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This review is from: ASRock X99 Extreme4 LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Pros: I don't even know where to start with this bad boy, other than wow! When I initially pulled the Extreme4 out of the box I was very pleased. It's a well built, solid, very nice looking piece of hardware. Not only is it nice looking, it's packed with some of the newest features. The X99 chipset works with Intel's latest Haswell CPU lineup, which includes the new 18-core Xeon that I would love to get my hands on one of these days.
The board supports SLI, Crossfire & NVIDIA's 3-Way and there are more than enough PCIe ports to go around. Be aware that adding a M.2 SATA drive steals 4 lanes from one of the available PCIe ports. I didn't go with a M.2 SATA drive yet because I couldn't find one that would perform at 10GB/s. There is no onboard video chipset, but I don't suspect anyone who buys this motherboard would ever use it had ASRock included one.
As for HDD interfaces, you have the aforementioned M.2 SATA, 10 regular SATA supporting RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 and an IRS 13.
The Extreme4 supports 8 x 288pin RAM at a max of 128GB. Unfortunately 288pin DDR4 is very expensive right now, so unless I sold my car, I'm going to be a little short. :)
Overclocking can be handled through the A-Tune Windows based software, or through the BIOS settings. I like the A-Tune because it gives you firmware controls from inside Windows. I'm not an expert at overclocking, so my preference is to use the auto-tuning method provided.
One thing that I really liked, was the ability to download drivers within the BIOS without having to boot the OS. Speaking of the BIOS, if you should happen to hose up your settings, there is a clear CMOS switch on the motherboard.
There are also 4 x USB 3.0 ports, Analog Audio Outs, an Optical out, eSATA and two PS/2 ports (does anyone even own a PS/2 keyboard anymore?).
If that wasn't enough, just take a look at the price. I don't think you can go wrong for an X99 board of this caliber.
Cons: There were two things I didn't like about this board at all. The first is the placement of the HD audio port on the motherboard. It's as far away from the front of the case as possible. Being at the far side in the corner, meant that my cable was about 2" short of making the connection. I'm not sure if I should blame ASRock, or Fractal Design, but either way, it doesn't reach. This is the first time I've encountered this problem with a board.
The other annoyance I had was that there was only one fan header at the top of the motherboard. My Fractal Design case has the option to connect two top mounted fans, so it would have been nice to have another header at the top of the board.
I'm not going to deduct any eggs for these issues, but would subtract 1/2 egg if I could.
Other Thoughts: For the price, this board has all the features you need with none of the fluff. I'm really starting to like ASRock and think they have come a long way in the last few years. If you're looking for a great board for a new gaming rig or want something for a high end graphic design workstation, look no further.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: NETGEAR GS208 8-Port Gigabit Desktop Switch in Plastic Case - Essentials Edition
Pros: I'm a little late with my review, but that gave me additional time to put this through its paces.
The switch was well packaged and requires no setup other than being plugged into the wall and connected to the network. Speaking of the power cable, the end comes off perpendicular to the surge protector, so you don't have to block outlets when you plug this in. This is something I really like.
All 8 ports are autoswitching so you can use any network cable you might have laying around.
I tested it in two scenarios. First was as my main switch directly between my FIOS router and my LAN. There were no changes in network speed. I write large files (> 1GB) to my unRAID server on a daily basis. Transfer speeds have always been 90 - 95MB/s. Swapping out an old 3COM switch with the new GS208 and there was no change in speed.
Scenerio number 2 was using the switch as a secondary device upstairs in my office. In this test, the switch was connected to the wall and then I plugged in my devices to that switch. Once again, transfer speeds were unchanged.
This device can definitely perform as advertised.
Cons: I would have preferred that the status LEDs change color based on link speed. Most switches use orange for 100Mbps and green for 1000Mbps. The GS208 does not. It's always a quick, easy way to verify transfer speeds.
I'm also not a fan of white networking gear, but that's a person preference. I don't think either of these cons justify deduction of an egg.
Other Thoughts: For the price, this is a great device. Small, compact, easy to install and just as quick as devices twice its price. There are a few things I would change, but nothing that would keep me from buying another one if needed.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this switch to my smaller clients.
This review is from: DEEPCOOL N6000 Laptop Cooling Pad 17" Metal Mesh Panel 200mm Fan with Blue LED
Pros: I've been using this on and off for about 6 weeks and have definitely put it through its paces. It seems a little flimsy right out of the box but oddly enough, it's holding up really well. I tend to be pretty hard on things that I get to review.
I've thrown it around haphazardly and generally been pretty hard on it without any damage. It cools my Dell laptop without issue utilizing the large 200mm blue LED lit fan. I saw a 2 degree drop according to SpeedFan.
As others have indicated, the fan contains two USB ports to compensate for the one that you lose. I also like the fact that the device tilts the laptop at a slight incline, similar to a keyboard. The fan is large enough to accommodate the vent position on most of the laptops I've seen and the LED is the correct brightness for me. It gives my desk a nice subtle glow when I turn on the LED and I'm not in a bright room. The device does include an ON/OFF switch so you can turn off the LED if you don't want it on.
The fan seems to flow a good bit of air, as indicated by my high tech "stick your hand in front of the fan" sensor. I didn't notice a battery drain associated with its use, but my usage is pretty sporadic and I try and charge on a regular basis when I'm in the office.
Cons: The packaging indicates it will fit a 17" laptop, but I'm not 100% sold on that point. Unfortunately, I only have a 13" and a 15.6" for testing. It just seems like 17" might be a tad too big, but don't hesistate to buy it based on is comment.
Other Thoughts: If you are looking for some additional cooling, from a durable, nice looking device that won't kill your battery look no further. At a reasonable price point, this is the device you want. I would definitely recommend this to my clients.READ FULL REVIEW