Instead of torturing you with my atrocious writing ability, I thought I’d try a little photo blog experiment. Don’t worry, I’m not going Tumblr on you… yet.
The Intel Core i5-3550 in all of its glory. It’s an impressive chip and has handled everything I’ve thrown at it so far without breaking a sweat.
Full frontal of the ASRock Z77 Extreme 4. I’m really digging the brown PCB and the toned down design of the chipset heatsinks compared to the Z68 version of this board. It makes it look classier.
The i5 sitting pretty in its new home.
The onboard power and reset buttons are a great feature and make it so much easier to test this motherboard. The LED diagnostics are also a welcome feature as well, something I’ve come to rely on with my past three Abit motherboards.
The IBM ServeRAID M1015 SAS card is a very loosely rebranded LSI card and can be flashed with LSI firmware. This card has been flashed to run in IT (initiator target) mode for the best compatibility with ZFS.
It’s alive! For the moment, the stock Intel cooler is being used because the directions for the Xigmatech Gaia cooler I bought are absolutely unintelligible. It looks like it will fit though.
The new UEFI interface looks great and is easy to use. If you want to use VMDirectPath, Intel Virtualization Technology and VT-d, which is on another page, must be enabled.
The M1015 is being passed through to a test Windows 7 VM for now.
The i5-3550 is an impressive processor, moreso for ~$210. Here it’s running 3 threads of Prime95 across 2 VMs while transcoding a 720p video to iPad resolution (1024 x 768). Only a few short years ago, I had a Pentium 4 650 which was a single core chip with Hyper Threading that ran at 3.4 Ghz (but overclocked to 4.2 Ghz) which could barely play a 720p video smoothly. My regrets of not going with the i7-3770 have been completely blown away by this CPU.
Hope you enjoyed this little experiment. More to come soon.