Date Joined: 11/23/08
Pros: When I opened the box I couldn't believe how small this thing is, about half the size and weight of my current ATX PSU, yet still supplying more than adequate power with a Platinum rating.
It installed like a charm in my Fractal Define R4 mid tower case after I attached the mounting plate.
Note: This was only possible as it was replacing (for testing purposes) a Corsair RM850X, which has long enough (and more importantly, pin-out compatible) cables to reach the motherboard headers and peripherals in that case. The supplied cables are designed for a small form factor case and are short enough to route neatly in such a situation. They are also individually sleeved with no ugly capacitors, giving them a very nice appearance, though the sleeving is quite narrow, somewhat like CableMod aftermarket cables.
On testing, it ran silently due to its passive (or Zero RPM) fan mode. My system includes a 4790K, a 980Ti, three hard drives, two SSDs, three fans, and several USB peripherals including a TV tuner. I would probably have to run SLI graphics cards to trigger the fan to turn on, but in a small form factor build this would not be an issue anyway. There was zero coil whine and the unit barely got warm, even after running benchmarks like Unigine Valley, and games such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Far Cry 5.
Cons: Not cheap, but considering its 80 Plus Platinum rating and 750 watts in such a small package, this is not unexpected.
Minor gripe: I had to supply my own screws (6) to fit the mounting plate to the PSU, but in a SFF case you would probably attach the PSU directly to the chassis.
There is no way to turn off passive fan mode, although in my testing it was never necessary.
Overall Review: The SF750 was supplied to me by Newegg for the purposes of this review. I can't think of any reason to deduct any eggs. It has run flawlessly since installation three days ago - if this changes I will revisit this review.
Pros: Installed and tested without issue in both M.2 slots on my AM4 motherboard.
Roughly four times faster sequential read/write speeds than a fast SATA SSD according to CrystalDiskMark.
Temperatures were ok in my system in both M.2 slots, according to HWMonitor, reaching 62C max in the PCIe Gen2 x4 slot and 58C max in the PCIe Gen3 x4 slot (the latter gets some cooling from the CPU fan).
No cable management needed, unlike regular SSDs. Just install and you're ready to go.
It happens to match the black and white color scheme of my motherboard.
Cons: A lot more expensive than a regular SSD of the same storage capacity.
While sequential read/write speeds are extremely fast, 4K speeds are not that much better than regular SSDs. In day to day use I can't really tell the difference between SATA SSDs and NVMe drives unless I am copying files from one NVMe drive to another (my boot drive is a 250GB Samsung 960 EVO). Copying to and from SATA drives will be limited to the SATA drive speed, of course.
Overall Review: Tested on Asrock Taichi X370 motherboard with Ryzen 7 1700 CPU (not o/c) and 64GB of G.Skill TridentZ RAM at 2933MHz. Windows 10 Pro.
Here are the results I obtained with CrystalDiskMark on each M.2 slot
PCIe Gen3 x4 read/write:
PCIe Gen2 x4 read/write:
I am awarding four eggs as I am not completely convinced of the value compared to regular SSDs. Others have given five eggs and I agree that it is worth that based only on performance.
Note: Newegg provided me with the drive for the purposes of this review.
Pros: I've had this RAM over a year, starting with 2x16GB sticks then adding two more a few weeks later for a total of 64GB. It runs fine at the rated 3000MHz in my ASUS Z170-A motherboard paired with an Intel 6700K. In my AM4 motherboards (Gigabyte GA-AX370-Gaming K7 and Asrock X370 Taichi) using a Ryzen R7 1700, it runs at 2933MHz using the XMP profile with no problems on all four sticks together.
Cons: The only Con for me at the moment is price, which has almost doubled since I bought it, like most RAM.
I've since split it between two of my machines and have another brand in the third.
Overall Review: I wasn't too keen on the fixed red color of the plastic inserts, but that was all that was available at the time. It would be nice to have replacements available to purchase in different colors.
Pros: I just completed a build in this case, and I must say it looks very attractive with its tempered glass front and side panels, which show off the three front RGB fans behind a distinctively patterned dust filter, and my RGB motherboard. The 3-pin fans are not silent but pretty low noise, and there are sufficient color variations for my taste. I like the fact that it has a relatively small footprint compared to some of my other rigs. While light, it does not seem flimsy.
There is plenty of ventilation from the three included RGB front fans, with space on the roof for three more, and a 120mm at the rear.
Air flow is pretty good with ample clearance between the front tempered glass panel and the fans so the side vents can intake sufficient air.
The magnetic filter (black) on the roof is a nice touch and is of good quality.
Another nice touch is the holes in the case aligned with the PCI covers, which allow for easy screwdriver access.
Three large cutouts by the motherboard allow for cable routing and have substantial grommets to protect cables against fraying. I was glad to see a well-placed cutout for the 8-pin CPU cable so it did not have to be routed across the motherboard.
Buttons on the front panel for lighting modes, reset, and power have a satisfying feel and don't seem flimsy at all.
The power supply shroud comes in two detachable parts, the front part also hiding the 2-bay hard drive cage. It has a hole in the middle, mainly intended for GPU power cables. You could route fan and front panel cables through it, but they would lie messily across the back half of the shroud. Since I have a white case, it would show these up clearly so I used the lowest side cutout in the motherboard tray.
Behind the motherboard are three SSD bays in which you just slot your SSDs to be held in place by a spring and a latch.
A small removable dust filter slides in under the PSU from the rear and is of adequate construction and quality.
Cons: Now for the not so good part: This case, while it has well-placed cable management holes and several tie-down points, has inadequate space between the motherboard tray and side panel. Using custom cable extensions, particularly a 24-pin, will be difficult, if not impossible, due to the difficulty of closing the panel. Just half an inch more would have roughly doubled the gap and made things so much easier. I've seen reviews of the 460X complaining about this, but did not appreciate it fully until my time to build.
While the RGB fans are nice, I suspect most users will want to add a fourth at the rear to complete the look and also have an exhaust fan. This would add to the cost though, so I can see why it is not included. Of more concern to me is the fact that the fans depend on the Corsair controller and cannot be controlled by my RGB motherboard headers to sync with its LEDs. It has to be done manually with the front panel buttons or the internal controller buttons (included with the case).
Each fan has two cables, one for RGB and one for power, so that adds to the cable management mess as they cannot be daisy-chained. They are also 3-pin and not PWM fans, and the bearings are not of the highest quality. While not noisy, time will tell how they hold up.
The front panel only has two USB3.0 ports and no USB2.0 ports, likely due to the space used by the fans' RGB control buttons. There is no USB C header, though this is not an issue for most users yet.
Overall Review: Note: This case was provided to me by Newegg for review purposes.
While I hate to mark down such a nice looking case, I am deducting a full egg for difficulty of building in it due to cable clearance behind the motherboard tray and the low number of front USB ports. If you want better fans, e.g. PWM and/or ones that work from motherboard RGB headers, you could get the cheaper model case and substitute them yourself, though that would raise the final cost above that of this case with its included fans and controller.
Its other attributes, like build quality, air flow, and looks hold it at four eggs despite the other shortcomings. It really is an attractive, compact case that would look good on any desk.
Pros: First off, this case is basically the same as the In Win 303 but with a USB C port in front replacing the latter's two USB 2.0 ports, and with the front panel single color LEDs replaced with RGB LEDs which can be controlled with a suitable motherboard or controller. Aside from those differences, pros and cons for that case will also apply to this.
