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Shuttle DS61 V1.1 Intel H61 2 x 204Pin SO-DIMM Black Mini / Booksize Barebone System
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

5 out of 5 eggs Excellent compact computer 06/18/2013

This review is from: Shuttle DS61 V1.1 Intel H61 2 x 204Pin SO-DIMM Black Mini / Booksize Barebone System

Pros: This is an excellent compact computer. Approximately the size of a Mac Mini, this system is barely larger than the mini-ITX board it is built around. The ability to take any Socket 1155 CPU with a 65w TDP or less, which means up to a Core I7-3770S at the time of this writing, (limited, no doubt, by the ability of the power brick to deliver power and by cooling requirements), to take up to 16gb of memory, and to take both a 2.5" and an mSATA SSD or a mini-PCIE Wifi module results in a great deal of grunt in a tiny form factor. For anyone not needing gaming-class graphics, this is an excellent choice. Just don't expect overclocking, as it is based on the Intel H61 chipset (the "61" in the DS61 product name), and if you use the mini-PCIE slot remember to set the right mode (mini-PCIE or mSATA) in the BIOS.

Yes, its styling is industrial, as that is exactly what the original intent was, The chassis includes removable brackets to bolt onto the VESA mounts on the back of a monitor or TV to make a "poor man's iMac", or as Shuttle intended, a digital sign controller (hence the "DS" in the DS61 name). As an industrial computer, the two serial ports are welcome, as are the two 1000baseT NICs (Realtek) and SD-card reader are equally welcome. It also doesn't waste time during bootup, either.

Ubuntu 12.04 Server installs on it without a hitch.

My company has used several of these as prototypes for networking appliances, and have found them to be reliable and quiet. I've done the assembly on all of these, and they go together quickly with no fuss. Shuttle has even included a small tube of thermal grease to make sure the laptop-style cooler does its job.

I'm extremely impressed, as are the other engineers I work with; two have already bought DS61s of their own to use as HTPCs. As long as you can live with the integrated graphics of whatever CPU you choose, you have a real winner here. This would also make an outstanding car-PC for those of you embedding touchscreen monitors in your dashboards.

Cons: The only downside I found is the styling, which as mentioned earlier is appropriate for industrial and embedded computing.

Other Thoughts: If Shuttle were to make these without serial ports and in black with a nice bezel, they'd sell a ton of 'em.

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EVGA M020-00-000234 Superclock CPU Cooler
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

5 out of 5 eggs Awesome, quiet cooler, but beware clearance issues 08/25/2011

This review is from: EVGA M020-00-000234 Superclock CPU Cooler

Pros: This is an extremely efficient cooler. Various reviewers have found it is as effective as preassembled liquid-cooling units like the Corsair H70, and I believe it. It is also very quiet, even in a mid-size case (I use the Antec Three Hundred). The mounting assembly, though a little complex, does a great job (socket 1155 in my build). No motherboard warping; I can't say that's always true with other cooling solutions I've used in the past. Seriously, cool + quiet + inexpensive (compared to other cooling solutions in this performance class)... what more could you ask?

Cons: This is a very large cooler; cramped cases will be a problem. Beware RAM heatsink clearance issues. If you choose RAM with tall heatsinks such as the GSkill Ripjaws X I used, with a motherboard that locates the DIMM slots relatively close to the CPU such as on my ASRock Z68 Extreme4 Gen3, the fan will press against the DIMM heatsink. Over time, this will degrade the quality of electrical contact between the DIMM and its socket, and "mysterious bluescreens" will be in your future. I had to make my own fan-clips to hold the fan about 3-4mm higher than the included clips, which added an hour or so to the build effort, but the results worked extremely well. Rotating the heatsink to blow up instead of back wouldn't help, because the cooling fins are just as close to the motherboard.

Other Thoughts: The "secret sauce" in this heatsink is the texturing on the cooling fins. The metal plates are not smooth; they have a dimpled texture which breaks up the laminar flow over the cooling fins which dramatically increases thermal transfer from fin to air. The devil is in the details! This technique has been known to serious thermal engineers for many years; the interesting thing is that this principle has finally made it to CPU cooling. Evolutionary, not revolutionary... but at this price-point? THAT is amazing. This is a cooler that competes with the Noctua DH14, Corsair H70 and Antec Kuhler in every aspect except price; it absolutely trashes them in that regard. Even though this is likely a relabeling of a cooler manufactured by others, kudos nonetheless to EVGA for 80-dollar performance in a 50-dollar price point.

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AT&T CL82309 1.9 GHz Digital DECT 6.0 3X Handsets Cordless Phone Integrated Answering Machine
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: AT&T has a winner here.

The most important aspects of a cordless phone are range and voice clarity; this phone excels at both. I've taken one of my handsets outside to the street and still had excellent voice clarity. In my home this is particularly challenging, as the outside of my house is stucco... concrete backed by a mesh of chicken-wire that acts as shielding (can you say "Faraday cage"?). The signal getting to my phone handset must be weak, but I couldn't tell the difference. Ah, the joys of digital voice...

The phones themselves are well-built and sturdy. I did not have to refer to the manual to set up the outgoing answering machine message or to figure out how to listen to and delete messages, nor did I have to "pair" the handsets. Aside from installing the batteries in the handsets and hooking up the base station to the phone jack and power outlet, there was nothing I had to do to make it work.

Plug it in. Done. Why can't other manufacturers get it right like this?

Cons: This phone system is somewhat more expensive than some of its competition, but not excessively so; in this case, you get what you pay for.

DECT's encryption standard is not particularly strong, and reportedly has been broken (check it out on Wikipedia). I do not view this as an impediment, though. The encryption will keep you private from Billy-Bob and his scanner, and if you have something to say that you're worried about getting picked up from the airwaves, you shouldn't be using a cordless phone of ANY kind.

Other Thoughts: While you can mount the base station on a wall phone mount, it's a little ugly. AT&T could have included a more attractive adapter plate that would dress things up better. A minor nitpick, though, and it would have likely added several dollars to the price.

NOTE: Regardless of which cordless phone you get, you should avoid the 2.4GHz models. DECT operates at 1.9GHz. Microwave ovens which are not perfectly shielded will leak radio noise which make your connection static-ish (as well as messing up your WiFi network). Also, choosing a non-2.4GHz phone ensures that you won't boot your laptop (or your neighbor's laptop, for that matter) off of WiFi whenever you make a phone call.

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Lance R.'s Profile

Display Name: Lance R.

Date Joined: 07/18/05

  • Reviews: 18
  • Helpfulness: 18
  • First Review: 01/06/06
  • Last Review: 06/18/13
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