Date Joined: 08/03/05
Pros: - The construction is lovely. Feels solid all around. All exterior panels save the bottom and back are decently thick aluminum. The side-mounted USB and audio jacks are a nice touch - rather than being mounted to the panel, they slot into cutouts in the door, making opening the beast up less of a hassle.
- Both side panels are hinged at the back (and can be completely removed by swinging out and lifting the door off the hinge pins), very easy to get inside when needed.
- Lots of room for the size (still a little tight, though, see cons). Was able to fit my 1070, two 3.5" hard disks, an SSD, and my old DVD burner in. Fits on the side of my desk (front-to-back is good, but there isn't much room left-to-right due to the width).
- Hidden optical drive bay in the top rear, for legacy games.
- Quiet, thermals are good as well.
Cons: - Is wider than perhaps I wanted in a "compact case" - it's easily the same width as my old Fractal Arc Midi mid-tower. This *does* allow for bigger fans and a little bit of room behind the mobo tray for cables, though.
- Cable management will take some planning. The case's girth allows for a bit of wiggle room behind the right side panel, but it's still pretty tight when snaking large bundled power cables (like the 24-pin mobo connector) to their appropriate places. However, it's pretty doable if you take a few minutes to plan out your runs rather than toss cables in there all willy-nilly.
Overall Review: The case's short depth may cause issues with long GPUs. My 1070 has about two and change inches between it and the front intake fan. Would be problematic if the power in for the card was on the front edge rather than the side, as there's nothing guarding the fan blades inside the case. As it is, things are just peachy, but longer cards than a reference 1070, or cards with front-edge power blocks may be trickier.
This also comes into play if you want to use the ODD bay and a secondary fan or 120/140mm radiator up top. I have a relatively short DVD drive I carried over from several builds, and it stops just short of the front fan mount up top. My Corsair H60 technically fit in the remaining space, but there was nowhere to fit the cables for the drive. I just swapped it with the bundled 140mm exhaust fan, which gave me just enough room.
Pros: - 120MM form factor for fan/radiator will fit most any case's rear/top fan mount
- pretty quiet (pump is a little loud, but it's much better than the tower cooler it replaced)
- copper plate on the water block
- keeps my 7700K cool. Idles at 28C, peaks at a little over 60 when under a full load with superpi on 8 threads at stock clocks. Have not tried to OC yet.
Cons: - Fluid tubing is pretty heavy duty, and can be hard to bend to get things installed the way you want.
Pros: I've only had this board running for a few hours, so bear with me here.
- Z270 chipset in a mATX form factor at a pretty reasonable price
- Everything Just Works(TM) under Linux (Fedora 25, your mileage may vary but it was out-of-the-box for me)
- UEFI layout is reasonable, but is gonna take me a little getting used to as my previous board rocked an old-school BIOS
- Looks nice
- Intel LAN chipset is a plus
- USB C port is handy
- Two CPU fan headers - useful for push-pull tower coolers or AIO units with a power lead for both the fan and the pump.
Cons: - Only two chassis fan headers, one of which is between the CPU socket and the backplate. Docking half an egg for this as it was difficult to run fan cables cleanly in my setup - I'm using a Corsair AIO liquid cooler as exhaust, and the wire from my second front fan barely reaches. Just having the connector next to the CPU fan headers on top of the board would've been a nice compromise rather than pretty much forcing it to be a rear/top fan header.
- Most of the SATA ports live right under where a full-size GPU sits. Docking half an egg since they at least had the common decency to put them parallel to the board surface facing the edge, so you can still get at them from the back if your case allows and you don't want to remove the card to add a new drive.
Overall Review: TL;DR - seems pretty solid, docking an egg on header-placement technicalities which may not apply to your setup.
Pros: Replaced a 2GB 960 and the difference in performance is pretty incredible. Went from medium/low at 720p for HITMAN / Deus Ex to Ultra at 1200p at the same framerates.
8GB of VRAM is helpful in new games and should be handy for future titles, as I've seen a few recent games really start to eat up texture memory at even low settings.
