Date Joined: 11/27/13
Pros: - I've never come across a DOA stick in all the years I've been using G.Skill. So a plus for consistency in delivering a great product.
- It works at the specified speeds.
- It looks really classy in your case--I'm not into the whole RGB lighting theme.
Cons: - Price--only because of the crypto-mining craze. I mean seriously, this costs as much an i5 processor!
Pros: - Extremely easy to use
- Lots of cables provided; I used only half of the provided cables
- Quality is very high
Cons: - Does not come with cable combs; these should be included, especially for the price.
- A bit costly; it might be cheaper to buy whatever cables you need separately, but I did not want to go through the hassle of configuring each cable. However, I would recommend this kit to anyone as the value provided is well worth the price.
Pros: - One of the most elegant PC cases that are currently on the market.
- Cable management is very easy and extremely adaptive; however, modified cables with individually sleeved cables is strongly advised.
- If you can get the Smart Case feature to work properly, then you can consider this feature a "pro". I had no issues, so YMMV.
- It terms of airflow, this case is adequate. It provides enough intake and exhaust airflow so that at stock clocks (CPU & GPU), you definitely shouldn't run into any heating issues.
- The provided fans do their job. Not the best, but definitely not the worst. I'll have to wait and see how they hold up in the long term.
- If you're looking for a case that allows you to build a system relatively quickly without any modifications, then this case shouldn't cause any issues.
- RGB lighting--the included LED strips pretty much function as they should. They are really bright right out of the box, so that any RGB lighting that you have will be "out shown" by the LED strips. However, they are adjustable via the CAM software, so it shouldn't be much of an issue. I am not really into RGB, so I can't really comment on the lighting aspects in regards to this case. I have a CPU cooler, motherboard, GPU and the top LED strip lit; all my fans are non-RGB functional.
Cons: - Price (obviously); although, NZXT's S340 Elite is a really good alternative if cost is an issue.
- The Smart Hub & CAM software if you can't get it to work or have other issues. For my part, there was no tutorial (NZXT website), manual (booklet), etc. Basically I got it to work by trial and error. This issue particular issue is dependent on a lot of factors, such as other hardware used. If it really becomes an issue, the option of removing the Smart Hub is the better route (this would a "pro"). They really should sell this case at a lower price and without this feature.
- Using RGB components from different manufacturers could cause a software issue. I ran into this problem between the CAM software and MSI Mystic's light software (not sure why they would be conflicting with each other). My solution was to install Mystic, configure the motherboard and GPU lighting, then delete the software (it remembered my settings). Finally, install CAM and use it as a primary lighting controller software.
Overall Review: One of the main issues that most builders seemed to face was the bar (cable management bar?) that ran through the entirety of the case. It is removable, but with a bulky 24-pin motherboard cable, this bar always caused some sort of issue. I thought I would avoid this issue by removing the bar, but removing also breaks the aesthetic look of the case. So I invested in some custom cables with individually sleeved cables--these made a world of difference. I didn't have to even remove the bar in order to install the 24-pin cable. The only visible cables I have are the 2 motherboard cables, 2 GPU cables and a single SSD cable as I mounted one in the front. Cable management is probably the best I've ever seen.
Another issue is that of the Smart Case feature combined with the use of NZXT's CAM software. As I stated earlier, I got it work in the end via trial and error. Prior to that, my CPU and GPU temps were a bit high--nothing near throttling temperatures, but too high for my comfort. Once I was able to figure out the software and get all the associated hardware components working properly, CPU and GPU temps are really low, even under load, and most of all, the system as a whole is really quiet.
Not sure this is an issue or caveat, but all my case fans and CPU AIO cooler is from NZXT (AER fans & X62 Kraken). With the CAM software working properly, my system airflow is properly adaptive in regards to what I am doing; adaptive settings are at what i set them to. The feature where the software "learns" your style of PC use--I never got it to work properly and it's just a pain to deal with and really is quite useless; unless of course you run benchmarks, which I do not use. At idle (no gaming, just browsing, etc.), my CPU (8600K) temps are usually below 30 Celsius and GPU (MSI GTX 1080 TI) temps are around 40 Celsius or less. Under heavy gaming load, the CPU generally hits around 50 Celsius, while the GPU hovers around 65 Celsius; my most demanding games are Witcher 3 and Ghost Recon Wildlands. If you are watercooling your components, then you should be good to go.
