Date Joined: 01/17/05
Pros: I've used both Seagate and Western Digital drives in RAID systems (RAID6, RAID5, and RAID1). All the larger drives (greater than 2 Tb) seem to fail more often than HDDs did in the past?
I haven't seen any obvious benefit comparing Seagate to WD. So I tend to buy whichever is lower cost.
Not sure if this is still true, but Seagate went back to 7200 RPM for all drives. That was a slight plus over WD which was running about 5400 RPM for many of their larger drives.
Overall Review: HDD failures seem to occur more often with larger drives (greater than 2 Tb in size). Keep that in mind for your backup strategy.
Pros: I tend to upgrade OS whenever Microsoft comes out with a new version. This meant that I have used some OS that didn't fare well. Windows 8 forced a significant GUI change on Users which wasn't appreciated for those of us still using PCs.
Windows 8.1 fixed most of the issues with the GUI. There are a number of minor improvments to the OS in several areas that make Windows 8.1 a better choice in my mind than Windows 7. The OS boots faster, Secure Boot is available, task manager gives more detail, etc.
I bought the Pro version primarily for BitLocker.
Cons: The change in the Windows GUI can be annoying to some people. I don't expect Microsoft will have that completely resolved until Windows 10 is released in 2015?
Overall Review: Even with the potential for some annoying changes to the Windows GUI I feel that Windows 8.1 is a superior OS to Windows 7.
Pros: My first build using DDR4 RAM. I've used Crucial modules in the past and been happy with them.
I wasn't looking for anything special in RAM. Just wanted something that was DDR4 and not too expensive from a reliable company.
Pros: My first foray into water cooling and overclocking. Bought this to work with an Intel Core i7-5820K CPU and an Asus X99-A motherboard.
Once I got a case large enough to accommodate the water cooler the installation was a breeze.
The Asus software made overclocking a breeze. I'm running stable at 4.5 - 4.6 Ghz. When running at that speed the fans are a bit noisy, but not too bad.
Cons: After running this for a few weeks I get some noise which seems to be the fans wobbling a bit and hitting the side of the case? That's a bit annoying.
I haven't tried taking this apart yet to take a closer look and see if there is anything I can do to eliminate the noise. I suspect I may just have to live with this and perhaps build something around the case to cut down on noise?
Overall Review: I overlooked how much of a problem the 140 mm fans and radiator were going to cause me. None of my existing computer cases would accommodate this. (120 mm seems to be the standard size available on most cases?)
Some cases had the space on the top side, but the artistic shape of ventilation made it impossible for me to mount the fans and radiator.
I ended up buying a Cooler Master HAF Stacker 935 case. The case works very well with this cooler, but the case is significantly larger than any I've ever used before. It stands about 28 inches tall.
Pros: Bought this motherboard along with an Intel Core i7-5820K, DDR4 RAM, and a Samsung 840 EVO drive. I'm very happy with the performance.
I was considering between this Asus X99-A and several MSI X99S motherboards. I've used both brands before and been happy with both.
What sold me on the Asus was a reviewer who commented how well the automatic overclocking software functioned on this Asus. I was able to get my CPU running stably around 4.5 - 4.6 Ghz without spending hours on my own trying to fine tune everything.
Overall Review: This motherboard is on the lower end for 2011v3 models, but it had all the features I needed for my build.
I overlooked the fact that there was no PCI slot. So I had to replace an older Creative X-Fi sound card with an Asus Xonar (PCIe) sound card.
Pros: The past few years Intel seems to have a firm grip on the CPU performance lead, but they charge a significant premium for it..
Having 6 cores (12 threads) and using a Samsung 840 EVO drive this system is very responsive. The only time I notice things slow down a bit is if the anti-virus program is stressing my HDD. But otherwise this runs like a dream.
Cons: Price is significantly higher than for other CPUs. You do get additional cores and performance, but there is a significant premium for this additional performance.
Overall Review: Also bought an Asus X99-A motherboard and Cooler Master Nepton 140XL water cooler. The CPU is rated at 3.3 Ghz with a 3.6 Ghz turbo mode. With the Asus motherboard and water cooling I've been able to get this CPU to run stably at 4.5 - 4.6 Ghz.
So although there is a premium cost for the CPU it is also possible to get premium performance out of the CPU.
Pros: Love all the space. Will take me some time to fill this with pictures and videos that seem to grow exponentially in number due to everyone in the family owning a smart phone these days.
Overall Review: Over the years I've bought a number of Seagate and WD larger HDD for use in RAID systems (RAID6 and RAID1).
I've had trouble with both companies. Sometimes the drive immediately fails. I had a few 3 Tb Seagate drives that failed after 1 year. Seagate warranty was easy to use and covered their replacement, but I got back a refurbished drive. Not a brand new drive.
