Date Joined: 12/29/03
Pros: Very nice and rounded finish, easy to assemble. Rolls well on the above average wheels.
Cons: Poor quality drawers.
Overall Review: I own a Balt 20x72 inch table that is very nice. Rounded legs, feels sturdy, etc. I thought this would be similar quality however I was very much disappointed.
This cabinet's drawers are terrible. They do not slide smooth and they have no runners to keep the drawer from tilting downward when extended. The big drawer is nearly useless.
In my opinion, good quality drawers are a requirement. This unit is going back.
During the same time, I tried some of the drawers from the IKEA AKURUM series and I was very impressed. (The IKEA drawers are still budget drawers, but WORLDS better than these Balt drawers.)
Pros: Beautiful monitor, solid construction, color calibration.
Cons: Expensive, heavy, somewhat poor aesthetics.
Overall Review: I purchased this monitor and the Dell U2412M at the same time. Both monitors are incredible, but the Dell is 1/3rd the price. There are some VERY detailed reviews at TFT Central that discuss both of these monitors and I couldn't decide which one I wanted more so I ordered both.
The NEC is a little bit more stable than the Dell, and the NEC offers a color calibration device. Because I am not super concerned with color accuracy I opted for the cheaper Dell.
Pros: Great sounding speakers at a reasonable price
Cons: No auxiliary input or treble or base controls.
Overall Review: These are great speakers in this price range and in this physical size. Compared to the M-Audio AV30s that I own, these speakers do quite well. The Bose sound like good speakers, the AV30s sound like you are really there. The AV30s are in my opinion significantly better. However, I needed a set of good speakers that didn't take up a lot of space. For that purpose, these speakers are amazing.
Ps: I also have the Logitech Z-2300, and I feel that the M-Audio AV30s sound better even though the Z-2300s have better bass.
Bose Companion 2 < Logitech Z-2300 < M-Audio AV30
Pros: I am one of those people who can't stand to wait on a computer. I have always used a very fast hard drive as my primary OS drive. This is an upgrade from a 150GB WD Raptor. So far, I am very pleased. After upgrading to a quad-core Core i7 processor, I found my HDD lacking. This SSD is one of the best investments for my performance and overall experience. I used to split up my "My Documents" to a separate drive to increase performance. Now with this SSD, splitting actually reduces performance because the SSD is so fast. The transfer rates are as advertised and I have 119GB of usable space. This drive is also cheaper than getting a multi-HDD setup with a RAID card.
Cons: I feel that people should know what they are getting into when they purchase a SSD. Most of us are familiar with HDDs but do not know a whole lot about SSDs. I found myself in a whole new world after getting this drive and I am so pleased that I did. I just wish I was a little more prepared. See below.
Overall Review: Solid State Drives do not store information like traditional disk-based hard drives. Therefore, defragmentation and lot of other things no longer apply.
IMPORTANT NOTE CONCERNING PERFORMANCE:
Solid state drives can read and write small chunks of data while only being able to erase large chunks. Erasing data puts wear and tear on a SSD so they delay erasing as long as possible by methodically using the entire drive.
When it comes time to write new information on a heavily used SSD, the chunk of memory needing clearing must be copied into cache, erased, rewritten, and then the new information can be added.
Essentially, this means that your write performance will degrade over time. Patriot makes a utility on their website to "restore" the drive's original performance. Another utility exists on the internet called wiper.exe.
This information is extremely important to the performance of your drive. For more information search for: "AnandTech trim command"
Pros: This card stays COOL! I have heard a lot of people talk about the 4870 series having heat problems but this card was dramatically cooler than my 8800 GTS 512 (G92) and older 8800 GTX. With the older cards my case would get almost too hot to touch (Lian-Li PC-V1100) on top, but with this card, my case is cool to the touch. From what I can tell, the GPU stays remarkably cool during idle and load despite having a relatively small fan and heatsink. This card is also fast. Because it is so cool, I expect a great deal of overclocking headroom.
