Good board, a bit on the pricy side of reasonable.11/8/2020 10:21:21 PM

Pros: Dropped in a 3700, and was running this thing in a couple of hours. Feature set was good enough. Plenty of connectivity for a gaming and storage PC. 64 GB of FlareX ram from Gskill. The particular package was not listed on the compatibility documentation, but the individual 16 GB sticks were.

Cons: Pricing is higher than I'd like for what it offers. It's not like Ryzen has a lot of head room for clocks, so the additional features are largely going to come down to what you like. I hate the led color cycling that this thing does by default, because it's a distraction when you've powered down the PC and the entire room still glows. Likewise, the additional other features are an odd choice, as WIFI is something I don't understand on a board at this price range...even though it's WIFI 6.

Overall Review: So, I tried to get an x470 board from Asrock to get this 3700 processor working. It lists as compatible, then it wouldn't take the right bios, and each upgrade actually managed to damage stability and performance somehow. I was frustrated, so I bought this board. The extra cost would be fine, if it just stopped being a fight. To that end, 100% success. This board ran right, I upgraded the bios without issue, and it's been a fantastic little tank of a system. It replaced a 3930k Intel system, giving me SATA III and msata. Between lightyears of improvement in connectivity, two more cores, 4 threads, and thermal performance that doesn't require water cooling I can't complain about too much here. My only frustration is with Ryzen, boards, and memory. I've built 1700, 2700, and 3700 systems. 1700 was absolutely miserable unless you managed good ram compatibility with the right board. 2700 was finicky, but did better. 3700 seems to be much less of a problem, and it took ram that the 1700 simply refused to play well with at above the minimum frequencies. This board was my first experience that didn't require pulling teeth to define memory timings. Skipping out on the 1xxx series wasn't a bad idea. The 2xxx series was better, but really needed some tweaks. The 3xxx series has comparably been very pleasant to work with, but your mileage may vary. I'd suggest only trying this upgrade if you've got a 5+ year old system, because Intel's Sandy and Ivy bridge aren't miserable option and they're 9 years old. If they're still viable, then it's really not reasonable to upgrade every few years.

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Speedy storage, reasonably priced for what it is.11/8/2020 9:24:05 PM

Pros: Good pricing, assuming you can get one of the frequent deals. Good performance in real world applications.

Cons: Synthetic benchmarks are a bit lower than what was promised, and really middle of the pack when comparing to other units. This being said, synthetic benchmarks are not reality. In practice this is plenty fast enough for anyone using a computer that is migrating from the SATA III interface.

Overall Review: Good value (discounted). Good performance in real world scenarios. Decent actual capacity, to the point where it's likely that this will offer a decade of real world usage. Considering it's replacing a 500 GB 5400 RPM platter HDD it was basically a revelation for the people using it. If someone is used to booting a computer, and going to make a snack while awaiting the login screen, they'll be pleasantly surprised. If you're looking for the best performance, maybe skip out on this series. It's not ever going to be great, but it's more than good enough.

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Entry level at its finest.11/8/2020 9:17:55 PM

Pros: So, I don't like the whole CPU-GPU hybrids that Intel pioneered. I'm stating this, because I generally oppose the destruction of the low end discrete GPU. That is to say, this processor is great for basic users. It'll run video, some light gaming, and make short work of anything in the 1920x1080 display resolution range. It runs cool enough with the stock cooler to be pleasant to have running a burn-in next to your bed, which was a pleasant surprise to find out after accidentally passing out and waking to the pleasant ding of the test completing. Finally, it's actually affordable despite the rather interesting recent hardware price up-ticks. It's not going to replace a real GPU or a much larger CPU, but this is basically fulfilling the dream of a thin client that isn't utter garbage, while being fat enough to perform any real user tasks. You can't complain about that.

Cons: The GPU side of this is weak. Don't expect anything more than video playback and browser games, but it's great for that usage case.

Overall Review: Are you on a restrictive budget, and are you willing to accept something that's impressive only in the fact that it does everything well enough? If so, it's a buy. If you've got the budget, you may want to look a step higher on the CPU/GPU hybrid processor hierarchy. That isn't an issue with this unit, only an acknowledgement that this is definitely a budget conscious decision above raw performance.

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Good entry level board, with minimal work.11/8/2020 9:07:03 PM

Pros: The setup was 16 GB of Flare memory (2x8GB), a Ryzen 3 3200 CPU, and onboard video. I used the stock cooler this thing came with, as it was meant to be a budget build. Once everything was installed I did a full burn in, and the fan barely ever started. It was surprisingly quiet, and ran remarkably well for the relatively good price and feature set.

Cons: The mAtx form factor has an associated additional costing....which isn't exactly great. That was literally my only sticking point, as everything else worked fine. Why not 5 eggs then? Well, I reserve that for things with great value and great features. This board delivered simplicity, but isn't exactly going to offer you a lot of room for the future.

Overall Review: So, the question here is whether you want a simple experience without a lot of bells and whistles. I'd suggest that if this is for someone browsing the internet, streaming, or otherwise not a power user it's great. I would not recommend this for someone who wants fine control and overclocking, nor someone who is looking for an upgrade path. If you're the right user, then buy away. Don't expect anything magic, and this is an excellent little setup.

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Did I even get what I ordered?10/8/2019 10:07:42 PM

Pros: The feature set is nice. The aesthetics are good. The extra large box for the packaging is pretty reasonable...especially given the pricing structure. If everything worked reasonably I'd be calling this a 4 or 5 egg product for features and design, with minor points taken for the premium pricing which the extra power phases doesn't justify given the minimal headroom XFR offers. Personally, the pricing is justified because if this is anything like the 3930k it is replacing it'll be an 8 year replacement and that long of a haul justifies a bit more spending upfront for a good product.