I don't feel the extra expense for Enterprise drives is worth it. So I have to plan for and put up with the occasional HDD problems that seem to come with all of the larger sized HDDs.
Pros: Having a hot swappable drive bay is very convenient for making backups of the HDD in my system.
A few computer cases come with hot swappable drive bays, but I needed a case which fit a water cooler and had to buy this separately. It fit easily in an open 5.25 inch slot in the case.
One feature I really like is that I don't need to mount the 3.5 HDD in a tray or mount any brackets to the HDD in order to use the hot swappable tray. You simply slide the HDD in/out.
Cons: The drive bay feels a bit flimsy, but I've already swapped the HDD several times and not had any problems with it.
Hopefully this will last me for many years to come.
Overall Review: Makes turning any computer case with an external 5.25 drive bay into a hot swappable drive bay for a 3.5 inch HDD. Very helpful for making backups.
Pros: This case is much taller than any I've owned before. With the smaller piece on top the case stands about 28 inches tall.
There is a lot of room for drives. Given I put the radiator in the top piece the main case if fairly open and should have good airflow.
Cons: The top stacked piece slides on. I have not found any way to lock it in place. (I may have overlooked something?) So if I bump the top part it causes it to slide backwards. Since my radiator is in this part of the case that concerns me.
I'll eventually move the case to a corner of my office and this shouldn't be a problem for me. But beware.
Overall Review: I recently purchased a Nepton 140XL. My first foray into water cooling and overclocking.
Unfortunately I didn't realize how much of a problem the 140 mm fan was going to be. None of my existing cases would accommodate the size of the fans and radiator. Some had room on the top of the case, but due to the uneven design of the ventilation that prevented me from mounting the Nepton 140XL.
I didn't initially plan on buying a new case, but wanted to keep the water cooling and felt that since Cooler Master made both the water cooling and case these should work well together.
Other than the fact the top piece can slide around (noted in "Cons") I'm happy with this case.
Pros: I've owned a number of Antec power supplies and cases and have been pleased with the quality for the amount of money spent.
Overall Review: My computer has a higher end video card for gaming and we needed a power supply with a higher than normal output on the 12v rail. This fit the bill from a reliable company and at a reasonable price.
Pros: Samsung SSD drives are highly rated. I've owned several and had good success with them.
Overall Review: I run BitLocker and having encryption built into the SSD helps with the encryption performance.
SSD prices are still too high to completely get rid of my HDD. Through experience I've found that 256 Gb is the low end of what I need to have room for all programs and often used files.
I configured Windows 8 to move all the Music, Pictures, and Videos to the HDD. I'd prefer to have a single SSD for everything, but will have to wait for the price to come down more.
Pros: Have owned several EVGA cards and they've worked well. I prefer nVidia to AMD. Had problems with AMD drivers several years ago (although I see AMD is being used in several recent consoles).
Overall Review: EVGA seems to be the only card claiming DirectX 12 support right now. It may be a while before we have any games that need DirectX 12, but in spending several hundred on a new card I wanted to "future proof" it as much as possible.
Pros: Bought this for my sons after their other gaming mouse died. They've been happy with it and like all the buttons that can be used for various games they play.
Pros: Had the media controls my daughter wanted in a keyboard and the backlighting gives her a feature she didn't have with her older Microsoft keyboard.
Cons: Keys are a little soft. Wouldn't recommend this for someone who does a lot of typing.
Overall Review: My daughter's Microsoft keyboard recently broke. I gave her another more recent Microsoft model, but she was unhappy that it didn't have Media controls on the keyboard.
Since she wanted the Media functions I also looked for keyboards that were backlit as she likes to watch videos on her PC (when lights are off in her room).
There weren't a lot of good options that had both features, but I fortunately found this keyboard.
Pros: I've had good experiences with other Asus products. Reviews of the Xonar looked like it was the better product for me (compared to the latest Creative offering).
Cons: Sound card makes an odd clicking noise at times. Seems to happen most often while the system is booting. Hasn't caused any disrupting while listening to music or playing games, but a bit disconcerting to hear this at all.
Overall Review: I've been a loyal Creative sound card user for 20+ years. I've also been happy with many Asus products.
My latest motherboard purchase did not have a PCI slot so I could no longer use my X-Fi. In comparing reviews of the latest Creative card to the Asus Xonar I decided to try the Xonar. So far I've been pleased with the sound from the Xonar.
Pros: Really like the backup software. Very helpful for backing up the 5 computers on my home network.
Having a common location for media for the whole home is also great.
Cons: Price is very steep for a home user.
Overall Review: I've previously used Windows Home Server 2011 which had similar features, but only supported 10 PCs instead of 25. 10 was adequate for a home user.
