Date Joined: 02/23/08
Pros: -This headset is very light. Corsair pulls this off nicely without the headset feeling cheap, which is great! A lightweight headset means more comfort when you're wearing it for long periods of time, and less "head-heavy" feeling.
-Sound quality is right where it should be for games. Using the USB adapter and with Dolby on, this headset produces a clear soundstage that I find helps me locate enemies easily in FPS games. There is an ample amount of bass without being boomy or excessive. EQ can be tuned to your liking in Corsair's CUE software when using the USB adapter.
-No complaints about the mic - I've always been heard loud and clear, and have received no complaints from others in game or on VOIP.
-Physical volume and mic mute on the left earcup.
Cons: -I found that the volume wheel is easy to accidentally move, and found myself scratching my head as to why my audio is not working/very quiet until I reached back for the volume wheel.
-The mute button on the left earcup is just a little bit kludgy to actuate quickly. I'd much sooner use a keyboard/mouse button as a push to talk button like I normally do. If you must have a convenient physical mic mute button on the headset to press while gaming, this may not be ideal, but it doesn't bother me.
-Sound quality is good, but not audiophile-level good. That said, you are not likely to find perfectly accurate drivers in a headset at this price point!
Overall Review: If you're after a comfortable headset to wear on long gaming sessions, and value directional audio, this is a great headset - good enough to be my permanent daily driver. I won't be bumping this off of my headphone stand until it wears out, which does not seem to be in the near future.
Pros: -It looks great - an all-metal body and a small form factor set this drive apart.
-Fantastic read speeds – 140-240 MBPS!
Cons: -Formatted in FAT32 – easy to fix, but FAT32 is literally a 20-year-old technology! 4GB max file size is not enough for a 32GB drive.
-Less than great write speeds – 14-20 MBPS. Still beats the pants off of most USB2.0 flash drives.
Overall Review: This drive came formatted as FAT32, which means that in order to write files larger than 4GB, the drive needs to be reformatted. This is the first thing that I did - into ExFAT format, which is compatible with larger file sizes and not tied to a Windows operating system like NTFS formatting.
I used 3 sets of data to evaluate this drive – Small, Large, and Giant:
Small – 400 files at 500KB-20MB each, total 3.6 GB (simulating pictures or music)
Large – 24 files at 350MB each, total 8.2GB (simulating TV shows, small video/audio editing files)
Giant – a single 7.6GB file (simulating a 1080p feature-length movie, or a larger video/audio editing file.
All tests were read from, and written to, an NVMe SSD well beyond the bandwidth capability of a normal flash drive, and with extremely low latency – this guaranteed that the speed of the flash drive was being evaluated, and the results were not affected by the source (for writes to the flash drive) or destination (for reads from the flash drive).
Small: Write 4:20 (260 sec) – 13.8 MBPS Read 0:15 – 240 MBPS
Large: Write 6:59 (419 sec) – 19.5 MBPS Read 1:00 – 137 MBPS
Huge: Write 6:30 (390 sec) – 19.5 MBPS Read 0:38 – 201 MBPS
This drive may have you waiting around for longer than you might like. I was disappointed to find that this drive’s write speeds are fairly low, but I was glad to find that read speeds are excellent.
Worried that the file system may have had an effect on the write speeds, I reformatted the drive to NTFS, and found no increase in speed.
Overall, I believe that this drive would be a great choice for data that needs to be loaded once, but accessed quickly many times, such as carrying a copy of Windows to install on a group of computers. It would perform acceptably as a simple data storage device, such as USB storage for music in a car, media box, or game console, or for basic file transfers. If your focus is writing large files to a USB drive often, there are better write speed performers out there at this price point.
Pros: -Consistent throughput of 200-240Mbps throughput at a moderate distance (30 feet) from the router.
-Very low (approximately 5ms) disadvantage over wired connection.
-Once set up, provided a reliable connection throughout a small house.
Cons: -May not provide enough bandwidth throughput for ultra-high speed (200Mbps+) internet connections or file transfers when compared to a Gigabit wired connection - it only supports AC433 + N150 connections.
-Refused to install correctly on a laptop with integrated wireless, was not plug-and-play on a desktop.
-It’s an awkward size (more on that later).
Overall Review: The overall verdict: I believe that this wireless adapter’s best use would be to add wireless connectivity to a desktop (such as a PC built by the user), provided the following are true:
-The desktop has at least 1 free USB 3.0 port
-The household has <200Mbps internet service, and does not have a need to make large wireless file transfers
-The router being used is a Linksys with MU-MIMO technology (of which there are only 3 models at the time of this writing)
A big thanks to Newegg/Linksys for providing this adapter along with a new MU-MIMO router for testing.
It is important to note that there ARE faster wireless chipsets in existence – the one built into my laptop is one of them, as it achieved over 300Mbps throughput in the same exact location. However, if your needs are not that extreme, and you are a lucky owner (or prospective owner) of a Linksys MU-MIMO router, this is a great choice for cutting the cord on a wired device, such as a desktop. It’s low-latency and plenty fast for the majority of users.
As other reviewers have mentioned, this adapter isn’t ideal for use in a laptop, as it is small enough to encourage you to leave it plugged into the laptop all the time, but large enough to snag on bags, tables, etc. and break. I wouldn’t use it for a laptop for this reason as well.
A final note: I didn’t find this adapter to be plug-and-play. Upon connecting it to my Windows 7 x64 laptop, it had a never-ending, computer-slowing battle with the integrated wireless card until the adapter was removed. I tried a few different methods to get it to play nice, but did not succeed. Spooked from this experience, I downloaded the Windows 10 drivers to my desktop, disconnected the Ethernet cord, and manually selected the drivers to install through Device Manager. This went perfectly smoothly. It looks as though other reviewers had similar woes, but after getting it installed successfully, it seems to be a great little wireless adapter.
Pros: -Slide-out design - you'll never lose the cap, because it doesn't exist!
-Read speeds are great - within seconds of a similarly-priced drive that I compared it to. (120-130MBPS for medium- or large-sized files)
-Fairly low price for a large-capacity flash drive.
Cons: -Almost all write speeds were much slower than the drive I used for comparison, at just over one-third the speed. Curiously, this drive seems to handle lots of very small files better than the other drive.
-The casing feels less than robust. The top and bottom clamshell pieces slide along one another, and the drive tends to rattle.
