Joined on 12/27/05
Exactly What I Needed
Pros: Currently holding 4x 1.5TB Seagates and a 640gb WD drive -- absolutely no issues with cooling. Slid right into place, attached the cables, popped in the drives. Completely painless. The fan toggle (HIGH/LOW) is very handy for me, since this is running a few feet from my bed. Fan keeps everything around 35*c on low, which is perfectly acceptable.
Cons: Relatively expensive. The fan is pretty loud on high, but that is easily remedied.
Overall Review: Not a con, but when put in my Lian-Li PC-16A there is ~1-2mm of a gap on the sides between the unit and my case bezel. This isn't a fault of iStarUSA's doing, rather, it is due to the fact that Lian Li uses wider 5.25 bezels (the actual drive space is the same, fits perfectly) so there is a bit of a gap. Just a warning: my unit came with all of the power switches OFF. They aren't just power toggles, and have a distinct ON and OFF position, and it took me a second after seeing a "no boot drive found, please insert installation media" message to realize what was going on. Again, not a problem, just something to keep in mind. I can't really say anything bad about this. It really just serves to hold drives and route power and data. Neither is too hard to pull off, and this does it perfectly.
Pros: Intel made means an on-board Intel NIC. Big selling factor for stable Linux use. 6x SATA ports (more on that later) IDE Included
Cons: SATA ports not all in the same direction makes it VERY hard to use locking cabled because the clips all face each other. Had to use a knife (or other long flat object) to release the clips. System refuses to boot completely unless I press F2 to load in, make absolutely no changes (ZERO), and save the "changes". It will then boot once, but rebooting the computer necessitates the same action again. Random "no memory inserted" BIOS error. A restoration back to defaults (using the jumper) resolved this both times, but should I really have to do that so often?
Overall Review: I bought this board because of the superior Intel NIC onboard, as well as the 6x SATA ports (intended use: 6x1.5tb RAID-6 using mdadm) and the onboard IDE (160gb boot drive). This was supposed to be a headless home NAS. Having to keep a monitor and keyboard attached so that I could cheat my way through the buggy BIOS, however, ruined that plan entirely. On reboot, the system would post and begin to load my OS (show a blinking underscore), and then it would just enter a reboot loop until I entered the BIOS and just saved no changes. Ordinarily I would assume this would be an OS issue, but I've reinstalled several times trying, and still it would not work. I'm sure now it is a BIOS error because no matter how many times I change it, the internal clock always sets itself four hours ahead on reboot. It keeps time just fine in that time zone, but it ignores my settings entirely. Intel support was unable to provide me with a resolution, so I will be returning this for a non-Intel model.
Another Stellar Product
Pros: Overclocked to 3.0ghz with only one voltage bump due to v-droop (running 304x9). Prime95 stable after 24 hours with temps under 50*c (with a 120mm Kingwin HDT Revolution heatsink). Idle temps under 25*c overclocked, which is very impressive.
Cons: Runs hot with the stock heatsink, it is worth the money to replace it.
Overall Review: I encoded my 130gb of .flac to V0 mp3 overnight. Encoding that much media in a matter of hours is amazing.
Pros: Absolutely stunning performance. I moved up from my old systems (laptop with an 8600gt, and a desktop with a 6800gs), and the performance is vastly improved. Both of the old systems would stuggle to play relatively new games (TF2, Oblivion, Age of Conan, CoD4). The new card cruises through. Fan noise is inaudible over my 70cfm Yate Loon fans, and temps are well within acceptable values. No complaints.
Cons: I would prefer the 6pin PCI-E was closer to the motherboard, but that really is just nitpicking. I haven't found anything really wrong with it at all.
Overall Review: I got it with a rebate, and still haven't recieved confirmation that they recieved my information. It hasn't been too long, though.
Pros: It works? I haven't had any problems with it. No coasters yet (30+ discs burnt). It is a bit quieter than my old Lite-On IDE burner, but not really that noticable.
Cons: None yet, other than it wasn't free.
Overall Review: I have a Lian Li case, so I used one of the spring-loaded bezels to hide the black faceplate (silver case). It took a little effort to get the drive set correctly so that when it hit the spring-loaded door, it didn't close the drive back up. Just something to be wary of if you are getting this sort of setup: if the drive doesn't stay open, shift the drive back a bit.
Exactly What I Needed
Pros: Ordered this drive when I sold my 500gb to a friend (ran out of space). Since I was on a laptop, external drives were keeping me sane. Installed the drive in an Eagle E-Sata enclosure, and saw vast improvements in read and write speeds over my previous drive. It stores everything I need it to (read: I probably could have gotten a 1TB drive), and hasn't slowed down on me yet. I haven't been able to really monitor temps yet, because it is running in an external enclosure with no fan, but it does seem to run cooler than the drive I had in previously.
Cons: Not really a con, but after I hit less than 80gb free space, the seeking got absurdly loud. I ran a defrag, and it seems to have fixed the problem (although Vista told me disk performance was good before the defrag, I ran it anyways... it doesn't have the nice graphical showing like XP did, so I'm not sure if fragmentation was the problem).
Overall Review: I have heard a lot of complaints about incompatibility with NVidia chipsets, so be wary if you are running one of these. I don't have an NV board to test on, so I wouldn't really be able to speak for it.