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This review is from: Yamaha RX-V475 5.1 Channel Network AV Receiver
Pros: Exceptionally easy to use for having so many features. The Scene buttons are an excellent innovation. The logically organized remote allows easy access to lots and lots of features. Easy to hook up, and the sound is excellent. The option to rename the connection on the front panel of the receiver is great. Connectors and controls are high quality and feel like they'll last. Built-in AirPort for connecting with devices running iTunes.
Cons: Wired-to-wifi networking is not always reliable. I did not get the Yamaha wifi add-on, and instead connect with Cat5 to my GigE wired network. this works, but the network software is not that refined. Not a big problem, because there are so many other ways to connect.
The apps for ipad and iphone both only partially work-- when connection to a device drops, it's difficult to start again, and sometimes the apps can'y see the receiver. I have used the AirPort on the receiver, but that has a hard time with dropped connections too. I successfully browsed to my computer sound library, but only once.
Other Thoughts: I bought this receiver to upgrade an ancient surround receiver with no HDMI. This has 4 HDMI in and it's a whole new experience. I can play music from my phone or ipad right through the airport connection, and I can plug devices into the USB port on the front panel. Playing sounds from other sources through this receiver is simple, easy to control, and the sound quality is superb.
One slight downside is "reconnects" through the HDMI. When I turn on the TV, for instance, even if I'm not tuned to the TV, the sound drops for as much as 5-10 seconds. This is annoying, but not overly so.
I am running mostly 2.1 stereo, with a DVD/CD player, the cable box, and Apple TV. The sound off the cable box is mostly surround (on the HD channels), and this receiver handles it flawlessly. I'll admit, this receiver is used most as the speaker system for my iphone, using AirPort. When the AirPort connection drops on the receiver, it's easy for me to switch over to the AirPort on the AppleTV, and play that through the HDMI connection. If you're planning to use this mostly for wireless AirPort connection to iDevices, I definitely recommend purchasing the Yamaha WiFi addon.
For me the test for success with this purchase was "spousal acceptance," and that's been great. The scene buttons, with their simultaneous settings of audio source, video source, DSP settiings (if any) and audio levels is great, and you can even name the setting on the front panel. Played through Orb speakers, front and center, with Cambridge Soundworks dipole rear surrounds and a PSB subwoofer the sound is superb. Using YPAO for setup is a snap. For the price, this receiver is a very good deal, and I highly recommend it.
This review is from: Rosewill RCX-Z5 92mm Two Ball Bearing / FDBB CPU Cooler
Pros: I bought this cooler because the stock cooler on my AMD 6400+ couldn't keep up and the motherboard overheating warning buzzer went off a lot. This product completely solved the processor cooling issues, and looks great and feels like quality too. Shiny! Even with automatic throttling turned off (so it runs at 3.2 ghz all the time), the processor never gets much above the mid-40's centigrade. And it's quieter than the stock fan by a long shot. The installation took all of 10 minutes. One note: this kit requires screwing the base onto one of two CPU "clamps" (either AMD or Intel), with four extremely small philips head screws before you start the install. Be sure you've got a very small philips head screwdriver, or forget it, you'll never get those little screws tight enough. Aside from that, everything, including thermal grease, was included. Thanks NewEgg.
Cons: None, except I wish I'd bought it sooner.
Other Thoughts: Gigabyte uATX motherboard w/nVidia 6100 built in
8 gig RAM
dual SATA2 160 Gig WD Drives
Sunbeam mid-tower case
This review is from: ECS GeForce6100SM-M (1.0) AM2 NVIDIA GeForce 6100S Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
Pros: Simple, easy to set up, all features (as far as I can tell) worked perfectly out of the box. Purchased w/basic Rosewill case, 2 Gig AData DDR2 800 RAM, DVD-RW, and 160Meg WD SATA-3 HD. All cables included, including case front connections for USB2 and sound. Installed Fedora 7 (Linux) with no issues whatsoever. The onboard video is more than adequate, and drives my 20" WXGA LCD (1680 x 1050) easily-- Beryl looks gorgeous. LAN and all ports work. This board comes with a parallel port, which is starting to be considered legacy and silently left off newer and more "full-featured" boards. Ditto floppy port-- I'm not using either on my system, but they both work. This machine is rock solid so far.
Cons: None, really!
Other Thoughts: This is a great board to build a simple "utility" computer. I don't O/C and have not tried (and have no use for) the PCI-X interface for video. Already mentioned in previous reviews, the X-16 interface running at X-8 seems problematic if you're planning on using this for gaming. The SLI support, on the other hand, seems very advanced for a board this inexpensive, as does the SATA-3. For basic computing, it's more than adequate, refreshingly fast, and absolutely trouble free.READ FULL REVIEW