cover
Mike H.

Mike H.

Joined on 01/16/05

0
0

Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 41
Most Favorable Review

Nice Small Case

APEX MD-100-C Black Metal with piano finish Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case
APEX MD-100-C Black Metal with piano finish Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case

Pros: Small, stackable form factor with good rubber feet. Attractive finish. Inexpensive. Includes some parts for hooking up slim cd-rom including hacked sata power to 4 pin floppy power cable. One 3.5" hard drive can be mounted with rubber vibration isolation mounts, another above it. Easy to open.

Cons: Variable quality. Piano finish enamel is not very tough... it can easily be scratched with a paper towel or anything sitting on it. Hard drive ventilation is very poor. Power / disk activity leds hard to see at an angle (recessed about 1/4").

Overall Review: I ordered ten of these cases for the IONITX-A-U mobos. One case had to be return for loose welds. One had a bad hard drive mounting screw. One had bent pins on one of the slim cd adapters (just loose in a bag held in with tape). One had an intermittent slim cd sata power cable. I merged parts into one bad case and returned for replacement. I have two 3.5" hard drives in drive brackets but found it necessary to leave front access cover open in front of drives, cover some ventilation holes with tape to redirect air flow and install a small Thermaltake slot case fan to cool the drives. Probably ok with just one drive, but you'll still be baking it to a premature death unless you get some air over the drive(s).

Most Critical Review

Bluetooth Sucks

Logitech V470 Blue 3 Buttons Tilt Wheel Cordless Laser Notebook Mouse for Bluetooth
Logitech V470 Blue 3 Buttons Tilt Wheel Cordless Laser Notebook Mouse for Bluetooth

Pros: The mouse is attractive, and the finish is durable. Mine has gotten heavy use for the last eight months and it looks as good as the day I bought it with the exception of the bottom which has a reasonable appearance given the fact that spends its life sliding around, primarily on my knee. The Bluetooth connection has only unpaired one time, the stock Microsoft drivers work fine and I've only had to reboot one time to resolve an issue with the mouse wheel no longer working even though worked fine for all of my other mice. The black travel bag which shipped with my mouse is well-suited to the task and I'm certain that it has helped to keep my mouse looking as good as new. I've dropped it dozens of times from off of my lap onto a carpeted floor and never experienced any issues from these mild shocks. Maintaining the batteries has not been an issue since I got about six months out of the mouse, only turning it off occasionally for a few days at a time.

Cons: I also own and rf mouse made by Logitech and I am much happier with it. Although Bluetooth skips the USB dongle since it's integrated with my laptop, and it may be a more appropriate in an office environment with a lot of wireless equipment in close proximity, its performance is far inferior. This mouse is larger which is okay given my large hands, but it is also heavier primarily to accommodate two batteries instead of one. Quite literally, the water in my fingers interferes with the signal enough that I often find myself lifting my fingers up from the sides of the mouse while I try to position the pointer. This happens typically at a distance of only 3 to 4 feet from the laptop. The performance is noticeably worse at seven or 8 feet. At 15 to 20 feet it becomes almost unusable. This has happened in the number of environments, none of them with significant amounts of metal or any interference other than the typical wi-fi equipment. The rf mouse I have works flawlessly even 20 feet.

Overall Review: I would not recommend purchasing this mouse if you intend to use it more than a few feet away from your Bluetooth device. If you're using a laptop make sure to keep the lid open and upright since usually the antenna runs alongside the screen and I find it barely works if the screen is closed. Although this mouse is durable and attractive, runs a reasonable amount of time between battery changes, wakes up from a sleep in a reasonable amount of time, and pairs well with my laptop, its wireless performance begins to degrade at a very short distance of only 3 feet. Although it is not much more expensive to operate two batteries than one, I actually prefer the lighter weight of an RF mouse with only one battery. Logitech makes a very nice, much cheaper mouse which is nearly identical in shape and even has a slot to store the USB adapter on the bottom which has the side benefit of turning the power on or off.

Low Yield

Western Digital WD Green WD20EARS 2TB 5400 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive
Western Digital WD Green WD20EARS 2TB 5400 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive

Pros: High Capacity. Inexpensive. Low Power. Cool. Nearly Silent. Large Write Cache.

Cons: Very sensitive to vibration. Fairly inconsistent performance from drive to drive.