The build quality is one of the best I've seen. It is a full metal build, with a plastic top panel and a metal front panel with plastic tabs. As long as care is take when opening and closing the panels, there shouldn't be any issues. The quick release function for the back/side? panel is extremely easy and user friendly. With all the components, it becomes pretty heavy, so care is required when moving the case around.
If you can get everything to work properly, then this case is going to be a good fit for you--I suggest using an NZXT AIO CPU cooler (maybe case fans as well?), just for seamless integration. If you want a simple plug and play solution, then this case might give some issues, especially with the Smart Case feature (remove the Smart Hub and most of your issues should disappear). I still think the case is priced a bit high, but if you are willing to pay the asking price, then you won't feel letdown; it has pretty decent airflow design, excellent cable management (custom cables is a must), a solid build and I think one, of the best cases aesthetically. Overall, I would recommend this case if you're willing to work with/around its issues.
Pros: OVERVIEW: I basically decided to get this card solely for the purpose of being able to play Assassin's Creed Syndicate. That being said, my self-built PC consists of a i5-4670K (not OC), MSI GTX 760, Seasonic M12II 620 W, an SSD & HDD, and RAM.
GPU POWER CONSUMPTION: According to an online PSU calculator, it was estimated a power consumption of 449 W for the GTX 970, which is very surprising since the power draw for the MSI GTX 760 is 456 W. This card is definitely worth the purchase just for this.
COOLING: I have five case fans: two 140 mm (intake) in the front, two 200 mm (exhaust) on the top and one 140 mm (exhaust) in the back of the case. So my case airflow is plentiful. I've run benchmarks in the guise of everyday usage tests, which means running high demand games for about 30 min to an hour. I didn't run the standard benchmarks such as Unigine, 3DMark, etc since I will never be using my PC to that extreme. The GPU temperature never went about 55 C, even under high loads which was very satisfactory for me.
BENCHMARKS: Just a sampling of what I experienced while gaming. I was able to run Assassin's Creed Syndicate at ultra high graphics settings without any problems. I got an average of about 60 FPS, which is very good considering that it is almost on par with the GTX 980 (main reason I did not buy the GTX 980). I then tested Rome Total War and got an average of 80 FPS (I'm a huge total war fan so I had to test it). So overall, I am very pleased with this card. I did not test some of my other high demand games such as Arkham Knight, etc because I used AC Syndicate as reference.
SUMMARY: Overall this is a very good card. If you expect a high graphics experience at 1080p, then this card will not disappoint you. I game at 1080p since I have triple monitors at 1080p and don't really relish having to buy three monitors just for a higher resolution. Truth be told, I personally cannot justify upgrading to a resolution higher than 1080p. I chose the MSI branding because my previous GPU was an MSI. Moreover, unintentionally the color theme of my PC build is red and black: MSI Gaming 5 motherboard, RAM with red heatsink. Besides, when researching video cards, the MSI cards generally are always cooler than their competitors, which is my main requirement. If you are looking for a gaming experience at very high/ultra graphics settings with a 1080p resolution, then the MSI GTX 970 is well worth the price. I do know that approximately $325-350 is quite high, but this is under assumption that you keep you card for at least 3-5 years. I had an ATI X850 XT PE for ten years!!!
Hope this review helps.
Cons: Not really a con, but more like me forgetting to think properly. Prior to installing my new video card, I took the time to clean out my case. That means disconnection of all outgoing cables. I then cleaned the case using a can of compressed air (this is a must have). I hadn't cleaned my case since I built it (two years), so there was a lot of dust built up on the components and especially the fans.
I then installed the GTX 970 and installed the proper drivers: all good so far. Then, when I ran AC Syndicate, the PSU fan began to kick in at high RPMs. This had never happened to me, even while using my old video card the GTX 760. So, I began to run every game I had--all high demand games would cause the PSU fan to kick in.
It took me nearly half the night to figure out the problem. When I cleaned out my case, I forgot about the bottom. There is a vent with a mesh screen where the PSU fan (intake) is located. It was caked with dirt completely. After cleaning it and the PSU fan, I fired up my system. With crossed fingers I ran AC Syndicate and after three hours game time, my system was very quiet. The loudest noise comes from my case fans. The MSI GTX 970 fan noise cannot be heard even under load!
As I said in the beginning, this is not really a con, just something to be aware of. I thought something was wrong with my new GPU and even began an RMA process.
My PC case is an NZXT Phantom (510?). It is the mid-tower case in their lineup.
Overall Review: I ordered this the weekend before thanksgiving, on a Saturday and I received it on Wednesday, the day before thanksgiving by noon. I've noticed that Newegg is pretty good about processing orders and having them delivered in a timely fashion (most of my build was bought on Newegg).
