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This review is from: Antec Eleven Hundred Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Pros: For the money I can't think of a better mid-tower case than this. It's not perfect but what case is? It's easy to work on and doesn't have frilly plastic hardware that is hard to work with and breaks easily. Drive expansion is a forte with this case. Fan screens are easy to get to and clean and cable management is a no brainer.
Other Thoughts: We use this case for Windows file servers and it has the potential for some serious air flow. The side mounted drive bays, bottom mounted P/S, easy off front panel and fan screen access makes it a joy to work on. They use steel in the frame and side panels.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: ASUS P8B WS LGA 1155 Intel C206 ATX Intel Xeon E3 Server/Workstation Motherboard
Pros: No nonsense ATX board that worked right out of the box. I installed a E3-1225 and 16 GB of Crucial DDR3 (see below) and the board posted the first time. The BIOS was the most current version so that helped. No problem with drivers or installing Windows Server 2008 R2. Having two (2) native Sata 6 ports and dual Ethernet make this an ideal board for a low end but capable file server. Although we only use the onboard video it appears that you can run some really sweet multi-card setups on this board (for you gamers).
Cons: DVI only onboard video out is a pain. I had to buy a DVI-VGA adapter so I could use this with our KVM switch.
Other Thoughts: You can run 1600 Mhz memory on this board but you will need a 22nm Xeon processor. Setup summary:
Xeon E3-1225 (32 nm)
Seasonic X-Series 650w
This review is from: ONKYO TX-NR709 7.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver
Pros: THX Certified with excellent video quality and power output. This unit also has 7.2 preamp outs, networking and all of the HDMI 1.4 connectivity one might need into the foreseeable future while sporting current 3D, surround decoding and multi-media connectivity features.
Cons: The light on volume knob is irritating but can be dimmed or turned off. The iPod/iPhone dock is extra.
Other Thoughts: I needed to upgrade from an older Sony ES 7.1 receiver that did not have HDMI switching and decided to try three different mid-level receivers (RX-V867, VSX-33 and the NR709). The Onkyo won the trial hands down.
The video performance of the QDEO chipset was superior to the other two receivers by a wide margin. The Onkyo was the only receiver that could deal with the low contrast in dimily lit scenes in BD versions of 'Road to Perdition', 'Kingdom of Heaven' and 'Slumdog Millionaire' straight out of the box with no tweaking of the video settings.
I sampled BD versions of the 'The Police-Certifiable' and 'Bon Jovi-Live at Madison Square Garden' to test music playback quality. This time the difference was not as dramatic as each receiver sounded very good sonically, however the Onkyo had the edge in power as I didn't have to get anywhere near reference power to drive my Bose 601's to acceptable levels which was not the case with the VSX-33 or the V867.