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Marcus H.

Marcus H.

Joined on 08/24/01

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 14
Most Favorable Review

Nearly Perfect

Fractal Design Node 304 Black Aluminum/Steel Mini-ITX Small Form Factor Computer Case
Fractal Design Node 304 Black Aluminum/Steel Mini-ITX Small Form Factor Computer Case

Pros: *Small Footprint *Lots of Interior Space *Understated and Stylish Design *Good Airflow *Dust Filters *High Quality, Quiet Fans

Cons: *Screws *Placement of PSU bracket

Overall Review: I've had this case for 2 years and 4 months now. Though I've occasionally looked into other cases to house my m-itx gaming build nothing else I've seen measures up to what I need. I took a long hard look at the Silverstone Raven but I could not get my CPU cooler in there. Also, I got this case on sale at it's current price when I originally bought it, so it was and is an exceptional buy in my opinion. The things I really love about thing I really love about this case is that you can fit all high end components into it and it doesn't look cramped after you are done. It houses a full length GPU (mine is nearly the length of the case), a full sized ATX PSU, a tall air cooler, or water cooling with a 140mm radiator. My initial build took some planning mainly due to the limitations on the size of the PSU due to the placement of the mounting bracket. I tried 5 different modular PSU's before I got what worked best. 2 of the others fit with my graphics card installed but were a noisier than I liked. I settled on the Seasonic S12G 750W. This fits with plenty of clearance for a big GPU. That was the only real problem I had to solve with this case. The screws included with the drive brackets are not good, but really are just a minor annoyance. There was one reviewer who trashed the case because he said he couldn't get the drive brackets off. I guess he never heard of WD-40. Better still is a few drops of Silicone lubricant applied with a Q-Tip. I can not stress enough how well thought out the airflow is in the case. The two 92mm fans do a good job of bringin cool air into the case while the 140mm exhaust gets the hot air out. What is more is the thoughtful placement of an intake vent positioned next to the GPU slot, and it being full length in order to allow all of the GPU cooler fans access to cool air. Another nice touch is the bottom intake vent for your PSU and an exhaust vent for the exit of its heat as well. The dust filters are another nice touch and they work great. The are positioned at all of your intake points and stop 99% of the dust in your environment from getting inside your rig. I've got 3 cats and a dog so that is a lot of dander, not including the stuff that the 3 other humans in the house generate. To this day when I open the case, as I occasionally do, for cleaning and component health inspection I find very little dust at all. A few blasts of canned air and a rinse of the filters and your done. These days the box resides on a shelf in my media cabinet hooked up to an AV receiver via HDMI. It's a livig room Steambox now and all of this case's winning attributes suit it well there. It's quite, stays cool even behind a glass door and passes the wife acceptance factor because it's out of sight and unheard except for a whoosh of air when it is under load. I just love it! Here's the current build: i7-4790K 8GB G-Skill Trident DDR3 2400 Corsair H90 AIO Cooler Asrock Z87-E Mini-ITX Gigabyte GTX 970 4GB SEASONIC S12G

Quality Fans Rivaling Noctua

Phanteks PH-F140XP_BK 140mm PWM Case Fan
Phanteks PH-F140XP_BK 140mm PWM Case Fan

Pros: Quality Construction, Truly Useful Accessories, Move Lots Of Air, Quiet!

Cons: None.

Overall Review: My first thought was to go with a pair of Noctuas, but I bought two of these after about a week of research. I attached them in push/pull config to a Corsair H90. I had recently upgraded to an i7-4790K from an i5-4760(non-K) and wanted to water cool because I expect to OC at some point after the 4790 is burned in. I've had the H90 installed in my system for 9 months now and The highest temp recorded at load while playing playing any game on High or Ultra settings is 56C. I don't even hear the fans except as a whoosh of air when my CPU's are cranking. What's doubly impressive is that they exhaust the hot air produced by my GPU out of the case at the same time as cooling the H90's radiator. As an added bonus they are the closest match aesthetically to the Fractal Design 140MM exhaust fan that came with my Node 304 case. You won't go wrong with these.

Still Going Strong

ASRock Z87E-ITX LGA 1150 Intel Z87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel I217V Lan 802.11ac WiFi Intel Motherboard
ASRock Z87E-ITX LGA 1150 Intel Z87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel I217V Lan 802.11ac WiFi Intel Motherboard

Pros: Highly compatible, Fast.

Cons: None.

Overall Review: This is an update for this board. I've had it for two years now. Bought it in December 2013. There have been a few changes to my configuration. The biggest was adding an i7-4790K. It overclocked to 4.5 GHz with ease. No additional firmware update was necessary. I only use it for gaming and it is running almost every day, alternating with a PS4. i7-4790K 8GB G-Skill Trident DDR3 2400 Corsair H90 AIO Cooler Asrock Z87-E Mini-ITX Gigabyte GTX 970 4GB Seasonic G-Series 750W (Gold) Fractal Design Node 304 case

Great Card

MSI GeForce GTX 970 GAMING 4G
MSI GeForce GTX 970 GAMING 4G

Pros: Fast, Cool, Mostly Quiet.

