Date Joined: 05/31/05
Pros: -All black PCB, socket, and caps is a welcome choice for theme builders.
-The Micro 2 employs a longer M.2 slot to accommodate standard SSDs - longer than the original X99 Micro.
-Simple EUFI (BIOS) has everything you need, nothing extra.
-Good price, in the X99 board range.
-Black aluminum I/O top cover, which is a slick addition for a blacked-out look.
-Rear I/O plate is also black.
Cons: -Every cold boot I made with an M.2 SSD failed. (Drive confirmed good on another board.) Restoring defaults corrected it, until the next cold boot.
-Audio isolation line is backlit by a white LED, but appears yellow - odd choice for this board. White is OK, yellow is not. You'll wind up disabling it.
-"Dark Mode", while claiming to disable "all LEDs" in the manual does not disable the boot code display in bright red. Several requests for EVGA to change this in their forums.
-No Windows fan control software included - you'll need Speedfan or similar, or keep jumping into BIOS to use their SMART fan settings.
Overall Review: I should have read previous reviews more closely before buying. I am not the only one to experience M.2 drops with this board. This price and aesthetics are great, but ultimately not worth it. This was my first non-Asus board ever (in 20 years), and I regret it.
About to start an RMA process.
Pros: -Great fit and finish.
-Swapable front LED colors.
-Clean front panel (behind flip plate), subtle power button on top.
-Huge side window.
-Handy fan hub.
-Lots of cable routing options.
-Tons of flexible drive options.
-Doors swing open on both sides.
-Lots of radiator options and capacity.
Cons: Minor, nitpick concerns:
-There are 10 painted rivets on the rear of the chassis. About 5 of mine have paint at least partially scraped from them - one is fully shiny metal. (See detail below.)
-If you opt to remove the bottom drive cage, it leaves 4 holes, a couple of which had paint removed due to previous screws. (See detail below.)
-White rear slot covers, and fans are a tough choice if you are building on a color theme. (Black would be more neutral.)
-While my windowed version is not ideal for a seriously silent case, but some sound insulation on other panels is something they could add for a case at this pricepoint.
Overall Review: I'd like to be clear: this is a fantastic case. I come from builds on Lian-Li and Silverstone, and this Phanteks is absolutely on par, if not better than both in terms of fit, finish, and practicality. Any cons that I've listed are minor at best, and should not prevent anyone from purchasing this case.
In terms of the rivet piece above, in most placements the back of the case does not matter. Even in my instance, where the rear is visible, I'm not bothered, and if I bugs me I'll just touch them up with black paint. However, it is an odd flaw, given the otherwise high quality. I suspected it was a fluke with my sample, but noticed in an online video review that the back of that case also had some shiny rivets on an otherwise painted surface. If nothing else, I hope Phanteks sees this as a minor materials, or process improvement - and I mean minor. (Check your rivets though - I'm guessing this is common.)
I have no need for the bottom drive bay, so I thought I'd remove it to allow more room for PSU cables, and perhaps more airflow as that's never a bad idea. Removing it is easy however it leaves 4 holes in the top of the PSU cover (the area just above the Phanteks logo). The only problem is that the 4 top screws, have scraped off the paint on the cover, and it is in a very visible area of the case. You cannot simply put the screws back in, as they just dangle in the hole, as the drive brackets have the thread. I'd suggest you just leave the drive bracket in. As a second, minor process & materials recommendation for Phanteks, I'd recommend a washer be inserted under those 4 screws to protect the paint should users decide to remove the cage, as advertised.
Again, please take these minor cons for what they are: tiny. However, if you spend a lot of money on a case, and specifically buy one with a window to showcase your build, you don't want to see scraped paint items, especially if easily avoidable.
Pros: -Keyboard build exudes quality. It is sturdy, and has an expensive look and feel.
-If you like Chiclet-style keyboards, the key feel is true to this type.
-Smooth palm rest material allows hands to move freely across the board.
-Even RGB lighting, with plenty of effects.
-Solid software package, Synapse.
-Attentive support from Razer included.
Cons: Just one, but fatal for me:
-High-pitched whine when lighting enabled.
Overall Review: I build near-silent PCs, and noticed a faint, high-pitched whine noise. I'm probably overly sensitive to this, but certainly it was there. I had just bought a new PSU and GPU, so suspected a coil issue, and tore them out of my PC - no change. After checking countless things, I was playing around with the Synapse software, and temporarily turned off all lighting - BINGO. It could have been just my sample, but it emits a noise when lighting is on. I tested the keyboard on multiple machines, and the same issue. It is faint, and may not be noticeable if you have a louder setup, but it was certainly there on this unit.
