Date Joined: 02/03/04
Pros: True Ryzen performance
Reasonably powerful integrated graphics
Cons: Wraith Spire cooler uses screws instead of the standard bracket system
Overall Review: Many people remember the original A-Series, which weren't great in either the CPU or GPU department; they were functionally sound, but not competitive overall. This sacrifices nothing in the CPU department while also giving you a reasonably capable GPU. It's the perfect combo for a workstation that's not intended for gaming but needs to be quite fast overall.
The one complaint I have is that the Wraith Spire cooler does not use the standard clamping bracket attachment system, but instead forces you to remove the brackets from the board and screw the heatsink directly to the back plate. This adds a degree of difficulty and increases the risk of damage to the board.
Pros: Works flawlessly
Overall Review: G.Skill has, for a number of years, produced good-quality RAM at an affordable price. While they do tend to lag a bit behind when new technology comes out, once they catch up they blow it out of the park. I put this RAM in a Mini-ITX build. I ordered two sets for two identical builds, and had no problems with either.
Pros: Insanely fast
Overall Review: You'd think that, given this is only an 860 and not a 960 or 970, it would be noticeably slower or not much faster than an 860 SATA drive. No, this thing is lightning fast. Windows boots in mere seconds. I have a 970 EVO Plus in my own machine and this thing surprised me at how insanely fast it is. You won't be disappointed in this.
Pros: All 4 side panels come off and are interchangeable
Incredibly easy to work on
Great cable management if you use a fully modular supply
Front panel pulls off easily for cleaning and maintenance
Cons: No optical drive support
I would have rather it supported top fans than have that window there
Overall Review: Really, this is a great chassis. Working on this was a dream. Cables routed easily and there was no problem whatsoever getting everything situated. I kind of wish it supported top fans instead of having that window, though. I shouldn't have to point out that you REALLY need a fully modular supply if you're doing Mini-ITX. You don't want any cables you don't need.
Pros: Usable storage M.2 slot.
Sensibly laid out and easy to work on.
Cons: The manual leaves a bit to be desired.
Overall Review: This is the only Mini-ITX board I found that had a usable M.2 storage slot instead of a WiFi slot. This allowed me to use a modern M.2 SSD for better performance and better shipping characteristics (no cables to come loose in transit) since the machines will be shipped cross-country. The performance of this board does not disappoint. Both machines worked the first time with no problems whatsoever.
My one, and ONLY complaint is that the manual leaves a bit to be desired. Yes, the pin layout for the front panel connector IS technically printed on the board, but the print is small and I wanted to verify the pinout in the manual. Unfortunately, the manual did not show the pin layout, which I feel is a glaring oversight on Asus' part.
Pros: Great performance
Quiet (quiet fans and no coil whine)
Overall Review: I've always had good luck with Gigabyte cards, with my previous two cards (a GTX 480 and a GTX 980) exceeding 5 years each in frontline service. While I couldn't afford top of the line this time around, this card has so far lived up to my expectations, giving me ray-tracing and superior performance. So far, so good.
Pros: Great build quality: I am absolutely blown away by the build quality of this case. Most chassis in this price range are cheap sheet metal that bend and damage easily. Not this. This chassis is rock-solid.
Great cable management: Honestly, I think it has better cable management than my expensive Thermaltake case. I've just done the cleanest build I've ever done in this case, and I've been building systems for 17 years.
Great features: tool-free drive trays and quick-release optical drive bays are on par with top of the line chassis. The magnetically-attached vent filter at the top? Genius!
A very sleek, minimalist look.
Cons: Only supports 2 140mm top fans. I think they could have afforded to stretch it a little bit to make it support 3.
No reset button. Well, it technically has one, but it requires you have a sharp object to press it. Honestly, though, it's not a big deal since you can just do a hard shutdown instead.
Overall Review: Honestly, for the price range, you can't beat it. This case is completely painless to work with. I've worked with much more expensive cases that aren't this pleasant. If you're considering buying something slightly cheaper instead, just don't. This case is worth the extra money.
Easy to type on
NO key fading or signs of wear after years of hard use
Survived having coffee dumped into it after having dried out. Basic cleaning and a bit of oil in the key switches solved the problem of it being sticky.
Cons: Does not work well with AMD USB 3.0 ports. Frequent ghosting issues when using these ports. Using USB 2.0 ports instead solves the problem.
The gaming G keys are kind of awkwardly located. It'd be better if they were on the left hand side.
Overall Review: Not sure if they still make this wonderful keyboard. The selection of quality mechanical keyboards has dramatically expanded in the last few years, but this was and is a quality product. I wear out most keyboards within a couple of years, but this one just keeps kicking.
Pros: HUGE internal space.
Supports tons of hard drives
Good cable management
Supports huge fans
Cons: Cools much worse than the 9 year old case it replaced. The old case had 3 120mm fans and, while my components were a bit on the warm side, everything was fine. This case gave me thermal shutoff with 4 200mm fans. Never buying NZXT again.
