Joined on 02/26/05
Good choice for SFF PCs, but can be tricky to use
Pros: I needed a good cooler for a 125W socket AM3 CPU in a SFF MicroATX case, and this was one of the few choices that looked effective. Almost all of these types of coolers will draw air directly though the side of the (relatively thin) case. This cooler definitely fits the bill, reducing full load temperatures from north of 75 C on the stock cooler to about 50 C, while also being much cooler both idle and under load. It has direct touch heatpipes, and also sends a good amount of cool air to surrounding components, including the northbridge and FETs, which were also overheating. Airflow is great if your case has a grille right next to the fan for drawing in cool outside air.
Cons: The two main problems with this cooler are its potential for horizontal interference and installation. The cooler would probably fit most motherboards, if not for the two sets of side heatpipes that threaten to hit any tall RAM or large motherboard heatsinks. I had to flip around the FET heatsink on my Biostar TA890GXE for it to fit (look at a picture to see how much room you need), and it is touching the RAM, the closest stick of which can't even be removed after the heatsink was installed. If you have tall RAM sticks, it's very likely that it won't fit (but generally won't be a problem in SFF cases.) Installation is also quite a pain, requiring access to the back of the motherboard. In the case of AM2/AM3, the existing bracket needs to be removed, and the provided one installed in its place. It also applies a great amount of pressure to the motherboard, visibly twisting it. There are quite a bit of instructions to follow and as the previous reviewer said, probably not noob-friendl
Overall Review: When picking slim heatsinks for SFF PCs, there aren't many choices that have direct touch heatpipes and are also efficient at removing heat, but this is a good bet. It probably isn't as useful in normal size cases where the large fan can't draw in cool air directly, and tower-type heatsinks would be more effective. The free ability to cool surrounding components is also really useful in cramped cases.
Get out the dice tower...
Pros: They are "enterprise level", RAID-able drives that can be had for cheap.
Cons: I ordered two drives; both had 22,000 power-on hours, not far from the 31,000 power-on hours of two drives they were meant to replace. This would be okay if they were just working pulls, but one quickly failed when I tried to format it and showed 434 uncorrectable SMART read errors, then went offline.
Overall Review: Read above; you should know what you are getting into with these drives. If you are willing to test and check drives, they can be quite a bargain, but still a hassle. RMA process is pretty painless but make sure you return within 30 days.
Does not run at advertised timings
Pros: Can still buy a 16GB kit of DDR3 in 2021?
Cons: Does not run at the advertised timings. Causes apps to randomly crash and die compared to another memory kit that I have. And because I waited a while to give the memory a chance, of course it's past the return period now.
Overall Review: I guess buy this if you are willing to play the RMA game during COVID to get reliable memory. 30 days is insane given how long shipping takes now and having to take care of the little ones.
Compact MicroATX case that lets you pack very nice hardware inside.
Pros: While this isn't a tinkerer's case (it's not easy to take things in and out), it is a really nice design for packing lots high-end hardware into a small space and still getting good cooling and airflow. The case was even smaller than I expected. No MicroATX case at this size supports full-sized CPU coolers, PSUs, and graphics cards while still allowing up to 5 hard drives. It's great for building a compact but high-end system, and looks very sleek too.
Cons: Cut my hand on the PSU bracket as soon as I opened the box. Be careful and don't be tempted to reach inside that hole, although this isn't a problem as soon as you install the PSU.
Overall Review: This case has a fantastic cooling arrangement if you just forget all the conventions of ATX case cooling. My setup is - Two 120mm intake fans on the top, right behind the dust filter, blowing on to the graphics card - Reversed rear fan acting as intake, reversed CPU cooler blowing toward the front, directed at the 120mm fan on the PSU This arrangement creates very streamlined airflow with great cooling for both CPU and GPU; with a dust filter on the rear intake, it keeps dust out with significant positive pressure generated by the 3 intake fans. Since everything is 120mm, it's very quiet too. As others have said (see reviews on other versions), you have a choice between a long PSU and a long GPU in this case. As it doesn't really make sense to use two GPUs (though the case supports it), it's best to get a standard size PSU (no longer than 140-150mm) and just get the beefiest single GPU that you can. *Dear Newegg*: please consolidate all the versions of this case into one listing so that the reviews are easier to read.
XMP and done.
Pros: Rarely do memory modules run at advertised speed and timings without some sort of instability or crashing, followed by an RMA process. These modules are a refreshing exception. Installed them, loaded the XMP profile with DDR3-2400@10-12-12-31, and ran memory tests. Passed with flying colors. Awesome!
Cons: Tall heat spreaders. Be careful about clearance in tight cases. Usually the fanciness heat spreaders is positively correlated with the likelihood of failure of the RAM, but thankfully that is not the case here :)
Overall Review: For the other reviewers here, note that you do have to enable the higher speeds, either via XMP or automatically, from your motherboard - it is never automatic. If you just installed and booted up, you will be running at the standard profile of DDR3-1333 which is almost half the speed. Don't be a n00b that purchases a high-speed kit and runs it at the standard JEDEC settings!
An almost perfect MicroATX case
Pros: This case has almost everything you'd want in a high performance MicroATX case. - compact size and lightweight - good airflow - dust filters on all intakes - positive pressure - PSU air stream separate from rest of components - lots of room for routing cables behind the motherboard - cut out for installing aftermarket coolers without removing the motherboard - many drive bays, including 2x 5.25, 4x 3.5, and 1x 2.5, and vibration damping foam for hard drives - structural support for tower heatsinks (!!)
Cons: The compact size of the case means you may run into some issues with certain motherboards. I installed an ASUS Maximus VII GENE in this case, which has the LGA1150 socket position further to the front of the case than in most Z97 motherboards, due to the huge MOSFET heatsinks. This means that the DIMM slots are also moved up. This caused the following issues: - The pushing fan of the tower cooler ran right up to the end of hard drives installed in the cage, making it impossible to connect cables to the hard drives. - Installed hard drives would interfere with tall DIMM modules that had heatsinks (making it even harder to install cables). All this could have been fixed if the hard drive cage was designed to be a little further from the motherboard, both in length and in depth. I ended up installing one hard drive in the built-in, non-dampened 3.5" bay (which has lower airflow) and one drive in the 5.25" bay with the provided adapters. All in all, a suboptimal situation. Compare your motherboard to the Maximus VII GENE before buying this case. If the LGA1150 socket is as far forward or more so, you should pick something else.
Overall Review: I bought this case as a replacement for an Antec Mini P180, which was probably almost perfect in every way, except perhaps its size, until USB 3.0 came out. This case is a worthy replacement to fill its shoes.