Joined on 02/06/03
A really decent board
Pros: Not much fuzz about this board. Easy to install, clear layout of headers, ample connectivity to periferals, on-board video and a rock-stable board in general. And nice to see Gigabit-Ethernet.
Cons: I give in that 99% of the customers won't need it, but in one installation I was missing the Serial port backplane connector (For a ticket printer) I would rather prefer a serial port on the backplane than a Dsub-25 parallel port. Serial devices are in widespread use, parallel printers are mostly displaced by USB-connected printers nowadays.
Overall Review: I read comments about "picky about memory". When I ordered the 12 boards we use in our Internet Café, I paid a great deal of attention to that issue. But "out of stock constraints" made me buy 3 different brands of memory chips:(#: N82E16820150350,#: N82E16820145528,#: N82E16820218092), and they ALL work on this board. Bottom line: A Mobo should not be evaluated taking everything to the extreme (OC-ing), but under conditions where it is designed to clock right. Out of the 12 M2NPV-VM we bought, I had zero issues with this Mobo.
Problematic - at Best
Pros: Price. Cheap. Cheap. Optically pleasant simplistic presentation.
Cons: The screws for the cradle that attaches to the HDD are scraping against the housing when assembling the enclosure. But most aggravating: The Drive spins down and disconnects from the Universal Serial Bus rather constantly. When you work with the drive connected, it needs to be re-enumerated every 10 Minutes or so, regardless the Power Settings or Drive-Removal policies. That becomes very fast very irritating when a program needs to access the drive and it has to spin up first, with frequent 6-8 secs. wait time just for the drive to come on-line.
Overall Review: Not recommended for anything else than weekly backup or similar. For Daily on-line usage its no good.
Affordable and wearable
Pros: Wearing comfort is the 1st. criteria for headphones in my book. Sound reproduction is close second. It does not help if you have the best sounding headphones in the galaxy - when the skin of your skull starts to ache after 15 minutes of wearing them, making you itch and sweat behind the ears. The more cushioning surface the phones provide against the cranium, the better. That's simple distribution of force: The more surface, the less pressure without Hot-Spot. And here the HD518 is just to my liking. My ears fit entirely in the cup without touching it's walls, nothing is irritating the skin. That's a simple design feature, and I like that. I can have them on and in fact I can forget about wearing headphones, as it should be. That makes the headphones large, but this is the only way to make headphones long-term comfortable. And apropos: Did you ever walk away from the equipment forgetting about wearing headphones? The cable of the HD518 is tough enough to survive it. Most likely scenario is that the headphones get stripped from your head, but without damage. The cable has a 3.5mm bajonet locked connector on the left earcup, making it replaceable. To the acoustic qualities: Excellent to Superb. And that means that I only had to correct the low freq 50-300Hz down a couple of dB and the 10-16k range up on the Equalizer to match what I'm expecting to hear. Taste and perception differs widely among individuals, there is no point in dwelling in sound qualities as long as the basic design is living up to modern standards. Detail reproduction is just fine, I can hear cymbals, room reflections, finger nails scratching on guitar strings which simply are not perceivable in lesser headphones. The transparency between outside world and inside-head-room is good. I can hear when someone is addressing me with headphones on. People can call my attention. I'm not locking myself into an isolation chamber.
Cons: Here the critics: 1- The spring-force on the ear cups is not adjustable, unless you bend the headband with certain force. That can be done, but it may dislodge the inner lining of the headband. That's a make or break scenario. 2- Why on earth is Sennheiser still using those astronomic 6.3mm Stereo plugs while the rest of the world has migrated to 3.5mm connectors? I'd like to hear a good technical justification. 6.3mm plugs were - and still are- used in the professional environment for cross-connects and better s/n ratio and because they are physically tougher. But if you plug this into your smart-phone with the 3.5mm adapter, and one of the ends is forced to to give way: It will be the smart-phone breaking. Not cool. In German: Meine Damen und Herren Sennheiser, können wir hier mal kurz nachdenken, Bitteschön? The best solution for a wired Headphone would be a magnetic break-away connector. Very simple to realize, but it seems they haven't thought about it.
Overall Review: I know Sennheiser for decades, mostly in a professional context. 28 years ago I bought a HD540 reference headset, which went the way of all man-made at the end, after many, many years. It is surprising that Sennheiser does not build upon proven and glorious models like the 540 reference, which was very affordable at THAT time, and remains almost unsurpassed in my book. The cushioning material on that HD540 was much better - 30 years ago - than the HD518 is today.
With focus on Energy Efficiency
Pros: Low power consumption. Besides that: No performance issues at all. This Processor was bought with power consumption in mind, and there is no other LGA 1156 Xeon server processor with these specs.
Cons: A slightly elevated price for the 45W Quad-core.
Overall Review: Drawing the bottom line on a processor: Not only the energy savings for a reduced power consumption can offset the purchase price - Over an estimated life-time of 3-4 years. Also secondary costs like premise cooling to remove excessive heat that stems from electronic equipment is a cost factor. The purchase decision on this one was solely on energy efficiency. And here it seems to be the only one in it's class with Quad-core and rated 45W heat dissipation.
Too Glossy plastic finish
Pros: Sharp image, true colors. Has both a DVI connector and VGA. Price to performance relation is excellent.
Cons: The black plastic bezel around the image area has a highly polished finish, and at the same time the edges are rounded, so every light source behind me reflects in the plastic bezel, and that is a rather irritating issue. We have an array of fluorescent lights in the ceiling, and everything reflects in the frame of the monitor. I guess that's the only way to alleviate this is: Taping the plastic frame over with something non-reflective. I deem the issue to be so seriously irritating that I only can give three out of five points.
SSD is the way
Pros: Finally an affordable SSD drive! This is probably the single most rewarding upgrade for my XP box in the last 2 years. I made a straight clone of my old HDD to the SSD, and that cut boot time from the Bios POST beep to the user logon prompt down to 30 seconds. (Was: 90-120 seconds). Another 10 seconds, and my profile is loaded. Virtually all applications resident on the disk load really snappy, almost without perceivable delay. And not to forget: Less power consumption, less heat to get rid of for the cooling fans, less noise.
Cons: Obvious cons are: Price pr. Gigabyte, in comparison to traditional hard disks. Another one: We don't know much about long term stability of Nand flash memory in real life, besides that we can expect 100K write cycles per cell.
Overall Review: The biggest bottleneck in Desktop machines today is Disk I/O. No processor power or additional RAM can alleviate much when it comes to data transfer from and to disk storage. SSD technology is definitely the way ahead, and you can bet competition will be fierce and prices will come down. I'm glad I made the move because it cuts down on wait time, those accumulating and uncounted seconds when we sit in front of the box watching a rotating donut / hourglass, waiting for the machine to get ready.