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iStarUSA D-213-MATX Black Metal/ Aluminum 2U Rackmount microATX Server Chassis 1 External 5.25
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: I'm using this in a different way than most people - I built a VST player/MIDI module (essentially a clone of a MUSE Receptor) using this as the foundation for a 2U rackmount case.

I combined this with a mATX board, a 4x20 LCD display in the external bay, and a SSD (given the potential for vibration). For my purposes, having the small power button on the front is perfect, and the bright light isn't a factor.

Also, given this is part of a 12U rack, I didn't need something made of extremely thick steel so the weight was perfect as well.

Didn't cut my fingers on anything, which is always a bonus after 25+ years of building PCs.

I'm using an EarthWatts PSU which vents to the rear but it's nice to have the vents cut out on the lid as well.

Cons: Nothing significant for my purpose.

This case is good if you want to build something and keep it that way, but I'm not sure it's durable enough to do it multiple times.

The HD bracket screws close to the case edge are tricky to remove and put back in.

Intel Core i3-3240 Ivy Bridge Dual-Core 3.4GHz LGA 1155 55W Desktop Processor                                                                                   Intel HD Graphics 2500 BX80637i33240
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: Good clock speed for an i3, hyper threading

Cons: None so far from a performance perspective. As always, the provided CPU fan is sufficient but not exceptional.

Other Thoughts: I needed to build a 2U rack mount virtual instrument player (i.e. VSTs). I wanted to have something relatively low power, be at least dual core and didn't want to spend much more than $100. On sale this CPU fit the bill and I highly recommend it.

Apple MacBook Pro (2012 Model) Intel Core i5 4GB DDR3 500GB HDD 13.3
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

5 out of 5 eggs Possibly the last great, cheap MacBook Pro 05/25/2013

This review is from: Apple MacBook Pro (2012 Model) Intel Core i5 4GB DDR3 500GB HDD 13.3" Mac OS X v10.8 Mountain Lion (MD101LL/A)

Pros: I own this, but didn't get it from Newegg (sorry guys, was able to get a much better deal with a NYC outfit this time around).

I previously built a Hackintosh using Newegg components and really started to like OS X and the Apple ecosystem. I then decided to get a Macbook - but which one? The Air is an amazing machine, so slim and light. But I'm used to building things and tinkering with them.

Enter the 2012 Macbook Pro.

By getting the lowest "base" version, it opens up a great opportunity to expand.

First, you can upgrade the 4GB RAM to 16GB. Most of the major memory manufacturers will sell this for around a hundred dollars.

Second, you can swap out the 500GB drive for a SSD. I went with a 256GB model and it flies. I'm getting over 300MB/s writes and around 500MB/s reads. SSD cost was under two hundred dollars.

Third, you can swap out the optical drive for a second hard disk. I put in a 500 GB Scorpio Black. Even with full drive encryption I'm getting 62 MB/s writes and 74 MB/s reads (was getting close to 90 unencrypted). Total cost including the drive, the optibay adapter on your favorite auction site and an external caddy for the DVD drive was under a hundred dollars.

Total time to upgrade everything, including cloning the SSD from the original HDD, probably a couple of hours tops.

So, for around four hundred you're getting a configuration for a lot less (Apple's configuration including a max of 8GB and a 256GB SSD, but NO optibay drive is $500 more).

Why is this possibly the last, great, cheap (relatively speaking) Macbook Pro?

The retina models coming out now no longer have upgradable RAM. The SSDs are a lot harder to swap out, and whatever storage you have on the SSD is pretty much it.

With my config I have tons of space on the SSD for program files and important docs, and run Parallels images and music files from the second HDD.

The CPU is sufficiently fast; I've never felt bogged down (especially with the SSD upgrade) and Parallels runs any Windows apps I need like a champ. Note: Newegg often runs deals on Parallels.

Cons: Can't think of any serious ones. If were to nitpick I'd say that the magsafe adapter pops out a little too easily sometimes.


Mark L.'s Profile

Display Name: Mark L.

Date Joined: 03/06/04

  • Reviews: 13
  • Helpfulness: 7
  • First Review: 02/22/05
  • Last Review: 03/09/14
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