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Donnye B.

Donnye B.

Joined on 12/14/05

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 10
Most Favorable Review

Big Case + Big Cooling + Great Looks = One Rockin' Rig

Sunbeam Transformer IC-TR-US-BA-WOPSU Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Sunbeam Transformer IC-TR-US-BA-WOPSU Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case

Pros: This case is MASSIVE! There is enough room in here to put pretty much whatever you want with a little room leftover. My CPU cooler got dinged in some reviews because of its inability to fit into even medium height ATX cases, but it fits like a glove into this case. The motherboard mounts well away from the PSU to avoid some unwanted heat crossover and it mounts directly underneath the back 120 mm exhaust fans: my vertical mount CPU cooler pulls the heat directly from the CPU and pushes it right out of the case through that back fan. The fans provide effective and efficient cooling; even when the ambient temps rise. The drive rail mounting system is a gift but watch out for that screwless tension mount for the expansion cards [see below]. The LED fans are wicked cool and I've decked my rig out with some additional CCFL tubes, some high visibility UV cabling and some black lights. Through the spiral side window, this case looks b*tching.

Cons: DUST! The fans move a lot of air but also a lot of dust into the case. Either buy filters, build your own or prepare to clean your case out OFTEN. I make my own filters by going to my local aquarium store and purchasing fine mesh filter media bags and cutting them to size for the big intakes (2 side 80 mm fans and front 120 mm). Works quite nicely and is easier to vacuum the outside filters than inside the case. As someone stated earlier, the fans do create a bit of noise; but what do you expect from five built in units? The amount of cooling you get with this case more than makes up for the noise. And if it really bugs you that much, buy a fan control. I run my fans at top speed all the time to avoid damaging my more expensive components [see rig specs below]. The mounting rails for the external 3.5" drive bays don't fit hard drives (I guess floppies are the intended usage). I had to do some creative drilling on the plastic rails to make them fit the hard drive holes.

Overall Review: The sideways internal hard drive bays make using older PATA cables (especially rounded) a bit of a worry but the side bows to accommodate them nicely without becoming overly extended and thus ugly. If you're using SATA (I use both) buy the cables with the right angled ends; it'll make life much easier for you. Save yourself some headache, don't use the tensioner at the back of the case to mount your expansion cards: use screws like in the old days. Most cards (my 8800 GTX esp. because of the size) doesn't sit right when the tensioner is used and the cards tend to slip out of the slots especially when items are plugged into the cards (like USB and monitor cables). Obviously, this is not a good thing. MY RIG: ASUS A8N-E Motherboard running an AMD Opteron 175 Dual Core with 4GB RAM, an ASUS nVidia GeForce 8800 GTX graphics card, 7 internal hard drives totalling 1.6 TB net storage space (4 IDE, 4 SATA II); 4 DVD/RW units and 1 CD/RW unit all connected to an Antec Power TRIO 650 W

Most Critical Review

Well, it looks good.

MSI X99A SLI KRAIT EDITION LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
MSI X99A SLI KRAIT EDITION LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Pros: - Great handling of internal drives; lots of internal expansion space (a whopping 10 SATA ports which is a good and bad thing), - M.2 support if you're willing to give up two SATA and one eSATA ports for it, - Lots of RAM (I maxed out the mainboard at 128 GB and haven't even made a dent in that yet, - Fast processing speed and really easy overclocking (the OCGenie is a great additon to the mainboard), - Lots of fine grained controls in the BIOS, - Easy and frequent updates from MSI, - And let's face it, the black white board looks great in my rig, - Room to grow when I'm able to SLI my graphics cards together.

Cons: My one and only con with this mainboard (and it's BIIIIIIIG one) are the USB 3.0 ports. They're a joke! I either hit the Intel artificially imposed limit of 96 endpoints (most of which are consumed by internal devices) or the ports just simply cut out, never reset and the drives just drop off the system right in the middle of whatever I'm doing. I've literally had to plug my USB 3.0 hard drives into the USB 2.0 ports to stabilize my system. On top of that, any time I try to use the USB 3.1 port for anything, the system blue screens (although that's likely more of Win10 issue than a hardware issue). And before anyone goes there: yes, my drivers are up to date; yes, my BIOS is up to date; yes, I'm using powered USB hubs; yes, the drives work fine on other computers; yes, I've changed the USB cables for both the hubs and the drives, yes, I've turned power management off in Win10; yes, I've disabled xHCI in the BIOS; yes, I've uninstalled and reinstalled drivers; yes, I've unplugged and replugged every device attached to to the system. I've been trouble shooting the issue for three weeks now and the only thing that's stabilized the system is plugging the drives into the USB 2.0 ports. It's frustrating to say the least; I have 24 external hard drives and at any given time when using the USB 3.0 ports, one entire 10 port hub goes down and the drives just drop off which renders my DrivePool useless. So it's either sacrifice performance or stability. Which would you choose?

