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Pros: Great inexpensive board. Has the features I wanted (SATA 3, Socket 1150, PCIe3) without a lot of extra expensive features (no RAID or overclocking). Works with Intel i5-4690S CPU out of the box (BIOS version FB) although I did update it to the latest BIOS (FE). I had revision 2.0 of the board.
Worked with my existing RAM (Corsair XMS3 DDR3-1333) and Gigabyte GTX 660 Ti with no issues.
Cons: Doesn't overclock even with a K CPU (not a legit con since I knew it didn't overclock).
Only has 4 USB 2.0 and 2 USB 3.0 on back panel (with 4 USB 2.0 and 2 USB 3.0 front panel headers)
Only supports Crossfire, not SLI.
Doesn't allow me to manually set the core multiplier even though I have the option in the BIOS. What I mean is that under load, the CPU I used turbo's to 3.5 GHz. Single core turbo is 3.9 GHz. I set the four cores to 3.9 GHz in the BIOS regardless of load but the CPU still "only" turbo's to 3.5 with four core load. This is because I have the Enhanced Intel Speed Step enabled. If I disable that option, I get 3.9 GHz speed regardless of CPU loading. Thus, I can have "auto" turbo control or forced high freq turbo - not both. This is not a real "con" just something I noticed.
Other Thoughts: Great board. Does exactly what I needed it to do - run my i5-4690S CPU at low power draw, high freq 3.5-3.9 GHz and remains stable. No motherboard related crashes.
Note that I am dual booting Windows 7 for my games and Mac OS X for my DAW / Logic Pro X workstation. No problems with Mac OS X install, no stability problems at all.
Pros: Low power 65W part. Quad core. 3.5GHz Turbo at4-core loading with 3.9GHz Turbo at single core loading. Mac OS X compatibility.
Just as fast or faster in every regard compared to the AMD CPU it replaced.
Intel Enhanced Speed Step worked as advertised. CPU idles at 800MHz and boosts up to 3.5-3.9 GHz depending on CPU loading. Compared to the AMD system it replaced, the computer uses 50-75W less power overall and idles at 50W compared to 90W.
Cons: Didn't make me breakfast. Doesn't overclock. Doesn't have hyperthreading. I understand that this CPU didn't have those features nor did I care to pay extra for them.
Other Thoughts: Good CPU for all circumstances. I picked this part specifically because I wanted a lower power (65W) CPU, quad core, and didn't need Hyperthreading nor did I want to overclock it. This CPU is cheaper than the K version. My build was focused around a stable digital audio workstation running Mac OS X and mild gaming under Windows. With this CPU I've accomplished my goals.
I used a Gigabyte GA-B85-HD3 motherboard. The CPU worked right out of the box, but I did update the BIOS after regardless.
The CPU is a replacement for an AMD Phenom II X4 965BE. Comparing this Intel to the AMD in my games (Skyrim and X-Plane) I didn't see a big improvement. Maybe a few FPS. Both games ran very well on the AMD processor.
The biggest reason I went with the Intel was for Mac OS X compatibility and low power draw. In that frame of reference, the Intel CPU works just as fast or faster in every task and still allowed me to install Mac OS X without any issues. My overall computer system power draw is 50-75W less. Even under full load my peak power draw is 200W compared to 278W for the AMD system. The CPU fan (Cooler Master EVO 212) runs at idle speed (about 700 rpm) unless I'm running a CPU benchmark, then it speeds up to 850 rpm. In other words, it's completely silent. The system temperature is about 5-10 degrees cooler, and the fans stay at idle (which they did in the AMD system). CPU never overheats and I've managed to top the temperature out at about 50 C.
My GPU temperatures went up a bit, and I believe this is because the CPU can feed more data to the GTX 660Ti compared to the AMD. This also explains why I get more fps and slightly higher gaming performance.
Overall I am happy with this CPU. I can run Mac OS X now and still maintain my Windows install to play games at a high level of performance.