Razer support was quick to respond, and had me test a few things, but ultimately suggested I RMA the keyboard. I've opted to return the unit instead. There support was great, and I don't believe there would have been any cost to me with the RMA, which is also nice.
I will repeat that the build quality, and quality of materials is impressive. The shape and design is clean, and every element is well thought out. It is a shame to return it.
Next, I'm not commenting on whether this key type (Chiclet) is ideal for gaming or not. If you prefer mechanical keys, this is not the board for you of course. Key feel, and general typing is exactly what you'd expect from this type of key switch.
One last unrelated bit on the Synapse software. Yes, you must have a Razer account for initial setup, and to ultimately store settings with Razer, but you can certainly put things in offline mode thereafter. I understand some of the concern around the Internet requirement, but don't believe it is a deal-breaker.
Pros: -Solid, "real life" speeds, near claimed (400 MB/s Read, 310 MB/s Write).
Win10, USB 3.0:
Single, 8GB .mkv movie file: Read peak 391 MB/s, Read avg ~370 MB/s, Write peak 261 MB/s, Write avg ~240 MB/s
Mixed folders/files 26GB: Read peak 391 MB/s, Read avg ~350 MB/s, Write peak 251 MB/s, Write avg ~210 MB/s
-Tiny form factor (57 x 17 X 6 mm) will not crowd nearby ports
-Red activity light.
-Slick, aluminum case.
Cons: -Key ring end is plastic, and may not be durable long term.
Overall Review: This is an impressive, little USB flash drive. Saw them mentioned at this year's CES, and was delighted to see that Newegg already had them in stock.
Beware as I noticed continuing activity on the drive for several seconds after copy operations appear to complete. Do not pull this drive out quickly, or better yet properly eject it from the OS.
During my testing, albeit limited, I did not detect any heat from the drive, but this is not definitive.
Pros: -Completely silent
-Runs very cool
-Not overly big
-Astounding, consistent, quality power
-7 Year Warranty!
Overall Review: It's the rare perfect product. If you bought this power supply, at probably a premium, then you already know that SeaSonic are known for producing among the best - if not the best - power supplies in the world. Not much else to say. Every independent reviewer is amazed by the quality.
I debated adding this as a "Con", but you must be aware of the mounting restrictions imposed by SeaSonic: it must be mounted in only one orientation, effectively "face up".
There are a fair number of cases where the fan grill would be pointed downward, and thus these fanless models would not be good candidates.
Pros: -Completely silent (fans don't even turn on) below ~ 55C.
-Low power requirements
-Fairly small size
Cons: -One of the fans had a flaky bearing (see thoughts)
Overall Review: I've just put this into an M-ITX build, and it is the ideal card for a smaller case given the low power and temperature, quiet operation, and small footprint.
As advertised, the fans stayed off during normal "desktop" use, and the card idled at a nice 40C. Performance is as advertised - a good lightweight gaming card at the lower price range. The factory overclocking gives it a nice boost.
One problem with my particular card was an odd noise when the fans finally spun up during a gaming benchmark. It was an intermittent "crunching" sound - almost like some grit somewhere. Not loud, but certainly annoying.
I found that by spinning the fans lightly by hand that the rear fan (near the power connector) was the culprit, and didn't have to spin fast to exhibit the problem.
This should probably be a "4 egg" review given the performance, but I do have to knock an egg off for the issue. It will be RMA'ed shortly.
Pros: -Hinged case front makes it among the easiest M-ITX cases I've built into.
-Clean front panel design eschews a reset button that often isn't needed (especially if your mobo has one on the I/O)
-Great case feet that are solid, and elevate the box for venting
-Nice 120mm rear fan support
-Full ATX power supply support
-Bottom and side venting
-Easy pop-off side panels
-Typical beautiful Lian Li design and build quality
-Great small size (some M-ITX are actually rather big)
Cons: -Hard drive mounting is unnecessarily awkward/tight
-No fan filters
Overall Review: As per other reviews, there just isn't enough clearance with the provided long screws and rubber mounts if you want to place an SSD on the front panel. (Unless you have amazingly thin SATA connectors.) Even the side drive cage isn't a heck of a lot better for 2.5" SSDs. Longer screws solve the problem, but you may not have them on hand.
There are no fan filters, and while I like them myself, they can be a mixed blessing. I've seen many computers with poor airflow because the filters were clogged. In any event, I wanted to call the lack of filters out.
