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Michael N.

Michael N.

Joined on 10/20/05

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 18
Most Favorable Review

Excellent value

XFX GeForce 9800 GT 512MB GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 SLI Support Video Card PVT98GYDLU
XFX GeForce 9800 GT 512MB GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 SLI Support Video Card PVT98GYDLU

Pros: The value of this card is amazing, not only is the price after MIR excellent, this card comes with a $40 free game, and an excellent warranty. This card is powerful enough to play any of the recent games, at any "reasonable" resolution (1680x1050 and under) on high settings with great frame rates. So far I have observed: Crysis: all settings on high, 2xAA, 1440x900= ~ 30fps COD4: all settings max, 4xAA, 1680x1050= ~65fps HL2: all settings max, 4xAA, 1680x1050= ~130fps ETQW: all settings max, 4xAA, 1680x1050= ~60fps (no matter what res or settings I use, it never goes above [or below] 60fps) The card is relatively quiet when idling (I have 4 1200rpm 120mm fans in my case, and it sits about 3 feet away from my head, and I cant hear it over them). I was planning on purchasing a cheaper card, and COD4, but when I saw this, I knew it was the best deal. This was the same price as buying a $70 card and the $40 game, but with better performance.

Cons: The card runs warm... I wont say hot, because most graphics cards that are reference design (aka, non-fancy cooler) run at least this hot. I havn't done a load temp test with it yet, but mine idles in the low 50's (ambient of about 22c). The main problem I have with the cooling on this card, is that it not only exhausts the heat inside the case, but it blows it in the wrong direction for most cases. What is happening to me, is my PCI-E slot is low enough that the airflow from my bottom front fan that the cool air is basically blowing directly into the exhaust of the GPU (from a few in away)... and I think that the fans are "fighting" each other. There has been no side effect of this as of yet, but it just seems counterintuitive to how a HS should be designed. The fan gets kind of loud when it runs at full speed... it is slightly louder than the stock CPU fan for an AM2+... so while its "loud" its actually fine, you wont notice it when gaming... you'll be to distracted.

Overall Review: Alot of people here seem confused about if their PSU is enough to run this. Wattages are important, but what it really comes down to is amperage. If you plan to run a 9800GT in your system, you need to have at least 26-28amps available on the 12v rail. If you're lucky, your PSU will tell you in its specs (the sticker on the side) how many amps it has on the 12v rail. If you're not as lucky, you can still find out, it just takes some simple math. Amps = wattage/volts... so you just take how many watts you have on your 12v rail, and divide by 12 to get your amperage. My earthwatts 430 has 360w/12v=30a, and has been running it just fine. (note: you CANNOT just add the amperage up if you have more than one 12v rail... you still must do the math... my earthwatts has two 17amp 12rails, but must keep to a 360w max between them, so always go off of the total wattage for all of the rails.) This is my first GPU, and i'm Impressed with the quality. I'll definitely consider XFX ag

11/12/2008
ASUS Notebook w/ NVIDIA Optimus U31 Series U31JG-A1 Intel Core i3 1st Gen 380M (2.53GHz) 4GB Memory 500GB HDD NVIDIA GeForce GT 415M + Intel HD 13.3" Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
ASUS Notebook w/ NVIDIA Optimus U31 Series U31JG-A1 Intel Core i3 1st Gen 380M (2.53GHz) 4GB Memory 500GB HDD NVIDIA GeForce GT 415M + Intel HD 13.3" Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Pros: Powerful laptop for its "weight class." I use this laptop much like I used my netbook before it, and have been pleasantly surprised. It is easy to carry around, and has the benefit of not driving me crazy with how slow it is (which is what my netbook did). The battery life is good if you are just taking notes in class and lightly browsing the web (I get between 8-10 hrs on a charge on a regular basis, but I have tweaked my power settings for a bit more battery life). Performance is good. In case you don't know, the ASUS super hybrid engine actually overclocks the processor when it is in "High Performance" mode (2.8GHz), and the 415M is powerful enough to play most games out there. For reference, it plays Starcraft 2 on all low settings, but with the terrain on medium. The build quality is good (get lots of comments about it actually), and the temperatures are very good at all times. It doesn't seem to heat up near as much as the U36JC sounds like it does (max temp ~ 75c).

