Date Joined: 06/04/08
Pros: Nice dual core with decent stock speed; but the real magic comes out when you OC! Paired with a ggbyte h55m-s2h, i was able to hit 4.8Ghz @ 1.5v on Air. That sounds like high voltage, but the temps were well within acceptable ranges (35C idle; 70C on prime95 100% load for 4 hrs). I eventually went back down to 4.2Ghz simply to stay below 70C on load... but wow!
Cons: None. I honestly don't know why *ntel chips OC soooo much better than *MDs, but this little guy further reminds me to go this route. Keep in mind cpu speed isn't the only factor - but for pure OC goodness, this is the ride!
Overall Review: HT is a nice bonus! Wish it had more cache, but hey - it still is plenty fast!
4.2Ghz with 4GB DDR3 @ 1600 - screeeeaaams! good gaming cpu for a solid budget build with a 5770!
Pros: Complete chaos, in a fantastic life and death, buzzing bullets, mission mayhem kind of way. Graphics are world class with a sick twist of humor to balance it all out. Still trying to figure out the best spots, weapons and tactics - but I think I have some serious work to do for a looonng time. RECOMMENDED for any fps fan + multiplayer fan. Buyer beware - strong visuals and language!
Cons: None so far.
Overall Review: core i7 oc to 4.2Ghz
6GB DDR3 @ 1600
Pros: Small footprint. Glossy front face panel.
Cons: Finish was a little off here and there; some screw holes don't match up just right, rear panel is easily warped if not careful - but even as it came out of the box, it was already warped so the i/o panel didn't fit nicely.
* optical door is a little off, so I had to slightly mod my bd tray to come out right
* eject botton lever didn't touch button on bd player, so had to glue some xtra plastic to it
I'd rather not have the floppy and usb/mic up front (maybe to side) to make room for 80mm intake fans in the front... don't mind a little noise to keep insides breathing right - all the cables make good airflow impossible (but that's to be expected). Knocked some eggs off this item because of build quality, not cramped space.
Overall Review: study it well before you start install; tight space requires components to come in specific order else you won't get to the cables etc on the mobo.
1. take off psu
2. install mobo (w/ cpu, fan and ram)
3. connect all cables to mobo (sata, spdif, fans, front panel, etc); organize cable nicely so it is accessible as you install other components
4. connect mobo/cpu power then reinstall psu
5. install fan cables and fans onto case cover (vent holes on side match 80mm fans perfectly for 2 - i have two installed pushing hot air out to one side)
6. install HDD
7. install bd player
8. install pcie grfx card if using one (uplink with spdif)
9. test boot before you seal it all up!
*required low profile fan (max 1U); new smaller intel stock cpu hsf is perfect fit, but bad cooling -
e7300 @ 3.2GHz w/ 1.232v loads @ 71C
Pros: Great value, seems to be good quality, nice looks... but most importantly - works great! Runs at nice voltage and can handle OC speeds to allow decent overclock with my Core i7 920. A must buy at this value.
Overall Review: I was able to get my Core i7 screaming at 4.2Ghz (D0) with this set. As stated by most, your board may not recognize it as 1600, so go into bios and set. My EVGA 757 only ran it initially at 1066, but that was easily upped to 1600 along with my OC settings... PERFECT!
Pros: I love this thing. It's quiet, good install and works great. I would recommend this model over any low-profile alternative there is. I've had mine for a long time and over the year, it's cooled an e2200, e5200, e7400, Q6600 and a q9300 (all oc'd) - all to great idle & load temps. Even after I've scratched up the base plate - it still cools like it was new. Fan is still going strong too!
Cons: Nothing major. I don't use the included speed controller?
Overall Review: My main pc is now on liquid (not low-profile), so I'm retiring this until a new HTPC build - the best low-profile cooler for the money...! This model is destined to be a cult classic among low-profile builders!
Pros: Meh ... x48 for a good price; got it last week while it was a shell shocker.
Cons: I was going to give it 4 eggs, but decided on 3 because the S/PDIF out was bent up to almost over 45 degrees from the board; the pins were completely broken - so I'm having to rma it at my expense... shame.
Other items - the sound card that comes with the board sits pretty close to the top of the first pci-e slot so make sure your video card is not anything unique that may be an issue for you.
Notice the SATA ports are pretty close to the ends of pci-e slots #2 and #3, are not to the side (so the cables stick into the ports vertically - might be an issue if you plan on 2 or 3x crossfire with long video cards.
There is no center screw hole on the motherboard. Most cases have you use a standoff towards the center of the board... not this one. May buckle a little towards the center of the board, due to lack of this standoff, if you need to do any card installs later on.
