Joined on 01/25/11
Pros: The RAM IC's are double sided Hynix CFR. This is quite an exception, as most cheaper Hynix are single sided (kinda like Dual channel vs single channel, but on the same stick of RAM) and thus perform poorly (about 400mhz worse vs double sided). You can easily hit 3ghz RAM on these sticks ( http://valid.canardpc.com/2871027 ) without even trying, although best 24/7 performance is going to be around 2600-2800mhz. I'm sure you could validate 3.2ghz if you tried. Be aware that RAM overclocking definitely makes a difference, you just need the right RAM IC. If you are smart, like buying this kit, which is basically the same price as the cheapest RAM ($56 after coupon at time of purchase), a 1ghz overclock of 1600 to 2600mhz will make a huge, noticeable, 5+ fps performance boost. Going from 1600 to 1866 won't make much of a difference, but this RAM, or any PSC, BBSE, Hynix, or Samsung ram overclocked over 1ghz, will. That's literally a larger difference than going from DDR2 to DDR3 (which makes sense, as DDR4 will be ~2133+ on launch). I'm currently running this RAM at 2666mhz CL11-14-13-27-105-1T for 24hours p95 stable. Setting WRRD_dr and dd to 1 with WRRD to 18 gave a huge copy speed boost (+2000mb/s). Copy/Read/Write/Latency speeds in Maxxmem of 33/25/27/44ns! I've also confirmed with Gskill that all kits are Hynix CFR, so you won't have the issue of some kits being a different IC. Note, what I mean by 'Hynix RAM IC' refers to the internals. Basically, there are only ~6 types of RAM, and a few subtypes. Which means all the hundreds of RAM kits, they all are one of these ~6 different types of RAM. This kit, happens to be one of the very coveted Hynix CFR kits, which you tend to see for extremely high prices, and is great for 24/7 overclocking. It's not as good as single-sided Hynix for reaching insanely high validations of 3ghz+, but it's the best for high 24/7 overclocks. As far as I know, this is the only Hynix CFR kit below ~$120. This is really the best RAM you'll find south of the $99 Gskill Trident Samsungs HCH9s (which are sometimes sold with HYK0s, the generic samsungs that are good but not great) and is 4GB density. PSC and BBSE will give it a run for it's money, but are out of date (gotta buy them used) and won't hit such high speeds without luck.
Cons: Doesn't tighten as well, so you need Haswell or golden IMC Ivy to make this kit shine.
Overall Review: You really need a Haswell chip to use this RAM. Even Ivy Bridge's IMC usually tops out around 2200mhz @ 8GB, and since Hynix doesn't tighten very well, you are better off with some PSC/BBSE from yesteryear (still some of the best 24/7 and benching RAM, definitely better than this RAM when binned well) and going with ~2200-2400 CL8 as opposed to the ~2800 CL12 of this kit. Even Haswell's IMC is going to be tested by this kit, as most Haswell's will not do 24/7 stable on 2800mhz. Ivy Bridge rarely can do 3ghz for validation and will likely not even be able to do 2400mhz stable 24/7, so unless you know your Ivy has a very strong IMC, you are better off going with PSC/BBSE than this kit. Sandy Bridge or AMD definitely should rather use PSC/BBSE than this kit.