I chose this case for its solid build quality with thick steel construction, and its unique design with an easily removable tempered glass panel and the ability to mount three vertical fans and optional radiator just under the roof. With the PSU mounted at the top, it allows for three intake fans at the bottom which can blow cool air directly onto your graphics card more easily than the typical front-mounted fans.
With my build complete the case is very sturdy, having no rattles or flexing when moved. It looks very attractive with minimalist good looks, accented by the case's front panel LEDs which match the motherboard and internal RGB lighting which I installed. The adjustable GPU bracket is a nice touch and prevents sagging with large, heavy video cards. The dust filter comes out easily from under the left side for cleaning.
Cons: The main cons for me are the location of cable pass-through holes in the motherboard panel, and front (i.e. left or visible side) cable management in general. I had to pass the 24-pin cable down vertically through the hole in the PSU shelf above as there was no suitable one in the usual location to the right side of the socket. Similarly with the PCI-e cables for the GPU, I had to use an awkwardly placed hole in the lower right of the motherboard (meaning the cables are routed at an angle), since there is not enough clearance in the case to put one directly below an ATX motherboard.
The case seems more suited in general for an mATX motherboard since there are holes in the lower motherboard tray that are ideally placed for PCI-e and other cables, but are covered by an ATX board. Also, the bottom of the case is very cramped with an ATX board when you install fans, as they restrict access to all the headers on the lower edge. You need to install your audio cable and other front panel cables before you put the fans in.
There is a lack of tie down loops on the rear of the motherboard tray. I was able to use a couple of holes in the tray to fasten down cables, but if I had installed more drives I'm sure I would have had to use aftermarket loops. I wish there were drive mounts on the PSU shelf as the two 3.5" mounts on the rear of the motherboard tray get in the way of cable management. The lower one also blocks the screws that fasten the GPU bracket in place and will have to be removed if the bracket height needs adjusting, eg. if you install a different size GPU. Also there are no rubber dampers on the drive mounts, so vibration and noise are transmitted directly to the frame.
On the other hand, there is adequate clearance behind the rear panel surrounding any installed drives, so I did not have to force it closed.
There was a defect in the case I received - the RGB LED behind the USB C port had a faulty red LED so that when the rest of the panel was purple, it was only able to show as blue. That was the only manufacturing defect I found, but I have to mark it down for that.
PCI-e slot screws are just standard Phillips head screws, not the thumb screws I have come to expect in this price range.
Overall Review: The best build for this case, IMHO, would be one using an mATX motherboard for best cable routing, and with a trio of RGB LED fans at the top to take full cosmetic advantage of their position. I have yet to install the latter, but my Gigabyte AX370 Gaming K7 motherboard with built-in RGB and external RGB LED strip blends nicely with the front panel (save for that one defective LED at the bottom).
If In Win had added 1" more clearance at the bottom of the case for more cutouts, and a well-placed 24-pin cutout, it would be almost perfect. I don't mind the lack of rubber grommets as the metal is thick and smooth enough not to cut into cables.
I'm using a large air cooler with this build, a Thermalright Le Grand Macho, and there is just enough room for the pipes to clear the glass side panel.
Despite the drawbacks and my problem with that defective LED, the case is nice enough in design and construction that I am only deducting one egg.
Pros: Very fast - I tested with CrystalDiskMark and got read/write speeds of 240MB/s on the fresh drive and 145 MB/s on the last terabyte when I partitioned it off to represent a mostly full drive. These speeds were verified by real world testing with large file copies to and from the N300 using an SSD RAID 0 array to preclude bottlenecks.
The drive is slightly faster and much quieter than a Toshiba X300 5TB drive I bought over a year ago. That is annoying loud on seeks even in a substantial USB3.0 enclosure, whereas the N300 is whisper quiet. I could barely hear it in an open test bed machine from two feet away. It also runs cooler than the X300, getting just warm to the touch after running read/write speed tests.
Cons: At time of writing and having owned the N300 for only two weeks without experiencing any faults, I cannot think of any cons. If it fails at some point or exhibits any unusual behavior I will update this review.
Overall Review: I normally don't award five eggs unhesitatingly to products I review, but the Toshiba N300 deserves it. I cannot fault this fast, quiet drive, and looking at other reviews it seems others share my opinion.
Note: Newegg provided this product to me for review purposes.
Pros: It looks good on your desk with the customizable RGB leds lining the edge.
Mouse tracks well and the bottom is grippy so it doesn't slide around.
Passthrough USB port lets you plug your mouse (or keyboard) in so there is no net loss of ports.
Cons: IMO there should be two USB ports so you can plug both mouse and keyboard in.
My main complaint is that the CUE software needed to control the LEDs is incompatible with the previous version I was using with my Corsair gaming mouse. The macros I had written were unusable and since the interface has
changed I will have to rewrite them all as well as learning to use the new GUI, which has changed substantially.
Overall Review: The extra USB port would have been nice, but the change in CUE interface and inability to use my old mouse macros really bothered me. If not for that, I would have awarded five eggs, and for anyone not using a Corsair mouse or keyboard with the old CUE, or doesn't mind reprogramming all their macros, then this is a nice product you can customize to match your rig's lighting. I prefer a static color, but the default (without CUE running) is a moving pattern of different colors.
Pros: EDIT: NONE - See Other section below.
I compared performance to my Samsung 840 EVO 1TB SSD and it was roughly 90% as fast on sustained sequential reads/writes (512/470 MB/s) with Crystal Disk Mark, and almost 75% as fast on random 4K reads at 30MB/s vs 38MB/s on the Samsung.
Testing was done under Windows 10 on an ASUS Z170-A motherboard with a 6700K CPU.
Cons: Slightly slower than some of the more expensive opposition, though it would not be too noticeable outside benchmarks.
Clamshell packaging was a nuisance to open.
Overall Review: I was given the SP S55 240GB SSD to review and it has performed to expectations so far. I cannot speak to long-term reliability as I have only had it for two weeks, but will follow up if the drive fails or I see performance degrade significantly.
Depending on reliability, this would be an inexpensive and huge speed upgrade to a hard drive based system.
You could spend more an a 'name' brand but this seems like a decent SSD for those on a budget.
EDIT: As promised in my original review I am following up due to failure of the drive. I took it out of the system I was testing it in months ago and just yesterday went to install it as a boot drive in another machine. Booting off the SSD I was going to replace with it, the PC could not even see the drive. Two other SSDs I had stored in the same place were recognized and worked properly. I tested on another machine and it also could not see the drive. Due to catastrophic failure I am marking the score down to the minimum. I CANNOT recommend this drive any more.
Pros: Easy to install in my NZXT H440 case.
Beats my original H100i temperatures on an overclocked i7-6700K @ 4.6GHz by ten degrees when under load (70C vs 80C). Admittedly the older cooler is about two years old, but it's still a substantial improvement.
It also runs quieter, both at idle and under load. I suspect this is due to an improved pump design (since I was using the same Corsair Quiet Edition SP120 fans on each), and the fact that the pump speed is variable in the new model. When set to Quiet Mode in Corsair Link it is barely audible.
Looks are attractive, especially the braided hoses, though I think the pump is more attractive in the original model as the LEDs stand out more with the Corsair logo.
Corsair Link software is much improved over early versions, with customizable display of system temperatures and pump LED color.
Cons: Corsair name on radiator is upside down when mounted with the hoses to the right, though it is hidden behind the top of my case so no big deal.
The screws to mount the fans to the radiator are slightly too long and hit the metal tabs protecting the radiator before they can fasten the fans tight. I managed to find some 3mm thick rubber washers to take up the slack, but this could have been a major annoyance if I didn't have any. If Corsair cannot source any screws of suitable length, they could at least provide washers with the kit.