Blower-type cooler (on the aptly named 1070 Blower) exhausts entirely out the back of the case, seems to keep things cool enough with just the one fan. Have not tried to OC with it, however.
Runs great in Linux (Fedora 25) with the latest NVidia drivers.
Cons: Neither of these is a real con, just "Things you should be aware of":
- Requires an 8 pin power line. Comes with a dual six-pin > single 8-pin adapter if you need it.
- Large. I forgot how big full size graphics cards are. Fits fine in my case, but SFF projects may be a little tight. The power connector is on the top edge rather than the front, so that will help if you have limited room front-to-back.
Overall Review: Currently being massively bottlenecked by the rest of my platform until I can get a new machine built (FX-6300 @ 4.4ghz / 16GB DDR3 2000 is the current setup). I'll likely post an updated review once I get this paired with a proper CPU. I'm expecting a substantial increase in raw framerates, especially if I go with a 7700K.
Pros: Main pro: Much more stable temps than what the (admittedly not-so-great) stock AMD cooler could do on my FX-6300. This plus a dab of AS Ceramique knocked a couple degrees centigrade off my idle temps, but cut 15-20 degrees C off my load temps at stock clocks, without anywhere near the racket that the little AMD sink would toss out.
Uses the factory mounting for newer Intel LGA sockets or AM2/3 sockets. Nice that you don't have to yank the board (or get behind the motherboard tray if your case has a cutout), but this could also be seen as a con, since neither method really provides a good solid hold on the cooler like with a screw-on backplate system.
With that said, the cooler is lightweight enough that I'm not concerned about it sagging off the board even with the factory AMD mount.
Cons: Base of the fan is a tad low for mounting horizontally. Just barely clears my dimms (which are standard profile DDR3). If you have ram with big ol' heatspreaders, you may have to jiggle things around in the DIMM area, or just mount it so the fan blows up/down instead of fore/aft.
Overall Review: AMD mounting is a wee bit finicky. There's a set of guiderails that run between the heatpipes, and the box contains a thin two-pronged bar that slots into them, with the center heatpipe inside the prongs. The latching mechanism is a separate piece that slides onto the other end of said bar, and *will* fall off while you're getting it in place. Would recommend placing the latch end on whichever side of the socket as the most room to work so you can pop it back on without too much pain.
Not the worst I've endured getting a cooler in, but just wanted to toss it out there.
Pros: Worlds better than the old TN-panel 1080p display I was using as far as color accuracy and viewing angles are concerned. The extra vertical space from the 16:10 aspect is more helpful than I'd anticipated when doing work-type stuff. Included USB hub is a nice touch as well. Build is plasticky, but feels solidly put together.
Also, the thing is crazy adjustable. Old monitor only let me tilt it, and even then had about 10 degrees of motion. This guy has tilt/rotate/swivel with pretty decent ranges on all three.
Cons: Only two real gripes - one, the monitor only comes with a DisplayPort cable for video hookups. While a decent chunk of newer video cards come with a DP connector, HDMI would have made more sense as it's a more widlely-used standard ATM.
Secondly, while the panel surface extends nearly to the edge of the display (so there's very little *physical* bezel), the actual display area of the panel stops about 1/4" from the edge giving it an extra little virtual bezel. Still about 1/3 the size of the honking plastic bezels on my old screen, but it detracts from the experience a little.
Pseudo-gripe: no DVI connections. Not that big a deal, and I knew that from reading the specs, but that coupled with the lack of a bundled HDMI cable forced a dig through the box-o-cables to get it hooked up.
Overall Review: All in all, it's a very solid display for the price range (seems to stick between 250 - 300 clams) if you're concerned about reasonable (if not quite perfect) color out of the box for image editing. You can get higher res at this price if you sacrifice build quality, or cheaper IPS panels at similar resolutions for less if you don't care about color as much.
If you're a creative pro, there are better, but more expensive options with larger color spaces and better density - but for hobbyist use, this is a pretty good buy.
