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Corsair Carbide Series CC-9011093-WW White/Blue SPEC-ALPHA Mid-Tower Gaming Case
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3 out of 5 eggs Remarkable looks, LED fans + controller, some problems with fit and interior design. 09/06/2016

This review is from: Corsair Carbide Series CC-9011093-WW White/Blue SPEC-ALPHA Mid-Tower Gaming Case

Pros: Quite stylish IMO without appearing tacky, unlike many gamer-oriented cases. This depends on your taste, of course. The overall look is reminiscent of modern architecture with its sharp angles.
There are two 120mm blue LED fans at the front and one unlit 120mm fan at the rear. I normally don't like LED fans but they look quite good in this case (no pun intended), being partially visible through the mesh on the front right side. If they are connected to the built-in fan controller as opposed to motherboard headers the brightness increases slightly with the speed setting, but they are not obnoxiously bright. As a consequence, they do not illuminate the case interior much, but cast a faint glow in the drive cage area. To see your build lit up fully you would need to install your own interior LEDs, or substitute the rear fan with a bright LED fan.
At the two lowest speeds the fans are reasonably quiet, if not silent, but at the highest there is a definite whooshing sound. Not terrible, and without annoying whines, but this is not a case built for silence.
As for ease of building in the SPEC-ALPHA, this was fair to middling, with some caveats (see Cons below for the troublesome parts). I happened to use a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H which with its blue heatsinks was a good match for the case color scheme - if blue/white is not to your taste, there is a variety of color options for the SPEC-ALPHA.
I installed two SSDs in the rear so as to hide the SATA/power cables, and filled all three slots in the hard drive cage. With some judicious cable management and use of aftermarket stick-on cable tie-down loops I was able to close the rear panel without excessive force, though the fit was tight. There is plenty of room for a full size graphics card, judging by the space remaining from the GTX 460 I installed.

Air flow is good due to lack of obstruction in front of the fans.

Cons: As others have noted, there are slight gaps visible when closing the side panels, meaning the fit isn't perfect. I was able to alleviate this somewhat by reinstalling and using more force but they are still there. Less than a millimeter, but more visible due to the LED fan.
My main cons relate to the cable routing, and the SSD mounts on top of the hard drive cage. I wanted to hide the 8-pin CPU power cable behind the motherboard tray, but there is no cutout that would allow this, plus the motherboard is too close to the top of the case to permit one. I therefore had to route the cable across the motherboard, as well as the rear fan cable. The case needs to have more clearance above the motherboard so it can incorporate a CPU cable cutout and also allow for AIO cooler clearance.
The tool-less SSD mounts above the drive cage sound good in theory but would leave data and power cables visible. Worse, though, is that the rear mount is in line with a SATA port on my motherboard. I installed an SSD in it, having to force it in by flexing the motherboard slightly, and when I tried to pull it back out it was blocked by the SATA port. I had to unscrew the drive cage to remove it. This is another reason I ended up using the rear SSD mounts using screws.
There is a lack of tie down points on the rear of the motherboard tray. I ended up using aftermarket ones as I mentioned above in order to make cable management possible. Luckily the rear panel bulge matching the window panel bulge allows the cables enough room to fit, but it is a close fit.
The PSU filter on the bottom is rather flimsy without an enclosing frame, but the mesh grills on the front and top will probably let in enough dust to make this moot, and the interior will need occasional dusting.

Other Thoughts: This case will succeed or fail on its looks, provided it does not have glaring issues. As I noted above, it *does* have issues related to cable management, SSD mounts, and panel fitting. I was going to award it two eggs (rounded down from two and a half) due to these problems, while remaining neutral on the design. However, its looks have won me over somewhat since using it the last few days, and it appears better in real life with the fans on than in photos. It is nothing like the more minimalist designs I tend to favor, but is not so over the top as to be obnoxious so I am rounding the score up to three eggs.
Note: this case was provided to me by Newegg for review purposes.

