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GIGABYTE Aorus GA-Z270X-Gaming K7 (rev. 1.0) LGA 1151 Intel Z270 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 ATX Motherboards - Intel
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Pros: The appearance of quality construction is paramount when looking over the board. From the thick and solid heatsinks to the trim and precise solder points, to the metal reinforced PCI-E and memory DIMM slots, the board has a lot going for it.

In the Aesthetics department, they went with an elegant neutral color scheme that should work well in most cases. If you can match it with some black and white braided cables, this thing is really going to shine.

Next in Aesthetics is RGB. It's got it. It's got the software to configure it pretty extensively too, I may add. If you go in for that kind of thing, then you'll probably be pretty satisfied. It covers most major sections of the board and even offers the ability to swap out some stenciled patterned strips to change the appearance. It's also extensible where you can add your own strips external to the board itself.

NVMe M.2 drives are awesome. You can fit two of them on this board. Where? In the best spots conceivable. Above the main GPU location (rather than beneath it forcing you to remove the GPU to access it) where it's always visible and accessible. The other one is between the lower PCI-E slots, also where it won't easily be restricted. So you can drop in a high-performance main SSD into one slot for bleeding fast all around performance, and then give a 2nd one dedicated just for games, so load times are as minimalistic as one can expect. Meanwhile, you haven't even had to attach a drive yet for data. Nice!

Dual NICs. One Killer, the other Intel. Personally, I've never been able to extract observable benefits from the Killer NICs. That being said, I also have never had issues using the Killer NICs. Want to avoid it altogether, just use the Intel NIC. You have options here.

Optane. I'm not going into this more as right now no one can really say much about something that is as of yet not available for real world testing. But if it's something you plan to leverage in the future, you'll have support for it here.

The BIOS is super friendly to get around inside. If you don't know much about overclocking, it's got some out of the box offerings to bring you up to some reasonable speeds. This board has Gigabyte's notable Dual BIOS feature that they've offered for years now. With this one even more management around that with the ability to turn off the feature and to switch between them with physical switches.

G-Connector. I have to say the last time I used Gigabyte, they didn't have this. As a long time Asus user, I always liked how they provided an adapter to attach all the front panel connectors to so it could be attached and detached as a single entity to the motherboard. Gigabyte now has that too with G-Connector.

The onboard audio is better than what I expected for a Realtek based design.

Cons: I wonder a lot about the oversell of quality where quality isn't needed to the level it's being provided such that cost is a factor. The metal reinforced slots on the board seem like a great offering. But has anyone had an issue in the past where this was an obviously needed feature? I don't know what the cost difference is in having it vs not, but if you took all the little things like that and stacked them, how much more affordable could this board be and still be just as dependable in terms of quality. Granted Gigabyte does offer more affordable options and this is an "Aorus" branded board, which is essentially stating that it's going to cost a tad more for good set of neat things, but it still begs the question in my mind.

On the RGB topic, if you don't like it, you can turn it off. So that's not really the Con here. The swapping out of the patterned strips though seems pretty forgettable. Who's going to be actually doing this? Think your buddy is going to notice you made the change when he stops over and sees that yours is somehow different than anyone else. I think not. So I wouldn't go as far to say this is a useless feature, just one that provides little to no value in terms of it being a determining factor as to why you would choose this board.

The audio is good, but still not great. This is the K7 version of the Aorus Gaming boards. The actual Gaming-7 has an integrated Creative sound solution. As far as I can tell, between the K7 and 7, this is the most notable feature difference. I think you are selling yourself short a bit getting this board if you are planning on doing onboard sound. Is it worth the $40 price upgrade to go to the Gaming-7? I don't think that either. I think the K7 should not exist and only the Gaming-7 should instead; with it only costing a mere $20 more. Just my opinion. But if your headphones are decent sounding and benefit from a little more "oomph" and onboard is your preferred choice, I'd go for the board offering the Creative solution. When I used my Sennheiser G4ME ONE headphones on this board, they sound more empty and flat than usual. I normally use them with a dedicated sound card.