The nb hs is pretty high off the mobo & close to the cpu socket; may be an issue for some cpu h/s.
Overall Review: Not as good as I thought... for something with a cool name like "Blackops" =) . I got it to hopefully get better oc result from my current mobo (biostar tpower i45), but could not get even the same result. It goes up to 450fsb ok, but anything beyond that (even 460) and you'll need very high voltages -- if possible at all. I've tried a lot of boards for OC - seems the Biostar TPower I45 is still the fsb king in my experience.
Pros: Good case for the price. Includes PSU... not for gamers, obviously.
Cons: None at this price... although the fans are a bit small, but it is still worth it... obviously no front fans.
Overall Review: Bought this for an HTPC setup. I liked the glossy finish and simple front fance. One blue led circle light around the power button (which is lit also) and a tiny red HD activity led. Everything else is smooth glossy finish. Looks like I paid over 600 bucks for an HP pc... lol... not. I'm even debating whether or not to use the intel core 2 sticker in front to make it official... lol... but no, that will ruin the whole minimalistic design. I like it!
Pros: It's an Intel Quad - with good cache and fast fsb. Price is good too.
Believe it or not, it's a pretty good OC chip too (see Other Thoughts for details).
Cons: Low multiplier, but get a good mobo and you can overcome that.
Overall Review: Ok - not the best OC chip - but it is good. I have mine at 3.75Ghz - that's a 1.25Ghz OVERCLOCK... Amazing.
Q9300 OC to 3.75Ghz
(idles at 40C loads at 70C; Prime stable)
Xigmatek HDT Cooler <--- Awesome cooler
Biostar TPower I45 <--- HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR OC'ERs
4GB OCZ PC8500
Cooler Master HAF Full Tower Case <--- Great too!
For Bios Settings (look and try at your own risk!):
Pros: Seems to have a lot of OC features. Good built-in cooper cooling.
Comes with XFi Sound Card. Decent manual.
PCB material is above standard (doesn't bend easily - like when you are installing a cpu hsf with the cursed intel push-pins).
DDR3 ... and black color (not purple like some other brand).
An easy access clear-cmos button is in the I/O panel, so you can just push that instead of opening the case most of the time =)
LEDs throughout the board tell you where the system is stuck at during POST; might help with OC efforts.
And of course - lots of tweaking options for maximum OC.
Cons: "Water-cooling" for NB is questionable. I actually took the water cooler head off and installed a small fan...heh.
HW OC jumpers a pain to work with (didn't work too well for me, ended up using BIOS a lot). The jumpers (two of them) are right underneath the first PCIE, in between the two PCIE slots- so if you do crossfire, forget about accessing them. Frustrating to OC at first as it seemed to be limiting my OC efforts.
CMOS clear jumpers are in weird place also. Essentially by the battery, squished in between capacitors and PCIE-1 slots. Hard to get to with big fingers =)
WARNING - BIOS UPDATE WAS A PAIN - the bios file is over 4MB in size, so you'll need access to an HD to flash it after you boot from floppy. Luckily I had an old HD that I formatted as FAT so I can see it after the boot. (not sure if you can get an USB thumb-drive to be accessible with a DOS boot disk).
A little on the expensive side as well... I'd serious recommend you look at the Asus model also..
Overall Review: Make sure you update your BIOS right away, especially if you plan on doing any OC (why else would you spend the cash for this board?). I spent two days messing around and couldn't get where I wanted (e5200 to 4Ghz). Then I flashed the BIOS to 1.5 and bam... no issue after some serious tweaking. I am typing this review as my e5200 is running Prime 95... without issue so far, for about 4 hours... steady at 60C on full load.
Not too bad.... overall I think this board could have been an above average winner. But the cons drag it down to near average. 3 Egg.
Pros: Direct copper heat pipe cooling (seems to work better than a solid base fused to pipes). Super quiet for the cooling performance. Keeps my Q9300 OC'd to 3.4 Ghz at 38C on 100% load... not bad for air! Also like the little aluminum "fin" you can install to direct some of that air flow down to the mobo to help further cool the capacitors/chips around the cpu.
Cons: Intel Push Pins... you get used to them, but still a pain to install on account of the amount of force and tricky positioning of the mobo to properly *snap* the last few pins in.
Overall Review: My Rig:
Q9300 OC to 3.4Ghz (stock is 2.6)
Xigmatek HDT-S1283 CPU HSF
3GB Ram (1066)
Cooler Master HAF Full Tower Chasis
XFX nVidia 9800GT
Pros: Great value, if the rebates aren't a scam...
