Date Joined: 11/10/07
Pros: * noticeably more flexible than rubber jacketed cords.
* woven casing won't eventually split at the strain relief area right after the plug, and this is where most rubber jacketed cords wear out and die. These woven ones probably won't die until the plugs wear out and that should be a much much longer lifetime.
Cons: * The extra flexibility means these can actually get tangled slightly more easily than naturally stiffer rubber jacketed cords, especially if you have a jumble of cords in a pocket or backpack. But I think the longevity and flex are more important.
Overall Review: Best USB-C cords I've had so far. The six-foot one is able to carry nearly 2A when charging, which is less than turbo charging on a C to C connection but it's still quite strong. See pros and cons: these are very nicely flexible and should outlast almost any other cord. Also the USB-C plug has no visible seam or weld, that's good.
Pros: I've settled on 15-15-15-38-2T (CL2) and it's running happily at 1.25v or at least what shows as 1.26 in the BIOS but measures closer to 1.25 in action. On my ASUS X99 board I also found it helpful to make use of another setting that gives them a slightly higher voltage just through POST and DRAM training then drops to the regular running level. I set this to 1.28v initial and 1.26 eventual and that eliminated some occasional weird or long POST sequences.
Cons: 1T is definitely not happening with 64GB of DDR4 at this time -- probably with any kit and cpu. After further testing it was probably just silly of me to even try. But I'm very happy with 2766 MHz (104 base clock x 133 x 20) and 15-15-15. Passed MemTest Pro overnight well past 1000% coverage of the full complement of memory and I've had no problems or need to reboot this system for ten days at a time.
Overall Review: Primary usage of this workstation is lots of work in Adobe Photoshop (and Lightroom) while multitasking. It's a joy to have zero wait for any program when switching windows while Photoshop also never has to slow down and reach for swap/scratch space.
Pros: The Tush Cush converts most computer or work chairs that originally cannot give you a good forward pelvic tilt for good back health, into a sitting surface that does assist you in sitting straight up with forward pelvic tilt. The wedge shape also helps reduce pressure on the hamstring and sciatic areas in the back of the leg, compared to using no such wedge and resting too much on the edge of the chair. This cushion combats the tendency to slump and slouch in your chair. The tailbone cutout removes all pressure from the coccyx area and keeps your weight mainly on your sit bones where it should be. I'm glad I purchased the sheepskin covered version for its wider range of temperature comfort.
Cons: not really a "con", but you do have to re-learn how to sit with one of these. It's there to help you tilt your pelvis forward for a better sitting position, but you're free to ignore its help and still slouch if you really are stubborn. If you refuse to go along with it and you still slouch a lot, you will still have some tailbone pressure just due to the pressure of your bone structure inside of your skin, even despite the shaped cutout in the cushion. If you misuse it that way you may not like it at all. But if you are ready to sit forward in your chair and sit up the way that will help your back much more in the long run, this cushion is here to make that much easier to do.
One other "not really a con" is that once you're sitting on this and therefore tilting much more forward in your chair, you will no longer have the support of your chair's back rest except when you go out of your way to lean back against it. Ultimately that is OK and you will be stronger for improving your sit-up-straight habits. You'll be much healthier. But at first you may want to use one other pillow or cushion of some sort between your back and the chair back until your muscles readjust to the new sitting position.
Overall Review: I'm really glad they offer this pleasant "charcoal" color in sheepskin. I probably would have wanted, but not purchased, the sheepskin Tush Cush if it only came in natural.
Pros: I'm running this 4-channel 16GB kit in an ASUS X99-E WS board with an i7-5960X cpu. If you know this platform, you already understand that you cannot necessarily reach your maximum DRAM spec, even using a built-in XMP profile, or rather, you'll do better overall if you leave more headroom for your CPU overclock, which requires not going all the way with DRAM thanks to sharing power with the cpu's integrated memory controller.
