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Mark W.

Mark W.

Joined on 05/14/03

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 19
Most Favorable Review

Well-Engineered for Cooling and Cable Management

Phanteks Enthoo Pro Series PH-ES614P_BK Black Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Phanteks Enthoo Pro Series PH-ES614P_BK Black Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case

Pros: This is the second time I've built a system based on this case. The first was for a friend's workstation. This one was for mine. In my case, I housed an extended ATX server motherboard, with twin Xeon E5 CPUs and Noctua coolers, a Titan X GPU, sound card and a firewire card. There was plenty of room for all of this. I like the fact that there's an extra backplane slot at the bottom, below the motherboard, where I was able to put my 4 port USB 2.0 backplane connector. It doesn't take away any PCI slots this way. The assembly goes nice and quick with this case because the wiring is nicely contained on the back side of the motherboard base plate with rubber grommeted pass throughs in all the right places, pretty much. The large server motherboard will block the passthroughs nearest the drive cages however, simply because there is no further room without making the case a nonstandard depth. Drive installation was very simple. Multiple plastic caddies that snap into slots on a large vertical array at the front panel. Just screw in the drives (in my case, I used SSDs exclusively) and slide the caddies into the slots until they click and lock in place. They are right at the intake airflow, and run cool. The power supply area has a cover that separates the supply from the rest of the compartments. I'm not sure that it's necessary, but some will probably appreciate the visual simplicity of hiding the supply. The cooling system in this case is quiet and very efficient. A larger fan handles the intake and a slightly smaller one handles exhaust. This puts positive pressure in the case. Some say this helps to keep dust from accumulating. Speaking of dust, there is a removable filter on the bottom side of the case. I didn't notice any such filter on the front however, where dust can enter via the huge intake fan. The case ventilation is excellent. My CPUs run at 25°C with normal background activity and hit 38°C in Prime95. No heat buildup. Overall, beside the black, simplistic look, it's a functionally excellent case for high power dissipation components.

Cons: Removal of side covers requires use of two screws. No quick slide locks like on the Silverstone cases I used for my old system. Top mounted power button may expose the user to accidental system power off if objects are placed on top of the case. Hard drive LED is impossible to see unless directly overhead of the case.

Overall Review: It was necessary to drill one hole and install one extra spacer to accommodate the X10DRi server motherboard from Supermicro as the board has a mounting hole in a critical spot near the DIMM modules. This needed to be properly supported and no hole existed on the mounting plate, so it was necessary to drill and tap a hole for the needed spacer.

Most Critical Review

Doesn't Work--No Devices Detected

SYBA SY-PEX30016 3 Port IEEE 1394 Firewire 2x 1394B & 1x 1394A PCIe 1.1 x1 Card TI XIO2213B Chipset
SYBA SY-PEX30016 3 Port IEEE 1394 Firewire 2x 1394B & 1x 1394A PCIe 1.1 x1 Card TI XIO2213B Chipset

Pros: None that I have been able to discover.

Cons: Adobe Premiere cannot detect the camera or other DV or HDV device attached to this adapter. HDVSplit cannot detect a camera connected to this device. A Firewire drive connected to this adapter is not detected by Windows 7.

Overall Review: It may be possible that I got a dud out of many that work for others, but in this case, it appears to be non-functional. I didn't discover the problem until I tried to capture DV video for the first time, a month after I built the system.

Too Slow for Video Editing

Intel Xeon E5-2630 v3 Haswell-EP 2.4 GHz 8 x 256KB L2 Cache 20MB L3 Cache LGA 2011-3 85W BX80644E52630V3 Server Processor
Intel Xeon E5-2630 v3 Haswell-EP 2.4 GHz 8 x 256KB L2 Cache 20MB L3 Cache LGA 2011-3 85W BX80644E52630V3 Server Processor

Pros: Runs cool. Uses less power.

Cons: Cannot outperform my 7 year old Core2Quad Xtreme clocked at 4.1GHz for basic video editing in Premiere. I'm experiencing dropped frames at 1080P and 4K resolutions. nBench floating point performance comes up about 30% slower than my Core2Quad. Cinebench R15 single thread performance is similar to my old CPU/machine. Not the upgrade I expected.

Overall Review: I'd really thought that Moore's Law would apply to CPUs, expecting a very significant increase in performance over my 7 year old Core2Quad. That this new system with TWO Xeon CPUs stutters and drops more frames than the aging Core2Quad system that it is supposed to replace, really left me speechless. This CPU should leave the C2Q in the dust, video editing-wise. My peers are editing this same footage on Macbook Pro's with none of the problems I am having. The footage cannot be that difficult to decode and play back if a laptop can do it. Certainly a dual Xeon should be more capable than a laptop. But the results contradict the expectations. I've spent all month with tech support for the various system component, and reached a dead end, and also exceeded the RMA period, so I am stuck with the monthly payments for this behemoth, even though it is nearly useless for the intended purpose. Other system integrators use Xeons in their high end NLE workstations, so I don't understand why common NLE apps perform so poorly on Xeons. My mistake was to try and clone one of those high end workstations and DiY it myself instead of paying someone thirty grand to build it for me, where I have recourse if it doesn't perform well. Oh well, it's only a year's income in financing that I am on the hook for now. Live and learn.