Overall Review: This thing is an oven! If you value your components, don't buy this case.
Pros: Extremely fast
Overall Review: Bought 4 of these to replace the aging hard drives in my desktop. I have a SAS-capable RAID controller so I figured I might as well go with SAS drives. Please note: these are SAS drives and require a SAS-capable controller to use. If you need SATA, get ST1000NM0033. Those are the exact same drives with a SATA interface.
Pros: Reasonably fast read speeds
Cons: Extremely slow write. Slower than a USB2 thumb drive.
I have it attached to my motherboard's onboard SATA3 controller, in AHCI mode. Everything is configured optimally. But this thing averages about 1 megabyte per second write speeds when transferring data from my mechanical disks, versus 3+ with a USB thumb drive.
Overall Review: I was going to use this as an SSD cache in a RAID array with an LSI controller, but it writes so slow that I don't think that will be possible. I'm strongly considering returning it.
Pros: A cheap, hot-pluggable SATA controller that works out of the box with Windows 10, without needing the driver CD.
Cons: No cons.
Overall Review: I needed this because my motherboard doesn't support hot plugging on the normal SATA ports, and my new case features a front-mounted eSATA port and a built-in hard drive dock. This is a cheap, low-profile solution. I plugged it in, started my computer, and there it was, ready to go in the Device Manager, reading as a standard PCI SATA controller.
Excellent cable management
Server-style lever lock drive trays
Quick-lock and easy-release 5 1/4" bays
Cons: It's not cheaper?
Overall Review: This is honestly the best case I've ever owned, and I've owned several. I view a case as an investment; a good case will last for many years and many builds. My last Thermaltake case lasted me 9 years; a case from 2005 cooled sufficiently well to handle a GeForce GTX 480 and an AMD 8350. This case is, likewise, excellent. I only upgraded because I upgraded to a GeForce 980, and I was concerned about cooling.
This case was, by far, the easiest build I've ever done. The tolerances are incredibly tight. The motherboard lined up perfectly, with no need to push and finagle it to get the screw holes to align. The cable routing is superb; I've never done a cleaner build. Air flows freely through the chassis, with no obstructions. The drive trays are server-style, with a lever locking system. Instead of bending them to remove the drives like in more cheaply-built cases, there are removable tabs at the sides that retain them. This means they won't break over years of use. My DVD drive slid right in and locked by itself, completely flush. Releasing it is as simple as pulling a lever.
One thing you should always look for in a case is side air vents. This is crucial, because it allows fresh air to be drawn in directly above your video card and other components. Placing the case under negative pressure (more fans going out than in) will passively draw air in through these vents, without the need for an extra fan. The end result is far better cooling than even the best ventless cases. The Chaser G1 has excellent side vents, and more than sufficient exhaust fans to make this scheme work.
Possibly my one concern is that the hard drive dock and eSATA ports are intended to connect to a standard motherboard SATA port. This is potentially problematic, because many motherboard SATA controllers do not have hot-swap capability. This can be overcome with an adapter cable if your motherboard has eSATA ports, but you should be cautious about simply plugging in a drive while the system is running.
Pros: Moves a lot of air
Cons: Lasted less than a year
I bought 4 of these on December 1st, 2014. By July 19th, 2015, two of them were dead. These are expensive fans and shouldn't be dying like this.
Overall Review: Fans normally last at least a couple of years, NOT 8 1/2 months.
Pros: Extremely powerful
Very quiet. I cannot hear the card's fans at all. It's effectively silent.
Cons: None, other than maybe the cost. You're paying a lot more just for improved cooling, but it's worth it.
Overall Review: My last card was a Gigabyte GeForce 480 GTX. It lasted me 4 years and was still going strong. I simply decided it was time to upgrade. A high-end card lasting that long is almost unheard of, so it was a no-brainer when I chose Gigabyte again.
Cons: Does not cool well.
The apparent airflow improvement over smaller 120 and 140mm fans is deceptive. The problem is air velocity. It may move a ton of air in total, but if that air is practically standing still, so is the heat. And if that heat isn't being moved away from your components, you're going to get higher temperatures.
Overall Review: You can get other 200mm fans that move about 40% more air for the same price and no real noise difference. They're a much better bet.
Pros: Incredibly easy to install. Corsair made it foolproof. They included great, easy-to-follow directions and components that mostly just snap together. The only tool I needed was a screwdriver to remove the original AMD CPU bracket. The actual Corsair installation itself was tool-less.
Silent. Can't hear the pump inside my NZXT H630 case.
Runs very cool. I'm now hitting 136 degrees Fahrenheit under load with my Athlon FX 8350 8-core 4.0 ghz.
Overall Review: I wish I'd done this a long time ago, although my previous computer case did not have a cutout in the back so I'd have had to dismount the motherboard. If your computer case has a cutout behind the CPU socket, this will be a painless and nearly risk-free installation. If it doesn't, you'll have to remove the motherboard, which increases the difficulty and risk of damage. Know your system, and know your skill level.
