Date Joined: 01/01/06
Pros: Speedy, runs cool, efficient
Overall Review: I bought this on sale for my first PC gaming build. This is a very sensible option for a value-oriented gaming machine because its gaming performance nearly rivals that of the i5 series, and most demanding games are bottlenecked by the GPU rather than the CPU. Even without a discrete graphics card, I'm enjoying Starcraft 2 at 1680x1050 at low settings with frame rates between 40 and 60 fps. I try to be somewhat environmentally conscious, so I appreciate the CPU's low 65W thermal envelope. With a Xigmatek Loki cooler, I get CPU temperatures between 29 and 50 degrees Celsius. Very satisfied overall.
Pros: Everything worked on the first try, clear instruction manual
Overall Review: I selected this for my first PC gaming build, which was very value-oriented, with an Intel i3 2120 CPU, 8GB Corsair RAM, single hard drive, and single graphics card (which I am saving up for). I booted successfully on the first try, installed Windows 7 Home Premium without a problem, upgraded to the latest BIOS revision, and everything has been dandy so far. ASUS boards are known for their reliability, and it's nice to have that peace of mind.
Pros: Sensible size, good thermals, quiet fan
Overall Review: I bought this to cool my Intel i3 2120 in my first ever PC build. This wasn't a necessary upgrade over the stock cooler, because I don't overclock and the i3 is a very efficient CPU, but I didn't want to mess with push pins and also wanted a cooler that blew air out the back exhaust fan, for a better thermal environment inside the case. The instructions were easy to understand and installation went without a hitch. The Hardwaresecrets review on the Loki mentioned that the screws may prevent proper contact between the base and the CPU, but I had no such issue. I get readings between 29 and 50 degrees Celsius, using Core Temp software, and my computer as a whole (case is a Fractal Arc Midi) is whisper quiet. Very happy with the purchase. Hope the rebate comes through!
Pros: Sleek, understated appearance, excellent cable management, fan controller works well, removable hard drive cage
Cons: Included internal speaker was broken, slight bowing on top mesh
Overall Review: I bought this to use for my first PC build (Sandy Bridge). I debated for a long time between this and the Bitfenix Shinobi, but snapped this up when it went on sale. I like the appearance of both cases, but the Arc has more included fans, offers more space to work in, and is better ventilated. I used my last Dell computer for 9 years (it's still working), so longevity is an important factor for me. The Arc's excellent thermal environment and build quality all but guarantees that. I was initially a bit concerned about noise, but with a modest CPU cooler (Xigmatek Loki) for my Intel i3, a quiet power supply (Rosewill Capstone), and no graphics card (yet), the Arc's 3 fans are whisper quiet at all but the highest speed setting. Everything in regards to my build went very smoothly, aided by the cases's rubber grommet holes and space behind the motherboard train. I also removed the top hard drive cage for better airflow. I had a wonderful first build experience because of this case!
Pros: Zippy loading mechanism, works out of the box, understated front fascia
Overall Review: I used this in my first PC build. True to its advertisement, this drive's loading mechanism is quite speedy. My Windows 7 Home Premium installation recognized it right away, and so far, it's worked flawlessly as a basic disc reader (I don't expect to burn much). The lack of a large logo in the front plate means it looks nice and stealthy in my Fractal Arc Midi case.
Pros: Value for money, good build quality, quiet, 80 Plus Gold certified, plenty of connectors
Overall Review: I used this as part of my first ever budget PC build. At first, I was wary of buying the value-oriented Rosewill brand, but apparently these Capstone units are based on the well-regarded Super Flower Green power supply, so I took the gamble. I'm glad I did. The Capstone is built sturdily and does its job quietly inside my Fractal Arc Midi case. Cable management would have been easier with a modular unit, but the Arc case offers plenty of room behind the motherboard tray to hide cables. My favorite thing about the Capstone is its gold efficiency rating. I tried to be at least environmentally conscious as possible with my PC build, and now, along with a Intel i3 2120 + Asus H67 motherboard, I have a very good cost and power efficient machine. 550W also affords me plenty of power for a GTX 560 Ti-class graphics card down the line.