Date Joined: 09/13/05
Pros: Very cheap for a 6 core processor. Good performance increase boost even from my not-so-old 955BE. With multithreaded applications, this baby screams. Encoding video is lightning fast.
I think AMD tweaked the stock heatsink fan between my 955BE and this processor. The fan spins about 1000 RPM slower, is actually hard to hear at that high speed, and keeps this processor much cooler than my old one. No more hairdryer in my case. My old temps were 40 idle and 60+ under load with the fan screaming at over 6000 RPM, this runs at 30-35 idle and 45 under load with the CPU fan at half power.
Cons: Still can't compete with Intel for raw core performance. When not using all cores, such as most games, an i5/i7 will still beat the pants off of this processor. It's not very noticeable unless you play a very CPU hungry game that has no/poor multithreading support. MMOs come to mind, especially Rift. Can you really complain when spending so much less on a CPU though?
Overall Review: AMD is still the king of the price/performance ratio.
Pros: Great looking board packed with nice features for the price. AM3+ ready.
Cons: The Marvell controller on my board seems to be faulty. File transfers over 10 gigs would freeze a minute in. Every so often my system would randomly stop responding with the message "Reset to device, \Device\RaidPort0 was issued" repeating in the log. I tried both the driver on the CD and the updated one from Gigabyte, but both did the same. The controller in the AMD chipset works just fine.
Voltage droop is unacceptable for overclocking. I had my CPU voltage set at 1.45 trying to overclock a Phenom X6 and it varied from 1.480 down to 1.40! Needless to say, I gave up trying to overclock this system.
Overall Review: I've been using Gigabyte motherboards for 10 years now and this is my first disappointment.
Pros: Good price, plenty of power and cables, silent operation. It comes with a carrying bag, what I'll use that for I do not know.
Cons: Not modular. I forgot to take that into consideration when I bought this vs. a different PSU that was. I can't take any points off since it's 100% my fault for not checking.
Overall Review: As long as cable management isn't a problem for your case, this is a great buy in this price range.
Pros: -Good air flow
-Looks pretty good
-Bottom PSU mount
-Blue LED fan if you're into that sort of thing
Cons: It claims to feature screwless installation yet the only way I could find to secure any of my components in this case was with the... bags of screws they include. What doesn't help is that the screw holes, especially the ones for securing expansion cards are not aligned/drilled properly. I could only get the screws holding my GPU halfway in, but they seem to be holding for now.
I've never had such trouble getting the rear I/O panel in a case as I had with this one. It took me almost 10 minutes of trial, error, cursing, and pleading before it set into place. The metal this thing is made from is so cheap I nearly bent this in two just trying to fit that panel!
The fans are worthless and barely move air, if they do at all. Plan on replacing all of them.
Overall Review: I struggled for almost 3 hours with this case before I was done. This case isn't worth $10, let alone the $40 I payed. I knew this wasn't going to be a great case when I bought it, but I at least expected PC components to fit in it! This is my first HEC product and the last.
Pros: Crystal clear sound with no noise at all using the front headphone jack. Even my old Xfi that this replaced had a loud hiss from the front panel jack, but not this card. Sound is crystal clear, bass is fuller and less muddy than before. Movies sound fantastic. I've heard subtle sounds in games that I never noticed before. EAX support is good for the games that support the version this card provides.
Cons: I leave this card in Movie mode because the other presets aren't great. Game sounds alright, but it's hard to tell the difference. The Music setting sounds ok with some music, but has odd sounding results with other songs. Hi-Fi mode seems to do the opposite and muddy up the sound.
Front headphone detection is broken. Some people claim that this card can detect headphones fine, some say it detects them when plugged in but not when removed, but mine does neither. I have to manually enable and disable the front headphone jack. I knew this when I bought the card so I won't mark it down, and it's less annoying switching back and forth than I thought it would be. Just be warned.
Overall Review: I don't have a fancy speaker setup, just a good 2.1 setup and headphones, so I can't comment on any surround sound features. I don't record anything (just mic use in games), so I can't comment there. For my needs, this card is the best value out there right now.
Pros: Insert hard drive, screw case shut, plug into PC, done. You can't ask for it any easier. Simple design with a single LED activity light and USB port. Slim and easy to find space for. Everything works perfectly.
