Date Joined: 06/24/09
Pros: -Excellent voltage control. Took my i7-8086k to 5 GHz with voltages set to Auto. Took my RAM to 2666 MHz with Auto as well. No manual tuning needed. Ran a CPU stress test for an hour and had no issues.
-Comes with a 5 GHz wifi card installed if you need it (Intel 9560NGW), and comes with an external antenna.
Cons: -The M.2 slot for wifi cards only seems to support E types, not A+E. Couldn't use the AX wifi card from my previous motherboard in this one. I couldn't find any documentation on this. Had to buy a PCI-E addon card to get my AX wifi going again.
-Had trouble posting the first time with more than one stick of RAM inserted. After I finally posted, I was able to insert the rest after shutting it down.
Overall Review: My previous board was an ASRock Z370 and I had constant problems from the day I bought it. As time went on, it became less and less stable, to the point where it was locking up daily at just stock speeds. This Gigabyte Z390 performs very impressively out of the box.
Pros: Inexpensive and works like you would expect it to.
Cons: Some excessive glue was used in parts of the 'refurbishment,' and there were greasy fingerprints on the board that I had to clean up.
Overall Review: Running Clear Linux on this with a 6700k and 24GB of RAM. Works very well and shows no signs of degradation.
Pros: Can be flashed to the original firmware to backup 4k/UHD movies VERY easily!
Cons: Comes with firmware that was revised to be more restrictive than the original and will not play nicely.
Loud while running.
Overall Review: Look at the MakeMKV forum for a thread made on Feb 5th, 2019, detailing the flashing process. There is an automated tool.
Pros: Small. All parts were included even though it's listed as Open Box.
Cons: Arrived DOA. Should have looked at the reviews for the unopened versions that have been sold. CPU fan wont even spin up, and there's no video output.
Overall Review: Tried different sticks of RAM. Reseated the CPU. PSU fan spins up but nothing happens with the board.
Pros: *Intuitive UEFI. It was extremely easy to overclock my processor to 5ghz on the first attempt and I've had no freezes or crashes with it.
*The steel-slot PCIe works VERY well and eliminates interference like it says. This isn't something most people will notice, though.
Cons: The 'purity sound' they market seems to do the exact opposite of the intended function. Audio was randomly dropping in volume and then returning to normal for the first 10ish hours of use. This would happen every few minutes. The next day it was dropping off and spiking ABOVE the volume it was supposed to be at, so random parts of music and games would be silent or screaming loud. I uninstalled the drivers, rebooted, reinstalled the drivers, rebooted, and the problem was the exact same. The Realtek audio settings had nothing abnormal to change. It was like this on the front panel headers and the rear outputs.
Overall Review: The steel-slot PCIe slots really do stop interference. In my previous two builds, sound cards were outputting static and humming that would increase in pitch as the GPU load increased. I dropped the same ASUS Xonar sound card in this with the GPU in the steel-slot, and it was perfectly silent! I'm going to be looking for looking for sleet-slot boards whenever I go for another build in the future.
Pros: Small footprint.
Silent except under heavy load, but still quiet even then.
Comes with VESA bracket for mounting on the back of a monitor.
No bloatware to remove!
Wireless AC works great with no signal drops.
The SSD is very fast.
4x USB 3 ports.
The power cable is thin and doesn't have a PSU brick in the middle like you see with most mini-PCs.
Cons: Only two rear USB ports with the other two in the front. Might be okay for some people but it looks awkward to have a 3rd or 4th permanent device plugged into the front just to move the cable to the rear with the rest. A USB splitter would be great here.
Overall Review: This is perfect for someone who needs to save on desk space.
You will need to spend some time installing some big Windows 10 updates that require a few reboots. Had no driver compatibility issues.
Consider that you may need a video cable adapter for your monitor if you're using something older like VGA or DVI.
Pros: Very quiet when running
Strong purple lights
Lots of air flow
Cons: Doesn't move unless you give it some help. I thought maybe the motherboard just wasn't putting out enough power to move the fan, so I swapped to the molex converter they included, and got the same result - illuminated LEDs with no fan movement.
Overall Review: Once it starts moving, it really takes off, but that's not good enough. Having to open the case to physically touch the fan every time is a pain.
Pros: Small and allegedly a good picture. Strong magnet on the base. Very small device.
Cons: This camera refused to connect to both a basic TP-Link router at my family's house and a modern Netgear router at my own house. No way to tell it to record to an SD Card without establishing a WiFi connection first. The troubleshooting guide did not help. Pretty disappointing.