Overall Review: I was so impressed with this AIO cooler's performance, especially when compared with its predecessor, that I am awarding it five eggs and ignoring the minor Cons. When I took off the overclock and ran at stock speeds, it stayed in the low 60s on my load test even on the Quiet setting. Since my rig is mainly for gaming, the H100i V2 will be more than adequate.
Note: I was given this product by Newegg for the purposes of this review.
Pros: Decent transfer rates - on the fresh drive I got 220MB/s read, 137MB/s write, and after half filling it I got 163MB/s read, 110MB/s write (using Crystal Disk Mark). These speeds were also reflected in transfers of large video files.
The two USB 3.0 ports on the front are very welcome and allowed me to charge my Android tablet and also access a thumb drive as though it were plugged directly into the PC's USB port.
Appearance is quite stylish and the drive does not get excessively warm.
The Seagate Dashboard software is already installed on the device and does work, although you have to register to use the mobile app or cloud storage.
Cons: Only minor Cons for me but here they are:
There is some noise when accessing files or backing up many small files, but I've heard worse.
I would prefer Seagate used the more sturdy USB 3.0 B-Type connector at the rear rather than Micro B.
A base with wide feet that the enclosure could slip into would give me some reassurance that the drive could not fall over with a slight knock. At least it has small rubber feet to raise it for ventilation though.
I would also like to see a power switch at the rear, so I can completely power it down when not in use without unplugging it.
The Dashboard software requires registration to use the Mobile app (I won't be using the cloud storage). Also I could only back up my Android tablet via wi-fi even though it was connected directly to one of the front USB 3.0 ports.
Overall Review: This is pretty good value, in my opinion, for the capacity and performance this drive provides, in addition to its USB 3.0 hub functionality. As long as it holds up over the long haul following the two weeks I have been using it, I will be happy.
I've listed a couple of minor Cons, and improvements I'd like to see, but not enough to dock any Eggs.
Note: This drive was provided by Newegg for the purposes of this review.
Pros: I got an average 130MB/s read, and 30MB/s write speed, similar to another budget USB drive I own of the same capacity and quite acceptable in this price range.
Activity light is a discreet red LED.
Retractable drive, so no cap to lose.
Cons: Not that it affects performance, but the build quality seems a bit flimsy compared to other USB drives I own. It rattles when shaken and can be fiddly to retract.
The two holes in the base for a lanyard are tiny and most people will not bother attaching one.
Overall Review: I suppose the light construction is adequate as you are unlikely to break it when the drive is retracted - it's more of a cosmetic deficiency, though I would prefer to buy a more well-built product at a similar price.
A better lanyard ring implementation would be welcome, which would probably necessitate the use of thicker plastic for the body in order to make it sturdy enough to use.
All in all, it's a budget USB drive with ok performance in its class. Personally, I would go for one with better build quality for the price. If it goes on sale it may be worth a purchase.
Note: I was given this drive by Newegg for the purposes of this review.
Pros: Quite stylish IMO without appearing tacky, unlike many gamer-oriented cases. This depends on your taste, of course. The overall look is reminiscent of modern architecture with its sharp angles.
There are two 120mm blue LED fans at the front and one unlit 120mm fan at the rear. I normally don't like LED fans but they look quite good in this case (no pun intended), being partially visible through the mesh on the front right side. If they are connected to the built-in fan controller as opposed to motherboard headers the brightness increases slightly with the speed setting, but they are not obnoxiously bright. As a consequence, they do not illuminate the case interior much, but cast a faint glow in the drive cage area. To see your build lit up fully you would need to install your own interior LEDs, or substitute the rear fan with a bright LED fan.
At the two lowest speeds the fans are reasonably quiet, if not silent, but at the highest there is a definite whooshing sound. Not terrible, and without annoying whines, but this is not a case built for silence.
As for ease of building in the SPEC-ALPHA, this was fair to middling, with some caveats (see Cons below for the troublesome parts). I happened to use a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H which with its blue heatsinks was a good match for the case color scheme - if blue/white is not to your taste, there is a variety of color options for the SPEC-ALPHA.
I installed two SSDs in the rear so as to hide the SATA/power cables, and filled all three slots in the hard drive cage. With some judicious cable management and use of aftermarket stick-on cable tie-down loops I was able to close the rear panel without excessive force, though the fit was tight. There is plenty of room for a full size graphics card, judging by the space remaining from the GTX 460 I installed.
Air flow is good due to lack of obstruction in front of the fans.
Cons: As others have noted, there are slight gaps visible when closing the side panels, meaning the fit isn't perfect. I was able to alleviate this somewhat by reinstalling and using more force but they are still there. Less than a millimeter, but more visible due to the LED fan.
My main cons relate to the cable routing, and the SSD mounts on top of the hard drive cage. I wanted to hide the 8-pin CPU power cable behind the motherboard tray, but there is no cutout that would allow this, plus the motherboard is too close to the top of the case to permit one. I therefore had to route the cable across the motherboard, as well as the rear fan cable. The case needs to have more clearance above the motherboard so it can incorporate a CPU cable cutout and also allow for AIO cooler clearance.
The tool-less SSD mounts above the drive cage sound good in theory but would leave data and power cables visible. Worse, though, is that the rear mount is in line with a SATA port on my motherboard. I installed an SSD in it, having to force it in by flexing the motherboard slightly, and when I tried to pull it back out it was blocked by the SATA port. I had to unscrew the drive cage to remove it. This is another reason I ended up using the rear SSD mounts using screws.
There is a lack of tie down points on the rear of the motherboard tray. I ended up using aftermarket ones as I mentioned above in order to make cable management possible. Luckily the rear panel bulge matching the window panel bulge allows the cables enough room to fit, but it is a close fit.
The PSU filter on the bottom is rather flimsy without an enclosing frame, but the mesh grills on the front and top will probably let in enough dust to make this moot, and the interior will need occasional dusting.
Overall Review: This case will succeed or fail on its looks, provided it does not have glaring issues. As I noted above, it *does* have issues related to cable management, SSD mounts, and panel fitting. I was going to award it two eggs (rounded down from two and a half) due to these problems, while remaining neutral on the design. However, its looks have won me over somewhat since using it the last few days, and it appears better in real life with the fans on than in photos. It is nothing like the more minimalist designs I tend to favor, but is not so over the top as to be obnoxious so I am rounding the score up to three eggs.
Note: this case was provided to me by Newegg for review purposes.
Pros: Provides motion and sound triggered alerts via email or ftp, with user-specified sound sensitivity or motion detection in the viewing area(s) of interest (which can be selected in the app). You can also set it to record continuously via the user interface (including audio) if so desired.
Wireless connectivity means it does not have to be in the same room as your router and does not take up a LAN port, although a wired connection is more reliable.
You can monitor the camera from anywhere once you have set up an account with TP-Link, and provided you have a computer with the necessary browser plugin, a compatible Android device, or an iPhone.
Cons: The main con for me was losing the wireless connection several times during my two week testing period. The camera was only two feet from my router, so it may have been caused by congestion on the 2.4GHz band. I was unable to re-establish a connection without powering the camera off then on again. This is unacceptable for a security device when you are away from home. I had no such problem with a wired connection from my router, but not everyone would have, or want, the camera physically connected.
I am able to view the image and change settings on the camera from my PC, though I had to download a plugin for Firefox. There is dedicated standalone program called TP-LINK Camera Control (which requires setting up another login to access) but I could not get it to take snapshots or record video. It would allow me to view several cameras at once (if I had more than one), but I could not find documentation on it, and it has much less functionality than the browser based interface.
