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This review is from: ASRock Z87 Extreme4 LGA 1150 Intel Z87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Pros: This board is a great choice for a mainstream-tier gaming computer. The features for the price are really hard to beat. Great onboard audio with the Purity Sound setup, plus an amplifier for headphones. This audio solution is really nothing more than a top-notch Realtek audio codec and isolation/shielding of the sound system, but it works wonders.
Some other standout features are the debug LED, (great for troubleshooting if a component is interfering with bootup) power/reset buttons on the board itself, and dual BIOS chips in case an update flash goes sideways. Speaking of BIOS, the interface is very useful and indepth without boggling the minds of people who aren't extreme system tweakers. A BIOS update can even be flashed from within BIOS itself! Goodbye to the days of hunting down update files and going through a process to flash it properly. One click and its done!
Cons: Considering this is a mid-level motherboard, there aren't a whole lot of drawbacks. The board itself looks a little drab aside from the gold capacitors. There are also boards in this price range that have better overclocking chops. Additionally, it would have been nice to have a switch versus a jumper to toggle between the two BIOS chips as things can get a little cramped unless you have tiny little hands.
Other Thoughts: I have only used Asus boards in previous systems, all of which have been AMD based. I got this board for $120, and for that price, there was absolutely no other board that could hope to compete. I'm happy so far with this Asrock effort. It's stable as I could wish for and has features that are usually only found on high-end motherboards.
As I said earlier, this board doesn't overclock like a champ. Some competing boards beat this one in that category, though this board can still easily handle a moderate OC. People who are REALLY into overclocking would do better to move to the high-end arena, as those boards are built for speed specifically.
For everyone else, this motherboard is a start for an awesome gaming computer. I'm impressed with Asrock's feature set and the high quality of the components. This is a board that should be on anyone's short list for a new LGA 1150 build.
Pros: Gigabyte manages to cram some primo features into this mATX board. There are actually a good number of USB3 ports, and even USB3 front headers. I had searched around a lot of mATX LGA1150 boards and most of them lacked USB3 headers. The overall build quality seems solid and everything is running smoothly. My client really likes the results.
Cons: As with many boards of this type, there are some corners that are cut. Only one case fan header is provided, so I had to get a fan controller to hook up the other two case fans. Also, the BIOS setup seems to be all over the place. It has enough features, but it is poorly organized.
Other Thoughts: This was the first Gigabyte board I have used. I'm sure their full-featured ATX boards live up to their reputations. Seeing as how many mATX boards are built with budget systems in mind, I can't fault this one too much aside from the lack of adequate fan headers. With the few negatives aside, this board has been solid so far and worked just as it should. The USB3 features are a standout, so I'd recommend this motherboard to anyone looking to put together a fast and reliable budget build.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: Upgrading from my trusty GTX 560 Ti, this is a major leap in performance. Nearly ALL my games can be maxed out at 1080p, and the ones that can't get close enough that I don't sweat it. This is my first MSI card and so far, I'm impressed. My old EVGA Superclocked 560 Ti sounded like a leafblower and hit temps of 95C under heavy load. This card is very quiet and I haven't seen it go over 78C. Definite improvement and a win for MSI's cooler.
Cons: I don't have much to complain about. I would have liked to see a backplate, as I am used to one being present on my cards or being able to install one after the fact. Not a deal breaker by any means.
Other Thoughts: PC graphics have really taken off in the price/performance category in the past few years. The intense competition between AMD and Nvidia truly benefits the customers. I was set on the Asus 280x, but of course that card is in short supply and now boasts a price tag well over $400, eliminating its once-tempting value. This 770 has proven to be a great "substitute", and I always liked team green's driver and software experiences. Add in the fact that I got this card, essentially a juiced-up GTX 680 in disguise, for $320 with three free games, and the value is extremely impressive.READ FULL REVIEW