Date Joined: 12/02/08
Pros: - mATX design for 2011-3
- Looks good
- Good amp
- Support 2 M.2 slots
Cons: - USB3 issues on X99 Gigabyte boards under Windows 8.1 64-bit
- UEFI setting entry is picky on hardware attached, and will fail if it doesn't like any of your attached hardware
- Overclocking limit is somewhat lower than Asus boards
Overall Review: USB3.0 issue on Gigabyte X99 boards is well known, it's my bad not to research more before buying. It caused intermittent disconnect on any attached USB3 devices (front panel included) and there's no apparent way to fix it. The NEC driver is also hard to find and not listed on Gigabyte website.
The board has issues overclocking and limit is lower than ASUS boards (probably the patented socket that Asus had) even using exactly the same physical piece of CPU.
UEFI setup entry will hung if I attached my Samsung 2TB 2.5" HDD (SATA), or some of my USB thumb drives. But if I leave the HDD attached but not trying to go into UEFI setting it will work just fine.
Pros: 1. Fast
2. No special handling needed for installation.
3. Looks good.
Cons: 1. Boot sector issue with Windows 8.1 after a couple months of use. My rig is in UEFI boot and one day it can't launch windows and when I tried to fix the boot files using a windows USB it just blue screen saying it cannot find some boot files
2. Before 1 there were intermittent cases half a dozen times I need to re-reboot the rig to boot up successfully.
Overall Review: It maybe because of the somewhat higher case temperature (~40C) for my gaming rig with dual 780Ti and a i7-3930K, but my other Kingston SSDs that actually store game content didn't fail that way (knock on the wood). I'm now back to spindle world for my boot device...
I didn't even bother returning it because usual inspection will yield that it is a Healthy drive (since you can still get files out). But some of those files are actually in corrupted states (e.g. larger AVIs/MP4 videos) which has skipped frame or whatever. No trust in Intel anymore.
Pros: Small form factor.
Relatively quiet (still a bit of fan noise)
Easy to assemble (see notes below)
Easy on power.
Cons: Don't ever try, not quick enough for 4K decoding. (I have a Brix Pro i5-4570R to handle this
Price is a bit steep if you factor in the RAM and mSATA SSD cost. Not such a big issue if you go for just 2.5"
Overall Review: For the assemble part, choose your parts wisely.
Look at the gigabyte.us compatibility list for RAM, very important! I bought a GEIL but it wasn't on the list and even though it's 1.35V it wasn't supported. No way to boot.
Also, it can't handle 4K video playback. Tried a couple sources and it's 100% CPU usage with pauses. HD (1920x1080) should be fine.
I put it in my room, works so great.
Here's my setup:
Kingston 4GB DDR3-1600 CL11 1.35V SODIMM.
Hitachi 1TB 2.5" HDD
Intel 530 series mSATA SSD 240GB.
Pros: 1. Low profile
3. Old system supported (try the R7 240, it won't even boot)
Cons: 1. Driver support is going out soon.
2. The performance is actually worse than Intel HD4400/4200 internal graphics accelerator.
Overall Review: To this day and time - early 2014, the use of this card is marginalized. I can think of someone wanting to pop this in a Sandy-bridge-era Pentium/Celeron board, but if you are building new HTPC/PCs, you better use the onboard graphics and invest in an i3 (Haswell) instead of splitting the capital between a CPU and a Video card. I have done benchmarking of this with an i3-4130. Believe it or not, the onboard graphics is around 50% faster than this card, while consuming less electricity and generates less heat in combination.
Pros: 1. small and compact
2. pretty quick, well it's USB3.0 after all
Cons: 1. Filmsy at best. And the circuit board is held by double-sided tape...
2. It's hard to get drives out. I had to use a toothpick to pry my SSD/HDD out of the case... I didn't bother with the included padding which seemingly will make getting the drive out even harder!
Overall Review: I ended up separating the circuit board out of the case and just use it as is. Speed is good but design is pretty bad. It does have a power input which I think should be 5V. In that case it might have a chance to power up a 3.5" drive (let alone the 10K rpm ones though)
Pros: 1. Sturdy
2. No-frills look
3. Plenty of space for most people
Cons: 1. No 2.5" support
2. Back 120mm fan slot has protruding "pins" towards the case, which makes mounting single-fan 120mm water cool radiator difficult. I have to resort to using a push-pull setup just to make enough clearance.
