Date Joined: 08/15/11
Pros: * Cheaper than comparable solutions from Icy-Dock
*All-Metal construction, Stainless Steel Drive Cages, plastic only on the rear port cover
*Takes only 1x 15pin SATA cable to power all drives
Cons: *Fan should have been mounted on a rubber gasket to minimize noise and vibration
*HDD power LED's light up but activity LED's seem to not work.
*No documentation on the mystery 14 pin 'Sensor Kit Port' on back, with what it does, how to use it or if it actually works! cant' seem to find any information on the web...
Overall Review: For the price, not bad! fits upto 9mm SATA disks, mechanically sound design and solid construction. No corners cut on materials, especially the Stainless Steel and the plastics - not a single piece of el-cheapo castings anywhere.
Using it in a 2U home server for a backup system. You can get 2Tb drives in the 9mm height, so this backplane can do fun things like a RAID5 array, or a hybrid HDD/SSD Tiered array in a single 5.25" bay.
Pros: For me, there is no difference in performance between this card and the GTX 1070 I replaced it with - No Joke. YMMV obviously, but for my 10 year old 60hz S-PVA 1080x1200 Dell, both cards crank out a fairly consistent 60fps.
Cheap and Fast.
Cons: Cheap - Card finally died.
RIP XFX R9-290-DD
8/2/15 - 12/4/16
Began crashing and finally died on me after a year of heavy use. Still worth it. neglected to sign up for the XFX warranty, so I suppose the ball was in my court. No hard feelings- GPU cards either live short, hot and bright lives like a Red Giant, or manage to keep ticking for far longer than expected, like a Main Sequence Star.
Overall Review: You get what you pay for, I guess. Sign up for XFX's Warranty.
Pros: Almost a 'reference' design - lacks the bells and whistles of more gamer-oriented boards, but they are called bells and whistles for a reason. Does what a motherboards needs to do, and does it really well. 8-pin CPU power, multi-phase VRM, LED indicators to show POST progress as well as indicate any faulty hardware, This board has features that don't make it to more expensive gaming boards.<br><br>An absurd amount of Fan headers. Even larger ATX boards don't have as many Headers as this one. You'll struggle to find a use for all of them. <br><br>Runs Devil's Canyon CPU's off the bat on BIOS version 1707 which is what it ships with, but since DC has new microcode I strongly recommend updating the BIOS to the latest version - Which, by the way is shockingly easy.<br><br>the z97 version of this is about $160, while I got this for $100 before a $30 MIR. As it runs Devil's Canyon, and I was not going to run M.2 drives, instead opting for the more stable and mature SATA3 approach with dual Intel 730 SSD's in RAID0, the Value proposition was just too good to pass up. I didn't see the point in waiting for Skylake or investing in PCI-E 3.0 NVMe drives at their current price point, when the RAID0 solution with Intel's 730 drives has been demonstrated to have excellent performance by many reviewers, hitting 1000 mb/s read speed in testing.<br><br>Testing and installing over the next few days, will report back with more info if it comes up.<br><br>SPECS<br>i5-4690K<br>GRYPHON Z87<br>PANRAM Ninja 8x2gb<br>EVGA 650GS<br>CoolerMaster Seidon 240M<br>XFX R9 290 Double Dissapation<br>Intel 730 series 240gb x2<br>WD Black 2tb x2<br>Fractal Design 140mm x1, Fractal design 120mm x2<br>Thermaltake Core V21
Cons: ASUS, stop with the excess branding- we don't need to see 'TUF' 'DIGI+ VRM' or any such stuff printed on the motherboard.
Overall Review: EDIT - Board Died after 3 months. VRM Failed.
Pros: took a lot of use and abuse in a lot of systems and external enclosures.
Cons: Used it with a newer 6gbps version of the same drive i got on newegg, as a Mirrored setup using Storage Spaces for backup purposes only. Computer crashed one fine day, taking my windows 10 Install with it, and the Metadata was corrupted. Because I was being an idiot, I let windows backup store system images on the storage space as well. Well, that meant I wasn't able to recover my Windows Install, as Windows had no access to the System images thanks to the corrupted metadata.
Acronis Disk Director 12 seems to insist the drive has errors, but a scan seems to turn up nothing specific. I'm thinking the 5 year mark has passed and the drive is ready to move on.
Windows Storage Spaces Sucks. If the metadata goes bad on either drive, your storage space is completely borked. The only option seems to be to fork over $49 to a dodgy Russian software company, and that carries no guarantee.
Spent the $49 on Acronis to manage backups, will use the clone facility to keep an exact copy of my newer 2tb backup drive.
Overall Review: BACKUP EVERTHING, People.
Pros: The case is well made, no sharp edges or burrs. Tons of room for stashing cables and extensions.
Can be used in almost any practical orientation - I have mine with the window & power button on top, one side with filters pulling in fresh air and one exhausting the 240mm AIO cooler I mounted on the side. Using the included 200mm fan as intake with a supplementary 140mm exhaust, and 2x120mm fans as additional fresh air intakes on the GPU side.
Fan/rad mounting options are above and beyond any case out there. Nothing else even comes close.
Takes a larger than usual PSU if needed, or can use a cheaper non-modular unit because cables are hidden mostly. the large opening in front of the motherboard tray is flexible for mounting a reservoir if you still use those.
No 5.25" bays - despite an opening in the chassis behind the front grille, there is none of that oversized nonsense here.
Takes large GPU Cards easily-the airflow in the case can be beautifully optimized to have a fan or two blow air across the GPU heatsinks, as I have done.
Very easy to work with, for experienced builders it is a breeze-new builders will have fun figuring out the various configurations.
Cons: The case is built to a price and it shows- its not a 'premium' case like the Enthoo Evolv, so don't expect T.O.T.L quality - everything is no more well done than it needs to be, however, there are some criticisms-
Radiator/Fan mounting rails - while a great and practical idea, they have to be made with better materials - the rails are easy to bend at the flat areas, fortunately they are not brittle so nothing snaps off.
Window could be better quality plastic, and it would be great if the window's mounting clips were not visible.
Would it kill Thermaltake to throw in a few more screws?
A few more 6/32 tapped holes here and there would be great if you want to mount your SSD cages in a different area, or for something else. likewise, a few cable management hooks or clamping points would make things easier.
Motherboard tray flexes a teeny tiny bit, so be careful installing your MB. Heavy heatsinks or GPU cards should not be a problem however.
Not as small as you'd think a mATX case should be. Then again, all that space makes it so flexible, so it is a fair trade off. Takes up a footprint thats nearly double of what you'd find for a prebuilt mATX sized machine - The panels are nearly the same size as an average computer.
Looks like a small upholstered stool when assembled, so make sure you prevent unsuspecting guests or uncaring cats from sitting on your computer (although let's face it - with the top panel venting radiators this case is going to be like a warm toasty bed for any feline.)
Paint needs to be a bit more durable. it is easy to scratch, so be careful while building!
Overall Review: TIP - Have some cable ties and 1x1" cable tie anchors from your hardware store handy, and take the HDD cage out while installing the PSU(which should go in first) for making the installation of the PSU bracket easy. Keep a careful eye out on the screws, there's a few of them that are not the usual 6/32 threaded.