Pros: When I was shopping for a video card to go with my new PC build, I wanted a video card that would last me at least 3 years, with the ability to run the games of the previous year at the highest graphical settings. The game I was basing my requirements on was Rome II Total War on a single 1080p monitor. And I couldn't be happier with my choice. I am able to run all the Total War games on high without any lag or stuttering. Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag runs at a steady 45-50 fps; all my simulation games such as FSX runs smoothly at the highest graphical settings--granted, that FSX is a CPU intensive game, so this observation really has no weight. I cannot comment upon first person shooter games such as Battlefield 4, Metro, Watch Dogs, etc because I do not play them; neither can I comment on its video editing abilities. So far, it has been able to handle any game that I have thrown at it--granted, I have not tried certain GPU taxing games such as Skyrim, Hitman Absolution, etc.
I choose the MSI brand for two reasons: first, I previously built a PC using the MSI 270X and was really impressed with its cooling and how silent it ran even under load. Second, my motherboard is the Z97 MSI Gaming 5 and I wanted to keep with the red dragon theme in my build--you cannot go wrong with a black and red theme light with white LEDs.
I think the only downside to its performance would be if you combined it with sub par PC components, such as an older CPU. I have a i5-4670K, SeaSonic 620W PSU, with 8 GB of RAM and a ASUS 1980X1080, 60 Hz, 2 ms monitor. The draw on my PSU under load has never exceeded more than 300W and I believe that it drew 300W only once. The temps under load are also very low--40C-50C; it idles between the high twenties and low thirties. This low temperature range could be due to my cooling configuration in my PC case (NZXT Phantom 410). I have dual 120 mm intake fans in the front, and single 120 mm exhaust fan in the rear and 2 140 mm exhaust fans on the top of the case--all running at the high RPMs. The MSI blade design can be attributed to the low fan noise of the video card's fans. Under load, I can barely hear it even though the case is at waist level about 2 feet away; at idle, you would think that it's not even working--I had to open my case and take a peek inside, it's that silent!!!
Overall, it is a good video card for $250 as offered by Newegg. An added bonus is the free Watch Dogs gaming certificate that they offer with your purchase. And since it is overclocked from the factory, you do not have to worry about extracting the most performance you can for the price you paid. In terms of overclocking, I cannot offer any feedback since I did not attempt to do so. I conclusion, for the price and performance it offers, you cannot get a better deal than the MSI GTX 760.
Cons: In my pros, I did not state its performance or lack of it on dual monitors or monitors with higher resolutions than 1080p. I will be adding a second monitor shortly, but probably will not be using it for gaming except for FSX. I guess the only concern using dual monitors would be the increase in temperatures since the video card has to power the graphics to two monitors. I know that due to its 2 GB VRAM, it limits its ability to smoothly project graphics on higher resolutions such as 2160p or 4320p (4K). You might be able to solve it with the 4 GB VRAM version of this card, but due to the lower bandwidth, it would be better to go with a GTX 770 or 780.
Pros: Originally thought about going for a higher watt PSU, but after reading articles and using various PSU calculators; got to love (though I really hate the misinformation factor) Google, I found that I really don't need a higher watt PSU. For those looking to gauge their builds with what they need, mine is as follows: i5-4670K CPU, MSI Gaming 5 motherboard, GTX 760 2GB, 120 SSD, 1TB HDD, blu ray optical drive, 2 140 mm fans, 3 120 mm fans, and a NZXT Phantom 410 case. My CPU cooling is the CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Plus.
Concerning Seasonic, I am totally sold on this manufacture. Previously, I used Corsair TX 650M, but had to return the first one due to it being faulty. The M12II worked right out of the box!!! Power is consistent and steady. It works like a charm. I think that everyone should make the move to modular simply for the sake of case management. And before you bring the question of price, I paid $90, so there really is no drawback.
Cons: The only "con" that I can think of would be running an SLI configuration. Even though it supports SLI, for me to run 2 GTX 760s I need an average of 550 W, which in my opinion, is leaving only a very constrained margin of overhead. I theoretically would like at least a 100W of overhead room. But realistically, I would probably never run an SLI configuration, so 620W is perfect for me. For a single GTX 760, I only need 440W.
Overall Review: This is the perfect product for those who build their own systems; really great for either either first timers or the experienced. And from what I heard/read, Seasonic is probably the best PSU manufacturer and I am glad that my experience is proof of that statement.
