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Joel K.

Joel K.

Joined on 11/23/07

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 14
Most Favorable Review

I like it, but know what you're getting

APEVIA X-FIT-100 Black Steel Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case 250W Power Supply
APEVIA X-FIT-100 Black Steel Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case 250W Power Supply

Pros: Pretty inexpensive (especially with the rebate) for a case of their caliber. It does look pretty nice -- OK, not "thousand-dollar stereo system" nice, but it certainly fits in well with most mass-consumer electronics these days. AFAIK, the smallest case you can get with an *internal* power supply that accommodates a 5 1/4" slim-line drive and a 2 1/2" drive. The 250W power supply is pretty nice, specifically allowing you to run more powerful boards than just Atom (or similar)-based ones.

Cons: As another reviewer mentioned, the 4-pin 12V power plug really needs to be at least a inch or so (3-4" would be great) longer -- my motherboard also ends up with it running over the top of the CPU fan. A quieter power supply fan would be nice, but given that there's only one in the entire case, I don't mind too much. My case came with one internal metal "finger" (a screw hole) bent; it took a few minutes with a needle-nosed pliers to fix this. The fact that a PCI card can only be 55mm tall (lower than even a low-profile bracket) should be called out in the description here. Yeah, it's not deceptive marketing as that one guy claims, but it is a potentially significant limitation that isn't obvious to the casual reader either, which is poor marketing. I'd have liked to have seen another 2.5" mounting bracket maybe somewhere towards the middle-back, although I realize this just might be reasonable given the myriad of motherboards available.

Overall Review: The power cord isn't "non-standard" as someone stated: It's a standard "Mickey Mouse"-type plug which, while not as popular as the one most PC power supplies come with, is still *massively* popular for power supplies in general (e.g., every HP laptop I've ever seen uses one). I've built many of PCs over time, and what I want to impress upon people is this: When you purposely choose a very small case like this, you need to be prepared to hit some limitations that you wouldn't expect in a normal-sized case; it's just not reasonable to give this case bad reviews because it's not as flexible as a normal-sized case -- no case of this size could possibly be. (An alternative interpretation of this might be: If you only need to build one PC, or need to build one in a hurry, don't use this case -- it's absolutely more of an "enthusiast's" case, meant for people who won't be unhappy if they need to, e.g., find a few extension cables, come up with "creative" mounting solutions, etc.)

Most Critical Review

Works fine, but mine is pretty beat up

FUJIFILM FinePix A 850 8.1 MP 3X Optical Zoom Digital Camera
FUJIFILM FinePix A 850 8.1 MP 3X Optical Zoom Digital Camera

Pros: -- Inexpensive -- Reasonably compact -- Macro feature works well -- Good menu system with detailed explanation of, e.g., different picture modes

Cons: Mine clearly had a pretty tough life prior to being "recertified"... they are very noticeable scuffs on all the edges, as well as some pretty good-sized scratches on other parts of the plastic. Happily, the screen seems unaffected. I'm betting the former owner never used a camera case!

Very nice

Koutech IO-RCH620 USB 2.0 All-in-one  External Hub & Card Reader Combo
Koutech IO-RCH620 USB 2.0 All-in-one External Hub & Card Reader Combo

Pros: Roughly the same features as the IOGear GUH286, but you get 6 regular USB ports rather than the GUH286's 5 regular ports + 1 mini-B cable. Less than 2/3 the size of the GUH286... also about 2/3 the price!

Cons: Included USB to mini-B cable is only ~20" ... and while I think there are far too many 6' cables in this world, 20" is really going too far the other way. (3-4' is ideal in my mind...)

Overall Review: As alluded to above, this unit competes pretty much head-to-head with the IOGear GUH286 (I received one of those from Xmas). Although the GUH286 is a bit more stylish and is certainly a good product, overall I like this unit better. The included power adapter is 5V @ 2A, in case anyone cares.

Outstanding value

Argosy HV676 TV HD MediaPlayer
Argosy HV676 TV HD MediaPlayer

Pros: Plays back ripped DVDs just fine, which is what I got it for -- playing back movies in the exercise room without the bother of needing to hunt down the actual DVD (might be in the living room, or maybe the bedroom, or a PC, or who knows where?)