No Good for Video Editing--Too Slow

SUPERMICRO MBD-X10DRI Extended ATX Server Motherboard Dual LGA 2011 R3 Intel C612
SUPERMICRO MBD-X10DRI Extended ATX Server Motherboard Dual LGA 2011 R3 Intel C612

Pros: Runs cool, programs don't crash, stable while running.

Cons: Too slow to keep up with 4K video editing in Premiere. Playback is laggy, stutters and drops frames at random throughout playback. Even though I have the fastest GPU that nVidia makes at this current time, the system simply can't feed it fast enough. Cinebench R15 benchmark is only 59FPS on this system. My 7 year old Core2Quad with a GTX680 scores 78FPS on this OpenGL test. The new dual Xeon machine should run circles around it, but doesn't. The motherboard takes several minutes just to power on self-test. When Windows is ready to boot, the monitor shuts off and I cannot see anything, thus cannot use the F8 boot menu if I want to do a system restore or boot in safe mode. The on board VGA is disabled both by jumper and in the BIOS, so I don't understand where my boot screen is going because it's not on the primary or secondary monitors when starting up. These long startup cycles are responsible for troubleshooting taking many hours for just one problem. I've spent the past month troubleshooting this system with Supermicro tech support, but have yet to get any productive work done. Once I get my monitors configured the way I need them for work (2.5K main desktop, 4K for video playout), any I make ANY change to BIOS settings, the system will scramble the monitor configuration and for the next dozen boot cycles will force some nonsense resolution of 640x480 on the 4K monitor and move the desktop there, scrambling the icons and leaving my main monitor blank and no way to function. The system worked okay until I made a tech support recommended change to CPU EIST setting in an attempt to improve performance. From that point forward, I cannot boot properly. I've never seen anything like this on any system I've built before. Even after a system image restore, the display resolution problem persists, so the problem is hardware, not software. I've tried a couple of different NLE software on this machine, but none can play 4K 60P media at all. 4K 24P is iffy, with sometimes smooth play for a few seconds then it stops, or stutters. In summation, there is something not right with this motherboard, or the combination of GPU and the motherboard. The erratic behavior makes it seem like possessed by demons. The fact that any simple change to BIOS causes the monitor config to go haywire is too much. But the inability to play video without constant stutters is a deal-killer.

Overall Review: My peers are editing these same camera files on Macbook computers with no problems, so these files apparently don't take a lot of resources to edit. Why a dual Xeon can't edit 1080 and 4K without dropping frames doesn't make sense. It must be a hardware conflict with this motherboard, otherwise big system integrators would not use them for 4K editing workstation builds costing five figures and up. The system is stable and software doesn't crash, but performance just won't match or surpass my 7 year old Core2Quad, despite the fact that this system has 16 cores total. Floating point performance in nBench comes in about 30% lower than my Core2Quad, which surprised me, given that I'd read that the Xeon E5 series v3 have 16X faster FP operations per clock cycle than prior CPUs. The system is useless for the intended purpose. I've got financing payments to cover now, but no improvement in productivity to show for it. I'll have to part it out and sell the components through an online auction site and take the loss, as the cycle of tech support vassilations have run my past the RMA period.

Expensive, not much faster than older GPU, Can't Remember Monitor Configs

EVGA GeForce GTX TITAN X 12G-P4-2992-KR 12GB SC GAMING, Play 4k with Ease Graphics Card
EVGA GeForce GTX TITAN X 12G-P4-2992-KR 12GB SC GAMING, Play 4k with Ease Graphics Card

Pros: Looks nice. Only takes up two slots.

Cons: Performance is worse than my old GTX680 on CInebench R15.. only 59.18FPS on the OpenGL benchmark, as opposed to 78FPS for my old GTX680 running on a 7 year old Core2Quad machine. And here's a major annoyance with this card: every time I boot my machine, my 4K monitor (secondary display) becomes my primary and its resolution gets set to 640x480, while my primary display (2.5K) becomes secondary desktop. My Wacom tablet mapping gets scrambled up so that it only works on the 640x480 running 4K display. I have to spend several minutes reconfiguring primary, secondary monitors, change tablet mapping and finally rearrange my desktop icons they way they were before. Upon the next reboot, it's all messed up again. I never had this problem with my GTX680 on my ancient C2Q machine.

Overall Review: Many scenes in Maya 2015 bring this card to its knees and run slowly at a few frames per second. I can't see any noticeable increase in frame rate on a particular medium density warehouse project file on this new machine/GPU over the 7 year old Core2Quad that it replaces. As for video editing, Premiere drops frames constantly on this machine. Don't know if all the blame is the GPU or the dual Xeons, but after weeks of going back and forth with tech support from both EVGA and the motherboard manufacturer, I'm at a dead end. I can't edit video any better than I could on my 7 year old PC, and Maya still have difficulty with the same scenes that ran slowly on my old machine in terms of camera moves being sluggish at 8-9 FPS. GPU usage shows 100% when playing back the animation in Maya, but there's not all that many polygons. I can't say that this card is objectively faster than the $200 used GTX680 card I have in my old PC. I've spent so much time back and forth with tech support with no resolution that my RMA period ran out.

Fast, Reliable, Cool Running

Crucial MX200 2.5" 250GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) CT250MX200SSD1
Crucial MX200 2.5" 250GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) CT250MX200SSD1

Pros: I use this drive for my O/S boot drive. In service for a couple of weeks now in a new editing workstation. So far no issues whatsoever. Drive runs cool, has very fast throughput and was priced nicely.

Cons: None.