On two Android devices I own, one was incompatible due to its older version of the OS, and my Fire HD 6 tablet was still incompatible even after I managed to install Google Play and download the tpCamera app. In other words, the software needs work on compatibility.
Overall Review: Setup was easy once I created an account with TP-LINK and the UI (in the browser based app) is fairly intuitive. Motion detection is a bit iffy when only a small portion of the grid is selected and the color contrast of the moving object (person) against the background is low.
Due to the difficulty in getting the tpCamera app working on two Android devices, but mostly because of the unreliability of the wireless connection in what is meant to be a security camera, I am rating this product at two eggs. If there is a firmware update in future that addresses this issue, I will reassess my opinion.
Note: The TP-LINK TL-NC230 was provided to me for the purposes of this review.
Pros: Simple to use - just charge to full capacity and plug in your computer and monitor (ensuring they and other accessories do not exceed the 810W power limit). It works even without the software, though this adds useful functionality via the supplied USB cable.<br>Operates in "Bypass Mode" (bypassing the transformer) when power is normal, for greater efficiency.<br>The software allows monitoring of battery status, keeps track of over and under-voltages the unit encounters (limits can be user-specified), and importantly, lets you specify how long you would like to run on battery power before gracefully shutting down your PC.<br>Since I acquired the unit, it has kicked in twice due to temporary brownouts. I also own its older, more powerful sibling, the 900W CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD, and it kicked in at exactly the same time on both occasions.<br>A "Test" button in the software allows you to try out its functionality by switching to battery power for several seconds. I tried this with my PC plugged in (I was a little nervous) but it worked without problems. The alarm sounded as it switched over, then turned off when regular power was restored. Note: the alarm can also be silenced if desired.<br>The front LCD gives readouts of things like input voltage, battery life, load capacity of the battery outlets, battery charge level percentage, etc., though if the unit is hidden away under a desk, it is not that useful, and the software GUI is easier to use.
Cons: Bulky and obviously heavy due to the lead acid battery - but that is true of all UPS products in this range.<br>I am wary of the purported runtime due to previous experience with other UPS units (I have owned four by CyberPower), as they seem to give only a fraction of the advertised usage while your PC is actually running. It's best to save your work and then shut down as soon as possible, in my opinion.<br>The "Sine Wave" output adds significantly to the cost, but a former model I owned, the non-sine wave CP1500AVRLCD never caused a problem with the Active PFC power supply connected to it. OTOH that unit finally died after a power outage when I switched on the mains breaker (following power recovery) while it was still plugged in. On disassembly I found four transistors on one of the internal PCBs completely fried.
Overall Review: I have never had a PC break down or had its OS corrupted while not using a UPS when a blackout happened, but then I was not in the middle of working on a project, and my PC was evidently not writing critical data to the file system when they occurred. At least a UPS gives peace of mind in that regard.<br>I am not using the unit's coax or network protection (I already have enough wiring to contend with), just the mains battery backup and surge protection.<br>Make sure you don't plug too many accessories into the outlets, even if they are only using the surge protection. It's only common sense not to plus a vacuum cleaner or microwave into them of course, even if your computer is using half the rated output, but the power cord can only safely handle so much.<br>I was tempted to drop an Egg due to the somewhat misleading runtime estimate, but I expected this from prior experience. In two weeks of use this UPS has functioned as it should. It has switched to battery power twice due to outside circumstances, and twice when I used the self-test function, so I am awarding it five Eggs. I would recommend this product to others, based on my experience with this and other CyberPower UPS units.<br>Note: This product was provided to me by Newegg for review purposes. I only award five Eggs when I feel a product is worthy and will reduce my rating for anything more than minor Cons, or more than a couple of minor issues.
Pros: Keeps my i7-4790K adequately cool at stock clock speeds.
Looks great with the new braided cloth covered hoses.
Corsair Link is much improved over earlier versions and can also set alerts eg. turn the waterblock LED color red (or color of choice) if your CPU goes above a defined temperature or perform an action eg. set fans to 100%, shut down your PC, run a program, etc..
Reasonably easy to install, especially the waterblock.
Cons: The stock fans are too loud, in my opinion. On Quiet mode, there is a slight, but annoying whine, and Performance mode has this plus wind noise. Balanced mode is best in my setup as the whine disappears at the cost of an increase in wind noise. Between each mode there is only about 2 degrees difference in temperature at full load.
Overclocking my 4790K to 4.5GHz or even 4.6GHz, using the "Easy overclock" function on my Gigabyte Z97 Gaming G1 mobo, and using Cinebench (rather than the more stressful Prime95) to run the cores at 100%, CPU temperature went up to 90C even with Performance mode set in Corsair Link. This is probably because the vCore is set a little high with the Gigabyte utility at around 1.35V, but I prefer my CPU remain under 80 degrees, which the H80i can handle easily at stock speeds (4.0GHz with 4.4GHz Turbo).
The hoses look great, but are too long to install the radiator easily in the recommended position at the rear, and are quite stiff. In my Fractal Define R4 case, and with my Gigabyte Z97 Gaming G1 motherboard, one hose pushes on my top video card since the top video card slot is the first PCI-e slot (as it supports 4-way SLI). Most boards have a PCI-e x1 slot in this position, so this may be less of a problem for others.
The backplate is made of plastic, and despite careful installation using only finger tightening, I think one of the threads may have been stripped when I installed (I was trying to say "scr*wed", but that is censored) the retaining bolts.
Once the "Alert" level is reached in Corsair Link, if you have set fans to 100% and/or LED color to red etc., they remain at that setting even if the temperature drops below that level. Or at least, I have not found a way to reset them without a reboot.
Overall Review: I have mixed feelings about this cooler and Corsair's recommendations regarding installation. They suggest orienting the fans as intake fans, which would pull cooler air from outside and help lower CPU temperature. This would raise temperatures inside the case and not help my aircooled ASUS DirectCu II SLI GTX 670s at all. A single GPU may fare better.
The hoses are of a length which would make mounting at the case front easier, but Corsair suggests to mount at the rear, which would also reverse typical airflow direction if you mount the fans as intake fans, plus you would need to add a dust filter.
On the other hand, this could be a great cooler for a mini-itx build in a case where you don't have room for a 240mm radiator. I am using a Corsair H100i in my primary rig (with an i7-6700K), and replaced its stock fans with Corsair SP120 (Quiet Edition), which greatly improved the noise level and still outperforms the H80i despite much lower fan speeds. A similar substitution could help with the H80i V2, at some cost of course, plus higher temperatures.
Final thoughts: If you have room for a 240mm AIO cooler I would go for that option.
Otherwise, if you can mount this cooler where noise will be minimized (i.e. not at the rear) and the hose length is not a problem, then this performs adequately with a rather hot running CPU such as my i7-4790K and likely a lot better with an i5 or lower clocked CPU. It could also be a hot contender (poor phrasing, sorry) for an aftermarket GPU watercooling solution for reference video cards.
Note: The Corsair H80i V2 was provided to me by Newegg for the purposes of this review. I like Corsair products in general, with Corsair Dominator RAM in the rig I used for testing, and Corsair Quiet Edition fans in my main rig and their original H100i AIO cooler. My fair opinion is that I would give it 3.5 Eggs if possible, but with the noise level of the stock fans and my personal issues with the hose length and stiffness, I am rounding it down to three rather than up to four Eggs.
