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This review is from: ASUS Z87-EXPERT LGA 1150 Intel Z87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Pros: I like ASUS products and wanted a mother board with at least one Thunderbolt port, so I got this the Z87-Expert.
Here's the quick review: I install the board in a Corsair 650D case with a 4770K cpu, and 16GB of G.Skill sniper memory, turned it on, booted Linux Mint 15 and it worked without a problem.
The board seems solid and well built, and has worked perfectly for about 3 weeks.
But.... (see cons)
It is now working perfectly under windows 7 x64 with a OCZ SSD and a few other drives. I plan to get a H100i cooler and overclock it. More when that happens.
Cons: My main OS is WIndows 7. I was moving from a 2008 ASUS Striker II Extreme.
I use Acronis True Image to back up my system, and it can restore from a different build by re-creating the Window's HAL at restore time. This worked well, I restored and Windows came right up with no problem.... except the USB 3.0 ports. They didn't work, period. (Remember, everything worked fine with Linux.)
I did everything I could think of, then finally called ASUS. They tried everything they could think of, and finally recommended a re-install of windows from scratch.
That did the trick, but I was this |<->| close to having my old system up on new hardware.
I don't remember the specifics, but this board uses an Intel chip with a known flaw for USB, and that may have been the cause of the moving from the old system issue. Intel has a new chip, fixed chip it now sells.
If you are not planning a Windows install-from-scratch, I would look for another board.
Other Thoughts: I like the board, but don't love it, and will probably end up replacing it in the next year or two.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: Corsair Obsidian Series 650D (CC650DW-1) Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Mid Tower Case
Pros: Recently, I decided to build a new machine, and I did a fair amount of research into case alternatives. My last build was just over 5 years ago and used an Antec 900 case. That case was too tight to do any real cable management, so I wanted a case that would be wide enough and have enough cable management routing holes to put the vast majority of cables out of site.
The 650D was the right size, had good cable routing cutouts, seemed sturdy and had some nice touches... well ... keep reading.
Building in this case was very easy. The area for the motherboard is spacious, and easily accessible. Instead of a screw hole, there's a "nub" for the center screw of the mother board that poke up and serves as a way to hold the motherboard in place while you are securing it. Nice touch #1.
Mounting the power supply required little work. They have a bracket with thumbscrews that hold the power supply in place. While it doesn't slide, it has several preset positions for standard power supply size. Nice touch #2.
Mounting drives was not painless. (More in cons.) There are six side-mounted trays that have bottom screw holes for 2.5" drives or nubs for 3.5"drives. Just mount the drives, slide 'em in and wire them.
Mounting a DVD drive was simple. Just remove the face plate and slide it in. In each DVD drive slot, there is a friction bar that holds the device in place. To remove a drive, you simply pull a handle inside the case to reduce the friction and slide the drive out.
There was no problem with mounting my video card. In my old case with my old card, the power connector was at the end of the card and overlapped with a drive bay. In the 650D, There would be no overlap.. but if you had some humongous card, the top drive cage can move to the bottom of the case (but this would mean no fan on those drives. I didn't need to use this feature.
Finally, after building and testing, I routed the cables. This was fun. There was plenty of space to route everything. There are mounting points for tying down the cables. It took a couple of hours, but that was not because of the case. Nice touch #3!
Except for a few items below, I like this case and would recommend to anyone who can put up with a few issues.
Cons: There were a few annoyances.
The first is the use of USB 3.0 extender cables for the front panel. Instead of using an internal header to provide USB 3.0 ports on the front, there are two cables that must be routed to the back of the machine an plugged into the motherboard. They are not hard to route, there is hole for the cables to come out the back, but if you bought your MB for the number of USB ports, you're gonna lose two with the 650D.
Second, there was some pain mounting the drives. The disk mount brackets are bendable plastic and use nubs to hold in a 3.5" drive. This works great, but if you are mounting 2.5" drives, the nubs get in the way. The screw holes are off to one side and the nubs don't align with the side holes of the drive. You have to remove and store the nubs to mount a small drive well.
While there is good cable management in the case, the distance between the back plate of the motherboard and the side door is a little thin, so you have to be careful how "thick" you make the cables.
Finally, it's expensive. I needed a case of a certain size and wanted the features this case offered, but it is overpriced.
Other Thoughts: Would I buy it again? Absolutely, The 650D is exactly what I needed. Of all my CONS, the only significant one is the 2 USB 3.0 cables.READ FULL REVIEW