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Corsair Hydro Series H80i V2  Water / Liquid CPU Cooler. 120mm CW-9060024-WW
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Pros: I've been around the block a few times with closed loop coolers, and many times with Corsair's units from way back when, and I can say that they have improved a ton since the last time I used one. This thing has a much quieter pump than I had expected and it was super easy to install. Max temps under full load with an i7-980X were around 38c using Handbrake during video encoding, which is one of the best temperature ranges I've seen on my build when using 120mm fan coolers. The tubes were also a bit more flexible than one of my older models, even though it was still stiff and difficult to wrangle in tight spaces, but it was still easy enough to install on my motherboard. Mounting to the back of the case was simple as well, and the option of using this radiator in a push/pull fan layout is super handy. The Corsair link software is very useful and nice to have on the desktop for temperature monitoring, plus the waterblock can change colors to match the case. Being able to software control fan profiles is a must at this point, and having a CPU profile I can adjust on the fly makes life a lot easier.

Cons: Stock fans are a bit loud, but they're not the worst I've used with a product. I'd definitely replace them with better quality fans, but you can get away with the included fans without much of a worry. The tubing can still be a pain to wrangle into tight cases.

Silicon Power 64GB Elite microSDXC UHS-I/U1 Class 10 Memory Card with Adapter, Speed Up to 85MB/s (SP064GBSTXBU1V20NE)
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Pros: Very cheap for the capacity, decent speeds for its rating. Was able to get about 45MB/s read speeds with initial burst at 65MB/s when testing on HDTune using a Transcend USB 3.0 adapter, which is above minimum spec for UHS-1 SD Cards. Interestingly, the internal memory appears to be from Transcend, as that's what my hardware IDs picked up, so I would assume this is a rebranded Transcend SD card.

Cons: It's very rare to get a Micro-SD card that can perform at 85MB/s or greater, and unfortunately this card loses out too. Advertised speeds are "up to" but I was never able to break 65MB/s when benchmarking. Write speeds were a lot lower and closer to 30-35MB/s.

Other Thoughts: This card is more than worth it to store pictures and videos on a phone or other small device, however you might run into issues with running certain apps from it if you use it as an expansion on your core memory.

ViewSonic XG2401 23.6”  Black 144 Hz 1ms (GTG), HDMI Widescreen AMD FreeSync (Adaptive-Sync) LED Backlight LCD Gaming Monitor, 350 cd /m2 120M:1, 1000:1, Built-in Speakers
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Pros: Out of the box this thing was easy to assemble (Single screw on the bottom of the base stand) and get set up. The stand and bezel look great and feel sturdy. Upon first turning it on the colors look great and the screen is bright and crisp. Pixels are not obvious at sitting distance and there is very little to no evidence of ghosting in movement, making 120Hz video and games a great treat. The inclusion of two HDMI ports and DisplayPort on the back are a great addition and highly welcome with the number of devices that support both. The USB ports are also powered so it's possible to plug in a Chromecast or Intel Compute Stick on the back of the monitor and have it powered purely by the monitor itself. Including speakers on a monitor like this is cute, but overall it feels lacking as it will with most monitors.

Cons: I had a great deal of trouble getting anything to display a signal to this monitor, and in fact only 1 out of 4 computers tested was able to get a signal on the screen. I didn't have any luck with a GTX 970 (HDMI or DisplayPort), a MacBook Air, and a Dell laptop, the monitor would turn on, say "no signal" and then turn off again. This drove me mad as I was unable to even get an on-screen display to appear without a signal driving the display, and there was no manual to be found in the box. The included quick start CD that came with the monitor was corrupt as well and I had to contact ViewSonic support to retrieve a downloadable copy, as it is not available from the support page directly. This did not appear to help me either, as the documentation did not include very much useful information aside from recommending that I install the monitor's drivers to get a signal. I feel that monitors should be plug-and-play, and this is highly frustrating not being able to use a monitor with the device I intended it for.

It was only once I found a laptop that was able to drive HDMI, I found the image was overall lacking. The blacks were a dark grey at best until Dynamic Contrast was turned on, and this proved to be very poor image quality as it provided a lot of backlight bleed around bright objects in high-contrast images. With the default settings colors were overly bright and didn't feel like an accurate color representation, and the edges of the screen on a full black image showed quite a bit of backlight bleeding, something I wasn't expected from an LED lit LCD panel.

Attempting to adjust the image quality was painful at best. The menu button layout is non-intuitive and I found myself pressing the wrong button over and over again (The 2 is on the left, the 1 on the right), and the actual image quality adjustments didn't appear to do much aside from lower overall brightness and dull the colors. I felt I had no option to improve the image quality, only make it worse.

Other Thoughts: For the price of this monitor, it felt a lot less like a premium monitor and more like a budget panel with a ton of features. The image quality on my 5 year old Acer looks better than this monitor, and that's after years of wear on the panel. It may not have all the bells and whistles like 144hz and DisplayPort, but it was also less than half the price when I bought it and has proper contrast. It also works on any device I plug into it, which is the biggest drawback I have with any monitor. If I plug an HDMI or DisplayPort monitor into this, and they recognize the monitor, the monitor should be able to interpret the signal.


Daniel C.'s Profile

Display Name: Daniel C.

Date Joined: 11/30/07


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  • Reviews: 125
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  • First Review: 12/04/07
  • Last Review: 08/01/16
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