Overclocking is easy with this board, whether you use their instant gratification built-in profiles, or set it yourself. In my younger years, I had the patience to fiddle with every setting. Now I like to set a few settings and let the board figure out the leftover settings through "Auto". With this board, if you do that, expect things to run hot if the voltage is one of the settings you don't want to mess with. Leaving it be "Auto" simply pumps too much juice and therefore heat is the by-product. I was using a 6700K and when it was doing anything intensive, 90+C° was the norm. So if you don't enjoy fiddling with Voltage (I don't), then be aware you may have to. The counterpoint to all this is simply that whether 60C° or 90C°, both Skylake and Kabylake, it probably won't matter in terms of the getting the highest stable available overclock. These Intel chips these days simply don't benefit as much getting higher clock results from lower temps. But if I'm sitting for hours on end gaming next to this thing, I'd prefer it not wasting so much energy to simply heat the room and air around me. So lower temps are preferable all the same.

Other Thoughts: Let me preface this by saying that this is "Gaming" board and I reviewed it from the perspective of gaming. Running Linux, surveillance systems and the like can easily have that niche filled from other mundane offerings. If you are hitting up this line of hardware first to fill those requirements, you are overshooting the mark and quite possibly overspending (not that argument couldn't be made for gaming itself, but I digress).

So what falls into play when the term "Gaming" is applied. A few things, namely actually playing games, running the most prevalent occurring OS for gaming (which in this case is Windows 10), performance (out of the box) and overclocking (how far we can push it to extend performance).

Closely related and commonly associated is aesthetics. While not a necessary component, the RGB craze has infiltrated all things gaming hardware in the past year or so. So I touched on that also.

Aorus. Think Asus's ROG brand. Gigabyte obviously wants to get into this field too. I don't blame them. After watching Asus take a $200 board and slowly brand it out (and up) year after year so they can now charge $400 for the product line board, I have to imagine they fell like they are missing out.

Starting off, this is a great board. It's through no fault of their own, Giga-byte that being, that it's anything other than the best anyone could expect at this prince range (except of course simply just giving us the better onboard audio solution). Intel, on the other hand, has been giving us nothing to gain for a few generations now. A good argument can be made that if you still have a 2600K rocking a solid overclock, that upgrading to 270X and Kabylake is not much of an upgrade. We're talking 5+-year-old hardware that nearly keeps up in terms of performance (especially from the gaming standpoint). Power usage certainly is better here. I won't argue that. But I don't find it to be a common theme when talking to most that they chose to upgrade for minimal performance gains to save on the power usage front. Not to say it never happens, but largely isn't the case.

Intel is complete "hum drum" with their latest offerings, and that leaves Giga-byte in the position of coming up with purchase justification all on their own. I'd say they put in a good attempt with the things offered on this board. The RGB stuff is cool. I know it's not for everyone, but I like it, and I'm sure others do too.

To test this board, I didn't go out and buy a Kabylake 7700K. I used the 6700K I already had. I just couldn't justify it. So what I can say in terms of overclocking is that this board did exactly the same for my 6700K as did any other board the same 6700K has ever been used in. This seems to be the ever so boring case with Intel chips these days is that coolers, motherboards and other things don't change much about the CPU's overclocking experience. The outcome is nearly always the same. That being said, how easy it's achieved by simply interacting with the BIOS/software at hand is a minor factor worth considering. I'd say this board offers a lot in that department. It's easy to use. So the standard outcome of any given chip is easily achieved.

I used a 6700K with Corsair H80iV2, 32GB of Corsair DDR4-3200 RAM, a Samsung 850Pro 256GB SSD (wish I had a PCI-E NVMe available). GPU was a nVidia GeForce Titan-X Pascal. OS was Win10 Pro.

After hitting my CPU's paltry 4.6GHz overclock (my chip sucks), I was able to play games on this motherboard for weeks. I played Titanfall 2, Battlefield 1, Overwatch, The Witcher 3 and other various titles. Ran without a hitch. I did end up lowering the voltage though to keep heat output in check.