Pros: Fits mini-PCIe slot, theoretically offers the features I want.
Cons: Installed in my Acer Aspire 5560-sb613 - no POST. Removed from laptop, machine boots normally. Unable to ascertain whether the blame falls on Intel or Acer on this one just yet.
Overall Review: Giving it a few days while I deal with support and try to find a workaround. With luck I can update this to an awesome review.
Pros: Had this board since November, and it's been awesome. As I stated in my original review, it supported my new FX-6300 out of the box (without a BIOS update). Offers a ton of BIOS tweaks I've yet to mess with. Let's me use my ancient Model M keyboard. She's also cool about UEFI - handy dandy switches in BIOS for enabling/disabling that for install media.
She's stable - I've left it on and unattended for days and weeks at a time, jiggled the mouse, and went right back to work. Seems like she's pretty well put-together as well. I foresee this board lasting a minute or two.
Cons: 90-degree sata ports. Pointing right at the (very nearby) drive cages. I've swapped a few drives since the initial build, and it causes me much irritation, especially if the drive is connected to one of the bottom ports. Not worth docking an egg, but it does make me shake my fists at the heavens and scream "WHYYY!?" a lot.
Also, it demands to supply power to the USB 2.0 ports after shutdown (so you can charge phones and such). This is all well and good, but there isn't a clearly-labeled option in BIOS to turn it off, and I've got a few USB audio and MIDI devices with lots of lights. Took me a minute to find the right setting.
Overall Review: Haven't messed with overclocking at all, combination of not wanting to buy a new PC for a few years, and AMD's current lack of [expletive redacted]s given about power efficiency. My CPU already sucks enough juice.
Also haven't tested SLI/Crossfire, so can't comment on how well this guy does with multiple GPUs.
Pros: -Performance, first and foremost - huge upgrade from my old 4770. Won't run everything at preposterous settings, but it's more than fine for me. Ex: Crysis demo runs in the mid 30s at maximum quality / 1080p - so long as you keep AA off. Far Cry 2 was hovering around 120fps at max settings / 1080p / 4x AA.
-Meshes pretty well with my FX-6300. Both components are kind of in the same performance tier, so it produces a pretty balanced machine. Also, the fan is noticeably quieter than my old card.
-The thing looks pretty decent, and the form-factor could be a boon to those with more compact cases to work with. Also, it apparently has a lifetime warranty, so long as you register the thing with PNY within 90 days of purchase.
Cons: Not so much a con as an odd observation - there is absolutely no branding on this card, with the exception of the stickers with the serial number and all that jazz.
Don't really miss it - keeps my build looking clean - but I just find it very strange not to see at least a brand-logo sticker on the center of the fan or something.
Overall Review: This is my first card from PNY, so I have no idea what to expect as far as reliability and longevity are concerned. It does seem to be put together with a reasonable amount of care, so that bodes well for the future.
Pros: As noted in my original review, memtest was telling me to hide both my kids and my wife, for there were errors up in here. Upped the voltage to 1.65 as per suggestions from other reviewers and voila, 8 passes in memtest, no problemo.
Cons: Highly unstable at the specified 1.5v.
Pros: It's a processor, it has six cores. Said cores operate with a quickness. Worked in my GA-990FXA-UD3 without a BIOS update, though POST was kind of wonky until I flashed the new, Vishera-compatible update.
This processor replaced an old Wolfdale-based Core 2 Duo, and seems to run quite a bit quicker. Haven't had time to re-install all of my games, but I played some Civ 5 on it, and the game is noticeably smoother with the same GPU. Obviously, multitasking is much better with the additional cores.
Cons: Usual cheapness in the heatsink department, but I'm not overclocking and it's keeping things cool enough.
Pros: This case feels very, very solidly put together, and has a lot of room in which to work. Looks nice, even though the front panel is just plastic with a "faux-metal" finish. Has rubber grommets for cable pass-through with a decent pile of room behind the MB tray. Lots of ventilation, seems like it'll cool well (see Other Thoughts).
