Joined on 10/21/13
More people should consider these for gaming+multipurpose rigs
Pros: 1. Runs cool (never went above 51°C) even with the stock Intel heat sink when gaming; however I used Arctic Silver 5 instead of the pre-applied thermal paste Intel uses, and I never did a Prime95 stress test. But I have heard of these things hitting 80°C (apparently 80°C is not harmful to the CPU) easily w/Intel stock heat sinks on Prime95. 2. Low wattage and lower heat output. It's meant to be on 24/7. Heck of a lot better than my 125W Phenom II X4 965BE. The Phenom never got over 65°C, but it needed a better heat sink and fan to even stay at that temperature because it outputted more heat. 2. The time it takes to compress/decompress a zip file using 7-Zip significantly decreased. It's insanely fast when using HT to compress or decompress zip files. I was able to compress 6GB of data into 1GB (your millage may very depending on the type of data) in under 3 minutes. My old AMD processor use to take anywhere from 15-20 minutes to do that. 3. Entry level i7 (aka Hyper Threading) performance for a bit more than i5 price, and because I will never get to overclock the Xeon E3-1231v3 I don't have to spend extra on high-end motherboards or cooling solutions. I'm running this on a budget H81 board and it's doing fine. 4. NO MORE GAME BOTTLENECKS! Well for the most part at least. All my games except Battlefield 4 runs smoothly with the processor, and the processor does not bottleneck the GPU even at 1440p resolutions with the settings cranked to maximum or near maximum.
Cons: 1. I'm not sure if it's just the server I play on or it's normal with BF4, but even with this cpu BF4 spikes constantly. The spikes cause micro-stutters at 1080p, but they are honestly negligible; however they still exist and if you really pay attention close enough you can notice the spikes causing minor fps dips. I still get ~60+fps average on 1080p with the Ultra preset. At 1440p the spikes becomes more noticeable, and I don't have a 4K monitor but I can only imagine what the spikes would look like with a 4K monitor. Still the Xeon E3-1231 is way better than what I had before, which was an AMD Phenom II X4 965BE (my spikes were atrocious with that thing unless I set a 45fps cap), and the processor runs every other game I have flawlessly, but so did the Phenom.
Overall Review: 1. You can't OC the CPU. If you wanna OC the cpu get an i5-4690k instead. I've read an OC i5-4690K @4.5+GHz will perform the same, if not better than the Xeon E3-1231 w/HT enabled on multi-threaded applications, but do know you will need to buy higher end motherboards and an aftermarket heat sink/cooler. I think i5-4690Ks OC to 4.5GHz rather well with aftermarket parts and a high end motherboard. 2. Honestly, HT does little to benefit gaming if that is all you care about. You'd be much better getting an i5 if all you care about is gaming. I use the Xeon for CPU video encoding and solid works in addition to gaming so I need all the benefits I can. 3. Lower single core performance than an i5-4690k by about 3%. Not noticeable in real-world performance but it's still there. If you can get the E3-1241v3 then you'll get slightly better single core performance compared to the i5-4690k. 4. It has no iGPU, but that is not a problem for me because I prefer having a dGPU, and I have two spare dGPUs around in the event my main dGPU fails.
Was silent for about a week
Pros: 1. Nice blue LED. Was actually better than I thought as I had originally wanted the non-led version. 2. It was silent, and emphasis on the was. 3. Seemed to move a lot of airflow.
Cons: 1. Installation was really confusing. The fan comes with 4 screws that do not initially seem to fit. It took me about half an hour to realize Cooler Master wants you to essentially force those 4 screws into the fan. After you force them in they hold the fan well. 2. After a week it is now making this horrible rattling noise. From far away it sounds like the clicking of a dying HDD. When you get closer you realize it's not your HDD dying but the fan either being wobbly or scrapping against something. I have no idea what is causing the rattling and if I don't figure it out soon I may RMA it.
Overall Review: I find the installation of the fan still more annoying than the rattling of the fan. I did not like the idea of having to force the screws in because when I did I noticed they screws warped the plastic mounting holes. This and I bought a HAF 912 case which is supposed to come with the proper mounting pegs and screws for the Mega Flow or another 200mm fan. The HAF 912 screws/pegs did not fit the Mega Flow 200
Fast and Furious
Pros: --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (1) Fast read and write (random or sequential) -- gets anywhere from roughly 100-300 MB/s read/write. (2) Boots windows in roughly 8 seconds or faster (3) Boots programs installed on it faster compared to an HDD (although not by a lot).