8 GB Corsair RAM
Samsung EVO 840 SSD
Gigabyte GTX 660 Ti
Pros: Super fast card. It's quiet too. Even at 80% fan speed its a hushed whir sound. Generally the fan run at 45-60% in almost all circumstances and would be considered inaudible. The stock Gigabyte OC utility allows you to set the fan to "auto" or "manual". In "auto" the fan was basically idle until temps got above 75 deg. I use the "manual" setting and specify the fan speed vs. temp - I don't want the temp above 69 deg and I set the fans speed accordingly. Excellent framerates in the games I play - no slowdowns or studders. Decent utility software. Excellent X-Plane / FS2004 / Civ4 / Skyrim gaming card. Good combo with AMD FX-6300 CPU.
Not a single crash or problem using latest Gigabyte OC utility (downloaded from website) and latest 310.70 Nvidia drivers (also downloaded). Card ran as soon as I plugged everything in and hasn't stopped in a week.
After looking at reviews and benchmarks, I decided on the Gigabyte model because of its larger fans - this makes the card run cool and quiet and that was the deciding feature. I am happy with the Gigabyte cooling solution, it keeps the card cool and quiet.
Cons: Uses 2x6-pin PCIe plugs. Not quite as fast as I had hoped (see other thoughts). Uses more power. Slightly louder overall. This is all compared to a recently installed GTX 650Ti. Compared to my original GTX550Ti, both cards are far superior in every way.
Other Thoughts: I replaced a very nice Gigabyte 650Ti with this card. After reviewing benchmarks and reviews, I deemed this card a worthy upgrade. The 650Ti was a placeholder card until I finished my computer build. That being said, the 660Ti is a great card.
However, I was expecting a little more. The 650Ti was extremely quiet, ran very cool and didn't use a lot of power. The 660Ti is a little louder due to higher temps (although the "loudness" is relative - it's a very quiet card overall) and draws more power (this was expected).
I am not disappointed by any means, just was expected a little more performance for the extra heat and power. Again, these complaints are relative - my original GTX550Ti was much hotter, louder, more power hungry and much slower in performance compared to the 660Ti.
I should have just bought the 660Ti to start with. I believe the 650Ti is a great card, and it's a hard call to justify the extra $100 I spent on the 660Ti vs. the 650Ti.
The card is fast - wicked fast. Just not much faster in the games I use compared to the 650Ti.
I would not swap it out with the 650Ti however, because it is faster. Here's my example. I primarily built this new system for X-Plane flight simulator. With the 650Ti I had great framerates at moderate settings and medium quality 8xAA. I was hoping, based on reviews and benchmarks, that the 660Ti would allow me to maintain my framerates and improve detail settings and AA. While this turned out to be true, I was only able to bump up the settings one level. Again, I didn't expect a doubling in performance, but I did expect more. It just goes to show that the video card is not the only factor in gaming performance (I only upgraded the GPU - my CPU / mobo / RAM remained the same). With the increase in details that I did get, I also got about 50-75W more power usage (via Kill-A-Watts), about 15-deg increase in demand operating temp (via Gigabyte OC software) and a slight increase in overall case temp (about 2-4 deg) and increase in sound level (due to higher temp, increase in fan speed needed for GPU and case fan).
I do have to say that with the 650Ti in X-Plane there were some instances where the sim would slow down a bit and it was noticeable. With the 660Ti there are no slowdowns whatsoever.
So, with a slight increase in detail level and AA and a general increase in overall "smoothness", I would say the 660Ti was a worthy upgrade over the 650Ti. That is why I rated it 5 stars.
I could overclock the card I suppose and make it similar to the TOC version of the same card, but when I did so, I got about 50Mhz in stable clock speed with no noticeable improvement in any game.
My suggestion would be if you're debating a 650Ti vs. 660Ti, just get the 660Ti unless you are on a strict budget - then get the 650Ti if that's the case and in 95% of your games you won't notice the difference.
Finally, it didn't make me coffee this am, so that's a con, obviously.