Joined on 10/04/04
Pros: Very fast. Low relative power consumption and heat generation. Very stable in an modestly overclocked state. The on-board GPU is well suited for light duty tasks such as Windows Aero.
Cons: Heat transfer between the CPU die and the LGA package does not seem as good as it could be. I have heard this is a characteristic of the Ivy Bridge processors, but I do not have any hard evidence to support this other than rumor and forum threads. With a liquid cooling system, I have seen as much of a 40C difference in temperature between the coolant and the CPU die. If the thermal conductivity between the die and the package was better, this CPU may have better overclocking potential.
Overall Review: I have been able to overclock this CPU to 4.5 GHz with an increase of the Vcore of about 160mV. It will reach 4.6 GHz, but the 180mV Vcore increase required for stability generates a lot of heat and the CPU die will reach 90C easily. I have not attempted to push this CPU beyond 4.6 GHz, perhaps with a more extreme cooling solution such as a powerful thermoelectric device and a radiator larger than a single 120mm unit, it may be possible.
Efficient, but with caveats
Pros: Stable voltage rails which do not droop significantly under load. Does not generate much heat even when passing over 400 watts. Semi-modular connections which can lead to better cable manangment.
Cons: The fan included in the unit already sounds as if it is wearing out. The fan also does not seem to be well balanced since this power supply vibrates more than other power supplies I've owned in the past. If the fan gets any worse I may have to test the warranty.
Stable and low noise, but...
Pros: The lowest noise headphone connection I've ever heard from a PC since the SB16. 100% CPU and GPU load does not noticeably increase noise. The output amplifier has enough headroom to drive 300 ohm headphones with lots of support for bass. The TPA6120 sounds quite good for a reasonably priced amplifier. It uses real mechanical relays for output routing.
Cons: Hot switching between outputs can cause pops and clicks in the audio signal which happens when the relays switch. This may be hardware and/or software related. The relays are audible in themselves, but the headphones pop at the same time. I always hear pops and clicks when first starting up Windows, but never once everything is finished booting. This may not happen for all outputs.
Pros: At least twice the frame rate in most games as my old ATI 5850. Mechanically, this card appears to be well built and feels quite sturdy. I've had many video cards over the past 15 years and this is by far the quietest one. I have never seen this card go above 55C.
Cons: OpenCL preformance in some applications is faster even with older ATI/AMD cards. Very large at almost 12" in length. Required drilling rivets in my Antec Three Hundred case to remove the 3.5"/5.25" bay structure in order for this card to fit.
Overall Review: Haven't yet tried to overclock it anymore than it already is from the factory. Fans set manually at 100% will be quite loud, but the airflow is excellent.
Pros: Fast TFT panel. It "feels" as quick as a CRT. High motion looks excellent, especially if your source meets or exceeds 120Hz. 1080p cinematic content looks excellent, especially in dark and low contrast scenes. Easily beats the dynamic range at the dark end of the scale in comparison to my old Benq FP241W. Came with a DVI Dual-Link cable (required for 120Hz) and a decent 2-meter HDMI cable.
Cons: Color accuracy could be better, especially compaired with the new IPS panels on the market, although it has much better color accuracy than older LCD technologies. There is no height adjustment. The "Halloween" color scheme gets old fast.
Overall Review: This is an excellent monitor for gaming, especially shooters. I have yet to try it with shutter glasses for 3D content.