Date Joined: 01/25/11
Pros: - first rate build quality. everything fits perfectly
- good looking case, especially if you prefer a minimalist design
- plenty of space for your E-ATX or SSI-EEB mainboard
- flexible layout with many fan, radiator and drive-mounting options
- a joy to build in with excellent cable management
- 5.25" bays may find a good use, such as U.2 SSDs (be aware that installing things in the 5.25" bays may interfere with the topmost drive trays in storage mode)
- 6x hard drive trays included (4 come installed in the 2 drive cages in the bottom)
- 3x 140mm case fans included
Cons: - a bit pricey, especially if you buy additional drive trays (think of how long you'll have the case though..)
- one of the two drive cages installed in the bottom of the case is quite close to the PSU and you'll probably remove it (stealing its 2 drive trays)
Overall Review: If you're in the market for a large case, especially one that can support the installation of many hard drives, this one deserves your consideration. If you're doing a gaming-oriented build I recommend the Meshify 2 XL or Lian Li's O11 Dynamic XL.
Pros: This is a lot of compute power for your money. The stock cooler looks good & performs easily well enough if you're running it stock. XFR2 provides safe dynamic overclocking based on current load & temperature. For the first time in years I'm running my desktop CPU with a stock cooler and no manual overclock. It performs great as-is, so I'm not really motivated to tinker with manual overclocking. Yes, you can get better gaming performance with Intel but even as someone who enjoys 1080p gaming on a 144Hz monitor I'm very happy with the frame rates I'm getting with this processor. Still, high frame-rate 1080p is where Intel makes the most sense ; at 1440p (and especially 4K) I wouldn't even consider Intel. Next year you'll also have the option to drop a ZEN 2 processor into your mainboard with only a BIOS update required.
Cons: If you want the absolute most frames that you can get at 1080p (or even 1440p) and you don't care much about cost, this isn't the processor for you.
Overall Review: If you have good quality TIM on hand by all means use it, but the pre-applied TIM on the stock cooler is actually fine, and will perform better than your TIM if it's misapplied. I recommend 3200 MHz memory for Ryzen processors. Tight timings (like 14-14-14-34) will help performance, but 3200 MHz is the main thing so if you prefer to spend a bit less and get Cas16 memory that will be fine. Look for memory that's advertised as Ryzen-compatible, and check the manufacturer's QVL to ensure compatibility with your mainboard. Memory compatibility is much improved in 2nd-gen Ryzen but you can still avoid a potential headache by doing a little investigation before you place your order.
Pros: DDR4-3200 at tight timings with no messing around - just select DCOP in the BIOS and enjoy.
Cons: Expensive, but you're getting what you pay for. No LED lights, so if that matters to you check out F4-3200C14D-16GTZR.
Overall Review: Before buying any modules for your system, check G.Skill's QVL to ensure compatibility.
Pros: 144 Hz
FreeSync support (48Hz minimum)
fast response time (1ms gray-to-gray)
VESA mounting support
video looks great
DisplayPort cable included
Cons: quite sensitive to viewing angle (even more than I expected with a TN panel)
text doesn't look great (OK for a TN panel I guess, and not awful)
power & DisplayPort cables could be 1 ft. longer
the menu controls are quite annoying to use
Overall Review: Obviously this isn't the ultimate 27" display for gaming (it's not 1440p), but you're getting a lot for your money here. I use this as a 2nd monitor, and my primary/work display is a 27" IPS. Although text looks better on my IPS monitor, I can still use the XG2701 for work when I need the extra space. Gaming and video playback are both a delight on the XG2701.
The menu controls really are terrible, and it affects your first impression of the monitor because you spend a lot of time messing with the settings at first. However, after you finish the setup you shouldn't have much cause to use the menus, so it's not really a big deal. Don't not buy this monitor because of this.
The stand is the best I've ever had on an LCD display, and it's really easy to install it by yourself. I just laid the display down on my bed (panel facing up obviously), and installing the stand took about 1 minute (no tools required). You can easily easily tilt the display, adjust the height, and even rotate the display for portrait mode. I probably won't use portrait mode myself but it's cool that it's supported. I particularly appreciated the height adjustment because I could set the height of this display to exactly the same as my other 27" monitor. Also the display is firmly supported by the stand, so it doesn't wobble as I'm typing like the flimsy stand on my other monitor. I love my other monitor but it has a cheap stand.
FreeSync is a great feature which I hope will become standard on all displays including TVs (consoles AND NVIDIA should support it too). It doesn't add much cost and it does the job well enough. FreeSync on this particular display will only help if the frame rate is somewhere in the 48Hz-144Hz range. The 48Hz lower limit is a weak point, as you can find monitors with a 30Hz lower limit. However, I don't consider this a real problem because you don't want your frame rate dipping below 48 fps anyway (turn down in-game graphics settings as needed). If you can keep frame rate above 80 most of the time, you'll be really happy (and obviously it takes less GPU power to do that at 1080p vs 1440p). Also limit the frame rate of the game to 142 fps (just to make sure it stays under 144). You can impose a system-wide limit on frame rate but I haven't looked into that yet. You also have to enable DP 1.2 and FreeSync in the monitor settings.
For the response time setting, "advanced" is what most people use because it's decently fast and doesn't seem to have a noticeable downside compared to "standard". "ultra fast" provides a noticeable improvement in games, but you'll see some ghosting when scrolling a web page for example. So far I've decided to just leave it at "ultra fast" to avoid using the menus each time I start & stop gaming. It would have been a nice feature on this monitor to let you choose what button 2 does when the menu system is inactive (e.g. switch inputs or change the response time setting).
I like to see examples of settings people are using on their monitors, so I'm providing my own settings here:
Windows settings (right click desktop -> display settings -> advanced display settings -> color calibration)
I adjusted gamma down 15 ticks (click on the slider, then press down arrow 15 times).
Monitor settings (unspecified settings are at defaults):
Contrast = 64 (60-70 range seems best)
Brightness = 12 (low backlight strength for a dark room)
* Color Adjust:
user color: RGB = 90,90,90
* Manual Image Adjust:
sharpness = 100
blue light filter = 80
* Advanced Image Adjust:
view mode = standard
AMD FreeSync = enabled
response time = ultra fast (some ghosting, but I don't mind)
low input lag = ultra fast (seems to have no downside)
black stabilization = 5 (6+ ruins color contrast)
* Setup Menu:
DP 1.2 = enabled
All in all, it's a nice compromise for me. It's a TN panel with the usual shortcomings of TN (perhaps more noticeable in a 27" 1080p panel), but this monitor has a lot going for it. If you're a value-oriented buyer who's planning to stay at 1080p for a few more years, this monitor deserves serious consideration.
Pros: SFF-8087 is nice for cable management
*remarkably* good value for 8 internal SAS/SATA ports (JBOD)
Linux kernel 3.2+ supports it without any fussing around
Cons: active cooling with an easily replaceable fan would have been a nice feature (not much of a complaint but it's all I can think of to put here)
Overall Review: 1) When buying SFF-8087 cables, make sure you get FORWARD cables (meaning the 8087 connector is at controller side).
2) If airflow is not very good when the card is installed, you may have to rig up a solution to get air blowing on it (e.g. in my tower case I could use a PCI slot cooler to blow air up onto the card & help move air upward in the case toward exhaust fans).
Basically, if you just need to hook up some internal SATA drives and you don't want hardware RAID, this card is a smart choice.