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STEVEN F.

STEVEN F.

Joined on 01/19/07

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 11
Most Favorable Review

The latest and greatest Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B 1GB Project Board, 83-17300
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B 1GB Project Board, 83-17300

Pros: Raspberry Pi's have led the field for single board computers at this price point. The Pi 3 continues to push the envelop and still maintains the same price.

Cons: Could lose the analog video port. The I/O bus is a bit anemic.

Overall Review: When I first got involved with Raspberry Pi's over four years ago, there were about three boards available around this price point. Now there are about 100. With so much information available for these systems, it's impossible to do a good review in a short space. Regardless, whether you're just getting started or quite experienced, Raspberry Pi's are a good choice for most applications.

12/14/2016
Most Critical Review

Neat Concept - Bad Execution

AeroCool FP-01 55-in-1 Card Reader w/Flip-up LCD Screen
AeroCool FP-01 55-in-1 Card Reader w/Flip-up LCD Screen

Pros: Nice concept - a lot of functionality in a 5 1/4" bay. Ablility to monitor temperatures at points of your choosing. Looks cool. Neat flip-up panel.

Cons: Cable management is a nightmare. With a roll of electrical tape, I bundled the cables into groups (power, sensors and communications). Even so, installation was difficult, messy and time consuming. Difficult to read the display unless the angle is "just right". Difficult to set up with the function buttons. No way to disable fan controller/alarming. With six controllable case fans, I had no need to slow only three down but needed to connect to three of them to get the unit to function and monitor temperatures. After a year (no longer in warranty), the unit began to randomly lower the fan speeds to minimum causing the unit to alarm. It would lock up and not allow me to raise them again (or perform any function). Card reader was OK but did not read higher density SD cards (> 4GB). This unit has been removed from my system and will not be replaced with the same product.

Overall Review: It is nice to monitor and alarm conditions of a system with a device that does not depend on the system or it's software, however, it doesn't make sense to use a device that is less reliable than the system itself. From other reviews, it would appear that this product is not stable. When it first started to change the fan speed settings, I blamed the cat and banned her to her own computer. She said the dog did it. Since it's out of warranty, I disassembled the unit and was not impressed with the engineering or quality of construction. There are many points of failure. If your intent is to monitor/alarm temperatures and fans in your system, this is not the device to use. I do NOT recommend the purchase of this product.

Engine Code Reader

AGT Compact OBD-II CAN Diagnostic Code Reader Scanner Tool
AGT Compact OBD-II CAN Diagnostic Code Reader Scanner Tool

Pros: Inexpensive. Compact.

Cons: None

Overall Review: It does exactly what it's supposed to do. No, it's not a high end device and you'll have reseach what the code means. That meaning will not give you step-by-step instructions on how to repair the problem. You will need mechanical ability to do that yourself. No, it won't make the repairs itself. The instructions are adequate for the tool. It only has two buttons. Do you need instructions on how to use a rachet? Do you need instructions on how to use a torque wrench? If so, you shouldn't be working on automobiles. It's not just your life you put at risk, it's also everybody around you.

11/11/2012

Nice cooler

Cooler Master GeminII S524 - CPU Cooler with Aluminum Fins and 5 Heatpipes
Cooler Master GeminII S524 - CPU Cooler with Aluminum Fins and 5 Heatpipes

Pros: Great heat dissipation Quiet fan

Cons: Need access to back of the motherboard for installation Vague instructions/parts identification

Overall Review: Does an excellent job of keeping my FX-8150 CPU cool. Even before the thermal compound had broken in, temps never reached 50°C. The fan is quiet especially when it's throttled back. As with any large heat sink, room can be an issue. Since my memory has tall heat spreader fins, I didn't have have enough room to mount it over the RAM and still have access to service them. Mounting it over the MOSFETs worked out well. If you plan to swap out your CPU frequently, be prepared to remove your motherboard or plan ahead and drill access holes in your chassis.

Quiet fans

SilenX EFX-08-12 80mm Effizio Quiet Case Fan
SilenX EFX-08-12 80mm Effizio Quiet Case Fan

Pros: Very quiet fans Inexpensive Moves a good amount of air

Cons: The yellow blades are a bit of a detractor, I'd rather have black but no big deal. I could do without the 4 pin connector on the cable.

Overall Review: These are the quietest fans I've come across and still move a good amount of air. The isolation mounts are probably not needed as the fans are well balanced but they work well.

Great Motherboard

GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD5 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard
GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD5 AM3+ AMD 990FX SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX AMD Motherboard

Pros: Very well laid out board Fast I/O Flexible BIOS Many features Great chipset Cool running MOSFETs Thick copper on PCB

Cons: None really

Overall Review: This was one of the easiest and fastest builds I've done. No problems bringing it up. Having had PCB's built for me, I can appreciate the benefits of the extra copper on the board. High quality parts (for a commercial board) have been used through out. Gigabyte paid attention to keep the silicon running cool. This build includes the following: AMD FX-8150 CORSAIR Vengeance DDR3 1600 (16 GB) XFX Radeon HD 6870 SAMSUNG 830 Series 128 GB SSD Seagate 2TB 7200 rpm hard drive ASUS Blu-ray burner COOLER MASTER GeminII CPU cooler