Date Joined: 08/05/11
Pros: You can purchase the "Mac" version of Civilization V and use it on a PC because it all goes through Steam anyway. I was able to get a great deal on this game when only the "Mac" version was on sale.
Cons: Civilization is like a very complicated, automated board game. There is no story. Once you learn the mechanics, the game play can be a little repetitive. Long term value can vary depending on how much you like playing against increasingly challenging AIs -- they don't get smarter, they just get more advantages that you need to overcome.
Overall Review: If you can get this game for a good price it's definitely worth trying out. It's different from most PC game offerings. As long as you don't pay full price, it doesn't really matter how much you enjoy the long term value.
Pros: Was fast while it lasted.
Cons: I'm writing this as a followup to my earlier review. I was 100% happy with the drive -- until it randomly died 2 weeks after I installed it. BSOD, wouldn't load into BIOS, none of the suggested fixes did anything to improve it. Had to RMA.
Overall Review: There seems to be an issue with manufacturing on this drive. I've noticed there have been 30 one-egg / RMA reviews since March 23, 2012. In the 6 months prior, there were only 4 RMA reviews. I don't work for Mushkin or anything, but all signs point to either faulty hardware manufacturing or maybe some bad firmware? I don't know but something is wrong, and it's a shame because I bought this drive in late March because it had such good reliability. How quickly things change. :-(
Pros: I really like the style of this case. Your opinion may vary.
It has a number of desirable features. 3 case fans are preinstalled on a fan controller, which also has 3 additional fan hookups if needed. The routing holes are well placed. If you have 2 HDD/SSD drives or fewer, you can slide out the extra sleds to improve airflow. Brackets are easy to remove. "Toolless" assembly is not entirely so. You can do it toolless, but it will be much more secure with some screws. It's not like securing the screws is difficult, so you might as well.
Quiet, and great thermals.
Cons: Exterior front and top panels are plastic and feel a little flimsy. (This does help with the weight though.) One of my fans didn't work out of the box -- I discovered it's because the fan controller cable was faulty. I plugged it into another cable and it worked fine, so not a big problem. Routing the 8-pin AUX power for the motherboard was a challenge but that is common to many cases. The rubber grommets around the routing holes pop off easily. They can be put back into place but its tricky. Only the PSU mesh has a proper air filter.
Overall Review: I know that seems like a lot of cons, but they were all manageable. No case is perfect. If you like the style of this one, it's quiet and has good cooling power and is not too difficult to build in.
Pros: It does what it claims to do. It has transformer-spaced outlets, it checks if you're grounded, and it seems to have a quality build.
Pros: Plenty of pros: Good build quality. Easy to use BIOS/UEFI. Overclocking an unlocked processor is a cinch. Ports seem to be in sensible places. Lots of USB, including 2 3.0s on the back. SATA III compliant.
Cons: I have enough little complaints to warrant removing one Egg from my rating. It only comes with 2 SATA cables -- I feel like for a motherboard in this quality range, they should assume the user is running SSD application drive, HDD storage / backup, and Optical. Would it cost that much more to give 3 cables? RAM and CPU slots are a little close so you might have a problem with RAM heatsinks + CPU tower cooler. 8-pin AUX power is hard to get to -- only cable I had trouble routing in the case. Even though it is ATX, for whatever reason it did not line up with the ATX standoffs of my case, I had to reposition many of them. No USB 3.0 header for case slots.
Overall Review: Overall it is a great value especially if you want to overclock, but there were just enough little inconveniences for me that I couldn't give it 5 Eggs.
Pros: Very easy to install. Only requires one 6-pin PCI power cable. Runs quiet and cool. Easily handles the latest games at 60+ fps on 1080p resolution. Cooler, quieter, and uses less power than the previous generation of GPUs.
Cons: None. It went right in and worked out of the box.
Pros: Modular. Easy to work with. Cables are sleeved. Quiet.
Cons: The 8-pin AUX power for the motherboard was *just* a little short. I was still able to route it behind the motherboard plate and attach it, but it was a bit of a challenge. The rest of the cables went right in, no problem.
Overall Review: Pretty good value for a modular PSU of this quality.
Pros: Easy to install. Works out of the box. Lots of power saving features if that's what you want, and extremely easy to overclock thanks to the unlocked multiplier. Normal computing under Windows 7 uses about 2-5% of the processing power on my system -- it laughs at your menial tasks and basically powers itself down until you're ready to challenge it with something!
Cons: None. It's pretty great.
Pros: Affordable fast RAM. Easy to install.
Cons: Heatsinks can get in the way of an after-market cooler. I had to adjust my CPU fan ever-so-slightly so it wasn't touching my RAM. This is a minor concern though, especially since it should not have any lasting effect for my system.