But with that having been said, this has been pretty good memory. The latency timings required to hit 3200Mhz fully stable are looser than the XMP profile suggests unless you leave your CPU at less of an overclock. At 3900 Mhz on the cpu you can get away with a lot more on the RAM. But at your typical Haswell-E overclock of 4.5Ghz, this DDR4 will most likely not do the rated 16-16-16-36-2T. You'll end up around 18-18-18 and 2T instead. Now once you test and compare some alternative scenarios you'll find that your benchmarks are actually better, or nearly the same, running the memory at 2666 because then you can hit 14-14-14-32-1T and keep it very stable *and* have no trouble overclocking both cpu and cache to 4.5Ghz. Your mileage may vary...
Cons: The cooling fans that come with this RAM use a bracket that really does not mount the little fan bars all that securely. It would be fine if your case was going to be set in one place and never touched, but it's not really secure enough for cases that see a fair amount of motion and things getting moved and reorganized inside or out. I am not confident that the little mem-coolers would actually stay in place and not eventually tilt to the side or fall into other areas. And that is a major issue because the mounting bracket is *metal* and would make electrical contact. Moreover, the end bracket that ends up on the graphics card side of the DRAM slots seems likely to make contact with the back of the graphics card if your PCI-E slot #1 is close. Warning, in at least some ASUS X99 boards the layout is close enough that the fan bracket will only have 1-2mm clearance from most graphics cards.
Overall Review: If you have an ASUS X99 motherboard, and you really wish to mount the included mini cooling fans, you may need to make your own brackets or get into zip ties or other means of keeping these little guys stable. Honestly I just skipped them, I have very good airflow to the area and my RAM does not get too hot even when stress testing.
Pros: My first liquid cooling rig in a beast of a new X99 workstation. The Liqtech 240 is installed on a brand new i7-5960X. Installation was very VERY easy. The only hard part was "hey, where am I going to put the radiator because I have no control over the fixed length of the closed-loop hoses". But I found a good spot by moving my power supply to a different position. The radiator now fires directly out through my 200mm oversized case-top fans in a big cooolermaster case and life is good.
This unit looks awesome, though I don't care. But that was nice to see.
The cooling capability is PERFECT. I'm not an extreme pusher, but I took this 8-core monster CPU from stock 3GHz to 4.6GHz with only multiplier and moderate voltage in a very short time. The CPU is idling around 35C, ordinary desktop use spends very little time above 40C without ever hearing the twin 120mm fans on the radiator. In order to cause any fan noise I have to get most or all of the 8 cores up above 80% for any length of time. I think the pump runs at a fixed rate while the radiator fans are variable (and PWM, I think? not 100% on that). Basically in order to get any loudness out of this rig I have to do things I normally wouldn't ever need to do, or I have to intentionally benchmark or burn-in. I have not gone into heavy gaming with this box yet so it remains to be seen whether I will ever hear the radiator over average game sound but I really doubt it.
This is WAY quieter than my old air-cooled rigs with Noctua push/pull fan blocks. There's no way I will ever go back to air cooling if liquid cooling is this easy and successful. It's over.
The overall build quality and solidity of the parts in this unit is just amazing.
Cons: The hose length is just short enough to slightly reduce the possibilities for various mounting locations. But users to whom that really matters are likely building their own cooling loops.
Overall Review: I look forward to a very long and enjoyable service life on this. I expected to be slightly scared and un-trusting of liquid cooling but this has been an unexpectedly solid first experience. Strongly recommended.
Pros: It's still very early in the X99 product cycle but my experience so far with the X99-E WS has been nothing but excellent. Installing an i7-5960X and liquid cooling system (Enermax Liqtech 240 fit with room to spare) and 4-way DDR4 kit went smoothly. The thermal paste seated well and began to transmit well within a half hour of gentle use, and in the second hour of the board's life I had no problem overclocking to 4.6GHz on just multiplier and moderate voltage.
The real test of this board will be to see if any issues come up when I go for multi-way SLI eventually. But this also will spend much of its time as a true workstation just doing Photoshop work and general business and software development stuff. It's more of a hot rod than I truly needed, but it's solid future insurance. I won't plan to rebuild for another five years.
Cons: Like most motherboards, even deluxe level ones, the I/O block area still doesn't mate all that well with the I/O shield, which still ends up looking and feeling a little bit bulged where the ports all push up against and through it. I know it needs good contact but the finish appearance still isn't quite as clean as hoped. It's fine, though.