Cons: Noise. This card, although it can dissipate heat very well, runs rather loud. I have a recording studio and quiet components are a requirement. This card, in idle mode is much louder than the 8800 GTS and the 8800 GTX. However, during load, it isn’t that bad. It is perhaps slightly quieter than the 8800 GTX (stock) but still louder than the 8800 GTS G92. But it isn’t just the raw volume, the fan speed is CONSTANTLY CHANGING. As you are idling the card and you move windows around, click the start menu, and browse the internet (XP Pro), the fan speed alters very slightly. This makes one very aware of the fan’s presence. Additionally, the fan emits a rather peculiar resonating sound even when running on its lowest setting. Even after manually setting the fan to 20% the noise was still perceivable over 9 HDDs and several 120mm fans (Scythe S-Flex E)
Overall Review: This card is a pretty sweet deal if you want a high-performance and cool-running GPU. Sapphire should make this technology for the 4870 x2. They would make a killing. Although this card is great, I chose do modify my slower and older 8800 GTS with the Arctic Cooling Accelero S1 R2 cooler and 2x 120mm Nexus case fans. This dropped my 8800 GTS temps while giving me a very quiet GPU.
Pros: Very easy to set up. Simply plug the devices into the wall, and behold, an electrical LAN! Fairly reliable, steady bandwidth. The configuration utility was very handy and easily able to tweak the many device options. Good construction that is still pleasant looking. Includes Ethernet cables.
Cons: Not very fast. Compared to other networking devices, this device lacks speed. Consider the following speed tests:
Note: The speeds indicate an average speed after transferring a 350MB file between my desktop and laptop computer.
Gigabit: 376 Mbps
100Mb: 88 Mbps
802.11n: 72 Mbps (Same Room)
802.11n: 20 Mbps (Two Rooms Away)
802.11g: 20 Mbps (Same Room)
802.11g: 14.4 Mbps (Two Rooms Away)
802.11b: 6.96 Mbps (Same Room)
802.11b: 5.2 Mbps (Two Rooms Away)
Same Wall Socket: 40 Mbps
Other Side of Room: 24 Mbps
Two Rooms Away: 4 Mbps
The purpose of the Netgear HDX101 was to extend my LAN to the living room without having to run cables. Since I will be streaming 1080p quality video to the media center PC attached to the TV, I need a fairly fast and reliable connection. Although the Netgear powerline device was able to provide a reliable connection without running new wires, the connection was not fast enough to stream HD video.
Overall Review: I live in a recently constructed, small apartment building with four other units. The electrical wiring is new, but possibly not ideal as all four units may be on the same electrical circuit. I am very familiar with computer technology; however, I am not very familiar with electrical wiring. Due to the speed issues mentioned above, even 802.11n wireless isn’t quite enough for streaming 1080p video. Although the ideal solution is to simply run Ethernet cables to the desired location, Netgear has created a device that can allow a network to coexist with your household electrical wiring. I just wish it was faster.
Comments: I am thoroughly impressed by the performance of this cooler. First off, this cooler is quite large so make sure you have a large case. This cooler also needs THREADED mounting brackets on the backplate of the motherboard. The Gigabyte motherboard (K8N Ultra-9) that I ordered came with a handy plastic mounting bracket screws without threads. Because of this, the heatsink was unable to be mounted without an alternative bracket. Luckily, I had a spare bracket and was able to get it working problem-free. If you do order this cooler you may also want to invest in a better motherboard bracket. Just a time saver.
The performance of this cooler is amazing! I was thrilled to see 34C idle and 42C on load without a fan on my CPU! When idle the heatsink is cool to the touch and when under load the heatsink feels only moderately warm. The heatsink is a bit heavy but it poses no hazards to my motherboard.
Lian-Li PC-1100B Case
Gigabyte K8N Ultra-9 Motherboard
AMD 4000+ 2.4GHz CPU
1024MB DDR PC3200 RAM
x800xl 256MB GPU
10,000RPM WD Raptor 74GB
480W Fanless Power Supply
Comments: This card is excellent. I was surprised by its performance in moderately intense applications. This card was purchased as a spare (PCI Express) for my performance desktop, but this card could probably pull off some light gaming on the side.
AMD 64 4000+ 2.4GHz
1024MB DDR PC3200 RAM
10,000RPM WD Raptor 74GB
X300SE (Spare Card)
The score above may be a little high because of the other components ‘feeding’ the card. Nevertheless, I was able to run Battlefield 1942 at 1600x1200 with everything on high smoothly. This card is well-built and has no heat problems. I noticed that the heatsink was somewhat loose but this had no effect on heat dissipation. This card works great.