Pros: TL;DR A good looking, great performing, quiet card (plus included backplate). Nice value with the current promotional package - $30 discount + $30 rebate card + free Rise of the Tomb Raider game.<br><br>Overclocked without issues to 1458 MHz (using MSI Afterburner with custom fan profile) with temperatures no more than 65C in Valley Benchmark at 1080p Extreme HD preset. Easily beat my SLI GTX 670 setup on score, temperature, and noise. Firestrike yielded even greater improvements. See Other Thoughts below for detailed setup and results.<br><br>No coil whine that I could detect, and fans switch off by default below 60 degrees for silent operation. Even when they ramp up using my custom profile the noise is not objectionable. A gradually increasing, medium whooshing sound without objectionable high-pitched noise. I was a bit worried since others have reported coil whine and fan noise issues, but I guess I got lucky, as I am very sensitive to noise.<br><br>Elegant, understated looks with lighted white EVGA + model logo on top, which can be switched off if desired. A perfect match for my black and white build: white H440 case plus ASUS Z170-A motherboard with its white I/O section cover, and white Cable Mod custom cables.<br><br>Length is no greater than the ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU IIs it replaced, and it is slightly narrower. I estimate it's around 30% heavier, but strangely there is barely any sag when installed compared to those cards.<br><br>The price was right for me - with Newegg's promotional price of $649.99 with $30 mail-in rebate, plus free Rise of the Tomb Raider game included, which I wanted anyway. I received the previous Tomb Raider game with a GTX 670 purchase and it was better than I expected.
Cons: None to speak of. Although some cards can be had with a higher factory overclock, they cost more (especially the ones with built-in water cooling) and would not suit the look of my build as well. This card is plenty for 1440p gaming at 60+ FPS with mostly maxed out settings.
Overall Review: I have not truly pushed its limits yet as I don't want to stress the card unduly, and will settle for a medium overclock as adequate for everyday gaming. I was originally going to hang on to my GTX 670s until the next video card generation, but with their 2GB of VRAM they were going to be hampered in some of the newer games I recently bought, eg. Shadow of Mordor, GTA V, etc., especially at 1440p. When I saw the promo price + rebate + free Tomb Raider game I decided to take the plunge, and so far have not regretted my purchase.<br><br>My older cards in SLI performed quite well, but ran quite hot (and loud) in the H440, which is more suited to a single card setup (unless watercooled) due to its middling airflow capability.<br><br>My setup:<br>Case: NZXT H440<br>Mobo: ASUS Z170-A<br>CPU: i7-6700K @ 4.7 GHz<br>Cooler: Corsair H100i w/ SP120 Quiet Edition fans<br>RAM: 32GB GSkill TridentZ @ 3000 MHz<br>SSD: Samsung 950 Pro M.2 (boot drive)<br>OS: Windows 10 Home<br>GPU: EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC ACX 2.0+ (reviewed product) vs. ASUS GTX 670 DirectCU II SLI (comparison product)<br><br>Benchmark results:<br><br>Unigine Valley (1920x1080, 8xAA, Extreme HD preset):<br>GTX 670 SLI - FPS 81.0 (Min 38.3, Max 156.1) Score 3392<br>GTX 980 Ti - FPS 96.2 (Min 43.6, Max 183.2) Score 4026<br><br>Firestrike (1080p):<br>GTX 670 SLI - 11172<br>GTX 980 Ti - 16141<br><br>Firestrike Extreme (1440p):<br>GTX 670 SLI - 5954<br>GTX 980 Ti - 8224<br><br>The 670s (@ 1215 MHz) would reach up to 90 degrees in the above tests, while the 980 Ti (@ 1458 MHz) never went above 65 degrees, and the 670 fan noise was subjectively twice as loud. Towards the end of testing the GTX 670s started glitching out and freezing, needing a forced reboot to recover, so I may have been driving them past their limit, whereas the 980 Ti reformed flawlessly throughout.<br>I also had the chance to test a friend's GTX 780s (ASUS Poseidon, though not watercooled) in SLI on an i7-4790K rig - they managed 14000+ in Firestrike without overclocking, which is pretty close to the 980 Ti. In that situation I would probably hang onto them for a while, despite their 3GB VRAM disadvantage.<br><br>Final notes:<br><br>I believe the Nvidia promo for the free Tomb Raider game is until 2/16/16 (or possibly they run out of codes) - don't quote me on that, it's "to the best of my knowledge". At any rate, I got my Steam code within an hour of my purchase on 1/14/16.<br><br>This is my first EVGA video card. I am very happy with its performance and quality, and glad I did not wait for the next generation of GPUs before upgrading.
Pros: This is a great looking motherboard, with an understated color scheme that blends in perfectly in my white NZXT H440 case. I especially like the white shroud covering the I/O ports.
While the build quality is a bit lightweight and it has fewer features than more expensive boards, it is adequate for my needs, with six SATA III ports plus one M.2 slot, and two USB 3.1 ports (one type A and one type C) at the rear in addition to two regular USB3.0 and two 2.0 ports.
The M.2 slot supports the new Samsung 950 Pro running at PCI-Express 3.0 x4 speeds- I installed the 512GB version as my boot drive (no problems there with a fresh install of Windows 10 Home) and got speeds of 2344 MB/s read and 1536 MB/s write (CrystalDiskMark scores), way faster than even the four Intel SSDs I have in RAID 0. It also does not steal bandwidth from my video cards, which run at x8 speeds in SLI.
RAM slots support up to DDR4 3400. I installed two 16GB sticks of G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3000 and got the advertised speed without problem after setting it up in the UEFI. There is an "EZ XMP" switch on the motherboard to make things even easier, but it turns on a green LED when enabled, so I left it off for esthetic reasons. The board also has a "Mem OK" button which allows automatic retuning of a bad memory overclock, and a "TPU" switch which when set to "I" or "II" can adjust processor overclock settings based on whether your CPU is air-cooled or water-cooled, respectively.
This is my first ASUS motherboard - it's only a small bonus, but the Q Connector for the front panel pins makes installing the leads much less fiddly, and I wish other manufacturers would provide something similar.
Overclocking is easy whatever your experience level, from the EZ Mode section, or Advanced Mode section of the UEFI, then there is the QFan Control which lets you set individual fan profiles. I got an easy, stable 4.6GHz overclock on my i7-6700K which idles in the mid-20s and goes up to mid-70s under load, cooled by a Corsair H100i using SP120 Quiet Edition fans. This is about ten degrees cooler all round than my Z97 build with an i7-4790K at stock speeds (4.0GHz with 4.4GHz turbo, same H100i cooler) in a much higher end board, the Gigabyte GA-Z97X-Gaming G1 - more a reflection on Skylake architecture vs. Haswell/Devil's Canyon than this board in particular.
The UEFI has a Favorites section which lets you include your most used menu items from other areas, pretty handy if you delve into the UEFI a lot.
From Windows, the ASUS AI Suite has a section which allows similar adjustments to those above, but once I had my UEFI preferences set I didn't use that after trying it, as I like to have as few background services running as possible.
On the other hand, I really like the ASUS Boot Setting utility, which lets you reboot directly into BIOS/UEFI and also select Fast Boot/Normal Boot options.
Cons: ASUS has obviously cut corners on the build quality to provide everything this board has at a competitive price. Most notably, the flimsiest, ugliest I/O shield I have ever seen, stamped out of thin steel and with barely legible port labels. I managed not to cut my fingers on it, but installing the motherboard in the case required more force than I expected. I discovered why when I tried to plug in my mouse. Fortunately I had not supplied power yet, as one of the tabs on the I/O shield was bent out of position and was inserted into a USB port! Another reviewer had the same problem, it seems. ASUS, please persuade the bean counters to include a decent replacement, even for a couple of extra dollars on the price.
