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Tek Republic TUA-300 USB 3.0 to HDMI / DVI Adapter
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

5 out of 5 eggs Bring Your Horsepower! 02/05/2014

This review is from: Tek Republic TUA-300 USB 3.0 to HDMI / DVI Adapter

Pros: It works. Supports USB 3.0, audio over HDMI. Company is very responsive.

Cons: High resolution may require more CPU power than some people have available.

Other Thoughts: First of all, kudos to the company for email response time. I sent them an email on a Sunday morning asking whether this gadget supports HDCP (it does), and the response came just an hour later.

My goal was to bring a cheap HTPC video signal to my 1920x1080 flat screen via a single HDMI cable. After reading some USB-HDMI adapter reviews I ascertained that for smooth video I'd be better off with USB 3.0 so I bought an inexpensive USB 3.0 card and this adapter.

I have not tested with Blu-Ray disks yet but what I did notice was that using VLC to play full-HD MP4 files on a small PC monitor took around 34-40% of the CPU on an Intel E8400 but playing it full-screen over HDMI took around 90% of the CPU. That is enough CPU demand that just the additional load of moving the mouse cursor would cause some video glitches.

According to the manufacturer, this card's driver will utilize video coprocessor cycles if they are available. My motherboard -based video probably was not what they meant. ;-)

As it is, it works. But one more straw on the back of my 3 GHz E8400 could very well send me back to the drawing board and looking for a fanless, energy-efficient, low-profile, HDMI/HDCP-capable video card instead of a USB solution.

Not taking away any points - I have no real reason to. Just keep your expectations reasonable.

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Orico PVU3-2O2I Super Speed USB3.0 2 Port and 20-Pin PCI Express Adapter Card with VL800 Controller and Low-Profile PCI Bracket
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: Works well, looks nice, includes a low-profile bracket.

Cons: The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Other Thoughts: Thanks to the other reviews, driver acquisition and installation was painless and effective and so far the card seems stable.

The black bracket looks lovely but seriously, who is gonna see it? And its rolled edges are a nice touch but they cause it to sit not quite squarely in the apron of the PC I'm using it in.

But the really unfortunate design flaw is that while this card utilizes a low-profile circuit board and comes with a low-profile bracket, the Molex power connector points straight up. Here is where a few harsh realities set in... First of all the Molex LP4 connectors are often no longer standard equipment. So budget for an adapter (male SATA to female Molex) if all you have is SATA connectors on your PSU. Second, in a low-profile PC you end up with about 1 cm of clearance between that LP4 connector and the PC's case/lid. That's not enough room for the necessary LP4 female and even if you scrounge one up that is shorter than the rest, the wires coming out of it will still end up crushed between the connector and the case, and that will transmit forces to the motherboard as well. And if you say to yourself "no big deal I'll solve this problem with a right angle Molex connector" you will discover that right angle SATA connectors are plentiful but right angle female Molex LP4 connectors are non-existent.

My compromise was to sand down the face of the female Molex connector and cut notches into that connector where the wires come out, in the direction they are bent toward the PSU. This allowed the PC lid to be installed with less pressure against the wires, connector and card, but I'm still not loving the arrangement. If I weren't in a hurry for a solution this probably would have ended up returned.

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YAMAHA RX-V773WABL 7-Channel AV Receiver with WiFi Adapter
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

3 out of 5 eggs Low-end??? 01/31/2014

This review is from: YAMAHA RX-V773WABL 7-Channel AV Receiver with WiFi Adapter

Pros: Plenty, if only the stupid things were a distraction. This is a follow-up to my original review.

Cons: Firmware and software a bit hinky. And that whole Zone 2 fiasco.

Other Thoughts: Last night I couldn't select AirPlay from the input selection knob, but I could select it using the iPhone. And when I tried the A/V controller app on my wife's Samsung S4 it took many tries just to connect. The two devices may have been battling for control. The receiver only permits one to control it.

But oh, the Zone 2 thing... I contacted Yamaha to ask if a firmware update could allow analog sources on Zone 2. Here is what they said:

"No updates would enable the routing of digital sources to Zone 2. The only receivers that do that are the RX-A2030 and RX-A3030 at this time. We are always pushing for that in the lower models."

Maybe I'm naive but I'm having trouble thinking of an $899 receiver as a "lower model"!!!

And at the risk of being pedantic, I can get AirPlay on Zone 2 and that's certainly not an analog source. I'm not impressed by stunts to cripple an obviously easy feature just to up-sell people to models twice as costly.

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Brad B.'s Profile

Display Name: Brad B.

Date Joined: 11/10/02

  • Reviews: 11
  • Helpfulness: 6
  • First Review: 11/29/10
  • Last Review: 02/05/14
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