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This review is from: ASRock Z97 Extreme4 LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Pros: Feature rich board at a very competitive price considering everything you get. If used and maintained correctly ASRock boards are effective and durable.
Cons: None if you use this board right.
Other Thoughts: Be very careful about what you read online. Everyone thinks they are a computer expert after doing a little homegrown research and watching some youtube videos. Building your own PC is the new rage, so you have all of these completely inexperienced consumers writing reviews when things go south for them, and it's just not an accurate reflection of the quality of the part or manufacturer. I've worked with hundreds of ASRock boards and and have had very few issues, and most of those were older tech which was less reliable. I also provide my customers with specific instructions on how to maintain them and preserve life/functionality as it's quite easy to do if you just follow a few basic rules/guidelines.
My word of caution here is be very careful about what you read online. About 99% of the reviews/recommendations, even from "trusted" sites like Tom's Hardware is complete garbage. The senior mods at Tom's know what they are doing, but the everyday mods really don't know what they are doing. Just looking at most of the 1 egg reviews here you can tell that none of them really know what they are doing either. Just doing a bunch of research online doesn't replace years of experience working with hardware, various components and configurations, etc.
If you are building your own computer and you have little to no experience you have to factor in the possibility that you are going to screw something up, or aren't going to maintain the hardware properly, etc. You need to be realistic. It's not as easy as all the youtube videos make it out to be people. Anyone can fit some parts in corresponding holes - my 4 year old can do that, but understanding how to properly maintain performance computers, utilizing and managing driver installations, keeping your PC free of bloatware and unnecessary software, and how to troubleshoot minor issues without having to RMA the board only comes with experience. If you cut corners you get what you pay for.
I'm not going to let someone rebuild my engine just because they watched a youtube video about it.
Pros: Probably the best overall card out there considering key factors for vast majority of users. High performance, efficient, small, quiet, versatile, etc. This performs within 10% of my MSI Gaming GTX 770, but TDP (power usage) is about 125W vs. 250W for the 770. This particular card is very small and only needs one six pin power connector, so you can fit it in small cases and don't need a huge power supply. EVGA cooling is excellent and the card is silent under heavy load. It performs better than the 760, but costs $50 less than those cards. It's also very versatile with 2DVI, HDMI and display port connections and card supports up to 4 monitors.
When you consider low power consumption, low price, it sure makes it enticing to at least consider SLI if not for the 2GB memory limitation which I'll get to later, but as graphics cards continue to evolve this card shows all the characteristics of developers taking advantage of new technology - faster, energy efficient, smaller = better.
Plays almost all titles at 60FPS+ at 1080, and all titles I've tried at 1440 too.
Cons: Hard to really call lack of memory a con because the only way they keep the cost of this card around $200 is 2GB of memory, and to be honest most people like having 4GB, but don't really need it. It would be hard to justify SLI with this kind of card with the 2GB limitation when you could probably build a better overall system by just going with one 970 which would have 4GB, but I'm guessing that eventually they will release a 960 4GB card that will probably be as low as $230, and then it might be worth it, but then, if you are that close in price to a 980, then how do you not go that route?
Other Thoughts: I couldn't be happier with this card. I have three gaming PCs in my house, 2 with 770s and 1 with 780 FTW, and I'm swapping all of them out because my electric bill is ridiculous and this 960 does pretty much everything I need. There are some users that actually need a 970 or 980, but for a majority of users that potential is never fully utilized.
This card is a great options for a lot of people, and in my opinion it's an awesome value considering how many benefits it gives you (performance, energy efficient, quiet, small, variety of display options, etc.).
Pros: Side window, red LED, smart design, front USB 3.0, mobo base screws are pre-drilled.
Cons: none for a case like this in this price range
Other Thoughts: Really nice case for around $40 if you get it on sale. Lots of features that you typically have to pay at least $70 for. Make no mistake though, this is a budget case, but I like how Corsair seems to really understand their customers, and you can get a case like this with a lot of features that a lot of people look for and they cut corners where they need to in order to bring the price down. It's compact and simple, but that's what you're going to get in a budget case, and I like it. If I want a case all decked out then I'd get a high end obsidian, HAF X or Fractal, but this is a very nice option.READ FULL REVIEW