Lots of Issues
Pros: I bought this GPU purely for litecoin mining, as it's overkill for just SC2, and to overclock it. The only real pro for it is that it's the 7950. - the stock thermal paste is actually really good, replacing it with Coollaboratory Liquid Ultra yielded 1 *C temp drop so that is pretty amazing (so don't replace the TIM). - No choke whine (most lower end chokes will start whining at 80*C+, not these). - Has core voltage control*
Cons: - This card has a boost profile button on it, which is quite odd as Off/Default = firstname.lastname@example.org, Onemail@example.com. - Make sure to apply the +50 power fix, with the 925mhz power state, the cards just keep throttling until you do this. - Sensors only picked up GPU voltage changes with Sapphire Trixx modded 4.4 - not 4.6, so no force constant voltage for increased stability for mining or new trixx updates, not with unofficial Afterburner (so again, no ability for force constant voltage), not with CCC. On top of this, I was only able to adjust core voltage using the boosted profile, which isn't bad, just really weird. I originally thought that you could only apply voltage changes with mod 4.4, but increasing temps proved otherwise and my card was just a really bad overclocker when lots of extra voltage did nothing. This is just weird more than anything. To clarify, you can change voltage with Trixx, but not with unofficial AB, and only mod 4.4 voltage changes on boost profile will show up on other sensors (hwinfo, gpu-z). - Only able to increase voltage to 1.3v. - You cannot change memory voltage, and it sucks being limited as an overclocker. I bought this card specifically because I heard it was one of the better cards, but no memory voltage is lame (with both mod Trixx 4.3 and 4.4). - The card uses the lower end Elpida 60F RAM ICs, not the Hynix of better models, so you won't be able to overclock your RAM that far. You'll be lucky to hit more than 1600mhz. - The heatsink RATTLES! I think it has something to do with a bad design with either the rear fan or the rear DVI dual outputs, but the heatsink rattles (google "7870 rattling" for an example). You just sort of prod the plastic sheath until it sits in such a way as to not rattle. - Runs Extremely hot and loud, on stock settings and fan profile it reaches 75*C mining/stress test (21c ambient). Pretty much leaves zero room for overvoltage overclocking. This is likely an issue with 7950s and high end cards in general though, the heatsink has 2 large fans with lots of surface area and the dual-x heatsink is highly rated and supposedly outperforms other 7950s. - There is no VRM temperature sensor. I have a discrete diode, the VRMs got into the 80s on 1050mhz@Stock 1.168v, which is extremely hot but bearable, as it's similar to GPU temps. They also removed one of the chokes and caps on the VRM - I suspect Sapphire removed an entire phase but I didn't take off the VRM heatsink, as the VRM temps aren't too bad. This is a 7950 reference design (6+6) with what appears to be a removed phase and cap. My card did not overclock far at all, firstname.lastname@example.org and it needed over 1.27v for 1100 (extra 50mhz). ~60% ASIC score as well (a number that means nothing, but just fyi). This is just luck of the draw though, only a few cards can be gems.
Overall Review: I will probably RMA the card due to the rattling cooler, but it'd be a terrible inconvenience to have a month of downtime. Not all of these issues are Sapphire's faults, but the lack of memory voltage, rattling plastic sheath, Elpida RAM instead of Hynix, lack of VRM temp sensor, a missing choke and cap make this a disappointing card. The only thing this card has going is voltage control, with Trixx. Should've went with MSi for GPU.
Best Budget Mech, Costar Built
Pros: The CM Storm Rapid series is a great line-up of boards. I've tried basically every major 'budget' mech board - rosewill 9000s, ducky 1087s, steelseries 6Gv2, razer blackwidow, corsair, and the other cm storms, and a blue, and brown, Rapid. And they are all pretty much the same, plain plastic boards with maybe minor aesthetic differences (and for the most part, they are all decent too). However, the Rapids have a great velvety gray soft-plastic on the whole board (similar to bitfenix Softouch or CM Storm mice). The build quality is very solid, unlike some other budget boards where keys are a bit loose or off center, connectors break off over time, or the plastic pieces of the board don't match together perfectly. Here's also a few more points: * No warping or uneven keys (ducky, razer) * The legs are sturdy and thick, and won't break if you remove/put back more than once (ie ducky). * Bottom flat feet pads are rubber coated, a nice touch not all budget boards have. * The USB connector is extremely sturdy, and on top of that there's a great design for the cable so even if it was flimsy, you wouldn't break it (Rosewill). * Build quality, I know I just said that, but unlike a lot of budget boards, this board's top layer is one big piece, whereas, say, Ducky's budget board has a lot of joined plastic parts that sometimes aren't even.
Cons: There are no cons. Of all the sub-$100 boards I've tried, and I've tried just about all of them, the CM Storm Rapid stands far out as the best.
