Date Joined: 05/29/09
Pros: This 3-pin splitter works like a champ and will likely last longer than your shoes. The wiring is shrouded and easy to work with, but also retains the shape you morph it to when you're routing it.
Cons: None. It could be longer, but if you want longer then go look for a longer cable, because they're available.
Overall Review: I recommend using this for identical fans. If you want to know why, read the section below where I critique the other reviewers who left uninformed criticisms of this splitter.
This is for all the people who have left reviews with bad information - you don't know what you're talking about.
"Instruction booklet was extremely vague..." There is no instruction booklet - you left this review for the wrong component. It's a fan splitter, if you don't know how to use it, don't order it."
"Only a 2 wire system, not 4, not even 3!!" Well, that's a confession that you don't know what you're doing and you bought the wrong thing for your needs. ONE of the splitter ends is only two wires, because one of the wires is a speed sensor for the fan to tell the motherboard how fast it is spinning. You can't send information from two fans to one 3-pin header on the motherboard. But the other end DOES have 3 pins, so one fan will report back to the motherboard "I'm spinning at XXX rpm.
Pros: Works, Low Profile, Neutral Color Scheme, Works with ASRock AB350M Pro4
Cons: Reduced performance compared to the GeIL EVO Potenza PC4-19200 RAM kit it replaced. After upgrading the RAM to squeeze more performance out of my Ryzen 5 2400G's Vega 11 graphics, I was surprised to see my benchmarks deliver slightly less performance. I double-checked my UEFI settings and confirmed the memory is running with the proper settings. The CAS latency between the two is identical, so I expected a measurable, possibly noticeable improvement in performance but instead I got a measurable (but not noticeable) reduction in performance.
Overall Review: I'm not going to recommend staying away from this memory because it does work as advertised and even works with my Ryzen APU (which is often tricky). I give it four eggs because it does work, and there may be something unique to my setup that is causing this discrepancy in performance. At the time I'm writing this review, there is only one other review from someone who - I suspect - does not know what he is doing. I thought it important to let potential buyers know this RAM will likely work with Ryzen motherboards.
Pros: This case has excellent ventilation and ventilation options. The two case fans (3-pin) on the front are adequate, and the mesh front allows them to work well. They don’t move as much air as some fans, but they get the job done. I don’t care for the clear fans, but with the white LEDs and the mesh front, the look acceptable. I would not change them unless one failed. Also, there is easy mounting for a large radiator up top and a rear fan (not included)
This case is sturdy before and after all the components are installed.
This case is large enough to work inside easily, but still small enough to be more of a classic mid-tower, rather than the current mid-towers that are usually over 17 inches tall.
Captive thumbscrews are a nice touch, but have their own problems (see cons).
Hard drive bay is completely tool-less and the holsters can be inverted, which may be necessary depending on your hard drives arrangement, since a 3.5-inch hard drive will be nearly flush against the side rail and could block cable connections otherwise. 3.5-inch hard drives can ONLY be installed with the connectors opposite the window-side of the case.
Power supply mount is on the bottom and allows for inverted installation, if desired.
Cable management is relatively easy; a couple of the cable runs were a tight squeeze, but should be manageable for everyone.
Cons: Cable management for the front fans was non-existent and requires some out-of-the box thinking and routing.
The USB connections take up a full USB 3 connector and a USB 2 connector on the motherboard, but only give one of each on the case. I docked an egg for this.
The thumbscrews cannot be satisfactorily tightened without the use of a screwdriver; the covers will be loose if you only tighten them by hand.
It would have been nice to get a shroud for either the whole power supply or the power supply cables. Because of the price-point, I did not dock an egg but if this case were any more expensive this would be an expectation.
Overall Review: Another reviewer mentioned the bulge on the non-windowed side needs to be larger to account for cable management better. I disagree. It takes a bit of work, but unless your cables are monstrous, this should not be problem. Where it MAY be a problem is if you’re using the 2.5-inch drive mount on the non-windowed side. If you’re doing that, I strongly recommend getting a custom cable that will eliminate this concern (you’ll need it anyway due to the length required).
There are no rubber grommets, but at this price-point I don’t expect any. It’s neither a con nor worth docking an egg.
Dust screen on the bottom is a nice touch, but they come off at the drop of a hat. ANY hat. I will probably just remove mine since it comes off every time I touch it. Not worth docking an egg.
I like having cases with 5.25-inch external bays. Optical drives are less important these days, but some of us still like using them and many people still rely on them. Also these bays are great for memory card readers, which will always be handy.
Pros: Appears to be fine build quality, which is nice. Product was very clean and arrived with no damage.
