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Chad D.

Chad D.

Joined on 05/24/04

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 15
Most Favorable Review

Great product, except for the BIOS

MSI PRO B550M PRO-VDH WIFI AM4 AMD B550 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
MSI PRO B550M PRO-VDH WIFI AM4 AMD B550 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

Pros: PCIe 4.0 graphics and NVMe, really excellent performance when paired with parts that can take advantage of it. Clean board layout makes it easy to tidy up wiring inside the case, to improve airflow and expose the fancy Ryzen 7 cooler for viewing. Onboard wifi works great. 8 seconds from POST to login screen on my build.

Cons: As usual, the edge connectors for SATA and USB3 point at the hard drive cage and are tough to get connectors on without stressing the board mounts. Needs a BIOS update out of the box to run a Ryzen 7 3700x CPU, and the GUI for the BIOS isn't exactly intuitive. No included installation manual, download it from MSI before you begin. The front panel pin pads aren't well described either, thankfully they masked out the pin markers (though you'll need a magnifying glass to make them out).

Overall Review: A good product for the build, stable, and fast. As mentioned in the 'cons', it needs a BIOS update to 7C95v23 or higher out of the box... it wouldn't even POST with a Ryzen 7 3700x as shipped, not even a beep, just kept cycling the boot. There was lots of hair pulling and cussing, swapping components and connections to try to figure it all out, all my bits were just fine, but it acted like some component was shorted internally. Thankfully, you can fix it, with an update to the BIOS with just a power supply and the bare board. For some reason MSI doesn't do a great job describing how to perform that necessary step, so I'll leave some instructions: Download the updated BIOS from MSI support Extract the ROM file to a FAT formatted USB drive, and rename it to MSI.ROM Connect power supply motherboard connector to board Insert USB drive into update port (back panel, USB port directly below and farthest away from the PS/2 port) Connect power supply to mains, and turn on the power switch Press the BIOS update button on the back panel a red LED near the USB port will begin flashing, and will stop when the update is complete Remove mains power, disconnect motherboard power connector Assemble computer Profit!

Most Critical Review

Waste of time

TP-LINK TL-WDN4800 Dual Band Wireless N900 PCI Express Adapter, 2.4 GHz 450 Mbps / 5 GHz 450 Mbps, IEEE 802.1a/b/g/n, WEP / WPA / WPA2, Plug & Play in Windows 8
TP-LINK TL-WDN4800 Dual Band Wireless N900 PCI Express Adapter, 2.4 GHz 450 Mbps / 5 GHz 450 Mbps, IEEE 802.1a/b/g/n, WEP / WPA / WPA2, Plug & Play in Windows 8

Pros: Had all the features I was looking for.

Cons: Died within two weeks of infrequent usage. First problems were manifested when it would not initialize in the presence of a Startech USB MiniPCIe adapter, but worked OK when installed with no other expansion cards.

Overall Review: TP-LINK tech support insisted that I do the driver dance, when I'd already done as much and more before I invited them to waste my time. After providing much reference material about other hardware in the install and testing data to them, TP-LINK staff chose to ignore that and rehash the problem repeatedly for three weeks. I've built hundreds of systems, and am fully aware that some bad hardware makes it past QA.. broken hardware is not my gripe here. My gripe is the HORRIBLE tech support, with no path to escalation, resulting much wasted time: mine, and my client's. Spend your money elsewhere.

Should be called the MSI Le Petomane

MSI PERFORMANCE GAMING X470 GAMING PLUS AM4 AMD X470 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard
MSI PERFORMANCE GAMING X470 GAMING PLUS AM4 AMD X470 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

Pros: Looks really neat, laid out well enough to fit in my fancy Silverstone GD10B case... but alas

Cons: I guess I expected that when reading quoted features for a family of product, those specifications, unless otherwise specified, apply to all product family members. Not so, here, READ THE FINE PRINT PUBLISHED ELSEWHERE. The X470 Gaming Plus MAX variant, when used with a Zen3 CPU (ferinstance, the 5600G), requires a minimum BIOS level. This is disappointing, because at the time of this writing (March 2022), the required HB Zen3 BIOS update is more than a year old, and my newly purchased board still requires updating. This board is absent the Flash BIOS button found on other members of this product family, so It requires a Zen2 CPU to be installed to perform the BIOS upgrade. The Athlon 200GE works well for this purpose, or so I read while I'm digging myself out of this mess, and will verify that when it arrives. Adding a hundred bucks to the price tag and a couple week delay for the second CPU is an unwelcome surprise that I would have rather left unspent or applied to a more robust CPU.

Overall Review: Would not recommend the X470 Gaming Plus MAX if you're looking at a Zen3 CPU, the update hassle and expense aren't worth it unless you require a particular chipset, or already have a Zen2 CPU on hand.

Reminder... read the reviews!

Thermaltake Versa H15 Black SPCC Micro ATX Tower Computer Case CA-1D4-00S1NN-00
Thermaltake Versa H15 Black SPCC Micro ATX Tower Computer Case CA-1D4-00S1NN-00

Pros: Inexpensive, no sharp edges

Cons: Optical drive will not fit into bay correctly with microATX motherboard.

Overall Review: It's ok for an inexpensive light duty piece, and might be nice if you did not require an optical drive with a microATX board. I expect to have these sorts of fitment limitations outlined in the product documentation, not user reviews. Yes, a microATX motherboard will fit. Yes, a 5.25" optical drive will fit... just not both at the same time, which was the precise reason it was chosen. Into the bin it goes.

10/25/2020

Decent bang for your buck

Lenovo Laptop Intel Core i5 2nd Gen 2520M (2.50GHz) 4GB Memory 320GB HDD 14.0" Windows 7 Professional T420
Lenovo Laptop Intel Core i5 2nd Gen 2520M (2.50GHz) 4GB Memory 320GB HDD 14.0" Windows 7 Professional T420

Pros: Bought this for a customer. Showed up with a minor scratch on the edge of the lid, otherwise in top condition. Delivered with an extended battery that appears to be new. Added an SSD, performs nicely, boots quickly, battery life is improved.

Cons: a scratch on the edge of the lid

Nice stuff

Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model 997002
Mushkin Enhanced Silverline 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model 997002

Pros: Out of the box performance, and more importantly, stability. I love Mushkin's products, because I never have to use tech support or warranty service... they just work. US made is a nice touch.

Cons: none really