The VRM heatsinks are held down via pushpins rather than screws, and look pretty lightweight, although I have not had any overheating issues.
There is no debug LED display on the board. Instead, there are single red LEDs by the various areas (GPU, PCH, RAM) that light up during POST as each section is tested, then turn off when the test is passed. So you get a rough idea of what the problem may be, or rather where it is, but it's not as specific as a numerical code.
The audio codec is another area which has been skimped on, as it is the ALC 892 rather than the ALC 1150 which is almost standard on mid-range boards now.
Overall Review: This has just enough features for an entry-level Skylake gaming board at a price ASUS has met by aggressively trimming back on certain aspects, some of which relate to build quality eg that atrocious I/O shield, and some to functionality, eg the audio codec, number of SATA ports, lack of debug display etc..
On the other hand, the looks are attractive, and as long as everything keeps working I am quite happy with it. I use audio over HDMI or Displayport, and also have a USB DAC, so the ALC 892 codec doesn't matter as much as if I used the analog outputs. I replaced my previous high end Z97 board with this in my gaming rig due to its M.2 slot for which I purchased the Samsung 950 Pro.
Is it worth upgrading to this if you have an adequate Haswell, Ivy Bridge or even Sandy Bridge system? For gaming, probably not, given the cost of a new CPU plus DDR4 RAM in addition to the motherboard. Your money would be better spent on a video card upgrade, in most cases, unless you already have a really high-end card or cards that you know are being bottle-necked. If you want faster storage options, then this does beat previous generations with that native PCI-e x4 M.2 slot and more native Intel SATA III ports than Ivy Bridge or older.
Testing benchmarks against my Z97 rig the Intel 530 iGPU easily beat that system's 4600 iGPU in Unigine Valley - 27FPS vs 19FPS at Low settings. With video cards installed, scores were about the same. Cinebench CPU scores were about 10% higher on the Skylake build.
If you're building a brand new system, then I would say go with Skylake, given the falling cost of DDR4. As for the ASUS Z170-A, it's good enough at a fairly decent price. I'd personally spend a few dollars more for beefier build quality, better audio codec etc., but this was provided to me by Newegg for review purposes. It looks good in my system, and once I flashed the latest BIOS it's been stable and running well with a 4.6GHz overclock. I am, however, deducting one egg for that cheap I/O shield and audio codec which other manufacturers have better versions of in this price range.
Pros: This is an update to my earlier review, after having done more research on this model and its slightly more expensive sibling, the Corsair RM850i.
I discovered that the reason for the bulky 24-pin, EPS (CPU) and PCI-e cables is that they include capacitors near the connector ends for enhanced ripple suppression. With flat cables, including and/or hiding them would probably be more difficult than using traditional round braided cables. These capacitors are hidden under a length of heatshrink which encloses the end of the braided section, with a slight bulge revealing their location.
While their inclusion makes for less attractive cables, it apparently does wonders for ripple suppression, as when I looked at reviews and charts on various sites like Toms Hardware, the RMx series beat many other competitors by quite a margin.
I also found out that CableMod supplies custom cables for this model - these move the capacitors further back towards the PSU so they can be hidden behind the motherboard area.
Cons: My previous complaint regarding heat still stands, and some reviews of the RM850i mention that that model also gets quite warm. However, the RM850i is Corsair Link compatible, and its fan can be controlled by software, unlike the RM850X. It also has a fan test button, plus a better fan bearing (Fluid Dynamic Bearing vs Rifle Bearing).
Overall Review: I am raising my rating by one egg after having seen third party tests of this PSU's excellent efficiency and performance, and internal build quality with all-Japanese capacitors.
I am still not happy with the heat generation though, and as Tom's Hardware noted (for the RM750X, but the same applies here), a switch to allow normal fan operation would have been nice -- the fan is very quiet anyway -- instead of always being in semi-passive mode.
I discounted not having Corsair Link compatibility as a minor point in my previous review, but was then unaware that the fan speed could be controlled in addition to fan and power monitoring. In a well-ventilated case that can exhaust heat well, this may not be an issue -- aside from the (lack of) digital interface and fan bearing, it is identical to the RM850i -- so you could save a few dollars with this model as overall performance is the same.
My main build is in an NZXT H440, which is quiet, but only middling in terms of ventilation, and the RM850X would get really hot inside that case's PSU shroud. As I mentioned in my previous review, the unit I received would only briefly spin up the fan even at 54% output load. In my situation the RM850i would be preferable, due to its fan/power monitoring and fan control via Corsair Link (the current revision works really well compared to early releases).
Note: I received the Corsair RM850X from Newegg for the purposes of my review(s).
Pros: What impressed me the most about this router was the inclusion of a very capable USB3.0 port and a similarly powerful eSATA port (the latter can also double as a USB2.0 port). Most routers are lucky to have a single USB3.0 port (though some have two), and even if they do, I have never seen one match the speed of the Linksys WRT 1200AC. The best I have seen previously was the single USB3.0 port on my Netgear R6250, which managed a pretty reasonable 30MB/s transfer rate.
The Linksys achieved 105MB/s via USB3.0 and 100MB/s via the eSATA port (on a wired ethernet connection to my PC).
This speed is not far behind the same drive attached directly to my PC's USB3.0 port, where file transfers ran at 130MB/s.
That suggests to me that this router, together with a couple of appropriate hard drives plus enclosures, could serve quite well as a home media or file server without the need for a more expensive NAS solution, unless one needed more business-oriented capabilities. Even transferring files between two attached drives (USB3.0 <-> eSATA) reached a respectable 67MB/s.
As far as WiFi goes, my USB AC adapter is not as powerful as a PCI-e wireless card with external antennas, thus it is unable to take full advantage of the router's abilities. However, I was able to achieve a 14MB/s transfer rate on the 5GHz band, enough to stream full size Bluray movies from the attached drives, and 8MB/s on the 2.4GHz band, with similar network transfer speeds between my two PCs' internal drives (one PC having a wired connection to the router). The signal strength was at the expected 100% when scanning with a WiFi detector program. Note: this was in the same room at five feet distance.
Once plugged in, the router worked from the get-go, and the administration interface is a breeze to use and well laid out. The "Reboot" command is somewhat harder to find, as are the "Backup" and "Restore" configuration commands (they are under the Diagnostics tab under Troubleshooting), but otherwise I had no problems with navigation.
The router can also be configured as a Wireless Bridge or Wireless Repeater.
There are the other usual settings such as advanced routing, wireless schedule, parental controls, media prioritization, security settings, guest access, etc., plus OpenVPN Server.
One useful feature is "Linksys SMART Wi-Fi apps", allowing remote control of the router, viewing IP cameras, etc., from your smart phone.
As for construction, the WRT 1200AC is built like a tank (albeit a plastic one). Looks are similar to the old Linksys WRT54G I retired years ago. There are plenty of ventilation holes in the top, thankfully, as the dual-core processor puts out quite a bit of heat.
The indicators on the front are useful, showing what devices are connected and signaling, including the wireless bands, plus a tiny one under the USB3.0 indicator which lights up if the attached drive is USB3.0 instead of USB2.0.
There is a power switch in the back; no need to fumble arou
Cons: Not many to list here. For some reason the WiFi indicators do not turn off immediately if you disable the wireless - you have to reboot or power off/on for that to take effect. A firmware update could easily rectify that.
Only dual band, which may be a drawback for multiple users.
Attached storage drives do not spin down, even when safely removed through the router interface, unless they are physically powered down or the router is switched off.
A bit pricey if you are mainly concerned with wireless performance for multiple users and devices and don't care about attached storage performance.
