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This review is from: Pantum P3255DN Monochrome Laser Printer
Pros: There was quite a bit to like about this printer.
I found setup to be quite easy. I didn't bother to read a thing. Instead I unpacked, removed the tape holding it together and simply attempted on my own to install the toner, paper and get it all connected and software installed. I was able to accomplish this all in less than 15 minutes without instruction at all. So that is saying a lot about the intuitiveness of the design. Nothing was a mystery.
I like the black color of the printer. Too often you're stuck with the beige/gray type laser printers as your only choices. The physical dimensions of the printers were ideal also. To test this printer I installed into my father in laws office as he does a lot of document printing. However space was limited and I was concerned that it might be a show stopper. Not the case. For a laser printer, it has a pretty reasonably size footprint and fit into the space with room to spare.
We printed many batches of documents (maybe 3000-4000 sheets in total) for his business. Before this he had an ink-jet printer where printing that many documents would take him days. This was a major improvement in terms of speed, taking only a couple of hours to do all the work and have all the documents printed. Not only that, but the detail in the print was much greater. Most of his documents display bar codes on them, and these never looked as crisp as they did this time around. Factor in that this printer's cost is about what he normally spent on ink for his other printer and it's a wonder why anyone needing a good laser document printer wouldn't buy something like this.
None of the documents he prints at any time needed more than a couple hundred sheets of paper, so the paper tray on this accommodated his needs just fine also.
My personal laser printer costs 6 times the amount that the Pantum costs, and despite that, it does on annoying thing. The sheets of paper that come out of my much more expensive printer always end up curving or developing a slight roll. The Pantum could print in simplex or duplex and in either case the sheets of paper came out flat. This is quite desirable that the printer didn't adversely affect the condition of the paper negatively.
A nice bonus was the included USB cable. It is also capable of being connected to a network via Ethernet.
In all I have to say this thing held up beautifully and performed consistently and with quality over a near two month time period.
Cons: Again, when you're happy with a product, it's hard to come up with a lot of negative things to say. So if some of this seems a little nit-picky or inconsiderate of the price, it maybe, but still should provoke some thought into discovering what your needs might be.
My first con is the some what annoying manner in how it prints. My Brother MFC, once it starts a document, will continue to printer each page/sheet of the document without pause or interruption. This printer would also take long pauses and seem hesitant at times middle way through a document. I'd often think while listening to it print that it was done, only for it to then start up again after a few seconds.
The paper tray supports multiple sizes of paper. While it was quite clear how to adjust the tray to hold the size of paper I needed to print, the actual execution of it was slightly cumbersome. Given how often anyone may change paper size though may make this slight annoyance virtually unnoticeable and completely excusable.
I was hoping that it would be a little faster at printing also. Maybe I'm expecting too much for the price, but the pauses between pages certainly didn't help speed.
I'd be happy if it included a WIFI connection. Charge a few bucks more and include that option and suddenly this device is so much more capable in terms of placement and convenience.
It's just a printer and doesn't include any added functionality such as scanning, copying, faxing. Not really a con as it isn't marketed as such, but just something to consider.
Other Thoughts: I was pretty impressed by this little printer. It did a lot of things right and made me question why I spent $600 for a big Brother MFC Color Laser printer. I hardly ever do any printing whatsoever. My wife is a teach however and she prints often. 90% of the time she printers documents, usually monochrome. My Brother MFC is faster at printing, I will say that. But it's a giant machine that requires a special stand of it's own just to host it's presence, it creates roll or curvature in the paper as it prints also, and it costs a fortune by comparison to this printer. Granted, it has WIFI as well as Ethernet and USB. It can do scanning and copying. It can print in color. But most of the time I don't need any of that.
So my point is if you know your needs, you'd be a fool not to grab this machine. For the cost and quality of product, it's a no-brainer.
I'm not a huge printer guru, I will admit. I hadn't ever heard of the brand Pantum prior actually and was skeptical of what new name low quality junk I'd be testing here. I have to say that never really became the case. It held up for 2 months and is still going strong now even. I'd love to be able to post back in a year and let everyone know what my thoughts on Pantum are. But for now I'll just have to go off of the longest time I could muster before Newegg started complaining that I was taking too long to post my review. Initial indications point to a good product from a good company.
