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SteelSeries Rival 300 Gaming Mouse - Black
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

5 out of 5 eggs Reduced lagtime immediately vs wireless usb mouse; ok for Lefties 01/25/2016

This review is from: SteelSeries Rival 300 Gaming Mouse - Black

Pros: Software makes this an excellent buy.

I've recently gotten a 4k monitor, and thought that the lag time was caused by the monitor. Pleasant surprise, a decent wired mouse eliminated the lagtime!

Mouse wheel has a great solid feel. I'm not one who can endure squeaky, plastic-on-plastic friction of the typical cheap MouSe wheel of a particular manufacturer, so this is great.

Size and shape fit me pretty well, despite being left-handed. I let my ring finger rest on the upper "thumb" button, so I can squeeze it pretty quickly. The lower "thumb" button is more difficult to reach, so I've left it unassigned. I tried using my pinky, but it just don't bend that way.

Cons: Center button is far enough back from the wheel to make it difficult to hit quickly. I imagine the design is to prevent accidentally hitting it while rolling back on the wheel. But it is just too far back.

Mouse itself is pretty large, and this isn't really a con for me, other than the center button. But it would definitely be a con for someone with smaller hands.

Other Thoughts: I recommend this mouse for anyone, gamer or not, with a 4k monitor.

It's a pretty good compromise for left-handers IMO, since no true left-handed mice has the feel and function of this mouse.

At its current price, it is an exceptional value. I will recommend this in future builds, since the only people seeking a desktop build from me anymore are programmers and gamers. Both will benefit.

I have two suggestions for the manufacturer -

Combine the two thumb buttons on the left side into a single center detent 2-way switch (down = mouse 4, up = mouse 5) . This would make it very easy for both righties and lefties to use.
Move the center (mouse middle, or 3) button from behind the wheel to in front of the wheel, with just about 1/2 the separation space.

Belkin F9K1113 AC1200 Dual Band Wireless AC+ Gigabit Router
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

3 out of 5 eggs Broadcom reliability, ease of administration 01/07/2016

This review is from: Belkin F9K1113 AC1200 Dual Band Wireless AC+ Gigabit Router

Pros: This is a device for the person who wants a media server built into a router, but does not want any sort of geeky administration tools or custom firmware. Given that, its Pros are that the web UI is simple, understandable, and limited in customization and in potential for failure.

Something that should be considered a Pro, but isn't currently bearing out, is that the hardware is Broadcom. Belkin now owns LinkSys, who owns the capital behind Broadcom development. If a better performance level comes through firmware updates, then it becomes a significant positive.

The built-in media server is a version of Twonky, and is particularly well-adapted for its usage scenario. In total, you just plug in your USB device with media files, and it appears as a DLNA server on all your compatible devices. You can also install a companion app on your phone or tablet, and you are good to go.

The Web UI has nothing that might be difficult to understand. Things that would be considered 'Advanced' are accessible by scrolling down below the default view into another panel labeled 'Advanced'. If you don't want to configure anything at all, you don't even have to open this UI - just plug it in and use the provided WPA key.

Wireless Beamforming, so the longer you use it with any stationary device, the more locked-in you become. Great for TVs! It actually works well.

Cons: Performance isn't really on par with other Broadcom-based devices I use or manage. Though this one is proprietary, I personally prefer Broadcom routers that support custom firmware, because it isn't unusual for a company to stop providing firmware updates as soon as a model iteration ceases. LinkSys has been better than most, and from what I've seen, Belkin has only lengthened the support window for consumer devices. Because of this, I will go ahead and leave half that egg in place in anticipation of better proprietary firmware coming soon. < -1/2 egg>

Single USB port is 2.0, which limits usage through the media server to a single client for video, and 2-3 at most for music. < -1/2 egg>

No external antennae, thus no manual tuning beyond positioning the device itself. < -1 egg>

Other Thoughts: I would recommend this for the person who wants AC wireless for media consuming devices plus media server capability. If you want raw performance, look elsewhere.

Bundled Norton software may lead some to think that this unit may be more secure by using it, and that it is value-added. Don't be deceived. It is garbage. There is no added value.

