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Brian D.

Brian D.

Joined on 06/06/02

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 14
Most Favorable Review

Best case I've ever owned

NZXT H2 H2-001-WT White Steel / Plastic Classic Silent ATX Mid Tower Chassis
NZXT H2 H2-001-WT White Steel / Plastic Classic Silent ATX Mid Tower Chassis

Pros: Quiet, clean, easily removable front fans, slide out bottom filter, magnetic door closure, crisp styling, 3-speed fan switch, NO side window (yes!)

Cons: top-mounted USB ports / power / reset / fan speed switches. Factory-installed screws are a bit over-tight, so prepare properly when removing them (they are not the strongest metal - read: china).

Overall Review: Sometimes it is hard to find a really nice case that has everything (and more) that one could want; at least a case without an annoying, childish side-window. I am glad I got this model without the window (I think the newer replacement put it in). This is a case for adults who just want something stylish and beautiful, fully functional, and well-made. It is incredibly quiet, even with the fan setting on the highest. I work in a dusty environment (garage converted to a man-cave), so filters and easy cleaning are a huge plus for me. My only regret is the top-mounted USB ports and switches. Many cases like to put them on the very top, which is inconvenient for people who keep their cases under a desk.

Most Critical Review

Decent for the first six months or so...

TRENDnet TEW-639GR Wireless Gigabit Router 802.11b/g/n up to 300Mbps
TRENDnet TEW-639GR Wireless Gigabit Router 802.11b/g/n up to 300Mbps

Pros: Great overall package for the price; decent signal strength. Gigabit throughput very solid. Excellent web interface & management options.

Cons: Unit began acting up after about 6 months of constant use. I've needed to power-cycle (unplug/plug) the thing 4 or 5 times in the last week. It's still working great when it is reset, but seems to be showing signs of "on it's last legs"

Overall Review: I have a fairly beefy home network (4 PCs, 3 netbooks, 1 laptop, 6TB fileserver, TV, Dish DVR, (2) gigabit switches, networked printers, etc. and this router works very well when it does. Lately, it's been acting up, not even letting me browse directly to it (I use 10.0.0.250 for it's address). After unplugging it, waiting, and plugging it back in, it's fine for anywhere between 12 hours and 4 days. Really bizarre behavior. I will still look at a TrendNET for a replacement; maybe I am using it too much?

Bought two, one did not cool at all.

Corsair Hydro Series H5 SF Low-Profile Liquid CPU Cooler Cooling for high-performance Mini-ITX PCs CW-9060023-WW
Corsair Hydro Series H5 SF Low-Profile Liquid CPU Cooler Cooling for high-performance Mini-ITX PCs CW-9060023-WW

Pros: Fit very snug inside my Corsair Obsidian Series CC-9011047-WW mini-ITX build One of the two did (and still does) work wonderfully

Cons: One of the two units ordered (built two identical machines) is not cooling the processor (i5-6600K which shuts down around 80°C or so, and it's running that hot with this thing.

Overall Review: I bought and built two identical machines for my two boys in December 2016, ordering two of everything. I've been building custom computers since the 1990's, and know my way around. That said, when one of the machines kept shutting down during moderate gaming (no over-clocking at all, btw), I began swapping components to see if there was a bad video card (nVidia GTX-1070), a bad power supply (Corsair RM650X), or memory (G.Skill Ripjaw V's). All the while praying it's not the motherboard (Gigabyte GA-Z170N-WIFI). Feeling the air flow coming out of the H5 felt cool, so I never suspected. Little did I know... I usually do not over-clock, nor build water-cooled systems, so this was a first for me. I will be replacing one of the H5's with a nice Noctua setup (cpu cooler & dual 80mm case fans) and go from there.

Ordered two, one has issues, one does not.

ASUS ROG GeForce GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 Video Card with RGB Lighting STRIX-GTX1070-O8G-GAMING
ASUS ROG GeForce GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 Video Card with RGB Lighting STRIX-GTX1070-O8G-GAMING

Pros: It is a nice video card, in the sweet-spot between 1060 (cheaper, less performance) and a 1080 (over-priced, better performance).

Cons: One card will stop sending the signal to the monitor randomly for no apparent reason.

Overall Review: I built two identical computers over the 2016 Christmas season, one machine will have the monitor turn off / lose signal randomly (either during full screen games like CS:GO, or windowed games like Hearthstone). The other machine is just fine. I have changed cables, changed monitors, everything I could think of. The problem cannot be reproduced, so there is no game or application that is doing this, as both machines have run the same games (literally, side-by-side). I searched and found others have had this issue with nVidia cards in the past (sporadically). I guess I just got one that is a bit "lemony" and now I have to deal with the RMA / support which always sucks.

Seagate NAS HDD's batting .750

Seagate NAS HDD ST4000VN000 4TB 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive
Seagate NAS HDD ST4000VN000 4TB 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s Internal Hard Drive

Pros: Three out of the four I ordered worked out of the packaging.

Cons: One out of the four I ordered was Dead On Arrival (DOA).

Overall Review: Had to RMA one of the four drives I ordered. One would think that with "NAS" and all the hype about heavy, constant use, there would be better quality control. I have four (4) of the non-NAS drives in my 8-bay Synology DS1813+ and decided to expand with four of these NAS drives (all are 4TB). The "normal" drives, back years ago when I ordered them, all worked flawlessly and have been since. I might have just got a lemon, but how does a lemon exist in a product that is so precisely manufactured to be more reliable than the non-NAS models?

Best bang for the buck in single-ear/speaker USB headset

Cyber Acoustics AC-840 USB Connector Single Ear Internet Communication Mono Headset & Boom Mic
Cyber Acoustics AC-840 USB Connector Single Ear Internet Communication Mono Headset & Boom Mic

Pros: Excellent price-point, can be left or right ear, has only 1 ear/speaker (which many people like and/or need), USB, works wonderfully under Linux, Mac & others. Has not only a swivel mic, but it is on a flexible, "positionable" boom so one can use either left or right ears, as well as position the mic where they need it (away, close, up/down, etc). I really do not use the in-line mute/volume, but they are there and work.

Cons: Not the highest-quality construction, but for the price it's as good as the single-ear units costing more, and certainly beats most others in the price range. I also have had the "tightness" of the swivel mic completely loose it's "grip" over heavy, constant use and swapping ears (left-to-right, vice-versa). Not an big issue, as it just rotates down to the lowest point and I can flex the mic boom up to where I need it.

Overall Review: I always joke with my friends to buy the "crummy +1" headset, meaning: don't get the cheapest, but the next one up. Well, this is usually the cheapest and it's lasted the longest. All headsets and headphones seem to have quality issues with the wiring (from USB to headset, and/or in-line volume). Even MUCH more expensive units, so I try to keep my investment limited (especially since headsets are not a major component for me). I only use the headset to chat (mumble, skype, TS, etc. even vent if people are still stuck with that). I've had three (3) of these over the last 8-10 years or so, and they always last a couple years. The foam on the ear will wear out over time (long time), but for the price I pay, the amount of use I get is staggering.