Cons: Slight coil whine that can only be heard in a quiet room.

Overall Review: Out of the Box this card boosted to the 980 default boost clock speed 1329MHz. With a slight overclock +115 GPU, +350 Memory, it boost to a stable 1460MHz. That a 300MHz and some change overclock. It's housed in a Fractal Node 304 case which sits in a media cabinet behind a closed glass door. I removed the back panel of the cabinet so that the system can exhaust out of the back. Even under those conditions I have not seen the GPU temp rise above 74C. It is connected to an Harman Kardon 7.1 Home Theater receiver. I can hear the coil whine while the card is under load but not enough to take an egg off for because you can't hear it if the sound is up. I only initially detected the coil whine because I had the case cover off and sound muted so that I could listen for fan noise from the card. This is a great card that you can't go wrong with.

10/31/2014

Last update

GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 970 4GB WINDFORCE 3X OC EDITION, GV-N970WF3OC-4GD
GIGABYTE GeForce GTX 970 4GB WINDFORCE 3X OC EDITION, GV-N970WF3OC-4GD

Pros: Very Fast, Cool, No Whine!

Cons: Nada

Overall Review: Ok, so this is the last I have to report. At the same OC settings Iast reported (110% power limit, +140 GPU Clock, +500 Memory Clock) Futuremark Firestrike gives a score of 10945. If you can't get a G1 Gaming card then you certainly can't go wrong with this OC version. It doesn't have the pretty back plate, which would be nice, but you really don't need it. Not with results like these.

10/28/2014

Solid Card, but on the fence.

EVGA GeForce GTX 970 04G-P4-1972-KR 4GB SC GAMING, Silent Cooling Graphics Card
EVGA GeForce GTX 970 04G-P4-1972-KR 4GB SC GAMING, Silent Cooling Graphics Card

Pros: Runs cool, high performance, Runs anything I throw at it.

Cons: Somewhat noisy, Coil whine.

Overall Review: I bought this card from that other online retailer who also sell books because every other model that I'd want is sold out everywhere. EVGA was not my first choice despite there good warranty policy. The primary reason for that is that their cards seem to have endemic coil whine. I had an EVGA GTX 770 that I sold and replaced with a Gigabyte GTX 770 for that same reason. As my choices were limited I thought I'd give EVGA another go. The card performs as advertised. I've been using DSR while play testing Wolfenstein: New Order and Tomb Raider 2013. I don't have the stats for Wolfenstein but here's TR. GTX 970 Stock speed no further OC, (no tweaks) DSR Res 2560x1440 Ultra Settings Tres FX On Min FPS: 24FPS Avg FPS: 42 Hi FPS: 59 1080p Ultra Settings Tres FX On Min FPS: 42 Hi FPS: 71 Avg FPS: 59 GTX 780 1080p res, TFX On Min FPS: 42 Hi FPS: 62 Avg FPS: 59 That's what I can recall from memory. FPS was, as would be expected, better at 1080p with Tres FX off. I'll redo the benchmarks hopefully tonight and update this review. Now, more on why I"m on the fence. I was able to do two things to reduce the fan noise. One was to use the quiet fan preset in Precision X. That runs the fan at 30% up to I think 60c. That keeps the fan noise inaudible in-game under most circumstances. Tomb Raider really works a graphics card though with Tres FX on. It heats up the card fast and the fan kicks in within minutes. It's the only game I have that can do that. I'm coming directly from a Gigabyte GTX 780 GHZ edition. There is no difference in that respect. After what I'd read about the 970 I guess I was hoping it would handle the game better. It does, don't get me wrong, but the game still works it hard. The other thing I did was was to cap the framerate to 60 in Precision X. I believe that also helps but I did it mostly to try and eliminate the coil whine. It helped to reduce it but it is still there. In-game I don't really hear it but on idle I can. It is not as high pitched but I can still detect it. I might be able to live with it but I don't know. I have another 3 weeks to decide. I went with the blower style cooler to reduce my case temps because I've moved the computer into an entertainment center behind a glass door. The first day in the cabinet with the 780 installed told me I either need to leave the door open during gameplay or change cards. I have a Node 304 case and the first gaming session in the entertainment center saw the entire case hot to the touch. The blower certainly reduced the temps to what I was used to when the computer was out in the open. At most it is warm now. So, I've resolved fan noise and the card itself resolves the issue of case heat. The only issue that I may not ultimately be able to deal with is the coil whine. Why EVGA? Why can't you produce a card that does not sing like a tuning fork? I could chalk up one card that does that to bad luck, but this is my second EVGA card. I don't think

10/20/2014