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ASRock Z77E-ITX LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

5 out of 5 eggs mITX for the Power User on a Budget 03/25/2013

This review is from: ASRock Z77E-ITX LGA 1155 Intel Z77 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard

Pros: Great performance and features for the price - this board overclocks like a champ and offers features not found on competing units from other vendors, like mSATA and S/PDIF connectivity, all while undercutting them by a fair bit.

Great, easy to use UEFI provides all the tweaking options you'd ever want, as well as simple one-click overclocking starting at 4GHz and going up in 200MHz increments if you want to take a more hands-off approach while still getting the most out of your hardware.

Layout is definitely tight, but thankfully places all external connectivity at the perimeter of the board. There's only two fan headers (1 CHA and 1 CPU) and four SATA ports, but this is somewhat expected at this size.

On the bright side, the CPU socket is clear of obstructions for most aftermarket coolers and their mounting brackets - your RAM selection will be more of an issue than the board itself, so look for low-profile memory (or sticks without heat spreaders at all) unless you're using a liquid cooling solution.

Cons: WiFi antenna is incredibly cheap feeling, even internally - be careful around the thin leads running from the wireless chipset to the IO backplane - they're held on by little more than a prayer.

Other Thoughts: This is a great platform for your Sandy/Ivy Bridge LAN party machine or other SFF builds. Powerful features and performance combine with a killer price tag to elevate this board above almost all of the competition.

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CORSAIR Hydro Series H60 (CW-9060007-WW)  High Performance Water / Liquid CPU Cooler. 120mm
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

4 out of 5 eggs Good Entry-Level Water Cooler 03/14/2013

This review is from: CORSAIR Hydro Series H60 (CW-9060007-WW) High Performance Water / Liquid CPU Cooler. 120mm

Pros: Easy installation - the magnets built into the retention frame for the pump/waterblock are pure genius, and everything can be installed without tools.

Good cooling - this won't keep pace with the biggest air coolers or the H80/100, but it's plenty for a mildly overclocked CPU.

Appearance - dark chrome accents on black make this a slick addition to any case interior.

Cons: It's a bit on the pricey side. Additionally, how hard/expensive would it have been to include another 4 screws and washers for push/pull?

Other Thoughts: Despite the fairly high price point, it's hard to fault this cooler, especially with the upgrades (fan/waterblock/tubing) over the original version.

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BitFenix Prodigy BFC-PRO-300-OOXKO-RP Atomic Orange Steel / Plastic Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Lots of room for a mini-ITX chassis - because of it's clever modular design and nifty touches like the SSD pockets in the right-side door, this case has room for pretty much any 2-slot video card on the market as well as the craziest of multi-rad water cooling solutions. Huge tower-style air coolers are only limited by your choice of motherboard and RAM. Plenty of fan mounting options, including 2x120, 140, 180, 200 and 230mm options up front, 2x120mm up top and 120 and 140mm rear options. The included 120mm Spectre fans are fairly quiet.

Impeccable build quality and fit/finish. The panels are all thick steel and everything is well-engineered and screws or locks into place perfectly. The soft-touch finish on the handles and front panel and hard powdercoat everywhere else are durable and feel expensive.

Styling may be subjective, but this case neatly straddles the line between tasteful and daring, resembling nothing so much as a smaller, squatter version of the classic aluminum PowerMac cases. The integrated handles make toting it to LAN events a snap, and this version tilts the scale more towards 'daring' it up by being dayglo orange.

Cons: The PSU cage could stand to be a bit longer, and it's front is a solid steel plate. A typical enthusiast PSU comes in at 160mm long and will be a pretty tight fit, especially if your chosen PSU has large modular plugs. Note that all the hardware used for PSU installation is #6-32 thread, so a fairly simple solution is to use standard motherboard standoffs (if this isn't your first rodeo, you'll invariably have a bunch of these laying around somewhere) to offset the PSU mounting plate from the back of the case itself - this provided just enough room for my 160mm HX650 to fit without issue. Alternately, look for a 140mm long PSU instead.

Other Thoughts: The Prodigy is in a class of one for providing room, portability and style for your mini-ITX monster. I can't recommend it highly enough.

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Jason R.'s Profile

Display Name: Jason R.

Date Joined: 06/30/02

  • Reviews: 52
  • Helpfulness: 48
  • First Review: 05/19/08
  • Last Review: 03/25/13
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