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John S.

John S.

Joined on 12/03/05

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 16
Most Favorable Review

Decent cheap keyboard

LITE-ON SK-1688U/B Black 104 Normal Keys USB Wired Standard Keyboard
LITE-ON SK-1688U/B Black 104 Normal Keys USB Wired Standard Keyboard

Pros: -Seems reasonably sturdy. -There is a gap between Caps Lock and "A." -Cord is an acceptable length. -Extremely inexpensive. -Matte black and inconspicuous.

Cons: -Cheap (though sturdy) plastic molding/fitting. -Keys are a bit squishy. -No volume or other special function keys.

Overall Review: Does not say Lite-On anywhere on the keyboard or box. It struck me as odd to have a piece of technology without any real branding.

Most Critical Review

Good, but not for gamers.

Rosewill RM1670 Silver/Black 7 Buttons USB Laser Mouse
Rosewill RM1670 Silver/Black 7 Buttons USB Laser Mouse

Pros: Very sensitive, which is an option. Good shape. Good button click. Cheap (err...inexpensive). Not wearing out too fast, even on steel. Software is decent.

Cons: Doesn't register jerky movements, especially to the left, which has gotten my BF2 tank/BMP pwned a number of times. Requires a special mousepad or else the cursor jerks around and wanders (I use a steel one with a grid on it meant for specialized optical mice). The duplicate button on the right is better than no button at all but is awkward to reach. Smudgy scroll wheel.

Overall Review: Works a good 1/2 inch from the surface, which can be annoying. It thinks it has seven buttons (as did I when I bought it). Windows users must be sure to go into the options and set it to Windows compatible. It's not default. Don't buy it for serious gaming. Buy it if you want a seriously sensitive and inexpensive mouse.

Good work/school laptop.

Acer Laptop Extensa Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 (2.20GHz) 3GB Memory 160GB HDD Intel GMA X3100 15.4" Windows Vista Business EX5620-6030
Acer Laptop Extensa Intel Core 2 Duo T7500 (2.20GHz) 3GB Memory 160GB HDD Intel GMA X3100 15.4" Windows Vista Business EX5620-6030

Pros: -Strong processor for a budget laptop. -Plenty of RAM. -Acer software has some benefits and is somewhat programmable. -Nice screen size. -Good keyboard for typing (for a laptop); it has a slight curve and clicks just right. -Decent battery life and does not normally heat up much.

Cons: -The GPU, naturally, is incredibly weak (standard for a laptop); my old Radeon x300 is far more powerful, even if only with original drivers. -Vista Business does not come with or allow download of Vista games (though it can be downgraded freely to XP). -No integrated webcam. -Speakers are very quiet. -No standard numpad (function key version only).

Overall Review: Runs Vista well. Struggles a bit to run Warcraft 3 (DotA), which is a relatively old game. I was pleasantly surprised by Microsoft's improvement to wireless connectivity in Vista; it is streamlined and makes for easy networking. Basically, it's perfect for school and/or work and awful for gaming, which is what laptops in this price range are meant to be.

Disingenuous requirements.

Mass Effect PC Game
Mass Effect PC Game

Pros: Looks like it would be a fun game. Nice graphics. The game runs, though a bit slowly, during regular gameplay with average settings. Runs well on low settings on my machine.

Cons: Crashes occasionally during the opening cutscene. Slows and crashes at a certain dialogue point every time. The game is completely unplayable due to this.

Overall Review: P4 3.0 running at 3.21 Ghz, 8800 GTX (320 MB, 320-bit), 2 GB RAM, XP Pro. CD is flawless. No other games behave this way on my machine. Graphic settings do not affect the crashing.

Beautiful

Half Life 2: Orange Box PC Game
Half Life 2: Orange Box PC Game

Pros: Best deal I've ever seen that included a newly-released game. Half Life 2 is one of the best singleplayer FPSs of all time. Episodes 1 and 2 of it were highly enjoyable. Portal may be my favorite game ever. Gestalt psychology in game form; it's dark, but forgiving. To illustrate, when my children are fairly well-educated, they will play this game as a rite of passage. Team Fortress 2 is innovative and well-made.

Cons: I consider myself good at FPS games, and I cut my teeth on the frenetic Unreal Tournament (was playing at 120% speed, g-like, turbo). But in TF2, I get OWNED half the time online. The level of play there is simply too fast and austere for me to learn the game enjoyably. It's remarkable.

Overall Review: I did not own any of the games beforehand, so it was not important for me, but Valve did something beautiful in allowing you to give the unused components to friends if you already had them on your Steam account.

Nice

EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 SLI Support Video Card 320-P2-N811-AR
EVGA GeForce 8800 GTS 320MB GDDR3 PCI Express x16 SLI Support Video Card 320-P2-N811-AR

Pros: Inexpensive. Reasonably cool and quiet operation. Excellent power at 320 bit width and runs well on 400 Watts. Severe upgrade from my old (obsolete) x300SE @ 256 MB, despite the x300's magic 20k OGL CrytalMark benchmark with original driver (7k with updated drivers, palpably slower).

Cons: 320 MB RAM is mid- to low-end for new games and will be pretty weak in a year (single card), though the width does take much of the hurt off of this. Huge size. Do the measurements carefully before purchasing (the size was not an issue for me). I may get reamed for this, but I won't lie: I liked Ray Adams' Tray Tools better than NVIDIA's software, though most will probably favor the seamlessness of NVIDIA.

Overall Review: This card is perfect for good, budget gaming. It very much outperforms the rest of my setup. (P4 Prescott stock OC @ 3.21, 2GB OCZ Value 667 RAM @ 5-5-5-10, ECS 945P-A mobo, XP Pro, Mid-tower Rosewill TU-155 w/ 400W PSU, 2 added front fans)