Joined on 06/20/05
720 w/ Unlocked 4th core
Pros: I couldn't believe how heavy this board is; the 2oz of copper makes it a tank! Solid design, beefy heatsinks w/ heatpipes, all Japanese solid capacitors. Able to unlock 4th core of my X3 720 CPU!
Cons: Not much success with AMD overdrive; have not been able to get it to dynamically overclock any application or even overclock at all! I can only overclock the MB by changing BIOS settings. What I want is to operate in Cool n Quiet mode, then overclock automatically when gaming. Some have said this is not possible, but I have hope.
Overall Review: It took me several weeks to figure out how to enable the 4th core; in fact I'd pretty much resigned myself that either my CPU wasn't able to, or maybe Gigabyte disabled the feature. Not so! I upgraded to latest F5 BIOS, and you must do CTRL-F1 to get advanced BIOS settings. Once there, enter M.I.T. Intelligent Overclocker menu, select Hybrid, then Auto for ACC. Then my 4th core appeared in both CPU-Z and AMD Overdrive. Have not done any burn-in testing w/ 4th core, don't know how stable it is under load yet.
3 Drives, 3 failures
Pros: A lot of storage for the price; relatively fast
Cons: I've bought 2 of these and they are in rotation as external backup drives to my NAS. Both drives have gone bad, and have been replaced under warranty. Now one of the replacements has failed! I don't care if the warranty is 2 years, the hassle of returning them and having my backups at risk just isn't worth it.
Overall Review: Each drive failed within 1 year. Would you trust your data to this solution? Upon faillure, each drive was tested using WD diagnostic utility, and failed SMART tests. Note that my NAS is using a WD Red NAS drive I'm happy with; it's been running no problem. But the MyBooks are trouble...
Decent SFF case
Pros: Attractive gloss white Front Panel, good fit and finish. fits ATX PSU w/ a little room to spare for top mounted DVD drive. Unique HD mounting on trays which sits on plastic vibe absorption rails, with dedicated 80mm fan. Cheaper than SG01 case, almost as good.
Cons: Reset switch is recessed mini-push switch which requires a paper clip; it is off-center, east to miss. HD cage can unscrew and move, but cannot seem to remove from case, unlike SG01. Although HD cage design has a fan which blows air over HD's, there's little free space above/below, preventing decent airflow. HD fan is fairly loud compared to my PSU and CPU fan. Need to put rheostat or replace. A bit deep in length. Looks like a Shuttle on steroids!
Overall Review: I also have the SILVERSTONE SST-SG01-B, which is the more expensive Aluminum cousin to this case. The SG01 has a nicer HD cage, completely removable, unlike the SG02. However, the SG01 has a sticky PWR switch, which is annoying. Overall an attractive case, relatively easy build and should fit a good size videocard.
Pros: Excellent Zerotherm Heatpipe/GPU cooler. 39C idle, 50C max on Crysis, avg 45C gaming. Minimal increase in power consumption when idle. 4x faster than my last “best” videocard, X1650Pro DDR2. 33fps vs. 8fps @ DX9 1024x768 No AA, 32 bit test, Quality: High. Impressive, runs like butta on FEAR, most games, and is quiet. Used stock crummy PSU included in my $35 case, no problem.
Cons: Can’t run Crysis on high settings, min frame rates still dip quite low and gets stuttery. Understandable. However, I played a Triple-SLI rig at CES, and it still stuttered on occasion.
Overall Review: My gaming rig is modest; S939 Athlon X2 3800 Dual Core. With 2 HD’s, (2) x 512MB DDR1 RAM it only consumes 92W idle, ~170W while gaming. The idle figures are impressive, as it only raised it by 12W compared to a generic PCI card (old MX400). I play Crysis with all settings high, except Texture, Objects, Shadows and Water set to medium. I think my PC is CPU constrained, and would get better fps w/ a faster CPU.