Cons: Carrying pouch is useless, but no cons for the actual enclosure.
Overall Review: They even included a small screwdriver, how nice.
Pros: Very fast drive. Booting Windows 7 is 15-20 seconds faster than my old 7200 RPM drive. Games load faster and are more responsive and smooth during gameplay. The entire system feels supercharged when it comes to disk access.
I'd heard that these drives were noisy, but they're not really any louder than any other hard drive. Sure, I can hear it if I put my ear to the case, but sitting at my desk I can't even make it out over a quiet case fan.
This drive runs cool under load. My old hard drive runs at about 30C, this one is at 32C.
Cons: Expensive with fairly limited capacity, but the performance is worth the cost.
Overall Review: For general use this drive might be overkill. For high performance needs this drive fills a sweet spot between regular 7200 RPM drives and SSD.
Pros: If you wiggle it the right way while the stars and planets are in the right alignment and the powers that be deem it so, this can pick up some local HD stations for a minute or two. It also looks good and is easy to fit almost anywhere due to its low profile.
Cons: Reception is terrible. The farthest station from me is 20 miles with no geographical barriers between my house and them, and this barely picks it up. Of the 12 channels my tuner card found through it, 3 of them are watchable on occasion. Reception comes and goes every few seconds until you readjust the antenna's position.
Pros: I bought a few sticks of this RAM a few years ago for my previous computer. They worked very well then and are still working flawlessly long after I donated that computer to a friend. Much faster than the generic no name RAM in pre-built machines.
Cons: They don't have a super sexy heat spreader? None really.
Pros: I've owned this for over a year now and it's still working 100%. It was easy to install; just plug it in and you're good to go. All my USB drives, music players, and game controllers share this with no problem. It looks simple and sleek.
Cons: The USB Activity light is always on as long as something is plugged in, making it pointless IMO. That's really the worst I can say about this.
Pros: I had a severe case of RSI in my right hand a few years ago, so I bought this to help ease the strain on my hand while using my computer. At first it was awkward moving from a mouse to one of these, but now I can't go back to mice without feeling awkward again.
After a few days of getting the feel for this I found that not only was my TrackMan more comfortable that a mouse but my precision actually went up in games. Don't be fooled by naysayers; you can definitely game with one of these, even FPS games are a breeze after you grow accustomed to it.
Cons: It doesn't have 50 buttons at your fingertips, so if you sorely need them this isn't for you.
Pros: The stock AMD cooler on my PhenomII x4 kept the processor at 45C idle and 65C under load. After I bought this my temps are 35C idle and 45C under load. This fits in my smallish Antec mid tower case with a tiny bit of room to spare. The included fan is quieter than my quiet case fans even at 2000RPM. This also has provisions to hook up a second fan on the other side of the heatsink for more airflow.
This manages to clear my RAM (Mushkin Blackline), but RAM with larger heat spreaders might be to large. The fan clips let the fan slide up a bit, so you have a little room to work with if needed which is a big plus.
Since this design pulls air over the RAM slots and out the back as opposed to a top mounted fan blowing the air out the sides of the heatsink like the stock cooler, my RAM temps went from 50C under load to 30. Wow.
Cons: The fan clips will be in my nightmares for weeks to come. Once on, the fan is nice and secure, but trying to install is a pain. The slightest bump and they pop off the fan as you try to mount it. It's quite frustrating. This won't fit over RAM with huge heat sinks on top.
Overall Review: I bought this to cool my PhenomII x4 which runs very warm. The stock cooler on those literally screams when it revs up to full RPM and I couldn't take it anymore. This can't be heard over my other case fans and cools remarkably well.
I used my tube of Arctic Silver instead of the included thermal grease so I can't comment on its quality.
The instructions were very clear on how to install it. This is the first third part heatsink I've ever installed, and if I can manage to bumble my way through installing this I think anybody can.
Pros: Windows 7 64-bit detected this card and automatically installed drivers, so it worked right out of the box. My machine is more responsive under heavy net load as opposed to my onboard Realtek. My ping in World of Warcraft went down slightly, but more importantly it is stable with no more lag spikes under high activity. In crowded areas such as capitol cities or PVP with many players my average FPS went up by roughly 10-15 in addition to the smooth connection, which is certainly more than I expected.
