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BIOSTAR TA970 Plus AM3+ AMD 970 / SB950 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Motherboards - AMD
  • Verified Owner
  • neweggOwned For: 1 month to 1 year

4 out of 5 eggs Reasonably good motherboard, but HiFi? Not by a far shot. 01/03/2017

This review is from: BIOSTAR TA970 Plus AM3+ AMD 970 / SB950 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Motherboards - AMD

Pros: A decent mid-level board with a number of good features, such as a clean layout of the connectors, a front-panel USB-3 header, and two full PCI-E x16 slots. Useful connectors include infrared and a serial port. The board appears robust and solidly built.

A particular plus is the connector that allows to mount a mSATA SSD directly on-board, very attractive to save space and cables.

All functions, including the hardware sensors, worked out of the box with a recent GNU/Linux distribution.

Cons: Hi-Fi? Hi-Fi what? Sure, the MOSFET heatsink is designed as a cute piano keyboard, but this, and the abundant HiFi labels are all there is about high-quality audio. First, the chipset is no different from many other boards. Second, the trick seems to mute audio when the sound level drops below a certain threshold to hide the hissing and crackling of the switching transients. Third, the alleged audio ground, is that the same that connects with one mounting post and creates a connection to regular ground via the case chassis?

Seriously, the switching transients from the power supply kick through into the audio system with merciless intensity. The hissing, chirping and whining is hard to ignore even in mid-volume passages of music. In soft passages, the music tends to drop out, because the sound threshold function kicks in -- very annoying. What is the point of allegedly using hifi-resistors and capacitors (please define what those are!) if the signals are not clean to begin with?

Supposedly, the board comes with some software for audio control. For Linux users, this is useless -- as usual. Even with Windows, it would be a stretch to imagine that the software can correct the hardware flaws in the audio subsystem. Based on the description, the audio support software is nothing more than a gimmick.

Don't get misled -- this board is as far removed from Hi-Fi audio as a 1930's vacuum tube radio. One egg off for that.

Other Thoughts: If you are using this as a moderately-priced board for a general-purpose PC, it will serve its purpose. If you look at playing music or need high-quality sound, either look elsewhere or buy a good sound card and disable the on-board sound subsystem.

Lastly, the description of the board states for the onboard graphic: "Supported only by CPU with integrated graphic" -- this is not correct. This board does not have any on-board graphics and requires a separate graphics card.

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iStarUSA D-213-MATX Black Aluminum / Steel 2U Rackmount microATX Server Chassis 1 External 5.25
  • Verified Owner
  • neweggOwned For: 1 week to 1 month

5 out of 5 eggs Tight case, but a real space-saver in server racks 08/09/2016

This review is from: iStarUSA D-213-MATX Black Aluminum / Steel 2U Rackmount microATX Server Chassis 1 External 5.25" Drive Bays

Pros: Many reviewers identified the lack of space in this case. Agreed, but this makes for a very compact and space-saving case in a server rack, which uses only 2U of space. The case is solidly built, has a modern look, comes with sufficient mounting materials. If you want to house a small-business, medium-sized server (for example, LAMP & OwnCloud) without too much processing requirements, this is the case for you.

Cons: The tight interior is definitely a con, but this is known and therefore does not warrant knocking off an egg. A 9.5" micro-ATX just barely fits, and 3.5 " hard disks would extend over the top of the motherboard edge, partially covering some connectors (SATA, power). Also, cable routing is a nightmare, and a modular PSU is recommended.

Airflow is not optimal. Space for two 80mm fans is provided, and two fans should be used to move enough air. Slimline fans, if possible. The PSU draws air through the top cover, which means (1) that the top cover must have enough clearance and (2) the PSU fan does not contribute to the air flow inside the case. Moreover, if a HDD is mounted in the 5.25" bay, it receives no airflow. Air flow is probably the single biggest challenge with this case.

Clearly, a half-height graphics card is needed (or even better, a graphics card built into the motherboard).

Two minor improvements suggested: Provide mounting holes for 2.5" SSD, and use less bright LEDs.

Other Thoughts: To help the decision whether this case is useful in a specific case, let me try to review what fits inside the case. As mentioned, the ideal motherboard would be a micro-ATX with built-in VGA. There are two 3.5" internal bays that could hold 2 disks each, if the lower disk would not collide with the motherboard space. SSDs are not a problem -- a whole stack of SSDs fit nicely. In addition, there is a two-position 5.25" bay, which can hold one HDD and one external optical drive. Therefore, we can accommodate:

* Three, 3.5" HDDs and one 5.25" optical drive (DVD or so), drive underneath the optical drive receives no airflow
* Two, 3.5" HDDs and one 5.25" optical drive, both HDDs receive airflow from the front 80mm fans, and space underneath the optical drive can be used to stow away extra power cables
* Four, 3.5" HDDs, no optical drive (and cooling becomes a challenge!)
* Perhaps six, 2.5" HDDs (SSDs) with optical drive, lower 5.25" bay not used (best thermal solution)

As for extension slots, 4 slots are available, out of them probably 3 usable (depends on motherboard). Any extension card needs to be half height.

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2 out of 5 eggs Through USB audio better than many reviews suggest 01/28/2016

This review is from: Klipsch KG-200 Pro Audio Wired Gaming Headset

Pros: Versatile headphone for PC and different game consoles -- comes with the necessary adapters. I won't repeat what most reviews already agree on: Instead, the most interesting feature for me is that it works out of the box in Linux. The Linux kernel recognizes it as a USB 1.1 audio streaming device and loads the USB audio subsystem. The headphone then immediately appears in the audio mixer panel. As a side plus, the switching noise, referred to in other reviews, is much less severe when the headphones are used as USB streaming device. In fact, it appears as if the sound quality is better when it is used in USB mode than in analog mode (even when an external USB power supply is used to reduce switching noise). In this respect, it is probably worth the money when on sale.

Cons: As other reviews mentioned, this headset is extremely sensitive to switching noise, and the fluctuations of the USB power lines cause high levels of noise -- this only when the USB power adapter is used with the analog 3.5mm jacks, though. The user manual recommends a separate power supply, and that helps, too. Two eggs off for a poorly designed analog amplifier stage.

The buttons on the side of the cup are widely useless. Try to find the right button without looking at them! Volume adjustment is slow. The chat and mic volume buttons don't seem to do anything (muting works, though). The LED indicator is useless for the same reason -- have a mirror so you can see the tiny LED on the side of the right cup? One more egg off for poorly designed pushbuttons.

Other Thoughts: I purchased this as an open-box item (oops -- Newegg does not allow reviews for open box items -- sorry 'bout that) -- the box looked untouched or at least carefully resealed. Everything was packed as if it was never opened; all parts were included. I was quite happy about this, although it seems that the price difference between open box and new item is dwindling.

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MARK H.'s Profile

Display Name: MARK H.

Date Joined: 06/04/05

  • Reviews: 39
  • Helpfulness: 17
  • First Review: 09/21/11
  • Last Review: 01/03/17
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