Cons: When I opened the sealed bag inside the package, the unmistakable smell of cigarette smoke wafted out and filled my room. It was as if a smoker took a huge drag, blew it into the package, and rapidly closed the bag. In all the things I've ordered from Newegg, I've never seen anything like it.
Overall Review: Open the package outside and let it air out before you bring it in the house.
Pros: I bought this for use at work. I frequently am on conference calls, but my desk phone doesn't have a headset and I hate using speakerphones. I use this with my cell phone and it's a huge improvement.
The audio quality is excellent. There is no static or hiss, and voices are as rich as being in the room.
Battery life is quite good. I've used this headset for two three-hour conference calls in the same day and it had battery power to spare (I don't know how much, but it didn't die on me). I haven't done any testing to see how long it will actually last, but I suspect it will last a full 12 hours of continuous use.
Battery life is even good when not in use. I leave this headset hanging on my cubicle wall. I typically charge it once per week even when not in use, but sometimes I forget. I've used the headset with no problem even when it hasn't been charged in a couple of weeks.
Cons: I don't see any method to figure out how much battery life I have left. There may be a way to see it through my cell phone, but I haven't found it yet.
Overall Review: I definitely recommend this product. The audio quality alone is worth the purchase if you regularly make long calls.
If you're using this with a cell phone (and I assume you will), be sure to set your phone for HD Voice calling (or your carrier's equivalent). This uses your phone's LTE connection in addition to the cellular "normal" call function to provide a much improved audio experience both with your normal handheld use and any connected Bluetooth communications. It uses your data and requires LTE service. Check with your provider to ensure your service and device support enhanced voice quality calls.
Pros: This flashlight is incredibly bright. The focus is tight to give the beam long throw. The battery compartment is waterproof. The mechanical switch has a nice, solid feel to it.
This light will go multiple nights on high intensity. On the low-intensity setting, it will go a week.
Cons: Not effective as a weapon for beating people (like another brand). That's the only con.
Overall Review: The beam on this is about half the spread of the similar Rayovac flashlight using AA batteries.
Pros: Works like a champ with my APC UPS (I lost the OEM cable). I connected the UPS to my HTPC and the software saw the UPS immediately.
Cons: Despite being MUCH less expensive than the OEM cable, it's still more expensive than it should be.
Overall Review: These cables aren't a necessity for most people. I don't know why they're so expensive and unless you have an always-on PC that you need automatic-shutdown capability to protect while you're not home, save your money.
Pros: I wanted an Android tablet for various reasons. My first smartphones were android based, but now I use both an iPhone and an iPad primarily. I wanted an Android tablet to help me keep up with the technology and the apps, but I didn't want to spend too much cash for that privilege. I also wanted a tablet that would support BOINC distributed computing projects when I wasn't using it. The BOINC option is probably what prompted me to buy this tablet, since it has 8 cores.
This tablet seems to have solid construction. The volume and power buttons feel snappy. The MicroSD card slot cover is secure (almost too secure, see Cons). The back has a nice finish so it's easy to grip. The weight is moderate. It definitely weighs more than my iPad pro (9.7 inch), but not alarmingly so.
This tablet has adequate processing power for everyday tasks such as browsing the web, working on documents (I've used Google Docs, Polaris, and the Microsoft office products). This tablet handles these applications easily enough to make it useful.
If you intend to use this for BOINC (or other projects) like I do, it's got a great processing power/cost ratio. I've let it run for a few days and it's doing great in this area.
Battery life is respectable. The listed capacity is 5 hours seems accurate. I used it for various tasks for a few hours and still had over 50% capacity available. The tablet came with the battery fully charged, too.
The MicroSD card listed specification is 32 GB, but mine accepted a 64 GB card, which seems to be working just fine.
Cons: Performance is lacking. This tablet has eight cores, but either they're very weak or they don't work well together. This tablet struggles to play YouTube videos, often stuttering to an annoying degree and sometimes YouTube will not load (but that could be an app problem).
The camera is incredibly weak. I didn't expect much given the back camera is only 2 megapixels, but I was unprepared for just how bad it is. The camera struggles to display the image it's about to capture. Any time you pan, the camera locks and displays broken images until you stop moving. The images are inconsistent with problems in white balance and contrast. In short, beyond being poor resolution, the camera is simply not useful even in bright daylight.
Speaking of bright daylight, you cannot use this tablet in bright daylight. I did that to take a few pictures and the screen is almost completely invisible. I was only able to see the camera icon; I could not see what I was about to take pictures of. The company would have done much better not to install the rear camera.
