Joined on 01/18/04
Great potential for HTPC
Pros: HDMI onboard. DX10 support (I haven't tried this, reviews say there isn't any benefit at the moment). Lots of USB ports, and IEEE1394a. Supports newer 1333 MHz cpu, which are cheaper than equivalent 1066 chips now. mATX so you don't have to use a big ATX case for your HTPC. Onboard audio sounds pretty good over SPDIF. (No optical output, only coax.)
Cons: Only one PCI slot. When I was done migrating my components from the former mobo I had a stack of cards that no longer had a place to go. If you use a lot of add-on cards this might not be a good board for you. Integrated graphics don't seem to be all that great, even just for video use. (My Vista Exp Score is 3.8/3.9 for the graphics areas, which doesn't seem too bad but I've definitely had more problems with video than I did with the X1950PRO AGP card in the mobo this one replaced.) The video resolution is not (easily) customizable. From forums it seems to be possible to edit the registry, but I haven't tried it. A previous mobo upgrade ran from the same install of Vista, but this mobo wouldn't load vista at all so I had to do a format and reload.
Overall Review: I have zero gaming expectation for this system so I'd hoped the Intel IGP would be enough, but looks like I'm going to have to bite the bullet and get a new video card. The chipset is pretty new, so there might be some improvement with new drivers, but I don't have high hopes. Out of the box the IGP only showed about 4 resolutions. After about 20 minutes I figured out that I had to uncheck "only show supported modes" in the Vista graphics advanced settings, then I was able to see more modes in the Intel Graphics settings box. Still, the one closest to my tv's optimal setting is slightly overscanning. My ATI card had a utility to custom set the resolution right in CCC. BOTTOM LINE: Pretty good board that has a few bugs. Intel IGP falls just short for video (HD, divx, MS DVR) but fine for office work/internet.
Pros: Ran out of room in my previous review...
Cons: The drive showed up within 2 days of ordering, which is great. Even though I didn't know it was coming because as of this morning my orders status only showed "charged", not "shipped". It was on my doorstep when I got home from work. I can live with that, BUT... The real problem is that the packaging was nearly non-existent. Imagine picking up a cardboard boxed harddrive off the store shelf and sticking it in a large plastic bag with not a single "fragile" sticker on it and handing it to the UPS guy. The bag probably provided decent rain protection, but the it did nothing for crush or puncture protection. One corner of the box was caved in like it had been dropped from some height, and I am frankly surprised that the drive worked at all when I got it out of the box after the apparent shocks it must have taken.
Overall Review: I've had many great experiences with Newegg, but the shipping on this order was pretty shocking. More what I'd expect from some fly by night place out of New York City than what I've become used to from Newegg.
Pros: - IF you ever need it, it might just save your behind. - Pretty simple. (Maybe too simple? Why can't it just tell you what is wrong with a drive instead of "it's bad, replace it or lose everything". Not confidence inspiring.)
Cons: - Very slow. (Both transfers and adding disks) Only good for backup, not for working from for editing. Transferring files using Mac OSX averaged 3 MB/sec on FW800. For some reason using Drobo Copy (bundled backup software) went 10X faster, 30MB/sec, which is still only USB 2.0 speed for any regular external drive. - Sometimes cryptic operation. (Random flashing lights, failures to startup, etc. which eventually fix themselves after a reboot or two. One time wife used power supply not from the Drobo by accident, which worked for over 6 months then caused failed startups. Of course when I was out of town.) - Randomly calls good disks faulty. (2 of 3 "failed" disks still working great in my PC with no errors or SMART Status problems.) - Fan is pretty loud.
Overall Review: Got this for my wife, a photographer, a couple of years ago for her Mac Pro. She can work a high end DSLR like nobody's business, but not much computer savvy. We started out with 4X 1.5TB drives. In two years it called 3 of the drives bad (at various times) but 2 of those 3 "bad drives" have been running smooth as butter in my PC for months without errors since then. 3rd had the "click of death". This past week I replaced the 4th 1.5 with a 2.0TB. It took 56 hours to add the new disk! Why don't they give you a program to let you just clone the old drive to a new one using SATA?! Our Drobo is batting .333 for calling disks bad. On the plus side it is a cinch to replace a disk (although they take forever to incorporate), but on the down side it causes my wife a panic attack every time it does its "flashing lights/can't find your life's work" routine.
