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Michael N.

Michael N.

Joined on 03/18/06

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 8
Most Favorable Review

Great builder-friendly case with ample room for most setups

Fractal Design Define R6 USB-C Blackout Brushed Aluminum/Steel ATX Silent Modular Tempered Glass Window Mid Tower Computer Case
Fractal Design Define R6 USB-C Blackout Brushed Aluminum/Steel ATX Silent Modular Tempered Glass Window Mid Tower Computer Case

Pros: Simple, elegant understated design without a lot of flash PSU tunnel shroud and adjustable / removable panel that hides thing BD-RW drive, pumps, etc. All intake areas have grooves to mount fans and such instead of just fan holes. This allows different spacing in radiators Lots of fan location options Fan filters on top, bottom, and front. Allows vertical GPU mounting if using a single GPU Front door can be reversed Tool-less door(s) that still can use thumb screws if desired to ensure secure fit. Enough room on back side for cable management and openings with grommets to pass wires through.

Cons: The white LED's around the power button that are for both HD activity and power are way too bright. I finally disconnected the HD activity completely and then put "LightDims" vinyl strip over the front portion to dim it even further. Fan spacing from motherboard on top is perfect for fans, but if using a radiator, most likely you'll have to drop down to 120mm fans and radiator to prevent hitting components on motherboard. I think the official clearance is 34mm. If they raised the roof an inch and a half to two inches it would be perfect for top mounted radiators.

Overall Review: If I were to improve the design (for my use), I would darken the power LED, make the case another 1.5-2" taller to accommodate full 140mm radiators on the top, and offer either darker tinted side, or perhaps one that has solid metal on both sides. If structure could handle it, I would have made the PSU shroud removable. It was quite a pain to get everything in and routed under there for a modular power supply. The fan hub seemed kind of cheap and was just in the way so I removed it. It needed longer cables too. I didn't research it long, but I thought 3.5" hard drives could be mounted vertically to the back of the drive bay cover with the horizontal trays gone but it doesn't look like that is the case. We ordered a couple of these. Two had all black trays inside, but one of them had silver/white SD trays that mount to back of motherboard.

Most Critical Review

Fast but completely unreliable

ORICO 4-Port USB3.0 PCI-E Expansion Card  USB3.0 4 Port PCI Express to USB3.0 Host Controller Adapter Card with 30cm 15PIN SATA to Big 4PIN Power Cord Compatible with Windows,Vista,Linux and Mac OS
ORICO 4-Port USB3.0 PCI-E Expansion Card USB3.0 4 Port PCI Express to USB3.0 Host Controller Adapter Card with 30cm 15PIN SATA to Big 4PIN Power Cord Compatible with Windows,Vista,Linux and Mac OS

Pros: Looks nice

Cons: I really bought this for Windows Server 2012 r2, both for additional USB ports, and especially faster (USB 3.0) connection to my external backup devices. Long story short, it installed with ease and works for short stints never exceeding a few days. The connected devices disappear and will not come back until you remove the USB card in device manager, including "delete drivers". Then, rebooting the machine will find it again. After it installs itself again, then the external drives show back up and the cycle continues. I did not have this trouble with the onboard USB devices, even added a USB 2.0 card and it worked fine. So, on Server 2012 r2 it didn't work. So, I thought why not try it on Win 7 x64 pro. Though the backups are not as long or as often, it pretty much has a similar problem. After fighting with the manufacture, they finally sent me another card. Same issue... Spent the money I was going to do the first time around and bought a better card (in my case a StarTech 4 port dedicated model) and life is good. Save yourself the headache if you need something reliable. I never did test this to run keyboard or mouse, but then again, USB 3.0 isn't really needed for those devices.

Overall Review: I had reservations about a $20 USB 3.0 card but it was nice looking and says it is Win 8 compatible (which usually works with Server 2012). After messing with this for a month, it will go in my parts bin and I will order the 4 port dedicated USB 3.0 card I originally had picked out.

Finally a Noctua fan that isn't nasty brown

Noctua NF-A14 iPPC-3000 PWM, Heavy Duty Cooling Fan, 4-Pin, 3000 RPM (140mm, Black)
Noctua NF-A14 iPPC-3000 PWM, Heavy Duty Cooling Fan, 4-Pin, 3000 RPM (140mm, Black)

Pros: Highest speed Noctua offering Removable ugly brown corners can be replaced with various colors. I wish they would just sell them all black.

Cons: They say they are 3000 rpm but when set to 100% PWM, the fastest one was 2835 and slowest was ~2650 rpm Not surprisingly, the fan is fairly loud when it is cranked up past ~65% The 'wrapped' cable uses this rubbery type material that is inflexible and fairly ugly. This may be due to its 'industrial' application to avoid soaking up oils, but it is ugly and doesn't want to bend when used in a PC case.

Overall Review: I wish they would just sell them all black. The rubber corner pieces help with fan to case vibration, but also holds the fan up slightly preventing an airtight seal to a radiator.

