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This review is from: CRYORIG C7 - 47mm Tall, SFF Mini ITX CPU Heatsink
Pros: - Relatively quiet (outside of load)
- Fits on a Mini-ITX board without interfering with other components, namely RAM
- Excellent idle temps (30-35 C)
- Great gaming performance (~80C)
- Responsive support
- Includes plenty of thermal paste
- Very low profile!
Cons: - Has some trouble cooling an i7-6700k behind a dust filter under stress (see below)
- Install directions are obtuse
- Backplate not compatible with some boards (though there are included washers as an alternative)
- Kinda loud during load
Other Thoughts: EDIT: I've updated my pros/cons above in light or more experience with the cooler--it can actually get rather loud under load, especially when compared to the competition.
The install directions require you to use a QR code to watch a video on your phone. This is kinda neat, but I'd much rather have just had decent diagrams on paper, and it doesn't help that the diagrams that ARE on the included paper are sometimes misleading or just confusing. I lost a good bit of time uselessly repositioning the offsets only to later find out I didn't really need to do that step.
My fan makes a high-pitched electronic whine, which I contacted support about. They understandably asked for a video demonstrating the issue, but it was too high-pitched for my dinky phone mic to pick it up. I sent the video and explained that I'd connected the fan to the CPU fan header on another motherboard whose fans are silent, plus connected a fan that doesn't make this noise to my current motherboard's CPU fan header and isolated it to this thing's fan. They promptly shipped me a replacement fan, which is still on its way from Taiwan; I'll update when it arrives, and I fully expect I just got a bad fan,
EDIT: The new fan came in and make no such whine--fantastic! =)
As for cooling performance, I'm largely satisfied with it during games and the like--my 6700k gets to a toasty 80-ish Celsius in the RVZ02B, which is warm, but not catastrophic.
What is disappointing, however, is that during video encoding, I have to remove my RVZ02B's dust filters to keep it in the 95C range--otherwise, the 6700K'll hit 100C and throttle. Either way, it seems like under stress in a case like the RVZ02B, this thing can't quite keep up with the 6700K, which I am not overclocking and is within the claimed TDP of 100W.
This is partly the fault of the case, but I ultimately decided that a 5C difference due to a case dust filter was worth an egg for something billing itself as an SFF cooler for 100W CPUs.
This thing is so tiny, though, that even in something like the RVZ02 there's clearance a slim fan, which I'm going to explore to address my temperature issues.
EDIT: I purchased one of Cryorig's 140mm slim fans and cable-tied it to the side panel. This pushed temps down another 5C, but it also created tons of noise, so I think I'll have to look for another solution.
Overall, I think at this point I would urge others looking to place a high-end core with a higher TDP (the 6700K is nominally 91W) in very slim cases like the Node 202 or the RVZ02 to look elsewhere for their CPU cooler, if you can spare a little bit of height, there are quieter options that can hit the same or better temps.
However, if you're using e.g. one of the 65W i5 cores, have a height restriction, or even just some case fans helping out with the airflow, then the C7 should serve you well, albeit sometimes a little loudly .=)
Pros: - Quality construction
- USB-C and 3.1
- Included WiFi card
- M.2 Support
- Plenty of SATA ports
- A steal at $135
Cons: - Impossible to debug
- Rear panel could have more ports (e.g. some 3.1 ports above the USB-C plug). Feels underutilized.
- Only one extra case fan header
Other Thoughts: I knock two eggs for not being able to diagnose issues with your hardware with this board. I think being able to spot a faulty component is a basic thing, and Gigabyte has made no effort on this front with this board.
Overall, I'd encourage people to look elsewhere for a Mini-ITX board, since this board can leave you completely in the dark if a component fails. It goes on sale for cheap sometimes, and maybe then it's worth the risk, but at its standard price the competing Asus board is very similarly priced and won't leave you hanging when something goes wrong.
In my case, once I'd hooked together the RAM, power supply, cooler, and CPU for a boot test before strapping it all into the case, it would simply spin up for a few seconds and reboot, before it could even output any video.
Strike 1: no included PC speaker
This is apparently normal for Mini ITX--the Asus Mini-ITX board I bought to replace this one didn't either--but I don't think that excuses it. Still, my old PC came with one, so I temporarily cannibalized it before ordering a few PC speakers on the cheap (~$1 each). With the speaker in place, I got 5 long beeps before the reboot. Lesson learned: have a few PC speakers on hand, since they're cheap and it looks like you might not be able to rely on the board including one anymore.
Strike 2: No beep codes list in the manual.
The replacement Asus board doesn't either, but again, no excuse.
Strike 3: Online list doesn't include this beep code.
Some additional research (https://www.google.com/search?q=gigabyte+beep+codes&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8) revealed that nobody really knows what 5 long beeps means, and people seem to fix it with everything from replacing their RAM to spotting bent CPU pins. Also, the Gigabyte indicates that 5 SHORT beeps indicates a CPU issue, so I undid my CPU cooler and checked that the CPU pins were totally fine, then strapped it all back in--after removing the old thermal paste, of course. A tedious process, to be sure.
Finally, since the G-Skill TridentZ 3000MHz RAM I bought wasn't on the QVL and RAM is usually the weakest part, I ordered the cheapest Corsair RAM that WAS on the QVL because I didn't have any DDR4 sticks lying around. With that in place, the board booted, indicating the issue was the RAM. I also tried the TridentZ sticks in the Asus board and it wouldn't boot, either, indicating they were most likely DOA.
However, to contrast the Asus board with this one, its POST would fail with the board's RAM LED lit and the "hardware failure" beep code (which is actually listed on their website, though shame on them for not sticking it in the manual! https://www.asus.com/support/faq/1029959).
With that, I would've been able to immediately suspect that the RAM was DOA, instead of the journey this board led me on involving purchasing an entirely superfluous stick of RAM and reseating my CPU twice.
Pros: - Genuinely quiet & cool
- Fan doesn't turn on until 65C, keeps it below 75C
- Whisper quiet even when it is on; I have a quiet build, and I can only barely tell the difference when the card is under load
- Idles around 45C
- Good value, especially with the free game
- Plays Witcher 3 at 1440p at 50 FPS with only a few inconsequential settings turned down, 60 at 1080 virtually maxed out (save for the nVidia hair stuff)
- Builtin hardware video encoder can record gameplay footage in CBR with almost no effect on framerate
Cons: - Not as powerful as I had hoped (but I had my expectations set WAY too high)
Other Thoughts: I'm really happy I purchased this card; I expected the claims about noise and temperature to be a little inflated, but I was surprised with how much better they turned out to be in practice. They really are true--the fan doesn't turn on until it needs to, and it REALLY doesn't need to be on all the time.
I used this card to refresh my PC for Witcher 3, since the GPU was probably the part needing the most attention. I upgraded from an MSI Radeon 7950, whose most bothersome quality was its propensity to spin up excessively loudly, so the noise features of this card have been a godsend. It performs appreciably better, having fewer framerate issues on newer titles at better settings than I was becoming accustomed to.
I had skimped before when building my rig--spending at most $200 on GPUs. I only got the 7950 at that price secondhand from a friend. Boy am I glad I ponied up for this one; I expect it to fare much better for much longer. The circa-$300 price tag (when accounting for the free goodies) is great value.
ASUS Sebretooth x58 Motherboard
20GB G-Skill 1866 MHz DDR3 RAM
Samsung 850 Pro 256 GB SSD
620W Cooler Master M2 Silent Pro PSU