So to wrap up, if you need to print quality documents in a reasonable amount of time at a low cost, you'd be a fool not to buy this printer. If there's competition out there, I don't know about it. The Pantum P3255DN has run the gamut and passed with flying colors.
Pros: I ran this board now for over a month. I've been using it heavily for gaming and productivity. It has run well the entire time.
It's got the latest chipset which is Intel's Z97. Its got native support for anything Broadwell. I however only had a 4770K to use. This supports Haswell just fine though and it's what I ran for the last month. I wish I could have tested out the newer 4790K, but it simply wasn't available to me.
The layout of the board was pretty good. Everything in the expect place. SATA have 90° turned plug-ins at the side of the board. Aside from that, every cable connection on the board is located on the side of the board. So no worries about running cables across.
On-board power, reset and clear CMOS buttons are becoming quite standard affair on boards as of late, and in keeping with that this board has that also.
2-Way SLI/Crossfire is supported, as is 3-Way (at least in theory, I'll explain later). For 2-Way there is a slot of separation as to not starve any double slot cooled GPUs of airflow.
The color scheme is nice in that the board is mostly black. The gold heat sinks on the other hand would be anyone's personal preference. I personally don't care for them, but I could see how someone might.
I've never found a use for double NICs, but I know people who are looking for that feature. This board has 2 NICs. One from Intel and the other a Killer NIC (intent is gaming purposed, again in theory).
So much of the pros on this board however are not unique to this one board and much of what I've said can be found on many models.
Stability was paramount however, and while that should simply be an expected part of any released product, I've owned Gigabyte boards in the past that were full of unique features, boasted really impressive benchmarks and were simply gorgeous to look at, but at the end of the day often were quirky in terms of stability. I'd get strange unexplainable blue screens that I could never track down, or weird start-up issues, or just any type of strangeness that would often force me in to replacing the board with something else. I can't say that about this board. It simply was something I could run every day without issue and forget it was even there. That's what I'm looking for in any motherboard and I will say this board has it. It's also the reason why I decided I wouldn't post a review on this board until I had ran it for nearly 2 months.
So it's a really impressive board just on the recognition that it was 100% problem free. With it's price well below $200, even more impressive.
Cons: When a board doesn't give me any issues, it's hard to find a lot negative to say. So if this section is a bit brief, then take that as an indication of what kind of board this really is.
2 NICs. As I stated in the Pros is nice for those who can use it. Most can't. So it's an added expense that doesn't seem justified. One could argue that because of the two different types it gives the consumer the option of using either the Intel NIC or the Killer. Having used both extensively myself, I don't know why anyone would care for the Killer. It's supposed to be better for gaming, but I've yet to ever see any evidence of that. When you look latency in games, I never see a difference. They say, "Oh, well the differences really can't be measured. It's more of a subjective thing.", but like I said, I've used both on many different boards and products, I even used each NIC for half the time on this board, and I could not tell any difference.
The key difference for me was that with the Intel NIC, the drivers are installed and you never really deal with them again. With the Killer, they more frequently are updating their drivers, which are needed to make use of some of the Killer supposed features. I don't really care to keep updating my NIC drivers, especially when I can't garner any tangible difference after doing so. If I just use the Intel NIC, I forget about it entirely and simply use my machine without concern of how it's connected to any network or internet.
To justify the double NICs, I think they should make them both Intel's and give some added bonus feature like the ability to team them. Until then, save me the money and just put the Intel NIC on the board and call it a day.
3-Way SLI/Crossfire support is there, with a couple of caveats. The least unique issue is the number of PCI-E lanes give to each card when 3 are plugged in. Not a failing the board so much as the design of the Z97 chipset. Any Z97 board is going to have this issue, barring the addition of a PLX chip. Those themselves have their pros and cons. They work great for multi-GPU, and less so for just a single GPU. Some board are designed to switch effortlessly between single and multi where it either uses or bypasses the PLX chip. But you have to remember that it only adds more cost; cost for the PLX chip, and cost for the added circuitry and design.
