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This review is from: APEVIA Black SECC Steel / Aluminum X-MASTER-BK/500 ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
Pros: Had two socket Socket 775 ATX motherboards, processors, and memory lying around that I wanted to turn into HTPC's. At 5.3" tall this was the only case I could find that would accept an ATX motherboard and fit into my TV stands. Can't vouch for the power supplies since I replaced both with Corsairs based on the issues others have experienced. One of the cases has been subsequently updated with an I3 Ivy Bridge setup with no issues. I have three hard drives in one of the cases utilizing one of the side mounts for the 3rd drive. One case has been in service 3 years and the other 2 years with the standard rear fans and a third fan on the opposite side from the 3rd hard drive. Have not experienced any overheating issues with either case. The stock fans are a little noisy, but with the sound on the TV at normal listening levels they do not present a problem for me.
Cons: No USB 3 on the front panel. No 2.5"' SSD mounting points. I knew these things going in so no reduction in rating based on these issues. Video cards with power plugs on top will interfere with the top cover. Reduction in rating for this since there is warning about this issue in the specifications.
Other Thoughts: Some units ship with power supply turned off. Remove front cover and you can turn it on. I utilized Nvidea GTS 450 video cards since my EP43T motherboards did not have onboard video. I had to plug in the power to the cards before inserting them into the motherboard. This case is designed for HTPC use. It is not designed for gaming or overclocking. If you plan on doing either of those things you would be better off utilizing something with a better power supply and more cooling options. The reason the case is so deep (17.8") is because it will accept ATX boards. If you are going to utilize a Micro ATX or ITX board this may not be the case for you.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: It took me a long time to make the move to an SSD. When prices finally came down I bought a Samsung 840 EVO and would never consider going back. That 840 EVO is still working perfectly in my main computer. I recently purchased two 850 EVO's one for my HTPC the other for my daughter's business computer. With an SSD bootup speed decreases, programs open faster, and your general computing experience improves. I use the "maximum reliability" setting in the Samsung Magician software since I favor longevity over the slight speed boost you may get from "maximum performance." I don't use the "rapid mode" since the reviews on it are mixed. I do utilize a Ramdisk for my IE cache to reduce writes to the SSD.
Other Thoughts: If your motherboard does not have any Sata III ports the performance increase provided by the SSD will not be as great, but your computer will still be considerably faster than your old hard drive.
If you plan on migrating your current operating system to an SSD you will need a USB 3 dongle that includes a SATA connection for the drive. These are available from Newegg, but are not included with the drive.
I have utilized Casper software to migrate the operating system from a hard drive to an SSD. I have also loaded a clean version of Windows 7 to an SSD. Both times the process was painless and the SSD sure does take a lot less time to load all of the post SP1 Windows 7 updates.
I haven't tried one of these drives in a laptop, but the performance increase should be significant since there are a lot of laptops out there utilizing 5400 rpm hard drives. In addition, the battery should last longer since the SSD uses less electricity than a spinning platter hard drive.
Pros: Combined this processor with an ASRock H170M-ITX DL motherboard, 8 gigs of GSkill DDR4 2133 memory and an 850 EVO SSD. The combination provides very snappy performance that will meet the business or personal computing needs of the vast majority of computer users. I don't game so I can't comment on that aspect of the processor's performance. Costs a little more than an I3 Haswell or the soon to come Skylake I3's, but what the heck you only live once.
Other Thoughts: This build provided a huge performance increase since it replaced an I3 Socket 1156 Clarkdale. Those of you currently utilizing I5 Haswells would not experience anywhere as big of a performance increase. The improved electronic efficiency of the chip might be a bigger factor in deciding to upgrade for those users.READ FULL REVIEW