-Came formatted in FAT32 - need to reformat to ExFAT or NTFS to store files larger than 4GB. I formatted it to ExFAT immediately.
Overall Review: I made a direct comparison with a similar 32GB USB 3.0 flash drive - a store-branded one that is available in an electronics store. The price of the drives are comparable (actually, the like drive was slightly cheaper). Data was read from and written to a 512GB PCIe SSD to eliminate a computer-side bottleneck, and connected to the same USB3.0 port. Both were formatted as ExFAT. I used 3 sets of files to test the drives:
-Large data set: 7.1GB, comprised of 13 ~550MB video files
-Medium data set: 2GB, comprised of 171 12MP JPEG and RAW photos
-Small data set: 40MB, comprised of 1,786 files all well under 500KB
Format: Data set / WRITE / READ (in MBPS)
Silicon Power drive
Large / 18.3 / 124.5
Medium / 18.2 / 117.6
Small / 0.851 / 20
Large / 51.8 / 136.5
Medium / 41.6 / 125
Small / 0.625 / 20
The difference in write speed was so great that I thought I had done something wrong. I tried formatting the drive back to FAT32, and to NTFS - no change. I tried a different USB 3.0 port - no change. I plugged the other drive back in, and write speeds soared back up.
Overall, if you are looking for a drive to read AND write large files to/from this drive regularly, I can't recommend it. If you plan to load data onto it once, then distribute it to multiple computers, or are planning to use the drive for the niche use of transferring thousands of files under 500KB, it should work just fine.
The bottom line is that I already own a flash drive that has higher performance for a similar price point, so I don't foresee this drive getting lots of use.
Pros: -TONS of power – and as fast, or faster than other non-reference GTX 1080s.
-Cool, quiet operation at full load, as long as there is ample room beneath the card. The stock fan profile is great at keeping the card quiet and temperatures under control when I ran it as a single card or bottom card in SLI.
-Arguably, looks – I like the way this card looks! It’s aggressive looking, and you can match your build’s colors with the RGB lighting (which defaults to cool white).
During testing (3DMark Firestrike Ultra stress test and benchmark), this card idled at 32C and topped out under load at 64C during single-card operation, and a few degrees hotter when used as the bottom card in SLI. I was able to overclock the GPU about 50MHz above stock, and the memory 175MHz above stock with no artifacting. This returned a FireStrike Ultra score of 5760 (with a 5820K at 4.2 GHz). This card has tons of graphics power – plenty to power the VR headset of your choice or a 1440p monitor with modern games at maxed-out settings.
Cons: -Cooler gets overwhelmed if there is less than 1 PCIe slot of space beneath it – when used as the top card in SLI, it bumped right into the 85C thermal limit that I set and throttled the card within 2 minutes with the fan on 100%.
-This cooler is extremely loud at higher fan speeds!
-Looks again, on the flip side – multiple people that I asked did not care for the way this card looks.
-The card is so large and heavy that it sags considerably – this looks bad and can exacerbate the issue of poor performance when close to an object below.
When put in SLI as the bottom card in my case (Enthoo Primo), it had no trouble keeping up with the FutureMark stress test without getting excessively loud. The bottom of my case has 3 fans pulling in cold air, so I’m sure that helps considerably. But, as the top card, there was very little gap between the fans and the backing plate of the bottom card (this card is advertised as 2.5 slots, but it’s more like 2.9). This caused the card to overheat quickly, and limited performance. If you do not have ample room below this card – either the bottom of the case or another card immediately below it, you’re gonna have a bad time. I can’t recommend this card for very small/tight builds or in SLI setups without 4+ slots in between cards.
Overall Review: I wanted to love this card, but because I am planning to upgrade to upgrade to SLI in the future, it does not fit my needs. That said, for those looking for 1 very robust card, or if you have 4 or more slots between PCIe slots (AND ample space below the bottom card), this is a great, competitive choice.
Pros: -Raw performance that an air-cooler cannot match, period. (see below for specific test results)
-Installation is easy and headache-free. (at least in full-tower cases designed for watercooling)
-Customization and data acquisition through Corsair Link is excellent!
-Fairly quiet at low fan speeds - almost air-cooling quiet.
Cons: -Powerful but excessively loud fans, especially at high RPM. An option to purchase the bare cooler would be excellent!
-Loss of functionality with Corsair Link. Keeping the 4-pin comm port from previous coolers would have been perfect for people like me with another Corsair Link component (the HX1000i PSU in my case).
-No pump RPM control without Corsair Link.
Overall Review: This CPU cooler appears to be either a slight re-design of, or a renaming of the H110i GTX. The pump/block and radiator appear to be unchanged, but there may be changes to the fans between versions. Overall, the cooler feels well-built – the accents on the sides of the radiator, the braided tube coverings, and the RGB light inside the pump/block make this cooler stand out.
I directly compared this cooler to the best air-cooling setup I could find – I won’t name names, but it’s a dual-tower style cooler that is thermally alright, if you catch my drift. It was equipped with three very quiet 150mm PWM fans.
With my 5820k running at 4.5GHz at 1.35v, Corsair Link (connected to my HX1000i PSU) indicated a power draw of about 320W during a Linpack-based stress test, most of that power being consumed by the CPU. That’s a tall order for any cooler, especially an air cooler. My CPU temperatures were 74-86C using the air cooler, and a good application of Prolimatech PK-1 thermal paste. Idle temperatures were 33-38C after an hour to stabilize at ~19C ambient. These temperatures are too hot for my comfort, and I would have bumped my CPU down to 4.4GHz to allow vCore to be lower.
Installing the H115i was much easier than wrestling with a large air cooler- and due to this, it was much easier to mount and remove the pump/block to check thermal paste distribution than with a huge tower of aluminum. I elected to remove the TIM that came pre-installed, and used PK-1.
After I installed the H115i and allowed the thermal paste to set for a few hours under varying load, CPU core temperatures were 65-74C during the same stress test, with the same ambient temperature (~19C) – an incredible drop of 12C at the highest core temperature, and there was 3C less temperature spread between cores. Idle temps were 29-34C after allowing to stabilize with the pump on Performance and the fans at minimum speed. Idle temperature was mostly unaffected by turning the pump down to Quiet mode, but there was an audible difference.
