Date Joined: 01/05/03
Pros: Another great Intel CPU. Powersaving features, Turbo, and Hyperthreading all work great. This was a "new toy" upgrade for me and I wasn't expecting much improvement over my old Q6600 @ 3.4GHz, but this thing shows a nice improvement even in places where I didn't expect any, such as Supreme Commander. Improvements in IPC and the benefits of HT for transcoding/archiving are a given.
Cons: No competition. Even after owning a Q6600 for 2+ years, this is a relatively minor upgrade for me.
Overall Review: It would be nice if heatsink manufs. would get off their butts and release 775 adapters and/or 1156-compatible heatsinks that don't cost 70 freakin' dollars.
Pros: Board seems very stable and trouble-free so far, easily has just as many features as my old $170 P5Q Pro and then some, at a much lower price. BIOS is fairly comprehensive. I don't really feel the need to overclock a brand new i7 860 yet, but I'm sure once I do this board will be more than adequate for a mild ~25-30% overclock. Onboard power/reset switches and rear panel CMOS reset are very nice touches. No problems setting up Windows 7 or installing latest Intel chipset and storage drivers.
Cons: As noted in title, Xigmatek HDT-S1283 CPU heatsink does NOT fit with 775 compatibility mounting holes on this board. Because of the slight clockwise rotation of the holes, the 775 retention bracket on the Xigma pushes down on the northwest corner of the CPU socket, making it impossible to lock the northwest pin into place - believe me, I tried. Taking a dremel to the retention bracket and cutting out a notch might circumvent this, but that's not something I'm willing to attempt. As the 775 holes were a big factor in choosing this board, I feel I have no choice but to dock ASRock one egg, even if it really isn't their fault. Am now patiently waiting for 1156 adapter from Xigmatek to arrive at Newegg.
Overall Review: A few things worth noting :
The front panel header for this board does not appear to have any way of using a 3-pin power LED plug. It uses two adjacent pins for the power LED, and the next pin after is the power switch ground pin.
This is the only board I've ever seen that beeps right before loading the OS. All other boards I've used beep upon completing POST, but this one POSTs, inits HW, storage, and RAID, THEN beeps. Harmless, I suppose, but weird.
I'm currently unable to read CPU Vcore or CPU fan speed from within Windows 7 using 3rd party tools (CPU-Z, HWMonitor). I suspect this may either be a BIOS matter (I haven't updated from 1.0 yet) or simply a matter of those programs not yet being compatible with the somewhat unusual HW monitoring chip on this board (Nuvotron?) I know the ASRock-provided utilities can read all of this information and then some, but I don't care enough to bother installing them.
Pros: Easy to overclock, quad-core, Core 2 architecture, amazing performance per Watt, good price, usual no-worries service from Newegg
Cons: It's not 45nm, no SSE4 instructions (probably won't matter by the time anyone implements them usefully though). Received fairly old stock for such a popular CPU... bought two and both were packed in October '07.
Overall Review: So far the first chip is running 3ghz (333x9) at stock volts with no problem, currently stress testing it but I fully expect it to pass based on previous experience with this stepping. 3.2ghz (400x8) on stock vcore is not stable, even with EIST and C1E disabled, and various other voltages bumped.
System power consumption as measured by my Kill-a-watt meter is surprisingly good with the Q6600 compared to my Wolfdale E8400 dual in the same setup. With the Q6600 @ 2.4ghz I only draw 7W more at idle (90 vs 83) and 48W more at 100% load on all cores (167 vs 119). Since 100% load on all cores is a rare situation in real-world use, and considering the additional cores, I'd say this is pretty good. Q6600 system power usage goes up to 94 idle and 232 loaded when OCed to 3ghz on stock vcore.
Highest Coretemp 0.97 reading @ 3ghz with a Xigmatek HDT-S1283 on a Gigabyte P35-DS3L are 32c idle and 56c loaded. This is in a large-ish room with about 22c ambient. 2.4ghz temps are about 4c lo
Pros: 16xAA, 16xAF HQ, max in-game settings in Oblivion (and every other game I have). Seriously the fastest card ever.
Cons: Well it is huge and hungry... I had to buy a new case and PSU just to use it, but oh well. It was worth it.
Overall Review: There is a blurry DVI output issue with nvidia's current drivers. The eVGA drivers fix it, but cause shadow rendering problems in Oblivion. Hopefully nvidia's next driver fixes everything.
Pros: Same pros as my last review (I'm the one complaining about UPS and the extremely poor condition of the first P150 I ordered). Kudos to Newegg for being fast and helpful in getting a replacement unit to me.
Cons: Once again, PSU is DOA. Won't work on MSI K8NGM2 or a Dell Optiplex GX270. The backup Seasonic S12 380w I ordered powers both computers just fine.
Overall Review: I hate to give this a "poor" but considering I've received two dead PSUs in a row, I feel that I must. Shame really, it's a great case otherwise.
Also, I ordered the replacement case via FedEx, and it arrived in perfect condition.
Pros: Hard drive suspension works well, case looks nice. Swing away removable bezel is a nice touch. white/silver/blue color scheme a nice change of pace from black/charcoal this and that.
Cons: When reading the reviews before buying this, I thought perhaps I would get a newer revision of the case/psu or just get lucky. WRONG. PSU dead on arrival, won't power my Gigabyte 6150 mATX board (which also has its own set of power issues) nor will it power my Dell/Intel box at work.
Overall Review: Case arrived in EXTREMELY poor condition. Newegg should never have made the deal with the devil (UPS). Not only is the entire lower rear section of the case warped and the side panel paint chipped, but the PSU came with one side of the housing bent out and the warranty sticker ALREADY BROKEN! I do not even comprehend how a case packed so well can be damaged so severely. Newegg, UPS, and Antec all get a fat F--- on this transaction, and I am severely disappointed in all of them.
Pros: Good board layout, incredible features for a good price. The 430 southbridge was my entire reason for buying this board.
Cons: POST problems as others have mentioned. Worked at first, then as others have said, stopped posting after first time I unplugged the PSU. I haven't tried the power-on/plug-in trick yet but I have 2 known good Antec PSUs sitting in front of me that I will try when I get home.
Overall Review: a wimpy Dell 250w PSU has been powering this board without fail since my POST problems began. After reading about the ATX problem, I suspect it is because the Dell PSU has no on/off switch, and is thus "always on" when you plug it in.
SATA performance seems noticeably below average on this board. When I'm just browsing my local storage partition, the response feels more like I'm browsing on a network. Will be trying a re-install soon to see if this fixes the problem, as I cloned my current install from another drive.
It would have been nice if they included an SPDIF bracket