Overall Review: As I am the only user, this router is perfect for me. I rarely use wireless connections, and the performance of the external storage ports surprised me. I will be retiring my old router in favor of this one because of these features, its ease of use, and build quality. Five eggs.
Note: The router was supplied to me by Newegg for the purposes of this review.
Pros: Color reproduction out of the box was excellent, as were most settings. I just had to lower the brightness for my viewing environment. The picture is very similar to my 27" 1440p Korean IPS monitor (QNIX QX2710), which uses a Samsung panel. With some tweaking I was able to get a movie picture close to the colors on my Pioneer Kuro TV, though it fell behind somewhat on contrast.
Although it is nowhere near the quality of an external setup, the audio is the best I have heard from built-in speakers. LG includes "MaxxAudio", accessed via the OSD, which has the usual tone controls, plus adjustments for 3D effect, dialog, and a "Midnight Mode" for quiet but clear night time listening.
One DisplayPort and two HDMI ports allow up to three PCs (or capable devices) to be connected at once, and there is a USB3.0 hub (1 type A for the PC, two type B for peripherals, current 1.1A), plus a headphone port. A recessed DC switch in the rear allows the monitor to be physically powered off in addition to the standby mode from the main control.
The small joystick under the panel center handles all the adjustments available for picture, audio, and input source. I found the on screen display menu extremely intuitive to use. It is so well designed that I didn't really need the manual except to look up the details of a couple of settings. Volume can be controlled directly without even entering the OSD menu, simply by moving it side to side.
One of the picture modes is "PBP", which would be "picture by picture" - this lets you view the output of two connected PCs side by side. You can also select which PC's audio you want to hear from the monitor.
I really liked the included software, mostly "Dual Controller", which is similar to products like "Microsoft Garage Mouse without Borders" or Synergy - i.e. a virtual KVM switch allowing you to use your mouse and keyboard across two PCs and monitors. Note: one has to be a supported LG monitor such as this one.
Also included is Screen Split, which divides the desktop into discrete areas for working on documents or applications you want to keep in a certain order. Each doc or app automatically snaps to fill in its current screen area.
Build quality is excellent. The stand is both sturdy and easy to adjust for tilt/height.
The bezel is amazingly narrow (just the sheet metal thickness), although there is also a narrow (less than 1/2") blank border on the screen itself.
Quality control is outstanding, and I found zero dead or stuck pixels.
Cons: While the picture is great, my monitor has a small problem with screen uniformity, i.e. lighter patches in the upper and lower left corners. Whether due to backlight bleed or IPS glow, it is there. Dark scenes in movies is where this is most noticeable, though by no means terrible, and it does not extend very far from the edge. Changing viewing distance and angle can improve, but not completely eliminate it. My 27" Qnix monitor (my second, a glossy model) had a similar problem that I alleviated by loosening the bezel, but I don't want to attempt that with the LG. On the other hand, the Qnix came with one dead pixel, unlike this one.
One minor niggle with the software: If you have another screen on your PC, Dual Connect (to a second PC) won't start if both screens on your main PC are active. To get it to work with two PCs you have to start it with just the LG as the active monitor (and also run it on the other PC) then extend the desktop to work across all three screens. This seems like something LG could fix, although it may be something to do with proprietary restrictions.
Price is currently quite high, though you do get what you pay for.
Overall Review: I wasn't convinced of the benefits of a 21:9 aspect ratio monitor until I started using this one:
- Gaming is more immersive as you have over 25% more width to your field of view, with the same screen height as a 27" 16:9 monitor.
- Ultra widescreen movies (eg. 2.35:1 aspect ratio) can be viewed fullscreen instead of having black bars at top and bottom. At 3'-4' the picture appears larger than that of my 50" 16:9 TV at 8'.
- It is easy to view multiple windows side by side.
- At optimal distance the curve feels "natural". After a week of use, I'd probably object if it wasn't there.
Unless you have a high end graphics setup you won't be able to drive modern games on ultra settings at high FPS and at 1440p.
I tested Far Cry 4 using my Z97 rig (i7-4790K with SLI GTX 670s) and was getting FPS in the low 50s (and the 2GB VRAM was maxed out). Fortunately, this monitor supports 2560x1080 and that setting boosted FPS to the mid-70s. Valley benchmark yielded even better improvements - from a stuttering mid-30s FPS to smooth mid-60s.
Most games should support 21:9 easily, but this is not guaranteed. Just Cause 2 worked flawlessly in 21:9, but Wolfenstein: The New Order had to be set to Windowed mode first - something Bethesda should have fixed.
Note: 3440x1440 is 4.95 megapixels, whereas 2560x1080 is 2.76 megapixels, far fewer to drive.
I did not notice any ghosting problems while gaming. There is a "Gaming" mode, but I found I did not need to use it. For most applications I preferred to use "Custom" rather than "Cinema" or the other pre-defined screen modes.
At 1440p, refresh rate is 60Hz on DisplayPort but only 50Hz on HDMI. At 1080p, both are are capable of 60Hz.
To make ultra widescreen movies fill the screen you have to use appropriate software and adjust settings where needed. Since most ultra widescreen movies are provided as 1080p with black bars included at top and bottom, this means zooming in. For DVDs or archived movies I use MPC-BE (offshoot of MPC-HC), and right-click->select Pan&Scan then Zoom To Widescreen. For Youtube and Netflix I use the Chrome browser with the Netflix Ultrawide Display Support extension. Firefox currently does not have a similar extension.
Unfortunately, watching true 16:9 movies and TV shows -- or regular Youtube videos -- means that you will have vertical black bars on either side on the picture, as if you zoom it will crop the picture at top and bottom.
Final thoughts: This is a great monitor, fully featured, attractive, and very easy to set up and use. If not for the bright areas in the corners I would unhesitatingly give it a perfect score. Being very picky about that particular issue, I am deducting one egg. However, its other qualities outweigh that complaint, and it will stay as my main monitor.
Note: The LG 34UC87C was provided to me by Newegg for this review.
Pros: Easy to set up, it was basically plug and play for me.
The administration interface is pretty intuitive and easy to use, although I could do without the "OK" prompt you have to click after applying new settings, as it seems redundant. On the other hand, new settings take effect *very* quickly, within a few seconds and much faster than any other router I have used.
There is a USB3.0 port to which you can connect a storage device for sharing amongst other computers on the network, or a printer.
At near to medium range, wireless speed is reasonable on both bands, maxing out my ISP bandwidth of 110Mbs down, 10Mbs up.
It has a built-in DLNA Media Server (not something I use, but nice to have, and it does work).
Cons: File transfer speeds from an external drive connected to the USB3.0 port were disappointing. I only saw speeds of 15 MB/s max, frequently dropping to 8 MB/s and lower, and this is with a wired connection. Wirelessly it was unusable three rooms away at under 1 MB/s. In contrast, my Netgear R6250 held a very consistent 30 MB/s transfer rate on a wired connection (although wirelessly the Netgear's internal antennas did not perform as well overall at the same distance).
A minor niggle is that the admin password was not printed in the documents (or if it was, I was unable to find it). I finally guessed it to be the usual "admin", and of course changed it immediately to a more secure password. I also disabled the guest account which was enabled from the start.
The unit gets very warm in heavy use, more so than other routers I have used, and should be placed where it has good ventilation.
The built-in speed test powered by Ookla worked fine for the download speed but consistently failed for upload speed testing in both Firefox and Internet Explorer. No matter, I went to speedtest.net which gave the required results.
