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Cooler Master CM 690 II Advanced - Mid Tower Computer Case with USB 3.0 and Water Cooling Support
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: more than 1 year

Pros: Exterior styling looks great. It has good looks without being too gaudy. Really love the exterior drive dock. Being a computer technician, the dock has come in handy quite a few times for backing up files quickly and easily. Good amount of interior space. Can fit large CPU coolers and long graphics cards with ease. Was able to fit a 120mm fan in my three unused 5.25" bays to provide additional CPU cooling. Can hide most wires behind motherboard tray and drive cages for unrestricted airflow and cleaner looks. I have ten fans in mine (6x intake fans, 3x exhaust fans, and one fan I attached to the drive cage to blow cool air at my graphics card), and it's nice being able to fit so many fans. Tool-less drive locks for the hard drives and optical drives are nice. Case appears to be of good quality construction, and I haven't had any problems with the workmanship or materials. No sharp edges thankfully.

Cons: Not enough room behind motherboard tray for tying down and hiding wires, when I measured it I found there was only about 0.25" of space between the motherboard tray and the lip of the case. I have a lot of wires behind the motherboard tray in mine, and it takes a lot of force to get the side panel back on (I had to lay the case on its other side and put nearly all of my weight on the panel while sliding the panel to get it to close, and this is with every wire tied down the best I could). This is with a modular power supply, so I can't imagine how one would do this with a non-modular one. This is definitely not an easy task, and rather annoying. Can't fit a 240mm radiator and 2x fans inside the case, I had to mount my fans on the outside of the case under the top plastic panel to pull air through the radiator and exhaust it out of the case. Didn't come with an adapter to attache the USB 3.0 cable to a USB 2.0 port, which was a problem since my board didn't have an onboard USB 3.0 port, I bought an adapter to make it work though.

Other Thoughts: Overall it's a very nice case, but I do have a few nitpicks about some areas that could be improved. I don't regret buying it though.

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GIGABYTE GA-G33M-DS2R LGA 775 Intel G33 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
  • Owned For: more than 1 year

4 out of 5 eggs Indestructible 08/15/2014

This review is from: GIGABYTE GA-G33M-DS2R LGA 775 Intel G33 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

Pros: I've been using this motherboard in my main PC for a little over three years now, maybe three and-a-half. It has been rock-solid stable the entire time, with the exception of those times when I pushed my overclocks a little too far and didn't have enough voltage, that was my fault though and not the board's. What I've run in this board: E4400 at 3GHz, E4700 at 3.6Ghz, E8400 at 3.8GHz, Q6600 at 3GHz. It may be the G33 chipset, which is a limited version of the P35, but it's surprisingly really not bad for overclocking, it's stable most of the time. Also, I'm currently running mine with 4x2GB memory sticks (8GB total) at 1000MHz (1066MHz sticks) and it is able to detect and utilize all of it with no problems. I note that because I've seen some users complain of LGA775 DDR2 motherboards not detecting all memory when 2GB sticks are used and/or system being unstable at frequencies past DDR2-800, mine has neither of those problems though.

Cons: Has terrible voltage Drop (vDrop) and voltage Droop (vDroop). vDrop is the tendency for the board to apply a voltage that is lower than what is selected in the bios at idle, and vDroop is the tendency for the voltage to droop below the "nominal" voltage (the voltage you would see at idle) when a load is applied to the system. For instance, with my board if I apply 1.35v in the bios, I will actually see anywhere between 1.25v and 1.31v in the actual OS with a monitoring program (HWMonitor). Also, chipset had a tendency to run hot, so I had to replace the passive heatsink with an aftermarket one that had a fan for active cooling (just to run at stock speeds). Didn't have any heatsinks for the mosfets/VRM's, so I had to purchase and apply some aftermarket heatsinks myself (not a big deal, it was easy to do). RAM slots are really close to the PCI Express slot, so removing any memory is nigh on impossible unless you remove your graphics card first (if you have one in place). Only two fan headers. Not nearly enough, especially when I have 9-11 fans in my case (big case). I know being a mATX form factor they can't fit as many components on the board, but I was hoping for at least three fan headers.

Other Thoughts: Really a decent board if you make a few minor upgrades to cool it better (heatsinks). Overall, I've had a very good experience with the board, but I'm looking to upgrade to a newer platform soon as CPU's have advanced far beyond what LGA775 can offer in terms of performance. Don't know what brand I'll go with for my next board, but this one has me sold on Gigabyte from a reliability standpoint, so there's a good chance I'll at least consider Gigabyte for my next PC upgrade.

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Thermalright Ultra-120  Extreme CPU Heatsink
  • Owned For: more than 1 year

5 out of 5 eggs Very good heatsink 08/15/2014

This review is from: Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme CPU Heatsink

Pros: Destroys the CNPS8700, CNPS9500, CNPS9700, Tuniq Tower 120, AMD and Intel stock coolers, and basically everything else I've compared it against. It was a good 5-6°C cooler than a Phanteks PH-TC14PE, when tested with the same fans on both heatsinks. I have used this heatsink on a lot of different platforms (AMD sockets 754, 939, AM2, AM2+, and AM3) (Intel sockets 775, 1366, 1156, and 1155) and I have never been disappointed by the performance. Various different versions of mounting kits, that improved on older versions.

Cons: Wire fan clips require a bit of fiddling to attach, and have a tendency to fall off if you put them on before you mount the heatsink to the processor/board. Original AM2/AM2+/AM3/AM3+ bracket is difficult to mount with and can only mount in one direction, thankfully the second revision of the AM2 bolt-through kit is considerably better and allows mounting in multiple different directions. Socket 775 also has two versions of mounting kits, one is a X-pattern mounting bracket (revision 1), and the other is a spreader-bar that mounts across the heatsink and attaches to two bars you mount to the motherboard (revision 2). It's nice to have the choice in which one you want to use. There are some better heatsinks on the market now that use newer technologies, but they are also considerably more expensive. The Silver Arrow SB-E Extreme did beat this heatsink by about 2°C in my testing.

Other Thoughts: I'm really glad that Thermalright made newer revisions of mounting kits to support newer platforms (and older ones in the case of 754/939). It's nice to know that if when I'm swapping my heatsink to a different platform and I don't have a mounting kit for the given platform on hand, I can probably find one for sale in a store or online somewhere.

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Evan B.'s Profile

Display Name: Evan B.

Date Joined: 04/02/11

  • Reviews: 24
  • Helpfulness: 9
  • First Review: 04/26/11
  • Last Review: 08/18/14
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