Date Joined: 02/10/05
Pros: It works well as a KM switch. My monitor has multiple inputs so I didn't need a full KVM, and this little box did exactly what I needed.
Cons: The housing is a bit large for what is essentially an electronic switch. The physical switch itself is way too small and uncomfortable to use, but unless you're switching every five minutes it's not that bad.
Overall Review: I could have built this on a proto board with SMT components I already have, but at the price it's nice to have a complete, tidy package. There's nothing to this but a few discrete components, but I consider that a plus as there's less that can go wrong with it. It needs a weight of some sort in the back of the box to keep it level on a desk surface, as the included USB cables weigh as much as the device itself and cause it to try to tip forward.
Pros: Inexpensive and low power consumption; plenty of USB ports for a small board; AsRock's feature-filled UEFI setup; fanless and runs extremely cool; quad core x64 ITX board with 4K video for under $100
Cons: Intel's Braswell video has limited support in Linux; S-L-O-W at CPU intensive tasks; terrible for gaming (but who buys this for gaming??); requires slipstreamed USB xHCI drivers for Windows 7 (works out of the box in 8.1 and 10)
Overall Review: I bought this because I wanted a low-power, low-cost quad core media server for Plex and music. This machine fits the bill quite nicely, given you're running Windows 7 or higher. Linux support is unfortunately limited to Ubuntu for now, and it runs like a drunken snail on this machine. Slackware Linux -current (as of 8-25-2015) runs much faster, but suffers extreme video artifacts, especially with font rendering. If you're looking for a good basic Linux box, you may want to wait for the Intel Linux drivers to catch up to their Windows counterparts.
If you want to run Windows 7 on this board, be prepared to build a slipstreamed installation disc using the instructions provided on AsRock's website. If that last sentence was gibberish to you, stay away from this board unless you're going to install Windows 8.1 or 10.
Pros: It's marginally better than the IGP on Intel Core 2 Duo workstations. It fits nicely in small cases. DVI out and HDMI out make it easy to connect to a variety of display devices and TVs. It plays 1080p video flawlessly on a Core 2 Duo machine.
Cons: It's dog slow for gaming. If you're buying this for any game made after 2004, you're going to have a bad time. The half-height bracket doesn't line up properly with the mounting hole over the HDMI port, so it's not as secure as it should be. It gets really hot when lightly stressed, and will crash or cause glitching in any graphics-heavy game, even Minecraft.
Overall Review: If you have an HTPC and you need more horsepower for playing Blu-Ray quality videos, this should do the trick. If you're looking for a cheap casual gaming card, look elsewhere.
Pros: It allowed me to run a GTX gaming card in a computer that had an OEM power supply. Modular cables were a plus.
Cons: Hot. You need adequate ventilation to keep it from overheating. Given that it's meant as a supplemental power supply for an already constrained PC, that's definitely a downside. It's loud; its built in fan is tiny and overworked. It requires running a secondary AC power cord out one of the rear brackets, and the supplied blank is full size. You won't like using this in a mini-ITX case.
Overall Review: It's a great idea but a poor implementation. It got the job done, but just barely. In the end you're better off buying a cheap but roomy case and a decent 500W or better power supply, if you plan on running a dedicated GPU that would otherwise need this solution. That's what I ended up doing. I might be able to convert this thing into a somewhat decent test bench power supply, but it's definitely not going in another computer of mine.
Pros: My "Pros" section is biased in that I got this thing for a steal from a local retailer for under $20 new. That said, this is about as much bang for the buck as you can get in a car media player, i.e. a unit without CD playback. What's not to like? You have an SD card slot (tested up to 4GB), USB (at least 8GB, probably unlimited), and audio in for iPods and other non-MSC based players. There's also a preamp-out to hook up an amplifier, which is a recommendation given the low power output from the built in amp. The receiver gets good reception too.
On the physical side, it's a nice low-gloss charcoal color that meshes well with dark interiors, and will probably look good in the next car I put it in, which has a dark tan interior. The controls are sparse but well lit and I love having a knob instead of all push button controls. It's very easy to install especially given the short depth; some cars can be tricky about the length of head units but I'd wager this would fit about anywhere
Cons: The display. Cthulhu save us, the retina burning, information lacking, don't drive with it on at night, bright blue display! I can't say enough how I loathe the display on this otherwise pleasing device. I swear one day I'm going to crack this thing open and solder a resistor between in the power feed to the display just to tone it down a bit. If you haven't realized it from this and other reviews, there is no way to dim it otherwise. There is no "Dimmer" lead to cut the display's power when the headlights are on, and there's nothing in the controls to do it either. That is a gross oversight in a device intended to be in the line of sight while driving in the dark.
I mentioned it lacks information as well; trying to figure out which track you are on depends on one of two things; playing it for a bit until you realize what it is, or memorizing the directory structure of your playback media and mentally enumerating it to match the display. In other words, it sucks.
Overall Review: As I said, my review is tainted by the fact that I spent less on this than a night at the movies with the little lady. That is why it has four eggs instead of three.
Also, when I first installed this unit I had issues with electrical stability, i.e. it would only power on every other time I cranked the car, and sometimes randomly shut off. I have since ruled out the stereo as the problem by running it on a bench testing power supply. Apparently the 21 year old Honda Accord I had it in developed some wiring problems. That car has since given up the ghost entirely, and the Dual head unit will soon find a new home in a 2000 Toyota Corolla.
I have a feeling it will outlive that car too.
Pros: Not much to say; it works. It's very quiet even for a notebook size drive.
Cons: None so far.
Overall Review: Dropped right into an HP Mini 210 netbook to replace the original 160GB.