Overall Review: Wireless internet speeds - three rooms away (30 feet), with intervening walls and doors it dropped to 76Mbs down, 9Mbs up on the 5GHz band. It was much lower at 35Mbs down 1Mbs up on the 2.4GHz band, which I attribute to many surrounding neighbors crowding that frequency, since the signal itself appeared much stronger. File transfers were much slower at this range, averaging under 1MB/s in either direction even with one computer having a wired connection to the router.
While it isn't the fastest router on the market, the firmware and interface were much better than a certain "all the bells and whistles" top of the line router sprouting multiple antennas that I will not name, but which I had to set up to work properly for a non tech-savvy friend. This one worked out of the box, and reliably. I was tempted to knock it down to three eggs for the USB3.0 speeds (I don't think it is worth five), but the overall functionality is good enough to outweigh that, so I am awarding it four eggs.
Note: Newegg supplied me with this router for the purposes of this review .
Pros: The mat I received for this review is the standard size (14.17" x 11.81"), with plenty of up and down and side movement available. To my eyes, it looks the same width as my Corsair K65 tenkeyless keyboard. Other sizes are available, if these dimensions are not right for you.
Mousing is very smooth and tracking is very accurate; no complaints in this department. I also like the muted looks - all black apart from the Corsair Gaming logo. I'll reserve judgement on the latter, but at least it matches my Corsair Sabre mouse, if not my old-style K65 keyboard with its Corsair sails logo.
Even the thickness feels right - at .08" it's not too thick to feel spongy and not too thin to feel flimsy.
The bottom of the mat is very grippy and will not slip on your desk. It felt like neoprene to me but apparently it's natural rubber, so doesn't smell bad.
Cons: The surface fabric edges on my mat are slightly frayed, more so along the right edge. I guess this is due to the nature of the cloth and the weave density. I don't expect to to spread past the first cross-threads though and it has no effect on usage.
Overall Review: This product was sent to me by Newegg for review. It's an excellent gaming mat at a reasonable price and my minor nitpick was not enough to dock an egg for.
Pros: This mouse is a joy to use. It is light (which I prefer), with large slider pads on the base, fast actuating buttons, accurate tracking, and very positive scroll wheel steps. Some may prefer a lighter scrolling action, but in a fast paced game you are unlikely to accidentally scroll while depressing the middle mouse button.
It has a very ergonomic design, and can be used with a claw or palm grip by those with average or slightly larger sized hands. All buttons can be actuated without shifting your grip - importantly, the one behind the scroll wheel is raised above the surface and can easily be pressed with the first joint of your middle finger.
There are eight programmable buttons, including left and right mouse button (at least one must be set to left click, if you reassign the left button).
The software is highly customizable. It takes quite a while to learn, but once you do, the possibilities are endless. As well as profiles which can be manually turned on via a button press or automatically when a game or program starts/gains focus, each profile can have several different modes -- essentially profiles within profiles -- wherein some or all of the mouse buttons can be assigned different actions, DPI settings can be changed, and you can set mouse lighting effects. Modes can be switched with any desired button press, and even revert to the previous mode when the button is released, according to how you set it up.
For example, you could assign a button to change your in-game mouse controls when you get into a vehicle or change DPI settings.
An onscreen display can be set to briefly indicate what mode is in effect and DPI setting, but you can also set the LED lights as a constant reminder.
Lights can be set on or off as required, including the Corsair gaming logo, and there is a large choice of lighting effects you can program for different actions.
The actions that can be programmed include macros, text strings, keystrokes, program shortcuts, DPI settings (which include a configurable 'sniper' setting), timers, mouse actions, and media controls. Macros and timers are powerful - press a button to start a macro or timer, and optionally start another action when the button is released or the timer expires. Macros can record keyboard events, mouse movement, mouse clicks, mouse scrolls, or any combination thereof, with or without recorded delays.
If you don't want to get too involved in programming the buttons, the default settings are adequate for everyday use - side buttons (thumb) are Backward/Forward, top left buttons (index finger) are DPI up/down. The top middle button (below scroll wheel) is left unassigned by default.
There is built-in support for the standard media players, including Windows Media Player, iTunes, WinAmp, foobar2000, but you are expected to set up priorities for which one is being controlled by default and also customize play/pause/etc. buttons as needed. Of course, you can also set up custom profiles for these, if yo
Cons: No tilt wheel - not a deal breaker as you can assign other buttons to that functionality. Also, this *may* be preferable in FPS games, where you can accidentally tilt left or right instead of down clicking, as I have occasionally done with my other gaming mouse.
Up/down scroll is not re-assignable, just middle click. This also may be preferable for FPS games for the reason above.
For other applications I would definitely prefer a tilt wheel with reassignable scroll function.
The software has a steep learning curve. It's very powerful once you become familiar with it, but it is not intuitive to use without studying the manual, especially the lighting effects setup.
Weight and shape are not customizable. For me this is not an issue as I prefer a light mouse and it fits my hand very well.
Overall Review: I was originally going to dock an egg for the lack of a tilt wheel, inability to reprogram the scroll function, and complexity of the software. After using it for almost two weeks, though, I appreciate it more and more. Compared to my other gaming mouse, all the buttons are instantly and easily accessible, and it is quick, accurate and easy to use. It just feels "right" in my hand. I have only begun to explore the macro etc. programming abilities, but they compare favorably with my Logitech G13 keypad, albeit with far fewer buttons.
As for the lighting effects, I find them more useful for status indication than "bling". The software could use some more predefined functionality and be more intuitive, but once you are familiar with it you can program it to do pretty much anything you need. Also, you can have any number of game profiles instantly available - you are not limited to a set number as on my other mouse.
Note: As an EggXpert, I receive products from Newegg for unbiased reviews. If a product does not meet my expectations I will mark it down accordingly, but the Corsair Sabre RGB Laser's attributes were enough to overcome the shortcomings I noted and I am awarding it 5 eggs. I have another manufacturer's high end mouse, but I consider this superior for FPS gaming.
Pros: I stated in my prior review that software was not included with the drive. However, as someone else noted, it *is* available for download from the OCZ website.
Within OCZ Toolbox are provisions to update firmware, wipe the drive clean, send a TRIM command to the drive, identify the device data, and report the drive's S.M.A.R.T. data.
Cons: The latter two functions -- identify device data, and S.M.A.R.T. Data -- are presented in rows and columns of hexadecimal and other data, not all clearly explained, and of more use to a software or support engineer than the average user.
Overall Review: It's nice to see that a manual TRIM command can be sent, and secure erase is available, but the drive status reports would be more useful with a graphical style presentation, enabling a typical user to easily see estimated drive life remaining and percentage of bad blocks found, etc.
Perhaps a future revision will make the OCZ toolbox more user-friendly in this respect.
Pros: This is an update to my original review, where I rated it 5 eggs.
This adapter still works perfectly on my 1080p monitors which lack a Displayport port, enabling me to use the Displayport output on my video cards in addition to their HDMI and DVI outputs, so despite my somewhat negative review title, I am still giving it 4 eggs.
Cons: Only supports up to 1920x1200 resolution, since it outputs a single link DVI signal - from the specs: "Connect a DVI monitor to a single-mode DisplayPort output from your computer".
My Korean (or any) 1440p monitor requires a dual link DVI signal or equivalent, so do not buy this adapter expecting it to work with one.
Even setting monitor resolution to 1920x1080 manually does not work (at least for me).
Overall Review: Since the limitations are stated in the specs, I shouldn't really complain about it not working with my 1440p monitor. I bought it before I owned the latter, and it still works flawlessly with my other monitors. It would be nice if the product title indicated the 1920x1200 limit, or single-link DVI spec somewhere, though.