Cons: This is where I've got a real head scratching situation. Did I actually get the right board? The order is for the Ultimate. There are two LAN ports. The issue is that when I try to update the BIOS, everything is wrong. Version is 3.43 by default. Only the regular board has 3.43. Then I try to download the latest 3.40 BIOS for the ultimate, and it doesn't recognize. Download 3.60 for the regular, and we're off to the races. So, is ASRock pulling a fast one here? Is the support and website wrong? I can only be frustrated here. Based on where I sit, either the BIOSes should be virtually interchangeable but not actually so, or that the "Ryzen 3xxx series ready" stickers are present because parts were recalled and flashed, but QC failed to package a board properly flashed to the newest ulltimate BIOS in my box given that a forced flash to the standard version was probably good enough to pass basic testing..

Overall Review: After the cons, I have to add a few more frustrations. I've finally got the BIOS updated, and it seems like every time the CMOS needs wiping is an exercise in frustration. Unplug, press and hold the clear, and restart. The board powers on, does the breathing light show, then eventually decides to start booting. Three cycles later the thing finally lets you boot into the UEFI. You reset everything to default for good measure, and restart. Now the thing is stable, and you can start messing with it. By that I mean setting memory frequency and timings, fan profiles, and turning off the intrusive lighting. Once stable the thing seems to work, though I've yet to push all the SATA ports. Hopefully that's stable enough, given the extra controller chip. Lord knows whether the 10 Gb ethernet will work, as getting it tested isn't possible over my home network. I want to like the board. On the other hand, I've never had such finicky BIOS updating and a board that sold itself as Ultimate, used the standard BIOS, but had the features of the Ultimate version physically present. Listen ASRock representatives, don't slap down a generic response. I know that you will be tempted to respond to a negative review with that. I want to know that the pricing difference is supported in what I got, and why in Hades the BIOS is as it is when your product support pages indicate something completely different. Instead of a please contact us response for a premium product, I want you to square up that answer and demonstrate why people should buy your products. I'm more than a little scared at what the new update is going to bring to the table, if getting Destiny running smoothly was the primary focus, and the next update is rumored to have 100 new features and bug fixes.

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Manufacturer Response:
Dear Robert, We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. For the " Three cycles later the thing finally lets you boot into the UEFI", that usually caused by the memory setting cannot be taken. Please load the BIOS setting default to check. For the flash BIOS related issue, we will be more than happy to assist you for the BIOS flash. If you have any technical support inquiry, please contact us at We will assist you shortly. Thank you ASRock Support Tech Support Email:
Good case. No better, no worse.10/8/2019 1:05:26 PM

Pros: If you appreciate the LEDs this thing is nice. The material choice is good. Specifically the paint seems to be powder coat rather than spray, so it's decently durable. The thing is understated in the best of ways, once the gaudiness of the LEDs is dealt with.

Cons: Hardware. There's 3 2.5" drive mount points, and enough screws for 2.25. The LEDs are excessively gaudy. It's a mater of personal opinion, but I'd prefer to not have something that lights up the room while I'm playing games. There are some insanely stupid design decisions. The tempered glass is held on by barely threaded screws, and rubber mounts. The storage area for the PSU is just shortened enough by the 3.5" drive cage that fitting in a power supply is a nightmare. The inclusion of tempered glass on both sides is baffling. The point is to see in one side that is clean, and wire the other. This case doesn't get that. The 5.25" bays at the top are a toss-up. They're technically there, but they're just the front screws for one side of the case. They're otherwise setup with a simple metal outcropping, so that if you want to forego the lights you can install another 12cm fan and rattle the plastic slot covers designed to let the 5.25" bays open and allow a disk tray to work.

Overall Review: Would I buy this again...? With a lot of caveats. Would I recommend this to the average builder...only if they're willing to put in a lot of work and want a very specific aesthetic. If you wanted to run this case as a minimalist ATX build, a shorter PSU, and were willing to do some surgery it'd be a great build to provide a light show. It's a middle range, and more affordable case. They made a heck of a lot of compromises to get to that figure both aesthetically and price wise, and that leads to a lot of caveats for usage. If you know what you're getting into this is a 4.5 to 5 star case because the decisions made aren't bad (should a lot more of them be made clear). If you're expecting something 50% more expensive, and thus having a lot less compromises, you'll be disappointed. If I could offer my opinion on how to get this case another one or two points: 1) Slide the 3.5" drive cages forward 1". You have the room, and it'd make PSU wire routing much easier. 2) Include enough screws. I have built a few PCs, so it wasn't world ending. At the same time, it's frustrating to have a n opportunity but not have what you need. 3) Commit to 5.25" or don't. The half way here is just a frustration because actually using it technically modifies the case. No replacements or refurbishments here. 4) Fan controller. This baffles me. 3 slots in front, 2 up top, and 1 in back. No controller or hub means you either run fans at constant speeds, buy a controller, or have to select a board with tons of fan connection points. A single cheap 4 pin molex and repeated for a 3 pin fan connection to the motherboard would be a couple of bucks, that I'd be glad to pay for. This isn't a bad case, but it definitely compromises a lot. If you understand that, it's a great value. If you think this is going to be everything don't have realistic expectations.