Cons: Construction quality is good, but not the best. There is a bit of flex in the keyboard (you'll notice it if you are looking for it, but in general use I don't even think about it). And also, the bottom panel doesn't feel as solid as the top of the laptop does, but by no means does it feel "flimsy". Also... the glossy screen.... *sigh. Maybe they'll learn someday that we don't generally like Glossy screens on portable laptops. Bloatware... also annoying, but that was expected. Also, when I got my laptop the spacebar didn't function correctly all of the time (didn't regester a space when I pressed it on the front right hand corner). I fixed it myself rather than sending it in to get fixed though.

Overall Review: This is perhaps one of the only 13inch laptops that you can actually travel with (good battery life and light weight), and also play games on ( FYI, the 415M is about 30% faster than the 310M in 3dmark06 [roughly 4200 points vs the 310's 3100]) that is available in the US. I wish this laptop was magnesium like the U36JC, but I went with the U31 because it was cheaper, better at gaming, and is less prone to temperature problems.

Excellent performance

HIS Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 CrossFireX Support Video Card H577F1GDG
HIS Radeon HD 5770 (Juniper XT) 1GB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 CrossFireX Support Video Card H577F1GDG

Pros: I upgraded from a 9800GT, and saw an immediate improvement of my 3dMark06 score of about 2500 points (12201 to 14449, both at stock speeds). My FPS in COD4 went up 50% at any given resolution (from 50.3FPS to 73.84 FPS @1680x1050 and maxed settings). This card is both faster, and much quieter than the XFX 9800GT it replaced. It also uses much less power at idle than any of its competition. Eyefinity is amazing... seriously. And the ability to do HD audio over HDMI is also a great feature (for when this gets retired to HTPC duty).

Cons: The price is rising because of high demand? A third monitor with displayport costs to much? Drivers aren't fully matured yet? I can't really think of a real "con" for this, because I knew what I was getting into when I bought this. I know its 128bit... I know its double slot, I know the drivers will get much better (I havn't had any problems though on win7 RC 64bit).

Overall Review: This card is the same length as the 9800GT that it replaced, but is 2 slots wide, for better cooling. All I can say, is that this is the smallest card available with this level of performance out there. The only real competitors it has are both much larger (4870 and GTX260 are about an inch longer). The performance for this card should continue to get better as the drivers are revised, which thought makes me happy. Also, this card does something called "hydravision". It lets you put a custom grid on your display that you can attach things to, so you can have many programs fit into custom sized boxes (think "maximizing" it to something other than you're full screen). It's quite handy. This is a great buy, I would recommend it for anyone that is looking to upgrade, but whos needs are not "extreme". I got this over a 5850 because I don't need to buy a more powerful PSU at the same time, but still get all of the benefits of DX11 and eyefinity.

Great buy

AMD Phenom II X3 720 - Phenom II X3 Triple-Core 2.8 GHz Socket AM3 95W Black Processor - HDZ720WFGIBOX
AMD Phenom II X3 720 - Phenom II X3 Triple-Core 2.8 GHz Socket AM3 95W Black Processor - HDZ720WFGIBOX

Pros: Worked in my Biostar TForce 720a board just fine after a BIOS update. This chip has great headroom, but I am suspicious that my board is holding me back from a higher OC. It took 1.55v to hit 3.6GHz, although it was fine up until 3.1GHz on stock volts. So obviously your results will vary, but I think just about anyone can reach 3.5GHz with this chip, even if you don't get a great OC'er. Updated from 4600 Brisbane (2.4GHz dual core). With both at stock clocks, my 3dMark06 score increased by 3600 points (8678 to 12351) (Both run with XFX 9800GT at stock clocks). The CPU score increased from 1830 to 3487. With Both OC'd (4600X2 at 3GHz, 720 BE at 3.6GHz), things changed to 10399 for the X2, and 13227 for the 720 in the total score, and 2290 vs 4406 for the CPU score.

Cons: included cooler is even smaller than the old stock ones (about the same size as the old XP heatsinks), although it does run significantly cooler than any other AMD chip I have owned. The heatsink will be fine for normal use and minimal overclocking. I would just like to see the heatpiped version to come with the Black Edition.

Overall Review: I performed a comprehensive review between this 720 an my old brisbane (even downclocked the 720 to make an exact clock for clock comparison, so then others could see about how much better this is than their old dual core). The 720 BE was about 15% faster in most applications than the X2 (single threaded of course). The 720 also outperformed the overclocked dual core, while it was UNDERclocked at 2.4GHz in 3dMark06 (scored 11490). So if you're thinking about getting one of these, it seems to hit the sweet spot for price and performance. It has three cores for the times when you're multitasking, and does quite well in games, generally outperforming the intel dual cores. It makes a great upgrade for anyone with an older AM2 board (as long as the BIOS will support it).