This is neither a Pro nor Con, but be aware of the specs around GPU length - in this case 220mm. It's not a "Pro", as some longer ITX cases can accommodate longer cards, however some ITX cases allow for even less room, so I can't give it a "Con" either. As reference, I've put an ASUS Strix GTX 960 in it with plenty of room to spare.
Oh, and as you'd expect, have a cloth around to remove the fingerprints once you finish your build.
Pros: -Clean design.
-Relatively easy to build in, even given the ITX form factor.
-An ATX power supply can be squeezed in. (But I'd recommend a good SFX.)
Cons: -Screws, screws, screws.
Overall Review: I really like this case, but a bit more attention to detail would have given them a 5-egg review. While I did not have the over-tightened-drive-mount-screw issue, I did notice that many of the screws are mushy. Beware, or use your own from the "bag-o-screws" that you've built up over the years.
Next, did you know that there are 2 sizes of thumbscrews used? Even though they look (nearly) identical, the thumbscrews used on the drive mountings are slightly different than the ones used to secure the case cover.
Next, one of said thumbscrews on the outer case was nearly impossible to remove, and thus I had to use a screwdriver. The thread was damaged. I thought - hey, no problem - I'm not using all the drive mounts inside, so I'll just use one of those thumbscrews - no such luck! (As per above, they use two different sizes. Who knew! Why did they do this? Who knows? Just to trick me, maybe. Mission accomplished.
Speaking of the drive mounts, I like them, but don't really get the point of the "two thumbscrews" and a tiny (mushy) regular screw. In order to remove a drive mount, you need a screwdriver. So they are "sort of" tool-less. (Fractal - free solution here - have the front of the drive mounts use a tab that fits into a slot. Amazing.)
Next, upon removing one of the drive mounts, I did notice that the tiny screw hole was severely mangled. The screw came out fine, but clearly someone had butchered the assembly.
Really, these are minor things, but did prevent a perfect 5-egg review. Basic quality control.
On a build note, I opted for a Silverstone modular SFX power supply, which leaves a ton of room for my GTX 770. I opted for the modular version, but really used all but the molex PSU cable, so I didn't really save much. (In short, you might save some cash if you buy the non-modular SFX version.)
So, yes, I'm not using the molex PSU cable, and thus not using the fan controller. I just found that it added too many cables, which all have to travel the length of the case. Also, I'd have to use the molex power connector from the PSU. Instead, I just used a "Y" connector to both front fans, and connected it to a fan header on my motherboard.
Asus Maximum VI Impact ITX board
16 GB Patriot RAM (2X8 @ 1600)
Corsair H50 CPU cooler (blowing out)
I'm impressed with the quietness of the front fans, and the H50's pump and fan barely has to spin. I can't really hear anything from this box and it is on top of my desk.
Also, the SFX power supply appears to be silent (ensure you get version 2.0) - I'll review that separately.
Lastly, some reviews have listed the lack of ROM drive support as a Con. I'm not sure how that is logically possible. It's like saying a Mini Cooper has the "con" of not being an SUV. Huh? You bought a case without ROM drive support. If you expected ROM drive support, don't buy this one. It's pretty obvi
Pros: -Good price
-Solid company behind it
Overall Review: Bought this RAM for an HTPC build, and a small case. I don't need to push for frequencies beyond 1333 MHz (and the associated heat), so I'm fine with standard DDR3 settings. The RAM has worked as expected, and I trust the Corsair name for RAM.
Pros: -Reasonable price
-Decent efficiency level (for the price)
-Silent and cool so far
-All the connectors I need
Cons: -None, actually - I have so may spare power supply cables that I think it's a great idea to NOT include one.
Overall Review: I'm using this in an HTPC build where a modular power supply would actually be too long. This unit has been quiet and cool in a rather small case. I'm careful not to under or overpower my power supply choices, and this one fits my needs perfectly given the low wattage requirements of the system. I'm banking on Antec's solid reputation for power supplies - I've bought them before, and I've always been pleased.
Pros: -Top of the line power supply
-No shortage of cables
-80 plus gold certification
-Effectively silent (to my ear)
Cons: -Pricey (but worth it)
-A bit over the top on the packaging and cable bag
Overall Review: Not much to say here. Effectively silent in my case. Solid construction - probably among the best you can buy. It's sort of funny to apply a "con" for price, but it isn't inexpensive. I suppose they could have downplayed the fancy packaging and eliminated the cable bag to reduce the cost a bit - I'd certainly be happy with that.
Good choice - you won't regret it.
Pros: -Small formfactor, almost as small an an A/V component
-Good price (especially for SilverStone)
Cons: -None, for this pricepoint, maybe the blue USB connectors, or maybe the front plastic "pattern".