The screen glass seems very low quality. This tablet has had very light use so far and already seems to be showing signs of over use (scratches and impressions in the screen). Aside from that, the screen has a milky/cloudy look to it.
The MicroSD card slot is somewhat tricky. The cover requires substantial force to remove, and it's attached with what appears to be thick but flexible nylon. I'm worried that it may be easily detached by someone trying to force the cover open. Additionally, inserting the MicroSD card into the slot require something other than a man's fingernail (I used a flat-head screwdriver) because the card has to be inserted so deeply into the slot in order to latch.
Overall Review: The speakers function, but are not suitable for listening to music. That's likely not a detractor for most people since tablets generally have terrible speakers, but this one is worse than most. That being said, if you're using headphones (wired or bluetooth), it's not a concern (I've tested both).
The tablet has a DC charging port, and a DC adapter for it. This may prove useful for some buyers, but I'm not sure of the value. It outputs 5 volts at 2.3 amps, which is the same you should expect from most after-market USB chargers and USB 3.0 ports on computers.
I really liked the box this tablet came in - the packaging is superb. It reminded me of unboxing my recent iPad pro.
This is a decent tablet for the price (I paid about 120 US dollars for it). It has adequate power for everything I need it to do, but it will not win any awards in any areas. I don't recommend it for heavy video users and some games will be too demanding for the hardware, but if you just need a tablet for checking email, writing documents, and surfing the web periodically, it's hard to go wrong with this one. The internal electronics are advanced enough that you'll be able to use it for at least a couple of years before worrying about obsolescence.
Pros: This is a stellar micro-ATX case. It has room for four 3.5-inch internal drives, plus the floppy disk bay can alternately be used for a 2.5-inch drive. This is all in addition to the two external 5.25-inch drive bays, which conceivably could also be used for internal drives. The drive bay covers screw into the 5.25-inch bay housings (versus the pop-out type), so it's more work if you choose to go this route.
I didn't think I was going to like the inverted motherboard arrangement, but it's growing on me. The large exhaust fan sits right next to the CPU, so you have efficient heat removal. Also the motherboard arrangement allows the GPU heat sink to sit with the heatsink fans facing up. If yours is a blower style, it's of no consequence, but if you have a passive heat sink OR would like to minimize fan operation of your open-air fans, this is a big plus as the heat will radiate upwards more easily. This is especially true if you make use of the installed front case fan.
Speaking of the front case fan, I thought I was going to replace it, but fans in that size are limited. After testing it, I decided to keep it. The installed fan is connected to a switch on the side of the case that selects either low or high speed. The high speed setting triples the amount of noise generated, but it's not obscene and it moves MUCH air. Low speed is adequate for most people's needs.
The power supply is intended to be mounted inverted, but the case is built to allow installation in either orientation. If installed inverted, the power supply will be drawing outside air in through a magnetic filter. If you take this route, be CERTAIN that you won't accidentally spill anything that might fall inside the power supply. If there is ANY chance of liquid/PC interaction, you should install the power supply with the fan to the inside of the case. Also installing the power supply with the intake on the inside of the case will allow the power supply to draw heat out of the case. This is the opposite of what the case design intends, but power supplies are usually robust pieces of equipment.
This case allows the user to pack a surprising amount of hardware into a small and lightweight case.
Cons: Installing the power supply was way more work than it should be. The only way to install the power supply is to remove the top panel - fair enough. Removing the top panel should be as easy as removing to screws and popping the top. Guess again! There are four small screws (two on each side, non-standard size so don't lose them) that must also be removed.
Similarly, installing expansion cards is too hard. There is a guard rail that must be removed. In order to install my teeny GTX 750 TI, I had to completely remove this guard (it's intended to slide up out of the way, but this doesn't grant enough clearance). This part the manufacturer greatly overcomplicated for no clear reason or benefit.
Overall Review: This case is clearly a winner for anyone looking to build a case with a small footprint. It's easy to work inside and has adequate cable management. It also has enough quirks to make working on it a nuisance, so I knocked an egg off.
It's solid. It's light. The installed cooling is good. It's easy to use, with some exceptions.
Funny story - I actually ordered this case on accident. That's right! I bought the wrong case. I felt pretty stupid when I opened it up and I was downright mad when I saw it has the motherboard in an inverted installation. But I had enough parts to put together a system with it and so I did. I am surprisingly pleased with my error. I'm so pleased I may keep it. If I don't, it will make someone happy.
Pros: This product is a solid power supply from a reliable manufacturer. It won't win any awards, but it will get the job done for nearly any single-GPU system you might plan to build. It's got enough power connectors, and includes a floppy connector for those who still need one.
