Date Joined: 12/09/02
Pros: + Good physical construction.
+ Mostly easy to install. One caveat listed in cons.
+ Nice LED aesthetics, if you're into that sort of thing.
+ Audio EQ software ("Nahimic") does produce really nice audio, BUT...
Cons: - CPU power port is placed very close to some plastic covers, which can interfere with plugging in the power cord. Certainly not impossible, but I found it tricky.
- Backplate ports are not industry-standard color coded. Most ports are red. (e.g. instead of blue for USB 3 or light green for analog front speakers). It's not hard to figure out what is what, but someone who is red colorblind may need to keep the manual handy.
- Audio control panel and Nahimic EQ software for Windows 10 version 1709 (and later) cannot be directly downloaded from MSI. Instead they are acquired from the Microsoft Store.
- Nahimic audio EQ software is buggy and doesn't seem to always work right (e.g. sometimes gets to a loading screen and then auto-closes).
Overall Review: As of this writing, I had bought this MB about a year ago, and the enhanced audio was the primary selling point. Back then, the audio driver, control panel, and EQ software was contained in a single direct download, and worked very similar to the classic Realtek audio control panel. The enhanced audio is very nice with music, videos, and gaming — overall, good times.
But the latest version of the audio software is quite a different experience. There are THREE install packages for those using Windows 10 RS3 — aka version 1709 — or later. You get the audio driver from MSI's website. Then you get the audio control panel from the Microsoft store. And finally the Nahimic EQ software is also downloaded from the Microsoft store.
I recently formatted/reinstalled Windows 10 version 1803, and with a fresh OS install — MSI's older all-in-one audio software package has been crashy and unreliable. MSI's website does specifically state that the older driver is for Windows 10 RS2 — aka version 1703 — or older, so this is not a big surprise. But it is a disappointment since the older software was a far better experience in its day.
The enhanced audio is very nice, if you can get Nahimic to behave. Can be a big "if", as I am really tired of fighting with it. I can't recommend this MB to anyone who is interested in the enhanced audio, and there are many less expensive alternatives for anyone who doesn't care about enhanced audio.
If you're looking for LED bling — again, there are other less expensive alternatives to consider.
It is solidly constructed, still running stable after a year (enhanced audio aside), and has a nice BIOS interface — and for that I'll grant 2 eggs instead of 1. As I stated, the enhanced audio was the primary selling point for me, and lately I have been far too frustrated with it to grant a higher rating.
As an aside: I suspect that to notice any benefit with the enhanced audio, you'll also need at least a decent set of powered 2.1 or better speakers. I can say the enhanced audio (when working) pairs quite well with my Cyber Acoustics 2.1 speakers.
Pros: Just like the title says: Working A-OK with MSI Z370 Gaming Pro Carbon and Intel Core i7-8700 (non-K)
Cons: Only a minor nitpick: The advertised speed clearly states "DDR4 2666". But I had to turn on XMP in BIOS before my MB would auto detect 2666 MHz. Otherwise, detection was at 2400 MHz.
Overall Review: * My motherboard has BIOS version A00 (factory original), and the RAM is detected OK.
* First thing I did before loading an OS was to run a full pass of memtest86+ (via UBCD v5.3.7) and no problems were found.
* My machine has been running solidly stable for almost two weeks, now.
Pros: The LED lighting is decorative -- for those who enjoy such things.
Cons: Subpar sound quality for a 2.1 set of speakers. Inconveniently placed controls -- volume control is on the front of the subwoofer, and power switch is on the back of the subwoofer.
Overall Review: I'm no audiophile -- meaning I'm not looking for anything really fancy (I'll pass on $500 Bose). However, I still believe that a speaker's number one priority should be sound quality. But these speakers have that backwards, being more impressive with its LED decoration than its audio.
In my personal experience, Cyber Acoustics makes a better sounding 2.1 speaker set than this, and for less cost. I wouldn't be surprised if the same held true for other brands.
2 eggs -- because these are very subpar speakers at the current MSRP for what speakers are supposed to do: play sound.
Pros: It can achieve speeds FASTER than my USB 2 flash drive.
100MB file in 16MB chunks reported an average read speed of about 60MB/s. Average write speed was about 6 MB/s.
Certainly not top of the line, but it did outperform my USB2 16GB Sandisk Glide (which averaged 19MB/s read and 3 MB/s write).
Cons: It can achieve speeds SLOWER than my USB2 flashdrive.
1MB file in 16K chunks reported an average read speed of about 11MB/s and average write speed of about 1MB/s.
But ask yourself: At 1 MB/s to write a 1 MB file, how long are you really waiting? OK I grant you that this is certainly not the drive to use for excessive file operations, but it is a PORTABLE drive and as a PORTABLE drive, if you are too impatient to wait 1 second to move a file, you need to lay off the caffiene. ;-)
Overall Review: So is it fast or is it slow? The devil is in the details.
I ran a bunch of benchmarks with this drive with FAT32, ExFat, and NTFS file systems, and while there was a little variability in performance, the overall story remains the same. The larger the file, the faster this drive performs. Meanwhile, with tiny files, the benchmarks look real bad on the surface, but don't translate to much grief in the real world as long as you treat it as a portable drive.
