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Michael B.

Michael B.

Joined on 08/30/05

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 21
Most Favorable Review

Budget cooler with great performance

Cooler Master MasterLiquid Lite ML120L TUF Gaming Alliance Edition RGB AIO CPU Liquid Cooler, Military Camouflage Design , Sleeved FEP Tubing, 120mm RGB Air Balance MF, RGB Software compatible, Dual Dissipation Technology
Cooler Master MasterLiquid Lite ML120L TUF Gaming Alliance Edition RGB AIO CPU Liquid Cooler, Military Camouflage Design , Sleeved FEP Tubing, 120mm RGB Air Balance MF, RGB Software compatible, Dual Dissipation Technology

Pros: Performance is awesome. RGB works well. Quiet and not much vibration. Sleeved tubing looks "premium". Nice tight mount to CPU.

Cons: Cable for RGB is a bit short if you need to fish it around your system (the one coming from the pump, the connecting cables are plenty long). The pump cable is actually longer (not sure why as it only has to go a few inches). Sleeved tubing is a bit stiff. Would like modular option for RGB options, i.e. one cable instead of 3 for the RGB, which was two fans and the pump.

Overall Review: I ended up using this with different fans than it came with and also used two fans in a push pull configuration. The cooling performance is outstanding for a budget AIO, and for that matter, any 120MM AIO. I was cooling a 9900K to 27c at idle in a small case. The pump runs at ~2200 RPM and it is pretty much silent. The RGB has numerous control options, albeit the controller sits inside the case and does not have a remote. I'm usually a big fan of another company that starts with a "C", but this cooled by ~3c cooler than the other unit with equal parameters and the same fan setup. I can nitpick all day, but the performance and silence for this unit at $59 far outweighs any nitpicks I have.

Most Critical Review

Support is a black hole

Malwarebytes Premium 4.5 Latest Version - 3 Device / 1 Year - Download
Malwarebytes Premium 4.5 Latest Version - 3 Device / 1 Year - Download

Pros: Malwarebytes does a decent job at realtime protection for malware, spyware, and web protection. I have used it for a couple for years with minimal issues and it does play well with other anti-virus software. It has caught items that regular anti-virus software does not catch.

Cons: Malwarebytes definitely slows down web browsing. Sometimes, it completely stops chrome from loading my default website. I know this because I can turn off realtime protection and chrome magically starts working again at a much faster speed. About 3 weeks ago, I started having an issue waking up my NAS's on my network via a WOL program on my computer. After a couple hours of troubleshooting, I found that Malwarebytes was not letting the magic packet out of my computer. Once I turned realtime web protection off, it worked fine. It was also blocking discovery of NAS's through my NAS discovery utility. I used wireshark to verify that those programs were not going to the internet, and they were not. So why would realtime web protection be blocking my PC utilities that were only going across the LAN? All of this is for context because when I contacted support, they came back 3 days later and asked me to run a tool. I ran the tool, responded to their request, and then, weeks later, nothing. I contacted support 3 more times with no response. Really, really poor support model.

Overall Review: I had to pull Malwarebytes off of my system and go with another provider. The initial response from Malwarebytes was turn off realtime protection. Why do I have the software then? I would not recommend this right now. The software is decent when it works, but as the title says, support is a black hole. If the software does not work, and I can't get support, it is useless. I would not recommend this software and have halted rollout to our 50 users.

"OK" case - customer support not helpful - not recommended for US buyers

SHARKOON AI7000 Black Steel / Tempered Glass ATX Mid Tower Gaming PC Case, 3x140mm Cooling Fan Pre-Installed, Support up to 280mm Water Cooling Radiator Installation & Max: 14.96" VGA Length
SHARKOON AI7000 Black Steel / Tempered Glass ATX Mid Tower Gaming PC Case, 3x140mm Cooling Fan Pre-Installed, Support up to 280mm Water Cooling Radiator Installation & Max: 14.96" VGA Length

Pros: So - the case is OK considering it is not one of the premium case manufacturers. It reminds me of the Alpha Prime to some extent, but has two optical bays. It appears to be 16GA steel and for the most part the case is riveted together. The tempered glass just sits on standoffs with rubber covers. The case is fairly easy to work in and all of the standoffs come pre-mounted. It runs fairly cool with fans at low, which keeps noise down. Takes 140mm fans and a 140mm (or 120mm) radiator in the back. PSU shroud keeps most of the wiring out of sight. Fairly clear air path for the fans.

Cons: Tempered glass does not sit flush to case, causing the possibility of noise and air leakage. If you have fans at anywhere near half capacity, you will hear them. Nothing is sound dampened. I could not find the silent version of the case in the US and there are limited amounts of the tempered glass version in the US. You can only remove one of the hard drive holder mounts, but not both. Not crazy about that lifting PCIE cover as even with fully off, I struggled to get the GTX1080 TI squeezed underneath it. I really hate having to force things. There is a top 280mm radiator mount on the top that you are stuck with even if you do not mount a radiator up there. Would have been nice to see some sort of cover for folks who want to run a little bit more silent.

