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RYAN S.

RYAN S.

Joined on 08/18/05

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 11
Most Favorable Review

Well featured Z390 motherboard for Intel's 9th Gen processors

GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER LGA 1151 (300 Series) Intel Z390 SATA 6Gb/s ATX Intel Motherboard
GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS MASTER LGA 1151 (300 Series) Intel Z390 SATA 6Gb/s ATX Intel Motherboard

Pros: This motherboard features a total of 9 USB Type-A ports: 3 USB 3.1 Gen 2(red); 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 with DAC-UP(yellow); 4 USB 2.0(black) in addition to a Type-C USB 3.1 Gen 2 port. Stellar onboard audio using a Realtek ALC1220-VB codec driven with an ESS Sabre 9118 DAC for the front speaker/headphone output. Triple M.2 slots which 2 support both SATA and PCIe 3.0x4(M2M & M2A). The VRM is well built with 12+2 phases and dual 8-pin connectors to ensure clean power delivery to the latest Core i9-9900K processor under extreme overclocking. Also includes an Intel Gigabit LAN(I219V) and Intel Wireless AC-9560 networking.

Cons: PCIe lanes are shared between M.2 slots(M2M & M2A) and SATA ports; the third PCIe x4 slot with the third M.2(M2P) which is the limitation of the Intel Z390 chipset.

Overall Review: Includes 1 front panel USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 header, 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 header(2 ports) and 2 USB 2.0 headers (4 ports). Dual BIOS is switchable via an onboard switch.

10/19/2018

Well featured Z390 mini-ITX motherboard for Intel's 9th Gen processors

ASRock Z390 PHANTOM GAMING-ITX/AC LGA 1151 (300 Series) Intel Z390 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
ASRock Z390 PHANTOM GAMING-ITX/AC LGA 1151 (300 Series) Intel Z390 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard

Pros: Finally dual M.2 offered on this Asrock mini-ITX motherboard unlike the previous Z370 and Z270 boards. Still includes the Thunderbolt 3 port(USB-C) and have 4 USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type A ports and 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports on the rear IO. Includes the Intel Wireless AC-9560 wi-fi and Intel Gigabit LAN(I219V). The onboard audio is a Realtek ALC1220 codec with the NE5532 op-amp(headphone amp) like the previous boards. Uses an improved VRM heatsink which should allow some overclocking headroom for the new Core i9-9900K CPU.

Cons: Only 4 SATA ports while 6 on the previous boards (a tradeoff of having dual M.2 slots which both are capable of supporting PCIe 3.0 x4 and SATA SSD's). Also mentioned in a previous post, the Thunderbolt 3 port only runs at half speed (20Gb/s), although I do not have a Thunderbolt 3 device to confirm with.

Overall Review: Would be nice if a second LAN (Realtek 2.5Gb NIC) is included. Otherwise this is a well featured Z390 mini-ITX motherboard. Includes both a standard RGB 12V LED header and a digital 5V RGB header NOTE: This review for ASRock review rebate program.

10/19/2018

First Intel CPU that can easily overclock at 5GHz on air.

Intel Core i7 8th Gen - Core i7-8700K Coffee Lake 6-Core 3.7 GHz (4.7 GHz Turbo) LGA 1151 (300 Series) 95W BX80684I78700K Desktop Processor Intel UHD Graphics 630
Intel Core i7 8th Gen - Core i7-8700K Coffee Lake 6-Core 3.7 GHz (4.7 GHz Turbo) LGA 1151 (300 Series) 95W BX80684I78700K Desktop Processor Intel UHD Graphics 630

Pros: I own 3 of these CPU's and 1 of my 8700K's can run at 5.0GHz at 1.265V measured with a DMM with a Noctua NH-D15 using only a single fan and the temperature stays below 85C while stress testing for 24hr using Prime95 28.10 with AVX disabled. Also stable with ROG Realbench. The second one can also overclock at 5.0GHz at a much higher voltage of 1.350V measured with a DMM which runs a lot warmer under the same torture test using an NZXT Kraken X62 AIO while reaching temps of 89C.