Under quiet conditions and low load, the H115i was just slightly louder than my (VERY quiet) air cooling setup. If listening closely, both the pump and the fans make an audible clicking noise. I let the fans run for several hours blowing up (the orientation I intended on using them in), and they did not quiet down at all, unfortunately. That said, the clicking is only audible within a foot or so of the case when it is closed. If this bothers you (like it does me), you may want to budget for swapping the fans for a quieter 140MM PWM option.
Under full load, the fans are very loud, much louder than my air cooler – Corsair rates them at 45dB, and they are every bit of it. They make an unpleasant hum/groan at all higher RPM, which is another reason to grab a better PWM fan. Even dissipating nearly 300W of power, though, I found that the fans did not need to be set anywhere near 100%. The happy zone that found was 63-65%, which ended up being a little bit louder than my previous setup at 100% (which WAS necessary), but still maintaining 65-75C temperatures during a stress test.
I am slightly frustrated with Corsair’s inconsistent implementation of Corsair Link – the H115i does not have the 4-pin comm port that was present on previous coolers like the H80i and H100i, meaning that in order to have both my HX1000i and H115i connected via USB, I need to get creative, give up my USB2.0 ports on the front of my case, or lose Corsair Link functionality on the cooler or PSU. I was eager to use Corsair Link from the time that I got my HX1000i, but the inconsistency noted here, along with the long-standing unavailability of the Commander hub (which wouldn’t help in this case, due to the lack of a 4-pin comm port), have been major roadblocks to enjoying an otherwise very good system. The software is easy to use and has great functionality, but the barriers to entry can be difficult to overcome, as I have found over the past year or so.
I’d be willing to forego Corsair Link on the H115i, but that is the only way to control the speed of the pump! I refuse to lose such important functionality, as I value having a near-silent computer when load and temperatures are low. This was easily possible when the CPU was air cooled, and I’d prefer to leave it that way if there is no acceptable workaround.
Overall, the H115i did exactly what it needed to do to dethrone my (very nice) air cooler… It provided much better cooling capacity and lower temperatures (allowing a higher overclock, in my case) while being competitively quiet, at least when not under full load. Even taking into account the clicky fan and pump, as well as the less-than-ideal position I’m put in with Corsair Link, the H115i has made a great impression, and it will definitely remain part of my computer, as long as it stands the test of time.
Pros: -Very inexpensive for a tablet
-Neat keyboard/case is a great idea
-Expandable memory (MicroSD) and Mini-HDMI Out
-USB and Micro-USB Ports
Cons: -Keyboard scratches the screen easily, and can be fiddly
-Not enough processing power!
-Screen is just OK, 1200x800 is antiquated and can be harsh for use as an e-reader
-Will not charge from USB ports
Overall Review: I really wanted to love this tablet – at first glance, it’s the perfect inexpensive device for keeping at your bedside! It’s got a quad-core processor, a better-than-720p screen, and a MicroUSB port that you can use to charge the thing from your cell phone charger when you’re not using it – right?
Unfortunately, in practice, this is not so true. While the screen can support 720p video (1200x800 native resolution), the hardware in this tablet can’t keep up with playing YouTube videos in HD. I loaded up Adobe Digital Editions and used it as an e-reader for a bit, and it fared OK, but the screen is a bit fatiguing after a couple of hours, even with software such as f.lux active to make the color of the screen less straining. And even though that handy microUSB port is there, it’s not able to charge the tablet. You must use the supplied wall wart with an end that’s reminiscent of your average 12V power supply, though considerably thinner. I’m sure there were significant economy/packaging reasons for this, but it’s not an elegant solution. I wouldn’t carry the extra charger with me on a weekend trip.
The cover with the integrated keyboard is both an awesome feature and an unpolished one. Attempting to balance the tablet on your lap while using the keyboard yields quite a few “connected” and “disconnected” Windows 8.1 sounds, as the contacts for the keyboard move around (the magnet that holds the keyboard to the tablet isn’t strong enough). Lap use is out. The case back is sturdy enough to hold the tablet upright on a bed, and has some angle adjustment, but using the keyboard in this configuration isn’t comfortable. Overall, it works pretty well when used on a table, but I barely ever find myself putting this tablet on a table. Finally, the keys on the keyboard are of odd size and spacing, so typing on them is not terribly fast or accurate.
So, although not bad for very basic use (internet browsing minus video, and e-reader), this tablet failed to be my go-to electronic device while lying in bed. I find myself moving my Thinkpad, charger and all, to my bedroom and then back out again rather than pulling the iRULU Walknbook off of my bedside table.
Pros: I tend to find this mouse very comfortable - I'm a palm-holder, and my palms don't get too sweaty (though I've only had this mouse through the winter so far) and it feels natural to hold. I do need to adjust my grip to be more claw-like in order to reach the DPI buttons comfortably, but I MUCH prefer their position on this mouse over the usual center-located DPI buttons.
This mouse is very, very customizable, which can be a good thing and a bad thing (more on that later). The good part is that this mouse will work for most users. It's a great mouse right out of the box - It's completely plug and play, and that may be fine for some users. On the other end of the spectrum, power users will adore this mouse - its' customization options in the CUE software are vast, especially in it’s' ability to change lighting colors and patterns.
Cons: While I said that most people will love this mouse and the software that it works with, the catch is that the software has a steep learning curve. While the idea of custom light patterns interests me, I was not able to just install the software and magically synthesize a neat light pattern. The (147 page!) user manual is a must-read in order to fully understand the software's capabilities - and it's a dense read, and not always totally accurate. For example, I spent about 10 minutes with the manual on one monitor and the CUE software on the other, simply attempting to change ALL of the lights to red (including the DPI light).To further my frustration, when I minimized the software, it switched right back to the default lighting - a firmware update was required to fix this behavior. I had enough issues trying to create lighting patterns that I decided I was satisfied with solid red, and just moved on.
One other little bugaboo that I found was a poorly-described option in the Performance tab - "enhance pointer precision" is an un-explained check-box that is referenced in the user manual, but gives no clue as to what it really is: Mouse acceleration. This lack of clarity can mislead gamers that don’t know any better – what this setting does is make the mouse pointer’s response non-linear. This may help the average Facebooker, but the unpredictability of mouse acceleration is a drawback for accuracy-centric games like shooters. Just tell us what it really is, Corsair.
Overall Review: I've been playing CS:GO, BF4, Civilization V, Fallout: New Vegas, and Crysis 3, as well as general web browsing use, for the last few weeks. It pairs very well with my K70 keyboard, and I'd recommend this to just about anyone - the exception being those who want cool lighting effects and aren’t willing to put in the time to learn, or someone looking for the most basic of mice.