Overall Review: Got 15 drives, 4 were bad. Sent 4 back, 1 of the replacements was bad. Sent it back and got lucky. The sample shows yields at roughly 75% of shipped drives as good. Other drives I've purchased even large lots of have had 100% yields, so this is pretty bad. Kudos to Newegg for working with me to replace through multiple rounds of testing. These drives run cool and don't ratchet down performance under max load in typical commodity environments like my Seagate Barracuda 7200s. Seek noise and vibration is nearly imperceptible, which is good given the susceptibility to even moderate fan vibration despite rubber mounts (changing fans fixes performance issues). Failure modes all different... one bricked to begin with, one repeatedly returned communication errors after burnin for a few hours, one had very low, highly variable seek performance, and one gave an io error at a specific location when running random reads. These errors despite three of them with SMART claiming drive Ok.

Fake Fan

hec Black 0.7mm Thickness SECC (Japanese Steel Metal) ITX ITX200A Mini ITX Media Center / HTPC Case
hec Black 0.7mm Thickness SECC (Japanese Steel Metal) ITX ITX200A Mini ITX Media Center / HTPC Case

Pros: Good airflow design to cool a hard drive. Efficient power supply. Sturdy construction stacks multiple units very well. Matt finish doesn't show fingerprints like glossy cases.

Cons: Case fan is a fake (it is a sleeve bearing). Only holds one 3.5" drive (other cases I have which are similar size can hold two).

Overall Review: Purchased about a dozen of these cases and the fans are starting to fail within 2-3 months which is typical of sleeve bearings. After owning dozens of cheap sleeve bearing fans I can assure you that they typically fail within 6 months or less on average. The good news is that the fan is a standard size and you can purchase quality ball bearing fans for like another $8 or so elsewhere. Check out coolerguys.com, for example. Save yourself from baking your $100 hard drive and just replace the stock fan when you build the system.

Very Unreliable Fan

Thermaltake A2426 80mm Blue LED PCI SLOT Blue LED FAN
Thermaltake A2426 80mm Blue LED PCI SLOT Blue LED FAN

Pros: - Small. - Quiet when new. - Low power. - Reversible. - Blue LEDs help determine if fan is working and system is on. They slowly die down to almost nothing over six months so give you an idea of the age of the fan.

Cons: - Very limited lifespan means poor value, high maintenance, noisy. - Lubricant in sleeve bearing is either slung out of hub if upside down or vertical (as seen by oil/dust tracks), or simply evaporates if right side up. - Fan sometimes doesn't start spinning on power up if it is a little older and worn or lubricant is gone... this will quickly destroy the fan as the lubricant will sublimate and won't help cool your box either. - Typically after a couple of months of age, if it starts, the fan doesn't have enough lubricant and will make a horrendous noise due to fan imbalance, and the vibration is literally enough to cause large capacity disk drives to shut down. Usually it will work itself out within five to ten minutes. - The airflow decreases by more than 50% as the fan ages, presumably due to hub damage from lack of lubricant.

Overall Review: I own 16 itx machines which use these fans for cooling, unfortunately. It is the only fan small enough to fit in my cases so I have no other option. These fire up great when they are new, but expect only about six month of life on average. You should always verify the fan spins up at power up, if not I use an air can to get them going. Your best bet is to put them in a system and leave them on 24x7 since you can get maybe a year that way and they usually don't stop once they start. I've tried adding more lubricant (bicycle oil) to worn fans, but this doesn't last long as the hub has already been damaged and it's mostly a waste of time. I buy about eight of these at a time and keep spares on hand and have to swap one out every week or two. I'd estimate it costs about $250 per year to keep the fans going in my 16 box atom cluster, not to mention the time it takes. That's about the same cost as the electricity. Most unreliable fan I've ever used.

Average

Rosewill RH-189 3.5mm Connector Canal Earphone
Rosewill RH-189 3.5mm Connector Canal Earphone

Pros: Affordable. Canal phones provide best sound isolation in noisy environments, like when walking near a road with a lot of traffic. Sound quality average for a canal phone.

Cons: Canal piece isn't as variable sized as other models I've tried so it doesn't fit quite as well in my average ears. Canal rubber piece isn't removable and is obviously in only one size. Other phones I've tried have small, medium, and large pieces that can be interchanged, or removed for cleaning (very important when put in your ear canal in case they are dropped in dirt or get skin or ear wax on them). Plug isn't angled and must be removed from jack when stowing to prevent eventual cord failure at plug and unnecessary wear on jack. A very bulky 'balistic' case is provided for stowing, so clearly this is the design idea.

Overall Review: Altough I usually prefer non canal phones except in the noisiest of environments for comfort, ease of use, I find the canal type best when walking near traffic. These work acceptably for the price but I will definitely not purchase these again once they break.