Works great with Asus motherboard

ASUS Fan Extension Card
ASUS Fan Extension Card

Pros: With Asus motherboard with EXT fan header it allows all 3 fans RPM's to be read. Fans can be adjusted with Asus AI Suite 3

Cons: It really needs some type of either included, or aftermarket holder. The flimsy little right-angle brackets that mount to optical drive spacing just doesn't cut it. I ended up using a piece of ABS plastic cut to size. I then used some packing foam and double-sided sticky tape. Using this, I then used studs (like to mount motherboard but made with fine threads) and mounted it to the side of the optic drive. This is much more protected than sitting right-angle to it. The plastic was to prevent any of the soldier joints from hitting metal. The foam was because the joints were long and sharp enough they could potentially poke through. Anyway, all is said and done it sits ~3/16" and right along side the drive.

Overall Review: A simple plastic bottom would make this much easier to use. I realize they were probably going for minimalist design so it could be hidden but it took me quite a while to come up with something that felt solid and safe from breakage or shorting.

Great mixed-use board - Gaming, editing, VM's, etc.

ASUS WS X299 SAGE LGA 2066 Intel X299 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 CEB Motherboards - Intel
ASUS WS X299 SAGE LGA 2066 Intel X299 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 CEB Motherboards - Intel

Pros: 7 PCI-e lanes 7 PCI-e lanes Now officially supports the 9th gen i7 and i9 lines. Supports up to 128gb RAM Fairly well designed board with great overclocking ability Nice classy subdued look to it and not like many of Asus boards that are in your face. It is great board for those who want to game, edit videos, run multiple VM's, GPGPU simulations, etc. Inputs for plenty of power for CPU and video cards. It utilizes two 8 pin CPU connectors and down near the PCI-e slot 1 there is a 6 pin PCI-e connector.

Cons: The main problem I have with the board is that it will NOT run the processor at stock frequency. I realize no one buys an expensive Intel x processor without overclocking it, but I always like to get baseline from all new machines. Then, I incrementally bump and test, bump and test. This one, correctly detects my i9-9980X but it won't run it at 3.0ghz but instead 3.8ghz, even in the BIOS. Then, it often bumps it beyond that once in Windows. The additional bump may be due to Intel's Turbo Boost 3.0. Regardless, I should have to initiate the overclocking on my board. I have even cleared the CMOS, reset all my custom settings, etc. Some of the fan headers are at weird places. One of the chassis fan header is in line with PCI-e #1, directly underneath the GPU. As a result, it would have to be extremely bent over to try to use it. One M.2 slot can get restricted air flow depending on GPU arrangement. The other one stands up vertically in the way. No USB 2.0 slots (for front USB ports or more importantly for AIO pumps). I wish they'd take off the RGB headers and give us one of them instead. PLX chips run quite hot Initially it appeared the bright red 'boot code display' on the bottom of the motherboard could not be turned off. I don't know if it truly wasn't there, or if I just didn't find it. However, when setting it all back up after installing the latest 905 update, there is now an option to turn it off once it has finished booting.

Overall Review: I wish they would have put connectors in a little different spot, especially the fan header that is inline with PCI-e slot 1. The advertisement on their website mentions all the temperature sensors and how you can use that to control your fan speed but I haven't found much as to which sensor(s) control which fan(s). The system is: Asus WS x299 Sage Intel i9-9980x 128gb of GSkill DDR-4 Samsung 2TB NVMe M.2 drive Two EVGA 2080ti's with Asus NVLink between them Antec HCP-1000 power supply. Asus BD-RW Fractal Design - Define R6 Blackout case (very well designed case)

Nice looking NVLink bridge but has a couple of 'gotcha's'.

ASUS ROG GeForce RTX NVLink Bridge with Aura Sync RGB, 4 Slot
ASUS ROG GeForce RTX NVLink Bridge with Aura Sync RGB, 4 Slot

Pros: Nice clean look and thinner than some

Cons: Have to run software to turn the LED's off. My bridge came in a box that said it was 3 slot right on the packaging on the front but the back where it also has the serial listed it as a 4 slot. I took the chance and opened it and it was 4 slot. Just look before returning it if you get shipped a 3 slot and you need a 4. The boxes and the bridge itself are the same size for 3 or 4, just the card connector is over one row instead of at each end. Many pictures show the topside of the NVLink with the chrome finish with a black Asus ROG logo. It is chrome, but that black ROG logo is on the removable protective vinyl and is NOT on the top of the bridge itself. The LED's by default cycle the RGB colors continuously which is really annoying. In order to stop that, you have to use the Asus Aura software. This works, when it opens at all. Periodically I have to reinstall it just to get it to open. I shouldn't have to run software JUST TO TURN OFF THE LED's! Also, the Asus Aura software has a program in it called "LightingService.exe" and EasyAntiCheat flags it as a cheat engine. You have to shut it down in order to play certain games. I have put in a ticket with Asus, EasyAntiCheat, and the various game producers. Their response? Turn off the program before playing Which then stops the customization (off) that was set.

Overall Review: I looked at all the different NVLink bridges to go on my EVGA 2081ti cards. I would have liked to went with the EVGA bridge too as then the LED's sync across it and both cards but their NVLink is just too gaudy.