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Matthew N.

Matthew N.

Joined on 09/18/06

Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 12
Most Favorable Review

A Lesson on QVLs

ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS Dual LGA 2011 Intel C602 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 SSI EEB Intel Motherboard
ASUS Z9PE-D8 WS Dual LGA 2011 Intel C602 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 SSI EEB Intel Motherboard

Pros: This board will power a machine exactly as powerful as you'd expect from the components that can be combined on it. After having the board properly configured, it has run flawlessly.

Cons: Very narrow range of acceptable components to build a functioning unit. Requires a very generous amount of power to function properly. Mounting holes do not all align to stock E-ATX holes in a Corsair 750D. Required several small bits of tape to ensure no contact between motherboard tray and the second CPU 8-Pin Power.

Overall Review: Would not post with both CPUs installed without ECC Ram. Hung on Q-Code BC. Shipped with BIOS 5103. Had to update with an old Xeon chip as that would have also prevent it from booting on newer E5 chips. Currently running: 2x E5-2690 V2 8x KVR16R11D4K4 Kingston 8Gb ECC Registered DDR3 1600 EVGA GTX 780 Classified Note: the Noctua DH-14 will cover PCI-E slot 1 unless configured with fans facing parallel to the slot. Even then the heatsink on Socket 0 will protrude into the region that would be occupied by a larger video card. It appears that the heatpipes may be able to be bent slightly to move it out of the way, but I have not tried yet.

10/31/2013
Most Critical Review

Driver issues

StarTech.com USB3DOCKH2DP Triple Monitor USB 3.0 Docking Station - 2 x DP / 1 x HDMI / 5 x USB 3.0 / 4K / Laptop Dock / USB 3.0 Dock - Mac & Windows
StarTech.com USB3DOCKH2DP Triple Monitor USB 3.0 Docking Station - 2 x DP / 1 x HDMI / 5 x USB 3.0 / 4K / Laptop Dock / USB 3.0 Dock - Mac & Windows

Pros: Lots of connectivity options. Small package size. Inconspicuous design. This device looked to be exactly what I needed for a multiheaded office workstation.

Cons: Buggy drivers. I've tried this on three different vendor's laptops, but all three have had continuous bluescreen crashes with this device attached. All three laptops were brand new with all current updates for drivers/OS. When it's working it's flawless, but full out crashes are a complete show stopper.

Overall Review: Everything from a hardware perspective looks great, and the performance, when it's not crashing, is exactly what I needed it to be. However until there are more stable drivers, this is effectively a paperweight. At least it's not taking up a lot of desk space while it's sitting there not working.

High failure rate

Seagate SkyHawk 10TB Surveillance Hard Drive 256MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive ST10000VX0004
Seagate SkyHawk 10TB Surveillance Hard Drive 256MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive ST10000VX0004

Pros: 3 of the 5 drives I've purchased have been running 24/7 flawlessly for almost 12,000 hours providing storage for a 40 camera Ubiquiti video system. The drives seem to have no problem servicing the system of continuously recording video and simultaneously facilitating playback from multiple users.

Cons: One drive began reporting write failures at around 11,600 hours. It was pulled from the system, and a replacement ordered. The replacement failed within hours out of the box with unhealthy squealing noises and immediate SMART reported errors. Edit: Shortly after writing this review, another one of the drives has failed with steadily increasing write-failures, failing to pass full-write tests in Seagate's own SeaTools test environment. An RMA for this drive has been submitted as well.

Overall Review: Both replacements have been integrated into the surveillance system and have not experienced failures yet. The older drive was replaced with a refurbished model, and the drive that failed out of the box was replaced with another new drive. I'm assuming the third replacement drive will also be a refurb due to the age of the drive.

Flimsy paint, sticky keys

AZIO KB501 L70 Backlit Gaming Keyboard
AZIO KB501 L70 Backlit Gaming Keyboard

Pros: Nice weight, minimalistic design

Cons: I ordered quite a few of these for use in an office environment under the reasoning that a keyboard aimed at gamers would hold up quite well to simple office use, however after several months of typing every single keyboard has numerous keys that have been entirely worn smooth. Multiple users have also complained of the keys being difficult to push during normal typing. The Shift keys are particularly prone to this, but the entire board feels as though it takes an inconsistent amount of pressure to fully depress the keys.

Overall Review: I think I'm going to attempt to redeem these boards by finding a way to strip all the paint from the keys so they're just clear glowing blue, and apply some lithium grease to the key shafts for smoother action.

10/30/2017

Overpriced, underperforming

Seesii USB Microphone Plug &Play Conference USB Condenser Omnidirectional Mic Microphone Noise Echo Canceling for Skype Seegle
Seesii USB Microphone Plug &Play Conference USB Condenser Omnidirectional Mic Microphone Noise Echo Canceling for Skype Seegle

Pros: Sits flat on desk. Easily disassembled. No driver required. Included USB cable is a nice weight. Pleasant "new electronics" smell.

Cons: Contains a single cheap electret microphone in the foot opposite of the USB connector. Very high noise floor Faces downward into table surface. Single center speaker is very small and tinny sounding.

Overall Review: Identifies itself to windows as a C-Media soundcard, which starts working without any driver install. If this were priced at perhaps a third of what I paid for it, it would be a reasonable value, as it does function as a microphone/speaker base combination, and doesn't look terrible. My package included two "jewelry keychains" of a heart and arrow.

SmartInstall is kind of Dumb

HP LaserJet Pro 400 M401dne (CF399A) up to 35 ppm 1200 x 1200 dpi USB/Ethernet Duplex Workgroup Monochrome Laser Printer
HP LaserJet Pro 400 M401dne (CF399A) up to 35 ppm 1200 x 1200 dpi USB/Ethernet Duplex Workgroup Monochrome Laser Printer

Pros: Fast print time, easy network set up, duplexer, etc. It's a printer, it does what it's suppose to.

Cons: SmartInstall. I've deployed several of these printers over the past few years, and always used the network since they were all used by a group of people. Upon deploying one for a single user, I opted to use the USB connection as there was no additional network port and it seemed silly to buy a hub for one extra device. However, that would have been the easier path. The stock installer has some sort of setting up period referred to as the "Smart Installer" in which the printer does not present itself to the computer as a typical printer where you can specify drivers and the like. It continuously failed at 99% (Win7x64Pro) stating that the installation had taken too long. An observation with which I wholeheartedly agree, as this was several tens of minutes after the initiation of the whole process. I eventually discovered that using HPs Universal Driver system allowed me to install it in a more traditional manner, but the whole experience left me disheartened.

Overall Review: For what it does, it's a great device. Just be aware there are some oddities with USB installation that I wouldn't expect to see with a network deployment. Clearly this must work correctly for someone, else they wouldn't continue to distribute the software as such (at least one would hope that to be the case).