General net use is a bit improved, especially on media heavy sites such as Youtube or Hulu. They load faster and don't run out of buffer when watching videos anymore. Network related activities and transfers seem smoother all around.
Cons: Now for the bad. This card doesn't fit my case! I've read other reviews with this problem so it's not just my case that's the culprit. If I fastened it into the case it would pull almost all the way out of the PCIe slot. I almost gave up on it until I found a way to make it fit; I loosened the bracket screws until they were just barely holding the bracket onto the card and then it just managed to fit in its slot. Good thing this card comes with an interchangeable bracket. Not a great fix, but it does work.
Also, despite it not saying this anywhere I can see on the Newegg page, mine was an OEM version (No packaging, manual, drivers, etc) and also shipped from the RMA department. I expected the former from the reviews here, but not the last part. It works, so I can't really complain.
Overall Review: Until now I always thought onboard networking was "good enough" for my needs, but now I think differently. I was suckered into buying one of those Killer NIC cards back when I built this rig, and the awful experience I had with it only confirmed to me that they were useless for my needs. For a fraction of that price I've gotten a card that noticeably improves network performance under load.
Pros: So far my unit works fine. The temps read accurately, all four channels work well, and the display is easy to read and not obnoxiously bright like some other displays. The unit comes with a few extra temp probes and tape for them.
Cons: It was difficult to mount this in my case. The sides of this unit are so small the rails in my Antec case wouldn't hold it until I bent the sides slightly to wedge it in place. Now that it's in, it stays in place well, but it took me forever to fit it in properly. The fan plugs are so tiny and so cramped on the side that I needed a fine tipped screwdriver to get in there and secure them so that I wouldn't accidentally damage the capacitors next to them while pressing them in. The tape for the temp probes is awful and barely sticks to anything.
Overall Review: I was debating between 3 and 4 stars for this. Once it is installed it works great, but installing this was a big pain. It lost quite a few points for giving me such a headache while installing.
Pros: This fan works as advertised - it moves a ton of air. I replaced the stock exhaust fan from my case with one of these and it keeps everything 5-10C cooler under full load. It's also not nearly as loud as some reviews make it out to be. I could use one of these to cool myself on a hot summer day, no joke.
Cons: If anything, it is much thicker than most 120mm fans. Not really a con since they state the dimensions, but keep that in mind if space is tight.
Overall Review: This fan is a bit noisy, but you should know that looking at the specs of this beast. It keeps my CPU fan from kicking up on hot days and I much prefer the Kaze's dull roar to the high pitched whine of my CPU fan. Buy a fan controller if you don't need this running all the time.
Pros: After struggling with Vista on my laptop I vowed to use XP as long as I could. After trying 7 for a while, I didn't hesitate to buy it. On a modern system (one from the last few years) it feels just about as responsive as XP. Memory usage is much lower than Vista, drivers are ready this time (only had to install video/ soundcard drivers), and it looks great. I didn't think I'd like the new design, but it looks good with minimal tweaking. I'm mostly a Linux guy, but I'm not afraid to admit this is a great Microsoft release. This is what Vista should have been.
Cons: Though it's lighter on resources than Vista, it is of course heavier than XP. Most 32 bit apps work well under x64, one or two of my games had problems that I have to find solutions for. I still think Windows is very expensive for an operating system. There is still a shortage of native 64 bit Windows programs.
Overall Review: My friend got Windows 7 working on an aging Dell laptop form 5-6 years ago. It's not lightning quick, but it works well. Network activity feels so much faster than XP; my WoW ping time actually dropped after I switched.
Pros: I recently bought another one of these kits to bring my new 64 bit Windows machine to 8 gigs. I am very satisfied with both sets. Both are stable at fast speed, take heat very well, and have given me no trouble.
Cons: Though they seem to handle heat well, they themselves get very hot. The heat spreaders can make for a tight fit. They're also fairly expensive. I had to set speed and timing manually, which isn't a big deal if you know what you're doing.
Overall Review: Some AM3 boards/AMD CPUs seem to have problems running stable with 1600mhz RAM. MY system constantly froze at that setting, but running at 1333mhz I am able to loosen the tmings to 6-6-6-18 with no problems. I can't take a point away for something not Mushkin's fault.