I also noticed that data chunks that are a multiple of 16K tend to read/write the fastest, so I infer a recommendation to format this drive with 16,384 byte (16KB) sectors -- which is the drive default, anyway.
100MB File / 16MB chunks -- 60MB/s write and 6 MB/s read
10MB File / 256K chunks -- 26 MB/s write and 3MB/s read
1MB file / 16K chunks -- 11 MB/s write and 1 MB/sec read.
Compare: my Sandisk Glide USB2 flashdrive tested consistently at 19 MB/s read and 3 MB/sec write regardless of file and data chunk size.
My PC's USB 3 controller is an Asmedia ASM104x XHCI controller.
Conclusion: I give it 4 eggs because while it is not the fastest portable drive in the bay, when translating benchmark numbers to real-world perspective, this really isn't all that bad. This is portable storage that will operate faster than USB2 when it matters.
Pros: Free games with a new MSI brand AMD Radeon HD7950 video card.
Cons: Requires three different digital delivery applications.
Bioshock Infinite: Steam
Crysis 3: Origin
Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon: UPlay
Overall Review: It is difficult to argue with free, but requiring three different digital delivery applications is an inconvenience. Gotta register new accounts, manage additional software I probably won't ever use for anything else, and so on...
It would be much better had AMD opted to provide three free games via a single platform and called it good. Hint: Me and most other PC gamers already use Steam.
Pros: I got it working on Windows 7, Mac OS Leopard, and Mac OS Snow Leopard without administrative privileges. This is nice as many encryption technologies require admin privileges. I also got it working on Windows XP Pro, but I needed admin privileges to do so. And yes!--This is Mac OS Leopard and Snow Leopard compatible! Hardware encryption enforces a strong password. A PDF user's manual is included on the drive. I bought it to keep my personal projects private in case I accidentally lose the drive, and it seems this drive will do just that!
Cons: This is not one of those "just plug it in and it works" type of flash drive. Security and convenience are diametrically opposed, and this drive is built around security. As such, it will not work on every computer configuration. It may conflict with other hard drive encryption (not always but it can happen). This product is not very difficult to figure out, but it is certainly not for the computing novice!
Overall Review: This drive isn't perfect, but it is a possible alternative when you want to keep portable files private, but the workstations (PC or Mac!) you use at school or work do not allow you administrative privileges. This is really good because most low cost security and encryption technologies require admin rights to work correctly. Of great importance is to understand that two consecutive free drive assignments must be available between hardware devices and network shares. The drive letter assignment note is specific to Windows as Macs do not identify drives with letter assignments, but Macs will still show two drives attached and mounted. Anyways, one "drive" is a read-only partition that contains the software to unlock the data with a correct password and the other "drive" is the actual data partition.
Pros: I am very satisfied with the performance of this CPU. There are faster and better CPUs out there, but this is pretty good for its price. Computer runs stable.
Cons: Included stock heatsink/fan is surprisingly flimsy in comparison to the one I got with a socket-939 Athlon 64 x2. But then this new CPU draws less power (95w vs 110w) and is built on a smaller manufacturing scale (45nm vs. 90nm), so the flimsier heatsink/fan may very well work out okay for regular use.
Overall Review: It does have less internal cache than its Phenom II brothers, but this is among the least expensive 4-core CPUs around. No problems attaching an old socket-939 heatsink/fan (because it is better). I paired this with the Gigabyte GA-770T-USB3 MB and 4GB of A-Data DDR3-1333 RAM. After a week, everything is still stable.
Pros: Easy setup. drivers installed with no problems. Detected Athlon II 620 x4 CPU just fine. PC is running stable. I like it when an upgrade goes easy and smooth like this one.
Cons: According to the manufacturer's webpage (under FAQs), if you are having trouble with USB3 compatibility, there is a USB3 firmware update, but the update only works on Windows Vista/7.
Overall Review: This MB does ship with revision "F1" BIOS, and as noted by others it will not recognize a 6-core CPU without a BIOS update to revision "F2". Not a problem for me as I bought an inexpensive 4-core CPU.
Pros: I've had this little guy for a couple of years and have used it on both Windows XP and Mac OS "Leopard". I've have no trouble with it and plugged in mice, keyboards, flash drives, portable hard drives, a gamepad, and a Canon scanner. Works both powered and unpowered, making it a nice travel unit, too.
Cons: The uplink and power cord plug in the sides, next to the USB ports, which doesn't help with cord clutter. The power and uplink cords do NOT interfere with the USB ports, and the cord clutter is only a very minor con in my opinion, so I still grant it 5 stars.
Overall Review: The power supply is larger than the unit itself, but this unit is small and the power supply is not any larger than any other typical DC adapter.
Pros: I have no complaints about the sound quality. While they worked, I really enjoyed the sound quality for playing video games and watching DVDs.
Cons: Subwoofer quit after 7 months. Although the speakers operated just fine until then.