Secondly, GPUs 2 & 3 don't have any space between them when the GPU's are using double slot coolers (which aren't aren't these days?) and therefore will often starve GPU 2 of adequate air flow.
Thirdly, there is no additional power plug to provide more power to the PCI-E lanes. I see this as an issue very worth mentioning as I've had boards fail me running 3-Way that didn't have this. It should work fine for 2-Way, for 3, look for a better board.
OK, so maybe this section wasn't that brief, but that's mostly because I talked in depth about a few very minor issues, most of which are hardly unique to this board alone.
Other Thoughts: I see quite a few others mentioning the BIOS as being confusing. Personally I didn't take much issue with it. This might be because I have used a couple of boards now with Gigabyte UEFI bios's and this one is very like those previous bios's in how they are laid out. I will say though that it could be better. Asus and MSI both have better UEFI layouts. But unless you are someone who keeps going in to make changes, ask yourself how much it matters to have a perfectly laid out BIOS. I'd suggest you look past the issue, deal with some immediate confusion and then simply use the board.
This board given to me for review was a bit of a downgrade for me. I was sporting an Asus Maximus VI Formula prior, a much pricier board. In that board I was running a XFX R9 295X2 with a MSI Gaming R9 290X for 3-Way Crossfire. I decided to do the same for this board, despite the fact that this board did not provide the additional power plug for multi-GPU configurations. In addition to the 3-Way GPUs, I ran with a 4770K overclocked to 4.7GHz, 16GB of DDR3-2133 and a Samsung 840 Pro SSD. Cooling was done with a Corsair H110. I ran Windows 8.1 Update 1.
Now that I'm done reviewing, I'm going to go back to the Asus. You maybe asking, "But why go through all that trouble to go back to Z87 when you couldn't tell a difference between the two boards?". The reason is that this is essentially the 3rd build with all the same components for me now. The first was a MSI Z87 M-Power Max that also did not have the additional power plug for multiple-GPUs. The board ran 3-Way for awhile, until it didn't. The Asus board having the power plug has allowed me to run without issue for a long time now. So I fear that if I keep up using 3-Way that this board will simply succumb to the same fate as my MSI. I will state that one keep difference here is that prior I was using 3 reference 290X cards instead of the 295X2 + 290X. So with there having been 3 physical cards as opposed to 2 now, that might have made a difference also. Still I don't want to take any chances and that is the only reason I'll be giving up this otherwise very stable and impressive board.
Now I touched on the appearance of this board already where I stated that I didn't care for the gold coloring. I also did not like the heat sinks themselves in that they simply aren't attractive despite their color. They look cheap and dated, like something you'd find on a board from 10 years ago.
Fortunately they have a BK (black) model that gets rid of the gold. The design of the heat sinks are still bad, but because of them being black don't look at all terrible. Too bad though if you want what is otherwise essentially the same board despite the color change, they are asking an additional $25. I'd go for the extra cost personally, but I can understand why some might take offence to that.
In the end, if you are looking for a new Z97 board to run brand new CPU with either 1 or 2 GPUs, this board is awesome for the price.
This review is from: Corsair CH-9000051-NA Raptor K40 Keyboard
Pros: * 6 Macro Keys with 3 Banks of profiles for a total of 18 possible macros.
* Dedicated multimedia keys
* Attractive design.
* raised keys allows easy cleaning.
* Different colours for WASD and Arrow keys.
* Any colour back lighting.
* Different back lighting levels and profiles.
* Decent software for configuring keyboard profiles.
* Profiles can be stored on the keyboard and are therefore transportable to any machine you connect the keyboard to.
* Claims to be a full KRO
There's a lot of decent features packed into this keyboard. I want to say more good things about this keyboard, but unfortunately the majority of what I have to say will be found in the cons section.
Cons: So I listed a bunch of features in the pros section. The list of features are all there and are what you would buy this keyboard for. That being said, let me explain how those features are quiet up to snuff.
* The macro keys are up to par with how most of the competition are implementing them. So it really isn't a selling point when you can get the same thing else where.