Overall Review: I'd suggest passing on this product until they fix the connection issues. They don't keep their website up to date, either, so I think this product may have run out of funding at some point. If a $35 Chromecast can connect to my network, then a $100 camera should be able to as well.
Pros: Crystal clear. Replaced a Dell 2240L IPS with this and the colors look just as good. The VESA mount holes are in a good position if you decide to use a stand or something else.
Cons: The menu knob on the bottom isn't very intuitive with the first use.
Pros: -1080p display for $80.
-The stand doesn't get in the way of the Vesa screw holes on the back like I've seen with most monitors. Holds my MSI ProBox23 very well.
-Easily attaches to the stand, no tools needed.
Cons: -VGA only. Does not play nice with adapters (tried a DVI adapter and the screen would not center).
-Low contrast, especially with darker colors.
Pros: Heavy and doesn't slide or flex. Illuminates in 7 different colors. Inexpensive. Good key spacing.
Cons: The only thing I don't like about this keyboard is the Enter key. Just look at the picture. I keep tapping \ when I want to press Enter, and it's extremely annoying.
Overall Review: Swap the top of the Enter key with \ and this would be perfect.
Pros: Low power-draw with incredible performance. The GeForce software works well (even though it's rather confusing to get shadowplay running).
Cons: The fans start clipping at 45% load, and it's audible because of my tower placement. At 60%+ load, you start hearing coil whine, which is incredibly annoying.
While it's not a con for me, the card is very long, and I'm sure it wouldn't fit in anything less than a large case.
Overall Review: Skip the afterburner software that comes with it. It's only good for recording gameplay, and the GeForce software does it better with Shadowplay by not taxing your CPU at all.
Pros: Very small footprint. Worked with an i5-4690s out of the box, no UEFI update needed, though I updated it anyways. Nice and speedy with a Samsung SSD and 8GB of Kingston 1600 RAM. Runs Win10 with Win8 drivers. Very quiet, and enough room in the box for an aftermarket heatsync (see thoughts below).
Cons: The heatsync that comes with the box is a PAIN. Unless you're using a 54 watt CPU or lower, you're going to have heat issues when your processor is under heavy load. I got up to 82C with an i5-4690s at 80% load (in an air-conditioned house). If you're doing small tasks like watching movies or running MS Office, it's fine. Secondly, you can't install the heatsync unless you remove the motherboard from the box because the board flexes too much when you're trying to push the studs through.
The MSI website is also misleading. It says "Integrated gigabit network and wireless 802.11 ac/b/g/n (optional)." I took that as it had integrated wireless but wasn't required to be used. Turns out it just comes with antennas but no wireless card. I guess that's my fault for not looking at the included parts in more detail, but they still need to change that sentence.
Overall Review: There's just enough room for a 38-39mm heatsync, so I ordered a Noctua NH‑L9I to replace the MSI heatsync. Temperatures don't get above 65C now while playing games, but Im sure video processing software would push it.
Pros: Stunningly fast for running on an Atom processor. Everything opens and runs instantly, and restoration from sleep is no different. 10.1" is the perfect tablet size. The addition of the keyboard is a good productivity boost. Sale price of $350.
Battery life is incredible. The tech specs say ~11 hours, but I'm seeing about 10%/hr being used.
This also comes with Microsoft Office 2013. Not sure if it's a one-year license or not.
Cons: Running updates takes a while, and so does rebooting. Fortunately, this isn't something you have to do often.
Overall Review: Windows 8, while not suitable for a productive desktop replacement, is nice on a tablet. Having MS Office on here and a keyboard makes this useful for an office environment if you need to quickly manage some documents and you're away from your desk.
Pros: Benchmarked with AS SSD sequential yields read speeds of ~190MB/s and write speeds of ~185MB/s. That's better than 99% of USB3 drives on the market.
Cons: Not as fast as advertised, but still fast.
Pros: Above-average HDD for a laptop. Benchmarked at ~95MB/s read and write. The CPU is decent, but slower than any modern Intel chip. The gaming graphics are where this laptop shines, but you'll need a second stick of RAM to run in dual-channel mode (the integrated GPU gets a significant boost from this).
Cons: Screen resolution is low, but this is a cheap laptop. I knew that when I bought it.
Windows 8 is horrible. I got a BSOD just trying to install the 8.1 update.
This laptop runs very hot. I've seen it reach 70C under load.
Overall Review: I wouldn't buy this unless you know how to install Windows 7 or Linux. I went with Win7 Pro, a 120GB Samsung SSD, and an extra 4GB stick of GSkill RAM. The laptop performs very well now.