Overall Review: I bought this case because it's cheap and the look is understated. The stuff I put in is nothing understated in the sense that I have a X79 board and a 120mm liquid cooled i7-3930K together with 64GB ram and a normal 260X card as my workstation. Plus 4 SSDs running in RAID 0. The case holds all stuff fine.
Pros: 1. Cheap
3. Easy to install (plastic pushpin)
4. Low profile
Cons: 1. Not designed for CPU >65W, which is expected
2. While obvious, but this is only designed for the LGA115x series. However adding flexibility will inevitably makes installation much more complicated...
Overall Review: This cooler is a reasonable stock cooler replacement. I use it for a i3-4130 (54W) chip and it cools it down just right and much quieter than the stock fan plus very low profile at the same time. Working great with a Antec ISK Mini-ITX case.
Pros: 1. Nice build quality
2. Good looking
Cons: 1. Asus must be joking. This board comes with 8 ports and they only supply 1 SATA cable. ASRock usually give you 2 to 4 at least...
2. Does not actually work with A10-7850K. Either their BIOS got issues or I got a bad chip. The thing will seemingly post but if you ever chose to use integrated graphics you got zero display. VGA, HDMI, DVI all nothing. Until I plug in a R7 240 display card then it will work but without integrated graphics on the APU. (with latest available BIOS 1002)
3. Screw holes are too close to center which makes installing power cable a bit risky as it will bend the board.
Overall Review: I am returning this board as there is no point in using an APU and having to run a budget graphics card with it. I am using BIOS 1002, upgraded using an A4 chip in my HTPC.
Pros: 1. Supposed to be fast without the need of external display card.
2. Supposed to be cooler than the previous A10-6800K.
Cons: 1. Does not work without external display card as of Jan 18, 2014
2. Too new, even the driver is Beta!
3. Too hot as a 95W CPU even when compared with an ancient i7-860 95W CPU with same TDP.
Overall Review: Paired with an Asus A88XM-Plus. Flashed the BIOS with 1002 version (came with ancient 09/2013 version, wonder how long it was in storage.) with an A4 in my HTPC. Does not actually output anything without an R7 240 plugged in. It seems like it did boot since it stopped at the same place as if it posted. It simply doesn't output anything from the onboard ports. The ports should be working as the A4 chip I used to flash the bios did display something.
Anyway, I'm returning the board, and thinking about what to do with the chip...
Pros: 1. Price is unbeatable
2. Vivid color (copared to my 5-year-old Samsung 2443BW)
3. Great resolution for gaming
4. Various inputs supported (more on this later)
5. Nice finishing and sturdy stand
Cons: 1. Displayport support is buggy at times. It takes so long to detect the input signal that I never saw my UEFI bootup. No problem with DVI input.
2. Top bezel is the weak spot. DO NOT carry this unit with just to top bezel. It's much heavier than a normal 24" 1080p monitor and if you do that you risk damaging your unit. (Mine doesn't have the "buzz" issue)
3. The stand while sturdy is pretty big. Make sure you have enough space for that.
Overall Review: Other reviewers said this monitor is not good for games due to lag. Well, I suspect the lag doesn't come from the monitor but your hardware. 2560x1440 requires quite a bit more oomph from your computer to drive, especially in current-era (late-2013) FPS like Battlefield 4 or CoD: Ghost. I have a 2-way SLI GTX780 setup and I don't see much noticeable drop in FPS (which has been over 60fps most of the time). You also need a higher dpi mouse to cope with the extra pixel...or use the not-so-precise mouse acceleration feature in most games.
As mentioned before, the top bezel is weak. Do not carry it with just that. I really suspect people having the "buzz" issue is probably due to that, or the package person did that. The top bezel is filmsy at best. I used both hands to pull it out and during installation.
Knocked off an egg due to the buggy DisplayPort support. DVI dual-link works fine as always.
Pros: 1. No noise
2. Won't attract dust like ones with fan
Cons: 1. Too big! Make sure your case can take it.
2. May come too close to VGA card/RAM
3. Mounting is clumsy and hard to work with
Overall Review: This thing will cool a 65W i5-4570S with no issues at all. Great for building totally silent rig - great for bedroom computer. Just don't trust the reviews on other sites that says this won't cool you i5/i7. They are testing it with K-series CPUs, which is nonsense for a zero-fan setup. This is perfect for 35W and 65W CPUs (T and S series).
However, there's something you need to be aware of:
1. Mount your motherboard to the case, bracket, CPU and RAM before you install the cooler. It will block the access to screws, CPU power cable and RAM!