Cons: Heavier and bigger than my last case? If I'm being picky, the thumb screws were waay too tight when it showed up, so I had to undo them with a screwdriver. Aside from that, I got nothin.
Overall Review: I can't test cooling ability or anything for a couple days, since my processor got delayed by Sandy. Figured I'd at least get the rest of it put together while I had a couple hours.
As an aside, the guys at the Edison warehouse are awesome - managed to get it shipped only a day late, in what I can only assume resembled a war zone. Service FTW.
Pros: Build quality is exceptional, especially considering I bought it on sale. Keyboard feels good, but it's a little cramped for my taste (bought it for my girlfriend, who has smaller hands, so this might be a non-issue). Everything seems to work OK under Ubuntu 12.10 (writing this from the live environment) - wireless comes up right out of the box, with no additional drivers needed; as do touchpad, nubbin, and webcam.
Girlfriend claims battery life is awesome, have not tested myself.
Cons: Touchpad design is a bit wonky. The pad itself works fine, but it runs all the way to the leading edge of the laptop, so if you're used to using that area as a thumb rest while mousing, you will find yourself shouting the worst obscenities known to man until you get used to it.
Also, the FN key is in the lower left corner of the keyboard, exactly where the CTRL key normally is. This will also need to be gotten used to if you use a lot of CTRL+KEY combos.
Also also, for the price I'd like to see a quicker hard disk. 5.4k just doesn't cut it these days.
Also the third, there is bloatware. Not just quiet, sit in the background and take up space bloatware, but annoying, daemon-running free-trial pop-up bloatware.
Overall Review: This should be a pretty good little machine once we get used to the touchpad and keyboard layout. Linux support is good, but I haven't tested the card reader or fingerprint scanner under Ubuntu yet.
Pros: Feels VERY solidly put together, modular cabling keeps clutter down. Supplied power is stable enough. I got it on mega-sale, so for what I paid, this thing is baller and a half.
Cons: The clips on the PSU ends of the cables are a bit stiff at first. Would've been fine had I inserted them BEFORE cramming the PSU into my case.
Overall Review: I'm not even close to pushing this thing (Core 2 Duo and a Radeon 4770), but it seems like a good, solid unit.
If your case is a little on the smaller side, you might want to attach your cabling before putting the PSU in.
Pros: Cheap. Trackpad works decently well under Arch Linux. Lets me run my media machine from across the living room.
Cons: Feels cheaply made. The size of the deck makes the layout a little cramped, but you get used to it. Keypresses feel terrible as well.
I'm not planning on doing too much typing on this, so I'm only taking off one egg.
Overall Review: Using it to control XBMC on a laptop plugged into my TV. Does well enough for this limited use case, but I wouldn't recommend it if you're going to be doing a lot of typing.
Pros: Got a working dual-boot figured out. Just had to remove the EFI directory from the Ubuntu installer to make it boot in BIOS emulation. I am now a happy camper.
Cons: Keyboard still sucks, but you can't ask for everything at this price range. It'd be nice to have an option in the system setup to force BIOS-mode boot instead of just auto-detecting EFI partitions and rolling with it.
Pros: You can use the leftover shells as small speaker enclosures....
Cons: The units arrived DOA. When I attempted to integrate them with my 1U breakfast server, I was greeted not with the advertised "yolk membrane surrounded by a thick and thin albumen", but some kind of fuzzy, squawking contraption. I tried to call customer service, but the operator couldn't even speak English. It was all just a bunch of clucking and screeching. I asked for a supervisor, but the operator started angrily pecking at the keypad - hanging up on me in the process. I would've expected better tech support for a product in this price range.
Pros: Running the latest version of Tomato, this unit is much more stable than my previous router (WBR-2310). Has yet to bog down under reasonably heavy load, in my case gaming while the girlfriend streams massive amounts of Netflix in the living room. Had Tomato installed and running with all of one mouse click.