* I like having dedicated multimedia keys as opposed to using a function key to enable multimedia functionality. The problem with the multimedia keys here is that they sit so much lower than the rest of the keys and aren't the easiest to access. So to put them on the keyboard and then do it poorly doesn't bode well.
* It's a nice looking keyboard, from afar. Once you get up close to it, it's bottom tray looks cheap and is cheap, made of flimsy plastic.
* I like the different colour keys for WASD, but not everyone will. They don't send replacement keys for the user to decide whether they want them to be coloured differently.
* The back lighting can do pretty much any colour. It just does it quite poorly. Even in a dark room when the keyboard is set to it's brightest, it looks pretty dim and is fairly unimpressive. Back lighting doesn't have to be blindingly bright, but it should be bright enough to justify its presence, but this keyboard comes up way short in the back lighting department.
* The software is run of the mill. It works. But again does nothing to set itself apart from the competition. I've yet to see keyboard profile management software that has really impressed me. Most simply accomplish the job. Some are cumbersome. This one is some where in between and still doesn't impress. At least if you own a Corsair mouse, the software integrates between the two devices into a single interface where you can manage both your mouse and your keyboard.
* I didn't go out of my way to verify that this keyboard is NKRO (they call it full KRO with anti-ghosting). I know the first batch of Corsair mechanicals were 20KRO, which is pretty good over USB. The fact that they simply don't state NKRO explicitly and use vague marketing terms leads me to question whether it really is NKRO. Again though, I can't say for certain as I didn't test that directly. For most people it doesn't matter anyway, 6KRO is usually good enough.
That addresses the counter points to the pros, but there were even more faults.
* Rubber dome switches. For the price of this keyboard, they could mechanical switches.
* It isn't a sturdy keyboard at all. In fact it exhibits a lot of flex in the middle. Because of the thin single flat plane to which they attach the keys, it bows in the middle under weight.
* It feels and looks cheap up close.
Other Thoughts: I've been using mechanical keyboards for a couple of years now. Before that Logitech gaming keyboards like the G15 and G19 were what I used. It's pretty hard to go back to using dome membrane switches after using Mechanical keyboards for so long. So my initial impression of this keyboard was a little tainted right from the start. That is why I decided I wouldn't write or decide anything about it until used it for at least a month.
Boy am I glad that month is over.
So Corsair typically makes pretty good products. I like their company and their products and use them quite frequently. Either through quality or through their brand name recognition however, their products will often carry a bit of a premium. So they will occasionally release a product to reach a lower segment in the market hoping to reach people unwilling to spend top of the line. Usually when they do this though, they sacrifice quite a bit and still charge too much because it's branded Corsair. And that is what I feel they did here.
When they first released keyboard, they were partial mechanical keyboards. They looked great, were popular and performed well. And despite being only partially mechanical, people praised them and they seemed to sell well. The 2nd generation was even better. Gone was the odd use of occasional membrane switches, replaced by 100% mechanical switches. These were the models to own, and for anyone who waited to purchase these, they would be quite satisfied.
This keyboard is trying to capitalize on the success of both the first and second line of Corsair mechanicals. It looks very similar overall with it's raised key design and open tray. The problem is that it's not at all in the same league in terms of build quality. I don't think I've ever seen a keyboard exhibit so much flex in it's design. It's simply made cheap. And unlike the Corsair mechanicals, it doesn't feel sturdy. The back lighting between them is also night and day. Sure the mechanicals only do one colour, but at least you can see the light. In a lit room, you can barely tell this keyboard has back lighting.
This keyboard simply exists to serve one purpose, to let people who want a K70 buy something cheaper and make them think they are getting something similar. I'm here to say you are not.
At the price of $80 also, it's simply overpriced for what you get. After using it for awhile, I guessed it was a $50 keyboard at most. Imagine my reaction to find out what they wanted for it.
And after a month of using it, it doesn't do enough good stuff mentioning because it doesn't do anything special in terms of how it feels to type on it. I've used $20 keyboards that fell similar when I type on them.
I simply can't recommend a good reason to buy this keyboard. I often see sales where mechanical back lit keyboards fall into the same price range. And if you don't want a mechanical keyboard and would rather save the money, you can find keyboard for $20 less with similar features.