ASUS's arrangement of settings in the UEFI BIOS is not all that intuitive. You go in expecting to find all voltages in one place and all timings in another, sub-organized by CPU vs. DRAM, right? Instead settings are grouped in less intuitive ways that probably make more sense to ASUS but not to me. It's OK, though, just a learning curve. It's been nice to move up to UEFI and no longer feel like BIOS operations are from the early IBM age of computing.
Overall Review: It feels like i just bought, or built for myself, the computer equivalent of an incredible six-wheel-drive all terrain vehicle and I'm already driving it over a mountain range and across deserts and swamps. This is the fantasy midlife workstation rampage I have always dreamed of and it's no joke, it's better than I even thought it would be.
Pros: Brutally fast especially on parallel workloads -- content creation, video and photo work, etc. Surprisingly power efficient when properly set up. Overclocks easily. Just an all-around tour de force experience so far with zero complaints. I took mine to 4.6 automatically without even having to get into manual BIOS fiddling.
Cons: Price. Flagship pricing, what more can anyone say. Content creators who are hard at work will make the extra $500 back very quickly in saved time.
Overall Review: In just a few days this CPU has already saved me more time than I even expected because there is simply nothing I can do on this workstation now that leaves me waiting for the machine to catch up. Heavy heavy photoshop use and it barely breaks a sweat. I can't wait to start gaming on it when the recent GTX cards start shipping, even though that's not its strongest point.
Pros: This is powering my first X99 rig in an Asus X99-E WS with i7-5960x cpu. I cannot hear the PSU at boot time or under load, even over a pretty quiet liquid-cooling radiator and fan assembly. I have never been able to hear the PSU while stress-testing.
Cons: No serious cons.
The unit comes with 24-pin motherboard power cable and two ATX power cables, but this motherboard actually accepts a third ATX cable near the start of the PCI-E slots for extra smooth and plentiful graphics power. It would be great if this top-of-the-line PSU came with that extra cable because it will frequently be purchased for that type of scenario.
Though in all honesty I don't need to connect that until someday I'm at 3x SLI or more and by then I would have sized up the PSU another step.
Overall Review: This SuperNova 1000 is powering my first X99 / Haswell-E rig with an i7-5960X -- and overclocking this 8-core cpu has been smooth and easy from the start. I may have a lucky chip from a good batch, but the power supply definitely gets a good helping of credit for making this as easy as possible.
I have not received the dual GTX 970s for SLI yet and there's still only three drives plugged in so I'm still very far below the power headroom of this PSU. But eventually I'll be in 2X SLI and that should be fine. I would not try for 3X without stepping up to 1.2 or 1.3 kilowatt.
Pros: * Fast. The speed difference between this and a SATA SSD is similar to the difference between an SSD and a rotational hard drive.
* Tiny: takes up 3 square inches by almost no thickness.
Cons: * Still expensive. But this is a perfect bridge between SATA SSD and the future PCI-E SSD.
Overall Review: This is the boot drive for my new build with an X99 board. Ubuntu 10.10 installed in about seven minutes from a USB stick and boots completely in well under ten seconds. Windows 8.1 also boots in under ten seconds -- and I don't just mean to where it shows the desktop, I mean it's fully ready to go in under 10 seconds.
This XP941 is so fast as a cache location that internet browsing and downloading acts as if my broadband connection were much faster. Subjectively it feels 50% faster.
Pros: Faster and much wider-radius connection on 2.4GHz band than the built-in wireless on our cable modem/gateway was able to provide.
Cons: *Linksys was bought by Belkin and this product (and who knows, maybe its original development team) seem to have gotten lost in that deal. That happened shortly after the EA6500 / AC 1750 came out, so it's never really been up to par.
* sometimes drops connection for no good reason; android phones have difficulty connecting on WPA2/PSK even at short radius and sometimes won't connect at all unless you use the WPS method.
* Occasionally link quality degrades, dropping from >25Mb/s to around 3Mb/s, and stays that way until you reset the unit.
* Unit stops accepting administrative login either by wireless or (even worse) by direct Ethernet connection. Sometimes you can factory-reset the unit to fix this, but eventually even that stops working. Mine is now a brick unless I choose to run it at factory settings with no admin access, which means default password is still in place and wireless network is open and default security.
