the way). The only method of changing the voltage seems to be by an offset - but it never really tells you an accurate voltage in the first place (for my 8320 it lists the idle voltage, NOT load voltage). It also seems to add voltage ON TOP OF your previous setting - THIS IS NOT HOW IT SHOULD WORK!! You can very quickly reach DANGEROUS voltage levels if you aren't paying attention. I've never had a board that worked this way before, so maybe it's my fault, but I made two voltage tweaks to see if I could run my 8320 @ 4.8GHz, starting from my known stable 4.6GHz config (from a M5A99FX PRO R2.0). Set to 4.6GHz, Offset +.2 volts, reboot - success! So back into BIOS, thought I'd go from 1.40ish volts to 1.5V to reach 4.8GHz, so set offset from +.2 to +.3 (adding .1V, or so I thought)...and it POSTed fine, thought I was good, opened up CPU-Z to check the frequency and voltage under load and it was reporting 1.8V!!!!! I really hope this was a miscalculation, but it didn't seem to be. Thank goodness I caught it pretty early, but I shudder to think if someone was testing a few settings they found online or something, and just went with it...
(At least the 8+2? phase VRM and heatsink seemed to handle it without much trouble I guess...still, not too excited about changing any CPU voltage settings, because it's just too hard to determine what you'll end up with).
I *really* hope my 8320 didn't suffer any damage from the surprise voltage. Maybe it was just a sensor mistake or something. Hopefully there will be a BIOS revision that allows one to enter a static voltage directly - this will be probably one of the best boards for the AM3+ platform if that is added. Should be a 5-egg board, I was tempted to rate it as 1 egg because of the offset voltage trouble (other boards use offset voltage too, but they don't ADD the previous voltage setting!). That's a potentially destructive issue (overclocking DOES have its risks...), but I figured 3 eggs right in the middle would be fair, since you wouldn't have any issues if you leave everything at stock settings.
Other Thoughts: PLEASE, please, please, release a BIOS update that allows us to manually enter a voltage. No offsets, no unintended adding of volts, no guessing, just let me enter the voltage I want to run my CPU at. I know Turbo modes can use offset voltages in some instances, but I usually disable those when overclocking anyway.
Other than the voltage experience, the rest of the board has been great. I wish a board like this was available with the launch of AM3+ (or at least with the Vishera CPUs)! Great board for a great price - and the only (scary) flaw I found should be able to be fixed with a software update - crossing my fingers!
Display Name: Thomas J.
Date Joined: 04/08/06
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