I think Gigabyte did a great job with this board. I think it competes well against the Asus ROG line. It certainly is more price attractive for the features you get. My only gripe is that I'd rather see the Creative sound option be the standard and then price it somewhere less than $240.

Here's hoping at AMD's Ryzen launch that the same Aorus line of AMD capable boards come along with it. Now that is a board that has my attention!

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EZVIZ Mini O 720p HD Wi-Fi Home Video Monitoring Security Camera, Built-in Speaker and Mic, Works with Alexa using IFTTT
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1 out of 5 eggs Overpriced Gimmicky Camera ran by a Rookie Operation 12/13/2016

This review is from: EZVIZ Mini O 720p HD Wi-Fi Home Video Monitoring Security Camera, Built-in Speaker and Mic, Works with Alexa using IFTTT

Pros: It's got this cool magnetic base. The cord is long.

Cons: Doesn't work with anything other than a cell phone.
Setup doesn't work at all despite multiple methods provided.
Requires paid subscription to a relatively unknown company for offsite access.

Other Thoughts: I tried multiple times over weeks over and over to get this thing to work, but it simply doesn't. The camera is really only designed to work with a smartphone. I absolutely hate companies living on that model with the assumption that everyone should have a smartphone and that it must be either Apple or Android. Why a $80 camera should drive the need for a multi-hundred dollar phone is ridiculous.

The first thing it wants you to do is to download their app on your phone. OK done. Then, of course, they want you to sign up for an account. I didn't want to for the sake of the review, but they leave you will little choice. So I imagine I can expect to receive marketing email either from them or whoever they sold my email to.

You can't interface with the camera to tell it how to get onto your wifi without the app and smartphone. So they have you scan a QR code for the camera from your phone and then ask what your wifi password is. I did this and provided the information. From there nothing happened ever. Either the phone could not talk to the camera or the camera couldn't seem to make the wifi password work. Either way, I couldn't tell as there wasn't any good feedback. The only options are to keep trying.

After enough attempts, it will finally let you try another method where you can take the same information and generate a QR code on the phone. The idea is that you are going to show the camera the QR code and it will see it, understand the info and set the wifi password and then the camera will be connected. This also never worked no matter how many times I tried.

I tried from multiple phones also.

To me, this is an undeveloped niche product that is worth $15 tops. Everything about it reeks of bad design decisions and catering to the illusion of mass market trends.

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Linksys CM3016 16x4 686 Mbps DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem
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5 out of 5 eggs Stable and Works 11/06/2016

This review is from: Linksys CM3016 16x4 686 Mbps DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem

Pros: Very fast
Stable
Good Looking

Cons: A bit large

Other Thoughts: I’ve own two cable modems in the past because cable companies liked to charge you to rent them. They are simple devices, you connect them and they work. You never have to update the drivers or firmware, they either work or they don’t. I’ve had two Motorola surfboards style modems in the past. A DOCSIS 2 and when the cable company updated to the new standard, DOCSIS 3.

Recently, I’ve been having issue with the stability of my connection; meaning my network would go down for about a minute or two about twice a week. My last surfboard was a few years older, I had the cable company come in and take a look. They ended up fixing a few things, but they suggested I try a new modem to completely solve my issue. Luckily Newegg provided this to me around that same time.

The first thing I noticed is the size of the device. It’s about twice the size of my previous device. Other than that, about everything was the same. Same number of lights on the outside, same connections on the back.

I’ve been on it about 2 months now, and my network stability has gone way up. And I’ve noticed no other issues. I haven’t made any other changes. I’m not sure if the old surfboard was starting to go, or the new Linksys firmware supported newer features that worked better on my network (charter spectrum 60 meg, by the way), but what I do know is that it works, and things have been very stable, and no issues.

So if you still live where it’s cheaper to buy your modem over renting, I would recommend this model, I’ve been very happy with it. A big thanks for Newegg for offering this device right around the same time I needed one anyway.

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Nathan R.'s Profile

Display Name: Nathan R.

Date Joined: 06/21/02

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  • First Review: 10/25/02
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