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1080p card that is actually a budget wonder, far more than its competitive offering5/8/2019 8:20:34 AM

Pros: The pricing to it's direct competition (1060 ti 6 GB) is pretty silly. For nearly $40 less (dependent largely upon when bought) you get a fantastic card for 1080p gaming. It trades blows, and only loses on power efficiency and heat. Based upon my quick calculations, it'll be 5-6 years of play before the additional power cost becomes a problem and the extra heat is functionally dealt with by the dual fan design. Overall I'm happy with performance to price, performance to efficiency is lower but not appreciable, and performance while gaming is plenty (high to ultra on everything short of GTA V with a Ryzen CPU). Don't expect extremely high refresh rates or the ability to push pixels (1440p gaming shows a sharp drop-off in performance), but that's largely a function of the reasonable price tag. After dealing with a 480, and feeling less than happy that it was refreshed less than a year later, the performance is much better now than at launch. That doesn't sound like a glowing review, but it's finally a stable and reliable version of Polaris that I can recommend over the pitiful offerings of the green team. You won't be disappointed with the performance if expectations are set reasonably, and that's praise given what options are on the market now. I recommend this card fully, assuming you're focused on the 1080p experience. After matching up to the competitor's offering, I recommend this instead of it (purely on pricing, given similar performance).

Cons: The Polaris architecture came out too early, and the 4xx series was functionally just improved to make the 5xx series. I'm the owner of a 480 series card, and now the 580. I'm framing this because the 580 is disappointing in that the refresh brings almost nothing to the table above the 580. It isn't a game changer, and thus there's only one egg taken off. This isn't the fault of this specific card, so take the criticism with the appropriate grain of salt. Don't expect to upgrade from the 4xx series and see any change.

Overall Review: Installation was a rather frightening affair. After installing windows, dealing with the generic display driver, and downloading the driver for AMD I was set to see the card perform. I booted it up, began installation, and the screen started its usual shenanigans while the driver installed. Then the screen rebooted, displayed, and corrupted. My heart sank, and I had to restart windows. I'd never seen the display driver corrupt a windows installation, but I had to restart from the account creation stage. Despite this, I logged back in and found that the failure could be fixed. I spent another half hour installing windows updates, and three restarts later tried again. This time the drivers installed, no corruption, and everything was running. I've never had this issue, and was frightened that I'd gotten my first DOA video card. Please be wary of this when tackling installation, lest you fall into the same panic that hit me.

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Avoid. This isn't a good product, and will poison your experience with Ryzen.2/15/2018 8:12:21 AM

Pros: I'm not sure if anything is worth it here. The features, when working, aren't bad. I've never seen a windows update completely bork a system, but now I have. Everything running fine, then nothing would even boot. I guess the positive comes from the few months of operation.

Cons: Everything else. I had to fight the system to underclock a 1700. I wanted a system to run constantly as an encoder and NAS. Even with the recommended RAM, and a large hole in the pocket, the system refused to just run. After finally getting everything operating, as default settings were somehow unstable, I assumed that with little input everything would be OK. Nope. Windows update, and I'm dead. Drive doesn't respond, so I try to reinstall windows. Even after getting the BIOS fully updated, Windows refuses a re-install. Some cajoling and it's installed. Now the fun, all those updates. I get to a point, then have to update to the latest revision. Install another package, boot it up, and get to 72% before the system freezes. 20 reboots later, and I'm still stuck. I'm going to try re-installing again, but hold out little hope.

Overall Review: I'm going to try and get MSI to send me something stable. Cripes, I should have returned this hunk of slag after the default system settings were somehow unable to remain stable. That's my error, and knowing this hopefully other people don't duplicate it. Ryzen isn't to blame here, as I've seen my processor on a different board install without issues and be ready to play with in minutes (less than 3 hours with a Windows install). The issue here is a board that is either poorly designed or implemented. I can't say which problem is the largest contributor here, but I'm not happy. Given my mixed experience with MSI in the past (GPU related), I wouldn't recommend purchasing their products. If the thing works you're generally good, but if there's a problem you might as well return the product to your point of purchase immediately. MSI isn't going to fix their stuff, though I still hold out hope here that I am wrong. Maybe they'll do something other than an automatic reply and a link to a tech support line that think the first question should be "did you reboot it?", when you're looking at a non-finished product.

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Manufacturer Response:
Dear Valued Customer, Thank you for sharing your experience with the MSI product. We certainly value your feedback and please accept our sincerest apologies for any inconvenient experience. If you have any further questions regarding this product or have any suggestions for improvement for us, please do not hesitate to contact us directly at and we will be more than happy to assist you. If you require further technical assistance, please feel free to contact our technical support department directly at 626.271.1004 from M to F, 9am to 6pm Pacific Standard Time. Thanks for choosing MSI! Best Regards, MSI Review Team | JC02152018005 |
Good RAM, compatibility and rated speed not met.9/17/2017 8:39:02 PM

Pros: The RAM works. No issues detected, and plenty of abuse with extensive RAM test runs.

Cons: Will not work at rated speeds. I'm chalking this up to the platform and CPU (AMD 1700 with X370 chipset). AMD still has some issues to work out.

Overall Review: The cost right now is just too high (why it gets a 4/5). It does appear to be Samsung B die memory. Here's to hoping that Ryzen 2 makes better use of these sticks.