Pros: Used it on a previous build. It's stable, works great for gaming and is a proven product. I honestly did not consider going the Windows 8 route simply due to the stability factor. This OS has been out for some time and has had most of the bugs sorted out. Some might argue against it in terms of future proofing. Since support for Windows 7 will completely end by 2020, I personally don't think anyone has to worry. I mean, I've had Windows XP on my old system for 10+ years and it still works!!! If you're not downloading torrents... you should be fine. For the mainstream user (casual browser/gamer) you really don't have anything to worry about. I plan to keep this OS until Windows 9 (fingers crossed, hoping it will be like 7 only better)
Cons: Don't really have any. I guess it probably would be the amount of RAM limitation at 16 GB, but really I think you would have to be hard pressed to find someone who even fully uses 8 GB
Overall Review: It's a proven OS. I've used XP, Vista and 8/8.1. Honestly I think for those who want just a basic OS without any of the "bells and whistles", Windows 7 is the best option. I really didn't like the tiles format on 8 (had a Windows phone and that was pretty good), but this is mainly because I prefer to have an uncluttered background. I mean I don't have a use for all the apps that come and really didn't fancy investing a substantial amount of time in setup up my OS. The only icon on my main screen in the recycle bin. In the same context, I really like the slideshow background feature of 7, so that was one of my main items for consideration.
Pros: I've actually used these on a build I did for my parents about a year ago. Works just like it's supposed to. For gaming it's perfect. Though about getting an extra set since it's so cheap (I upgraded my Dell XPS Gen 4--$150 for 512 MB stick about 7 years ago), but I have never maxed the memory capacity.
Cons: What's to complain about!?!
Overall Review: Memory constraints don't exist anymore.
Pros: This is my first aftermarket piece of CPU cooling hardware and it does what it's supposed to do--keep the CPU cool. Now I haven't compared the temperatures with the stock cooler, but according to online forums and from those I know, this cooler actually helps a lot. I have a 4670K and being a Haswell, it naturally runs hotter than Ivy Bridge, so I went with an aftermarket cooler even though I probably won't be overclocking in the near future (why I bought a K series processor--micro center CPU/MOBO combo sale $300 for 4670K and MSI Gaming 5!!!) My temps under a consistent load (playing Rome 2 Total War for 4+ hours nonstop) I never saw my temps go more that 55 Celsius. I haven't tried a push and pull configuration, but will probably do so in a month or so (no real need to though, seeing temps really stable)
Cons: None at all!!!
Might cause concern with the fan interfering with the RAM slots, so I placed the fan in a pull configuration. On second thought, I could have put it in the push configuration, since I'm using the memory slots furthest away from the CPU.
Overall Review: I honestly got this just for my peace of mind, seeing that I wasn't going to overclock. For anyone it might help, I used the "pea method" of applying the thermal paste. If you need any help in this matter or for any process of building your PC, I suggest watching the Newegg PC building videos--very helpful.
Pros: It's a really great case for its price. Roomy with the optional removable HDD rack (which I removed), an inbuilt fan controller, three fans included, and a sleek look. I added two more fans (NZXT FN series)--a 140 mm on the top and a 120 mm in the front. Though honestly I was probably going for uniformity rather than any practical purpose. Don't get me wrong, it does serve to provide more cooling/venting, but my justification was aesthetics (well probably factor in a little OCD:) I have a i5-4670K on a hyper 212 plus with a GTX 760, SSD and HDD and temps all around have stayed relatively stable under load (Google "average load temperatures for 4670K and GTX 760"). When I test the heat of the airflow on the back exhaust when I have used the PC under load for say 4+ hours, the air is warm (30-40 Celsius max--an estimate). Basically, I have no worries of cooking/overheating any of my components. If it helps anyone, my fan configuration is as follows: two 120 mm fans in the front as intake, two 140 mm fans on the top as exhaust, and included 120 mm fan back fan as exhaust. I also have a Seasonic M12II or MII12 (not really sure--I'm at work) 620W PSU. I forgot to mention wiring--really roomy behind the motherboard. I routed all my wires from behind the motherboard it all fits without having to force them. They also provide great liquid cooling options with plenty of tube access points (is this what you call them???) Really have no need for going the liquid cooling route, but it's nice to know that it's a very viable option if I ever choose to do so.
Cons: Probably the most striking "con" would be the rubber grommets that like the wiring holes (the biggest ones--think there are 3/4). None of them actually stayed in its position while I fiddled around with the wiring. When one initially came off, I went ahead and remove all of them. But what does not make this particular shortcoming a "con" is that hole edges are somewhat beveled and not a sharp edge, so there is some protection. Moreover, I was not really concerned because all my cables are sleeved. Another disappointment would be that the front LED is not working, but then again I never look at my case while gaming, so it's just a waste of time being a stickler in this case (pun unintended).
