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Tristan M.

Tristan M.

Joined on 11/03/03

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 5
Most Favorable Review

Overall a good board for non-OC'ers

MSI H87-G43 LGA 1150 Intel H87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX High Performance CF Intel Motherboard
MSI H87-G43 LGA 1150 Intel H87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX High Performance CF Intel Motherboard

Pros: In this day and age, I no longer feel it's necessary to overclock a CPU unless one does it for fun. So, I needed to find a board that is solid and yet doesn't have all those extra slots/nice features that I never use and that I have to pay premiums for. This MSI board suits that need. After popped in an i5-4570 CPU and 16GB DDR3-1600 (CAS 9), it passed IntelBurnTest at the max stress level without any issue. The number of expansion slots are enough for any non-hardcore gamer (i.e. if you have no plan for crossfire) and the USB ports are plenty. The BIOS is easy to navigate and the board has enough 4-pin fan connectors to keep your case cool. This is my first MSI board (have been using ASUS and Gigabyte only) and I'm happy with the performance. I give MSI cudos for serving this non-enthusiast market and producing a solid board at a good price.

Cons: Four of the SATA connectors are placed horizontally instead of vertically, so it's EXTREMELY difficult to plug in the cables once the board is in the case. This is by far THE most stupid design I've ever seen. I almost wanted to take two eggs off the rating just for this flaw alone. Also, if you ever want to use an aftermarket CPU cooler, then you can forget about putting four memory sticks there: I'm using a Xigmatek cooler (definitely not huge) and the fan failed to clear DIMM_1 slot. Fortunately, MSI suggest you populate DIMM_2 and DIMM_4 slots first for some reason, so it works out if you only have two sticks. The bundled MSI CommandCenter is really buggy and crashes very often. Version 1.0.0.8 (coming with the CD) and 1.0.0.18 (the most recent version on MSI's site) both failed to start. Had to find 1.0.0.15 on the web to solve this problem.

A Solid Case

Antec Three Hundred Two Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with Upgraded 2 x USB 3.0
Antec Three Hundred Two Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case with Upgraded 2 x USB 3.0

Pros: The case is HUGE and WIDE, mostly because it has a lot of space behind the motherboard mounting plate, to allow more room for cable management. It is built like a tank and the quality is top notch. I didn't see it mentioned anywhere on Newegg's product page, but the case actually has two fan control switches (high and low) on the back for each of the two case fans. At the low setting, when the case temperature is low, the fans don't even turn on, so it's really nice and quiet.

Cons: I wish the interior of the case was black, instead of the plain looking of steel. Also, you know the place where all the PCI/PCIe brackets are attached to the chasis in the back? They're already secured with screws, so it's kinda weird that Antec decided to add one more bracket on the top to secure all the other PCI brackets. So to change a card, you first need to remove the two screws on this bracket before you can even get to the usual screw that holds the card in place.

Overall Review: This is the first case I came across that asks you to mount the SSD on the case chasis. For ~10 minutes, I was looking for a mounting bracket to no avail, and then realized that the four screw holes at the bottom of the case were actually for SSD. I guess this is not really a con.

A Decent Low Cost MB

GIGABYTE GA-Z97-HD3 (rev. 2.0) LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
GIGABYTE GA-Z97-HD3 (rev. 2.0) LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Pros: I was really surprised by how small the board is when I opened up the box, compared to the other boards I had in the past (ASUS, GA, MSI, Intel). It feels kinda flimsy and cheap, but I guess that's what I paid for, so I can't really say it's Gigabyte's fault. I paired it with the low cost Intel Pentium G3258 and it overclocks the CPU from the base 3.2GHz to 4.3GHz simply by doing a "20% upgrade", and it goes to 4.9GHz without any issue (with a 3rd-party CPU cooler). Windows 10 drivers were out on the day of the OS release. Overall I'm happy with the purchase.

Cons: Newegg specifically says in the product title that this board is a "Rev. 2.0", but I received Rev 2.1. If you believe what is said on the Internet, Gigabyte did some "downgrade" on 2.1. Rev 2.0 is considered the best among the three revisions. Just an FYI if you're specifically looking for a 2.0. The board has 3 system fan connectors. The one that connects to the front fan (System Fan 3) actually cannot be controlled within BIOS (only Fan 1 & 2 are displayed in BIOS). So my front case fan runs at full speed all the time and it's really noisy. I had to disconnect it and will have to find an extension so that I can connect the fan to one of the other two sys fan connectors which both sit at the center of the board. I hate that setup.

Decent but need improvement

Cooler Master N400 ATX Tower with Front Mesh Ventilation, Minimal Design, 240mm Close-Loop AIO Support
Cooler Master N400 ATX Tower with Front Mesh Ventilation, Minimal Design, 240mm Close-Loop AIO Support

Pros: Overall it's a great case. Build quality is excellent at this price point. The two included 120mm fans are surprisingly quiet, unlike many of those junk fans that come with a case in this price range. I really liked the look of this case: simple, elegant, and with differentiation. Cable management is not the greatest, but decent enough that I wouldn't consider a con.

Cons: If you follow the manual and use the screws it asks you to use for mounting your motherboard to the standoff's, you would end up stripping the threads. It took me a while to figure out the designated screws had the wrong pitch. The other con is that the power switch LED is white and really bright.

Nothing wrong with this card

ASUS Radeon HD 7770 1GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 CrossFireX Support Video Card HD7770-DC-1GD5-V2
ASUS Radeon HD 7770 1GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 CrossFireX Support Video Card HD7770-DC-1GD5-V2

Pros: I was hesitant to purchase this card at first, given the mediocre rating. Eventually I couldn't resist the extremely low price (after MIR) for such a high performance card and decided to bite the bullet. I'm glad I did. I've had zero issue with this card and the fan is very quiet as long as you have an adequately cooled case. Granted, it's not a 7970 but it's close enough--especially at this price.

Cons: None at this point. I suspect that most of the issues reported here were due to driver and/or poor case cooling.