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This review is from: Intel BOXDH67CLB3 LGA 1155 Intel H67 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Pros: Easy to install. Documentation (on CD) is pretty good. BIOS update is easy. Runs on Ubuntu 12.04 out of the box. Not too expensive, comes with SATA 6 and USB 3. Has flexibility to run a good selection of i3, i5, and i7 processors.
Cons: Every once in a while, my keyboard doesn't respond (Microsoft ergo 4000) when I start into Windows, clears up when I restart. I usually run in Ubuntu 12.04 and never have that problem, so there may be a windows driver quirk; I never installed the keyboard software, so it may not finish loading the driver while it searches for the rest of the keyboard software; I only run windows every once in a while to play a game, so it doesn't bother me much.
The board is a bit cramped, so after-market coolers might have trouble fitting; the circle around the processor slot shows the dimensions of the stock cooler on my i3 2120, so that might help in comparison of coolers. Have to make sure your RAM is installed before your video card because the white RAM latches have to be closed for big cards.
Limited to DDR3-1066 and DDR3-1333, so not as much flexibility as with the processors, but that's too bad and not unreasonable for a sub $100 board.
Other Thoughts: I picked up this board because it had 4 stars, had a review saying it supported Ubuntu, had extra slots, and didn't have any common show-stopper problems.
Note: The default is for all the SATA ports to be hot-pluggable. If you don't want to be able to "Safely Remove" your C: drive in windows, be sure to turn that off on your primary drive before installing windows or you'll get a blue-screen.
I configured it with an i3 2120, ASUS AMD 6670 (EAH6670/DIS/1GD5), 2x2GB Samsung DDR3-1333 (salvaged from HP p6523w), and 640 GB WD Caviar Blue (16 MB cache, from same p6523w).
This looks identical to DH67BL, except with a few extra PCI slots to fill out the extra length of an ATX board. The firmware for the two even looks similar.
Be sure to read the directions about which RAM slots on the board to use.
I don't have any SATA 6.0 or USB 3 devices, so I haven't tested those features much yet.
Pros: Not too expensive. Pretty fast. Doesn't require additional power connectors from power the supply. NovaBench clocks it 22x faster than the AMD HD 3000 integrated graphics in my old machine.
Other Thoughts: I picked it up because it was suggested on the Tom's Hardware May 2012 "Best video card under $100" and it has GDDR5. I configured it with an Intel DH67CL, i3 2120, 2x2GB Samsung DDR3-1333 (salvaged from HP p6523w), and 640 GB WD Caviar Blue (16 MB cache, from same p6523w). I played the Diablo 3 starter edition at 50 fps with everything on high @ 1680x1050 and FPS limiter @ 60. Ran Skyrim pretty smooth on high for an hour or two. Runs Rage pretty smoothly with everything my hardware would allow me to turn up, if you don't mind high-res texture pop-in (starts low res, higher-res pops in); the pop-in might related to my other relatively low-end components. Mass Effect 1 runs smoothly with everything high, but it is a title from 2007.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: APEX PC-389-C Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Pros: Fairly inexpensive. Provides a home for your parts. Has a good bit of room for cards and the many cables that come on aftermarket power supplies when compared to some OEM cases; my HP case was shorter and shallower and this case is cavernous compared to it.
Cons: Audio coming from the front audio jack has interference when transferring over USB - perhaps bad shielding; I don't use it, so I'm not worried about it.
The front USB ports don't seen to want to run my external 2.5" HDD even when I use both ports. They work fine with thumb drives and this same drive worked fine with only one plug on my OEM HP system. I suppose it could be the motherboard, but I don't remember complaints to this effect on reviews for the case or the motherboard (DH67CL). Keep an eye out for anyone else reporting this if you're worried about it.
The panels are thin and a bit wobbly, but they all are in this price range. No tool-less installation options or thumb screws. Those are ways they make it cheap.
Other Thoughts: I picked it up for a deep discount on sale, so I can't complain too much for the price I paid. It doesn't come wityhIt comes when 9 motherboard standoffs - exactly enough for my ATX board. There are enough screws for two CD-ROMs, two hard drives, with one or two of each type left over. Also comes with a little PC speaker. The lights on the front are blue and look like the Mass Effect 2 death mask/default Mass Effect 3 multiplayer human soldier mask, which is kind of cool.READ FULL REVIEW