Cons: It hasn't been the "10 weeks" period yet, so I can't say that it's actually a con - but it's been 4 weeks since I sent out my rebate form to them - and they still have no record of my claim.
Overall Review: I've done a lot of rebates in the past years. I know how they work and all the tiny fine print stipulations designed to protect them and to easily disqualify the purchaser from the rebate (I mean, come on - you have to send it out 20 days after purchase date and then you tell me it will take you up to 70 days to send me the rebate?). Yes, I've been checking for my claim status at the website. Yes I am sure of my name. Yes, I've spelled my name correctly. Yes I know my address. Yes I know my postal code. No, I don't know how much the moon weighs... darn - I guess that disqualified me.
Pros: Picture this... well, you don't have to imagine, just take a good look at all the promo images ("screenshots") for this game. Not only are they graphically amazing, but the sense of action and involvement pump you up to go get the game.
Cons: That's what it did to me. Got the game. Played it for about 2 hours. Got bored. I think it's because the action is not as "on the ground" as the imagery makes it seem to be. If you think about it, like I should have done before I got it, it's almost impossible to play the game at the angles which the "screenshots" were taken from, to advertise the game.
There's also nothing really new or different to the game play either. It's the same old "rush your enemy with as many armor units as possible". And then there's the capture the control point, capture the other control point, and finally finish the level by capturing the last control point. To do this, get as many tanks as you can and rush the points. Forget infantry -- not only will they get squished easily, but you can't see them very well (they are little tiny pixel things on your screen compared to buildings, tanks, etc - really hard to select when they are behind buildings also).
Overall, nice try.
Overall Review: COH. Wanna talk about action RTS? HUA!
Pros: Does the job well for the price (esp with MIR). Nice box... hehe, packaging design that is... it's a refreshing change of imagery to see bullets on the box cover instead of anime hotties with big-- swords-... although that ain't bad either... lol. Fan is super quiet most of the time. Easy install. Currently driving my 24" ws display and high res with no issues. I play games on this, of course, and runs 30-60fps on most my games (COH, COD4, Crysis, Assassin's Creed, Battlefield 2)... Awesome.
Cons: Runs a little warm, but that is expected.
Overall Review: I'm getting another one next year when the price is right...
Pros: Great value... if rebate is real... doubt it.
Cons: Its been three weeks since I've sent in my rebate... their website still does not show any rebates for me. I've done many rebates, so I know how to handle them. I made sure I met all the rules for the rebate; all these rules are obviously designed to disqaulify the consumer real easily.
Overall Review: There are a few companies out there are are honest and fast with rebates. This company is NOT one of them. It really frustrates me to be so helpless when it comes to this stuff. There should be an oversight group to watch these questionable offers. I will tell everyone I know about this. I hope they will get their act together and honor their rebates. BEWARE!
Pros: Value Ram ... if the rebate is real. Else, no more "value" than others.
Cons: It's been three weeks, and their website still can't find any status on my rebate. I've done many rebates and know all the little "gotchas" that are all designed to disqaulify the consumer of a reabte --- made absolutely sure I sent it in on time, with all forms and receipt. I fear I won't my rebate for this item...
Overall Review: There are some companies that are real good with rebates. Honest and fast. So far, this company is NOT one of them. I wll never buy another product from these guys, EVER again... stay away from rebates from these guys. There should be some oversight group to make sure scams like this don't happen.
Pros: Good price... check back often - it will drop a little more before the holidays ;-) This board is nice. Lots of features, nice color scheme (unlike some other boards that are purple and pink...?)
Overall Review: Went from a Gigabyte EP35C-DS3R to this. Nice! For quick reference, I got a q9300 (ok,ok, not the best oc chip out there, I know...). I was able to get it to 3.2 Ghz with just and FSB tweak up to 425... (1700Mhz FSB TOTAL) lol nuttin else.
Took me like 5 minutes to try a few steps and bingo - got me 700Mhz+ OC just like that. No need to alter voltage or ram... now the fun really begins... Doubt I'll get any more than 3.5Ghz-3.6Ghz on air... but we'll see hehehehe...
Running Prime 9* as I type this and it still is error free (over 60 minutes so far)! rock on! C*re Temp reports steady 58C at full load.
Pros: Got a great deal for it... made it definitely a good buy. Still a deal at 39.99 with MIR and FREE SHIPPING. Runs real quiet. It's a little bigger than you might think, but nothing to be worried about. I bought this mainly as a spare basic video for my new builds or tech work... but it plays games real well!
For grins, got COH on it and benchmarked ave 58 fps on 1024x768 all high with 2x AA... nice!