Sad to see that Microsoft discontinued WHS product line. It's the best backup software I've come across for a PC. The Essentials software has the same features (and allows for more PCs), but the price is considerably higher than WHS was.
Pros: RAID6 support and a web control panel available via a dedicated Ethernet port.
Cons: After 1 week started getting sporadic BSOD critical process died failures. Updated ARC-1224-8i to current firmware and installed all updates to Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 R2. Still had BSOD failures.
Returned card for replacement which took about 7-10 days. One hour after installing the replacement ARC-1224-8i it controller it also started getting sporadic BSOD critical process died failures. I've just returned this second defective card for a refund.
I like the features of an Areca controller, but I've had quite a few problems with their cards. Seems like the quality control is lacking?
Overall Review: I also own an ARC-1222 controller. After using it for 1 year it started getting sporadic BSOD critical process died failures. Many others on Newegg reported similar failures after 1 year of use. I sent the card back to Areca support and paid $100 for it to be repaired. The repaired card has been working for several months now.
Pros: While it was working I was happy with the card's capabilities and performance. Being able to use HTTP to monitor the card was a big plus. I run a headless server and not having to drag a keyboard, monitor, and mouse to check on the system was helpful.
Cons: This RAID card died after 3 years of light use! Unfortunately it took me several months before I had time to isolate my problems to the card (I was getting Windows BSOD crashes). Thus I'm just outside the 3 year warranty period. I have not tried to contact Areca yet, but given how many others have had similar problems I'm hoping for some leniency in enforcing their warranty. I expect that's what is needed to keep me as a loyal customer.
Overall Review: My initial symptom was sporadic Windows BSOD failures. Since I'd recently installed software patches I thought they introduced my BSOD problem. But after re-installing the OS several times, stress testing RAM, CPU, etc., I finally isolated the sporadic BSOD to this RAID controller. The BSOD error simply said, "Critical Process Died," but without any other details or logged messages about exactly what failed.
About a month after the BSOD problems began I got one of the CPU undervolt errors that others have mentioned.
Although I really like the HTTP capability of Areca RAID cards given the poor quality of this Areca card I'm reluctant to purchase another Areca card and am considering something else such as LSI or Intel.
Pros: Quick and accurate image scanning. Colors look good to me.
Overall Review: Wasn't able to scan right out of the box. Found there was a physical switch that had to be thrown in order to allow the scanner to function. I assume this must protect some moving part during shipment? I don't recall having to do this with other scanners I've owned. A slight delay in getting this up and working.
Pros: Bought this for my son who is in Art school. He's been very happy with it.
My son is using this both with his MacBook Pro laptop and Desktop PC.
Overall Review: Wacom seems to dominate the market for these type of devices. Price is a bit high, but worthwhile as an artists tool. Bought this particular model due to slightly larger size, but still small enough to fit in a laptop case.
Pros: Works great. Have 30 mbps cable internet service.
Overall Review: Cable company decided to start charging a monthly fee for the cable modem. It will take some time to recoup my costs, but I simply bought the same type of cable modem I was already using. No problems getting it installed and running.
Pros: No killer feature, but improvments in a number of areas made Windows 8 Pro upgrade desirable.
Overall Review: The Metro UI is a bit of a nuisance for a Desktop PC. Did not care for it at first, but over time I've adjusted. The Desktop icon works pretty much the same as Windows 7 did. So overall I'm happy with the OS upgrade.
Pros: 7200 RPM. Fast and reliable. Works great with Windows 8 Pro. Setup two drives as RAID1.
Overall Review: Bought six WD Red drives at the same time. Three of the six were defective and had to be RMAd. No trouble with an of my three Seagate drives.
Seagate has started making all drives run at 7200 RPM. Whereas WD is still running at approximately 5400 RPM for their larger low cost drives. Performance advantage to Seagate.
Pros: Recommended for use in NAS. I've had good success with WD drives in the past.
Cons: Bought 6 drives for NAS. Three were defective and had to be replaced. One failed immediately out of box. The other two failed after several days use. Cost extra $$$ to RMA. All three replacement drives were okay.
Overall Review: Bought three Seagate 3 Tb drives at the same time. No problems with the Seagate drives. Seagate also seems to be making all drives 7200 RPM now. Whereas these WD drives run at around 5400 RPM.
Pros: Plenty of power.
Overall Review: Have recently learned that most systems don't really need more than 300-400 Watts to power CPU, one GPU, motherboard, and drives.
Didn't realize when I bought it how much my GPU really needed on the 12v rail. Although I don't really need 750 watts many of the smaller (300-400 Watt) power supplies don't have enough juice to run a mid range GPU.