Very nice aside from the fan
Pros: Great cooling, though the supplied fan is pretty loud. Beats the heck out of an Arctic Cooling Freezer 7 Rev 2 (ACF7) air cooler. Looks good in the case (if that matters to you). Rear MoBo mounting plate gives great support, BUT it is rear mounting so requires MoBo removal to install into system. Mounts work with any 120mm fan. Radiator bracket has screw holes on both sides, so 2 fans can be mounted for push/pull. I tried that but didn't get much different temps with the fans I had available. Comes with the extra screws to mount a 2nd fan, although the box only has 1 fan in it.
Cons: I HATE taking the MoBo out of an already built PC. If you are putting together a system buy this now, not later like I did. The supplied fan did the cooling job, but very loudly. I went through some old 120mm fans I had from PC's of the past and found a Cooler Master that worked even better, and much quieter!
Overall Review: On my i7 950/X58 system with an ACF7 my pcu was running around 74C at 100% load running folding projects. I was never convinced the mounting was good due to the revised system of the Rev 2 ACF7. I never had any faults but that is just too hot for good longevity. By all accounts the i7 950 is quite a hot chip. With the 620 the system is running around 60C at 100% load with equivalent drops at idle. It took some fiddling with fans to find the sweet spot: The supplied Antec fan ran around 64C at 100%, but LOUD. A Scythe 800rpm fan I had ran about same temps as the ACF7, though silent. An old Cooler Master fan I had is much quieter than the OEM, and runs a few degrees cooler than the OEM as well. Not sure of the specs on the CM fan. Success! The system supposedly varies the pump/fan speeds based on water temp, but SpeedFan doesn't show any change in speed from idle to full load. Interesting, though it doesn't really affect me.
1 year update
Pros: Fairly easy to install, I think? (Not firmly convince it's in there right.) Cooling is decent.
Cons: Not as easy to install as Rev 1 of the AC Freezer 7. Cooling is not great. Or maybe the i7-950 runs really hot?
Overall Review: An update from my 9/25/10 initial review. As I said then I have an AC Freezer 7 (ACF7) Rev.1 that I was comparing my Rev.2 experience with. I switched my Rev.1 from an e6550 2 core to a q6600 4 core. At 100% load (FAH stresscpu2) oc'd to 3.0GHz the q6600 runs at 50-55C. The i7 w/Rev.2 at 100% load, no oc, runs at 70-75C. The Rev.1 plastic clips were getting worn out from removing and reinstalling, yet the cooler still works like a champ. The Rev.2 installed one time and never been satisfied that it is getting a good connection. I read on Intel's site that i7 has 130W TDP while q6600 has 105W TDP, but like I said I've got the q6600 at 125% OC. I also read that i7 runs hot; 70C+ temps seem not TOO outlandish, but... BTW, the i7 is in an Antec P180 full size tower while the q6600 is in a Silverstone LC-17 HTPC case, so it would seem the Rev.2 has the advantage there as well. All in all I feel like the Rev.2 cooler should be doing better, but I'm not so unhappy I'd knock down
Not as intuitive as rev 1
Pros: Great build quality. Mounting system can be installed without pulling the mobo. (on Intel, at least. Don't know about AMD.) Pre-applied thermal paste. Horizontal, raised cooling fin design makes this much easier to clean than the Intel stock cooler. I'm actually a big fan of the stock cooler's performance, except that the fins are nearly impossible to clean well once they get clogged up with dust.
Cons: The mounting system has changed from rev 1 to rev 2. Look at the side view pictures closely and you'll see little metal wings under the cooler fins. The plastic mounting base is a separate unit that clips to the mobo, and then these little metal fins are tightened down with screws to the mounting base. The problem is that you can screw each side in unequally and so the cooler base could be cockeyed on top of the cpu, and you can't tell except that your temps will be high. Also, as you tighten up the screws and the wings bend down toward the mounting base it is hard to say "how much is enough". The instructions are visual only, with no text. And actual pictures are not used. They are clear enough to figure out which part goes where, but don't answer questions like "how much to tighten the mounting screws".
Overall Review: On an i7 950 I'm running around 45C at idle, which is much too high, I think. I have a Freezer 7 rev 1 on a Core2Duo E6550 that idles at nearly room temp (around 25C). The heat exchangers of the rev1 and rev2 appear to be pretty much identical, so I'm sure that my i7 should go at least 10c cooler. I've been going in and trying to tighten the screws to different amounts, and on different sides, but haven't hit the sweet spot yet. Bottom line, I'm knocking off an egg because I shouldn't HAVE to go back in and do anything. The rev 1 installed first time with no issues, and I don't like that the rev2 requires repeated tweaking to get the heat exchanger seated just right on the CPU.