Also 3dmarked my test rig with this little card (e7300 stock with 2gb pc 6400, winxppro) and got a surprising 7000+ 3dmark score... hehehe (nvidia 9600 GSO 384 DDR3 gets 9000+ and 9600 GT 512DDR3 gets 13000+, for reference).
Gonna do Crysis benchmark later today just for laughs... who knows... at the low res of 1024x768, I might be pleasantly surprised again.
Vista is definitely no problem for this card.
Cons: None that I can think of. Better get it! Too bad the MIR is good for only 1 purchase, else I'd get two of them.
Overall Review: Newegg took a little long to get me the card... but it was ok since not my main rig.
Pros: Love this CPU. Quad with a total of 8MB cache (2x4). This baby is so robust. Fast, for now... lol.
Cons: None for the tech level it's in. I won't even say that heat is an issue either. Just depends on your cooling setup.
Overall Review: I love to OC this thing. My current rig:
Q6600 OC 3.5Ghz - obviously stable
Thermaltake Mini-thypoon cpu cooler
Antec 300 with large front, rear and top fans.
Custom N/S Bridge cooling all copper with fans.
Mobo: Biostar TP43D2-A7 (highly recommended)
Settings: 389x9 @ 1.4vcore with 1:1 ratio
2GB G-Skill 1066
--14GHZ of awesomeness with air cooling--
Pros: Four cores with a ton of cache. Speedstep keeps idle temp way low (20Cs for me).
Cons: Not really a con of quads, software aren't really ready for quads. I fear they will just skip quads and go to six cores... lol. A little slow fsb nowadays, but thats a tiny, tiny thing. Course, I could have bought a faster fsb, but this the best of the quads for now.
Trying to get to 4Ghz, but I don't think so... seems 3.5-3.6Ghz is the ceiling for a G0 Q6600 (even with water cooling).
Overall Review: Q6600 oc'd to 3.5Ghz (14Ghz total! Wowza). Air cooled and completely stable. My rig:
Biostar 1600 TP43D2-A7
Thermaltake Mini-Typhoon (all copper w/fan baby!)
2 GB G-skill 1066 55515
389x9 @ 1.4v vcore and 2.0v ram
Pros: 1600fsb below 80 bucks. ATX form factor, with some elbow room for large graphics cards, three sys fan plugs on the motherboard for extreme aircooling with sys control, and m power plug built into the mobo itself and supports up to DDR2 1066 ram for a little faster computing. Overall great value!
Cons: No firewire, only 1 PCIE x16, pathetic n/s bridge heat sinks, poor placement of SATA plugs right behind the PCI slots, all in a row (particularly the one sata plug that is behind the PCIEx16 - which makes it difficult to install long graphics cards), and sad sound... but for this price, it's something I can live with (except the heatsinks, I replaced those with aftermarket copper w/ fan ones for both bridges).
Overall Review: Its been some time since I purchased the first unit. To recap, the first one died on my a few days later. I traded it in for an exact replacement, albiet a little nervous fearing it will die like the first one.
So far, its GREAT.
I got it mainly for the 1600 fsb so I can push my rig a little further. Since I've gotten the board, I am able to oc my system to the following specs, all perfectly stable and operating in good temps:
CPU: Q6600 OC'd to 3.5GHz (14Ghz total awesomeness)
CPU Cooler: Thermaltake Mini Typhoon (highly recommended)
RAM: 2GB G-Skill DDR2 - 1066 (bought from newegg)
Idle Temp: 30c Load Temp: 50C
Bios Settings: fsb 389x9; vcore 1.45, ram ratio 1:1
NO OTHER BIOS SETTING WAS NEEDED-- NICE!
BIOS is great to work with. I've gotten this Q6600 to 3.5, which is the supposed averaged max on these cpus, without the need for water cooling! I'm sure I get can get it further if I understood half the options this BIOS has - (trust me, I am working on that!).
Pros: Great value with MIR. Thats 30 clams for 32 shaders... with DDR3 (but only 256M at 128 bit).
Cons: 30+ clams for one, 60+ clams for two to do SLI... don't do it. I see some others below thinking about it, but trust me;There are great deals right now with better cards.
For instance, you can get 96 shaders, 384M DDR3 192-bit for 55+ clams (Item#:N82E16814121251 - and you get a free game to boot; as of this posting date anyways).
Heck, for a few more bucks, you can get 112 shaders (9800s). Keep in mind also this card is dual slot cooling, so make sure you have the room if you plan on going SLI with this card despite the better deals that are available.