Pros: A great value for money! A dual-band AC router with a USB storage option and a clean GUI should be twice as expensive.
The range of both wireless bands is comparable to a Wireless AC router I have that is twice the price. The speeds are comparable as well, both close to the router and moderately far away (~40 feet).
The design is subjective, but I like it. It would be great for a shelf or a desk, but it didn't quite fit where I had my last router.
Easily capable of my ISP's full 80Mbps through the wired connection.
Cons: The quick installation guide is borderline dangerous. While it's great to have a simple, easy to read document to get you all started (which it is), the link that is given sent me to a website designed to make you THINK you are connecting to your router, complete with the TP-LINK logo, but it is a phishing website. I recognized this quickly and did not continue, but for someone less savvy, it could have ended VERY poorly. Thankfully, the full user guide points you in the right direction, immediately giving you the correct IP address to enter in the first paragraph of the "quick installation guide" section.
I was hoping that this router would take all of my devices in stride. Unfortunately, that was less than true. Within the first week or so, the router got bogged down - simple web pages took forever to load. Plugging directly into my modem showed that the issue was not with my ISP. A restart fixed the issue, but I am not interested in restarting my router weekly to keep it working properly. 2 cell phones, 2 laptops, 2 desktops, and an Xbox 360 proved to be too much for this router to handle.
Contrary to the Newegg specs, this is not a Gigabit router. Not really a suitable router for those with >100Mbps internet connections, or giant chunks of data to transfer via network.
Overall Review: I seem to have rough luck with routers in general. I am stuck in limbo between being a power user (heavy downloads, network streaming, lots of devices) and not being a network guru. While I'm perfectly capable of making my way through router setup, well past the quick setup mode, I can't claim to have a net+ certification, and I don't feel comfortable digging into the nitty-gritty of router configuration. What I need is a powerful, versatile router that just works - and I've yet to find it, having tried everything from a 20 dollar router to a Nighthawk.
Here's the point of all this - don't take the negative points of this review to mean that this router isn't suitable for you - it may very well be - it's simply not the diamond in the rough that I've been eager to find for years. If you aren't going to load the snot out of it constantly, and have your wits about you, this is likely a great router for you, and a great value for money to boot.
Pros: This SSD does not attempt to differentiate itself by going after the bleeding edge of speed, nor the "good enough" minimal cost approach. Instead, it manages to find a happy medium with plenty of everything. It has the speed to keep up with mainstream drives, the warranty and bad sector overhead (16GB of spare drive space) to be one of the most reliable, and the extra accessories to be a great value.
This drive did not disappoint in speed, returning 520-550 MB/S sequential read and 250-450 MB/S sequential write (more on this later), and great access times of .066ms read and .051ms write. The drive scored 1001 on AS SSD benchmark.
The warranty on this drive speaks for itself - 4 years is above and beyond mainstream drives, and is more like what you'd find on a pro-sumer drive, so it's a welcome comfort.
Most drives around this price point come bare - A box and a small manual is all I got the last 2 times I bought SSDs. I was pleasantly surprised to find a sturdy steel 2.5"-3.5" adapter, as well as a copy of Acronis True Image - both are accessories that many people will find useful.
Cons: I was unable to get consistent write speeds when benchmarking this drive for some reason. The variation did not change with queue depth, or any other variable that I could tell - speeds simply varied greatly in any write test over 64kb. Admittedly, this could have been a localized issue with my motherboard's SATA controller (the Z68-UD4 is known to have some SATA bugaboos), but I have no other SATA 6GB/s interface to verify that. That being said, the drive performed well otherwise.
Overall Review: Keep in mind that this drive is made for AMD by OCZ, a fact which the drive itself shows openly. I think this was a great move for AMD at least initially, since they have no experience with SSDs, but OCZ has been successful with them for several years.
This is a good buy for someone willing to trade the bleeding edge of speed for more creature comforts and reliability. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this drive to a friend in need of a current-generation SSD.
Pros: I spent quite a bit of time hunting for a deal on a 128GB SSD to use as a boot drive in my HTPC - nothing special needed, but I knew an SSD would be a huge improvement over the 1TB Green that I've been booting from for the last few years. At the current price, this just can't be beaten.
Sure enough, the performance of this drive - the snappiness, the speed of installation and loading of programs - is very, very noticeable when coming from a platter drive.
The point of this SSD is that it *is* an SSD - It's not the latest and greatest, but for the money, you won't find more performance for dollar from a storage device. If you are still using a platter drive and you have sufficient money to buy this drive in your bank account, then I can't fathom why you haven't bought it yet.
Cons: As mentioned previously, this is not the fastest SSD in the bunch. However, for that incremental increase in read and write speeds, you may easily pay double the price of this drive.
Reliability has yet to be seen on these drives - Solid state is inherently pretty reliable, so I have no particular worry here. I perform regular backups of my important information, as everyone should, and this SSD resides in my HTPC anyway - I'll happily re-install Windows and download VLC again if need be.
Overall Review: The SSD is like a drug. Once you use a computer that boots from one, everything else is archaic. SSD speed becomes normal, and everything else slow. This is, however, one drug that I advocate for - the only downside is the expense of the technology, and that is why I'm glad this drive exists - SSD performance is now attainable by the masses.
Pros: The package and presentation is great! A nice sturdy box within the decorative outer box contains a large bag full of power cables, a real, thick, multi-language manual, and soft foam that immobilizes the PSU, which comes wrapped in a satin bag.
The little touches make this power supply stand out – The chamfered edges, the sturdy connectors that click smoothly and softly into the PSU, the oversized power switch on the back, and the tag that reminds you that it’s perfectly normal for the fan not to spin under light loads.
The number of cables that are included with this PSU is immense :
-One 24-pin Motherboard cable, two 8-pin CPU cables
-Four double 6/8-pin PCI-E cables (for a total of up to eight 8-pin PCI-E connectors)
-Three quadruple Molex cables (for a total of up to 16 Molex connectors)
-Three quadruple SATA power cables (for a total of up to 16 SATA power connectors)
You will never have to compromise in selecting which of these cables you need to use, since there are connectors for all of them on the PSU.
