Joined on 10/13/14
Great Buy For Budget Build!
Pros: Good price, looks great, works like a charm.
Cons: Could use another 4 pin fan connector but hey, it's a $100 board that works well! No problems here.
Overall Review: This board is solid and looks good. I used it in a budget i3 build for light work in the fall of 2014 but life happens and I couldn't build my gaming machine soon enough. So, I exchanged the 450 Corsair PS with a 750 EVGA G2 bought on sale earlier for the future gamer, pulled out the 750i video card and i3 processor, put in a 970 card, a 4790K processor, and an AIO 240 mm cooler and voilà - a gaming machine that plays The Witcher 3 smoothly on ultra settings. (Everything bought on Newegg sales!) I might try some overclocking in the future but frankly, the unit often runs above 4.2Hz which is fast enough for my current needs. While I have your undivided attention, I want to briefly share my recently gained experience for those contemplating whether to buy a non-OC 4790 or K version processor for gaming and have cooling concerns. There was a 3 day gap where I was waiting for the water cooler to arrive and the stock heatsink/fan was allowing temps climb into the high 70C range while intense gaming. The temps dropped over 10 C when I turned off the turbo and there was no noticeable difference playing Witcher 3 at almost non-K 4790 Hz.. The point being, the non-OC 4790 (or 4690) would probably work fine for the most demanding gaming with an inexpensive aftermarket heatsink/fan or even just changing the thermal paste on the stock fan if your case has good airflow. Don't let the numerous overclocking posts listing cpu stress test temperatures where all the processor cores are maxed out for some lengthily time scare you into buying expensive cooling. So, consider the non-K 4780 (or even 4690) unless you just have to have the K processor for overclocking, and use the $$$$ saved towards an SSD and good video card Back on track now...I highly recommend this ASRock board for everything capital conscious people might do with a computer these days. It may not allow for the fastest overclocking or have the features of a $200 board but I would rather save the cash and to put towards other critical components where it will pay more dividends. Stop stressing over unnoticeable excessive frame rates, and a few degrees of cooling - all which cause unnecessary expenses - and enjoy the gaming after the satisfaction of building a dependable computer yourself. (... and do yourself a favor and get a case with good airflow) I found component listings on reviews helpful when I got back into building computers after an 11 year pause so here is my box: Fractal Design NODE-804 Micro ATX Case ASRock Z97 Pro 4 Micro ATX Motherboard Intel Core i7-4790K processor EVGA GeForce GTX 970 SSC ACX 2.0+ video card G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 8GB DDR 2133 Memory Enermax Liqmax II 240 cpu cooler EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G2 power supply SAMSUNG 840 EVO MZ-7TE250BW 2.5" 250GB SSD Western Digital Black WD1003FZEX 1TB Hard drive Western Digital Blue WD10EZEX 1TB Hard drive Windows 7 64 bit Home Edition Yeah, it even has blue LED lights to view through the window.
May Work For You and May Not
Pros: Unit is small and easy to keep in the vehicle in case needed.
Cons: May not start vehicles which have a battery that is failing. That was the case on my S10 pickup with a 4.3 L V6 engine in 10 F weather weather. The Bolt Jump Starter just didn't have enough capacity, even with a full charge indicated on the Bolt, to jump the V6 but strangely enough the battery was able to start the vehicle a couple days later when the weather warmed up without the Bolt's help. The Bolt did assist in starting my father's plow truck a few weeks later but his battery is only a year old and was drained somewhat due to a defect in the plow's electrical system. However, even with the Bolt hooked up for 30 seconds prior to attempting to start the 5.3 L engine, the engine barely turned over enough to start the truck.
Overall Review: I would not depend on this unit starting anything but a 4 cylinder or smaller engine. I don't care what the specs say - I have used it in the real world and it doesn't have enough power to count on when needed. I would not recommend this unit.
Very Good Cooler For the Price
Pros: Works very well. In use over 18 months for several hours most days and has kept my 4790K one to two C above mother board temperature during routine use and below 40 C gaming.