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Manufacturer Response:
. Hi Robert Thank you for your G.Skill purchase and review. Good to hear the memory is working well in your system. To reach the rated specifications of this memory kit, you may need to boost SoC Voltage or adjust other BIOS settings to stabilize the system. DDR4-3200 C14 is a high performance memory kit that may not be supported by all motherboards and CPUs. Also, check to see if you have the latest BIOS for the motherboard. Updates are frequently released to improve compatibility. For help with set up or if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us directly. Thank you GSKILL SUPPORT Quality and customer service are our top priorities. To check or report a technical problem, please visit the Official G.Skill Technical Forum: Tech Support Email: RMA Dept Email:
Finally, a cube case that packs enough features.9/9/2017 11:43:41 PM

Pros: Sufficient cut-outs to route wires/tubes. Enough room to install radiators and fans. Enough slop in a hidden area to route cables. Intelligent design, enough of which to actually allow installing a decent water cooling loop. I'm sold. This case is fantastic. On the aesthetic side, the case is top notch. Underlying structure is relatively thick metal plate, with a plastic superstructure to cover everything. It makes for some forgiveness, and the ability to do some decent modifications. Whomever thought of this must have done some work with other cube cases, because that little bit of wiggle room really allows for some interesting build options that I've never had the pleasure of seeing.

Cons: Three things are frustrating with this case. 1) The ODD placement is not high enough. If it were slightly higher, you could have more space for a pump or reservoir near the case bottom. It's cramped as is, and I understand the trade-off is to allow access to both sides of the 5.25" drive bay. I'd have preferred an option that could have relied on only one side being secured, allowing for more room. 2) The large silver plastic cover on the top is a royal pain to get off. It's held in by slide clips and screws, but also catches on the geometry of the cover for the front (which houses the 5.25" bay cut-outs). This is a minor annoyance, but became frustrating when filling a water system. Points returned, because a filling port could be slid under the cover and into the metal frame, allowing a nice hidden filling port. 3) The bottom HDD trays. This one is frustrating, because if you use a thick front mounted radiator you might have to give-up one of these. I used a large 360mm radiator in the front of the case, and one of the drive bays wouldn't accept a full 3.5" drive installed into it anymore. I suppose you could buy a thin 360mm radiator, but you'd have to compensate with more fans. It's not a deal breaker, but it is frustrating when so much else is spot on.

Overall Review: Buy it. No really, this is a fantastic case. It's very forgiving on construction, feels substantial when building, and offers enough of everything to be more than worth the price. If I were to do this over, I'd opt for a single 280mm radiator in the top of the case, two 140 fans at the front, and an exhaust 140mm fan in the back. If you need more cooling than that, I'd suggest you go full tower. This was a surprisingly pleasant build, after a nightmare with a different cube case. No busted knuckles, sliced finger tips, or bent sheet metal. Just a nice clean build, that provides a surprisingly good air flow. Seriously, if the aesthetics are at all interesting, buy the case. Your only disappointment would be if you've got more than 4 2.5", 2 3.5", or 2 5.25" drives. If you're among that number, I'd suggest you already know that you need to go full tower.

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This is a decent successor to the 2011 socket processors, that seems to not have materialized.9/9/2017 11:19:57 PM

Pros: The core count is great, if you throw proper work loads at it. AMD has done a decent job with updates. The processor isn't an energy hog, despite the core count. IPC is actually within a reasonable distance of Intel (good riddance to Bulldozer). Most importantly, there's enough PCI-e lanes and interconnect to build a modern platform with.

Cons: Ryzen is unlocked, but not really open. I was not a winner of the silicon lottery, given that I could only reach 3.7 GHz (under 1.35 volts) and memory in the 2933 15-15-15-36 timings (despite ratings of 14-14-14-34). I'm told this is not uncommon, but I didn't think the binning between X and regular would be so...unforgiving. This said, my biggest issue is the half-finished state of the Ryzen release, even months after it showed up. Memory compatibility is still roulette. Code updates are still coming with enough frequency to warrant some trepidation by new users. Most importantly, it seems as though Ryzen 2 and Threadripper are where AMD are hanging their hats. The former to address lingering issues, and the latter as a first real crack at the server market for the first time in a decade. All of this is generally tolerable given the huge leap forward, and forcing some competition from the Blue team. I voted with my wallet, and I'm actually less disappointed than I was with SB on socket LGA 2011.

Overall Review: If you encode, and do a bunch of things at once, get this CPU. If you're gaming on a 1920x1080 monitor skip it. The 1600 is so much better on the cost to performance ratio it isn't funny. I would buy this again. I'm actually looking forward to upgrading my CPU in another 3 years (18 months to release Ryzen 2, 18 months until the release after, and catching the "old" processors at a discounted rate). That's something that I have never said about the competition. From the 2xxx to the 7xxx lines, there's been no reason to upgrade. Run the platform until it dies, or the feature set is too old. As PCI-e 3.0 is still better than GPUs can output, and storage prices are still astronomical, a new "consumer grade" platform upgrade is largely a waste of money. Ryzen is the most interesting platform in years. It isn't the fastest. It isn't the best for 90% of consumers (read: IPC is not directly competitive). What it is, is more cores at a reasonable price, on a reasonable platform. For a price comparable to the competition you get a bit more PCI-e lanes, up to 50% more cores, and a platform that will be supported in the future. AMD has a track record of long term support for an underlying platform, which is unmatched. You need only look at the AM3 and AM3+ sockets to see that in action.

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It's an interesting concept, marred by poor planning8/6/2017 4:59:56 PM

Pros: If you're air cooling a gaming computer, then this is the case for you. Assuming you forego an optical disk, you've got enough space for plenty of HDDs, while maintaining some pretty good airflow. The case itself seems to be well built. It's not flimsy, actually takes some effort to drill into, and the finish is quite forgiving.

Cons: Water cooling is something I'd avoid in this case. There is no place to mount a proper 240mm radiator. If you do it in the top there's no place to fit an ODD. If you do it in the front you severely limit the size of GPU that can be mounted. If you slide it out of the case then you'd have been better off to buy a bigger case. I compromised with a shortened GPU (a 1060) and functionally not being able to access some of my expansion slots (after a GPU and NIC there's not much left that is worth the money). This would be a 4/5 case if it was about 2" longer (in the GPU length mounting direction), or if the pop-off front panel would have been thick enough to mount a proper 120 mm fan inside it. As it stands, this case makes promises that it can't keep, despite being quite good.

