Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Asus P67 Sabertooth Motherboard

Lian Li PC-9F
Asus Sabertooth P67 (B3 stepping south bridge)
Intel Core i7-2600K
Prolimatech Megahalems Rev. B
PNY 8GB DDR3 PC-10666
160GB Intel X-25M Gen 2
Corsair AX850
2 x Scythe Gently Typhoon
2 x Noctua NF-S12B FLX


Longer warranty

Accessories and cables

Rear ports

Solid alloy chokes

TUF thermal armor (The Ultimate Force)

Only half the pins are present for PCI-E 8x

Chassis fan and cpu fan headers both PWM

Good clearance

50mm fan can be installer here, fan header is right under the cover

Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP-14

GTX 570 SC and AX850

PCIe spacing
Front intake fans are Noctua NF-S12B FLX

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lian Li PC-9F

The case is very light, surprisingly light actually. I was very careful when working with it as I was afraid to bend it or damage it. I remember reading one member on [H] saying this case felt "flimsy" and I do agree with him. I was checking out the Corsair 700D at Microcenter and that case is built like a tank, my own ThinkStation is also levels stronger. But, it's just the way aluminum of this thickness is, just be careful with it. The fans included with this case are just crap. I have some Gentle Typhoon AP-14s on order to replace the front fans. I replaced the rear with an Arctic Cooling F12 for the moment so I could use the PWM function.

I like the tool-less design, although I must say it is inferior to my ThinkStation D20's ease of use. The 5.25" drive bay design is very good, the 3.5" bays are okay, but not that stellar. I am at a loss that there are no 2.5" bays or adapters. It is 2011 and SSDs have been out for over 12 months.

The case internals are nice and smooth except for the cable routing holes which are a little bit sharp and not sanded down. Cable management on this case is just excellent. After I spent some time planning and organizing my cabling, I realized just how fantastic and easy it is to get excellent looks and superior air flow. I had initially removed the 3.5" bay tower, but noticed that GTX570's temps were no different so I just put it back.

The top panel USB and buttons are actually very clever and make it much easier to use. Although, I dislike the super bright blue LED for power and red LED reset button that doubles as a HDD activity indicator. But these are minor annoyances and it's just me being picky.

Overall I chose this case because it was one of the few that does not look like it was built for a child. I am at an age where acrylic windows and LEDs are actually annoying, I value silence more than anything. I like this case's straight and simple lines along with the cooling capabilities.

Lian Li PC-9F Interior

PC-9F cabling view

Friday, March 4, 2011

Microcenter 64GB SSD Review

Microcenter 64GB SSD

I got two of these open box drives for $79 each and they work perfectly fine. They just come in this white paper box with nothing else inside. It's either the cheapest packaging or most environmentally friendly packaging I have ever seen.

I can see why people are returning these SSDs by the truckload... They make Windows BSOD when you boot. The problem seems to be the 3.1.0 firmware it's running. I had to turn on hot plugging in the BIOS then boot into Windows7 x64, hot plug the SATA cable. After this the SSD was detected properly and Windows did not crash. After the firmware update I also see what others mentioned with the life going from 90% back to 100% and the temperature reporting much higher than normal; from 25C idle to 56C idle. I am guessing ADATA will fix this in the next release.

Another problem I ran into was the firmware update itself. The ADATA utility would not detect the drive no matter what I did: AHCI and Legacy(PATA) mode. It turns out you have to run the flashing application in Vista SP2 compatible mode. After these few hiccups I was able to flash both my drives to the newest 3.4.8 firmware provided by ADATA for the S599.

I am using 1 SSD in my HTPC (C2D E8400, 8GB, HD5450) also running Win7 X64 Ultimate and it works great. Windows Media Center loads instantly, I don't notice much difference from my 160GB X-25M. Netflix on Media Center is improved significantly. Before it would take a good 5-10 seconds to load the specific movie title details, now it's instant. The whole Media Center experience is improved drastically. In the Windows Experience Index it scores a 7.6 vs. 7.8 for the X-25M. The biggest benefit is the elimination of noise.

Now on to the PS3 Slim. I can't notice much difference from the original 320GB(Toshiba) that was included from factory. Netflix loads a little faster, but not as much as I thought it would. I don't really game much on the PS3 so I haven't tested game load speeds much. I will install Street Fighter and GT5 later when I have more time. I'll update more with game load speeds.

Link to ADATA S599 firmware 3.6.5

iPSG Microcenter 64GB SSD firmware 3.4.6

The above are direct links to the manufacturer firmware updates. I claim no responsibility or ownership of the firmware. Any changes or damages resulting from using the firmware upgrade is the user's own fault.

Microcenter 64GB SSDs