This is more of a customer service issue (I think), but not for lack of trying, I cannot find out the model number of the fans that came with the case. I wanted to get more matching fans (white fan blades against a gunmetal background is really striking), but had to settle for the FN series from NZXT. A little pricey, but worth the cost.
Overall Review: The overall build is perfect. No unfinished edges, the optical drive tooling might take a little getting used to, but once I installed my drive, I didn't think twice about. I placed my SSD and HDD in the bottom of the case and removed the removable HDD cage (which gives lots of working room).
One might complain about the possibility of the removable front and top cover becoming loose over time, but honestly, how often are you going to be removing them even if you do upgrade in the future (only instance would be when you do regular maintenance--liquid cooling:) I don't do dust my components because my airflow in consistent and there really is no way for dust to build up--I used my PC everyday.
Pros: It does what it's supposed to do--provide great sound. I'm a heavy movie watcher and gamer and I really like the sound. A little background--I have a MSI Gaming 5 motherboard and the room where I keep my PC is pretty small, so that is why I went for a 2.1 configuration. The sound quality is pretty good for just $40. Granted, you will get better sound quality and clarity if you went for say the M-Audio AV40 or Corsair SP2500, but you will pay for the quality ($150+/$200+). I was not constrained by budget, but I really couldn't justify spending more--might also have to do with the fact that I used these same speakers for a PC build for my parents about a year ago. Regardless, if you're not an audiophile, then you won't really care for more expensive speakers. For movies and gaming, since I game pretty close to my PC and as I have a small room, it works really well for me. As for volume control, since I live in an apartment, I haven't tested it's capacity. If I recall, when I built parents' PC, it was pretty loud and that was in a pretty big room (at least 250 sq ft).
Cons: For $40, what more can you ask for!
Overall Review: I really thought about spending $200+ for the Corsair SP2500, thinking that I would actually benefit/enjoy/??? from the higher quality speakers. Honestly, had I gotten them, I would have been really admiring of them for maybe a few days, then the novelty would wear off. I watch movies, listen to songs and play games all the time, but I find myself more involved in the image rather than the audio, so a higher quality sound set might be for those who prefer to be more involved in the audio as well. Just me 2 cents.
Pros: It does what it's supposed to--what more can one ask from a piece of hardware that is probably becoming obsolete due to online streaming and cloud sharing. For $20 (plus a $5 off promo) it's a steal.
Cons: None that comes to mind. And I probably won't give it much thought!
Overall Review: Even though I just bought it, I probably will upgrade to a Blu ray optical drive just to have that option. In that case, I'll either keep this as a secondary drive (unplugged in the case)--I haven't had the need for a secondary drive in more than 5 years or save it for a friend who might need it for their new build.
Pros: Initially I was looking for a 24" monitor. However, when I setup this monitor, I couldn't see the 0.4" difference. The colors are bright and accurate. And being 1080p, images are crisp and clear. I would advise to maintain a siting distance of at least 2 feet, preferably 3 feet. For all you gamers out there, I have put at least 200 hours in terms of game time and it works beautifully. From NFS to the Total War series to Assassin's Creed IV, all games respond without any microstuttering; all probably due to the 2ms response time. If it helps, I have a GTX 760. I totally recommend this product. If you're planning to go the dual or triple monitor route, I would be less inclined to be more encouraging mainly due to the really noticeable bevel width surrounding the monitor. So far, Dell is the only manufacture that I have experienced that utilizes a thin monitor bevel. If you don't mind at the most a 2" gap between your monitor displays, then go for it. Definitely a good deal financially. Personally, I solve my multi monitors issues with TrackIR. Well for gaming at least. As for durability, I obviously cannot comment on:) So far so good!
Cons: The only "con" that I can come up with, is that there is no option for height adjustment; only tilt. This is not a deal breaker, since I was able to procure a stand (one of those plastic file trays flipped upside down--works like a charm and being black goes with my black glass desk). I actually only used that initially, so for me that height adjustment is not really a disadvantage.
Overall Review: Overall, I would totally recommend this monitor. For the casual user (browser, casual gamer, movie watcher) it suit perfectly. For the hardcore gamer, (which I consider myself--well hardcore in the amount of time I put towards games) it is very well worth it. I honestly cannot justify spending more than this for a better monitor. To me, it's just eye candy.