Joined on 11/10/04
Specs leave out a key detail
Pros: There are two copies of the BIOS included on the card, one modifyable and the other locked. The black switch on the top of the card near the CF mount point will change between the two. There are a number of uses for such a feature, if you know what they are I'm sure you'll understand why this is such a huge PRO. The other Pros are already listed in the specs really.
Cons: Stock cooling is an area that needs improvement. Later versions of the card will almost certainly sport third party coolers that are more efficent and quieter. Waiting could be a good move if you need a better cooler. This is a relatively minor con in light of the age of the board.
Overall Review: I cannot think of any specific reason to get the Sapphire version of this board over any of the other reference desgins on the market other than that Sapphire has always had great support in my experience and better quality controls than some competators.
Order with Caution
Pros: reference clocks with large video memory leaves the option of disabling SLI open without reducing avalible video memeory to less than 1GB large solid copper base to heat sink
Cons: tiny fan and ugly orange plastic on the heat sink. the video RAM has high rate of failure on this line of boards, other reviews here will say this as well i quick glance around the net.
Overall Review: tiny fan and orange plastic not a huge problem. remove the plastic cover (4 screws, absolutly no contact with important parts very easy to do) and the eye sore is gone and the board gets addtional airflow from the case fans. most important when buying this product is to stress test for a day or two before using the card regularly because the factory does not seem to be doing a good job of that themselves. I purchased two boards for SLI and one stress tested fine for 2 days, the other booted to windows with heavy artifacting. Good boards when they work but use caution.
Pros: price/performance is awesome runs very stable at rated timings and speed (don't forget to adjust your voltage)
Cons: the time limit on the rebate is a little lame, kinda like gift certificates that expire.
Overall Review: as stated many many times here and elsewhere manually adjusting the timings, clock speed, and voltage of this RAM is a must. if you're not comfortable entering the bios and setting these up yourself you should probably look for a DDR2 800 modual that runs at that speed natively and a motherboard that runs that spec of DDR2 natively as well. I had no trouble at all manually setting the timmings of this RAM or getting it running very stable at the rated speeds. i'm also extreamly pleased to see how frequently OCZ continues to update reviews here with direct responses.
Pros: fast FSB great OCing price/performance is outstanding
Cons: stock fan
Overall Review: i used to only run AMDs in my gaming rigs but have been converted since the core 2 line started. very please with the performance of this processor although the stock fan leaves much to be desired. fan is not terribly effective at keeping temperatures down and is also a giant pain to install, seating the CPU was maddeningly nerve wracking due to the plastic catching mechanisms used on the four anchor points of the stock fan.
Pros: rails labled on the modular cable connection planel combined 52A on 12V rails voltage stability is awesome bound cables all around
Cons: size flimzy silicon pad
Overall Review: this PSU fits in my case no problem because there is nothing even remotely near the PSU to obstruct it. in another case this could easily be a problem. the 'noise preventative silicon pad' is a major pain to get seated correctly because it moves to easily and the PSU is a tight fit. had to try three or four times to get enough screw holes to line up to steat the PSU and ended up just using 3 screws.
Pros: raid drivers included with package optional active cooling for chipset heatsink round cables very OC friendly BIOS options bent FDD and STAT connectors provide better airflow over chipset and card slots
Cons: the I/O panel dust cover looks/feels cheep the USB/IEEE expansion slots on the board are buried underneath the card slots which i'm sure is great if you're pluging in the cards but not so great when trying to thread cords for the front pannal I/O at this price point i really would have been happier with a higher grade conductor for the heat pipe on the chipset
Overall Review: Set up was a breeze and even with a RAID array invovled everything worked right the first time with very minimal tweaking. I had to manually set the timings on my RAM, which i expected because of the moduals i purchased, but the BIOS makes the timings really easy to find and adjust even without referencing the manual.