Joined on 08/19/09
Pros: Sound Quality Versatility Drivers/Software
Cons: Installation of Drivers/Software No headphone Amp
Overall Review: Both the manufacturer and other reviewers suggest uninstalling any other sound drivers before installation of this card...DO IT! The fist thing I did with my new rig was disable onboard audio. This was before the OS or sound card were installed. No drivers were ever installed for the onboard audio. However...my Nvidia card put in some sound drivers. No big deal, I thought, GPU sound drivers are nothing like onboard drivers, I thought...NO! Do no let ANYTHING install ANY sound drivers, whatsoever! I spent the better part of 2 hours dealing with bizarre installation issues. Drivers would install and then end by telling me to plug in my HT Omega device...which was. I would then have to force quit the installer and audio was non functional. Reboot, have perfect audio, sans software. Try to manually install software via online download or disc...impossible. Other times it would tell me to plug in my device and not do anything. Super flaky. I finally just uninstalled my Nvidia sound drivers to see if it would help...BOOM! Perfect installation of drivers and software. The software is so bare bones I probably did not even need it - which is great! You get good hardware, don't muck with it via software, let it do its thing. On that note, sound is incredible. It was noticeably better than my Creative X-fi Titanium some lame gamer sound card (their flagship card before the current Recon) even with low bit rate content. Don't expect this card to drive any high power headphones. I knew it didn't have a dedicated amp but it's advertised in such a way that makes it sound like the jack can drive some decent cans and from what reading I did, it sounded legit. Wrong. This card couldn't hack my 300 Ohm Sennheiser 650s; couldn't drive the bass properly. I wasn't totally convinced that this card would handle the headphones, but it was a let down all the same. Side note: I have my card in a PCI-E x4 slot. Works fine. Bracket came warped a bit so that the card did not make good contact in the slot when tightened down. Just bent it slightly past straight in the other direction to ensure all the pins make good contact in the slot.
Pros: Installation Cooling Potential
Overall Review: Typically installing a new CPU heatsink is reason enough for me to want to throw myself over a cliff. Prolimatech has somehow transformed this nerve rending experience into a dream. Installation kit is minimal, simple, quality, and effective. I installed a Noctua NF-P12 120mm PWM fan with my cooler and it is breezy. My i7 3770k (@ 4.2Ghz) just touches 90c on its worst core in a Fractal Design Define Mini case (sound insulated with minimal venting) under Intel Burn Test. It sounds bad, but IBT is unrealistic and I'm using a very enclosed case. Other stress tests leave me in the mid 70s(c). Buy this heatsink if you want the good stuff. Add the Noctua fan if you want solid temps with virtually zero noise pollution.
Pros: Fairly low noise level. They're about the same or slightly quieter than my stock 200mm fans on CoolerMaster HAF 912 Advanced. Fit mounts of above case perfectly. White LED, not that many of these around for some reason.
Cons: It's not so much the brightness of the LEDs as it is the orientation that's stupid. They basically laser beam out instead of shooting light into the fan itself. So, you're essentially left with lights shooting out of your case instead of glowing fans. Depending on my angle to the case, I get a face full of laser, direct from the LED.
Overall Review: I'm going to mess around with some reflective tape to see if I can better direct the beams because I can't leave it the way it currently is. Otherwise, good fans.