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Pros: -Unknown, as I am unable to get the unit to output to a display
Cons: - If you open the case, under any circumstance, from that point forward you are responsible for any manufacturing defects the system may have
Other Thoughts: Out of the box, the unit will not output to display. I tried VGA, DVI, and HDMI on multiple monitors. They don't even detect that they are plugged in to a computer. Most likely, the graphics card is bad or just needs to be reseated. After reading the other reviews and the official responses from ASUS regarding the warranty, I decided to call ASUS support first before opening the case. After going through troubleshooting multiple monitors and cables, they wanted to me to RMA it. I asked about opening the case and at least trying to reseat the graphics card. I even told them I have no problem replacing the graphics card myself, because I have a client that needs a functional PC by Monday. The support rep noted that the ASUS turnaround time was only 3 days, but I told him that they need it THIS Monday not NEXT Monday.
--I was told that opening the case WOULD IN FACT void the warranty.--
They did give me some doublespeak about how they would still honor the warranty, but I would have to pay for any repairs. So I gave them a very possible scenario:
Q - If I open the case and reseat or even replace the graphics card, and it still doesn't output to a display with a replacement graphics card, indicating a PCI-E slot or motherboard problem, would they repair or replace the unit if I returned it?
A - If I break the warranty seal and send it back in, they WILL repair or replace the unit, but I would have to pay for the repair/replacement.
I don't know about you, but that sure sounds like voiding the warranty to me. I asked to speak with a manager to try and get permission to at least reseat the video card before sending it back in. I was told there were no managers available, but I am scheduled for a callback within the next 24 hours. I will update this review as necessary.
Until then, buyer beware, if you purchase this system you are getting a black box that you cannot upgrade, modify, or repair without being on the hook for any possible manufacturing defects that could crop up in the future. Even if there's just something rattling around inside annoyingly, you HAVE to send it in to ASUS support for them to check out because if you open the case you involuntarily claim responsibility for any pre-existing defect that the product might have.
So if you don't know jack about computers and need to be forced to have someone thousands of miles away be responsible for even minor maintenance and repairs, feel free to buy this system.
But if you have at least a passing amount of tech knowledge, or just want to see what the inside of your new computer looks like, DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT.
I did get a call back from ASUS that night. The new rep told me that they would cover the cost of the repair even if i opened it, as long as the damage was not caused by me. I pointed out that making such a determination could be very difficult. So take that for what it's worth. I decided not to risk opening it, and it's a good thing I did because a little while later, hours after I had unplugged the system, there was an extremely loud POP from the computer. I can only presume it was the PSU, based on another reviewer's experience. I could still hear a slight electrical buzz from the PSU, but there was no burnt electronics smell and when I plugged it back in it everything powered up. Still no video, but the lights and fans came on. Having had my fill of this faulty unit, I opted for a refund since I don't have time to wait for an RMA. Good specs and a good price though. Wish my experience had been better.
Pros: Best chip I have ever owned. Close to the best I've ever operated. Lets break down why:
1. Overclock City
I've read about the bin process AMD uses, and I don't know if what I read is accurate, but the auto overclock feature on my ASUS M5A99FX PRO R2.0 puts this thing at 4.2GHz, so I know the cores are of a higher quality than the 8320 label would suggest. It goes higher, and remains stable, but I hit a temperature wall. 4.7GHz is the highest I can get it and still be able to run Intel Burn Test without it getting hotter than I am comfortable with (70+).
2. Lots of Cores
More cores = more computers. I'm running 3 virtual servers on my machine: one running a SCCM 2012 R2 instance, one as a RODC, and one as a "legacy" server running Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008 R2. And it feels like I'm not even challenging it. These VMs run in the background, constantly, and I have never experienced any slowdown of my regular desktop. So Intel processors generally outperform AMD chips on single or lightly threaded programs? So what? Just overclock the AMD chip a little more to make up the difference plus a little extra. Which brings me to....
Hands down best processor for the money. Period. I got mine on sale for $130. I should have bought 10 of them. That's the same price I paid for the 6350 it replaced. Amazing value.
No problems yet. It runs at 36 degrees "idle", but idle means running 3 VM servers. I have very good air flow, though, including a Corsair H100 push/pull setup. Individual results may vary.
Cons: 1. TDP
Although I haven't had any problems, I can see where someone COULD have problems. I originally had this in a Gigabyte board that didn't have any kind of heatsink on the VRM. I was also uncomfortable with the mere 4 power phases on that board, so I quickly upgraded to the ASUS I'm using today, which has 6 + 2 phases, I believe. The board is everything with this chip. Make sure you have a quality board, because even though the 6350 I replaced had the same 125W TDP, the 8320 simply wants more power. It will run on a low power phase board, but to reach this chip's full potential you really need a more robust board.
Other Thoughts: I've used a variety of processors and, short of some of the newer Xeon chips (Dual X5650 = 6-cores x 2 = 12 x 2 threads = 24 cores!!), the 8320 feels superior to every one. It has just chewed through everything I can throw at it.
There is one item of interest I'd like to mention. When I upgraded my processor from a 6350, the board I was using was a Gigabyte GA-970A-DS3 with a Corsair TX-650 PSU. With the 8320 in there, it caused the system to generate coil whine. When the system was off, it was quite noticeable, and would only stop if I flipped the switch on the PSU.
I had decided to upgrade the motherboard anyway, so, thinking the whine was caused by the TX-650, I upgraded the PSU when I upgrade the motherboard, to a Seasonic Platinum 660XP, which I did not know had a storied history of coil whine problems. The new system produced the same whine, maybe even a little worse. I was quite distraught, until one day I moved the PC to the garage where my servers are, and plugged it into the UPS out there. ZERO whine. Apparently, the main culprit behind the coil whine was the UPS I was using. It was the kind that only kicked in when the power went out; it didn't actively filter the power. Just a note worth mentioning.
This review is from: zBoost SOHO Dual Band Cell Phone Signal Booster for Home and Office (ZB545)
Pros: Cheaper than the alternatives
Cons: Everything. This product is garbage, IMHO. I noticed no discernible difference in my cellular signal when using this booster. Of course, when I called customer service, they informed me that, due to the fact that I did not get good service OUTSIDE my house, I would have to purchase a directional antenna for the booster to work properly. I had already spent over $200, so I decided to cut my loses and give it to a family member who does have good service outside their house. When I visited them a few months ago, I noticed the zBoost sitting in a pile of wires on a table. When I asked why they hadn't hooked it up yet, they told me that they had, but it didn't improve their service AT ALL so they took it down. I had even given them some decent RG7 coax, since the cable that comes with this device is utterly useless.
Other Thoughts: Save yourself some time and trouble, and go buy the Wilson brand booster instead of this one. That's what I ended up doing and it performs as advertised.
I have managed to get some use out of this unit. By installing an aftermarket directional antenna and some more robust coax, I was able to get enough signal for the unit to function and provide coverage for my garage. As such, I am revising my review upwards slightly.