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Intel Core i7-4770K Haswell Quad-Core 3.5GHz LGA 1150 84W Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics BX80646I74770K
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Performance is about what you would expect - i.e., more processing power than the average user will really ever be able to use.

Cons: No VT-d, dual channel memory architecture, no VT-Pro, poor heat spreader, only 16 PCIe lanes.

Other Thoughts: I decided to bite the bullet on the upgrade, as my old mobo had run out of PCIe slots, preventing me from upgrading to a 10g NIC. After doing the research and hemming and hawing about a socket 2011 based system vs. Haswell, I chose to go with Haswell. Taken on its own, this processor will seem to impress. I currently run the Haswell at stock frequencies and when compared against my (admittedly OC'd to 3.9GHz) 4+ year old i7-920 it fails to impress. In testing some of the CAD stuff that I tinker with, the new processor netted gains in the neighborhood of 25%. This is what lack of real competition gets us - mediocre processor upgrades. I will probably end up de-lidding the processor once I start overclocking in earnest. In the end the upgrade has been worth it, but that has everything to do with the new mobo and supporting cast rather than the processor. Even as it stands right now, I've already maxed out my PCIe lanes right out of the gate - but the only other option would have been either a socket 2011 system (which would have other drawbacks) or wait for Haswell-e in a year.

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Cooler Master HAF Stacker 935 Two-Piece Mod-Tower Computer Case with Top Compartment for Extra Storage Space, Water Cooling Support, or Mini-ITX System
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Modular case setup is brilliant. Plenty of room and flexibility to move things around as needed. I combined the 935 with another 915, which I guess makes it a 945. Needless to say, the resulting case is huge. Build quality is great and the separate pieces bolt together quite securely - enough to easily lug the assembled case up and down stairs without any worries. I'm still experimenting with final placement of all of my components, trying to figure out where I want hot/cool zones and how I want to route airflow - a nice problem to have for a change as it's not something I can usually contemplate as cases are normally quite limited.

Cons: Size? ... but then again, if you weren't looking for a big case, then you probably wouldn't have bought a HAF Stacker.

Other Thoughts: IMO, given the price, this is one of the best cases out there. Add in the fact that you can stack as many as you want and you have perfection. I haven't been a fan of recent trends in case design - my current I7-920 build remains in a ghetto OEM version of an old Antec full-tower case. Not that I'm cheap, but nothing out there really improved over what the 10 year old case offered (dings and all). However with the new build it would have been a serious challenge to house everything in the old clunker. I was looking for a case to accommodate my new Haswell build and needed something to easily contain 8-12 hard drives, water cooling radiators, 1-2 power supplies and enough flexibility to give me good airflow over all of my expansion cards (RevoDrive, 10G NIC, R9 290, 3Ware RAID). This case combo not only easily covers all of those requirements, but does so with style and unparalleled flexibility. As my title says, the HAF Stacker is amazing, bordering on the ridiculous.

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PowerColor AXR9 290 4GBD5-MDH/OC Radeon R9 290 4GB 512-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 CrossFireX Support Video Card
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Considering the price, near unbeatable performance. Stock, the card was within 3-4 FPS of my friends Nvidia Titan running the Unigine benchmarks. Managed to unlock the card and turn it into an R9 290X and now it's running neck to neck with the Titan. Haven't tried to OC it yet, but I should be able to squeeze out a bit more performance, especially once I put the Arctic Hybrid cooler on it. The card has pretty much met all of my expectations, including being roughly three times faster than the card it replaced (Radeon 5850).

Cons: Under extended load the stock fan can get to be quite noisy. However, that's a non-issue for me, since my case isn't in the same room as my keyboard/monitor. Besides, the Arctic Accelero Hybrid cooler is going on as soon as the build goes into its new home - a HAF Stacker.

Other Thoughts: IMO this card is a great value at $400, and if you get lucky enough to score one that unlocks into a 290X it's a downright steal. At the time I purchased mine, Powercolor R9 290's had pretty good odds of unlocking, although success rates of the various OEMs seem to be a moving target over time.

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Markus K.'s Profile

Display Name: Markus K.

Date Joined: 04/20/03

  • Reviews: 12
  • Helpfulness: 4
  • First Review: 01/31/09
  • Last Review: 11/27/13
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