Joined on 12/04/03
Pros: Small footprint Accepts Port Multiplexer SATA II
Cons: BIOS Firmware / Driver confusion. Silicon Image / SYBA leave you guessing which BIOS to use really. Both recognize the single hard drive, and both let you partition and access it. Only the non-RAID will let you boot from the drive though. Maybe I missed some info there, but I'm usually pretty good at digging things like that up. See below for other thoughts about the flashing process. Also, I could only pick the second PCI Express slot because with the other the card wouldn't go down all the way because of a transistor sitting right there where the card slides in. But that's more of a motherboard issue, so I don't want to whale in that. It's just very apparent that mobo manufacturers don't really consider those PCI Express cards. Ah well...
Overall Review: I hooked up just one drive from Hitachi. The controller came with the SATARAID5 V7.3.13 flashed. I was not aware that I had to flash the BIOS to a non-RAID version in order for Vista to recognize the Hitachi as a valid, bootable target drive. Not that Vista didn't recognize the drive with the SATARAID BIOS / Driver combo, but it simply refused to install to it. Yet I could create partitions on the drive, just not boot from it. My computer doesn't have a FDD by design, so flashing was a BIG issue. I followed two guides I found on the web and tweaked the CD image to include UPDFLASH and the SIL3132 BIOS(es) using Ubuntu Linux on a separate PC. Now that's a hassle. Silicon Image and/or SYBA should provide such a CD Boot Image on their web site and not have their customers jump through hoops to accomplish such a mundane task. Thus, I give it a 4 out of 5.
Great Under-Volter, Poor Overclocker
Pros: Affordable Supports FX-Series chips (I have an FX-8320) Good build quality Lots of connections
Cons: 4+1 Power Phase inadequate for running FX-8320 even at stock settings VRM throttling Requires tweaking to get stable 3.5 GHz without throttling
Overall Review: I've purchased this board at a different retailer (the one that has M and C in its name) because it was on sale with the FX-8320 chip. I had not put any thought into the power delivery system of this board for the chip I was buying. The board supports the chip, and that was all that mattered. A few months in, and I started playing around a little with over-clocking since I read that the FX-8320 is such great over-clocker. My target, initially, was to go beyond 4GHz since that is the chip's boost clock speed anyway and I figured it would surely go beyond that. Unfortunately, 4GHz is the only stable over-clock that I could muster with this board without Prime95 tests failing. Or so I thought. That's when I started noticing the CPU throttling speeds down to 1.4GHz @ 7x multiplier on a regular basis. I figured that the chip was just getting too hot and that more cooling would solve the problem. Not so. As I read on many user forums that discuss the issue, the problem seems to stem from the 4+1 power phase which seems to be barely managing to run the chip at stock speeds. As it is, I spent an entire afternoon playing around with various settings, mainly manipulating the multipliers as well as the core voltage settings. Even after resetting the motherboard to its defaults and the chip running at its advertised 3.5 GHz, I noticed that socket temperatures would steadily creep up to 70 degrees and beyond all the way up to 74 degrees celsius, which seems to be the point where throttling kicks in. I have plenty of air flow in my case, and I even added an extra fan to blow air over the VRM/MOSFET area. None of it made a dent. In the end, I set my goal to simply getting the stock speed of 3.5GHz to a point where no throttling would happen. I achieved this by reducing the voltages one step at a time using AMD Overdrive and monitoring temps and speed using HWINFO64. I was able to reduce the voltage all the way down to 1.1250v at 17.5x multiplier and 3.5GHz speed. Prime95 runs stable still, when coming from idle temps and fan speeds. The maximum recorded package temperature was around 45 degrees celsius, and socket temperature hovers around 65 and 70 degrees, but no more than that. And: No throttling. So to be fair, the board is a great under-volter, but it is a poor over-clocker due to its meager power delivery to the 8-core chip. Anyone who is interested in over-clocking the FX-8320 to speeds between 4.4 and 4.6 GHz (which is what I found the most common over-clocks on the Internet) better invest in a motherboard with an 8+2 power phase. Those are typically found on the much more expensive boards that have an AMD 990FX chipset. The ASRock Fatal1ty 990FX Killer comes to mind, and I might upgrade to that in the future. In summary, if you want your FX-8320 to run stable without excessive heat and subsequent throttling, it's imperative that you under-volt the chip. That's my experience with this board and CPU combination. Good luck.
Amazing Air Cooler
Pros: Dissipates heat extremely well Quiet fans Mounting kit is amazing
Cons: Second fan will sit higher than middle fan even with small profile memory in place.
Overall Review: In a previous review about my ASRock 970 Extreme3 R2.0, I complained what a poor overclocker that board was. I still stand by that statement. However, now I've thrown this enourmous heat sink on my FX-8320 and right off the bat, it dropped my temperatures from around 60-65 degrees celsius at 3.5GHz/1.375v to about 48 degrees celsius. Not only that, my previously unattainable 4.0GHz overclock which kept throttling my CPU is now stable enough that I was even able to slightly undervolt from my stock 1.275v that the motherboard detected to 1.25v, which bring the temperature on the socket right below 60 degrees celsius + no throttling. So that alone was worth the money. Going further, I was able to get to a stable 4.4GHz @ 1.35v and an additional fan (Cougar Vortex 120mm PWM fan) that I sandwiched between my graphics card and the side of the heat sink in order to blow air over the MOSFET area. Granted all my fans were now running at full force, but the 4.4GHz were stable enough for me to go "Yahay!" So I'm thinking, that with a better motherboard that's got a solid 8+2 power phase, I might even be able to attain a higher clock speed, since the thermal margin as reported by AMD Overdrive was still well above 20 degrees celsius. So there's still plenty of headroom in the CPU to go further. For my original goal of attaining just the slightest overclock of 4.0GHz without throttling, I say: mission accomplished. Also, the fans are pretty quiet. Now I have to save up to replace my Cougar Vortex fans with those awesome Noctua ones (pricey). NH-D15: recommended!
Shredded A Blu-Ray
Cons: Drive didn't last very long. I only watched two Blu-Ray movies with it: Get Smart and Hellboy II. Both movies had some troubles. Get Smart on my first attempt would make the disc spin and spin and spin and the movie would never start. I used the bundled PowerDVD 7.2 and ran the updates from their website. Unfortunately, I didn't click on the free upgrade offer for PoerDVD 8. Anyway... Today, it shredded Hellboy II, which wasn't my own copy but borrowed from a well-known video store chain. That was the death nail for it. I RMA'ed it for a refund and unfortunately had to pay shipping and the broken Blu-Ray. Needless to say, I have to agree with my wife. I will never buy cheap stuff like that again!
Overall Review: Don't buy. Read the reviews. It has poor error correction. Hellboy II (on my first attempt to watch it) got stuck in the middle of Chapter 10 in a fight scene. It stuttered horribly and eventually completely hung my Vista PC... Poor drive for me. Next one will be a stand-alone player, maybe a PS3.
Pros: 320GB is more than enough for what I will be doing with it. Vista Premium, some recordings with Media Center and games is what I'll be using it for. The price was superb. Happy once again with Newegg's SUPER-FAST service. THANKS!
Cons: HITACHI, why didn't you provide a jumpers for setting the SATA II/I mode??? Now I have to use your "Feature Tool", which is a bootable PC DOS CD. Only problem is: my AMD / RD480-based motherboard just crashes right at the beginning, whereas my other PC (INTEL-based), boots the CD just fine! What's going on, I say? Why didn't you use FreeDOS instead? Sigh... it makes me ill.
Overall Review: Other than the drive operating at SATA 150 speeds, great drive.