Overall Review: I contacted Sharkoon through Facebook and was trying to find either the silent version of this or a silent version top panel (no radiator cutout). I got a fairly immediate response and that person asked me to contact a specific email to see if they had any spare parts laying around. I was optimistic about support at that point. The response was dismal at best. "No, we don't have that and don't send out parts that the user cannot change). I had already offered that I know how to de-rivet and re-rivet in the email. The bad thing was that they did not even offer any other way to help. Case manufacturers in the US have always gone above and beyond when I have asked for help. A premium case manufacturer in the US is even considering one of my designs. If you are going to sell in the US, the provide support, not a generic response that means you don't give a flip. I gave the case value 3 stars, but customer support gets one star (I would not give them that except for the person on Facebook responded so quickly).

Very fast but noisy

Synology 2U 8-Bay NAS RackStation (Diskless) (RS1219+)
Synology 2U 8-Bay NAS RackStation (Diskless) (RS1219+)

Pros: Massive storage potential in a short rack mount Extremely fast 4 NIC's that can do aggregation or Adaptive Load Balancing DSM (Synology OS) always easy to use Multiple RAID types and segregation of volumes across different disks I have never lost any data with a Synology yet

Cons: Really noisy fans, even at the quiet setting Throws a lot of heat

Overall Review: I'd definitely recommend this product, but probably for a data center setting. I have it as the largest NAS in my house. All others back up to it for redundancy. I really like the short depth for rack mounting in a wall rack. It does throw quite a bit of heat and due to that and the noise, I think this fits better in a data center. I have it running in full link aggregation mode but I can't saturate the link due to the speeds of the other NAS's, so that's a good thing. Lots of room to grow. Again, the Synology DSM is super easy and intuitive, but also super powerful for advanced users. There is tons of functionality in this unit. One of the other things I like on this is that the power cable fits into a recess on the back of the unit so it is better for cable management.

Disappointed

EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G3, 220-G3-1000-X1, 80+ GOLD, 1000W Fully Modular, EVGA ECO Mode with New HDB Fan, Includes FREE Power On Self Tester, Compact 150mm Size, Power Supply
EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G3, 220-G3-1000-X1, 80+ GOLD, 1000W Fully Modular, EVGA ECO Mode with New HDB Fan, Includes FREE Power On Self Tester, Compact 150mm Size, Power Supply

Pros: Compact size, high power, great looks, modular cables are black where the wires show.

Cons: Noisy Fan in ECO mode, fan spins up out of ECO mode way too fast, noisy fan when not in ECO mode

Overall Review: I have been doing extreme MATX builds for a while and there are three things I really look for. Those are 1. Powerful System 2. Great aesthetics 3. Near Silent. Of course, I tested this PSU for power up and put a small load on it with the system outside of the box and had no issues, but that did not prepare me enough for this build. I use an MATX case where the motherboard is inverted, so I'm particularly sensitive to fan noise because the fan is right at the top of the case behind a filter. Once I powered the system up in ECO mode, everything was great for a while until I heard a whirring sound. At first I thought it was the case fans, but after inspection, found it to be the PSU fan. I'm estimating that I have a ~380 watt load on this. This fan spin-up kept happening with even the simplest of tasks in Windows, like editing this page. I switched it to standard mode and still found the fan to be really noisy. After spending 4 hours doing cable management on this thing, I'm really disappointed that I have to pull this thing out and replace it. Is is nowhere near whisper quiet as claimed by EVGA. Whisper quiet, as claimed by EVGA, was one of the primary reasons I bought the drive. If I had done a little research on the web, I would have found this complaint already existed. Bad on me, bad on EVGA.

An "OK" board

GIGABYTE GA-Z270MX-Gaming 5 (rev. 1.0) LGA 1151 Intel Z270 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 Micro ATX Motherboards - Intel
GIGABYTE GA-Z270MX-Gaming 5 (rev. 1.0) LGA 1151 Intel Z270 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 Micro ATX Motherboards - Intel

Pros: Layout is great. Plastic shield on back fits under most AIO coolers if attached to back. Supported XMP at 2800 right out of the box. M.2 slot is not under the video card, but out in the open where it gets air. Plenty of connectors including two internal USB 3.0. Sound system is good. Lighting is good for the "blingers". X4 M.2 slot performed above others I have tested. Memory bandwidth above others I have tested. All of these MATX boards are within +- 4% so take that into consideration when I say above average.

Cons: I always seem to have problems with fan controllers on Gigabyte boards. I attached two fans via a splitter and set the fan control to manual. I set the thresholds high enough to make the fans run at a constant speed, but the controller decided that was not right and kept spinning the fans up and down from 800-1400 RPM. That does not work when building a near silent system. Not sure why the long slot on the end of the board is there, especially given the double slotted first PCIE. Usually those are X4 on the end of a MATX board.

Overall Review: I recommend this for the folks who like bling in the system. The board is an above average performer, but the fan issue was a deal breaker for me. Other Z270 boards in my systems handle fan control much better and have similar performance within +-4%