Overall Review: DItch the fans that come with this case immediately. Mine couldn't move enough air to justify their existence, and made enough noise doing it to wake the dead. A quick check of the bearings indicated that the issue was a lack of lubrication and being slightly off-axis. Something you should really expect with fans that come with a case. If you want to use a single AIO water solution, in a push or pull configuration, then this might be an adequate water cooling option. As it stands, don't expect anything great. There just isn't enough room, and the reason is a lack of planning. The designer put the lighting ahead of the functionality (pop off the front panel to see the absolute mess of a design cut into the sheet metal), and this case suffers. It isn't bad, it just didn't make the right compromises.

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Good card, but shy of 1920x1080 performance12/5/2016 4:50:42 AM

Pros: Good performance for the price. Reasonably worth buying, in that it performs better than an iGPU. Low enough power draw for an htpc.

Cons: Pricing. This all comes down to not having great competition. At this pricing tier I expected more, but the compromise was a lower power draw. Hopefully AMD will release some competitive cards soon. The current 4xx series is value oriented, but not good enough to go toe-to-toe with Nvidia on power consumption.

Overall Review: This is a good enough card. It plays media, and will do lighter gaming. It's only fault is high pricing, which makes it difficult to recommend when only a few more dollars delivers much better performance (and performance per cost).

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Reasonable value and performance12/5/2016 4:40:12 AM

Pros: Functioning as a boot drive for a raspberry pi. Plenty of speed and capacity for that application.

Cons: None really. The only reason that it isn't a 5 egg device is the flash memory market being pretty goofy on pricing.

Overall Review: It's worth a buy easily. I only wish it didn't feel like roulette every time you purchased a product. Sometimes it is reasonably priced, and sometimes you feel like you're being robbed.

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Manufacturer Response:
. Hi Robert Thank you for your G.Skill purchase and review. Glad to hear the microSD card is working well with your Raspberry Pi. With 64GB of UHS-1 Class 10 speed, this is an ideal storage card for small devices. With regards to pricing, unfortunately that is not something we can control, but rest assured with G.Skill you always get the best value. For any questions or concerns in the future, please feel free to contact us directly. Thank you GSKILL SUPPORT Quality and customer service are our top priorities. Tech Support Email: RMA Dept Email: G.Skill Forum:
Surprisingly capable NAS, with more features than I thought I'd be getting11/15/2016 10:07:24 PM

Pros: Once configured this thing absolutely flies. I've got three users hitting it up for video at once, and it manages to keep two 720p and one 1080p feeds running surprisingly well. All of the devices are wired, but well worth it to be able to run without any issues. The feature list is surprisingly long. I'm learning to love hardware disk encryption, because it beats software every day of the week. Between the hardware, and surprisingly competent software (only with expanded RAM), the device is a winner in my book. The value. This thing is not cheap by any metric. The construction is good, the soldering is competent, the device itself is sturdy, and the drive bays secure everything well Despite very good construction, the device itself is reasonably cheap. Don't expect to get something for free, but I'm genuinely happy with the quality of construction on a very reasonably priced piece of hardware. Finally, the device seems to be reasonably well supported. I've already seen multiple software updates, and each version seems to be more improvement than simply a change. This gives me hope about the future of this device.

Cons: There are two cons that prevent this product from being absolutely fantastic. 1) The boot on this thing is painfully long. I can boot the device, walk across the house, turn on my PC, have it boot, and start surfing the internet before I finally hear the thing double beep as being ready. I'd say this is slow HDDs, but it is just as bad with just an SSD enabled (I played with configuration for a while to start with). If you plan on turning the device on and off this isn't the product for you. 2) Poor interface. Let me get this out of the way immediately, 2 GB of RAM is not going to give you a decent setup. Buying the "certified" RAM from the manufacturer is a joke. After I upgraded to 16 GB everything got much snappier, but the simple truth is that the interface is designed half way between power user and regular user. Concessions on both sides make it difficult to get access to everything you want, because sometimes a basic feature is buried in a sub-menu that exists only to make the presented information "easier" to process. The above being said, there are a lot of options that will make your experience terrible if you don't upgrade and have a basic understanding of your end goal. I setup the device as a feature rich NAS, focusing on fewer large read/write operations and limited access rights. If you don't pay attention to the settings, it's easy to configure the device for a completely different usage scenario and get surprisingly poor performance. All of the above could be mitigated by having an instruction manual and bringing the base model up to 8 GB of RAM from the start. The fact that neither is chosen points to this being a value oriented step between a full-blown NAS and a USB connected backup drive. It's difficult to justify the price when that's all you're expecting, but the feature list you can tap makes this device better than it implies.

Overall Review: Would I buy it again; yes! What do I want to see in the future; the base model has to have more. Corsair has a product, Model CMSX16GX3M2B1600C9, that I'd suggest purchasing in tandem with this device. This purchase dramatically improves the quality of the device, based upon my experience (there is no "officially" supported RAM that is cost effective. but my experience is that for 25% the cost of their RAM the quoted kit will do the job admirably. Why should I look elsewhere? The only answer I can give you is that the ARM chip used here is a tad underpowered in my book. Running an AMD or Intel based CPU would be ideal, and allow for video out. Choosing this product was a risk, given that ARM and NAS aren't exactly a common sight. Despite the risk, I feel this device is what I was searching for. It most definitely isn't going to win any awards for interface or speed, but it's got more than enough to coer what I need.

