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This review is from: ASUS Xonar U3 16-bit 48KHz USB Interface Sound Card
Pros: Worked immediately when I plugged it into a Dell M3800 running Mint Linux. Had to select it as the output sound card, as one would expect in a machine with multiple sound cards. No drivers required, no command line stuff. It. Just. Worked.
Cons: The volume adjustment provided by linux goes from nothing to kinda-loud without any steps in between. I don't know if that's the device or linux, so I didn't deduct any eggs.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: ASUS X99-DELUXE LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Pros: The board mostly works, and when it does it flies. The bios is easy to understand, and provides enough options for an overclocker to go nuts. 8 DDR4 slots, m.2 support onboard (which I haven't tried), and many, many usb3 ports.
Cons: Asus support. Oh dear lord, Asus support. The board I received acts a little flaky (bios usb enumeration sometimes has garbage characters in it, sound starts to skip after the machine has been on for a while, usb devices need to be unplugged and replugged to work if they've been idle for a while). I started through the Asus RMA process, and I keep getting the runaround.
Faxing the form in is useless, as they will ignore it and advise you to wait one more day or try re-submitting the form. I will be e-mailing in the form tonight (I'm glad I kept it and have a scanner, because they require a hand-written signature in several places and will not accept a computer drawn signature).
Other Thoughts: Asus, I'm very disappointed in your customer service. If you provide a fax option, make sure those actually get processed.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: Gigabyte Ultra Durable 4 Classic GA-E350N WIN8 Desktop Motherboard - AMD A45 Chipset
Pros: It just works. Fast boot, connectors are mostly well-laid-out for mini-ITX cases. It does the job I wanted it for, which was to run xbmcbuntu and let me watch Breaking Bad without Breaking the Bank.
Cons: These are all low-priority issues for me, but I'll put them here anyway:
- CPU is not meant to be upgradable.
- CPU isn't really overclockable. Granted, I didn't try all that hard, but the few options in the BIOS didn't seem to do much.
- It's a little underpowered for certain things. 1080p/30fps video files will occasionally peg both cores, resulting in a few dropped frames. I have not tweaked the system much yet to try to fix this.
- No frills on the board or in the box. You get a motherboard, two sata cables, a rear panel shield, a driver dvd, and a manual. That's it. Some of the nicer motherboards have some extras like jumper helpers, but this is a budget board.
- PCI slot, not PCI-e. Fine if you can find something to put in it, but good luck with that.
- No USB3.
None of these were really surprising to me. I paid less than the cost of most of the AMD APUs for this board, and got pretty much what I expected.
Other Thoughts: This board will not dispense beer, make you a sandwich, or smite your enemies from afar. It will sit in a corner of your room and process whatever you throw at it in pretty decent time, and it'll do so on a very modest budget (both fiscally and watt-fully).READ FULL REVIEW