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Belkin WeMo F5Z0489 WiFi Enabled LED Lighting Starter Set
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3 out of 5 eggs Great concept; lacks consistency and functionality. 04/02/2016

This review is from: Belkin WeMo F5Z0489 WiFi Enabled LED Lighting Starter Set

Pros: First, I like the concept of smart devices. I like the concept of this product, both the link (hub) and the bulbs. I like the "if this then that" (IFTTT) concept that works so well for home automation. The hardware is sleek and minimalist and the apps aims for the same.

The link seems to work well from a push button/see change perspective. There is very little latency in command execution. The bulbs seem decent as well. For the most part they cleanly dim and brighten with surprising fluidity from an LED bulb compared to incandescent.

The app functionality has nice, albeit basic, features and rules execution/programming for timers and away mode.

Unfortunately, beyond this, there isn't much to discuss here.

Cons: Okay, this is going to read a bit like a laundry list, so apologies in advance:
1. The initial connection on setup was flakey. The WeMo wouldn't show up for a long while. When it did, the initial connection was made, but the app's connection took forever to establish. Once established and attempting to connect to the network, it failed several times. Only after restarting the app and doing it all over did it mysteriously seem to connect as intended before. This process should be consistently rock-solid.
2. The app immediately recommended firmware updates, which I promptly installed. It took forever, then claimed it failed. Restarting the app reprompted the installation of firmware updates, which I installed, and this time I got reminders updates were installing. This time, they completed successfully after a few minutes and the app notified me of the new status. This process should be one and done, clean and reliable.
3. The WeMo properly identified the two connected bulbs without issue. I was immediately able to turn them on/off and adjust their brightness and set the dimming sleep timer. However, the dimming slider would sometimes get stuck on the previous setting and the when powering off the bulbs the app would indicate it was turning off but never completing the command leaving the app in limbo. Force quitting and restarting the app fixed it. This shouldn't be an issue though. It should do what it says and report the state accurately.
4. The iOS app was really confusing, especially when setting rules for sunset to sunrise auto-on/off. It was really unclear how to set this as the rule user interface was clunky and unintuitive. This needs to be much simpler to distinguish between on/off/on until time and what to do at sunset/sunrise. A simple wizard here would make like much easier.
5. The biggest oversight is if you use these bulbs in matching lamps in a living room. You can't group them together to function similarly. So, let's say we're starting a movie and want to dim the bulbs from 100% to 5%. You have to do it individually, which feels clunky and sophomoric. I should be able to program the WeMo app to turn them both to a pre-determined output level simultaneously. Alas, this functionality is missing -- which seems unacceptable for a product that's so expensive.
6. The capacitors in the bulbs whine at a high frequency at any level under 100%. It's hard to hear when there is other sound, but in a silent room, it's absolutely irritating. By comparison, other dimmable LED bulbs I use do not have this problem.

In summary, all of these defects resemble an immature product that should be cleaned up before a new generation is released.

Other Thoughts: In short, while it works, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to everyone yet. It's still going through teething a bit and needs to mature to something consistent, reliable, and without major bugs.

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CORSAIR RMx RM850X 850W ATX12V / EPS12V 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Nvidia Sli ready and crossfire support Power Supply
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

Pros: First off, PSUs have a confusing array of features complicated by equally confusing marketing. The bottom line is you want a PSU that can power everything on your system at full load with power to spare. You don't want an 850W PSU if you plan to run it at full load all the time. Just because your car's motor can turn 8,000 RPM, that isn't where it's most efficient and isn't going to ensure longevity, either. The same is true about PSUs. So for an 850W PSU, you want to draw a max of 680W continuously at your max loads (e.g. SLI/Crossfire graphics benching with CPU physics). These days, you can easily accomplish an SLI setup and still hit this mark. A few years ago? Not so much. So, this should fit most enthusiast needs nicely.

So, when we're talking power output, there's total output and output per rail (voltage line). This PSU will output a max of 850W total power across all rails. It will also punch up to 850W on the +12v rail which powers key components like the CPU and PCIe cards (graphics cards). So, the good news is that you draw up to 70.8 amps on the +12v rail (70.8 amps * 12 volts = 849.6 watts). The bad news is, you can't put that kind of continuous load on just that rail or you won't be able to power the rest of the peripherals that run on lower voltage rails. Not to worry, with some planning and the efficiency of these devices, you should be fine these days. Just run the numbers and know this thing has the capacity on the +12v rail you need.

Finally, it uses high quality capacitors and has an 80 Plus Gold rating for efficiency. Meaning at low and high loads it should meet/exceed 80% efficiency converting AC input to DC output. Those capacitors can also handle high heat loads. The results are longer life while reducing wasted energy and associated costs.

On to the aesthetics. It's all black and all modular. All modular is about aesthetics. Nothing flashy. You plug up the black flat cables you need, route them accordingly, and don't worry about hiding what you won't use. Fully modular ensures case space is uncluttered, airflow restrictions are reduced, and cables can be largely unseen in the case. All wins.

Finally, a 7 year warranty. That's impressive. I'll be shocked if this review is still available in 7 years. That's how long 7 years is in the tech world. Buy with confidence.

Cons: Some of the differences between this unit and more expensive ones are:
- lack of Corsair LINK support (which I'd never really use anyway),
- a rifled bearing fan vs ball bearing or fluid dynamic bearing fan (still, it's better than a cheap sleeve bearing),
- lack of nylon sleeved cables (but the all black flat cables are a nice alternative), and
- slightly quieter fans and lower temps at near full load (and by slight, we're only talking a few dbA and a few degrees).