Overall Review: Just a reminder for users with software fan controllers such as ASROCK's A Tuning - if you connect the pump to a CPU fan connector and the rpm setting is too low it may cause the pump to not function properly and/or the pump light may not light. I recently thought my pump had stopped working not realizing that the fan controller settings had been changed after updating the ASROCK Formula Drive on my computer. Interestingly, even with the pump off (showing zero rpms and the pump light not on), my system info showed that the CPU temperature only climbed 4 or 5 C above normal temps during non-gaming applications. I did get some strange noise with the pump not circulating the water but the computer was usable while I waited for a new albeit unneeded cooler to arrive. After seeing how well this thing cools even without the pump working I would certainly recommend it.
Personal Identity Hog
Pros: Clean look, can use apps, seems to be more resource efficient.
Cons: A personal information black hole.
Overall Review: I'm reviewing this from the perspective of a new build machine using a clean Windows 7 64 bit OS upgrade to 10. I've got to disregard an earlier reviewer that suggested installing from a purchased disk is better than an online upgrade. My machine runs well with the new online install. Old computers or newer computers using cheap or proprietary components will often have problems with newly released OS's because of driver issues. My major concern with this new OS is that Microsoft wants your information else you will be limited to some degree. This isn't just an operating system, it is an information mining suite for Microsoft. When you install Windows 10, the default settings will allow Microsoft and their chosen groups to collect all sorts of information on you and how you use your computer. Want to add a family member to also use the computer? The first thing they want is an email address and if you don't want to give them an email address then they require that you provide a name and you must create an email address before they are added. Microsoft Edge (Internet Explorer's new name) is still error prone like when you have multiple pages open and close one only to find they all close. That seems to be my worst operational experience so far. My big Edge gripe is that you can set up your own home page but the first page you will always see upon starting Edge will be the Edge home page which has a Bing search box, news, sports, and weather. I suspect it won't be long before Microsoft starts selling advertisement space on their home page but for now it seems they will train users to like their selected home page for you. (Similar to the first cable subscribers having commercial free tv.) Only from the Edge home page can you press the house icon to get you your real home page. So home really isn't home any longer All in all, Windows 10 isn't bad but it is a great leap down the road leading to complete loss of your identity (if you hadn't lost it already), loss of control, and information being forced upon the user with no way to turn if off. On the plus side, it seems to be more resource efficient and you can install most of the same apps you would use on your tablet or cell phone (maybe a plus for syncing data). Windows 7 was a pretty good OS. However, this new OS seems to provide Microsoft more advantages in advancing their profits while giving users only a dressed up interface and an APP dance, thus my 3-star rating.
Looks Great But....
Pros: Well constructed (except for plastic mounting post inserts). Fairly quiet except when fans ramp up to max.
Cons: Retainers do not snug cooler to processor well so carefully monitor CPU temps after installing..
Overall Review: Installed this on an ASRock Pro4 mATX 1150 board using an Intel i3-4150 processor. Even after ensuring posts were rotated opposite the arrow (just like the intel cooler) and pressing till seated, the cooler never seemed to fasten snug to the processor. Upon startup on day 2 of use the temperatures steadily climbed into the mid 90 C range at which time I shut the machine down. During inspection of the cooler I noted it was barely making contact with the processor and could easily be moved. Posts were still seated but apparently the motherboard is too thin for the plastic rings on post to seat and pull cooler snug to processor. That said, the cooler does look more than up to the challenge of cooling but like some other negative reviews, it can't always secure to board properly. If someone had a little time I am sure they could fasten it securely using some screws, washers and nuts but really, it should work properly out of the box. Needless to say I could not use this cooler so I swopped it with a factory i7-4790K cooler, left over from another build, which has a copper core - unlike the i3 cooler that came with i3 processor which is all aluminum. Now working temps around 41 C, motherboard at 33 C when room at 75 F.
EVGA GeForce GTX 970 SSC ACX 2.0+ 4GB
Pros: Purchased while on Newegg sale with backplate included. What can I say - it plays Witcher 3 on highest settings with no effort. It's quiet, runs cool, and have never heard any coil whine.
Cons: It doesn't make ice cream.
Overall Review: So many 970 video cards out there and they will all game well. Everything being nearly equal, look for reliable reviews and get one on sale.