Overall Review: I am able to fit Windows 7 + recent updates along with 2 30+GB games and I still have about 90GBs of free space. An SSD will not give you more FPS when gaming, but it will, depending on the game, give you better load times. EX: NBA2k15 and DayZ: SA still takes a while to load/still has the same load time even with an SSD but BF4 and Skyrim loads significantly faster
Excellent product that does what it says
Pros: 1. The ram sticks simply does what they say they will do and 2. That is provide 8GBs of dual-channel support at 1600MHz. The life time warranty is also great. 3. I like how the heat sinks are not overly large.
Overall Review: You have to go into your BIOS to enable the ram sticks to run at 1600MHz. If you set the speed to auto or w/e your BIOS' default settings are for the dram they will only run at 1333MHz.
Great card for 1080p or 1440p gaming
Pros: 1. The price/performance ratio is unbeatable. I can play almost all my games using the maximum detail preset at 1080p and maintain ~60+fps on average. At 1440p I get roughly 5-10fps less, unless I turn AA down a few notches or step down a preset. I don't have a 4K monitor but I doubt any single r9 290 of any brand can do 4k with a max preset and maintain anything close to ~45fps. 2. I personally have experienced zero coil whine with my card, nor have I seen my card or it's VRMs go beyond 65° C. Maybe the summer time will change that. 3. It's the second best spec'd r9 290 you can get. The better Vapor-X r9 290 by Sapphire only beats it because the Vapor-X cools better and is quieter. 4. It has a nice back plate for extra support, and the card looks awesome overall.
Cons: 1. This thing can get really loud! As of now most of the games I play, except for modded Skyrim, will never get the gpu fan speed to go pass roughly 43%, however a decently modded Skyrim that uses 2K textures and ENBs can get the card to use 50% fan speeds. Below 50% fan speed the GPU is practically silent. Around 50% you can hear the fans through your case, but it's not too annoying. Beyond 70% the GPU becomes a tiny vacuum. For now the fans don't bother me, but I fear they will get worse during the summer. TL;DR: If you want a quiet r9 290 get either the Vapor-X or the Tri-X from Sapphire. Those seem to cool much better; their fan speeds don't go as high to keep the card cool and they have quieter fans. 2. This may be specific to me, but there is a strange micro-stutter when the GPU initially begins using over ~3.7GB of vram. The micro-stutter only happens for a bit and then it stops. If you go back down from ~3.7GB there is no micro-stutter at all, but going over ~3.7GB of vram will bring back the micro-stutter briefly. The fans also seem to kick into 50+% no matter your temperatures if you go above ~3.6GB of vram.
Overall Review: 1. I could care less that the GPU uses more power than the GTX 970. This may be a problem if you are using a 500W PSU and do not want to upgrade the PSU, but I am using a CX600M, which is not even considered a top model PSU, and the card works with it. I cannot comment on over-volting though because I think the card will blow out my CX600M if I over-volted it. 2. I bought the card for running modded Skyrim, and despite it being a powerful card I still cannot maintain ~60fps outside. I am running the game on the ultra preset at 1080p with 2k textures, RealVision performance ENB, and the enb depth-of-field effect and ambient lighting effects, and I am only getting about 45fps outdoors. Being inside dungeons or buildings will get me 50-60fps, and turning off DoF and ambient lighting will get me 50-60fps outdoors. 3. Contrary to most of the previous reviews I have not experienced the black-screen of death with this card. It seems PowerColor was able to correct that issue. I did once experience my monitor displaying only a grey color and I had to restart my computer, but I have not been able to reproduce this, nor have I experienced it again. 4. If you need a GPU ASAP and are debating over a GTX 970 or an R9 290 I would advise you to get the r9 290, as long as you can meet the PSU requirement. The theoretical difference between a GTX 970 and an R9 290 is about 10% on average, but in terms of real world performance you would not even notice the difference at 1080p and maybe even 1440p. However if you can hold on for a few months longer please do so! AMD should release their R9 300 cards by then. 5. I love my PowerColor r9 290 PCS+ and I have no regrets buying it :)