Additionally, they include a Mini USB to USB header cable to allow the PSU to communicate with the Corsair Link software, a proprietary Corsair Link cable to connect the PSU to a Corsair Link hub if you have such a device, and two Molex to Floppy power connectors.
All of the cables feel sturdy and well-made, and should be easy to manage, as long as the Corsair-style flat cables are your preference.
Corsair Link seems to be a great piece of software. Not only does it allow you to see lots of PSU information – input and output wattage, efficiency, voltage and amperage for all 3 rails, and PSU temperature - but it also grabs motherboard fan header RPM, CPU temp, and even GPU fan and temperature data. It rolls GPU monitoring software, fan control software, fan control software, and detailed PSU information all into one. Bravo.
At idle, my desktop consumes 100-120W of power, and the PSU’s self-calculated efficiency lies between 85-90%, which is phenomenal. My lowly quad-core, single GPU desktop with a 5-drive hardware RAID 6 array managed to load the PSU up to about 250W – efficiency held around 92%, and the fan does not spin at all.
Unlike some other PSUs I’ve had in the past, there was no coil whine or squeak to be heard from this unit. This is to be expected from a high-quality, high-wattage power supply, but no noise is good news!
Cons: Corsair flat cables have their quirks – For example, the 24 pin cable is split into 2 connectors at the PSU – No, not 20+4, but 10+14. Four wires cross over immediately at the connector, and the 4 sections of flat cable do not go straight into the motherboard connector – they cross over each other, making it impossible for the cable to lie totally flat. I can’t claim to have engineered this power supply, but I can’t fathom that they couldn’t come up with a better design than this. If you are creative with your cable management, you can make it work – it doesn’t stand out in my case, and the “rear” side panel still fits flush.
Flat cables are, in general, love-or-hate. I personally like them, but many reviewers do not share my enthusiasm for them, and would rather have a bundle-o’-wires with sleeving and heat shrink.
Keep in mind that this PSU is not a standard ATX length – While this is not a fair con, since such a powerful PSU must be this big (and many are much larger), keep in mind that this PSU may not fit in some smaller cases. My HAF 932 case provided plenty of room in both PSU mounting locations, and most full tower cases should.
Overall Review: Although I was not in the market for a power supply – my three-year-old Corsair AX750 is still humming along, which is a testament to the quality of Corsair PSUs – I was thrilled to receive this review sample from Newegg. I would not hesitate to recommend this PSU to anyone looking to build or upgrade, provided they are happy with Corsair’s flat cable style. With built-in monitoring hardware, this is the ultimate in control and knowledge of what is going into your computer.
Pros: -Very large battery capacity: This power bank had plenty of power to charge the 3200mAh battery in my Galaxy Note 3 from <10% to full twice, and still had a charge remaining, so I could have given some juice to my girlfriend’s Moto X, if need be. It seems to have an amount of power on tap comparable to my Mophie Powerstation XL, which is rated at 12,000mAh, versus the FREMO/SCUD’s claimed 13,000mAh.
-Styling: The SCUD is by far the best looking power bank I’ve held to date. I love the simple aluminum case – it looks and feels like a bigger, heavier iPod Mini. I far prefer the aluminum finish to the glossy, easy-to-scratch plastic sides of my Mophie.
-Price: Good luck finding a better value for charging capacity. Even if the capacity is a bit overstated, it’s still a heck of a deal compared to the name-brand options. This is less than half the price of my Mophie!
-Car charger: Nearly everybody can use an extra car charger, myself included. You’d need to take a pretty long drive to charge the power bank fully, but if you’re on a road trip, it’s not un-obtainable. With a 2A output, it beats the majority of third-party car chargers (though that is beginning to change). Overall a great value-adder.
-MicroUSB Cable: This is good and bad. It’s very short, which can be very convenient in some places (if you carry the power bank in your purse, for example).
Cons: -MicroUSB Cable: Like I said, good and bad. The tiny cable gets annoying if you want to use your phone while charging, which I often do. Since this will usually be with me, and the Mophie usually lives in my girlfriend’s purse, I’ll probably swap the cables to take up less space for her, and let me use my phone while charging from the power bank.
-Weight: There’s no getting around it – this power bank is hefty! It’s not unreasonably so, but it’s definitely heavier than my comparable Mophie. This is most likely caused by using lower power density cells – the SCUD advertises ~9% more capacity, but the weight difference is larger than that, somewhere around 25%.
-Size: Again, though the SCUD boasts more power, it is larger than the Mophie – disproportionately so. It is just slightly thicker, stands about ¼” taller, and is almost ¾” wider. That may not sound like a big difference, but it makes an impact – I can comfortably fit my phone and the Mophie in my front pocket, but the SCUD is just too big. It is better suited to being in a go-bag or a purse.
-Advertised Power Capacity: Now, I haven’t done conclusive testing on this, since it has proven to have enough power for my needs, but it feels like SCUD has overstated the capacity of this battery. It charged my Note 3 twice, with an indicated 25% charge left – that’s ~6500mAh of charging, plus a bit left over. Inefficiencies within the unit, phone use while plugged in, etc. All factor in here, though. I would be wary of shopping for power banks by taking your battery capacity, multiplying it by [x] days, and looking for a device that has roughly that capacity – there’s more to it than that.
Overall Review: This power bank came at the perfect time – it showed up on Friday morning, a few hours before leaving for a track day. I decided that I’d test it in the best fashion I knew – sink or swim. It charged in 4 hours or so, and went in my bag instead of my wall wart. Luckily for me, it performed flawlessly – I loved the fact that I could charge my phone at the track without being tied to a hanging outlet or a wall, and the big battery lasted all weekend, and then some. All in all, this is a great purchase for anyone looking for a large power bank… without breaking the bank.
Pros: I was genuinely surprised by these headphones. From the moment I opened the box, it was clear that this product is well thought-out – the carrying case is very small, but can fit the headphones, and all of the included accessories, comfortably. The cables all feel high quality, and every connection feels firm and secure. The interchangeable connectors for smartphones and computers is brilliant – I have used them both, and they work flawlessly with my Galaxy Note 3 and the front panel of my gaming desktop, respectively.
An ample tip selection is provided, although the standard medium tips fit my ear canals perfectly, and do an acceptable job of sealing out external noises. The Comply tips should fit anyone, and are very, very impressive at noise reduction. With the Comply tips in, I could barely hear my very loud window A/C unit while standing just a few feet from it, with no music playing.