Overall Review: This board uses Costar Stabilizers on the space, enter, and shift keys, which is generally considered superior to the Cherry stabilizers normally used in budget boards (like in Ducky). This is a a rebranded Costar board (a good thing). When basically all mechanical keyboards under ~$120 are very, very similar, the CM Storm Rapid stands out as having far more solid build quality. What makes the CM Storm *Rapid* a mile above the rest, is that it's almost always the cheapest board you'll find at ~$50-70 regularly (depending on sale prices), as cheap as the Rosewill line at times. Be aware that not all CM Storm boards are the same: *Trigger: ELiTe GaMeR look (ew) *Pro: Flimsy piece of junk, keys/switches of same kind feel dull compared to every other board of same switch *TK: Slightly higher quality than Rapid (and pricier), lights up, gimped tenkey (cant use arrow same time as num) on TKL form factor
Great claw grip mouse!
Pros: Great claw grip mouse! Better than the Deathadder for claw/fingertip grippers (google it if you dont know). The Deathadder is a great mouse, but it's large (not a problem for me, I don't have small hands particularly) and meant for palm grip, which I am not. This mouse, while being small, certainly doesn't feel small if you are a claw gripper, it actually feels quite solid and large. The ring finger placement is also very comfortable, and I wonder how I ever went with out it. The (red) material has a wonderful velvety feel to it. Extremely accurate sensor, and multiple firmwares allow you to adjust the lift off distance (the height off the mat at which the mouse stops responding, ie if you pick up mouse a lot like if your mousepad isn't enough movement room). The multiple firmwares also change the DPI steppings. It's literally just the same Avago 3090 sensor and Omron buttons as the deathadder with different firmware.
Cons: There should be one that comes in blue, or a replacement shell available. The max DPI is going to be ~3600, so if you need super high DPI, then you would need something else.
Overall Review: No question, if you are a claw/palm gripper, get this instead of the Deathadder. This mouse is the same shell/body as the Xornet, but has a higher quality sensor and build quality.
Just another Capstone
Pros: It's a Rosewill Capstone, well known amongst enthusiasts as the best series of PSU for the price you can find. It's a Superflower Golden Green rebrand, which is a great thing (think European Seasonic X-series, but better). This unit is far superior to the many seasonic x-series rebrands like Corsair TX/HX series. The short circuit protection is amazing, if you are like me and use lots of LEDs and accessories or open wires, swapping peripherals ina live system, the SCP can really protect you when you got a faulty peripheral or make an accidental connection. I've had multiple Delta (cx series) and Seasonic based units derate and even blow out, but this PSU is always quick to shut down upon short. The 12v rail stays within ~1% on high load (DMM).
Overall Review: If you want to go with 3-way SLI/Crossfire, this is an awesome PSU. There are a ton of reviews and forum posts on the Capstone series, it's been received as the best value unit and an extremely high quality unit for a reason.
Not Special, just normal 5x5mm LEDs
Pros: It's just 5x5mm LEDs on a PCB. You can even take off the housing and just point them wherever. It's not any special 'Lazer LED'. But 5 blue LEDs are nice, if that's what you need.
Cons: You could easily mod yourself the same thing with soldering iron or even just glue and twisted wires. If you don't want to spend the time to do that, there's plenty of other LED kits, but in order to want this thing then you would specifically need 5 LEDs arranged as they are in this product. Most cases have LEDs on them as it is, your phone uses an LED for flash, you can simulate what an LED is like with that.
Overall Review: Nothing special about this thing. If you need 5 LEDs arranged in an array or plan to take off the casing so you can have a strip of 5 LEDs to point at whatever, it's great. I had planned to put this under my case for a sort of underglow (like a car). It didn't work well because the lights don't really come out the side, and they aren't really shining on the ground hard, most of the light is going outwards. The best way to do this would be to use a strip of high density LEDs like the bitfenix alchemy, or better yet, 3528 LED strip. The best application of this LED would perhaps be to light up your case inside like a spotlight from the top right or bottom right, with an obvious look like the lighting is coming from a certain spot (maybe a strip of light on top of case, and this on bottom right).