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Mushkin Enhanced ECO2 MKNSSDEC60GB 2.5
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Inexpensive, right size, right capacity, quiet. I also like the idea of some USA content in my purchases.

Cons: Can't think of anything.

Other Thoughts: I set up an HTPC system using a QC5000-ITX/Wifi from ASrock. Initially I tried a WD 800 Gb 5400 Green drive to run the whole system. The combination of the embedded solution and the slow drive really made the computer almost unusable in terms of pauses and delays. Using the Mushkin as the Win 7 drive, and the 800 Green drive as recorded TV storage really works great. The 800 Gb drive is good for low power and continous data streaming when watching recorded shows. The Mushkin just makes the system snappy to use in general. Access to Windows programs like WMC is quick, boot up is quick (quicker than mainstream mechanical drives), zero complaints.

In fact, I just bought another Mushkin to clone another HTPC operating system from a mechanical drive. I'll wipe the mechanical drive and it will be the storage drive. Instant, noticeable perforance boost for less than a family movie at the theaters.

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ASRock QC5000-ITX/WiFi AMD FT3 Kabini A4-5000 Quad-Core APU Mini ITX Motherboard/CPU/VGA Combo
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: I really like the form factor; ITX fits a standard ATX/mATX pattern, and this board looks dinky in my giant full ATX Antec HTPC. 4 supported monitor connections - dSub, DVI, HDMI, DP. , 7.1 sound capable - I'm running 5.1. USB 3.0 and SATA 3 (6 mbps) are nice. UEFI BIOS, pretty, intuitive. There is an option to load the Ethernet driver from the BIOS and download all the drivers from asrock.com, never tried it, but for anyone without options, that looks like a good option.

Cons: The included CD cannot boot properly. Here is what I did to load drivers - I loaded Win7-64, loaded a wireless USB stick driver I had lying around, went to asrock.com, then to amd.com to get Catalyst. The asrock.com site has an all-in-1 driver suite that gets all the CPU level stuff loaded. Due to an issue - see below - I actually tried different driver install methods and found this to be best. The screw on the board that holds on the wireless antenna was loose and I had to take 2 pair of pliers to tighten it up, noticed other reviews said the same thing. The CPU fan after a couple of weeks is now noisy - more so than a standard AMD APU 80 mm fan would be. The manual is so-so. Board picture is small - yeah small board, but even smaller picture.

Yes - this is an inexpensive solution, but you can get better solutions for 20-25 more. Big and little things are just not as good as they could be, even considering price.

Am I happy with the solution - yes, just not happy with some of the initial quality shortcomings. The board works - everything works - it just took a while to get there. Long term I will be putting on a big passive cooler to eliminate the fan noise. Have a machine shop at work where I can get that made.

Other Thoughts: I initially set up my HTPC with a 800 Gb WD green @ 5400 RPM that I had lying around. The combo of the CPU and the slow HDD really made the computer unpleasant to use. I purchased a 60Gb Mushkin SSD to pep up the system. This definitely makes the setup usable as a HTPC. The 800 Gb drive is now the recorded TV drive.

The intended purpose of this board is for HTPC to be a Tivo for digital cable using HDHomerun as a 3-tuner device across my LAN. Because M$ is so worried about Win10 right now, they had some major support gaps in changing guide providers in Windows Media Center. I tried valiantly to get the guide, which makes recording shows possibly in the first place, and tried re-installing Win 7 several times. Finally, time won out and the guide eventually downloaded properly. Look up Zap2It to Rovi transition - lots of unhappy WMC users out there.

Quad core anything running this slow is actually kind of silly. I wonder if this was cut back to a dual core if there would be any noticeable performance hit just using this as a WMC/HTPC box. The real strength of this system is good graphics system that pulls loads away from the x86/x64 cores.

This embedded solution is not recommended for anyone who wants to transition to a lower-power desktop solution. It is just not snappy enough for even the least serious user to notice pauses and delays.

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G.SKILL 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL9D-4GBNQ
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: Was on the list of approved memory for my new mobo. Worked from the word go at rated speeds. But hey it's memory - how could it be better? The heat sinks are understated, no spikes or ridges - perfect.

Cons: None, solid product.

Other Thoughts: When I got it, the sticks were in a see-through plastic clam-shell, similar to other suppliers' packaging. But this just popped open, didn't have to get a box cutter to get the packaging open - how great is that? And there is a shiny little enthusiast sticker that comes with it - similar to CPU and GPU stickers to dress up cases. I don't really think it works on my HTPC case - going for the stereo component vibe, not pwn all noobs.

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Mark S.'s Profile

Display Name: Mark S.

Date Joined: 05/22/06

  • Reviews: 48
  • Helpfulness: 22
  • First Review: 05/26/06
  • Last Review: 08/25/15
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