The real enjoyment with these headphones starts the moment you press “play”. I am an EDM fan, so I started off with a new favorite of mine, Gula from deadmau5’s new album. The piano intro sounded beautifully balanced and crisp, the rhythmic middle section brought out these headphones’ great response with all its’ pops and clicks, and the sing-songy synth section made the hairs on the back of my neck prickle, showing off the amazing midrange that these little earbuds pack. More of the same through Skrillex’s album feature-track, Recess – I have trouble picking things out that I don’t like about these headphones, especially in the middle of my favorite tracks.
To mix it up, I tried something completely different, and put on Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith. Again, these headphones impress, bringing through strong, rich bass guitar and crystal-clear cymbals and chimes. The vocals in harmony with a wah-wahing guitar were just so satisfying. A lover of pipe organs and musicals, I then switched to the Overture and “The Point of No Return” from Phantom of the opera. Low and high organ notes are both sublime through these headphones, as are a Broadway orchestra, with soft violins, bright trumpets, and punchy percussion. The Phantom’s heart-wrenching vocals captivate you and really make you feel like you are enjoying the production live from the third row.
I have worn these headphones for many hours over the past week or so, and for 5 or 6 hours straight. I am pleasantly surprised to say that I have experienced no discomfort, even during extended listening. My ear canals tend to be sensitive after removing these, but I have not noticed any pain. It is notable, too, that ear fatigue is nearly non-existent with these headphones – a far cry from my amateur car audio system, which can be fatiguing after just a song or two.
Cons: My biggest gripe that I began to notice more and more as I worked my way through my music library was the disappointing level of bass that these earbuds are capable of delivering. The notes are there – 20 and 30 Hz tones are audible, but are much fainter than the rest of the frequency range. Response seems to become more linear around 50-60 Hz, which means midbass does not suffer as heavily. This deficiency did not bother me while listening to EDM, rock, pop, or show tunes, but became obvious when listening to hip-hop and rap. The beat that you expect is there, but very quiet. Attempting to fill the gap by adjusting the equalizer did something, but not enough to put bass on par with my other pair of earbuds (IE2s by a company that rhymes with “Rose” – which are overly warm-sounding compared to the Steelsieres). However, I am picking nits, especially with my listening style, and how well these headphones perform in every other category. Definitely not a deal-breaker. Note: Bass response is slightly improved by using a properly amplified source, such as a standalone headphone amp, or a receiver.
The other disappointment is the “no-tangle” cable: With careful wrapping and storage you can greatly reduce the amount that these cords tangle, but the first time I wrapped these back up, I paid no attention to my technique. Later in the day I attempted to unravel them and they simply turned into an ugly ball of wires, and were no easier to untangle than my IE2s. Again, not a deal-breaker for me, but it’s one marketed feature that I disagree with. Speaking of marketing, yes, the advertised cord length is wrong! The cord is not 9.8 feet, but closer to 3.5 feet. This is plenty long to use with a mobile phone or a laptop, but can restrict motion when hooked to a desktop.
In the manual it states that the Comply tips should be replaced every 6 months of typical usage – I have a hard time seeing any one doing this, especially since I can’t seem to find a link to order them from Steelseries’ website.
Overall Review: If you look at other headphones in this price range, you can clearly see that Steelseries has some big shoes to fill. However, as much as I can guess from having listened to these headphones and not the other, I believe they are well up to the challenge. My expectations were high with these earbuds, and they have been met and exceeded. I would recommend these headphones to anyone considering high-end in-ear headphones without hesitation.
Pros: Having used this mouse for a couple of weeks in place of my Razer Taipan, I am pleasantly surprised by how well this mouse performs, especially given the price difference between it and my previous mouse. The only adjustment I needed to make was to increase the sensitivity setting in Windows, as this mouse does not have the ludicrously high DPI that the Razer does.
I think that the DPI adjustment button is brilliant - it is large and easy to use, unlike the Taipan's skinny two-button variable-DPI interface. The button on this mouse is much more usable in-game when you wish to lower the sensitivity, i.e. to snipe or control a fidgety vehicle. The ambidextrous back/forward buttons are nearly identical to the Taipan, and took no time to get used to. I use them extensively and enjoy that feature greatly.
Although the DPI is lower than the mainstream competition, 5670 DPI is plenty of resolution to have fluid movement and accurate response - I noticed no change in precision once I got used to the sensitivity change.
Cons: The smooth finish on this mouse may be desirable to some, but I personally prefer a more grippy material. When outside temperatures soared into the upper 90's last week, the mouse did feel a bit slippery as my palm got sweaty. This was rarely an issue, though, and caused by hot temperatures and lack of air-conditioning.
On long PDF files and reddit Enhancement Suite's endless front page, the scroll wheel seemed a bit slow. It may be possible to tweak this, but I did not attempt to - it hasn't been annoying, just different.
Overall Review: This mouse has all the usual ingredients for a good ambidextrous gaming mouse - 2 sets of back/forward buttons, on-the-fly DPI adjustment, neon-colored LED lighting, braided USB cable, et cetera. However, this mouse really gets set apart by its bang for the buck. Are there better mice out there? Of course. Are there better mice in this price range? I haven't tried all of them, but I doubt it.
Pros: This network range extender out-performs any other device of its kind that I've used in the past, by leaps and bounds. From $20 cheap-o models to $150 pro-sumer models, I've tried several.
Although the area I am using this device for (my garage) gets little WiFi use, over the last month I've never had issues with dropped connections or my devices bouncing between networks.
I tried WPS setup, but was unable to get it to work. That said, Smart Setup was very easy and straightforward. The provided installation guide is well-written and easy to follow.
This device can also be configured to act as a Wireless Access Point - plug it into a network cable and create a WiFi hotspot wherever you need it in your house. I did not experiment with this feature, but if I was desperate for every ounce of bandwidth, I could run a CAT5 cable to my garage and re-configure this device as a WAP.
With two walls and about 50 feet between my AC router and the Range Extender, I was consistently getting 22Mbps download and 15-17Mbps upload on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. While this falls short of my available 75Mbps download speed, it is far and away better than the lousy 400Kbps-2Mbps I've experienced with every other range extending device I've used. And as I said, the signal does not seem to be unstable or unreliable. Audio streaming and 1080p Youtube playback never paused to buffer. What more do you want from a wireless device?
Cons: Some may consider the cost of this device prohibitive, but you get what you pay for, especially in consumer-grade wireless devices. It's well worth the extra money for the peace of mind and lack of frustration.
