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GIGABYTE GB-BXA8-5557 (rev. 1.0) AMD Bolton M3 2 x 204Pin SO-DIMM AMD Radeon HD 8550G Mini / Booksize Barebone System
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: - Super compact
- Solid build quality
- Very accessible RAM slots + M.2/SATA
- Dual fans are reasonably quiet
- Sufficiently fast APU (see Other Thoughts)
- Big heatsinks
- Case airflow is fairly good
- Onboard WiFi + Bluetooth is strong

Cons: - Runs way too hot out of the box, hitting thermal throttle frequently
- Atrocious thermal pad material and application (see Other Thoughts)
- Dual fans get loud when ramping up to max to deal with the aforementioned overheating
- BIOS is very limited in performance and cooling options
- (Unrelated to product) Chipset + Graphics drivers difficult to procure from AMD

Other Thoughts: The other reviews on this were right in that it does run unacceptably hot out-of-box. I was idling at 47C and hitting the thermal shutdown for the APU (105C) after less than an hour of gaming. Worse, the thermal pad that was applied was done sloppily (covering less than two-thirds of the die) with a very poor quality pad that was not designed to sustain the high temperatures this APU runs at. It burned and appeared to have bubbled at some point, which would further degrade cooling capability.

I took the machine fully apart and removed the old thermal pads with some Goof Off and 91% isopropyl alcohol. Applied Thermaltake TG-7 grease, covering the entire die and ensuring contact and good fill. Idle temps plummeted to 31C with load temps now in the high-80s. Not great temps by desktop CPU standards, but well within tolerance for this chip and keeping the fans from entering their highest power state. I feel confident with this chip now.

I bought this as a portable box to take to LAN parties and it seems to do the trick. Most Source games run well at medium-high details (> 30FPS, 1600x900) Chivalry: Medieval Warfare runs well on low-medium (~30FPS, 1600x900), and Payday 2 is acceptable at low-medium (~25FPS, 1280x720). Straight CPU performance is excellent, running emulators at full steam without issue.

The APU's graphics performance is going to be limited by your system RAM (go for dual-channel DDR3), and the chipset appears to sequester 768MB of your system RAM at boot to use as graphics memory. Buy memory with good timings to keep this at top performance.

I would recommend this product only if you're willing to take the whole thing apart to re-do the thermal paste, and you're on a budget. I'm not dissatisfied with it in the end, but a less build-savvy user or someone who isn't comfortable doing more than just memory and HDD swaps should look elsewhere.

EVGA GeForce GTX 560 SE (Fermi) DirectX 11 01G-P3-1464-KR 1GB 192-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: - Notably more powerful than comparably-priced 550 Ti cards
- 288 CUDA cores, 50% more than a 550Ti and not far off from a 560 (336)
- Stays cool even at full-tilt (sub-60 C)
- Lots of overclocking room

Cons: - Requires 2 PCI-e power connectors (or four 4pin molex connectors with the included adapters)
- Did not detect properly in some applications (but determined it was the fault of the applications, not drivers)
- mini-HDMI to HDMI cable is not included (stated on, stated on packaging on the bottom of the box!)

Other Thoughts: I really, really want to dock a star over the not-included mini-HDMI to HDMI cable, but for my needs it didn't affect me.

This card has been running at 100% full bore since I put it in the computer. It's primary use is as an extra set of cores for folding@home, Stanford University's distributed computing project. This card will pull 9500-10000 points per day on its own, which is a wonderful addition on top of the 30,000+ given by my primary GPU and CPU alone. I figure gaming performance would be excellent on this too, and the value just can't be beat. This is like ten bucks more than a 550Ti and it simply gives much better performance.

Intel Core i7-3770 @ 4.1GHz
Gigabyte GA-Z77-D3H Mobo
16GB (4x4) G.Skill Sniper DDR3 @ 1866MHz
620w SeaSonic modular PSU

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus - CPU Cooler with 4 Direct Contact Heatpipes
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

5 out of 5 eggs Mounts right up to 1155! Keep Cool! 06/21/2012

This review is from: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus - CPU Cooler with 4 Direct Contact Heatpipes

Pros: - Keeps an i7-3770 at 28C idle, 61 load at a 4.1GHz overclock with slightly-higher-than-base voltage
- Excellent heat pipe design
- Giant, quiet fan that can be positioned on either side of the fins

Cons: - Just a little too big for some builds

Other Thoughts: The amount of heat dissipation this thing provides undermines its value as a CPU cooler. It's an admirable performer that stays very quiet even when pushed to the max. It's no wonder this thing has so many good reviews; it's simple and brilliantly, durably designed.


Travis W.'s Profile

Display Name: Travis W.

Date Joined: 03/12/06

  • Reviews: 24
  • Helpfulness: 15
  • First Review: 07/26/06
  • Last Review: 11/16/15
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