Date Joined: 06/21/03
Pros: This machine had everything I wanted, newest generation processor, a terabyte of "disk", 32GB of RAM, touchscreen, Thunderbolt ports, even an extra slot for a second m.2 ssd! It was easy to setup, ran extremely fast, and looks great.
Cons: I spent a day and a half configuring the machine and installing all my software (I'm a developer so there was quite a lot.) Then I went back to set up Windows Hello (facial recog and fingerprint). The fingerprint reader would only read 1 or two presses. (Lots more are required to train it.) And then I discovered that the camera did not work at all.
After three trips to the the MSI support desk, (with three very terse answers, and no apologies), they finally told me to return the machine.
NewEgg was great about the RMA. No questions asked. However, by the time the machine arrived at the RMA center, they had exhausted their supply of replacement units. So I got a full refund. (no complaints there)
My only complaint now is that I cannot find an equivalent machine (for a reasonable price) from any other manufacturer.
Overall Review: If the hardware had worked as expected, this would have been a great machine.! I cannot, however, recommend it because "first time quality" was poor.
Pros: Easy to install.
Lots of USB ports
Lots of open space in the PCI slot area. (previous mobo had raised components that interfered with installation of long video cards).
Click BIOS is very easy to use and the "help" window is more useful than in the past. The "change summary before you actually apply changes and reboot is great.) Overclocking the memory was two clicks!
4 DIMM slots will allow 64 GB of RAM (I installed 32).
SATA and internal USB #connectors are positioned for easy access.
Cons: Onboard heat/cooling shields are too close to the CPU socket. It made installation of a ZALMAN cooler a little difficult. Other coolers might not be a problem.
I would give this board 5 eggs except for one really annoying issue. The board will not initialize the video card when the machine is awaking from sleep mode. I have been working with MSI to diagnose the issue. They have been responsive but not helpful. (i..e the problem remains.) At first I could get it to wake up once if I left all the BIOS settings at their default values. But if I woke the machine, used it, and put it back to sleep, it would not awaken the next time. At the instruction of the MSI tech, I installed new Intel drivers, but that resulted in the machine not being able to wake even with default BIOS settings. This happens with my external video card as well as the onboard one. I suspect a BIOS timing issue, but I'm no BIOS expert so I have to rely onMSI to fix the problem.
If you are accustomed to shutting your machine done when you are finished working, then this will not be a problem for you. I, on the other hand, generally leave my machine on so I can remote into while traveling. For me this is a serious drawback!
As indicated in the title, I love everything about this board except this. As soon as MSI gets it fixed I will change the review to 5 eggs.
Overall Review: As noted above, if you always shut down your machine this is a great board. Otherwise, wait till this review changes to 5 eggs before buying it.
Cons: Incredibly difficult to configure. Would not allow remote desktop connections to machine on the SAME network/subnet. (Never got around to attempting RDP connection from outside the network.) Configured the trial version of the content filtering service. The test facility indicated it would block a specific prohibited site, but the computers which were begin served by the device could still access the prohibited sites.
Included documentation is useless. You can get a pdf from the Zxyel ftp site, but it assumes you have a rather high level of network configuration knowledge. (i.e. you need to know what all the three letter acronyms stand for or you will be lost). There are no configuration guides that help you accomplish a specific task (like configuring internal remote desktop access).
Overall Review: A previous reviewer indicated it was easy to configure if you were familiar with other Zyxel products. That could be true, but I am not familiar with this company's products and I spent three days trying to configure it and ended up giving up and purchasing a different product.
Pros: Easy install. Removable drive rack. Memory card slots, USB, Firewire, eSata and audio ALL on the front. Optional LCD display is inexpensive and adds a nice touch.