Pros: I've owned a D-link Cloud router for nearly a year - a DIR-826L, to be exact. D-link's Cloud routers work well and are accessible beyond what an average end-user needs. Techie offspring: Picture diagnosing, re-setting, and re-configuring your parent's router from your own home via a browser interface or from your mobile device. It's a very versatile system. Same goes for the SharePort. It's an easy way to share data via your network, and works comparably with Windows Homegroups.
The router itself is small, tidy, and wall-mountable. As long as you have room for the antennas, it can fit almost anywhere. Setup is straightforward and a dual-band router in this price range, though becoming more common, isn't guaranteed.
Cons: I compared the DIR-816L to my current DIR-826L router, examining up- and download speeds and connection stability at varying distances. What I found was very disappointing: On both bands, this Wireless AC router underperformed compared to my Wireless N router. At medium distances, while the 826L provided very usable speeds over 5GHz N (19Mbps down, 12 up), the 816L was barely usable (2.5Mbps down, 3 up) and the connection was far less consistent and stable. The 2.4 GHz band was unchanged between models. 1 room away from the router, the 826L consistently maxed out my data connection over 5GHz (75Mbps down, 17 up), whereas the new 816L matched the upload speed but failed to break 40Mbps. In the same place, the 2.4GHz band also suffered losses: The 826L consistently tested at 40/17Mbps, but the 816L failed to exceed 25/17Mbps.
The Although the DIR-826L is an N router instead of an AC, it consistently out-performs the DIR-816L. The 826L is not only less expensive on Newegg at the time of this review, but offers the same cloud support, USB storage, and gigabit LAN instead of 10/100. The 826L is by far the better buy.
Overall Review: I accepted this Newegg Eggxpert review with the knowledge that I would be able to do back-to-back testing with a very similar router from the same brand. I did not expect this outcome, however. Due to my findings, I would not recommend this router to a prospective buyer.
All testing was performed with the routers connected identically, in the same placement and position. Speeds were measured using my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 in Airplane mode using the Ookla Speedtest app from the Play store. Every effort was made to provide equal testing parameters, and multiple speed tests were run on each band in each position in the house.
Pros: Having dealt with a few 2.5" portable USB hard drives in the past, this drive exceeded my expectations, and taught me that small and disk-based no longer means slow.
The very first thing I did after unboxing this drive was to benchmark it - with surprising results. Using a USB 3.0 port, ATTO showed consistent sequential read/write speeds of 110 MB/s (read and write) on files of 16kb and up. That's fast enough to not tap my feet annoyedly while transferring files. In fact, it blows my USB 3.0 flash drive away - That benches at 27 MB/s write, 43 MB/s read.
In a more real-world test, I transferred a 2.8GB folder full of MP3 files (about 350 files total) in just under 40 seconds. A single, huge 13GB video file transferred over in 2 minutes flat. Definitely fast enough for everyday use. The drive comes pre-formatted as NTFS, so Windows users will immediately be able to store files larger than 4GB, unlike those formatted in FAT32.
And to round the package out, the drive even looks great. It's small enough to stash in a little pocket in your computer bag, along with the compact MicroUSB 3.0 cable. Plus, that's a spare cable to fast-charge your Galaxy Note 3 with. Hey! I've got one of those, too.
Finally, Buffalo stands behind their stuff. They're highly regarded for their customer service in the networking world, and I'm sure they'd stand behind this drive if need be.
Cons: This drive still can't quite match the speed of my 1-year-old Fantom eSata drive, a 1TB 3.5" external. But is that even fair? I need to carry around a bigger drive, a wonky ribbon cable that's not good for anything else, and a power brick. On second thought, nope, that's not worth a few extra megs per minute.
NTFS formatting makes this drive plug-and-play for a PC, but Mac users will have to format. I get this move, since FAT32 has a 4GB file size limit (not OK for a half-terabyte drive), but ExFAT fixes that, and would have been a smarter pick for overall compatibility without cutting corners.
Overall Review: For fun, I tried running ATTO again, but with the drive plugged into a USB 2.0 port. Read speeds were about 37 MB/S, and write speeds topped out at 30 MB/s. This drive still works fine over USB 2.0, it just isn't as snappy. If you haven't made the jump to USB 3.0 yet, don't overlook this drive, since it's backwards compatible and ready for your future computer upgrade.
Pros: First off, this unit was very well boxed. An attractive, sturdy box that slid apart is a sure sign that TP-Link has a great packing engineer somewhere. Additionally, the quick install guide is easy to follow and helpful.
The box includes the adapter wrapped in protective plastic; a folder containing the quick-start guide, licensing information, and a mini-CD; and, best of all, a 1-meter CAT5 cable.
The device was simple to set up - Plug it in near the router, press the WPS button on the router (or enable WPS mode in the online interface, like I did), press the button on the front of the range extender, and wait about a minute. The extender was up and running at this point, as confirmed using Wifi Analyzer on my smartphone.
My absolute favorite feature of this unit then came into play. I unplugged the range extender and plugged it back in in my garage. Within seconds, it was back up and running, still configured. There are two walls between the router and the garage, and roughly 40 feet. The extender showed three signal LEDs out of six (the minimum recommended by TP-Link). The range of the extender will vary by the transmitting power of your router, however, so YMMV.
The range extender is small, and the plug is not polarized, so you are easily able to retain the use of one of your outlets, either by plugging the unit into the top outlet, or plugging it in upside-down into the bottom outlet.
Cons: While this range extender is cheap and simple, it has its' flaws. The major issue that I uncovered was poor download speed performance. While standing near the range extender, a speed test recorded only 6Mbps down. Upon unplugging the extender and standing in the same spot, download speed jumped to 17mbps. Standing right next to my router, for the sake of comparison, yielded 45mbps. Upload speed and ping remained the same throughout these tests. This is disappointing to me. Although I was still able to stream music from my garage through Google Play Music, I noticed a loss in snappiness over using my router alone. This defeats the purpose of using the device, and I will try to re-purpose it elsewhere, but color me disappointed.
Overall Review: Although it's not necessarily a con, given this device's low price, the technology at play here is quickly being eclipsed. Most new phones and laptops are now equipped with 802.11ac, or at least a 5GHz band of 802.11n. The 5 GHz band has a lower range, so a range extender is more often needed for using newer technology. Unless you have no intention of upgrading your wireless beyond 2.4GHz tech anytime soon, I would recommend going straight to a dual-band 802.11ac range extender.