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A good card, but little more than good10/3/2016 7:40:25 PM

Pros: As reference, I upgraded from a 7970 to the 480. Taking that into consideration: Good performance per dollar spent. Better than I've had in quite a while, despite being a "mainstream" offering. Excellent thermals and power consumption. This card is quieter than my liquid cooler, and stays below 68 C even when gaming. Good build quality. A reinforced backplate is something I thought I wouldn't see on a budget offering. Color me happily surprised.

Cons: Very little overclocking, and performance between preset BIOSes was hard to discern. Issues with DP detection. Every time I boot I've got to unplug and replug one of my monitors to get it to detect properly (Windows 10, 64 bit, 2 DP connections, 2 1920x1080 monitors). Branding is bizarro. The "devil" symbol is a Star of David. If I were religious I'd be quite angry about that. Packaging is surprisingly scant. I'm not expecting a lot of extras (dongles, adapters, etc...), but when the only thing securing your card from jostling is folded cardboard it's a bit concerning that you get a free upgrade to a game and mousepad. I don't even want an "upgrade" to Battlefield (note, it isn't the game), and I'd happily sacrifice that for better packaging.

Overall Review: Maybe skip out on this card in particular. The 480 is a respectable upgrade in itself, but this card is not what I'd call an ideal offering. The pricing premium is not justified by the extra features. The DP detection is frustrating as heck, given that my 7970 never had issues. Most importantly, the drivers from PowerColor are pretty hit and miss. I clean installed the drivers, and discovered that my cursor bugged out whenever I went onto the second monitor. After removing the PowerColor drivers, I installed the official AMD ones. After about 30 minutes of uninstalling, rebooting, and reinstalling everything finally worked. That frustration alone is reason enough to skip out on this particular card.

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Decent budget performance card10/3/2016 7:18:53 PM

Pros: Good 1920x1080 performance for gaming (assuming you turn down the effects). Excellent temperature and noise when playing video.

Cons: The card itself was slightly overpriced at the time I purchased it. Gaming performance on a "gaming" card is pretty much a requisite, and the 950 just doesn't have the uumph. I don't consider this a problem with MSI, so much as Nvidea positioning the 950 poorly. It was a budget card, that has aspirations to be more than it is.

Overall Review: If the price dropped to just a shade below the 100 USD range this card would be good. The performance as it is doesn't exactly warrant its positioning. If you need a budget card the 950 isn't terrible, but spending just a bit more yields substantially better performance than this card is capable of delivering.

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It's thoroughly a NAS drive, but offers reasonable performance for the price.4/28/2016 9:09:59 AM

Pros: The cost per GB was the lowest I could find at the time of purchase, with the caveat of requiring a 7200 RPM spindle speed.<br><br>The disks initiated, and there wasn't anything odd in the SMART. After a full format, and a complete write via creation of a True Crypt container, there was no appreciable changes to the SMART values (beyond run hours). I can't really expect anything more than that.

Cons: Edit 2: Wow. Thoroughly unimpressed with customer service here. The week to get the drive to them was my fault, and that's a function of having to send it cross country. I can accept that, and was expecting about the same on the return time. What I got was significantly worse. The drive arrived end of day on a Wednesday, it was processed on Thursday morning, and I was told that the RMA was authorized. I received UPS tracking on a Friday morning. They advised it may be 48 hours before tracking was available, so I checked Friday, Monday, and Tuesday. No dice. At end of day Wednesday I contacted them via their customer service e-mail, because I've yet to speak to anyone there (it's all automated systems). What I received back (and surprisingly quickly, less than 16 hours later) was that my replacement was being shipped from over seas. It's be 5-7 business days to get to the US, and then UPS tracking should be available. Let me get this straight. I shipped the drive cross country for testing, when Intel RST and an independent program confirmed the reallocated sector count was nuts. From there I got an automated e-mail, which put simply was a lie. I'll give them the benefit of doubt, and call it an accident. From there I had to contact them to find out that my drive could take 2 weeks (5-7 business days to the US, then 5 business days cross country) to arrive. That's depressing, but I could take it if we were up front about it from the word go. Making me discover this after being patient is just unacceptable. Allow me to make this clear, I would not recommend this product because the customer support is worthless. If you've got a month to wait for a replacement drive maybe it's worth your time, but at this point I could have bought a replacement drive, had the RAID reconstructed, and be happily using my system again for a week. Instead it's cost me another twenty dollars and a month of my time because this drive failed outside of the Newegg replacement window. Shame on Hitachi. You've officially lost me as a customer. Your service is admirable in responding to issues and processing, but that effort is entirely let down by having zero personal interaction and no transparency in your replacement process. It's sad to think that people are doing so much to make this painless, and their effort is all for naught. Edit:<br>Less than 90 days of usage, and a drive failed already. SMART indicated a problem with the reallocated sectors, and it went from 100 to 2000 inside of 5 days.<br><br>Hitachi hasn't got a friendly website or tools. The diagnostic tools are useless to a RAID array (though both Speedfan and Intel RST had no issues). The RMA process is difficult, especially when the serial number is 14 digits in length, but you're only supposed to put in 8. The quoted turn around time is a joke, with 14 days being laughable. If they take what they quote, and do the regular cheap shipping you're out a drive for at least 21 days, not to mention you have to pay for shipping.<br><br>If I spend a month without my array because of a defective drive I'm going to recommend you avoid the product. Put simply, poor customer support makes a good product bad, because even the best products occasionally fail. If the turn-around is swift I'll be restoring the egg. The ball is in Hitachi's court, and they've got the opportunity to either make me a repeat customer, or find another vendor.<br><br>I'm hoping for the former, but a month without my data is too long to be acceptable. I guess this is why you always have a backup. At least I didn't break that cardinal rule.<br><br>Original Review:<br> My only real con is that write speed dips by 30% as you write to the discs. I started my volume creation at about 30 mB/s constant write (measured ~ 2 hours into the write process), and over the three days of formatting dropped to just above 20 mB/s. While that kind of speed is depressing, it isn't unexpected.

