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Keven H.

Keven H.

Joined on 01/17/05

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Most Favorable Review

Impressed wtih SSD RAID0 Performance

Crucial RealSSD C300 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) CTFDDAC064MAG-1G1
Crucial RealSSD C300 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) CTFDDAC064MAG-1G1

Pros: SSD performance. I bought two of these drives to use as my C (boot) drive. They are in RAID0 on Asus P7Q57-M DO motherboard. These are my first SSD drives. The system (Windows 7 x64) feels noticably faster. I know that with RAID0 TRIM is likely not working, but so far I haven't seen any problems due to that. I have a little over 10% free space on this RAID0 drive. Other SSD, based on Sandforce controller, are advertized with higher performance stats. But I found a benchmark website that mentioned seeing a consistent drop off with Sandforce SSD drives after the drive filled up. My preference was to have consistent performance as opposed to extremly high performance that mysteriously degraded over time.

Cons: My HD Tune results aren't consistenly as high as I would have expected. These drives are noticably faster than the RAID0 HD configuration I had been using. So I'm not discouraged about the simulated results. I may need to learn more about tuning SSD drive configurations to get consistely high performance from these drives?

Overall Review: I first tried to use these drives with an ASRock P55 Deluxe3 board. I had problems with the system crashing during WHS backups. Found a Corsair forum that mentioned similar systems with people using their drives and several types of motherboards. My guess is that there is some problem with the Marvell SATA3 controller (or driver) or a conflict with the Intel ICH10R SATA2 controller? This can be a real nuisance when building your first system with SSD drives. The Corsaid SSD uses Sandforce controller, whereas this Crucial drive uses a Marvell controller, and from the Corsair forum it looks as though these type of problems are affecting several different combinations of motherboards and SSD drives. After having problems with the ASRock motherboard I found a benchmark website that mentioned SSD performance was better with Intel SATA2 controller than the Marvell SATA3 controller. My own testing with HD Tune seemed to confirm that.

11/17/2010
Most Critical Review

Reasonable Price & Good Features

ASUS P7Q57-M DO/CSM LGA 1156 Intel Q57 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
ASUS P7Q57-M DO/CSM LGA 1156 Intel Q57 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

Pros: Reasonable price and good set of features. I would have preferred an ATX board with more slots (future flexability), but I had a requirment for TPM which isn't available on most motherboards. I initially got an ASRock P55 Deluxe3, but had problems with SSD RAID0 drive constantly crashing and was also unable to get TPM working. Replaced ASRock with this Asus board. All the other hardware and software is the same as before and no more RAID0 crashing problems with this Asus board. The ASRock SSD crashing seemed to be due to a problem with Marvell SATA3 controller or conflict with Intel ICH10R SATA2 controller? From a benchmark website I found SSD performance was actually better on ICH10R SATA2 than Marvell SATA3 and I was able to duplicate their results in my own HD Tune testing on this Asus motherboard. Intel vPro feature is also a plus though I haven't tried using it quite yet.

Cons: BIOS is periodically lost. Haven't found the exact trigger, but seems to occur most often after the computer goes to sleep. RAID, TPM, and Supervisor passwords, etc., are lost from the BIOS and thus computer will not boot until I reconfigure the BIOS. Intel Core i5 has built in GPU that worked on this board, but I preferred higher performance. I installed an EVGA GeForce GTX 460 which I'm using now. A lot of higher end graphics cards seem to take up the width of two slots. For this microATX board that is a slight problem in that the PCIe 1x slot cannot be used due to the proximity to the PCIe 16x slot. A minor nuisance as the Creative X-Fi card I'm using is PCI. Given there is a sound chip built on the motherbard, along with Ethernet, etc., most people may not need to use any slots (other than possibly a discrete graphics card). TPM 1.2 spec evidently doesn't guarantee pins on a given TPM will match pins on a motherboard. That made finding the right TPM awkward.