For what it's worth, I purchased this on sale for $400 about a month ago.
Pros: Works with no issues.
Cons: All RAM is fairly expensive right now.
Overall Review: I know you're not supposed to mix-and-match RAM, but I'm using this with the 4GB stick of Samsung RAM that came in my laptop, and it works fine. My laptop picked up the stick of G.Skill without any trouble. Believe it or not, dual channel RAM makes a huge difference in performance with the Radeon 8000 GPU series. I jumped from a 4.9 to a 6.7 in the WEI on a Lenovo G505s.
Pros: Tons of room and excellent airflow. Cable-management is very easy, though it can be difficult if you don't remove the motherboard tray. Looks nice, and comes with plenty of screws. Screwless drive mounting, too.
Cons: It's heavy, if that bothers you. The holes in the motherboard tray for standoffs aren't threaded, but they give you a screwdriver adapter to help you get them in. I didn't see that piece until I was done, unfortunately.
Overall Review: I didn't use the hot-swap bays because of the reviews saying they kill drives.
Pros: Excellent heat transfer with Arctic MX-2 thermal compound (see Other Thoughts). The blue glow looks much better than I expected since it's most noticeable on the outer edges of the fan, giving it a blue ring. Feels solid once mounted.
Cons: The installation manual desperately needs to be rewritten. There's so many ways to make mistakes because of bad diagrams and misleading directions.
Overall Review: i5-3570k OC'd to 4.3ghz yields temperatures that barely touch 71C under 100% load across all four cores. 60% load is around 55C. Idles at 15-30C when cpu underclocks itself to 1.6ghz.
Make sure your case can hold this monster. Ive got it in a Cooler Master HAF XB.
Pros: Works with Samsung's UN32EH5300 smart TV. Touchpad is responsive, keyboard works, and setup was easy. Just plugged in the usb dongle and the TV recognized it instantly.
Cons: No way to determine battery level, just have to assume it's charged after a while.
Overall Review: It doesn't work with all of the 'smart apps,' but that's the fault of the apps for not having peripheral support, not the Periboard.
Pros: Idling at 25C, and maxes out around 40-45C in a cramped Micro ATX case.
This card is also very quiet, which is something I wasn't expecting. Sitting under my desk, I don't hear it at all unless I stick my head down there.
Performs VERY well for the sale price of $150 I got it for. Guild Wars 2 averaging ~100 fps max settings in outer environments. Skyrim ultra settings with HD texture packs is a consistent 60 fps, with no drops.
Cons: The HDMI port isn't centered in the bracket of the card. Instead, it's close to the top. While this may not be a problem for some people, I couldn't plug any of my HDMI cables into the port because of the way my case is made (small rib sticking up where the space has been bunched out, Antec VSK-3000). I had to physically bend the back of my case with pliers to get a cable plugged in. If the port had been centered, I wouldn't have had to damage my case.
Pros: Cheap, free shipping. Very entertaining game.
Pros: Benchmarked with AS SSD @ 514MB/s read and 128MB/s write. Extremely lightweight. 2.5" can fit in laptops. Plenty large enough to be an OS boot drive with a few games for quick load times. Boots from cold in only 3 second on Win7 64 from cold after motherboard post. Only $89.99 shipped. Comes with software from Samsung to mirror your old drive to the SSD; that was very nice and saved me a lot of time from avoiding a Win7 reinstallation.
Cons: Absolutely nothing. This drive is worth every cent.
Pros: Moves a lot of air with a small diameter.
Cons: Loud enough to compare to a hair dryer being mounted in your case. No speed controller. Tried using SpeedFan application, no dice. Said it was moving ~6700rpm, which is a full 1000 higher than it's rated for.
Overall Review: I cannot recommend this for a desktop. Would be ideal for a server or an unpopulated room.
Pros: The i3 performs very well, being a dual core with 4 threads. 4GB of ram is enough to do simple tasks, and even some low-end games. The design feels sturdy and looks good with an appealing keyboard layout. The HDD performs much better than I expected (benchmarked with AS SSD at 52MB/s write and 73MB/s read). USB 3.0. Only $350 shipped.
Cons: Low resolution of 1366x768, but I knew that when I bought it.
Windows 8. It really is just as confusing as everyone makes it out to be. Lenovo also made it very difficult to install any other OS on here.
Overall Review: Luckily, I managed to get Win7 installed and there is full driver support on the Lenovo website.