Overall Review: OK, just 'it looks good' is not really fair. It's actually not a bad mainboard if you have no or few USB peripherals but darn it I'm just so angry with the way it handles my external hard drives when using the USB 3.0 ports. And because of that I just can't give this board more than two stars.

Great Support For Larger Graphics Cards

DEEPCOOL GH-01 ARGB Graphic Card Holder - Addressable RGB, SYNC with Other +5V ADD-RGB Devices with Motherboard Control, Metal Brace Support up to 5Kg GPU/VGA Card & Wire Hiding
DEEPCOOL GH-01 ARGB Graphic Card Holder - Addressable RGB, SYNC with Other +5V ADD-RGB Devices with Motherboard Control, Metal Brace Support up to 5Kg GPU/VGA Card & Wire Hiding

Pros: - The RGB LEDs are really a nice accent in my fully LED enhanced build. - Provides excellent support for my EVGA RTX 2080 XC Ultra graphics card (which weighs a figurative ton). - Easily connected directly to my Gigabyte Aorus X299X Master motherboard and synced flawlessly with the Gigabyte RGB software. - The height adjustments when installed in a normal case (I have the Thermaltake View 91 case which is a monster of a full-size case) should allow installation for almost any graphics card.

Cons: - It was a little short for my case, even with the extender installed. I had to do a bit of custom work to make it sit properly on the bottom of the case to support the rear end of the card where the sagging was worst. - This item requires a 5v 3-pin LED header on your motherboard to function. Standard 12v 4-pin headers will not work. Luckily, I had both. - The LEDs are a soft pastel colour on the colour wave setting (default) as opposed to the bright and vibrant LED colours of the rest of the rig. More of a nitpick than a con because it all seems to fit together nicely now that they're all on and programmed.

Overall Review: I highly recommend this item if you've got a heavy graphics card that sags in your motherboard. It looks good and performs well. Just make sure that your computer case isn't too big so as not to allow the installation of the support with the extender between the graphics card and the bottom of the case. Also, make sure you've got that 5v LED header on the motherboard. If you don't have the 5v header, the support will still hold the card (obviously) but the LEDs will be dark.

Terrible, Terrible Product

ORICO 13 Port USB3.0 HUB  Data Transfer only, 2 Port USB Super Charging with US Plug LED Indicator  - Silver(A3H13P2)
ORICO 13 Port USB3.0 HUB Data Transfer only, 2 Port USB Super Charging with US Plug LED Indicator - Silver(A3H13P2)

Pros: None

Cons: Where to even begin? I order two of these things so that I could array my external hard drives for use with DrivePool. Both are completely buggered. - The connectors are so shoddy that the USB dongles sometime have to be jiggled to even make connection and even with the connection light indicating that the connector is solid, the hard drives can't be read. - In some instances, these hubs caused my external hard drives to lock up completely resulting in a hard power cycle to the drive itself. - Plugging both into the computer at the same time is a huge no-no as one will cause the other to fail and in some cases the failure causes Win10 to completely freeze resulting in a hard power cycle to the entire system.

Overall Review: I went with these hubs because they had a high number of ports and I have several external drives to connect. But ordering these were a HUGE mistake as neither of them are functional now so I have two pretty silver paper weights. If you have more than a few devices to attach to you machine, do yourself a favor and go with a better known brand as these things are complete and utter cr*p.

Overall A Good Product

StarTech.com USB 3.0 to 4-Bay SATA 6Gbps Hard Drive Docking Station w/ UASP & Dual Fans - 2.5/3.5in SSD / HDD Dock
StarTech.com USB 3.0 to 4-Bay SATA 6Gbps Hard Drive Docking Station w/ UASP & Dual Fans - 2.5/3.5in SSD / HDD Dock

Pros: - Nice profile; looks good on my desk :) - Four drive bays - Plug-n-play functionality - Hot swap capability - Individual drive power functionality - High capacity drives supported

Cons: - Eject buttons affect more than one drive

Overall Review: This is an excellent product for the computer enthusiast and professional alike. The four drive bays provide excellent expansion/backup space when paired with high capacity hard drives. My only complaint with this unit is the eject button for the drives. When ejecting one drive, I can see the eject button pushing on the hard drive right in front of it. It doesn't affect functionality (at least not yet) but I would still prefer the eject button to ONLY touch the drive it's intended to eject.

Great NAS Storage

Thecus N4800 Diskless System NAS Server | SMB
Thecus N4800 Diskless System NAS Server | SMB

Pros: Excellent range of storage RAID storage options Wide range of tested and usable hard drives in consumer lines Numerous storage applications Expandable server potential with modular application deployment Ability to connect a mouse and keyboard to control the NAS directly

Cons: Most help is in broken English at best and requires interpretation Certain features within the web Twonky media server fails at startup; requires extensive manipulation to get functioning Media server does not have the range of other more robust media streaming solutions

Overall Review: This NAS server, for the cost, is extremely robust and handles a wide range of hard drives as well as robust network connectivity, remote management and remote access. It's well worth the money if a four drive NAS system is in your budget and what you're looking for. Despite the failures of some of the software, I highly recommend this unit.