Pros: Easy to install. Fast. Reliable. It's a hard drive, what kind of features do you want?
Cons: It's ridiculous that they advertise SATA 6.0Gbps in the name. No hard drive today can come close to that speed. Yes it is SATA III compliant meaning it could theoretically reach those speeds, but it won't. It's like advertising a car as getting 100 miles per gallon...as long as you use magic gasoline that doesn't exist.
But as hard drives go, this is a very fast one.
Pros: Good quality. Backlit. Stylish. Has an appropriate number of "feature" keys (macros, music buttons, etc.) without going crazy like some of the supposedly higher end gaming keyboards. The anti-ghosting works very well.
Cons: There's something about the layout of the keys. Maybe they are slightly more narrow than most keyboards? I keep hitting Caps Lock instead of the A key, and I've never had that problem on any other keyboard. It happens enough that there must be something about the layout of the keys. That's why I docked it one Egg.
Overall Review: It's a very nice upgrade over most OEM keyboards. The backlit keys and style alone justify the price. The gaming features are just gravy.
Pros: It delivers on its promises -- the LED backlighting seems pretty even, and it also has nice style. I have not seen anything approach ghosting, the refresh rate is legit.
Cons: For one, the interface to change the settings is horrible! It took me about 10 minutes just to figure out the right buttons for "Up" "Down" "Select" and "Back."
Also the stock settings gave me a very yellow tint and disturbingly bright greens. Whites did not look white, it looked yellowish-orange. It took me a while to tweak the settings to lower both the Red and the Green. The picture seems much better now, though it is a little Blue -- probably needs more tweaking. At least the whites are white now.
Be prepared to calibrate this monitor. The stock settings and the "Splendid" presets are all terrible. (Unless you really like faint yellow and lime green, then I guess it's great!)
Overall Review: I bought this particular model because it was on a good sale. I think there are better alternatives out there, even from ASUS. I wish the stock settings were closer to normal, then it would be a great monitor.
Pros: It is a plain black mousepad that seems to be well made. It's affordable and isn't "stylized" like so many supposed "gaming mousepads" on the market.
Cons: None. It's so basic, I can't imagine how it can even have a con!
Pros: I installed it, plugged in the cables, booted up the computer, and it works. Can't ask for much more than that from an optical drive.
Cons: None. It doesn't have a ton of features but that's why it's so cheap.
Pros: Affordable. Significant improvement over onboard audio. Easy to install. Good for speakers, with extra attention paid to headphones. If you enjoy listening to headphones at your computer, this is a great choice.
Cons: The software interface is kind of clunky. It took me a while to figure out what all the settings did. I just wanted clear sound, which is achieved with the HiFi button. If you do want to alter your sound though, there are plenty of options for tweaking.
Overall Review: If you enjoy using your computer for sound in any way (music, games, movies, whatever) then you might as well invest in an audio card like this one since it is so cheap and easy to use.
Pros: Windows 7 is an excellent, proven operating system. It is miles ahead of Vista in both features and looks. There's a good reason it is the industry standard.
Cons: None. Unless you want to build a Hackintosh or try Linux, Windows 7 is your best bet.
Pros: Works great. Keeps me CPU nice and cool. (Under 30 degrees Celsius.) The included fan is quiet. Once it's installed properly, it's very secure.
Cons: The installation is a bit of a pain, but that seems to be true of all after-market coolers. Getting the backplate on requires some juggling. (It's only difficult because you're working on the motherboard which is delicate.) Then situating the heatsink and screwing it down requires some more patience. It's very clear what you need to do, it's just not particularly easy. Be prepared for this installation to take a little while if you've never done it before.
I'm not docking an Egg here though, because I believe every after-market cooler has these installations difficulties.
Overall Review: It's a great affordable choice to keep your CPU cool and quiet.
Pros: BIG sound from such a small set of speakers and subwoofer. I was nervous when I opened the box and saw how small they are! These take up practically no space at all but they will easily fill a room with sound. The volume "puck" is pretty neat, makes it easy to adjust the sound and you can place it anywhere on your desk. Easy to install.
Cons: None at this price point. For a small price, they are a huge upgrade over laptop speakers or even the standard speakers that come with most OEM computers.
Overall Review: I am not an "audiophile" so I'm sure these speakers have flaws but for the average person using them for iTunes or gaming, they are great. You can't beat the value. I'm sure the $200 set of speakers is better quality, but you'd need a trained ear to tell the difference.
Pros: It's a good HDMI cable. I got it for $5 which is fair.
Cons: I would not buy it at it's normal retail price of $15. I only bought it because it was on sale.
Overall Review: HDMI cables are pretty much all the same, so you should buy the cheapest one that is long enough for your needs. Beyond that the other "features" don't really matter.