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ASUS UX301LA-XH72T Intel Core i7 4558U (2.8GHz) 8GB Memory 512GB SSD 13.3
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: (In order of what I was looking for): Dual 256GB SSD, solid mobile processor, sturdy and well-built chassis, adequate graphics muscle, dead sexy. Performed as-advertised out of the box (no pixel issues, no defects, etc.) My wife even thinks the box is sexy, and it is... But I would have preferred $20 off the cost for brown cardboard :)

Cons: Limited hardware upgrade paths down the road... Compared to similar Dell models, the Asus support for cracking open the case is zero. Zilch. Dell tells you how to do it with handy diagrams, and will probably loan you a screwdriver... Something to consider, and the only reason I docked an egg.

Fan noise while taxing the system is non-zero, but certainly not poor. "Normal" workloads = silent, even with active cooling enabled in power mgmt.

Minor gripe is the glass-like finish on the cover... It's basically a blue mirror, and you'll be polishing it often to keep it sexy (it hurts to be beautiful).

Other Thoughts: First thing I did (after checking HW of course) was break RAID to set up a dual 8.1/8.1 boot... Thus, I can have a work and a personal laptop in one body; BitLocker segregates the two quite nicely for security/privacy. This was an essential feature for me, even though I could have done the same on a single SSD.

For work, it performs wonderfully; plenty of processor and screen real estate; MS office is effectively instant, WiFi is fast, blah blah. The specs are up there.

For personal (i.e. gaming), the 5100 is... pretty good. It's better that older Intel chips, and you can run CivV/Diablo3/Skyrim at _native resolution_ but at the cost of scaling waaay back on the eye candy, or drop resolution for some bells and whistles... All in all, a reasonable mobile gaming experience short of a "real" gaming laptop. The high pixel density compensates for resolution drops, so you end up with an perfectly adequate gaming experience.

Still playing with battery - CivV at the best settings I could get good rates on lasted a touch over an hour... Keep in mind it's pegging the graphics and working over the CPU. Crazy Excel experiments (10,000,000 RANDBETWEENs) put the RAM and HD to work, but the battery looked much stronger doing so... I couldn't seem to reasonably peg the processor, which is good. As I sit on an idle desktop with "vanilla" 8.1pro/64, it tells me 94% will last 8.5 hrs. Regardless, there's no option to swap it, so if this starts hurting I'll come back and say so. But so far, it's fine.

Asus driver availability is good (brand loyalty here), fresh Windows auto-detects and installs most drivers except for the chipset and keyboard backlight (I think), but no issues resolving there. Note Intel will require you to use Asus' 5100 graphics driver, so you won't always be able to get the very-latest...

All in all, this is a strong 4 eggs (even 5) so long as you can live without the potential long-term upgrade path. My target lifespan for this is three years for work, then I'll start tinkering... Or, by then, maybe I'll have saved up another $2k...(Or, maybe by then Dell will start putting Alienware in traditional Dell cases, so I can still look professional and rock an M780...)

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ASUS PA279Q Black 27
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: less than 1 day

Pros: Size, options and features, fantastic color and color controls.

Cons: Very bright out of the box - fried my eyeballs - like every other display I've purchased in the last few years (4 or 5 or so). My home and office are generally low-light... See below for other thoughts on this (spoiler: it's fine after adjustments).

Other Thoughts: Purchased as a general use display, not a professional graphics display (I'm enthusiast at best in that dept.) All of the pros listed above are really high-class for a general use display, though by themselves don't really justify the ~$300 premium over "non-professional" displays.

However, what (IMHO) does justify the price premium is the fact that after setting the brightness to zero (from 50), contrast to ~40 (from 80), and saturation to 30 (from 50), I can still see ALL OF THE COLORS, and they're not truncated. This especially shines in dark games (F:NV, Skyrim), where you can turn all the lights out, daylight scenes don't eat your face, and dark areas look genuine and rich, not washed out with six shades of blah. (not a heavy user of mods either, these are mostly vanilla games.)

Other games like CivV are stupid gorgeous, and I noticed no ghosting on the very few FPS games I play (FC3, STALKER:COP) [*Note my rig is a 670, SSD, P2500k... With the high resolution and maxed settings (dropped AA to 4x on FC3), was entirely playable for everything; while this is a nice rig, it's not OC and it's not ridiculous... No need to assume 2xTitans are required for awesome gaming at this resolution, but I digress...]

Productivity is as one would assume, MS Office (esp. Excel) become that much more serviceable, VStudio, web navigation; all are just "more."

Image editing is also a plus here; again, even with everything dropped to dark/very dark, I can see much more color detail than other displays. (I must again caveat that I am not a professional graphic artist, so please seek that review elsewhere.)

At the end of the day, 90% of your interaction with a computer is via the display; I decided not to skimp this time. If I regret this decision later, or come across other thoughts, I'll update this review.

Pro Tip: Don't tell your wife how much this cost :)

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Mushkin Enhanced Ventura Pro 64GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Model MKNUFDVP64GB
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: Feels durable, fast transfers

Cons: Breath freshening would be a nice feature, for people I have to loan it to.

Other Thoughts: 64GB flash drive with no frills. This is about as good as I can find.

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Nick W.'s Profile

Display Name: Nick W.

Date Joined: 03/02/09

  • Reviews: 7
  • Helpfulness: 4
  • First Review: 04/04/10
  • Last Review: 03/16/14
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