Joined on 08/20/01
Excellent Budget Gaming Board
Pros: I've assembled a lot of PC's over the years, and I've consistently had good results with ASUS motherboards. This one was no different. Build quality is very good for the price, the layout is easy to work with, and the performance has been fine. No issues. The onboard sound is good enough for most purposes, and the included software has some useful apps. I like the looks - just the right amount of bling without being garish. A solid choice for a budget gaming system.
Cons: No integrated connector for front panel headers. Not a big deal, but it would make things easier. No diagnostic POST code display. There are some LED's but I much prefer an alphanumeric display.
Overall Review: A note about all the DOA reviews. I'm an experienced builder, but on initial boot the board seemed to be dead. I finally figured out, I had connected a cable such that one pin was misaligned, and that was enough to stop it from booting. Of course, as with any consumer electronics you will occasionally get a bad board. But just saying, in over 20 years and dozens of builds, I have never gotten a bad board from ASUS. They have a good reputation for a reason.
Pros: I've been assembling PC's for over 20 years, so I've worked with a lot of cases. This is my overall favorite so far. The careful attention to design made for a quick and easy build, and the fit and finish are exceptional. I like the simple, traditional look. The front panel switches and ports are conveniently placed, and the door feels solid. The PC is running cool and stable with the stock fans, and it truly is quiet. I can barely tell its on, even under heavy load. I was pleased with the cable management, and the way the drive bays can be rotated and easily removed, depending on your needs. Excellent case, highly recommended.
Cons: Front-panel USB cable could be longer - I needed an extension. No speaker for hearing POST beeps. Both minor issues, and easily remedied.
Overall Review: My last few cases have been "gamer" models with many fans, colored LED's, windows, etc. I much prefer the simplicity and solid engineering of this case. A little pricey, but definitely worth it for the quality.
Gaming On A Budget
Pros: Great gaming CPU on a budget. Runs cool and quiet, even under load. Hyper-threading makes maximal use of dual cores.
Cons: Cheap stock cooler. Not Haswell?
Overall Review: Surprised and pleased at the performance of this CPU. Every game I have tried with this runs great, at max or near-max graphics, with a Radeon 7870. Coming from a Phenom II X4 965 BE, all I have lost is heat and noise. This chip idles low 30's and has never gone over 50C even under heavy load. The stock heatsink looked awfully cheap, so I did put on an aftermarket cooler, but still, very impressive. Sorry to say, but Intel has made another convert. For the current generation of games at least, you really do not need anything more.
Pros: Better than average design and build quality, a good value at this price. Virtually tool-less, thumbscrews for everything - even the motherboard. Good cable management. The front panel comes off without opening the case, allowing for easy access to the fan filters - I wish everyone would do this. I like the way it looks - classic, simple, no garish bling, LED's, etc. The included fans are very quiet.
Cons: The stock fans may not be enough for a gamer. I switched out the front intake fans and put a 140mm intake on the side panel, and now there is a solid positive pressure air flow. Not docking an egg because it depends on what your needs are.
Overall Review: Good quiet case for general computing. Gamers may need a little better cooling.
Pros: Really brings the series back to life, highly recommended for HOMM fans and anyone who likes turn-based strategy games. The high-res graphics are a delight. The tried-and-true formula of these games is laid out on these beautiful maps, with that old just-one-more turn addictiveness fully intact Much better than HOMM 4, and a step up from HOMM 5.
Cons: Fairly hard even on Easy difficulty. Really have to move fast to beat the AI. Story and voice acting are a little cheesy, but better than average for the series.
Overall Review: If you liked the earlier games and you're wondering if you should get it, just go for it. This is a good one. Best since Heroes 3.
Better Than Expected
Pros: Very good sound for the price Easy access volume control and headphone jack
Cons: Not the speakers of my dreams?
Overall Review: Saw the negative reviews, and wanted to counterpoint. Have had these over six months, and they're holding up just fine. You have to be realistic in your expectations - you can't get high volume and deep bass from something like this, but they are remarkably good for the price. At moderate sound levels they're more than adequate for gaming, music, and movies. The sound quality at this price really surprised me. Recommended if you're on a budget.