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Pros: Fast processor and great graphics card!
The dual hard drive bays, and the fact that this machine should not throttle according to the Acer service manual is a very good selling point.
Cons: None that I can think of. As others have said, with a SSD and at least 2 matching DDR3 SODIMMs, this machine is a pretty much a desktop replacement at a price unseen by any other laptop brands.
Other Thoughts: While I'm at it, I will bunk a previous recent (9/3/2012) review's inaccurate information: For Linux users intent on utilizing the NVIDIA Optimus card on this or any other laptop, look up Bumblebee project. It has matured enough that it is pretty stable to set up fairly easily in order to be able to run apps on NVIDIA cards via its 'optirun' syntax -- basically it creates a new X screen and diverts the output of the graphics to that screen.
Secondly, this machine has 4 DDR3 slots, which means it can support up to 32GB RAM with the current 8GB SODIMMs available.
Lastly, Acer does have service manuals on their website, but the links are not visible. I will leave that as an exercise to the reader to find them, but all it takes is a 'View Source' on a page for a laptop model that does have a service manual published versus one that does not, and it will be seen clear as day how to get any service manual. ;)
This review is from: Antec Kuhler H2O 620 Liquid Cooling System
Pros: Keeps CPU in low 30s Centigrade at idle despite some thermal paste loss
Thermal paste pre-applied* (more on cons)
This also works in LGA2011 boards, the newer versions shipping after Feb 2012 come with the correct mounting hardware for it. I bought the older version elsewhere and called Antec -- they shipped me the bracket/screws in 2 business days!
Cons: Installation instructions could be a lot better. Knocked an egg off for this. The LGA2011 instructions insisted on a plastic bracket in between the cooler/heatsink and the motherboard mounting hardware...
*I could not get the cooler installed with the plastic bracket in place, however, the installation without it seems to have worked fine. Unfortunately, during the attempts to install, the thermal paste made contact with the CPU, so the cooler might not be working 100%.
Other Thoughts: Interestingly enough, on a boxed version that included the LGA2011 brackets and (different) instructions, they do not call for the plastic round bracket that clips between the cooler and MB mounting hardware. Instructions should be consistent! As someone else pointed out, the newer versions of the parts are not color coded... not a big deal, might need good vision/magnifying glass to figure out the right ones.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: Worked/booted out of the box w/ Intel 3820 processor
Overall seems that every slot is functional
Price was right
8 RAM slots -- solid platform to run memory-intensive simulations
All PCI-Express slots
Cons: Experienced memory related-system hangs during Windows 7 install when I mixed 2 different memory types w/ v10.3 BIOS. Installed fine after I used 2 memory sticks of the same type. Subtracted an egg because before I narrowed this down, I had to eliminate the video card and installation media as viable culprits which took several reboot/install attempts.
Other Thoughts: Reviewing an Open-Box item -- I found that the motherboard I/O shield/backplate and M-connectors (make front panel connections easier) were missing. I contacted MSI and they sent the parts within 3 business days. Props to them!
Had a Kepler & Fermi card on system: to have both cards work, installed v286 driver for Fermi, and installed v301 driver for Kepler w/o doing a clean install.
After updating the BIOS to v10.4 no further memory-related hangs have occurred.
BIOS Bootup feature seems to be iffy, used M-flash from within BIOS instead to reflash BIOS and was always reliable.
Dual-BIOS via switch saved me from RMA'ing -- flashed wrong BIOS image mistakenly and recovered by flipping switch, starting up system in BIOS, and using M-Flash w/ the correct BIOS image after flipping switch to route flash to bad chip.
One of the features of this board is a jumper-based sensor override in case the user wishes to use liquid nitrogen cooling... interesting, but fairly uncommon!