* Even worse, the built-in "Cisco Cloud Connect" admin software, a.k.a. "linksyssmartwifi.com" is hardwired to hijack your request to 192.168.1.1. Supposed to be a great idea, you can connect to your router and its attached storage from anywhere on the internet in a (hopefully) secure way. Unfortunately this setup has a major bug that eventually prevents you from making a local admin login even by ethernet. It hijacks your request and sends it to the WAN side, whereupon linksys central reports that it can't reach your router "which is apparently offline". Thus no admin ability.
* later firmware has this problem worse than earlier. Don't update if you don't have to.
Overall Review: PLEASE! Do yourself a real favor and read the customer support community feedback on this product, easy to find by a product name search on the linksys website. You will find multiple discussion threads, some running over two years and more than 40 pages of complaints. You will see the consensus in the user community is that this product got lost in the Belkin takeover of Linksys and it no longer seems to have active firmware development. You'll find essentially everyone agrees the firmware is buggy and will eventually lock you out of administrative access.
Pros: Great for skiers, skaters, hikers, trail runners, cross-country runners, tennis and racquetball players, basketball players... well, anyone who values ankle stability! Imagine a life where your ankles had twice as much stability and angulation control as you actually required of them for your daily life and your sports. Weeble boards can train you up to that level. Best of all, you don't have to really know or think anything to make this work.... all it takes is the motivation to get on them and stay on them for enough minutes per week. And for the most part, the balance and proprioception (i.e. knowing where each body part is and exactly what it's doing from second to second) that you gain from these will stay with you even if you taper off your weeble board training. Although it's good to do some "check-in" sessions from time to time.
Cons: These are extremely well made and durable. I can't think of many improvements. One thing is, I can tell that the grip texture on the top surface will eventually wear off, especially if I store the pair of them top to top, so I have to avoid that. But I can't really think of any better way to design them so it's all good.
Overall Review: Generally you should get a Wobble board (the two-feet-together balance board) before you graduate to Weebles. Weebles are a bit more specific, they won't help quite as much with core balance, they are really about improving your individual ankle stability. However, if you've already owned or worked with a wobble board, you can pick up a pair of weebles and use one of them as a small wobble board. I just wouldn't do that as a beginner because its small size makes it an especially difficult 2-foot board when it's really made for 1 foot.
Pros: Fast, outperforms my quad Core i7-920 machine for typical desktop usage. Nice form factor. Has been easy to work with and update.
Cons: I needed to downgrade to Windows XP Pro (ugh, I know... but I have to support some picky legacy software in this case). Acer was unable or unwilling to tell me exactly WHICH sata drivers I needed to slipstream into my WinXP installation CD, unless I paid $140 for a support contract. Simple question should have had a simple free answer. Fortunately I got it right by trial and error (read: 4 install CDs burned and tried).
Overall Review: You can downgrade this machine to XP and it's not terribly hard, but here are some hints if you need to do this.
1. Download nLite.
2. Already own a retail (non-OEM) version of Windows XP that is not currently installed on any machine, so that you have the rights to an activation key.
3. Download Service Pack 2. Do not try 1 or 3, they will bluescreen due to a virtual memory problem. Only SP2 avoids this. SP1 is too old and doesn't understand the problem. SP3 is too new and tries to install IE9 which causes the same problem in a different way. SP2 works.
4. Google "Acer Veriton M4618G Drivers" and download the WinXP SATA driver and the WinXP LAN driver, the highest Intel version.
5. Using nLite, slipstream SP2 into your WinXP installation ISO and add the SATA and LAN drivers.
6. Install. Along the way the WinXP installation process may require activation key while it's still in progress. If so, call Microsoft & beg them to update your old key to work on new hardware.
Cons: Unfortunately the card worked incorrectly on both the DVI and VGA outputs, tested in two different slots and with two different monitors. The card is able to POST, but the display is garbled. You can recognize what's on the screen but it's covered with vertical lines and other garbage. Yes, on both outputs, even going digital to a digital monitor. So I think I just got a bad unit.
