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Georg H.

Georg H.

Joined on 12/28/11

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 5
Most Favorable Review

Good graphics card for Photoshop build

EVGA GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 SLI Support Video Card 01G-P3-1361-KR
EVGA GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 SLI Support Video Card 01G-P3-1361-KR

Pros: I needed a graphics card for a Photoshop CS5 workstation build. It needed to drive a high-end wide gamut photo editing monitor, and had to be Adobe certified so that Photoshop would recognize it for GPU co-processing. Since most graphics card reviews are aimed at gamers, it was not easy to figure out what kind of card to chose. In the end, it turns out that for photo editing there is no advantage in choosing a pro workstation card over a consumer card (not true for 3-D modelling or video editing though). For my purposes, I got more performance for less money by choosing this card. Features that were important to me: NVIDIA chipset (favoured by Adobe), more than sufficient OpenGL and memory specs, reference design with airflow out the back, two DVI ports (for adding a future 2nd monitor), and GeForce 400 series was the highest currently certified by Adobe. Installed easily, was recognized by Photoshop, works great, runs cool, and is fairly quiet. So far I am happy with my choice.

Cons: None that I can think of.

Overall Review: Build Components: - Intel Core i7-2600K - Intel BOXDZ68BC Z68 ATX Motherboard - 4x Crucial 4GB SDRAM DDR3 1600 Memory BLT2KIT4G3D1608DT1TX0 - Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal SSD - Seagate Barracuda St320005N1A1AS-RK 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal HD - EVGA 01G-P3-1361-KR GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 Video Card - NEC PA241W-BK-SV 24.1" Widescreen LCD monitor w/SpectraViewII - SeaSonic X650 Gold 650W 80 Plus Gold Power Supply - LIAN LI PC-9F Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Case

Nice, clean, cool running case

LIAN LI PC-9F Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
LIAN LI PC-9F Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Pros: I was looking for a professional looking ATX case for a Photoshop workstation and settled on this Lian Li model, even though I couldn't find many reviews. I wasn't sure how hot my components would be running, so I decided to err on the side of caution and go for a case with three fans, the option to add a fourth, and a separate intake for a bottom-mounted power supply. The case looks very sharp, is very light, but build quality is high throughout. Pre-installed ATX stays are nice, as are the customizable cable clamps. The build was easy (other than somecable management issues - see Cons). An unadvertised feature are pre-drilled mounting holes for a 2.5" drive/SSD which accept the standard rubber grommets (use the small screws). I had considered swapping out the stock fans and/or installing an optional fan controller (part# PT-FN01) but the case runs very cool and quiet with the stock fans plugged into the motherboard fan headers. Overall I am very happy with this case.

Cons: There is very little room between the motherboard tray and the right side panel. When I tried to route power cables through there, the side panel would bulge out, so I ended up keeping the power cables on the inside of the case. If tidy cable management is your thing, you may find this case present some challenges. One other minor quibble is that - compared with other case manufacturers - the documention is quite poor. I don't think either of these warrant deducting an egg, though.

Overall Review: The original version of this case came with USB 3.0 pass-through cables that had to be plugged into the rear panel USB 3.0 ports (not very elegant). The current version of the case comes with a proper plug for an internal USB 3.0 motherboard header. If your board don't have one of those, a USB 3.0 to USB 2.0 adapter cable is included. If you want to mount than one 2.5" drive/SSD in the rack, you will need special brackets (part# HD-324). Build Components: - Intel Core i7-2600K - Intel BOXDZ68BC Z68 ATX Motherboard - 4x Crucial 4GB SDRAM DDR3 1600 Memory BLT2KIT4G3D1608DT1TX0 - Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal SSD - Seagate Barracuda St320005N1A1AS-RK 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal HD - EVGA 01G-P3-1361-KR GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 Video Card - NEC PA241W-BK-SV 24.1" Widescreen LCD monitor w/SpectraViewII - SeaSonic X650 Gold 650W 80 Plus Gold Power Supply - LIAN LI PC-9F Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Case

Solid card reader

AFT XM5U All-in-one USB 2.0 Card Reader
AFT XM5U All-in-one USB 2.0 Card Reader

Pros: I was building a Photoshop workstation and needed a dependable card reader for multiple formats. Originally I had intended to buy the larger AFT PRO-55U model, but when it was out of stock when I wanted to place my order, so I ordered this one instead. I had a 3.5" slot available on my case and this smaller unit was half the cost. Installation was easy and uneventful (just plug into a USB header on the board). So far I have used the reader for SDHC, CF, and microSD cards with no problems. Having an additional USB 2.0 port in the front is a bonus. In the end, this unit does all I need it to do and the price was right.

Cons: Can't think of any.