TP-LINK TL-NC230 HD Wireless Day / Night Surveillance Home Security Camera Motion & Sound Detection 150Mbps Wi-Fi Expansion
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

2 out of 5 eggs Wireless connectivity unreliable and needs a hard reset 05/30/2016

This review is from: TP-LINK TL-NC230 HD Wireless Day / Night Surveillance Home Security Camera Motion & Sound Detection 150Mbps Wi-Fi Expansion

Pros: Provides motion and sound triggered alerts via email or ftp, with user-specified sound sensitivity or motion detection in the viewing area(s) of interest (which can be selected in the app). You can also set it to record continuously via the user interface (including audio) if so desired.
Wireless connectivity means it does not have to be in the same room as your router and does not take up a LAN port, although a wired connection is more reliable.
You can monitor the camera from anywhere once you have set up an account with TP-Link, and provided you have a computer with the necessary browser plugin, a compatible Android device, or an iPhone.

Cons: The main con for me was losing the wireless connection several times during my two week testing period. The camera was only two feet from my router, so it may have been caused by congestion on the 2.4GHz band. I was unable to re-establish a connection without powering the camera off then on again. This is unacceptable for a security device when you are away from home. I had no such problem with a wired connection from my router, but not everyone would have, or want, the camera physically connected.
I am able to view the image and change settings on the camera from my PC, though I had to download a plugin for Firefox. There is dedicated standalone program called TP-LINK Camera Control (which requires setting up another login to access) but I could not get it to take snapshots or record video. It would allow me to view several cameras at once (if I had more than one), but I could not find documentation on it, and it has much less functionality than the browser based interface.
On two Android devices I own, one was incompatible due to its older version of the OS, and my Fire HD 6 tablet was still incompatible even after I managed to install Google Play and download the tpCamera app. In other words, the software needs work on compatibility.

Other Thoughts: Setup was easy once I created an account with TP-LINK and the UI (in the browser based app) is fairly intuitive. Motion detection is a bit iffy when only a small portion of the grid is selected and the color contrast of the moving object (person) against the background is low.
Due to the difficulty in getting the tpCamera app working on two Android devices, but mostly because of the unreliability of the wireless connection in what is meant to be a security camera, I am rating this product at two eggs. If there is a firmware update in future that addresses this issue, I will reassess my opinion.
Note: The TP-LINK TL-NC230 was provided to me for the purposes of this review.


4 out of 5 eggs Best FPS mouse and best-built mouse I have used. 04/06/2016

This review is from: Corsair Gaming M65 RGB Laser Gaming Mouse - White

Pros: Construction quality is superb, with an all aluminum body, and removable weights.
Dedicated sniper button is large and well-placed - with a modified claw grip I place my thumb tip just above it and can actuate the button by straightening my thumb slightly. When not using the mouse in FPS games, the Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) software can be used to reprogram the button to another function, or deactivate it if desired.
CUE software is highly configurable and pretty easy to use to reassign any or all of the buttons, and also control the lighting and DPI settings.
Tracking is very consistent, even on rough surfaces like the arm of my (leather) couch.
Although it has the same Omron switches as other gaming mice (I have the Roccat Kone XTD, Corsair Sabre, and Tek Syndicate Gaming mouse) they seem crisper in operation, even though the other mice are by no means mushy.
The scroll wheel is light to rotate, yet the steps are positive. Middle click is easy to use without mistakenly scrolling.
Elegant design and a good fit for my medium sized hands.

Cons: If not being used for FPS gaming, there are better choices available with more buttons. Some may find the sniper button too easy to click accidentally (even though it can be disabled or reassigned), and a palm grip can accentuate this issue. Claw grip users may find the palm swell excessive, though I got used to it.
The top surface of the white version can get sweaty and a bit slippery.
The above points are minor, but the price is more than I would be willing to pay for any mouse (Note: I was sent the M65 to review).

Other Thoughts: This is absolutely the best constructed, most solidly built mouse I have used, with no rattling or loose parts even after several accidental drops to a hardwood floor (my other mice have had parts come loose after such mistreatment). Every button has a crisp, positive actuation, and the tracking is excellent.
The mouse is heavy even after removing all the weights. I am used to it now, although I prefer a lighter mouse - one of the features/benefits/drawbacks (depending on your viewpoint) of an all metal body.
I've been using this mouse for two weeks now. I was not in the habit of using a sniper button before and it took some getting used to as I kept accidentally pressing it before I changed my grip (from palm to modified claw).
For build quality, performance, ease of use and appearance, I would award five eggs without hesitation, but I must deduct an egg when considering value for money, since the price is so high ($119.95 at time of writing).


Peter L.'s Profile

Display Name: Peter L.

Date Joined: 11/23/08

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  • First Review: 03/09/09
  • Last Review: 09/06/16
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