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ASUS A88XM-A FM2+ AMD A88X (Bolton D4) SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Size and value. You can get a smaller case if need be, if you are space limited. I pared mine with a Godavari 7870k and it booted right up with 8gigs of old ddr3 that I had. Got the chip for $109 so this budget build is quite a lot for the money! It's overkill actually, as I made a NAS out of it with 5 hard drives and NAS4FREE. Just updated the bios and lowered the vcore (the default is way too high at 1.48v). Super stable. With an AIO 240 cooler it's up 24/7, no issues yet. My dual PCIE Intel NIC is working fine in the single 16x slot and it setup the memory values right off the bat, no complaints with the board's function.

Cons: My only con in this build is the board layout. The memory slots are, in a tower build, up at the top almost at the edge of the board. If you get a case that has the now common spot on top for an AIO radiator and fans, make sure you have enough room for it to not be in the way of the ram sticks. My setup just fit, the fan frames just touch the ram heatsinks, I used short screws through the inner fan holes because there was no room for the longer screw heads. (Thermaltake V31). Larger cases would probably not have this issue; but if you are looking for a small setup and chose this board for that reason, it may be a factor in what case you select.

Other Thoughts: Going with AMD I think I got quite a lot for my money, and this board, once I updated the bios, is working quite well with the Godavari chip. No, I'm not gaming on it but it's doing fine providing 4 ISCSI luns with 4 server 2012r2 server instances installed, which are being hosted on an ESXI 5.5 home server (also an Asus board). It's too early to judge long term stability and reliability, but but at this point the setup has been no issue.

WD My Cloud EX4 16TB: 4-Bay Personal Cloud Storage WDBWWD0160KBK-NESN
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

4 out of 5 eggs Value, not speed 11/19/2013

This review is from: WD My Cloud EX4 16TB: 4-Bay Personal Cloud Storage WDBWWD0160KBK-NESN

Pros: Features. I bought the 16tb locally 3 days ago and am impressed with the features for the money spent. Dual NICs, second power adapter available, RAID choices, can make multiple ISCSI luns, comes with 10 licenses of home backup software (that I am not using BTW). Not fast, but for the money the speed is more than fine. Anything faster with this space and features is way more than I want to spend. I played a bit with the included software and found it easy to setup data backups. It feels solid, and the drives are easy to swap out, no tools needed. It also sees Active Directory user accounts so I was able to carve up space for individual users on my domain.

Cons: It's not fast, but while it won't win races, it does chug along at a fast enough speed to run my domain controller and a SQL/WSUS server. For me, the biggest con isn't speed, it's heat. The fan, while quiet, doesn't do the job as well as I would like (maybe I can get something better in there), so I mounted a 120mm fan to the shelf right in front of the intakes. Not pretty, but the air flow is worth more to me than looks. While the backup software seems ok for data backup, it does not do disaster recovery- at least I don't see a way to boot to a recovery console to restore whole drives, even though the option is there to backup whole drives. And who wants to reinstall Windows when you have a backup of the whole drive. So I am sticking with Acronis. Aomei is a free alternative that also provides a disaster restore boot, if you don't want to spend more for backup software.

Other Thoughts: Home server is Vmware ESXI 5.5 running two 2008r2 servers, so I quickly made 4 ISCSI luns and put the two VMs and two backup locations on them (yes, have other backups on local drives). Carved up the rest for desktop backups (3 desktops, 3 laptops). Turned off the lights via the web interface as it's in the bedroom, and setup folders for AD user accounts. I am pleased that it is quiet (yea I know, that's why it runs hotter than I would like). Now I have enough space to make an entertainment server, my next project. Overall I am pleased with it, but time will tell if it holds up. It's nice to know I can hot swap a bad drive and have it auto rebuild. Will keep an eye on the heat (seems ok with the extra fan in front) but I think I got a good value.

COOLER MASTER Excalibur R4-EXBB-20PK-R0 120mm Case Fan
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

5 out of 5 eggs CFM+high mmh2O isn't silent 03/10/2013

This review is from: COOLER MASTER Excalibur R4-EXBB-20PK-R0 120mm Case Fan

Pros: Blowing through a high FPI rad, like the H100 on my server, I want something like this. High mmh20. For the amount of pressure and CFMs these deliver, the noise is, my subjective opinion from building rigs over the last 15+ years, low. It is not a 'silent' case fan, however. If you are looking for that, look elsewhere. I also have some Corsair SP HP fans on my XSPC 360 rad on the gamer, they are louder and produce less static pressure. They whine really much more loudly, and I run them down about 30%. The Silverstones and Thermaltake are noisier, and less pressure. Yates use sleeve bearings that don't hold up long term, and again less static pressure. Enermax makes some good case fans, some are quite quiet, like the one with the orange blades, but again they don't provide the pressure. And the Antecs I've used were low CFM case fans. If you are looking for something to get air through high restriction you can't get much better than this with this noise level. I love that they don't have LEDs, as they are in a 24x7 server in the bedroom. They replaced some XSPC fans that were noisier with less static pressure. I also like that they come PWM, with 3pin and molex adapters. I know I used the word 'pressure' a lot here, but that's what this fan is about, a good amount of _push_ through radiator fins. This isn't a case fan.

Cons: Not really best for a case fan, where you can get away with less pressure and noise. And I miss the old days when fans came with grills...

Other Thoughts: If you want 'silent', 'low noise', 'whisper quiet' or whatever, then live with static pressure below 2, and CFM below about 50 in a 120mm fan. Don't expect whatever you get to work well attached to a large CPU cooler with dense fins or a high FPI rad. If you need a fan for these applications, and are willing to pick up some noise to get optimum results, this is a good choice.


Lois S.'s Profile

Display Name: Lois S.

Date Joined: 08/11/03

  • Reviews: 6
  • Helpfulness: 5
  • First Review: 07/22/12
  • Last Review: 09/05/15
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