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This review is from: Logitech 980186-0403 Silver USB Connector USB Desktop Microphone
Pros: This is just a regular microphone, except with one key advantage. Even if your sound card can only record input from one source at a time (you're forced to choose between "wave" or "auxiliary", and "microphone"), you can, with the right software, still simultaneously record your narration and any audio your computer is playing, very useful to include live commentary or narration of game play as you record a video of your amazing gaming feats. Of course, some audio editing skills would be needed, though nothing advanced (unless something in the recording is out of sync). The microphone's drivers seem to be included in the microphone itself - just plug it in and you're ready to record - no driver CD required!
Cons: There's no "microphone +20dB boost" option. This means, at my typical 2-foot distance from the microphone, aimed in the right direction, I get an average volume of -25 to -35dB, so faint that recording in 8-bit only results in pure silence. Even 16-bit is quite distorted after normalizing the waveform (approximating 4-bit quality). Recording in 24-bit and amplifying after recording or keeping within a puny (and uncomfortable) 4 inches is the only way to get reasonable quality.
Other Thoughts: I originally got this so I can work around my sound card's single-recording-input-source-only limitation so I can include narration while I stream my game play. With the volume as low as it is, lossy compression and 16-bit quality, this microphone is unusable for that purpose. However, it is very useful for recording narration as you record a video for later posting on YouTube as you can simply edit the waveform to correct the volume issue (just make sure you can record in 24-bit first). I work with waveforms quite often so I know how to interpret them well. At my usual 2-foot distance with my other Logitech microphone, I typically average -5 to -15 dB. With this USB microphone, I average -25 to -35 dB. Cut the distance to 6 inches (already uncomfortable to keep that), and I overflow the waveform with my original but get -12 to -22 dB (still a bit low). If this microphone had the oh-so-badly-needed "microphone +20dB boost" option, it would get the full 5 eggs.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Plus - CPU Cooler with 4 Direct Contact Heatpipes
Pros: Compared to the stock fan, this fan is really effective! With only moderate load (one core maxing), I was approaching 65C with my i7-2600K processor at stock clock (3.4 GHz) with the stock fan. With nearly maximum load (from video encoding; 80-90% typically), and even a moderate overclock (4 GHz) to boot, I've never seen my temps go above 63C, even cooler than moderate load and stock speed! I was surprised on that (note: 63C is 37C above ambient)! Even with idling (just uncompressed WAV music playing at least, a task requiring virtually no CPU usage), I see temps only about 9C above ambient versus 14C like I was getting with the stock fan. The price is also very nice, making this fan a perfect accessory for any overclocking wannabe.
Cons: The biggest con is the poorly written instruction manual. I had to closely study the way things worked and fit in, using the clues from the very vague instruction manual in order to figure out how things went together, experimenting a little with the parts that came with the fan. Do not install this fan after having installed a motherboard as it requires you to pull the motherboard out if you already have (of which I needed to do).
Other Thoughts: Wanting to overclock my already awesome i7-2600K processor (from all the video editing I do), I wanted a fan that would keep my CPU cool with heavy load. For the price, I'm amazed as to how well this fan performs. The construction part and having to pull out the motherboard just to install it almost made me tempted to return it, but I held on, doing all the disconnecting and stuff, installed it, and reconnecting everything again. In the end, all that hassle was well worth it. I may even push 4.2 GHz for my clock. Thus, I would strongly recommend getting this fan for a new build, rather than an existing one unless you're willing to pull the motherboard out.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: SONY Vegas Movie Studio HD Platinum 11
Pros: This program is a good program to accompany a Sony HD camcorder, from those M2TS files it records into. I like how it supports nonnative codecs (I've heard some programs don't). There are plenty of effects you can apply to both video and audio.
Cons: AVI playback is horrible! I can easily play back 1280x960 AVI video at 30 fps in other programs perfectly fine, but this program can't even handle playing 640x448 video at 29.97 fps in real time as the video stops because it oddly can't decompress fast enough or something. At least it compresses to AVI without any problems of which another video editing program I actively use reads perfectly fine. Oddly, the "Lame MP3" audio codec won't work forcing me to use uncompressed audio and compressing it in another video editing program. Audio effects are hard to apply - it took 3 hours to figure out how to silence a specific part of a video's audio track as there are no native effects for that. The effects interface takes a long time to get used to. Except for the AVI case, the other issues are fairly minor.
Other Thoughts: I got this program because my primary video editing program is unable to keep up with playback (60% speed with my 4 GHz i7-2600K processor) for X264-encoded 1080i video. Thus, I got this program and it works well for the editing I do with my Sony-brand HD camcorder that I'm using more often now.READ FULL REVIEW