Overall Review: These drives are pretty amazing for the price. Don't expect lightning speeds as the discs fill, but even without amazing speeds these things are plenty competent at their jobs. Mechanical drive are really the only way to go when it comes to mass storage.<br><br>On a side note, I'd recommend allowing a bit of extra breathing room for these drives. They run a bit hotter (1-4 C) than what other drives I've had do, but a bit of extra cooling and some breathing room seems to be more than enough to keep them appropriately cool.

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Competent board. decent features, compact size.3/10/2016 6:40:52 AM

Pros: It's a competently executed board. The features are decent, and accessing them via the new UEFI BIOS is surprisingly intuitive. Overall I'm very happy with the board.

Cons: While the UEFI BIOS is decent, it allows you to switch between traditional, simplified, and complex views. The switching is less than intuitive, and having to go in and find specific values is frustrating when they're in different places depending upon how you've chosen to view the BIOS. This would be a reasonable thing, if there was a unified UI to any of these different views. Unfortunately, you change views and everything shifts around the screen. Put simply, this board is excellent from the perspective of features and hardware. What fails it is the UI, that seems to have been designed by three different groups who never worked on the same continent and thus never sat down and figured out how their interfaces would fit together. It's frustrating when something so feature packed and small hits home runs on every front, then falls flat when it comes to software UI.

Overall Review: Would I buy it again? No, but with caveat. I'd purchase the Z97N-Wifi (and have) rather than this one. The extra few dollars will get you the ability to overclock and have better control of your motherboard. This is an excellent product, but the H97 PCH is only reasonable if you want to run a non-k processor. Would I recommend it? Yes, with the caveat of not investing in a k processor. This thing doesn't even allow you to lower voltages (the idea being to underclock the processor slightly, to allow 24-7 usage with miserly power usage). This is a great board for one of three things. You either can use it as a streaming box, and the footprint is small enough to put it inside an SFF case. You could use this as a dedicated gaming system, that full size PCI-e 3.0 slot makes pairing a monster GPU to a decently capable CPU a tantalizing proposition for a LAN box. What I chose to do is make this thing a file server. Pairing the board with a G3258 and a decent NIC lets you have 2 Intel based ethernet ports (the third is Atheros, which I disable as a matter of course). Between that, and 5 slots for a massive RAID 5 array, my home file server and media server needs are easily met. Side note, the Wifi on this thing seems to be hit and miss. The included antennae is..not exactly substantial. If you're planning on running this thing on wifi invest in a more powerful antennae, and make sure that the drivers are up to date from the website. The drivers I got on the disc were a bit wonky, but did get better with an update. Once I had the ability to connect via ethernet I disabled the wifi. It's a nice feature to have built-in, but I wouldn't count on it as a permanent solution.

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It works. It's definitely not going to be something I want to buy, but it's decent for trouble shooting.3/10/2016 5:20:58 AM

Pros: Relatively low price. Good compatibility thus far.

Cons: This is not something I'd buy. The frequency is reasonable, but the timings are absolute garbage. Combine that with the complete lack of a heat spreader, and you've got a product that I'd never put into continuous usage.

Overall Review: I would not choose to purchase this product (read: it cam bundled "free" with a motherboard I purchased). The pricing difference between this product, and a 9-9-9-24 timed unit, is negligible. The cost savings from not having a heat spreader is at best minimal. I've only used this stick as a tester. It just compromises too much for the sake of budget pricing. If you've got no budget, then this is a pretty reasonable response. Personally, a good set of sticks that provides 16 GB of RAM is what I start with as a minimum for systems. Given the massive slow-down in substantial hardware refreshes, it's likely a system you buy today could be viable for the next 5 years. If you look at the cost savings for this RAM stick, over a 5 year period, it boils down to almost nothing. If you wind up upgrading your system with more RAM, to compensate for programs which have ever expanding memory requirements, that little bit of savings on up-front cost actually becomes a financial loss. Put simply, don't buy these sticks if you've got any options. If you don't have options, they aren't completely useless, but they compromise a lot to get to their price point.

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Exactly as described. A NIC you can actually trust.3/10/2016 5:05:33 AM

Pros: Performance is reasonable. Installation is easy. Relatively few driver updates, and the drivers themselves are pretty much rock solid.

Cons: Pricing, as per the usual from Intel, is higher than you'd like. There's really nothing to complain about beyond that.

Overall Review: You get what you pay for here. Spend a bit more, and you don't have to wonder when the Realtek drivers will bork your system. Speeds were as expected, but that's likely because this is using the PCI-e interface (lord knows why PCI gigabit cards exist). All in all an expensive, but thoroughly worthwhile, investment. If you need to add another ethernet connection to a small home server, this is your best bet for just working. I'd recommend it highly for being the best solution for people who want something to just work.

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Odd, but fun little case (edited 2/29/15).2/29/2016 10:26:09 AM

Pros: It's primarily an aesthetics case. The construction quality is good, the ability to switch things around for display purposes is nice, and the ability to customize the case is great.