Even with my system under load, the fan doesn't spin very fast, but the load of my system is only about 250 watts maximum.
Cons: The power supply I received has a minor fan noise. It sounds as though the fan is rubbing against a wire, but I know for certain it's not. Ordinarily I wouldn't notice, but this fan was a very quiet build. It's not a failing fan; I'm familiar with the sounds failing fans make.
Overall Review: I do recommend this power supply, but check other reviews to see whether more people are having similar issues.
Pros: The motherboard is easy to install, feature-packed, stable, and easy to use. I love having the M.2 slot and OH MYYYY it boots Windows 10 incredibly fast! I haven't made use of either the Bluetooth or the wireless yet, but the wireless connected to my home wireless network before I even had the antenna connected, which is impressive.
The motherboard comes with excellent software for tweaking operation for optimal performance. I let it run through its routine to set the overclock and it seemed to do well, but when I ran Prime95 my temperatures got too high (over 80 degrees Celsius on my 6700K at 4.5 GHz and 1.347 volts). I'm sure the problem was my undersized heatsink/fan, so I list this as a pro, even though it sounds like a con.
The audio quality is excellent. I have a pretty good speaker setup with satellite speakers and a sub-woofer. Music sounds clear, natural, and distortion-free. For those who are concerned, the front panel audio can be configured for either HD audio or AC 97. I intend to use my front panel connectors for my headset/microphone when I go to online meetings.
Cons: I had so much trouble installing Windows 7 that I finally gave up. As I was attempting to install, I would get a message that drivers were needed. No matter what I did, I couldn't point the program to the right drivers. I had all the peripherals on the board turned off, all the USB set to legacy support, set the UEFI to Legacy support everywhere I could, and tried installing from both a DVD-ROM and a USB drive. No luck at all. I was really hoping to dual boot this machine between Windows 7 and Windows 10, but was unable to make it happen. It may be my problem was the M.2 drive, which was already installed and I was not going to remove just to install Windows 7 (I always planned on putting Windows 10 on the M.2 SSD).
The on-board lighting is red and can not be changed. The standby power LED is red and either on or off, depending on mode. The "Q LEDs" are for the CPU, RAM, boot device, and VGA. If there is an error, they'll flash (red). There is also a "SupremeFX LED" intended to create a lighting effect. It either blinks or is steady (set in the UEFI), but can be disabled. This is not a good board if you're planning to use lighting effects other than red unless you're going to do some serious modifications or use a ridiculous amount of lighting. This is not worth docking an egg for, but I think the buyers should be aware.
Overall Review: The CPU cooler was of particular difficulty for me. I knew I was going to have to go with a low-profile cooler and had a hard time figuring out which coolers would actually fit. I took a chance on the Noctua NH-L9x65 and I was very pleased. The cooler takes up much space, but doesn't quite touch my RAM sticks - there is about 1 mm of clearance between the first RAM stick and my heat sink. I run distributed computing projects so my CPU is often left running at 100% while I'm not here (so I play it safe most of the time). At 4.0 GHz and 1.2 volts and 100%, my 6700K runs at 60 degrees Celsius. Obviously a better/bigger cooler will yield better results, but I am very pleased with my configuration.
Despite what one reviewer stated, I have had no problems running a Samsung 950 Pro with this motherboard. This system has been rock-solid stable. When installing Windows 10 to the M.2 drive, I did not have any issues with the CSM as that user described and left CSM disabled.
I really wish they had sacrificed the USB 2.0 connector in favor of another USB 3.0 connector. I wanted to install a memory card reader that uses the USB 3.0 connector, but not if it meant sacrificing the two USB 3.0 ports that are on the front of my case.
Asus Z170I Pro Gaming
Intel Core i7 6700K
Noctua NH-L9x65 with 92 x 92 x 25 mm fan (NF-A9x14 PWM)
Asus GeForce GTX 1070 Dual-GTX1070-O8G 8 GB 256-Bit GDDR5
G. Skill TridentZ Series 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4 3600 RAM
Samsung 950 Pro M.2 2280 512 GB PCI-Express 3.0 x 4 SSD
SanDisk X400 2.5-inch 512 GB SATA III SSD
Western Digital Black 2TB Performance Desktop HDD
Corsair Obsidian Series 250D Mini-ITX Tower
Corsair CS550M 80 Plus Gold Active PFC Modular Power Supply
Phantecks PH-F200SP Black 200 x 200 x 30 mm case fan (1)
Phantecks PH-F120MP 120 mm PWM case fans (2)
Noctua NF-A8 PWM 80 mm case fans (2)
Pros: I picked this case for my first mini-ITX build and a high-power machine. I knew before buying that I was going to be using a 6700K and a GTX 1070. I also new I would be using an M.2 (primary - Windows 10), a 2.5-inch SSD (secondary - Windows 7) and a 3.5-inch 2 TB HDD (storage). This case looked like it would make that work and be relatively easy to work in.