Pros: Definitely the best for your wrists and hands at the affordable commodity level. Next step up is paying $200 for a fully adjustable wedge keyboard and getting a vertical mouse.
I love all the extra buttons and am practically unwilling to game without them. I even got an n52te left hand controller for war games and didn't end up using it because it actually couldn't give me as many key combinations as this awesome keyboard.
The action is quiet but not too quiet, just the right amount of resistance. My typing speed definitely improved on the 4000. But all of these points are beside the point because it's the only keyboard I can even really stand to use for long term work (hours per day), only one that won't wreck my wrists.
Cons: I'm on my 2nd one, which is realistic due to three years of coding and gaming on the first one. I think I probably got my fair hundreds of millions of keystrokes out of it! But I'm still docking an egg for the way it failed. It never got wet, no keys wore out; it just quit transmitting the HID data along with the regular keyboard data on its USB plug. So while the basic 101 keys kept working, the extra = ( ) above the numeric pad quit, and so did the quick keys like the calculator key, and F-lock. That robbed me of a ton of macros / snippets / etc. that i use in editor apps, not to mention in-game attack buttons >:[
Also, I love the black color but it does tend to show every mote of dust. Maybe this is good for making me clean it more often.
The dedicated back/forward buttons and the dedicated zoom/scroll slider are too far from ordinary typing position to be useful, IMO.
The letters wore off several keys toward the end of the first one's lifetime too.
Overall Review: My second 4000 here was an out-of-box special and I found out later why someone else returned it. A tiny scrim of plastic had been left over on the edge of the 'O' key, like some person or machine didn't quite finish the edge right after the part was cast in plastic. That little extra edge was forcing the 'I' key down whenever 'O' was pressed. It was easy to fix by trimming the little extra plastic fringe off with a sharp blade. I knew my old Blessed Blade of the Windseeker would one day come in handy for SOMETHING.
Pros: This 12Gb kit dropped right into my eVGA X58 3x SLI board with my i7-920 and immediately went to 1596 MHz at 9-9-9-20-74, 1.5V. With another tenth of a volt I have it up to 1710 at the same timings (oh yeah, and 2T command rate). I know a guy who's running the same item at 1833 8-8-8-24-80-2T but I have no idea what kind of voltage and cooling.
I actually do fill up this RAM every day, running Photoshop 64-bit and maxing out all 8 virtual cores of the i7-920. Especially when using a third-party panorama image stitching program, or resampling images to 13x19" to print at 1440dpi, throwing 6Gb image files around as if they were small JPEGs. I'm a happy user now.
Cons: None so far, price was fair. Wish I could hit 8-8-8 -- maybe with some careful testing.
Overall Review: There's a lot of RAM out there that won't hit its advertised speed without extra voltage. There's a lot of RAM out there that when you give it enough voltage to meet or exceed its ratings, it won't run stable at that higher voltage. Some even runs better at below rated voltage (but that's another story!). Anyway, this 12Gb Vengeance kit is certainly outperforming the Corsair 3Gb XMS 1600 c9 kit it replaced. That older kit wouldn't even hit 1605 no matter what I tried, though it was happy enough at 1590.
Pros: I purchased this drive to replace a Raptor WD1500ADFD as the boot drive in my Windows XP system. The Raptor, which I'd had for 18 months, was just too loud, even in an Antec Sonata II case where it's mounted via rubber washers. The Raptor's seek noise was the only audible thing about my otherwise excellent workstation, and it was loud enough to be heard through the door of my room when closed and down the hall, even when the computer case was suspended up off the floor. Bye bye Raptor, hello 7200.10.
I had my doubts about giving up 10K rpm to go back to 7200. I thought I loved the fast boot time with 10K. But I realized it wasn't all that fast anyway -- and at 7200 this system only booting about 10% slower. Moreover, in addition to being almost entirely inaudible, the Seagate really seems to load applications and web pages faster than the Raptor did. Not a benefit I would have expected. I thought I was just switching over to cut down the noise. Anyway, it's a total success.
Cons: None so far.
Overall Review: Seagate's Disc Wizard program, a free download from their website's support/downloads area, smoothly handles cloning your old boot drive to your new purchase.