Cons: My primary issue with this case, after a second build, is the cut-out in the front center of the case. If you're using this case as a Micro ATX gaming case, then it's excusable to have it for power cable routing. If you're trying to modify the case, and install extra 3.5" bays (or a custom water cooling loop), then the cut-out is too big. At the same time, a sheet of plexiglass or aluminum will provide plenty of area to mount extra drives. Throwing an extra $10-20 into construction, along with your time, isn't ideal. The one niggling annoyance that's hard to put into words is the feature set. It's got enough 3.5" and 2.5" options for a gaming rig. It's got great access. It's got adjustable everything. Then you open the case, and see that the front panel is cut so as to have a 5.25" bay. The lack of initial support for a 5.25" bay is understandable, given optical media isn't doing well. At the same time, having everything there for it, but then deciding not to include it so the front panel I/O can be rotated, is baffling. I understand the sentiment from a customization standpoint, but seeing it there is just annoying. Installing an OS via an ODD with the SATA and power connections snaked out is sloppy. It's not nearly enough to warrant anger, but it feels like an opportunity lost.

Overall Review: Would I buy it again? Yes. Does the case have problems? Yes. For the price point, are those problems substantial? Absolutely not. This is an excellent case if you're willing to either work with it, or willing to make it specifically for your purpose. It isn't a jack of all trades, but it doesn't take a lot to make it a master of one. I know of no other case that can have 3 140 mm fans, 2 120 mm fans (more if you mount to the side panels), and 1 200 mm fan all at once. This case moves more air than you'd think, much quieter than you'd expect. On top of that, it's got easier access than most E-ATX cases. I couldn't reasonably ask for more.

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If only Intel did all of their processors like this.2/29/2016 9:22:10 AM

Pros: Low power consumption. High OC headroom. This was and is a joy to play with, and given the low price point it's an excellent way to let somebody learn about modifying values in BIOS without having to worry about burning up a $200+ processor.

Cons: Only two cores. Surprisingly high price for the offering, given that a similar (but locked) dual core can be had for about half of the price. This is obviously designed to be a bit of fun for enthusiasts, but it's depressing that Intel is unlikely to make this a regular event.

Overall Review: Do you want to run a home file server, home media server, or a "my first build" PC? If you've said yes, all you need to do is pop one of these into a Z series motherboard. Within half an hour you can have a processor running at better than 4 GHz, that doesn't need anything more than the stock cooler. That mix of low cost and very acceptable performance means this is a gem in the rough. Don't expect this to run a high end gaming system. Don't expect it to run a high end video card. Both of these assumptions are pretty fair, given the price point. For anything requiring lower power, lower heat, but decent compute this is an absolute blessing. I just wish Intel would have included HT, but that'd likely damage sales of so many of the other locked products.

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Verified Owner
Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
Competently executed, and reasonably featured mouse.2/29/2016 8:58:16 AM

Pros: Price point, for the features, is excellent. Design is relatively straight forward, and easy to modify to preferred dimensions. Mouse feel is surprisingly good, despite the relatively reasonable price.

Cons: If you're looking for something flashy, this is a failure. Put simply, it isn't gaudy enough. Likewise, if you want functionality the color scheme and features are...less than ideal. This would have been a 5 egg product, if they just decided whether it should be gaudy or understated. As is, it's a bizarre mix that doesn't satisfy either end of the spectrum. I have to say this, the Cougar orange is...not my choice. They've built it into their fans and other hardware, and it just screams "I'm a pumpkin!" more than "I'm completely bad a**." I love the products, but desperately wish for something more controlled aesthetically.

Overall Review: Buy it. I'm not regretting a single thing about the performance. If you forego the software, the mouse is still capable of everything you need it to be. DPI settings can be adjusted on the fly, there are plenty of buttons for custom controls, and you can customize the physical dimensions to fit everything but the hands of a child or giant. I previously owned a RAT 7, and what always irked me was the absolutely trash software that it required. This mouse offers better software, removes the need for it, and despite abuse has actually held up better than the RAT (side note, you can clean this with isopropyl alcohol whereas the RAT's soft rubber was especially soluable). I was willing to spend a bit more than this, to get much less functionality, but I'm glad I chose this mouse instead.

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you? 
Verified Owner
Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
It's a boxed game, and delivers as promised.2/29/2016 8:05:25 AM

Pros: The product arrived without issue, and quickly. Everything expected was in the box, and it was all in good condition.

Cons: I bought a game disc, so that I didn't have to download 20+ GB of information. I popped in the disc, jumped through the hoops necessary to install off of a disc, and the thing is done about 45 minutes later. I go to boot the game from Steam, and it says I've got to wait through the evening. It's downloading 20+ GB of data (which I'm later informed is the entire game). Beyond that, the game released with little to no tutorials, and no support for the community. Within a week the community managed to put out numerous patches and fixes, which took Bethesda months to implement. This game was hyped as absolutely amazing. What we got was an amazing 30ish hours of content, leading to a depressingly hollow ending. While it is generally technically better than all of the previous Bethesda led Fallout games (3 and New Vegas), it lost its soul on the way to mechanical competence.

Overall Review: Go buy Fallout: New Vegas. Be prepared to download mods, but they're readily available (with installers) on the largest fan site out there (Google "Nexus, mods" and you'll find it). New Vegas isn't as pretty, it isn't as expansive, and it requires mods to give it some of what Fallout 4 does. At the same time, you get a conclusive and satisfying story, with the amazing DLC, for the same price as this shell of a game. In about 6 months I'm expecting that this opinion will be invalidated. The content release schedule for Bethesda seems rather brisk, and the community will write mods for just about anything under the sun. Catch is, by that time you'll likely see a price reduction. I can't reasonable recommend buying this game now, assuming you already haven't. There just isn't enough yet to call this game a must have. It's great, but the flaws make it difficult to love.

5 out of 8 people found this review helpful. Did you?