Pros: Good value for money, especially being an 802.11ac router. Simultaneous dual band, no less.
Gigabit Ethernet ports! At this price point, a dual-band router with four gigabit ports is very tough to come by – This drove me mad while looking for a new router, since I use my network to stream 1080p movies, sometimes uncompressed. Even better, the WAN port is also Gigabit, allowing >100mbps internet bandwidth, which is becoming more and more available.
Easy enough to configure in WAP/switch mode, and unlike some other routers, it doesn’t act up in this configuration.
IPv6 capable – it passed through the IPv6 addresses that my other router assigned without issue. I didn’t try to set this router up as an IPv6 DHCP server, though it seems capable.
Cons: The configuration page is clunky, and while the router can be set up quite flexibly, it lacks the ease of use and polished feel that you might expect from a mainstream router.
If you really want to read the directions, it might be tougher than you think. (See other thoughts)
Signal range is only middle-of-the-road, even on the 2.4 GHz band. No better than my previous midrange router. This would be less of an issue, had XyXEL made the antennas removable. What you see is what you get in terms of wireless range, folks.
Overall Review: I decided to try this router in two different modes – First as a main router to replace my current D-link router at the front of my house, and second to act as a switch and a wireless access point in the rear of my house.
The written instructions provided are quite basic, and don’t go past telling you how to log into the router settings page. There is an included CD with a full user guide, but that poses a problem for people like me who have no optical drive in their computer. The user guide is obtainable from XyXel’s website, but even that is very poorly laid out and a pain to navigate. They list no firmware at all for the X650, so it is fair to assume that at the time of this writing, there is no firmware update yet.
Replacing my current router was a snap – Switch the networking cables over, plug the router in, and in a little under a minute, I had access to the internet. There were absolutely no hoops to jump through to get basic connectivity.
The default IP address to this router is 192.168.1.1. The default login is admin, and the default password is 1234. From the main menu, you can choose to do a quick setup, which configures the router for various types of connection (it defaults to a cable modem setup, which was plug-and-play for me, so I had no need to use Quick Setup), as well as time zone and Daylight Savings options.
General Setup is much more in depth – This is where you can change DHCP settings, Wireless LAN settings/passwords, and other options like port forwarding and firewall configurations. There is also a tools section with backup and firmware upgrade options.
Setting the router up as a switch/wireless access point also went smoothly. The XyXEL took the place of my 8-port switch, and with an IP address change, turning off the DHCP server on the XyXEL, and assigning the now-access-point a static IP on my main router, I was able to connect wired and wirelessly. I could even still connect to the web-based UI. And no instability issues, or the DHCP server randomly kicking back on like the router I had previously tried to set up in this fashion. I love the better wireless access at the back of my house… I think I may have wasted $20 on that switch, because I doubt I’ll ever pull the XyXEL off of my network!
Pros: These are great looking modules - the heatsinks are both attractive and functional. Out of the box they were OK, I began running them on a divider at a moderate overclock (~950) and they did fine at advertised 5-6-6-18, 2.2v.
Cons: The problem started when I went to bring the memory up to speed. I to put my RAM divider on 1:1 and bring the sticks to 1100 to start with at 2.24v - no boot. I loosened the timings. No boot. Lowered the FSB to give 1066 - POSTed, but wouldn't boot to windows. Needless to say, I am more than disappointed.
Overall Review: I need some solid RAM to get between 1150 and 1200 MHz, and obviously this isn't it! GRR
Pros: I bought 4 - 3 of them to mount onto a dual-pass radiator. The din of these is quite impressive, however I have learned that I really don;t care that much if I have my headset on, and I will care even less if I eventually get the HMD280 Sennheiser headset I'm after.
The performance result was great - my E6750 runs at 26C idle @3.7 GHz 1.5v, which is better than good, it's extremely impressive. The static pressure is high enough to get loads of air through the thick dual-pass rad. I can't wait to have my 45nm Xeon...
Cons: The noise. You can get fans at this high CFM that are quieter... but not at this price, especially if you buy 4.
Pros: This board was exactly what I was looking for - a board with the guts to overclock, good stock MOSFET cooling, and a separate southbridge heatsink. Now, those 2 last bits may seem silly, but that allowed me to keep the SB heatsink from the factory (regreased with Arctic Ceramique, as with the MOSFET coolers), and the NB cooler heatpipe will twist out of the MOSFET cooler, which allows you to use a 3rd party NB cooler like my Thermalright HR tower.
As for the overclocking, I have gotten my QX6850 to 3.8 ghz stable on water within less than an hour. But, if you do go too far, it resets itself to your last working setting! This board has a MAGICAL dual BIOS / "limp mode" setup that means you'll spend much less time shorting your CMOS pins and more time tweaking.
Also - Ever had a motherboard with pathetic Vdroop (ahem ahem NVIDIA 680i) and put your CPU under load just to have it lock up or even power off? Line Load Calibration on this mobo means perfect voltage, load or idle.
Cons: I can't speak to the power-saving features of this motherboard, because they are disabled on mine.
Very stable, but not quite enough to reach that elusive 4GHz :(
Not an SLI/CF board.
single onboard LAN may have some torrenters annoyed.
Voided my warranty within 5 minutes of taking it out of the box :(
Overall Review: My system:
8GB G.Skill DDR2-1066
EVGA 8800GTS512 (soon to be GTX 295)
WD Raptor 150
WD Caviar 250 (old I know)
OCZ ModXStream 780
Swiftech Apogee GTX
Buy this board along with a Xeon E3110 or E8400 and 4GB fast DDR2 for a cheap alternative to a lower-end i7 rig.
Pros: These earbuds are way beyond any I've seen on a budget like theirs. They have good sound quality with OK bass, powerful mids, and decent but unimpressive highs. They have good volume, although you don't need it with the amount of noise cancellation you get with these. It was easy for me to feel that the medium-sized caps were right for me. Changing them is easy, and so is storing them, with the included bag. Spend time getting the right seal in your ears, it is important to getting the best sound out of these phones.
Cons: They can be uncomfortably cold when putting them in. The audio quality is good, but not great.
Overall Review: Warm them up in your hand before putting them in! To the reviewer before: there are small L and R indicators on the plastic piece connecting the earbud to the cord.