-Cover doesn't come on/off as seamlessly as other SilverStone cases I have (but they were way more expensive.)
There are no fans included in this case, and it is tight, but you know that going in, and at this price I'm not sure if you'd expect them. As mentioned, blue USB ports on the front are a bit out of place, but they can be covered with black marker. I suppose I'm iffy on the front bezel - the plastic isn't shiny, but rather has a pattern (lines) carved into it - you can't see it in the photos. That said, it seems to hide fingerprints and it looks fine from a distance. Hard to describe - you'll have to see it in person to judge. Not a dealbreaker.
Overall Review: As mentioned in other reviews, double-check the measurements of components you place in this case: in particular the power supply and ROM drive will be tight. Beware that a modular power supply (with removable cables) will typically be longer, so it is not a candidate for this case. Have a look at the .pdf manual on the SilverStone site prior to buying components.
Pros: -Speedy (as are all drives of this type, using this controller)
-Good support network from Corsair
Cons: -Check your firmware version prior to use
Overall Review: This issue is not specific to Corsair, but there have been difficult-to-diagnose BSOD issues with drives using this SandForce controller - typically related to sleep/standby. While many have reported a fix with the latest firmware, it appears as though some issues remain. I have not seen these myself, but it is worth noting for a potential buyer. That said, Corsair's support forum is helpful, and responsive and there were clear steps offered to check my firmware version. To save yourself time, ensure you have the latest firmware prior to making use of the drive in your system.
-Better HD3000 iGPU (instead of HD2000 on some CPUs)
-Low power requirements
-Decently low temps with stock cooler
-More than sufficient for blu-ray decoding in an HTPC
Cons: -None, really.
You could say the integrated GPU (HD 3000) isn't as powerful as a standalone GPU, but you know that going in.
Likewise, you could comment on processing power relative to "faster" models in the Sandy Bridge series, but again, the pricepoint here is ideal.
I can't really fault this, as long as you know what you're looking for.
Overall Review: Wanted an inexpensive low heat (low noise) CPU for an HTPC. I also wanted to avoid a noisy add-in video card.
This CPU does the trick, with the best integrated GPU that Intel offers.
Will it beat a current dedicated GPU from AMD or nVidia? No. But, it's more than enough for HTPC duties, including seamless blu-ray decoding.
In my tiny Silverstone ML03, the CPU remains in the 38-44C range without case fans, in an AV cabinet , during typical use.
Very, very pleased with the price to performance ratio here - not to mention the low power requirements.
Cons: -Buggy BIOS (see notes)
-2 RAM slots
Overall Review: I'm a lifelong Asus customer (probably 8-10 mobos purchased thus far), but this has been the worst.
PROBLEM 1: If I leave a USB key in the machine on boot, it automatically tries to boot to it, even though P1 is set to my SSD. Even better - after removing the USB drive and rebooting, my SSD is no longer found. Must disconnect power to the machine and the SSD is found.
PROBLEM 2: If I touch anything in the "GPU Boost" section of the BIOS (for integrated GPUs), the machine instantly reboots.
I found the support on problem 2 to be particularly bad. I contacted ASUS twice, and received 2 inadequate replies:
Reply 1: "It depends on the GPU, as it is integrated". Huh, what does that even mean?
Reply 2: "Not much choice here: either revert to an older BIOS, or return the motherboard to place of purchase." Really? Thanks for the deep technical advice.
The gist: an inexpensive board which has become my worst Asus experience to date.
Average at best. (BIOS rev 10
Pros: -Extremely tweakable
-On board on/off and reset switches
-Good number of fan controllers
-Diagnostic lights and test areas on board
-Supports Crossfire and SLI
-Fast on benchmarks vs other boards with same chipset
-Lots of cables included
-Inexpensive relative to full-sized ATX boards of similar type (see con though), but offers most of the ATX features in an m-ATX formfactor
Cons: -USB 3.0 header, but no cable - should be included at this price point
-Internal SATA ports are angled at 90 degrees, which is a pain in my case (see notes)
-Probably the most expensive m-ATX board out there - others in this formfactor are cheaper
Overall Review: Overall a great board, with great components and solid ASUS build quality. No lack of features - competes with and beats many full size ATX boards.
The one irritation for me specifially are the internal SATA ports that are at 90 degrees. I realize this is done to allow for longer video cards, but it effectively forces you to use the straight end of a SATA cable in those ports. This leaves you with a 90-degree SATA connector to your drives, which is fine for most folks, but not if you have a funky m-ATX case (Silverstone FT01) that mounts drives parallel to the motherboard, behind it. (Sorry, if you don't have this case, you probably won't understand what I mean.) I'd just prefer straight SATA connectors on a motherboard, that's all. If by chance you own an FT01 case, do yourself a favour and buy SATA 3.0 cables that are flat on both connectors (no 90-degrees), especially if you run stacked drives in RAID. Not really the board's fault - just my unique case.