Overall Review: Build Components: - Intel Core i7-2600K - Intel BOXDZ68BC Z68 ATX Motherboard - 4x Crucial 4GB SDRAM DDR3 1600 Memory BLT2KIT4G3D1608DT1TX0 - Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal SSD - Seagate Barracuda St320005N1A1AS-RK 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal HD - EVGA 01G-P3-1361-KR GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 Video Card - NEC PA241W-BK-SV 24.1" Widescreen LCD monitor w/SpectraViewII - SeaSonic X650 Gold 650W 80 Plus Gold Power Supply - LIAN LI PC-9F Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Case

Nice high-end photo editing monitor

NEC Display Solutions PA241W-BK-SV Black 24.1" Pivot, Swivel & Height Adjustable IPS Panel Widescreen LCD monitor 60 cd/m2 1000:1 w/SpectraViewII
NEC Display Solutions PA241W-BK-SV Black 24.1" Pivot, Swivel & Height Adjustable IPS Panel Widescreen LCD monitor 60 cd/m2 1000:1 w/SpectraViewII

Pros: I needed a high-end monitor for a Photoshop workstation build. I use mostly the AdobeRGB colour space for digital still photography, and so I needed a wide gamut monitor that could display as much of that colour space as possible. I also needed hardware and software for calibration. Because of space limitations, 24" was the maximum size I could consider. After reading a number of reviews on photo-specific websites, I settled on this model. So far, I am quite pleased with it. It is a big step up from my previous monitor. After installing the drivers, I set the monitor up for AdobeRGB (one of several pre-set modes) and ran the calibration, which is very easy. The results are quite good - soft-proofing on the screen is very close to printed results. There are many further setting adjustments that can be made, but so far I have not found that necessary. Documentation is good. All in all, I am very pleased with my choice.

Cons: My only gripe is minor and has to do with the way the ports are located on the monitor. Without a mirror it is almost impossible to connect the cables because the ports are all facing down. However, since cabling is not something one changes frequently, it is not a big complaint. Other than that, no cons I can think of other than the price (but with monitors of a certain class you generally get what you pay for).

Overall Review: My monitor is driven by an EVGA 01G-P3-1361-KR GeForce GTX 460 video card at default resolution (1920x1200 60Hz) over a DVI-D connection, which works fine. The monitor does support 10-bit colour depth which requires use of the DisplayPort, but I am sticking with 8-bit for now. The built-in USB 2.0 hub is useful for connecting keyboard and graphics tablet while still leaving one USB port available for the calibration unit. Build Components: - Intel Core i7-2600K - Intel BOXDZ68BC Z68 ATX Motherboard - 4x Crucial 4GB SDRAM DDR3 1600 Memory BLT2KIT4G3D1608DT1TX0 - Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal SSD - Seagate Barracuda St320005N1A1AS-RK 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal HD - EVGA 01G-P3-1361-KR GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 Video Card - NEC PA241W-BK-SV 24.1" Widescreen LCD monitor w/SpectraViewII - SeaSonic X650 Gold 650W 80 Plus Gold Power Supply - LIAN LI PC-9F Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Case

Full-featured, stable board

Intel BOXDZ68BC LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
Intel BOXDZ68BC LGA 1155 Intel Z68 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Pros: I needed an ATX motherboard for a Photoshop workstation build based on a Sandy Bridge architecture (i7-2600k processor), with a Z68 chipset (for flexibility), and maximum stability. I also wanted the option of on-board graphics, lots of SATA III headers and at least one internal USB 3.0 header. Intel boards were recommended to me as being very stable, but there are only two Z68 choices. The other Intel Z68 board was not as full-featured as I needed, so I opted for this one on faith even though I could not find much independent review information about it. After one month it has so far not given me any trouble at all. Memory and graphics card were immediately recognized, all ports and headers work as expected. I had considered a separate fan controller for my three case fans, but decided to try the on-board fan headers first and they seem to do just fine, even with ordinary (non-PWM) fans. The user and technical documentation is pretty good. All in all, I am very happy with my choice.

Cons: My cons are few and minor. The design of the Extreme Series boards is a matter of taste and may appeal to some, but it was not a selling feature for me. However, you can turn the skull lights off, and since my case has no window and will not be opened very often, it really doesn't matter very much. As with every board, the placement of certain headers may or may not be ideal for your build, depending on your needs and your case. The one that worried me was the rear fan header which is very close to the main graphics card slot. As it turned out, the fan connector just barely fit next to the seated graphics card. The BIOS menu is in classic character-based style and so probably not state of the art, but since that is what I am used to it didn't bother me much. None of these things are worth deducting an egg, in my opinion.

Overall Review: There is some useful information in the Intel Forums about this board. Drivers: I chose to upgrade the BIOS to the latest version first, then used the product CD to install the CD version of all drivers, and then updated each manually to the latest version. This worked fine. I have not used and can't comment on the following features: - Overclocking - Intel Smart Response Technology - Virtu - RAID - Bluetooth/WiFi Build Components: - Intel Core i7-2600K - Intel BOXDZ68BC Z68 ATX Motherboard - 4x Crucial 4GB SDRAM DDR3 1600 Memory BLT2KIT4G3D1608DT1TX0 - Crucial M4 CT128M4SSD2 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal SSD - Seagate Barracuda St320005N1A1AS-RK 2TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal HD - EVGA 01G-P3-1361-KR GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 Video Card - NEC PA241W-BK-SV 24.1" Widescreen LCD monitor w/SpectraViewII - SeaSonic X650 Gold 650W 80 Plus Gold Power Supply - LIAN LI PC-9F Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Case