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Acer Aspire AS5742Z-4685 NoteBook Intel Pentium dual-core P6100 (2.00GHz) 4GB Memory 320GB HDD Intel HD Graphics 15.6
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: - Fantastic ratio of features to price...if you snatched up the laptop when it was on sale.

- Everything works on Ubuntu 10.10 AMD64 after one minor hack. That makes this laptop an excellent inexpensive Linux laptop for those who may wish to do so.

Cons: - Embarrassingly awful mono speaker. I mean, it is absolutely terrible. Would it really have been difficult to find space for a second channel speaker, and to use speakers that weren't so awful? I have a ten-year-old laptop with better speakers than the one included on this machine.

- Windows install is absolutely loaded with "crapware". I hadn't expected anything else (and I hadn't even intended on using Windows much), but it's something to be aware of. I understand the monetary incentive for manufacturers to pre-load garbage software, but it still angers me every time.

Other Thoughts: No restore discs come in the box, but you are immediately prompted to create them when you boot into Windows. Have three DVD-Rs handy for the task. I was grateful for this, as the first thing I did after removing crapware and installing Windows updates was to shrink the NTFS partition and install Ubuntu.

Speaking of Ubuntu, the wireless driver isn't included on the install image, but is available as a so-called "restricted driver" once you boot into your new install. Also, brightness adjustment didn't work out of the box, but a bit of googling led me to a simple change in the GRUB configuration that fixed that.

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Thermaltake V3 Black Edition VL80001W2Z Black SECC / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: less than 1 day

4 out of 5 eggs Sleek and quiet, but a few flaws 03/11/2010

This review is from: Thermaltake V3 Black Edition VL80001W2Z Black SECC / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Pros: Amazing price at the time of this writing.

This thing looks great, and so far, the black paint seems scratch-resistant.

I like the no-screw drive installation.

If you're motivated, you can do some rudimentary cable management.

Despite being steel, this case is super light.

This thing is QUIET! The provided fan is large and spins at low RPM (~1300 or so), and the case has rubber bottom feet. When I touch my hand to the top of the case during normal load, I hardly feel any vibration at all. Most of the noise comes from my aftermarket CPU cooler, not the supplied case fan.

Cons: You have to take off the front panel to install 5.25" drives and a front intake fan. This wouldn't be a big deal, but the front panel is held on by four-pronged thin metal washers. The prongs of the washers are bent inward. The screws to hold the front panel are run through the prongs. I can see no engineering benefit to having the prongs there, and they get in the way if you're trying to put the screw back in. A much better solution would be thin rubber washers, but that would have added a whole FIFTY CENTS to the manufacturing cost. For an otherwise stellar case to have such a silly front panel mount confuses me.

The LED cords were mis-wired ("positive" was negative and "negative" was positive). Thanks, guys.

The bottom PSU mount actually makes cable management more difficult, particularly the 4-pin 12v.

I wish they had provided more more of the quick drive mounts. The case only came with one 3.5", yet I have two HDDs. Luckily, I had an old one from another case.

Other Thoughts: The case only comes with one exhaust fan. There are plenty of options for mounting more fans, and the mounts accept multiple sizes. I had an old 92mm that fit just fine in the front intake position.

When you have a fan in the front intake position, the air is actually blown over your hard drives before making it to your interior. I'd suggest mounting your hard drives such that there's a large gap in the middle for good airflow to the interior.

The window is tiny and mostly pointless. You can see into your case better through the top grille than you can through the window. The window wasn't a big concern from me, so no eggs lost for that.

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ASUS M4A785T-M AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

5 out of 5 eggs I love Asus 03/01/2010

This review is from: ASUS M4A785T-M AM3 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

Pros: Good features for the price.

POSTed on the first try, unlike the Gigabyte it replaced.

Simple BIOS overclocking and 4th-core unlocking (if you're lucky).

Cons: Firewire would have been nice, but it's not 100% necessary for me.

Q Connector was not included in the box. Luckily, I had an old one lying around. These make front panel hookups a no-brainer. They can't cost much to manufacture, so it confuses me when ASUS doesn't include them with all new motherboards.

Other Thoughts: When POSTing, the BIOS is "smart" enough to switch video to the PCIe slot if you plug in a card. If you're like me and you assume every board will be "dumb", this can lead to a few seconds of confusion.

I'll never cheat on you again, ASUS! <3

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Edwin S.'s Profile

Display Name: Edwin S.

Date Joined: 08/09/06

  • Reviews: 8
  • Helpfulness: 4
  • First Review: 02/13/10
  • Last Review: 01/10/11
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