Joined on 05/08/03
Some good facts to decide with
Pros: Multitasks even better than the impression you get reading these reviews. Will run out of the box @ 230X11 in a heartbeat even on an NForce 3 Ultra with low heat but slightly warmer than a 3700+ SD. Again NewEgg comes through though UPS was a bit slow.
Cons: Used Artic Silver 5 and is initially hotter than with stock wax pad, although they say it needs time to cure. This wont game or single process any faster than a single core so, if not heavily multitasking & you want just speed, the 3700+ SD OCs like a dream and will provide that speed for 200.00 less. If you do multitask heavy, the 3700+ SD cant touch this... And you really cant imagine, without trying it..
Overall Review: Both the 3700+ SD and 4400+X2 Tol can be run up 15% no problem though the 3700+ heats a bit less. Normal coomputing and gaming you get about the same speed so really think about the cost and how much you multitask, but dont hesitate, if thats what you really need
One Problem After Another
Pros: Bought last November, I believe. At first the lack of a 2nd PS2 port was a small problem but it grew into a large problem as anyone with a KVM switch is well aware. I'm at my whits end. 4 PS, any number of ram, drive, input devices later, not to mention BIOS updates all of which added to issues or evidenced a new set of issues. Perhaps its the fact that I'm using an early 125W 9850, thats all that is left.
Cons: Irritating on and off USB recognition, BIOS update, USB solved now IDE OS HD issues. Another BIOS update, serious IDE OS HD issues and USB issues back. Replace drives, ram, PS, no help. Another BIOS update, no better. Replace IDE HD with SATA and things run smoothely...until any OS issue requires a repair from the OS CD. OS CD is no longer found on boot, wont even try to spin it up although other bootable disks do boot???, That is connecting optical drive either SATA, IDE or USB. BBS and BIOS boot selection seems just a suggestion because you set it one way and it acts another way. I could go on and on.
Overall Review: Boy I dont normally complain but this has been one issue after another compounded by the lack of the second PS2 port, what were they thinking? Maybe I just got a flaky board since it rates so well or perhaps the CPU draw is somehow an issue, but now, until Asus puts the second PS2 port back in, I'm done connecting 2 mice and keybaords different ways just to hopefully have something recognized at boot. I cant run an OS on an IDE drive, cant fix an OS on an SATA drive, the options are disappearing fast. If I wasnt able to clone and migrate from a different PC, I have no idea how I could ever install an OS on this board. I was an Asus lover, but thats fading fast. I cant imagine those port connectors costing too much...put them back, please. Think really hard before you buy this board.
If you want a Gamer case this isnt it, if you want a home server or a huge amount of internal storage, it is
Pros: I wont repeat the features already mentioned although will suggest that with cable management, that Video Card support bar your removing is darned handy to cable tie all kinds of things under, making it a whole lot easier later to access them.
Cons: Since most folks are using it for home servers with backplane cages Zallman might consider looking at them and enlarging the board plates access holes so that once installed you have access to and can see ports on backplanes with connections on the rear right side.
Overall Review: Really there is nothing to complain about Zallman covers just about everything if you just use what they supplied to your advantage. Its sturdy, clean, well vented and cooled and while it accommodates video cards its not really a gamer case so I wouldn't bother bit*hing about its deficiencies in being one, just be glad they provided it so that if your building a home server\everything PC that you would also like to game with, you can...just try and find another case that CAN be all of that for under 175.00. It is what it is and does a darned fine job being what it is and at the price, cant be beat. Its one of those rare products that there just isnt much to complain about and I hope Zalman keeps making them....and while I'm at it hey New Egg start selling the hot swap bays seperate as Zallman or even as the Xigmatek, I dont care, they were handy since you dont carry the MX800 Plus. Yeah they are 3 in 3 but they do match.
Followup for users with factory cases
Pros: The center of the bay floats on rubber not providing the outer frame rigidity necessary for factory screwless bays using slide guides and lugs. Take strips of styrofoam and insert them between the inner and outer frame on both sides, so that the outer frame can no longer wiggle\roll out of the bay guides.
Cons: It isnt a perfect solution and they could supply the inserts for you but they are simple enough to make and the styrofoam wont kill ALL of the vibration dampening ability when the center frame can no longer just float.
Overall Review: A choice might be for factory cases to buy a more ridged bay instead, but the quality of the bay, especially the connection socket makes modification the better option. RE Quality, who else uses stainless steel in computer parts, no one and no one makes a connection socket more reliable and long lasting. Yes these are made for bays with screws but can be easily modified.
Strengths and weaknesses
Pros: The board is basically dandy with a couple exceptions. SATA port placement creates some issues with larger Vid Cards and with shorter cases their placement often blocks use of lower drive bays. No simultanious dual Vid output, not that great an issue for most, but for some. The real problem is XP users. You Must either connect a floppy and install ACHI drivers during OS install or slipstream newish ACHI\Raid drivers into the XP Disk.
Cons: AMD for some unknown reason rarely or never offers drivers individually, in fact if it aint video oriented, it seems like they dont even like addressing drivers. If your going to be in the chipset business, how about getting into the support of them seriously. AMD also assumes that basic AHCI\Raid drivers had to be installed with the OS so all their driver packs I have seen and I have tryed allot, they fail to inject those initial drivers while updating the north and south bridge drivers, leaving you unable to then enable AHCI nor have hotplugability. So while you can set the BIOS to install XP Native IDE, unless the install hits the AHCI requirement during install, those initial drivers wont be available later. Tisk, Tisk AMD, how about a little ACHI driver injecting program that will make all of the registry and startup file entries as a stand alone, HUH?
Overall Review: All in all a very nice stable board, not fussy about other components, including ram. It overclocks, though I didnt check for underclocking, unlocks cores and really dosent limit you in any serious way. The 4 of 5 stars is less an indictment of Gigabyte or the board and more of their not insisting that AMD do better in the driver department, at least of things not specifically video oriented. Please Gigabyte push AMD to individualize drivers. I'm tired of updating by Catalist Packs and having the audio improve only to have the Video, then become worse.
Pros: If you have any generally low heat output CPU like a newer AII 65 watt or even the AII 95Watt, then this will give you equal to slightly superior cooling to stock and make a heck of allot less racket. They dont require sophisticated copper or pipe type alternatives, just a big block of aluminum and a large 92mm slowish fan. The only reason the stock coolers are noisy is because AMD chose smaller heat sinks and fans with more speed vs larger and slower. If you have the room and these arent huge or tall, then you can save your ears for a modest price.
Cons: None unless you expect too much of a modest cooler.
Overall Review: Remember to use good gook, slow down the case fans, since it dosent make sense for them making more noise than the cooler and in most cases with the CPUs above, you wont need more. Like Thermaltake says, older generation chips and 125 and above chips your going to want to wander further up their product line for a bit more sophisticated cooling.