2. Make sure it clears your VGA. I had to mount it upside down to clear my VGA card on the first PCI-E slot in my mATX board.
3. Use low profile/normal profile RAM, no heatspreaders.
4. Make sure your case can take it.
My bedroom rig is totally silent now with FSP silent PSU, i5-4570S with HE02, 128GB SSD and 5450 with just heatsink all put together within a CoolerMaster N200 case.
Pros: 1. Stable, support K-series CPUs
2. UEFI BIOS
3. PCI slots
4. Intel NIC
5. All solid caps (they said "gold")
Cons: 1. BIOS bug in shipped product (see other thoughts)
2. Onboard sound is cheezy
3. SLI bridge is solid, which doesn't fit my cards with aftermarket cooler.
Overall Review: I bought this board to "upgrade" to run GTX780 SLI setup with a i5-4670K CPU. It handles everything nicely, and with PCI slots I can run my old ASUS Sonar to replace the cheesy onboard sound chip. I'm currently running at 4.2GHz with zero drama (well, have to upgrade cooling system since it's running a bit too hot). With this price tag, it's unbeatable. One drawback is that mine ships with a defective BIOS, but upgrade is easy - pop in a USB stick, copy the upgrade file, get into BIOS and choose "update" and it'll do the upgrade.
Except if you want the brand name, this one is the killer board (I think it has better value than the Extreme4).
Pros: 1. Small footprint, low-profile
2. Runs warm, not hot
3. Intel chip
Cons: 1. Higher latency than a 07-era NC364T NIC (at least on pfSense 2.1)
Overall Review: For some reasons, if you plan to drop this in for a pfSense router setup, you'll need to shop something else. This leaves a 4x higher latency than the old HP NC364T NIC (40ms compared to 10ms). It does run much cooler though.
Pros: Sleek and sturdy metal case.
Cons: PoE - because most consumers don't have that.
Zero support from LG-Ericsson
No power adaptor
Overall Review: I bought this without knowing that it's a PoE switch and doesn't include power adaptor. I actually was trying to search for the power adaptor but this device had since been dropped on the LG-Ericsson iPECS line and there is no mentioning the spec of the power adaptor.
This might be handy for enterprise, but it certainly won't work for most consumers in their home network.
Pros: 1. Runs cool
2. The version I got is Celeron 1037U, which is around 1.5x faster than Celeron 847. Great! TDP 17W
Cons: 1. None that I can think of, but ECS can provide USB3.
Overall Review: I runs pfSense 2.1 on it, with a very heavy loaded network. It consumes up to 40% of CPU, and stay cool at 27C. I throw a 4-NIC Intel card (PCIe x4) on the PCIe slot. Runs like a champ except that the em driver in FreeBSD has issues running it in bridge mode.
Anyway, made a very competent router. Much faster than WNDR3700 which is not slow at all.
Pros: Relatively silent drivers, and runs cool (due to the lower rpm).
Speed was more than reasonable for a 5400rpm drive (sometimes I think it's even quicker than my 7200rpm 1TB drives).
The ones I got were made in South Korea.
Cons: They don't make them anymore!
Overall Review: I believe these are one of the best drives ever after the WD 6400AAKS. Running strong after nearly 3 years of non-stop NAS duty in RAID 5 configuration. I bought 7 of them and they were on sale back then (79.99 each). I hope I could have bought more.... HDD manufacturers these days make unreliable drives (WD... cough) and robs more money than 3 years go with similar performance.... what a shame.
I un-RAID them recently due to too much unused capacity. Put 4 into the new NAS case (as JBOD), and 3 into my gaming rig as storage (as a RAID 5 volume).
Pros: None. I was never able to get it to work anyway.
Cons: The Sil3124 chip on this card is ancient and will not work in Windows 8 (at least mine couldn't). Mine doesn't work on even Windows 7 after loading the driver properly. I actually setup windows on my hard drive and installed driver there - Windows couldn't even see the drive available in diskmgmt.msc. Firmware update boot disk does not even boot on newer motherboard. Plugged into a same-era-as-the-card P55 board and still not working anyway. I can see the RAID BIOS at boot up so the card should be good. Anyway, I tried everything I could think of and now in the process of RMA with OCZ.