Pros: Improved cooling over the stock cooler
At least it included thermal compound.
Cons: HORRIBLE instructions.
Completely unusable adhesive for the RAM heatsinks. I was forced to leave them off.
Overall Review: If you buy this, be sure to also buy some proper thermal adhesive. Otherwise you won't be able to install the RAMsinks.
Pros: Cheap (and possibly free), and is a basic router. If your internet is slower than 100 mbps, it'll do the job. I ran a speed test and found it actually handle a full 100 mbps data throughput.
Cons: Only 100 megabit ports and poor Wireless N performance. With modern Internet connections often exceeding 100 megabits per second, this router can easily throttle your internet. After updating the firmware I had major trouble connecting to WiFi.
Overall Review: If your internet isn't very fast and you just need a basic router, it'll do. But frankly, there's better options out there.
Pros: Seems to be good quality, and has good software, typical of Logitech.
Cons: The wrist rest is too small, and the key throw is too short. I believe the padding Logitech installed to quiet it shortened the key stroke. The keyboard itself also has poor ergonomics, with a thin spacebar that requires anyone with good-sized hands to scrunch up slightly. The key size and spacing also is geared more for smaller hands.
Overall Review: Ultimately, Logitech blew it with this one. Normally their keyboards have very good ergonomics and fit a wider variety of hands well. For such an expensive keyboard, one would think it would be tailored more for the average user. I'll be sending this one back and getting a keyboard that's more comfortable for me.
Pros: Excellent feel and ergonomics. The switches are perfectly smooth and have a long throw, but only need to be depressed about halfway to trigger. This makes for a very smooth typing experience and rapid game responses. The large palm rest is great.
Cons: This keyboard ghosts, badly, and it only gets worse as it ages. You will get lots of doubled letters, keys that get "stuck" and repeat until you press them again, etc. It also occasionally malfunctions and has to be unplugged and plugged in again to work.
Gigabyte's software is useless. It is not maintained, and the macro keys do not work. Not that you will ever use them, which brings me to my final point. . .
The location of the macro keys renders them effectively unusable. They are situated high above the normal keyboard, and are very awkward to use without hitting the F keys. Not that this matters, again, because the software doesn't work.
Overall Review: This keyboard could have been great as just a keyboard if Gigabyte bothered to make a proper electrical debounce filter to prevent ghosting. Instead, it's a flop. It may seem great at first, but don't bother. Buy something else, anything but this one.
Pros: Comes with 3 fans, and standoffs support all possible motherboard mounting holes. Fans have filters to keep dust out of case. Quick-attach rails for hard drives and tool-less optical drive installation. Professional appearance, and solidly built overall.
Cons: The included fans aren't the quietest things in the world. They're not loud, but definitely not silent. I'm also slightly wary of the short screw base on the motherboard standoffs.
Overall Review: There's a lot of value in this case, and some great features. It's suitable for high-end builds, supporting plenty of fans and other components.
I bought this case to use in a build for a budget AutoCAD rig. Its quality is comparable to NZXT cases, but at a greater value due to including fans. This case is definitely high on my list for future builds.
Pros: Gigabit networking
Can attach aftermarket antennas
Overall Review: Expensive, but you get what you pay for. The performance is just excellent. It's very hard to get truly good routers these days. Why more routers don't have a gigabit core is beyond me. The software is also incredible. Very powerful, very easy to use.
Many home routers these days cannot keep up with the bandwidth of modern cable connections. Often they can only handle about 10 megabits of actual throughput, even as cable speeds reach 20 megabits or higher. Effectively, many people are losing half or more of their Internet speed to their router. This router can easily handle the throughput, with Speedtest.net's speed reports showing no difference between being directly connected to the modem and being behind the router, and no noticeable difference in responsiveness. Bottom line: get this router. You won't be sorry.
Good image quality
Works great with Skype or other video chat software
Cons: Rather narrow viewing angle
Low-light performance isn't the best; can be laggy with the low-light setting selected, but produces acceptable lighting without it.
Overall Review: Not bad at all. This little webcam is quality for the money. The drivers work flawlessly in Vista 64-bit and Windows 7 64-bit. I'm taking off 1 egg for the narrow viewing angle, but it's a great product for what it is. I use it primarily for Skype, and it's proven to be as good as any other webcam I've seen used.
Pros: Works great on XP.
Cons: Claims to have Vista64 support. Neither the included CD driver nor the driver downloaded from Epson work. Epson has failed to produce an updated driver in the time this scanner has been put out, and instead blames Microsoft even though the Vista32 driver works and other scanners work with Vista64.
Overall Review: Is this really a company you want to give your business to? Lying about product support, and failure to release new drivers? I've been working on computers for 12 years. I've even used SCSI scanners. I'm willing to bet those 10 year old scanners would still work, too. That's far better than this worthless thing.