Great netbook

ASUS Eee PC EPC1000HE-BLK005X Fine Ebony Intel Atom N280(1.66 GHz) 10.0" WSVGA 1GB Memory 160GB HDD Netbook
ASUS Eee PC EPC1000HE-BLK005X Fine Ebony Intel Atom N280(1.66 GHz) 10.0" WSVGA 1GB Memory 160GB HDD Netbook

Pros: This is probably the best deal out there at the moment for a netbook. It has wireless n, bluetooth and a battery that doesn't die, and a slightly faster processor than the others. All for a very competitive price. The keyboard is excellent (great feel and response) as well as being very comfortable to use. It is smaller, and I don't think that I would prefer to write really long documents on it, but thats not why I bought it. The battery life is great. The longest that I've seen indicated so far was 9hrs 8 min (WLAN and bluetooth off). The display is crisp, and its plenty bright (never use it at max brightness actually). Wireless n works great at the office. While the graphics are limited, it plays starcraft, and plays full quality Xvid movies on VLC player with about 30% CPU usage.

Cons: Its slightly thick for a netbook, but considering what it has to offer, I dont mind at all.

Overall Review: I bought this to supplement my desktop, and it works great for that, but I dont know if I would recommend it as a primary computer, unless you have very limited computer needs. I use this to take notes in class, and to do mobile computing. So far I've never ran out of battery. The other day I used it in 3 consecutive lectures to take notes, surfed the web during lunch, then went to a 2 hr long review session, then watched most of a movie that night. At the end, I still had greater than 30% charge, and over 2.5hrs of battery life left. Its a great computer, just know what you're getting it for, and you wont be disappointed.

Update to first review dated 7/14/08

BIOSTAR TForce TF720 A2+ AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA nForce 720a ATX AMD Motherboard
BIOSTAR TForce TF720 A2+ AM2+/AM2 NVIDIA nForce 720a ATX AMD Motherboard

Pros: It has been almost 4 months since my last review, and just about 6 since I purchased this board, and and I can continue to heartily recommend this board, as I have not had a SINGLE problem with it since day one. Everything works flawlessly, and it has been completely stable. It has been running my X2 4600 brisbane at 2.88GHz since the build was finished, without a problem. The Intigrated memtest is handy to those of us that will overclock. I have used that to test my Corsair XMS DHX (DDR800) for stability at speeds up to DDR1026. It is much more convenient than having to use a cd to run that test. The onboard video once again is not great... however, it will play most games on low settings (even the newer ones). For instance, I can play these games about like this: Crysis (everything on low settings, except physics, which was on medium) 800x600 at about 25fps. Quake wars: medium settings 800x600 35fps HL2 1024x768 high settings 35fps

Cons: The I had never thought about this, but after reading through the other reviews, I noticed that people were complaining about the onboard sound. Looking back, I have had small issues with this, but I thought that it was my jury rigged speaker setup. So, be warned, the onboard sound on this is not up to sound card level... but after I've lived with it for 6 months, and it hasn't bothered me at all. This board is often out of stock (I often recommend this board to people as the "best budget AM2+ board out there" and will send them links to it, only to find that they have to wait a few days because its out of stock). I take that to mean that other people also realize that this board is excellent, which is why its always out of stock. Other than the fact that it isn't free, and rarely comes with free shipping, I can't really think of anything else to say here.

Overall Review: This is an excellent board for a budget build, or "casual" overclocking (especially if you are running an X2). However, if you are seriously into overclocking and are looking into purchasing a phenom, I have a hard time not recommending a SB750 board. The SB750 (Look for the 790GX or 790FX chipsets) will allow the phenoms (and soon to come denebs) a much higher overclock (usually a 100-400MHz increase over a non SB750 board like this one). So if you are into overclocking enough to want the extra speed, and are willing to pay for it, I would say get an SB750 board. However, if you are a "casual" OCer, or just someone looking for a stable, reliable board for your build, then this board is about the best deal out there. I'm completely satisfied with mine, and recommend it to anyone. I will be upgrading to a XFX 9800GT in the next few days, and will update again if something comes up. *I was benching the onboard video in order to do a better review on the 9800GT when it arrive

11/10/2008