I had a fully specced out retina macbook (2012) at uni as I did games design so needed something beefy enough to 3D model with but actually playing a game was stuttery on decent settings.
Needless to say - I graduated and sold it - got £1400 and spent it all (plus more) on a new ITX gaming machine. The build was OK but I had a couple issues – all of them stemming from the case...
Biggest thing is the case is hot without an exhaust fan. To the point where the adhesive from the heatsink on my GPU (which also runs hot) melted and a plastic panel came off (just aesthetic one).
Monitor - NICE – I came from a retina so it’s lost the IPS pop but the smooth game play (freesync 144hz) and decent size more than makes up for it. I also managed to get it for £299 from Amazon.
Wont’ bother talking about the rest – it’s good.
Only thing worth mentioning is the Apex Raw keyboard is not good. It was a good deal at £27 – but it feels like too much effort to type on (high actuation force) and the extra macro keys mean I’m going for the edge of the keyboard but it’s further away and I press wrong keys. However, I’d rather do that than pay £50+ for a “gaming” keyboard. I don’t need that rubbish, I just need a standard office dell one with backlighting and volume control and I’m golden – the rest is pointless.
Fans aren't the quietest but its def good value and looks good. ONLY WISH SOMEONE SAID IT HAS A PULSING LED? Annoying - I wish it was on constantly.
also beware of the height of the heatsink as the "visual" tube hit the fans on my ITX case until I got a new mobo and could install on a different rotation.
Powerful beast of a card - Looks awesome but the damn LED PULSES and you CAN NOT turn it off! If it distracts m too much i'll have to tape over it - but who pays this much to then tape over the feature?! Also, it ran hot - 95C in my case before I put in my exhaust fan and the adhesive melted off the plastic stripes that are on the heatsink. I expected better from an Asus Strix product.
EDIT** - The annoying pulsing STRIX stip + the fact that it runs 7C hotter than the Sapphire 390 OC backplate edition meant i've returned it and got the Sapphire 390 OC.
It was always between the 250D or the Evolv. Performance wise the 250D seems better (temps & size) but the evolvs looks just reminded me of a halo-esque rig and I had to have it.
The case comes with a big front one & air filter but this is largely blocked by the front bezel/panel. There is space on the sides and you feel the air moving – but not much. It NEEDS and exhaust fan. Invest in the Noctua NF A14 as you’ll need the better airflow than anything quieter – maybe even get something more powerful than that if you don’t mind the noise.
I found the build quality OK – but only 3/5 stars – nowhere near as great as the reviews state. Little things annoy me – like the velcro cable ties on the right panel were upside down, the phanteks sticker on the GPU shroud started to lift off (but was pushed back down and it stayed), the rear panel is pretty flimsy, the USB 3 header cable is very tight and bent the mobo pins, the front LED can be seen from the gap in the front panel when the tower is on the left of you, the white paint at the back of the GPU bracket didn’t cover the whole of it, and there was no included case speaker. The case’s radiator mount was also a pain in the *** to work with if you have an AIO CPU cooler. Perhaps it was just my normal routine or the config I had but I’m sure this is the normal way.
Install CPU to mobo > install ram > install heatsink to CPU/Mobo > install into case. However, as the CPU heatsink was AIO and had the tubing and radiator attached, it meant I needed to attach the rad to the slidey mount. But when the mobo is installed, there was not enough slack to slide it in (needs to be perpendicular to case – very tight fit).
This meant I needed to take off the CPU cooler, install the motherboard into the case, then the CPU cooler again, but this is DAMN tight with the screws. Anyway, this wasn’t an issue until I pushed the rad bracket all the way in and found the fans hit against the CPU heatsink of the Captain’s “visual” tube thing that sticks out. I couldn’t rotate it so the visual tube was in another direction as the mobo heatsinks were in the way. In the end I returned my initial asrock fatal1ty mobo and got the Asus Impact as there was sufficient space for me to mount it rotated on the left (like 9 o clock).
The other issue I found was the GPU overheating – to the point where some of the plastic red covering of my 390 heatsink came off as the adhesive had melted. I expected better from the Strix range from Asus, but it was over 90C at this point (I didn’t have the exhaust fan installed then + was near my rooms radiator – whoops). I feel like the GPU doesn’t have any room to breathe – it’s only got <5mm to breathe between the GPU and the panel above the PSU. The panel does have holes in it though – but I feel they could have moved the whole mobo tray higher, and used the space in the top of the case more (above the radiator mount). See my build for photos..
No problems at all - no coil whine, can't hear it at all compared to the other fans.
I came from a Macbook Pro 15 Retina display so I had a good benchmark. Initial impressions were a lack of "pop" of colours that you get with an IPS, and that colours changes when the vertical viewing angle changed a lot. The horizontal angles were fine though - GF and I watch movies on it perfectly from different horizontal angles.
It is way too bright out of the box and needs a good calibration using some websites to check. I still found it wasn’t as “colour correct” as my old retina, but the size and the smoothness makes up for it – and you have to be really concentrating to notice the difference with anything moving.
With gaming – what this is meant for, it’s great, the resolution is crisp, and the smoothness is great.
I would say the difference between 60hz to 144hz is noticeable only if you’re looking for it. But the FreeSync function does work very well to reduce tearing. I think I’ve only seen 4 instance of a quick judder in about 20 hours of gaming – and that’s probably because I’ve left Vsync off too.
I would also say that (and I know this is all personal preference) that the difference of going from 60hz to 144hz is not as big of a difference as going from a cheap TN panel to a QUALITY IPS panel. I think the colour pop of an good IPS gives a bigger WOW effect than the extra hz. Keep in mind though, that this TN panel is not a cheap TN panel and is very good in its own right, so if you have a good TN panel like this, then the upgrade to IPS may seem not that big. However, if you have a monitor that is old and rubbish, than a good quality IPS panel (and not a cheap one to tick the box of having that tech) will give you more of a wow when you use it. Note that there is no height adjustment, and that’s really needed if you have a TN panel as the vertical viewing angle makes a significant difference on the colours. I would say for most around 510-6ft you’re in luck as its perfect height if on a normal desk and chair height at elbow height. But anyone else would possibly require some stacking underneath its x shaped base or tilting (it only pivots up or down). Also the colour isn’t as MAD as the photos make out/paint is nowhere near as vibrant. It’s such a big panel and the edge is so thin that you don’t notice the orange/red, especially when there is an image on the screen.
I run Star Wars Battlefront (most graphically awesome game atm) on auto settings – this put the game at 1440 on ultra and it looks amazing. Really much better than the YouTube videos I’ve seen of the game at 4k – but likely due to compression and fps of the video that YT impose.
Overall I would definitely recommend this monitor but only if getting for under £350 – it is great value. GSYNC equivalents are much more expensive and although this is a TN panel, it is a very good one. I would however say if you’re spending more than £370 on this then get an IPS unless you’re some kind of superhuman pro gamer who 3ms response time will make a difference (not the case for 99% of people playing games which have their own input lag like BF4).
Only great if you like loads of macro buttons and can stand heavy keys that tire your hand...