Pros: -Silent at idle (see notes)
-Low temps at idle
Cons: -Massive: heavy, and takes up 3 slots
-Draws more power at idle than a typical 6970 card (likely due to dual fans).
Overall Review: There are a lot of sites to get the 3D performance of this card, and there is usually no argument with this data.
What I find difficult to find out about on the web is the actual noise levels of a given card - this tends to be subjective, or involves testing methods that vary a bit from site to site.
I am deeply interested in quiet computing, while I'm working, so that is really important to me. I can tell you that this card reports 37-39C temperature at idle (in a smallish Silverstone FT01 m-ATX case), and the fans run at 10%.
At that level, it is effectively silent from my perspective - and my machine is set for quiet computing with only a couple of low speed (silent fans). So, if you are concerned about idle noise, this is a great choice.
Note though that above idle, the twin fans definitely spin up, so you'll hear them during heavy 3D games, but that's fine with me. That said, "noise" reviews indicate that this card is actually good under load, compared to other cards.
Pros: -Great-looking, fresh design
-Design allows it to accomodate long video cards
-Uses a standard desktop power supply
-By design, offers an external pass-through for USB 3.0, eliminating problems of older USB 3.0 motherboards that don't offer USB 3.0 headers.
Cons: -Unusual (and probably rare) issue if you are trying to use the DisplayPort connection on certain video cards (see note 1)
-Must purchase a slot-load ROM drive, which are usually slower, and they need a SATA adapter (see note 2)
-Minor case modifications may be necessary - also in rare cases (see note 3)
Overall Review: Note 1: The first expansion slot cutout on the case (coincding with the first PCI-E slot on mobos) has a tiny, raise metal ridge. The DisplayPort ports on my ASUS 6970 card are close to the ridge, and if you know DisplayPort connectors, they are beefy. The ridge prevents me from inserting the connector all the way. Since I didn't want to move my vid card to a slower PCI-E slot, had to physically trim the outside of the DisplayPort cable connector to allow it to fit.
-Be sure to get a slimline, slot-loading ROM drive, and obtain a "Female Slimline SATA to SATA Adapter with Power" to allow it to connect via standard SATA power and data cables.
-This is another rare/odd issue: this case is small-ish, and lends itself nicely to a self-contained liquid CPU cooler, like my Corsair H50. Problem is that you have to mount the radiator against the top fan opening, and there's a riveted corner support in the way. I had to trim the metal a bit to make it fit - not a typical issue.
Pros: Professional packaging with items grouped in packages for Intel or AMD. Tools and paste included. Solid components with great instructions. Completely silent with only 1 fan, and gives cool temperatures at both idle and load. Fantastic product - expensive - but absolutely worth it. This is the best you can get.
Cons: None, although it isn't cheap.
Overall Review: This kit comes with 2 fans, both of which are silent. You will likely only need 1 if you aren't overclocking though.
Pros: Solid board, with good layout. Multiple tweaking options. ASUS documentation is very good. 64-bit support for all components. 6 SATA cables included in box. Good clearance around CPU so should allow lots of choice for 3rd party heatsinks/coolers.
Cons: SATA ports 1-4 are included in a red module that points away from the board at a right angle (towards the hard drives). This is a great idea, however on my board, these ports were too small to accept the ASUS-supplied SATA cables with clips. I had to push waaaaay too hard, so I stopped. (Normally, SATA cables go in easily, with no force at all.) Meanwhile, SATA ports 5-6 that are directly on the board, work fine with the cables - click in easily. Cables also work fine on other computers.
Found a few other people in forums with the same problem. If you run into this, i.e. find yourself having to use ridiculous force on SATA ports 1-4....stop or you could crack them. Just use a clipless, old-style SATA cable and it will fit fine.
Looks like a manufacturing issue on some of those modules. I have an open ticket with ASUS support on this, but haven't heard back as yet.
Overall Review: Good board, aside from the weird SATA port issue.
BTW, noticed a couple of people complaining that this board has no floppy port. This is listed in the specifications of this mobo, so should not be a surprise.
Also, documentation suggests you can only use "one DIMM per channel" for DDR3 @ 1600. I'm using 3X2GB now in tripple channel @1600 and it is fine - you may just need to set the timings & voltage manually.