Cons: Unfortunately the last one struggled to reach 5.0GHz without going over 1.4V which may likely need a de-lid but stills reaches 4.9GHz under the X62 AIO. The current fixes for the recently discovered Meltdown and Spectre bugs which makes these and most Intel CPU's venerable to these exploits can slow down the performance to some degree but thankfully Coffee Lake like Kabylake and Skylake have PCID so it is only in the single digit percentage while it mainly affects Haswell and older CPU's running older Windows operating systems like 7 or 8.

Good mini ITX Z370 motherboard with dual M.2

GIGABYTE Z370N WIFI (rev. 1.0) LGA 1151 (300 Series) Intel Z370 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
GIGABYTE Z370N WIFI (rev. 1.0) LGA 1151 (300 Series) Intel Z370 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard

Pros: First Gigabyte mini ITX motherboard with dual M.2, Dual Intel LAN and Intel Wi-Fi onboard. Additional features includes 6 USB 3.0 type A and one type C ports on rear I/O, Realtek ALC1220 audio codec, 4 SATA 6G ports, one internal USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 headers along with one RGBW and an addressable digital RGB header which is switchable between 5V for low power LED strips and 12V for high power LED strips. Also features 3 fan headers which are all PWM capable.

Cons: VRM heat sink is a little undersized which can overheat without forced air flow (such as with water cooling) if overclocking the i7-8700K above 4.7GHz under high stress loads for more than a few minutes causing the core clock to throttle down to 800MHz briefly. It is recommended to have a fan blowing across the VRM heat sink if using water cooling or use a down draft CPU air cooler.

11/18/2017

Coffee Lake upgrade for Strix Z270-I Gaming

ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I Gaming LGA 1151 (300 Series) Intel Z370 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
ASUS ROG Strix Z370-I Gaming LGA 1151 (300 Series) Intel Z370 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard

Pros: The Strix Z370-I Gaming motherboard shares a similar layout as the previous Strix Z270-I Gaming except a USB 2.0 header is finally added above the PCIe slot to allow the use of internal USB devices like AIO liquid coolers (such as the NZXT Kraken X62 or Corsair H115i) without using a USB 3.0 to 2.0 adapter which allows the use of the front panel USB 3.0 ports of the case without routing the cable out the back of the case. Other minor changes involves the RGB header being previously a non addressable header on the Z270 and an addressable header on the Z370.

Cons: Not backwards compatible with 7th gen (Kaby Lake) or 6th gen (Sky Lake). Cannot use now because all 8th gen (Coffee Lake) CPU’s are currently out of stock everywhere (waiting for i7 8700K availability). Cannot use non addressable RGB LED strips. Windows 10 support only(no official Windows 7 support) for those who still running Win7. HDMI port is still v1.4b not HDMI 2.0b for those that wanted to use onboard graphics for 4K (3840 x 2160 at 60Hz) but can be resolved using a DisplayPort to HDMI 2.0 adapter.

Overall Review: If upgrading from the previous Strix Z270-I, almost no cable rerouting required except the AIO USB cable can now be connected to the dedicated USB 2.0 header.

10/19/2017

Good for home recording studios

M-AUDIO Studiophile AV 40 40 Watts 2.0 Speakers
M-AUDIO Studiophile AV 40 40 Watts 2.0 Speakers

Pros: I was amazed at all the suttleness that I heard on some of the songs I was playing that I never thought were there when played through these speakers. I strongly recomend them for anyone serious about listening to music. The midrange and highs are well defined and flat which is what you want if you do not want coloration to your sound and the upper bass sounded clean and tight.

Cons: a little lacking on the low bass frequency response but is expected given the size of the woofers and a subwoofer is recomended for a complete full range system

Overall Review: I've bought these for my friend who does music using ProTools LE with an Mbox 2 and these speakers sounded really flat which is what you need when recording and mixing songs.