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2 out of 5 eggs What Intel doesn't tell you about N-series Braswell video 12/26/2016

This review is from: Intel NUC NUC5PPYH, HDMI, VGA, Intel HD Graphics, USB 3.0

Pros: Nice and compact

Cons: Video driver limitation makes product useless for HTPC duties
Memory support for NUCs can be very finicky
Intel hobbles dual-channel capabilities with only one RAM slot, further limiting video performance (Braswell does support dual channel when implemented)

What Intel doesn't tell people about Braswell is that yes, the processor has newer generation graphics; but unlike their earlier (more powerful, but older iGPU) Haswell processors, there is now no option in the driver to scale the video to match your TV screen. If your television doesn't have 1:1 pixel mapping (neither my 720p or 1080p televisions happen to) the screen will be cut off, and you'll have no way to adjust. This could make the Windows taskbar or start button unusable. It took me six months of wrangling with Intel on their community foroms, showing them the difference in driver control panels between processors to get an answer of "that isn't available on the lower end Braswell GPU." Making this system, and any others based on the N3050, N3150, or N3700 useless for HTPC duties.

Other Thoughts: I have a hard time recommending a NUC based on issues like the above and a non-upgradeable processor, vs building your own mini-ITX form factor box that will be capable of so much more. If you do buy a NUC, don't skimp. Core i3 minimum, i5 recommended. Then you'll get some performance for the future, and you'll get two memory sockets for dual-channel performance, which can increase graphics performance a whopping 20-25 percent.

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4 out of 5 eggs Excellent, reasonably priced product - but use the blue wire 12/09/2016

This review is from: Sensi Wi-Fi Programmable Digital Thermostat for Smart Home - UP500W

Pros: -Unit is easy to set up once installed.
-Smartphone app is intuitive and well thought-out, available for iPhone or Android
-Made by a major thermostat manufacturer (White-Rodgers, division of Emerson)
-It's great to remotely set your thermostat to get a little warmer for by the time you get home if you need to

Cons: -Claims to not need the blue common wire some thermostats use; you really want to use it or re-wire.

Other Thoughts: Some older households use a 4-wire configuration, without the blue common wire. This is why Emerson touts there is no need to use that wire. The problem is that if you do not use the blue wire, the thermostat will go to sleep or disconnect from WiFi (to save power drain on its batteries) require it to be woken up for wireless connection. This is problematic if you leave home then want to remotely program the unit with your smartphone. Like many smart thermostats, you'll want to get the 5-wire thermostat cable from your hardware store and rewire to your furnace, or have a professional do it. I am far from a do-it-yourselfer, but I had little trouble doing it.

I didn't need the fancy stuff that Nest and Ecobee provide; a "learning" thermostat won't meet my needs because my times of coming and going vary. Emerson provides me with a great product at 35-50% of the price.

Finally, check with your utility company. There are often rebates when you purchase a new wireless thermostat. I got a $50 rebate from the power company that cut the cost of this unit in half for me and made it a bargain, cheaper than a non-wireless thermostat (they only offered a $10 rebate for non-WiFi ones.

Highly recommended - just be aware of needing the blue wire. That's why I deducted one egg.

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G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1866 (PC3 14900) Desktop Memory Model F3-1866C9Q-32GXM
  • Verified Owner
  • neweggOwned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: Runs at the speed and timings it's advertised for (note: XMP should be enabled). No issues

Cons: Would have liked them to have a black-heatsink version; red/blue don't go with everything. Not a huge deal.

Other Thoughts: I purchased these to replace a 16GB (4 x 4GB) kit of G.Skill Ripjaws X with the same timings that I bought a number of years ago that served through three mainboards and multiple Core i-Series processors before winding up with a Haswell 4790K and Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H-BK. I have never had a G.Skill module fail (I have purchased quite a few for myself and others); I have no reason to believe from this kit that that will change. At $126, these are a bargain considering their bus speed and timings.

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Douglas T.'s Profile

Display Name: Douglas T.

Date Joined: 07/14/01

  • Reviews: 47
  • Helpfulness: 26
  • First Review: 10/14/05
  • Last Review: 12/26/16
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