Joined on 11/10/01
Driver problem... otherwise great!
Pros: The card... after working out the bugs... runs great. Handles Shogun 2 and Just Cause 2 at 1920x1200 at medium/high settings and Portal 2 at high settings on a i5-2300 without any problems. Fairly quiet as well (much quieter than the 4870 in my other PC).
Cons: As usual, I installed the card and then installed the newest drivers recommended for this card from amd.com (catalyst 11.6). Then it hanged, black screen, not immediately, but within a few minutes. Same thing with multiple attempts with these drivers, sometimes black screens, sometimes with weird patterns/artifacts. However, it runs like a champ with the drivers from the CD (catalyst 10.6). Given that this is an older card, I'm not sure that there would be any performance difference b/w these 2 versions... I haven't tried any of the many in between versions because the whole issue is aggravating. Maybe this is why there have been a bunch of recent negative reviews related to stability, maybe its just the latest drivers? Anyway, pretty simple fix.
Overall Review: Great price after rebate (which I've yet to get)
Not for overclocing
Pros: The motherboard is rock solid stable at stock processor settings. It's also great option if you're building a hackintosh (not that I would ever do such a thing). Everything works without problems with iDeneb Leopard 10.5.5 as long a you select the right options on installation (its pretty self explanatory). Sleep, restart, shutdown, audio, video, and networking work without a hitch.
Cons: I have to agree with the reviews written below, this motherboard will not accept any signficant alteration FSB settings on my e5200, overclocking or underclocking. I've installed a better non stock cooler, the processor runs very cool. It won't let me go above 207 Mhz FSB even with more voltage. It also won't let me underclock at all... it's a weird thing. It seems that other people have had different experiences with Allendale processors (at least from other Newegg reviews) but not so much with the 45nm processors
Well made keyboard... very clearly NOT brown switches
Pros: This is an amazingly well made keyboard for the price. The keycaps are very nice. The backlight controls are good. There is essentially no flex in the keyboard. My typing speeds are very good.
Cons: There is a very obvious "click" when typing about halfway down the key depression before bottoming out the key. These are absolutely not brown switches as advertised, the key itself is blue colored making me think that they're blue switches... see the pic. I'm wondering if this is just a Chinese manufacturer that switches components randomly. I'd love to
Overall Review: Very good other than falsely advertised switches
Xmod faking you out
Pros: This is truly a much better sound card than the one built into my laptop (Dell XPS M170) and probably most everyone's. Lower noise floor, crisper, more articulated... it improves the sound noticably. The crystalizer also makes low bit rate music sound better.
Cons: The crystalizer makes well recorder MP3's (ie. 198kbps MP3's or 128kbps ACC) sound ear achingly bright, I can't listen to it more more that 1/2 hour at a time, its extremely fatiguing. However, music will initially sound better with it on because it it LOUDER... this is an old trick. At equal decibles it sounds worse (this is a hard compatison to make, the crystalizer makes music louder at the same volume level... I used an SPL meter to ensure equality). The exception to this is poorly recorded music (ie. streamed music) which does sound better with the crystalizer on. The 3D feature is horrible for music, maybe it helps for movies?
Overall Review: Worth it for the better DAC, amplification alone. Don't but this for the other features unless you listen to a lot of streamed/low bit rate music.