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SAPPHIRE Radeon R9 290X DirectX 12 100361-4L 4GB 512-Bit GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 Tri-X OC(UEFI) Video Card, New Edition
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: Quiet (Is it completely silent? No, of course not! However it is whisper quiet and no louder than my Fractal Design Silent Series R3 Case fans ~19db. No jet engine sounds here under full load.)
Cool (37 C in Windows, 42 C while gaming)
Fast (playing GTA V on maxxed out settings at buttery smooth 60+ FPS)

Cons: Price dropped $100 before my shipment got to me.
Card is very long *AND* tall. Despite cases claiming they could fit this card it took me buying 3 cases before I found one that would truly fit it (the drive cages were always 1-2mm too tall to fit). The Fractal Design Core 2500 turned out to be just right.
The R9 200 series (especially the 290 and 290X) have a serious Voltage Regulation problem (see other thoughts below) which is why I'm knocking 1 Egg off.

Other Thoughts: This card and both the Catalyst and Omega drivers kept crashing every 30-60 seconds. Tried with a 850W PS and a 1000W PS and same problem. Even tried multiple motherboards but problem persisted. I thought that I had a bad card and had to do an RMA. Turns out this is a known Voltage Regulation issue with the R9 200 series. The solution is as follows:

1. Run DDU (Display Driver Uninstaller) from 3DGuru. Remove all previous drivers and reboot.
2. Let Windows install Generic VGA Adapter driver and reboot.
3. Download AMD Catalyst or Omega drivers and extract them but *DO NOT INSTALL THEM*!
4. Go to Device Manager in Windows and choose your Generic VGA Adapter and click UPDATE DRIVERS and browse to the extracted AMD Catalyst or Omega drivers.
5. After the single DLL is installed, reboot.
6. Most importantly, download and install MSI Afterburner. Set it to "Run at system startup" and in the Settings enable "Force constant voltage" and "Disable ULPS" and then reboot.
7. You may have to disable "Enable hardware acceleration" in any video programs you may have (especially Adobe Flash Player).

After that pain in the neck process you will be the proud owner of a rock-solid and stable video card that previously would crash every minute.

I recognize that this isn't a Sapphire issue as all brands of the R9 200 series have the same problem. AMD really needs to resolve this themselves via the Catalyst drivers rather than ignoring it or pretending it doesn't exist.

ASRock E3C224D4I-14S Extended mini ITX Server Motherboard LGA 1150 Intel C224 DDR3 1600 / 1333
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: Small Form Factor
Supports 32GB of ECC RAM
Supports newest Xeon and Haswell Processors
Lots of HDD/SSD connectors
Your choice of SATA3 or SAS2 Drives (even includes two mini SAS 8087 fan-out cables which can be spendy)
Dual Intel Gigabit Ports supporting Teaming (requires a Switch that supports Link Aggregation Control Protocol/LACP and Jumbo Frames to utilize Teaming, otherwise use them as separate dual/redundant connections). They work a charm with ESXi 5.5 out of the box.
Digital iKVM built-in. (Comparable to Dell's but slightly more basic than SuperMicro's.)

Cons: Uses proprietary 17-pin TPM Module (instead of the std 19-pin). You have to order one by snail-mail direct from ASRock US Tech Support.

*EXTENDED* Mini-ITX means that it won't fit most mini-ITX cases. I was able to get it to fit into my Fractal Design Node-304 case but I had to drill 4 new mount-holes in the case (and thread them with tap and dies) and couldn't use the I/O Shield, otherwise it was a tight fit but worked.

Other Thoughts: Other than Rackmount Cases and the Mercury S3 Case I don't think there is any other case that this motherboard will fit in without modifications. There were many people making claims it would fit in their favorite Mini-ITX case on various forums but "Pics or it didn't happen" proved that the only way most got it to fit was using zip-ties to mount the board and making a makeshift I/O Shield out of cardboard rather than an actual fit. The Fractal Design Node-304 took minimal modifications but it still required metal drilling with a special bit and a drill powerful enough to punch through 1/4" steel.

Still, I love this board and would buy again to throw into another Node-304. Have it running 16 VMs (8 of those running under a nested Hyper-V install within a VM on ESXi) 24/7 for the past several months and it doesn't get hot, use much power, or make much of a sound.

Not a single problem with it. It's a set it and forget type of board perfect for a home workbench or SMB Server.

SYBA GamesterGear PC200 PC Wired Gaming Headset with Detachable Mic
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

3 out of 5 eggs Not bad but not great 03/03/2014

This review is from: SYBA GamesterGear PC200 PC Wired Gaming Headset with Detachable Mic

Pros: Sturdy construction
Long braided cable
Detachable Mic
Good Bass

Cons: Very tinny sound
Mic is overly sensitive

Other Thoughts: For the price point it one shouldn't expect superior sound quality. The soundstage is good, and it is great for games or movies in 5.1, but for music it is far too tinny in sound, even causing distortion in high notes.

The mic is so sensitive that it picks up breathing. Position doesn't seem to matter. I have to ride my mute button when using this in multiplayer games.

The headset is comfortable for long periods of time so long as you don't have big ears.

My roommate kept using mine and liked them better than her Panasonics, so much that she just ordered herself a pair.


Mark G.'s Profile

Display Name: Mark G.

Date Joined: 10/09/05

  • Reviews: 20
  • Helpfulness: 15
  • First Review: 12/10/07
  • Last Review: 04/26/15
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