Overall Review: These low end cards usually don't come wtih the SLI bridge. You usually get that with your SLI mobo... else you can buy one here for under 10 clams. BTW- this is not a forum... but to review the products.
Pros: Works great out of the box... obviously! =) I was able to oc my rig a little further...! =)
Cons: Its not specific to this brand... but the timing is slower than older ram... 5-5-5-15 - perhaps someone can explain to me? I'm thinking it's giving the cpu time to send the info before attempting to process it?
Overall Review: Q6600 OC to 3.5ghz each core (14ghz total - yes!) loads are at 45C... biostar 1600 fsb mobo, 2gb g-skill 1066, 9 fans, antec 300 case, thermaltake mini-thyphoon cpu cooler, 9600 dual slot graphics card... but no raid ... yet!
Pros: Solid construction with good material (not sure if all of it is copper, but the critical parts are). Nice quiet fan at normal operating conditions.
Cons: Not a major deal, but the 775 adapter forces the fan head to sit perpendicular to the vertical axis of the modo (I have a tower). So instead of a perfect square alignment with the mobo, the fan head sits as a diamond (kinda hard to describe; imagine a diamond (a big diamond that may cause issues with rear and top fines) inside a rectangle in the upper left hand corner). Because of that, I can't use my cases' top fan (I use an Antec 300; no biggie - the case has 2 - 120mm in front and 1-120mm in rear for air movement). Smaller cases may present an issue with the rear fan... so research carefully!
Overall Review: I might have used the adapter wrong, but I couldn't see any other way to mount it on my mobo...
Pros: Decent graphics; active environments (the towns and cities are filled with people with convincing scripting that is not too bland). The action can get pretty intense and all that climbing is not for the faint of heart -- the graphics got me a little *nervous* when scaling up a castle outer wall, which overlooks a cliff (I play on a 24" widescreen, so the view is spectacular). The side jobs and open environment keep you busy (sometimes side-tracks me from my target!)... a ton of ways to terminate your enemy (my fav is throwing them off the cliffs and high buildings... lol - ok remember this is just a game).
Cons: Voice acting is terrible at best; the story is kind of odd - not very fluid (maybe because of the bad voice acting). The camera is very frustrating at times (sometimes you can't even see what you are doing because the camera selects a view point that is totally blocked by a plant, tree, column... etc). The controls are too sticky -- ie your avatar goes into almost automatic mode when he is within a predefined distance to an object (ie sometimes when I am running away from guards, a building corner snags my right arm and I completely stop and go into climb position, then I have to get out of it before I can get into running mode again). Auto descend on edges are pain and manuveuring tight spaces take several tries because of this. I rated this game a 3 egg because of all these cons (would have been a perfet 5 without these issues).
Overall Review: However, still a great game to play. Good way to relax and escape from daily stresses. I little bloody (lots of sinister ways to kill your enemies). I have a Q6600, 2GB DDR800, and an EVGA 9600 GT... runs on a 24" widescreen at high res (can't remember-using laptop to write this, so maybe 1440 x 900?) with all settings on HIGH without missing a beat (30+ fps). Aircooled system stays at a good 37C after a session of this game also.
Pros: Hilarious commentary from units (especially the Panzer /Grenadiers). Great graphics. Great game play. You actually can't just bum rush your opponent. Well placed defenses can quickly bring down your parade. Good balance of units (ie a two man team with flame throwers can take down an entire squad of 5 riflemen, if you're not careful). Great sound and very satisfying victories. For 20 clams - well worth it...!!! Eh, now I want to go home and play it!!!!
Cons: NO RANDOM MAP GENERATOR!!! Everything is 3D (except the environmental skins - like tire tracks, etc)... I would SO easily buy the sequel if only for a random map generator. This is why I gave it a 4 egg instead of a perfect 5.
Overall Review: I've played many RTS(es) in my time... there are two major weaknesses in most -- (1) too much chaos that limits you to simply manage resources and not do much in terms of the actual battle strategies (2) bum-rushes (ie Starcraft) this deminishes the value of your units and turns the game into a contest of "who is faster with the mouse ...". You can't do this with this game. You can't go into a map and decide, gee, I'm gonna rush my opponent's HQ with Sherman tanks... not possible... the resource, bases, upgrades and abilities, balance system in this game is near perfect. You will value your infantry as much as your armor. In fact, a good strategy can defeat a column of armor with a few well placed AT guns and bazooka squads. Yes, cover helps. You can use trees, buildings, bunkers, trenches. Everything is destructible. You will love your very first artillery strike as it lands dead center onto a squad of Grenadiers! HUA! Much better than World in Conflict....!!!! GET THIS ONE!!!!