Pros: These are among the quietest case fans I've owned. You can hear them if you listen for them, but my PSU almost drowns both of them out. For the size and speed, they push a good amount of air. What else can I say? They work as advertised.
Cons: The power cords seem to be a little short, but that's all.
Overall Review: I've never had to buy case fans before. I've always used whatever came with my case or whatever my brother had lying around from his old computers. My new case didn't have any front fans and my RAM and CPU were cooking.
I bought two of these, installed them, and watched my CPU temp drop by 10 degrees under load. I was having trouble with unstable RAM, but now I can overclock it with no problems.
Pros: Things really do sound better than onboard audio or a cheap soundcard. Highs are more defined, bass is clearer and beefier (and I thought the crackling was my old speakers...)
Cons: I'm not a fan of Creative's drivers or lack of Linux support. Don't get this card hoping to get it working under anything but Windows. That seems to be Creative's motto.
I can't really tell the difference between sound processing modes, but perhaps I need more than a 2.1 setup to appreciate it.
Overall Review: I thought onboard was "good enough" for years now, how wrong I was.
Pros: This baby flies! Coming from a single core 3700+ is mindblowing. No multitasking slowdown at all, runs games without a problem.
I don't think I run much that even needs it's full power - most of the time it's at 800mhz, saving heat and power and still plowing through anything I throw at it. When it does kick up to full speed, hold on to your hat.
Cons: With all that power comes alot of heat. The stock cooler is alright, but I think I'll invest in an aftermarket cooler. Under full load the fan is at max speed and is very loud. I need to install a few case fans to help regulate airflow.
Luckily, as I said above, this chip doesn't need to be a t full speed all the time and is very cool and almost silent for most usage.
Pros: I upgraded to this frm an Nvidia 6800 and, as you can imagine, it's a world of difference. I can run all my games at 1920x1080 at max settings with no slowdown. I think this card will do fine for quite a while.
Cons: It's a beast. It's huge and has a little trouble fitting in a modest sized case. It sucks power like there's no tomorrow, but that performance has to come from somewhere.
The fan is loud at high speed, but under load it never goes above 30% in my case. Stays nice and cool.
Overall Review: I'm more than happy I spent the money on this. When your old card is the bare minimum for new games, it's time to upgrade!
Pros: It's got the power I need, it's quiet, and it's a good brand. Runs a 955BE and ATI 4890 with no problems.
Overall Review: I've been a Seasonic guy ever since I had two Antec's melt on me. I haven't been let down yet.
Pros: -Works flawlessly at the rated DDR21600 7-7-6-18 speed @ 1.9v
-Looks good too
Cons: Kinda pricey, but this is quality stuff. Not even a real con.
Overall Review: I've always been a Kingston guy. They make good enough RAM at good prices, but they couldn't offer what I needed for a new gaming rig. This is the first time for me buying Mushkin and I think I will from now on.
I almost sent this back since this was my first set of RAM that I needed to adjust the timings/voltage on. And I couldn't get it right at first. If you can't run at the rated speed, make sure it has enough power. My motherboard failed to set latency and voltage right and I had to do it manually, no biggie now that I know what to do.
Pros: It works, for now. Fairly cheap.
Cons: I so rarely buy optical drives that I have no particular brand loyalty. I'd heard Plextor was one of the best names in optical drives so I bought this to give them a shot in my new rig. Apparently they don't make their own drives anymore and just rebrand other companies' low end drives. I doubt there's much quality in this drive and I'll be surprised if it continues to burn after a few weeks.
Pros: I upgraded from an original Antec Sonata case, so I'll be comparing it to that.
-No more front door to get in the way
-Front audio and USB are flush with the case, nut recessed and breakable like on my other case
-Plenty of drive space
-No horribly bright LED's all over it
Cons: -Only one 120mm fan in back, but room for two 92mm in the front panel which I have to buy seperately
-No room for another fan inside the case (I miss that second 120mm)
-Front panel could be easier to get open
-Front panel needs to be opened to get to the air filter now You need to open the entire case to get to it now.
Overall Review: Well worthy of replacing my old Sonata case. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another one.