Overall Review: If they used one of those Marvell chip (or better LSI/3Ware chips) it would have lasted years more - driver support wise. In this date 2013, the card design is outdated - you can get SATAIII drives with comparable speed at comparable price. I am a very experienced builder (since 1993) and this one card is the most frustrating piece of hardware I've ever had - even more fustrating than setting up MPEG card back in the 1990s which uses custom DMA channel and IRQs.
Do not get this, even if the price is less than a Benjaman. Doesn't worth a dime in this age. The issue can't be fixed because OCZ does not manufacture and cannot support the RAID chip - which is what giving us all the trouble. Silicon Image discontinued the chip a long time ago (It's targetted for PCI-X to SATA, if you know what PCI-eXtended is. Not PCI-E), so no luck here. I hope OCZ will either refund me or give me a SATAIII drive. If not, I will put some hot lead through the board.
Pros: 1. Great sound quality compared to the awful on-board audio codec.
2. Price unbeatable
Cons: 1. For those looking for getting multi-channel audio out to an amp via SPDIF, no way. Xonar DG only supports 2-channel PCM via SPDIF. If you want this feature, the cheapest one to get is Xonar DS/DSX
2. Asus driver is totally useless. I installed Uni-Xonar and it's so much better. Works well in Windows 8 too.
Overall Review: A nice upgrade for on-board audio, especially those who uses headphones (it has built-in headphone amp). But for those who want multi-channel sound from digital output via their amp, look for the DX/DS/DSX.
Amp tested - Onkyo TX-NR515
Pros: 1. Small, sleek, good looking.
2. Ability to plug in a low-profile card makes this case one of the most flexible and small mini-itx cases around.
Cons: 1. Cable management is a disaster with the thick USB3 running around.
2. Case fan power cable is too short, at least for the MB I'm using.
3. The expansion slot is somehow offset to the left (view from behind) towards the motherboard side. In that case I cannot use the black "end plate" and have to resort to not screwing the card all the way down or else I cannot plug into the DVI on my display card. I am sure it is not a display card issue as I tried with 2 other cards.
Overall Review: One of the hardest cases that I've done cable management on, but it's worth it. Small and good looking. However, the offset expansion card slot is really turning me down. It could be because of how the holes are drilled, or the motherboard itself. It's offset by around 5 - 10 mm.
FYI, the configuration:
MSI GeForce GT620 low profile
2x4GB G.Skill DDR3 1333 CL.9
Crucial V4 64GB SSD
Pros: 1. 2.5 and 3.5 HDDs in 1 bay, what more do you want?
Cons: 1. A bit filmsy lever mechanism
2. Ventilation not great, the fan was not doing much other than generating some negative pressure.
Overall Review: The fan could have been more effective with a better case design. Right now, it's generating a negative pressure zone on the bay, not inside the enclosure.
Pros: 1. Has 6 SATA ports
2. Not too long which is important when stuffed into Mini-ITX cases
Cons: 1. Hope that it was modular? But at this price point, I don't care much about this.
Overall Review: Running this with a 9-HDD NAS with AMD E-350 motherboard + a 8-port RAID card. Works great, fan is not noisy, and it's short enough to get stuffed into the Lian Mini-ITX case.
Pros: 1. Pretty quiet
2. Good looking
Cons: 1. It doesn't plug back into the card for power, you have to route it to your motherboard case-fan ports
Overall Review: Not hard to install. Bought it to replace the broken fansink of my 5870. One complain is that it is not taking power from the card itself.
Pros: 1. Cool drive (I really mean cool, runs much cooler than my other 7.2k rpm drives).
2. Pretty reliable, much better than the WDs I had.
Cons: 1. Need to wait for it to spin up
2. Seek time is not great, but expected for 5.4k rpm drives
Overall Review: I had 2 more than a year ago in a USB 4-bay enclosure. Then I bought another one to expand the capacity. Finally I drop the ball and assembled a 9-drive NAS, which I ended up buying 4 more of these running in RAID 5 arrays (the other 2 drives are for boot and temporary torrent storage). Great cool drives, works better than the newer (post 2008) WDs. WDs used to be good (back in 2008, when 6400AAKS was new), but 2 of those WDs already died on me, and buy it before Segate takes over!
Pros: Works great, and I picked it up with a shockingly low price.
Cons: Gets a bit warm, but doesn't bother me much
Overall Review: 8-port 1Gbps switch with the price of a 5-port 1Gbps switch, what else do you want?
Pros: Works great with my PERC 5/i RAID card
Cons: None so far...maybe the finish can be a bit better, but who cares? It works great
Overall Review: Works right out-of-the-bag!