Cons: The dvd drive door is really flimsy. And, though it might make for a "sloppier" look on the front, I wish the dvd installation allowed the drive to be mounted through the front (like a normal PC). This case REQUIRES the removal of the front bezel of the dvd drive. The Blu-Ray drive I got was unusable because the case's drive button would not contact the drive's button, therefore, you could not activate the drive without using the eject functionality of the operating system. (actually this is probably a drive manufacturer problem, because I used a standard DVD burner instead and it worked fine.)
Overall Review: Factory installed fans are simple two wire connections that will not plug into the motherboard (for speed monitoring). I replaced the front fan with a motherboard controlled fan (and added another one to the other side).
Pros: Can't really say. Never got it installed.
Cons: The drive will not work in the nMediaPC case I bought to build my HTPC. The problem is that, once you remove the front of the drive (which is required to fit it into the case), the drive activation button will not come into contact with the button built into the case. The button on the drive does not extend past the front of the drive, therefore, the button on the case contacts the drive casing and will not depress the activation button.
Overall Review: I guess this could also be blamed on the nMedia folks. I would have preferred a drive mounting that allows me to install the drive through the front of the case (like any normal PC).
Pros: See previous review
Cons: 250mm fan was defective
Overall Review: Initially I loved this box. It was quiet, cool, and attractive.
After about 3 weeks the oversized (side) fan started making a clicking noise. It would stop if I contorted (twisted) the case, or removed the side panel from the box and held it is EXACTLY the right position. Eventually I decided to try to replace it. Once removed from the side panel I was, however, able to locate the source of the clicking noise, (one of the led wires that was looped too high and was hitting the underside of the fan blade hub). I decided to try fix it. I was able to extract the fan blade by removing the label on the back of the fan and then removing the retaining washer on the fan axle. A few minutes and a little hot glue and a drop of light oil, did the trick. The fan is now nearly silent! (Of course the warranty is probably void, but...)
Pros: Runs very cool with stock fans. Very stable! Accepts both DDR2 and DDR3 memory. "Pretty colors" (lots of informational LED's). Status LED's eliminate need for case speaker. Which is good in my case (no pun intended) because the speaker wire was not long enough to reach the mobo pins.
Cons: Manual was weak on RAID configuration. Description of RAID setup fails to let you that a BIOS setting is required to even enable the setup.)
Manual was silent on optical drives on a RAID enabled controller. (You can't do it. You have to put the optical drive on the "alternate" SATA port, which means you get only 1 SATA optical drive.)
Can not run DDR2 and DDR3 together, but that's not really a problem for me.
Overall Review: This board was a replacement for a defective ASUS P5K Deluxe. It worked perfectly right out of the box. **Heaves a great sigh of relief**
Look and feel
No driver problems when installing.
64bit is fast
Pain in the backside to install on a clean disk. (Micro$oft wants you to install your old OS first, but there are (time-consuming) ways around it.
Overall Review: Probably not worth the hype, but wouldn't put an older OS on a new machine.
Pros: 250mm side fan.
Tons of drive slots both internal and external.
Cool blue leds.
Cons: 1) Initial quality. When delivered, one of the screws securing the 250mm side fan was missing. (of course it was metric so my vast store of "screwage" was of no use.) Replacement from the local hardware store was only 35 cents.
2) Case speaker wire was not long enough. Barely reached on one mobo, did not reach on another.
Pros: Excellent quality for the price.
Cons: Stand is not adjustable. Factor in the cost of an alternate stand.
Pros: Fast, Cheap, Sata
Cons: This is probably universal, but the drive will not work on a SATA controller configured for OTHER drives to be RAID'ed. (I know I can not RAID an optical drive, but I thought I could still tell the RAID controller to ignore the optical drive.
Pros: Impressive specs
Cons: Everything else:
Never was able to get it to boot. Not even beep codes. Also, heard rumours that it is not possible to get 4Gb of ram to work on this baord.
Overall Review: ASUS used to be a proven "name brand". Quality seems to be slipping. Fortunatley, their competition has some boards with similar specs (and a lower price).