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GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-UD3H LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: I have used Gigabyte boards for years and I (knock on wood) have never had an issue with quality or features. Unfortunately that trend does not continue with this main board. Cutting to the chase, I think this board was rushed to market to make sure it was released in time for the Haswell refresh.

It's almost as if Gigabyte included the features people are expecting for a z97 chipset, but didn't take any other parts of the board into account. I'll get into that a little bit more in the other areas. As it stands, this is not a bad item but I can't justify the price they are asking for what's included.

It is really nice to see the M.2 spec included. Of course you get UEFI which is like night and day when coming from an old BIOS. In fact it has double BIOS, so if you make a mistake you have some redundancy to fall back on. Although not entirely comprehensive, the overclocking features are nice to have.

Cons: So looking back at the pros, they are also the parts where I just don't think time was spent on any other area. Want to use that new M.2 feature? Great, but now you are two SATA ports down. Want to use two or more video cards? Great, but now you're down at least one PCI slot. Want to overclock your new Haswell? Great, but good luck pushing it and keeping the mosfets cool at the same time.

Like I said, they included features an enthusiast wants and craves, but none of the supporting features you really need to put the whole package together. If you aren't going to use all of those features then this board will work fine, but then it would be overpriced for what it's used for. Like I said, identity crisis.

Other Thoughts: Because there aren't too many supporting boards (on release) for the Haswell refresh, I'm sure the enthusiasts are willing to look past some of it's pit falls. But now that more are coming to market you may want to do some deeper comparison shopping before making a decision. Again, this is not a BAD product, you just might have a touch of buyers remorse after reading reviews for something else in the same price range.

TP-LINK TL-PA6010KIT AV2 600 Powerline Adapter Starter Kit, Up to 600Mbps, Gigabit Ports, Plug and Play, Power Saving
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: The attractive feature these and other adapters offer is a real flexible alternative to Wifi. If you're like me and and almost always run into interference issues, channel congestion, connection drops, etc, then the promise of plug and play network extension with "like wired" speeds is certainly appealing.

I built my HTPC long after I wired my house with CAT 5 (early 2000's) and didn't really see a reason to drop a line into my living room because not many devices had an ethernet port that didn't anything useful. Well because of that I've had to use Wifi and it's sub-par performance because of it's distance from the router. Streaming 1080P was a pipe dream for me and I usually dealt with 720P streams or less.

Well with the AV600 adapter kit I can report that my little AMD APU powered HTPC is streaming 1080P like a champ. All I had to do was plug one end into an outlet by my router and the other by my HTPC, use the included cables to hook it up and that was it.

Besides the obvious and documented cons (see below) I can see these being very useful indeed. If you have a printer you want to keep somewhere else in the house but don't want to hassle with Wifi these are perfect. If you live in Arizona and don't want to drop cable in mid summer in a house with vaulted ceilings, these are perfect.

Make sure you read the requirements carefully to ensure maximum compatibility before purchasing.

Cons: As stated in other reviews, it is highly recommended NOT to use a powerstrip and instead plug this directly into an outlet. This isn't really a product flaw directly, but in this day and age there aren't many outlets totally free in most homes. It was compact enough to fit another device in the outlet above for me however.

Also make sure your house wiring is not too old. Mine was completed late 1990's so it won't be an issue. Owners of much older homes please do a little research on the forums to see what points of failure you could potentially run into.

Other Thoughts: As with other items I've received from TP Link, I am very pleased with the build quality. And also like every TP Link item the manual is generally lacking. These are so dead simple to use it isn't an issue, but it's still something to note.

I would certainly recommend these to a friend who has an isolated device(s) or at an awkward distance from the router/nearest plug. I myself am very happy to be using this with my HTPC. I have had no lag, stutters, or buffering issues like I was before with it using Wifi alone.

CORSAIR CSM Series CS750M 750W ATX12V v2.4 and EPS 2.92 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: If you do a search here on Newegg for Power supplies and then filter by most reviews, chances are high that you are going to see many Corsair models. There is a reason for that, they have made a name for themselves over the years producing top quality components. This unit is no different and exceeded most of my expectations.

The first thing you will notice when opening the box for this PSU is the packaging. Besides the extremely high end products this is as nice as it gets. Although pieces of foam and cardboard don't affect the performance, people love to know what they just bought is quality and premium packaging definitely helps sell that idea.

Although this is a full sized power supply, I was able to fit it into a Mini ITX case (Cooler Master Elite 130) with no issues. In fact the modular cables really helped make sure no room was wasted with unused cabling and unobstructed air flow front to back.

Along with being in a smaller case, the whole machine is located in an entertainment center cabinet and is being used as an HTPC streaming content through the house. After a month of almost daily use I can confidently say that this things stays very cool and quiet while running 24/7. Having a Gold efficiency rating will almost certainly help with any power cost since I have yet another full fledged computer running day and night.

All in all there is much to like about this unit, however I do have a few comments and complaints...

Cons: And the biggest one of those complaints is the cables, more specifically the feel of them. For some reason that I can't quite pin point they feel somewhat cheap. The plastic isn't noticeably thinner, yet when plugging in some connections I was concerned with enough pressure I could snap a piece off. Chances are if you've built a PC in the past you know how stubborn some 4 pin molex connectors can be. Obviously not everyone even has a need for molex anymore, but if you're paying for a higher end product you expect that no corners be cut.

Moving away from the connectors and onto the cables, they are incredibly stiff and awkward to move/position. Maybe I classify this as an issue because my working space was so restricted, however I've noticed more people are scaling their builds down with powerful and efficient pieces. If you plan on building a Mini ITX build like myself, know that cable management is going to be an issue.

In stark contrast to the overall unit which oozes quality, I just am not happy with the cables or connectors. I don't exactly how much those plastic pieces cost but I certainly think a little more time and effort can go into the design for the price being charged. For that reason I am deducting one egg.

Other Thoughts: Minor niggle over the cabling aside, I would recommend this unit for anyone looking at a mid tier, 750 watt PSU. I had planned on switching this unit back out for what was in my HTPC prior, but it just runs well and unnoticeable that I have no reason or need to do so. However, do your research beforehand, most people don't need huge PSU's anymore unless you are building an enthusiast gaming or workstation rig. PC components have gotten so efficient in past years that most rigs could do with a 600 Watt PSU or less. Now it's always nice to have some overhead in case you want to upgrade in the future, but again thing's keep getting smaller and more efficient over time and if you don't need 750 Watts then you can use the extra cash on a better GPU or more RAM.


Bryan K.'s Profile

Display Name: Bryan K.

Date Joined: 06/16/05

  • Reviews: 47
  • Helpfulness: 22
  • First Review: 07/28/07
  • Last Review: 07/08/14
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