Cons: No 802.11n or Gigabit funcionality, but for the price and stability, I won't complain too much.
Overall Review: I didn't even bother using the stock firmware, so this review doesn't apply there. Granted, the point of this router is easy installation of third-party firmwares, so I'm sure you'll get over it.
Pros: Full HD for dirt cheap - 150 clams on sale. The image is decent, as are the viewing angles. Plays nicely with any number of resolutions below native - this was helpful as my games were set to use my previous CRT's 1280x960. The thing even came with a DVI cable on top of the standard VGA.
For those doing minor graphical work, there's a setting in the menu for sRGB color, which locks you out of all color controls and keeps the thing (ostensibly) at levels compatible with the sRGB standard.
Cons: Small amount of light bleed on the top and bottom edges of the panel, but it's only noticeable on pure black screens. Also a very, very small amount of ghosting, though this may just be more noticeable to me as I've been using a CRT for bloody ever.
For the interested, the speakers kind of suck - they point away from the user, so everything sounds really muddy.
Altogether, I'd really only dock a half an egg for all of this. They're minor concerns on a monitor with this size and resolution in this price range.
Overall Review: The base and surround are kind of cheaply made. Sturdy enough, but corners were obviously cut. I'm inclined to say these were the right corners to shave, however, as the money saved here seems to have gone toward the panel.
Pros: Exceptional performance for the money. Replaced an aging GeForce 7950GT with it - allow me to say that the difference is like night and day. Haven't done a whole lot of testing, but everything I've tossed at it has worked splendidly. Also, worked with my existing PSU - a 430w Antec unit - definitely counts as a pro.
Cons: That bleeding fan. As others have mentioned, the fan has a tendency to spool up and down rapidly. Not horribly annoying if you're gaming and wearing headphones or whatever, just don't be planning on putting it in an HTPC or something.
Overall Review: For the interested, I threw this into a rig containing the following:
Asus P5Q SE Plus mobo, Core 2 Duo E 7300, 3gb XMS2 DDR2 800 (dual channeled), a few odd disk drives, and that Antec Trio 430.
Pros: Got here a day early, as usual. Popped it in to the secondary slot and booted up fine. BIOS recognized it, works fine with the factory installed 256 mB DIMM already in the machine. Haven't had a chance to run Memtest or anything yet, but all's going well so far.
Cons: Um...my laptop still won't run Crysis? No cons that I can see as of yet.
Pros: Just installed it all of five minutes ago. Plugged it into my P5B (P965 northbridge) along with the 1 GB (2x 512) CL5 kit I already have (also XMS2 memory). BIOS POSTed and recognized the DIMMS right off the bat. 5-5-5-12-6 @ 1.9 volts / 800 mhz / Dual Channel. I'll report back once I've gotten it broken in and tested out.
Cons: none so far. i was kinda worried after I bought it and it was on it's way, as many people have gotten bad sticks...but all seems well for now.
Pros: This thing cools like a champ. Right now my pentium D 930 is idling at 37 Centigrade. W/ Stock cooler I was at about 46-46 idle.
Cons: This thing is massive. Seriously. I can barely fit it inside of my Antec Super Lanboy case - i've got about 3/8 of an inch between the uppermost corner of the cooler and my PSU, and a little less between the cooler and my exhaust fan.
Also, those little fins are BLOODY SHARP. I nearly lost a thumb installing this beast.
Overall Review: Get some Arctic Silver. It helps.
Also, if you install on an intel board, MAKE SURE the pins are fully secured, it may take several attempts to properly seat it.
Pros: H0ly overclock, batman. Kicked up the voltages on my vanilla Asus P5B, got her running stable on the stock cooler at 3.6gHz, FSB960. I've heard reports of this thang running upwards of 4gHz, but I'm a wee bit hesitant to try it w/o liquid cooling.
Cons: she seems to run a little hot, but it's bearable.
Overall Review: no multiplier adjustment...
Pros: VERY stable power, plenty of juice for most people not running SLI/Crossfire.