Joined on 12/15/04
Pros: This is a great all around CPU. Low power requirements for a quad core, 4 very powerful cores, high default clock rate, etc. The only thing it really lacks when compared to the i7 is hyper threading and some obscure/rarely used business related features. Hyper threading in and of itself isn't that much of an improvement, as the two threads are still shared by one core. We are talking mere percentage points and only in the the most demanding threaded applications. And since this is a K series, you can simply overclock it a bit to bridge the gap in performance. I've got all 4 cores running at 4ghz in turbo boost mode, with no change in voltage what so ever. It idles at 1.6ghz / *76ºF. Running 100% usage pushes it to 4ghz "on all 4 cores" and *126ºF. That's running Prime 95, which I'm able to do for 10+ hours with no errors or faults. Considering stock voltages, 95w, and the raw power of this CPU.. I'm very happy with the results. It's so fast, I have no desire to OC it further right now.
Cons: It's hard to say anything bad about this chip, but people are managing to anyway. A popular myth floating around is that the 2550K is just a 2500K with defective integrated graphics. This is ridiculous. The 2500K came out Q1 2011. The 2550K is from a second gen run of Sandy Bridges that came out Q1 2012, one year later. Do you really think Intel was hording away defective 2500K's during 2011, just so they could turn around and sell them without IGP as 2550K's in 2012? I have something a little more plausible. Some people don't use IGP. Some people, in fact, are put off and annoyed by products with features they will never use. Intel realized this and had the foresight to provide offerings that didn't force a unused IGP down their throats. It's not defective, nothing was taken away. It's a chip that doesn't include IGP, just like the top of the line i7 and extreme models. The simple fact of the matter is, this chip is aimed at users who will never take advantage of integrated graphics.
Overall Review: *Using Thermalright TRUE Copper w/ 2X 120mm fans and Arctic Silver 5. Stock coolers will run considerably hotter under similar loads. I was going to hold out for the Ivy Bridge, but I'm glad I didn't. Early reports show that the Ivy Bridge runs quite hot when compared to the Sandy Bridge, severely limiting it's overclocking abilities. Looks like a overclocked Sandy Bridge will beat the Ivy Bridge in benchmarks, due to the thermal limitations of the latter. Sandy Bridge overclockers, REJOICE!
Pros: *Inexpensive, with discounts if you buy in bulk. *Quiet and decent air flow for such a cheap fan.
Cons: *Does not run at 2000RPM, I ordered 4 and they all run at 1400RPM. *Does not come with the 4pin molex adapter as pictured, I had to jury rig a old connector to make them work. *Not even close to being a 80CFM fan, probably closer to 40~50CFM.
Overall Review: These are pretty good fans for the price, but Newegg seriously needs to fix their product details. The specs give you the impression they are better then what they really are.
A little rough around the edges...
Pros: Solid value. Built in wifi and bluetooth. Solid performance (for the most part).
Cons: Intel RST RAID is basically useless. Bumpy Windows 11 installation. Lack of USB ports.
Overall Review: I want to love this board, but it has some serious flaws. It should be noted that the Intel RST RAID on the board does NOT work well with Windows 11. I attempted a RAID1 setup with two perfectly functional SSD drives and no matter what I did... I was getting 15mb per second writes or less. After scouring forums and various websites for days, there did not appear to be a way to fix it. The most common suggestion was "don't use Intel RST". Further, saying this board is Windows 11 ready is a bit of a stretch. If you attempt to install Windows 11 on a system using this board, it will stop at a part of the installation that needs a working internet connection (it can't detect the ethernet). And by stop, I mean stop. The next button is grey'd out and there is no option for selecting drivers. The only work around is to open a windows terminal and kill the installation process in question. Your average consumer definitely wouldn't think to do this. If you run into this problem, do the following: 1. Open the windows terminal by typing SHIFT + F10 2. Type this in the terminal: taskkill /F /IM oobenetworkconnectionflow.exe 3. Continue the installation and install network drivers normally. Other than the above problems, I've had pretty good luck with this board. I can confirm that this board will run a i5-12600K at full stock speeds, but I definitely wouldn't try overclocking or running anything more powerful. Several reviews on the internet for other b660 based Asrock boards talk of poor VRM cooling, but I have not had this issue. If you use SSD, be sure to configure it properly in the BIOS, as it defaults to HDD mode.
Pairs well with i5-12600K on stock settings.
Pros: Works with a lot of socket types, but I got it specifically for LGA 1700. Direct CPU contact with copper heat pipes. Comes with bracket for 2nd fan (useful for overclocking). Well lapped contact surface.
Cons: The dimensions might be a close shave in some case or motherboard types.
Overall Review: I use this for cooling a i5-12600K, which I run at stock settings. It has no problem cooling the CPU at either single core 4.9ghz turbo or high load multicore usage. I have never seen CPU temps exceed 60C under normal operation, even in the case of heavy gaming or video encoding. I use Arctic Silver 5, so it might even be possible to shave a few degrees with a more advanced heat spreader. I would say these are basically on par with similar size Thermalright coolers (TRUE Spirit 120 Direct) and totally suitable for stock operation / light overclocking.
Solid Mini-ITX case
Pros: Good layout Good airflow Clean appearance
Cons: Lack of expansion options (inherent in Mini-ITX systems in general)
Overall Review: I like this case... but the margins are tight. My Geforce RTX 3070 Ti runs the entire length of the case (and indeed touches the front of the case with the lower front fan installed). I actually had to remove the fan to allow the GPU to fit, then replaced the fan. Also, 120mm size heatsinks are a close shave as well. A Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO V2 sits less than 2mm away from the glass window. However, SSD placement is good. Airflow is excellent, especially if you use all the available 120mm fan slots. The side mounted fan slots seem weird, but I recommend using them as the effect on overall cooling is paradoxically very good. The physical appearance of the case is very good and the tempered glass is slick. I had no use for the RGB stuff, so I removed it all. The overall value for this case is excellent. I was unable to find something with a similar build quality and layout in this price range, or even double this price range. Any flaws with this case are things that are inherent to small builds in general (tight spaces, difficult cable management, etc). I would recommend this to anyone trying to build a powerful mini-ITX desktop, just make sure you get your component measurements right!