Overall Review: I've had good success with Asus over the years. The features on this board intrigued me, but I was concened about how many people seemed to have problems with this board. I did not have any problems installing hardware or software with this board. I initially used the Intel Core i5 built in GPU. After using the computer for several months the BIOS problem cropped up which is a significant nuisance as this computer is used by my children (who aren't able to correct the BIOS problem on their own).

12/27/2010

Lots of Space for the Price

Seagate Desktop HDD ST2000DM001 2TB 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive
Seagate Desktop HDD ST2000DM001 2TB 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive

Pros: I've used both Seagate and Western Digital drives in RAID systems (RAID6, RAID5, and RAID1). All the larger drives (greater than 2 Tb) seem to fail more often than HDDs did in the past? I haven't seen any obvious benefit comparing Seagate to WD. So I tend to buy whichever is lower cost. Not sure if this is still true, but Seagate went back to 7200 RPM for all drives. That was a slight plus over WD which was running about 5400 RPM for many of their larger drives.

Cons: None.

Overall Review: HDD failures seem to occur more often with larger drives (greater than 2 Tb in size). Keep that in mind for your backup strategy.

12/30/2014

Features

Windows 8.1 Pro - 64-bit
Windows 8.1 Pro - 64-bit

Pros: I tend to upgrade OS whenever Microsoft comes out with a new version. This meant that I have used some OS that didn't fare well. Windows 8 forced a significant GUI change on Users which wasn't appreciated for those of us still using PCs. Windows 8.1 fixed most of the issues with the GUI. There are a number of minor improvments to the OS in several areas that make Windows 8.1 a better choice in my mind than Windows 7. The OS boots faster, Secure Boot is available, task manager gives more detail, etc. I bought the Pro version primarily for BitLocker.

Cons: The change in the Windows GUI can be annoying to some people. I don't expect Microsoft will have that completely resolved until Windows 10 is released in 2015?

Overall Review: Even with the potential for some annoying changes to the Windows GUI I feel that Windows 8.1 is a superior OS to Windows 7.

12/30/2014

DDR4

Ballistix Sport 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR4 2400 (PC4 19200) Desktop Memory Model BLS4K4G4D240FSA
Ballistix Sport 16GB (4 x 4GB) DDR4 2400 (PC4 19200) Desktop Memory Model BLS4K4G4D240FSA

Pros: My first build using DDR4 RAM. I've used Crucial modules in the past and been happy with them. I wasn't looking for anything special in RAM. Just wanted something that was DDR4 and not too expensive from a reliable company.

Cons: None.

12/30/2014

Used for Overclocking

Cooler Master Nepton 140XL – Push-Pull CPU Liquid Water Cooling System with 140mm Radiator and 2 JetFlo Fans
Cooler Master Nepton 140XL – Push-Pull CPU Liquid Water Cooling System with 140mm Radiator and 2 JetFlo Fans

Pros: My first foray into water cooling and overclocking. Bought this to work with an Intel Core i7-5820K CPU and an Asus X99-A motherboard. Once I got a case large enough to accommodate the water cooler the installation was a breeze. The Asus software made overclocking a breeze. I'm running stable at 4.5 - 4.6 Ghz. When running at that speed the fans are a bit noisy, but not too bad.

Cons: After running this for a few weeks I get some noise which seems to be the fans wobbling a bit and hitting the side of the case? That's a bit annoying. I haven't tried taking this apart yet to take a closer look and see if there is anything I can do to eliminate the noise. I suspect I may just have to live with this and perhaps build something around the case to cut down on noise?

Overall Review: I overlooked how much of a problem the 140 mm fans and radiator were going to cause me. None of my existing computer cases would accommodate this. (120 mm seems to be the standard size available on most cases?) Some cases had the space on the top side, but the artistic shape of ventilation made it impossible for me to mount the fans and radiator. I ended up buying a Cooler Master HAF Stacker 935 case. The case works very well with this cooler, but the case is significantly larger than any I've ever used before. It stands about 28 inches tall.

12/30/2014