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Pros: This is a great small case that can hold very high end components. So far, I've built two different computers in 250Ds and have had great experience with both. Almost every GPU on the market will fit, room for a standard PSU, and H100i, there are really few compromises.
Things I really like:
1. Dust filters EVERYWHERE
2. Room for an H100i, as long as you mount it correctly (not to the fan mounts, but rather a set of holes that are slightly offset) and you have a board with a gap behind the rear panel slot to run the hose.
3. Top window is nice for seeing inside, especially if you put some lighting in. It's not extremely tacky like some cases.
4. Clean exterior look
Cons: I do have a few small complaints about this case.
First, the HDD LED lead isn't color coded or labeled, so I had to figure out the direction it needed to go by trial and error. This can be very difficult on standard mITX boards that don't have some sort of extension.
Second, is the graphics card support. I have an XFX R9 290DD card and it was a large undertaking trying to squeeze the card in there. I ended up removing the sliding piece above the card slots to get the extra 1 mm of clearance so I could slot the card in.
Third, if you're using a large GPU, then there isn't room in the front of the case to install a larger fan. I originally purchased a 200mm fan to go in the front of the case, but discovered that the GPU would not fit with it installed.
Fourth, the 5.25 drive bay is pretty much useless, as installing a DVD drive ruins the look of the case. Lian Li solves this in all of their cases by having a fold-down drive door so that you can install a drive and have it hidden.
Finally, the front USB ports are mounted upside down from every other device I've ever owned. While this isn't usually a problem, it means that flash drives with an access LED is usually plugged in upside down and the LED is not always visible.
Other Thoughts: I really enjoyed building in this case. Overall, it's well thought out, can hold high end components, and makes very few sacrifices. Like any other case of this size, you really do have to plan out your build and do cable management as you go. Even with a modular PSU, you'll have a tough time cramming all of the excess cable in the front of the case (I really wish modular PSUs had option for shorter cables).
Intel Core i7-4790k
Asus Maximus VI Impact
XFX R9 290 DD Black Edition
2x 8GB Patriot Gamer Series RAM
2x Samsung 840 Pro 128GB
Pros: The board itself functions great. The built in audio, form factor, and features are great.
Cons: Gigabyte support is terrible. I've been having issues with the PCIe 3.0 slot not being able to recognize my GPU when it's set to 3.0 mode. I've been through 2 boards and 3 GPUs, and none of them will work properly. If I set the slot to 2.0, it will boot. Setting the slot to "auto" or "gen3" will default it to the integrated graphics.
To add insult to injury, the support experience is terrible. The exchange with the support technician(s) is laughable, with there seemingly only be 5 responses to choose from:
1. Change the PSU
2. We've tested the board with a Radeon 7870 and it works
3. Set the BIOS to init PEG first
4. Update the BIOS
5. RMA the board
In my exchange with support, I've received each of these responses at least twice, despite very detailed documentation of the steps I provided on how I've been trying to troubleshoot this issue. It almost looks like the support person answering these questions isn't even reading any of my responses. I've even gone out of my way to get a second board to test with and getting the same results.
Other Thoughts: If Gigabyte can address the problems with their support staff and actually read what their customers are telling them, I would be more satisfied with this purchase. I would also appreciate more intelligent responses to questions, instead of something that is copied and pasted from a manual.
I've found other users with similar issues on this board, and the only "solution" I've been able to come across is buying a Gigabyte branded Radeon 7870.
Pros: For a micro ATX board, the Sniper M3 is packed with features. The features that drew me to it were the Intel NIC and the Sound Blaster audio chipset. The EM shielding around the audio components is great as well, it gives much cleaner sound, especially on the front panel connectors.
I did have a chance to test the 3.0 x8 slot also (for reasons to be explained later) and the placement is a little inconvenient. Unlike some of the other reviewers, I didn't have too much trouble with the USB connectors underneath. If your connectors aren't extremely fat and the wires can be bent, a card will fit in on top of it without much issue. I dropped an XFX 7870 DoubleD card in without issue.
The board also has a decent number of PWM fan connectors for micro ATX. It supports 3 fans in addition to the CPU fan, which is a nice plus.
Cons: I've recently run into an issue with the board where it refuses to detect a Radeon 7800 series in the x16 slot when it is set to auto or gen3. I've had this happen with 3 cards and 2 boards, so it leads me to believe that it's something with the BIOS that is causing this. I've seen other reports of similar problems with the board, so it doesn't seem like it's an isolated issue. To test, I installed the same card into the bottom x8 slot and it booted just fine as PCIe 3.0.
Other Thoughts: If you plan on running an SLI or Crossfire setup with this board in a micro ATX case, be sure to pick one that has 5 expansion slots. Otherwise, you won't be able to run 2 dual slot cards as there's nowhere for the lower card to go.
I am using this board in a Lian Li v354 case, which has 5 expansion slots. Since all micro ATX boards have room for 4 expansion slots, most cases are built to only support 4 cards.
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