The disparity in pricing between the manufacturer website and here is noteworthy...

ASUS ROG MAXIMUS VIII RANGER LGA 1151 Intel Z170 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • neweggOwned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: This is a tweaktown award winner - actually the next step up - the Hero - is the award winner, but there are so few differences it doesn't matter.

Automatically sets overclocking profiles for you, so you really don't have to do anything other than pick a speed, and hope that it is stable. (If not, just pick a lower speed profile, or go to overclockers and follow some guides if you want to extract more performance).

Faster PCIE throughput for newer mSata ssd chipsets.

An actual hi-fidelity audio chipset built in...with some possible issues. SNR is listed at 112db - that's the promise. The ( ES9023 blurb states this: "Pop-noise is eliminated through a comprehensive suppression on power up/down, mute, reset, loss of power or clock." But, look around the forums, and there are significant numbers of reports of popping and clicking, shutdown thump, and other signs of cheap caps in the DAC/Output stage. ASUS chose to use Nichicon caps, and these have a great reputation for quality, so I am left to assume that it isn't actually the asus onboard audio, but the failure of users to disable the Realtek audio built in to all video cards. Asus has a great track record with Xonar, which I own and love, and using the SPDIF output on this board has given me the same quality sound. I'm pretty picky, and would certainly complain if anything were lacking in the audio department, and I find no fault here. I'm feeding a Sherbourn preamp, hooked up to an Emotiva XPA-200 and a push-pull tube amp, using Ascend Sierras and Salk SongTowers, so I expect I would detect any flaws pretty quickly. I cannot speak to the quality of the analog output, because I don't use it. If you use the analog out, and have issues, try disabling the audio components that are part of your video card and see if the clicks, pops, and thumps go away.

This architecture runs absolutely cool, and we are talking room temps here. I know that is dependent on cooling and CPU architecture, but I've had cheap boards that did not regulate VCore well enough to protect a decent CPU. With 14nm, You are well-advised to get good hardware to put that expensive CPU on, and this board aces this test. It made me nervous to do so, but I put a stock(!!) intel cooler on this board, set the 3.9 auto profile in bios, and played some games. The fan barely even kicked up in speed. Top temp was 61c. Water cooling definitely makes me feel safer with temps not exceeding 44c so far. But this board's voltage regulation is exceptional.

Cons: This board shipped with 0402 bios. Current bios is 1102. That is 7 months! Either 0402 was 99% stable, or this board has been sitting in a warehouse.

Not really a con, but this board supports ONLY Dual channel DDR4. Quad channel is statistically no better, at least in any current implementation. I put g.skill DDR4-3000 on this board, along with the core i5-6600K.

Does not support x16 + x16. I thought that this was the key selling point when I began looking at Z170 literature. Apparently not.

With Asus boards, I always have to go look on forums to verify how things plug in. Take for example the internal speaker hookup. I only leave this guy plugged in long enough to verify I haven't fried something on initial installation, but normally I see a 4-pin connector with a + at one end and a - at the other. Asus identifies the pinout with +5v-gnd-gnd-spk. How on earth would a person know that the +5v is the speaker positive, and spk is the negative? Silly. Another irritant during installation was finding the correct CPU fan header. There are 4 possibilities, one which is pretty obviously not it, and 3 which are...guesses. Tip to Asus - follow the lead of MSI and Gigabyte, and mark things clearly with accepted standards.

The manual identifies a lot of the bios functions, but gives no meaningful info on any of them. I guess this is pretty standard, and anybody that wants to understand their board should go ahead and hit TomsHardware, Overclockers, Tweaktown, and other sites to get understandable info anyway.

Other Thoughts: I have two other comparable systems - a Xeon E3-1245 and a core i5-2500K, and I cannot tell any difference without using instruments. But there is a difference, especially compared to the stock-speed Xeon.

There are little plastic protective skin stickers on sure to remove them all, or you defeat the purpose of a heatsink.


Clayton P.'s Profile

Display Name: Clayton P.

Date Joined: 11/12/02


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  • First Review: 09/27/07
  • Last Review: 01/25/16
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