Cons: Can be slow to start, taking 10-20 seconds while it sorts of the file structure of a ripped DVD (just playing back a single, e.g., .AVI file starts almost immediately, though). Remote is a very uninspired design, just a straight grid of mushy rubbery keys.

Overall Review: I got this during one of Newegg's seemingly-common sales of this device when it cost about as much as two to three new Disney DVDs. For that price, it's an incredible bargain!

Great value for the money, USB interface is awesome

NETGEAR DGND3300-100NAS RangeMax N600 Dual Band Wireless-N DSL Gateway USB WAN (ADSL): ITU 992.1 (G.dmt) Annex A, ITU 992.2 (G.lite), ITU 992.3 ADSL2(G.dmt.bis), ITU 992.5 ADSL2+
NETGEAR DGND3300-100NAS RangeMax N600 Dual Band Wireless-N DSL Gateway USB WAN (ADSL): ITU 992.1 (G.dmt) Annex A, ITU 992.2 (G.lite), ITU 992.3 ADSL2(G.dmt.bis), ITU 992.5 ADSL2+

Pros: I bought one of the refurbished versions of this modem/router from Newegg -- the price was excellent, and as far as I can tell this refurb unit was never used. I didn't have too much trouble setting it up. The setup wizard just hung (it says it could take up to 4 minutes and I waited about 10), but after typing in the VCI/VPI, encapsulation method, user name/password, etc. manually, it worked. It has a nice "test" screen where you can determine if your problem is that bits just aren't getting across the interface at all vs. bits are going but authentication is failing. The router is quite flexible overall, supporting the standard port forwarding options, static routes, uPNP, DynDNS, etc. Oh yeah! Be sure to get the latest firmware -- memory sticks plugged into the back USB connected are now supported, and can be accessed as Windows shares (locally) or FTP or HTTP directories locally and/or over the Internet. VERY cool!

Cons: The various options for 802.11b/g/n and 2.4GHz/5.8GHz are a little confusing and not as flexible as I'd prefer. (As far as I can tell, if you want to just use older 802.11b or 802.11g devices and don't care aout 5.8GHz, you should select 270 of 130MBps 802.11n, as 802.11n is backwards compatible to 802.11b and g.)

Overall Review: Indeed, I'm willing to bet that of the small handful of people here who couldn't get this working, at least some of them didn't get all the DSL parameters set correctly, and unfortunately many ISP "tech support" personnel are pretty clueless when it comes to these matters. On the other hand, Netgear should insure their setup wizard doesn't hang ever in "weird" cases either, instead returning with an error that the various DSL parameters couldn't be determined automatically.

Like eveyrone else says, great little box

MSI Wind PC Intel 945GC Barebone
MSI Wind PC Intel 945GC Barebone

Pros: I'll just parrot what a lot of other people are saying... this little machine works fine if you have realistic expectations for the CPU horsepower and on-board video abilities. I added a 16GB CF card for my operating system drive and installed Ubuntu 8.04.1 and then, last week, Ubuntu 8.10 on it -- no problems, audio and video drivers were detected correctly and used, etc. Next, I added a pair of 250GB SATA hard drives (using an adapter bracket for the one that takes the CD/DVD space within the case) and used mdadm to create a mirrored set, where I store all my relatively important files. I shared the mirror and -- poof! -- instant NAS box, with a lot more flexibility than many embedded NAS RAID products provide. (I also used hdparm to spin down the drives after 10 mintues of inactivity.)

Cons: Having to remove the motherboard to insert the compact flash card is definitely annoying.

Overall Review: Price has dropped $15 in the past couple of weeks since I bought this... nice! You might as well just max out the memory at the full 2GB that's supported. DVI or HDMI video would be nice, although I'm currently using a KVM switch that's analog anyway and wouldn't be able to benefit from it. At 1920x1200, you can certainly see a few image artifacts if you look closely, but they certainly aren't noticeable during regular usage.