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This review is from: NVIDIA Gift - Watch Dogs
Pros: It was free.
Cons: I'm reviewing this item as a gift included with my new graphics adapter, not as a game. See the product page for the actual game if you want reviews for that.
First of all, the game is not actually included; only a link and activation key are provided. That's fine, but the download must be through Ubisoft's proprietary Uplay system, meaning you have to register for Uplay (a billing address is required for some reason) and download their software; there's no way to get a straight-up DRM-free copy.
I registered for Uplay and downloaded it to my new system anyway, eager to try my free new game. Everything seemed fine (I had to go through three stages of "activation", but they all worked) until I tried to log in with the Uplay client software; it rejected my email address as invalid, meaning it wouldn't even TRY to let me log in! Apparently, the registration system and log-in system use different filters to determine what a "valid" email address is, so it let me register with an address which it considers "invalid", and it's now impossible for me to log in and download my game. And the activation key is already associated with that account, so I can't just make a new one with a "valid" email address and start again. Worse, I can't even contact Ubisoft's support for help, because you have to (you guessed it) log in first to do that.
Other Thoughts: As long as it's going with DRM'ed downloads as gifts instead of physical copies of games, nVidia should consider just giving Steam credit with their products in the future. That would be much more broadly appealing than specific titles anyway.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: RAIDMAX Vampire ATX-001WBTi Black Steel / Plastic ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Pros: The chassis is very roomy, sturdy, sleek and attractive without being too fancy, and has great airflow possibilities. It has a number of filters and grilles to prevent the case from sucking in too much dust.
There is a cutaway in the backplate (beneath the motherboard) that gives you access to the reverse side of the CPU socket. This is great for adding/changing an aftermarket CPU cooler without removing the motherboard.
There is a hole on the bottom of the case, behind the power supply, where you can mount an extra 120mm fan or a 140mm fan. There is a filter covering the hole on the inside, but if you remove it and attach a 120mm fan, you can reattach the filter on the outside. Unfortunately, if you have a non-modular power supply, the cables might get in the way. A slim-profile fan might be best.
There are four ports for tubing in the rear of the case at the top. They are pictured, but not mentioned in the product description or specifications.
Drive bay covers and PCI slot covers are all perforated for airflow (drive bay covers are filtered as well).
All of the ports on the top front (USB, audio, and 2.5" SATA hotswap) have replacable covers.
Cons: This case does NOT support 2x 140mm fans on top as RAIDMAX claims; two of the screw holes are missing. That means you can only mount a single 140mm fan on top in the rearmost position (or a 200mm fan or 2x 120mm fans). If you want to install two 140mm fans or a radiator with a similar profile, you will need to drill two additional holes and void your warranty. At the time of this review, Newegg has corrected the specifications page to reflect this, but there is still a graphic on the overview page which claims that you can mount both fans, and the product packaging makes the same claim, so I feel that it's a good thing to mention. This is my main complaint with the case, as the description from RAIDMAX is very misleading. I contacted RAIDMAX about it, but support didn't have much to say other than "that was wrong on box." Very poor job on that.
The internal drive mounting brackets block the ports on small 2.5" drives (such as typical SSDs). I was able to cut some of the plastic away on a couple of the brackets pretty easily to fix this, but it's an inconvenience.
Molex power connectors for some of the attached components (front intake fan, etc.) are very cheap and flimsy; the four pins move around inside the connector making it difficult to attach the male connectors to the power supply without breaking them. Be careful to align them and don't use too much force.
There might as well not be a manual; the one that is included is more of a quick-start guide. If this is your first build, you might need some help from someone with more experience.
Other Thoughts: There is no speaker included with the case (for POST notifications/alarms/etc.).
There is no power LED; the only status LED is for HDD activity.
Despite the blue glow of the case in the photos, the only component with LEDs is the front intake fan. If you're like me and don't like a lot of bright lights in your case, you can replace the fan pretty easily after removing the front of the case. (Start with the tabs on the bottom of the cover and work your way up.) The stock fan isn't great anyway, so you might as well install something better.
Pros: Very fast! I have two of these in a RAID 0 array and the speeds are incredible. Windows 7 Professional (x64) boots in around 5 seconds. Transfer speeds are very high.
I haven't done any serious benchmarking, but the Windows Experience rating is 7.9 (out of 7.9, so the maximum).
Cons: When these drives are configured in a RAID array, Samsung's Magician software cannot recognize the drives. (By comparison, Intel's software does recognize Intel SSDs in a RAID array.)
The drives still seem to work fine without the software, but Samsung's warranty is dependent on total bytes written (TBW), and these drives DO have a limited lifetime, so not having access to TBW and Drive Health are potentially huge problems. Because I can't get any information through Magician, I'm deducting an egg. Because I can't update drive firmware through Magician, I'm deducting another egg.
Please fix the software, Samsung!
Other Thoughts: You probably won't see much benefit from using two of these in RAID 0 like me; if you don't need high throughput at high queue depths, you're probably better off using the drives independently. Someone did some testing and benchmarking of these drives in RAID 0 versus no RAID and found that RAID 0 did better in artificial benchmarks, but independent disks were slightly better in real-world tests (i.e., boot times, program load times). You can find the results pretty easily with a search engine.
I have these connected to an Asus Z97-A motherboard (Intel Z97 chipset).
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