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Pros: Edit: Heavily revised review.
This card would be pretty sweet if it worked like it should.
What should make this card stand out?
Comes with an M.2 slot, integrated Creative sound card, easy access MB controls such as reset and power, Killer Ethernet(which is supposed to improve in game experience), and also red LED lighting which looks pretty nice.
Cons: The Killer NIC is a piece of junk. Unfortunately, I realized this too late. Tried dozens of drivers, etc. Tried straight drivers, tried Killer's program, tried the removal tool and tried the stuff on forums. It initially disconnected every 15min when I was doing heavy downloading, very annoying but I thought I worked around it with the 8th driver config I tried. After 3 weeks of use it started rapidly connecting/disconnecting, and somehow slowed the internet connection speed on the entire network from 60mbps down to under 46kbps. Disconnect the NIC and everything is 60mbps again. External USB and PCIe NIC's work fine. I WILL NEVER buy another motherboard with a Killer NIC on it.
Poor audio shielding. If I'm in a game and connect my mic to the rear input, apparently I sound like I have a lawnmower next to me. I'm lead to believe noise from the GPU's is interfering with the creative onboard sound. It isn't the headphones and it only happens when playing a game but through all voice applications(TS3, mumble, and in-game for BF4 and R6 Siege), regardless of drivers(and yes I tried another PSU). If you read the MFR notes you're supposed to make sure to update the realtek drivers before the creative drivers. This doesn't help it, nor do different driver versions.
Other Thoughts: This is my 5th Gigabyte MB. I was practically a Gigabyte fanboy, but after I had two bad GPU experiences(GTX680, literally came with wrong firmware making it more like a 670 and ran hot compared to other gigabyte 680 after they provided me with a custom firmware to make it do what it was specced to do, & GTX980ti which they installed a bent as**d cooler onto and then proceeded to blame me for and they refuse to support) and now this. I expect I will be trying other brands in the future.
MB: Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 7
GPU: x2 Gigabyte 980ti G1 Gaming in SLI with EK water blocks
CPU: i7 4770k with copper water block, no OC at this time
MEM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB @ 2133MHz
SSD: Samsung 950 Pro 512GB M.2
PSU: EVGA Supernova G2 1300W
- Tons of fan and radiator mounting options. 480mm length. I have two 120x360mm radiators on the top with a bay reservoir.
- Great airflow. Comes with two removable non-magnetic dust filters for the bottom rear of the case(each covers ~2 fan positions), and 4x 480mm magnetic dust filters for the top and side.
- Horizontal motherboard mounting. This is better than vertical if you have a non-reference video card venting air out the side, or if you have heavy PCI/PCIe cards that would otherwise strain the motherboard slots.
- Great modularity. The side panels can be swapped to either side along with the controls(4x USB 3.0, PWR, Reset). Modular fan or HDD/SSD positioning. There is room for one SSD underneath the motherboard, comes with 3 brackets for mounting fans to the bottom or sides of the case( each bracket is good for either 1 HDD case or 2 fans each, I'm running 120mm fans).
- Includes two case fans, one rear mounted 120mm and one front mounted 230mm. Keep in mind that case fans are generally cheap and will never compare well to a decent aftermarket fan.
- Only room for 3 single height bay drives. After my dual din bay reservoir and fan controller I'm out of room. If you have a bay reservoir and want to get this case, I recommend getting a cylinder reservoir. They're easier to flush anyway and mounting my XSPC bay reservoir in this case is not overly secure.
- Doesn't come with brackets for mounting SSD's(excluding where you can mount one beneath the motherboard). Most cases don't come with SSD brackets, but this is something to note.
- Thumb screws go in at an angle for the panels, causing it to feel kinda chintzy. Just fine if you don't plan on moving it much though.
- My case arrived slightly warped, however in way better condition than the last case I ordered from Newegg. This could've been avoided if the side panels actually latched into place, but as is, they simply slide into place and provide little additional structural support once they slip out of place. I could see stacking two of these, but I wouldn't want to go higher than that.
Other Thoughts: The cons listed are really just things to keep in mind and plan around. I felt mislead in no way by the product description.
Overall, this case comes with lots of fan and radiator mounting options as well as superb modularity for the price. The spacious interior allows for easy cable routing and management and a variety of airflow options. The filters are also a nice touch as well. If you have the room and don't plan on moving your case much, then I would definitely recommend this case.
CPU: Intel Core i7-4770K Quad-Core, delidded and OC'd to 4.4GHZ@1.24V
GPU: GIGABYTE G1 Gaming 980ti x2 in SLI
RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB (2x8GB) DDR3 2133 MHz
MB: Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 7
SSD: Samsung 950 PRO 512GB + Samsung 840 PRO 512GB
PSU: EVGA Supernova G2 1300W 80+ Gold
Case: Thermaltake X9
Cooling: Custom CPU & GPU loop with two XSPC RX360's and twin D5 pumps.
Pros: Speedy! Takes a whopping 1 second to load Windows 10! With my previous 3x Samsung 840 Pro RAID0 config it still took ~6 second to load windows. Wait, I spent how much? :S
Cons: I had issues trying to install Win7 from a disc. Dozens of BIOS configs, couldn't get my motherboard to recognize this drive for the life of me, even with newest drivers and BIOS. Could be compatibility issues with the newest drivers, OS, motherboard, or the fact that I was trying to install via disc. I shoved a Win10 flash drive in and away it went with factory defaults.I had other issues with my MB too so it'd be unfair to blame it on this device as it works perfectly at this time.
Only con might be that my motherboard requires Windows boot loader be primary in the BIOS(rather than this drive) otherwise it won't boot, and it feels like it could boot faster if it didn't need to do this. Seems my previous SATA3 Samsung SSD's didn't need this so it's probably something new with the M.2 port. Again, probably more of a motherboard/port issue than this SSD.
Other Thoughts: MB: Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 7
GPU: Gigabyte 980ti G1 Gaming, 2x SLI with EK waterblocks
CPU: i7 4770k with waterblock
SSD: Samsung 950 Pro 512GB
MEM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB @ 2133
PSU: EVGA Supernova G2 1300W