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Pros: Small footprint, hardly noticeable in shelves/entertainment cabinents, uses very low power and absolutely no noise.
Cons: The biggest con is the remote control. I have a Rose will WMC remote that is almost just as bad but this one is worse. The buttons are so small, its hard to push the correct buttons on the number pad. The only other thing is boot time, it takes a lot longer to get started watching TV than the Xbox but this is an exceptible compromise for low power consumption.
Other Thoughts: I purchased these (got two when they went on sale) to replace my Xbox Slim Extenders. The Xboxes worked great as extenders but they generate so much heat in my entertainment cabinet that my TV sits on, I was afraid they would burn out. Plus, the heat caused the cooling fans to run at full speed so they were very noticeable in some instances when TV volumes were low. Another thing that annoyed me about Microsoft is that they you can't use the same user ID on more than one Xbox and they force you to log in if you wanted to use a plugin to watch certain video formats (camcorder family videos) on my HTPC.
The Xboxes are definitely faster but the power consumption (+300 watts vs. -10 watts) made these Echo's attractive; this my main reason for getting these. At least 3-4 times a week my wife or kids would turn the TV off when they were done but would forget to turn one or more the Xboxes off and sometimes would be left on all day long multiple times a week. Reminding everyone to turn off the Xboxes didn't always work with young kids. Over time this was such a waste of electricity, I was looking for a more power efficient device and this was it! Now I don't mind as much when one of these are left on... Unfortunately the HTPC will never go to sleep if an extender is on and connected but at least I've reduced the waste.
In comparison to the boxes, yes these are slower but its mainly confined to the boot process. Once the echo is booted up and running WMC, there's just a minimal lag in navigating the menus, starting/stopping video and changing channels. Don't let speed sway you from getting one of these. Reading some of the negative reviews made me weary about purchasing one of these. But I decided to give it a try because of the reasons I mentioned earlier and when these dropped to $99 on sale. I don't regret it!
The reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is that both the Echo's had a flaky software moment within the first week. They booted up without reason into "Recovery" mode and reset itself to factory condition. I have to re-add the extenders in WMC and it was a hassle because one of the Echo's didn't recognize the ceton plugin that was installed on my HTPC, this meant that I had to deal with 720p output until I worked through the issue with ceton support. They were very responsive and the issue was resolved; I'm going give ceton the benefit of the doubt and blame the plugin issue on Microsoft Windows since the problem was confined to only one of the Echo's with that particular "User" profile files, which had to be deleted on my PC. I'm still dinging ceton for the Echo randomly going into the recovery mode to begin with. It hasn't happened again so I'll blame this on buggy firmware which was updated since so I'm assuming this won't happen again. At least I know how to deal with it if it happens again.
Pros: Great cooler and quiet as far as I'm concerned. Ran a stress test running at a modest 4.2Ghz and temps never ran much higher than 60c.
Cons: This cooler is huge; with 140mm fans and numerous reviews, I was expecting this thing to be larger than my previous CPU heatsink cooler but when I opened the box I was still shocked at the reality of the size. The size of the box should have tipped me off before I opened it...
The red LED is a con for me since it doesn't match the glow my motherboard gives off but you can unplug the power cables so it doesn't light up. I'm not knocking off an egg for this though.
My only gripe was the installation process... read below.
Other Thoughts: The reason I gave this 4 stars is not because of the cooling abilities, it's because of the installation. As a cooler it's great and I got mine with a discount so that negated the issue of high cost. But installing was more challenging than I i expected. I was replacing an existing set up so my motherboard was already installed in the case as I putting this in; but when all was said and done, I don't know if it would have mattered if I took the MB out.
First, the fans are not removable - at least not for the installation, would have been more difficult if I removed them only to put them back in after the cooler was mounted. It cleared my memory sticks (GSkill Trident) which has a pretty large heat spreader so that was nice, the only caveat is that I had to install them prior to mounting the cooler. The clearance was to narrow to install the last stick afterwards. This made screwing the mounting nuts tight from all sides. PLX chipset heatsink on one side, power phase heat sink on the other two and the memory on the last; my V8 was surrounded by obstruction. Nice thing about all this is the cooler itself cleared all these obstructions regardless of the mounting position. What wasn't so nice it I couldn't reach the standoffs to bolt the mounting nuts. Cooler Master provided a handy wrench but getting that wrench into position took a lot of maneuvering; I won't get into the details but it took well over an hour, I only had about 5 degrees of movement with the wrench so I was twisting the nut about a couple millimeters at a time.
By reading the reviews of others, I may have had more difficulty than the average person but Cooler Master could have made it easier for everyone if they somehow made the fans removable for installation purposes.
After all was said and done, the cooler was finally mounted and I prayed that I would never have to take this thing off again - or my memory stick. I guess I'm stuck with this set up for the lifespan of my PC.
Pros: Nice looking, good air flow, solid construction and rubber surfaces for shock absorption.
Cons: The only con I have is the also listed as a pro... the rubber surface. If used as a case fan, this is great but if used as a CPU heatsink cooler fan (at least with Cooler Master), the rubber surfaces cause a less than firm grip with the fan mounting brackets that came with the CPU cooler causing the the clip to have some play when fastened on the heatsink.
Other Thoughts: I have a Cooler Master TPC 812 CPU cooler and wanted to replace the stock fan (which was okay) because I wanted to have a push/pull configuration. I couldn't find an exact PWM fan that came with the TPC 812 so I decided to replace the one it came with so I could have two that matched RPMs & CFM's.
I tightened the fan mounting brackets on the chassis of the fan as tight as I could without over tightening them but they still had enough flex in the movement due to the rubber around the screw holes. The clips kept working itself off on one side of the heatsink as I was testing them with the case cover off. I now have to occasionally shine a flashlight into the case to make sure the fan bracket hasn't vibrated itself off the CPU Cooler.
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