All in all, these cons aren't dramatic setbacks and their absence allow for the lower price point. It's worth noting, the product comes with a 7 year warranty, so by standing behind their product it's not like they think it's going to burn up. I think this warranty more than outweighs the temp/noise/fan trade offs for lower price point.

Other Thoughts: I've been using high-quality PSUs for many years ranging from 450W options to 1250W monsters. The trend since the late 2000s has been evolving quality/efficiency down to lower price points, which is exactly what we see here in the RM850x. There is nothing revolutionary or incredibly fancy about this PSU, but it's a rock solid proven and efficient design a price point most enthusiasts won't balk at.

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Corsair Hydro Series™ H80i V2  Water / Liquid CPU Cooler. 120mm CW-9060024-WW
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

4 out of 5 eggs Excellent All In One Solution For Limited Space 04/02/2016

This review is from: Corsair Hydro Series™ H80i V2 Water / Liquid CPU Cooler. 120mm CW-9060024-WW

Pros: These products are usually pretty plain, black and gray, fitting with the vast majority of cases on the market. The latest generations add some additional metallic styling to dress things up a bit. The inclusion of red/blue inserts and programmable LEDs to color match whatever theme your rig may have is a nice way to dress things up, as well. But let's be honest, no one is buying an all in one (AIO) CPU cooler for panache.

What they are buying this product for, that it does very well, is CPU cooling beyond air cooling options without the hassle, cost, and risk of full open water loops. It cools very well. The high static pressure fans are well suited for forcing air through the thick radiator that seems to perform very well for a 120mm solution. (See cons section below for fan noise discussion.) If you're space constrained and cannot fit a larger length (e.g. 240mm) radiator, the thickness of this one at 48mm will compensate well, just be sure you have the space in your case for it. The coldplate and pump seem to work as well as ever and the screws that mount the plate to the rest of the assembly appear to have improved quality over previous generations ensuring the screws are recessed from the plate surface so as not to disrupt contact with the CPU heatspreader.

Speaking of heatspreader coldplate contact, let's talk briefly about the thermal interface material (TIM) that comes pre-applied. Thickness of TIM application is always a bone of contention amongst enthusiasts seeking to create optimal performance. Corsair pre-applies the TIM and don't muck about with it. Mount it, set it, and forget it. If you ever have to remove the cooler to swap out CPUs, change boards, etc., the so be it, clean it up, and replace it with your preferred choice. But for initial installation, go with what's there as it's tough to beat their application. That's the hardware, rock solid stuff, build to last, and out of the box ready to go with no fuss. I didn't get into the mounting brackets, etc., because their stuff is pretty straight forward, easy to install, and without issues. It's my understanding for Skylake they updated the design with the GTX version to make it more compatible, but otherwise, expect zero issues there.

On to software. I'm always on the fence about software. I feel the tools included are helpful for setting preferences and that's it. (See cons for additional discussion.) That said, the customization is pretty robust if you can understand the UI. It takes a little getting accustomed to but I create a performance curve I like, set it, and then forget it. My goal is strike the balance between regular gaming and benchmarking which have very different CPU loads with a dramatic ramp up in speed as full CPU load is reached. I find that the tools afford me that flexibility. Once set, however, I shut down the tools.

In short, it has all the performance and features I desire at a good price point. I can't really ask for much more and highly recommend this solution if you're looking to upgrade from air cooling but not get into the hassles of custom open water loops.

Cons: So, the fans offer fairly high static pressure, which is a good thing for forcing air between radiator fins. The problem, however, is that results in high fan noise. The Corsair H80i v2 is no exception here. If you're militantly opposed to fan noise, this will be an issue for you. I wear headphones so it's not an issue for me. But just be aware, the tradeoff for high static pressure is noise. Also, remember, this is different from airflow. You can have high airflow that is fairly quiet by comparison. In addition, some note observing pump whine at highest speeds, but I was unable to observe this, at least over the fan noise itself.

My only other con is related to the software. As noted above, it allows me to do what I want, set custom performance curves that balance my cooling needs during gaming loads vs benchmarking loads with one curve. So, I can run reasonably quiet and efficient while gaming and max things out under full CPU load on the same settings. While this is great, the UI is lacking in simplicity and isn't very intuitive. They should make some revisions to simplify the setup for ease of understanding and consistency of presentation. Finally, I'm not a fan of having software monitoring tools on enthusiast performance parts. So, I set it all, and save system resources by disconnecting the LINK and shutting down the software once I have things set how I like them. Also, the LINK cable is just another wire that gets in the way of clean aesthetics. Again, not a real big gripe, but something to note.

That said, those are my only notable cons.

Other Thoughts: I've been using Corsair's all in one (AIO) coolers for a long time going all the way back to 1st generation H80s, H100s, etc. Their ease of use closed-loop systems makes water cooling a CPU a breeze compared to the effort requires for building and maintaining your own water loop(s). With that in mind, this product plays to the enthusiast looking for a great cooling option beyond air without hassle or significant expense. I've tried all sorts of products short of fully investing in a custom open water loop and I always come back to Corsair's products.

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Michael P.'s Profile

Display Name: Michael P.

Date Joined: 07/07/06

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  • Reviews: 83
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  • First Review: 09/28/09
  • Last Review: 04/02/16
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