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DEEPCOOL STEAM CASTLE (WHITE) Unique Steam Punk Style With Side Window 200mm Fan(Front) Micro ATX / Mini-ITX +120mm Fan(Rear)+4 Magic Controllable LED Lights (Top) SGCC+PLASTIC (ABS)
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Doing some research on the company and I found that DeepCool has been in the PC business for quite sometime, however they primarily do OEM parts over seas. The Steam Castle cases and a few other parts look to be their first real entry into the North American scene, and they are quite good.

The styling is going to be a real hit with some people, and a total turn off for others. I've asked my friends for their opinions and it was about 50/50, no real middle ground and I think that's fair. What is nice is that it's different and offers a little personality to the small case game. The built in fan controller and LED is also a nice touch to have on board.

I got the pure white version and the case looks and feels great, albeit a tad heavy for how small it is. Besides the top and front moldings the entire thing is solid metal. Speaking of those plastic parts, they come off very easily and will be very modder friendly in case you want to add some custom paint or wraps.

Cons: One thing that wasn't entirely apparent to me in the description was the top vents. It looks like they are fans and/or for venting. Well, cutting to the chase, they aren't fans. There aren't any fan mounts either so unless you fabricate your own solution they are there primarily for looks (with the changeable LED's) and I'm sure a little heat venting.

The only fans that would fit look to be about 80mm which are considered noisy this day and age where 120-140 are standard so I can understand why they didn't, but I was still a little disappointed they didn't have a more primary function as ventilation.

The one other con that sticks out is the power button. I have no issue with it and the USB ports being on the side, but it feels SO cheap when depressed. Everything else on this case feels solid, but the power button (which is also the reset button, molded onto the same piece) it feels like cheap plastic and actually got stuck in the pressed position many times during testing. How or why they decided to go with this solution after everything else being top notch is beyond me.

Other Thoughts: The problem this case has is it's price. There are a few other small form factor cases that do everything just as well as the Steam Castle, but for much less (namely Bitfenix Prodigy) If you are on a budget then I would recommend looking elsewhere. If you are in love with the looks of this case, which I think is this models main draw, then you won't be disappointed. That is unless a cheap feeling power button is a deal breaker.

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.


Bryan K.'s Profile

Display Name: Bryan K.

Date Joined: 06/16/05

  • Reviews: 48
  • Helpfulness: 23
  • First Review: 07/28/07
  • Last Review: 09/16/14
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