Overall Review: I have a different pair of Cyber Accoustic speakers for my PC, a 26 watt 2.1 set. I've had those for a couple years and they still work. I am surprised (and disappointed) that this 68 watt set had failed so soon. But the price is low enough that I am contemplating giving this 68 watt set another chance.
Pros: 5 year warranty! Working fine. Yep, just fine... However... see below.
Cons: The hard drive is among the loudest I have used in recent times. It also makes an odd "ticking" sound (in addition to the normal operating sounds) reminiscent of a drive head smacking the platter, but only when writing data. But unlike a failing drive doing a headbang, this drive does seem to be working just fine.
Overall Review: I am a professional onsite break/fix laptop and desktop repair technician and level 2 IT administrator supporting 3000+ end users. My credentials include AS degree in computer science (high honors), CompTIA A+ certified, and Dell Warranty Parts certified. Many, many failing hard drives from every manufacturer have crossed my path, and that "ticking" sound is all too familiar. But, aside from the disturbing sounds, I cannot find any problem with this drive. I even ran Seagate diagnostics on it, and got a clean bill of health. But should something bad happen down the road, I still have that nice 5 year warranty. Remember to always back up your data, even if a drive is working well.
Pros: Excellent set of features for the price!
Cons: The bundled Nero 7 Essentials software pack is garbage. The software package is nothing more than an 30-day trial DVD playing/burning suite. To give an example: The DVD player software is free 30 days trial and doesn't even come with Dolby sound filters, so my Shrek 2 DVD didn't have any audio! Of course, I got a popup offering me to download the Dolby soundpack, which I can try out for 30 days... What the heck is up with that?! Garbage software = uninstalled, removed, buh-bye!
Overall Review: It's a bit noisy when it's running full speed, but I don't think it's that bad. Lite-On has a great piece of hardware here, but they chose poorly with bundling Nero 7 Essentials. I've seen better software bundles on other drives. However, the drive is still a great price just for the hardware alone.
Pros: Integrated DVI output with on-board graphics (very nice!) 4 RAM slots in MicroATX form-factor. Onboard hi-def audio and gigabit LAN round out a nice onboard set of features.
Cons: There are a couple of "gotchas" to look out for. (1) ***You must have a floppy disk and floppy drive to flash the BIOS.*** At least for the first time. My board shipped with a BIOS 3 versions out of date. There is no Windows-based flashing utility included with the driver CD, and the link to download a Windows flash utility on Asus's website is dead. Also, the BIOS self-flash utility is useless as Asus advises to NOT use it unless you have BIOS version 0601, which happens to be the most current BIOS version as of this writing. Since my board had an out-of-date BIOS, I was forced into using a DOS bootable floppy to flash the BIOS. (2) AMD drivers for chipset are part of the integrated ATI Radeon video driver package, and the ATI drivers don't work 100% in Windows XP Pro without .Net framework 2.0. Make sure to install .Net framework 2.0 BEFORE installing AMD/ATI driver package, or you will experience some odd errors.
Overall Review: First board arrived DOA, but got a replacement through RMA. Replacement board works fine. Just watch out for those two "Gotchas!"
Using AMD Athlon 64 X2 3600+ Brisbane and 2GB of G-Skill DDR2-800 RAM.
Pros: Works great! Excellent bang for the buck.
Cons: None that I can think of.
Overall Review: This processor is an excellent value for its price.
Pros: Solid and stable memory. But... (see cons)
Cons: Newegg and Corsair advertise this memory as having timings 2-3-3-6. WRONG! Memory's SPD reports timings of 3-3-3-8. ***Buyer Beware!!!*** This is CL3 memory, not CL2.
Overall Review: I have been A+ certified for almost 7 years, and I currently work as an IT professional supporting equipment for over 3,000 end users! Fixing PCs isn't just my hobby, it's my career! I am an IT professional who understands how to evaluate memory among other components. While the memory works fine from a stability standpoint, I paid a premium price for not so premium memory.
Pros: Installed the card, loaded the latest Nvidia forceware driver (v84.21), and away I go. I've had it for two weeks, and I get solid performance with no hassles. I like it.
Cons: A few textures show up black in World of Warcraft (like harpies' feathers). In-game work around is to disable smooth shading (and restart the game), which does fix the problem.
Overall Review: Good card for the price. Don't ask me about overclocking. I prefer to not gamble with my hardware. Card works plenty fine at stock settings.
Pros: Nforce-4 SLI board for under $xxx. Passive cooling makes for a quieter system and no worrying of chipset fan failures (*big plus*!!!). Been stable for over 2 weeks.
Cons: Nforce-4 firewall and forceware network software will corrupt file downloads. Remove the Nvidia firewall and forceware software and file downloads will be fine. Not really Abit's fault. I blame Nvidia.
Overall Review: Only 4 SATA ports instead of the normal 8 found among other Nforce-4 SLI boards... but honestly, do you really need 8 ports? I may never use more than 2.
Also, there is only 1 gigabit network port, while most other Nforce-4 SLI boards have 2. Who would ever need 2 network ports? I don't.
I'd rather trim the fat and get a less expensive, but still reliable, Nforce-4 SLI board. And this board is exactly that.
No thoughts on overclocking. I prefer to not throw those dice.