Motherboard installation was a snap. The case disassembles completely to make working inside possible. Even with the panels off, it's sturdy.
The front fan can be removed and replaced with little effort. I used a 200 mm fan. Despite what one reviewer wrote, I was able to use the 200 mm fan and keep the optical drive bay; there is no interference unless the proposed fan's frame is obscenely large. The installed 200 mm and 120 mm fans were OK, but I knew I was going to be replacing them with Phantecks fans I have used before. They ones I used have an excellent balance of noise and airflow.
The case will also hold two 80 mm fans at the rear, which I have installed (I had a couple lying around. Since the 80 mm fans are the loudest, I have them set to start up at a higher temperature than the 120 mm fans. My 200 mm fan is connected directly to the power supply and runs at 100% all the time.
The power supply can be mounted either right-side-up or upside down. I opted to mount mine upside down because my mini-ITX board's M.2 slot is on the bottom, and the inverted power supply is perfectly positioned to ensure minimal air flow across the M.2 (those puppies can get hot when they're not ventilated). This means I'll never use the power supply filter (and that I'll never have to remember to clean it).
The entire case has a nice finish and is sturdy. It only gets heavy once you load it down with internal components.
Cons: The front panel does not have adequate room between the dust filter and the fan cover. You can feel and detect a substantial change in air flow just from popping the cover open and lowering it. I believe the 200 mm fan is still pushing adequate air for most operations, but it may affect whether I maintain positive pressure. I suspect that in order to maintain temperatures at periods of high demand, I will have to leave the cover open.
Corsair went against convention and mounted the front USB 3.0 ports upside down. Not a big deal, but it does mean that virtually any USB drive with a built-in LED will have its LED pointed at the ground instead of up for visibility. Not worth docking an egg.
Overall Review: I definitely recommend this case to anyone planning a build with a small footprint. My build did take some time, but it was my first mini-ITX build, so maybe that's expected.
Look very hard at your planned build and how much ventilation you'll need. I mounted two 120 mm fans on the right side and tied them together (my motherboard only has so two case fan connectors). A better arrangement would be to have the 120 mm fan closer to the front come on much later (higher temperatures) to limit the possibility of negative pressure OR to have this fan be an intake (if it's an intake, it may be disrupting the air from the 200 mm fan). Corsair provided a bunch of options, but you've got to plan your build well if you're using high-TDP components.
Excess power supply cable routing was a challenge for me, too. There is space to stuff the excess cable, but it's in the flow path between the 200 mm fan and the SSD/HDD bays. I greatly prefer to keep these cool. If you can get custom cable lengths, that would be ideal, but if not it is manageable (although difficult).
Asus Z170I Pro Gaming motherboard
Intel Core i7 6700K
Noctua NH-L9x65 CPU cooler (with less than 1 mm clearance to RAM)
ASUS GeForce GTX 1070 DUAL-GTX1070-O8G
G.SKILL TridentZ Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 3600
SAMSUNG 950 PRO M.2 2280 512GB PCI-Express 3.0 x4 Internal Solid State Drive
SanDisk X400 2.5" 512GB SATA III TLC Internal Solid State Drive
WD Black 2TB Performance Desktop Hard Disk Drive - 7200 RPM SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache (WD2003FZEX)
Phanteks PH-F200SP_BK 200 x 200 x 30mm Case Fan (1)
Phanteks PH-F120MP 120 mm PWM, High Static Pressure Radiator Fan (2)
LG Black SATA Blu-ray Burner (WH16NS40)
Corsair CS-M Series CS550M 550W 80 Plus Gold Active PFC Modular Power Supply
Pros: This 2-in-1 laptop has ample power for most users' needs. I bought this laptop because I needed a capable laptop for school and I wanted a 2-in-1 that could be used as a tablet. This machine has a bright screen, is reasonably sensitive to touch, has fast memory, and adequate storage. In short, it was exactly what I needed. The Intel HD Graphics 520 do a good job for my needs (which are not graphics intensive). The boot time is incredibly short (currently around 20 seconds from cold off to ready for use and that's with Norton and some other auto-loading software). The battery life gives me over four hours for routine office applications with the WiFi on and in use. The backlit keyboard is nice when I'm working in a dark room, as instructors often like to dim the lights for presentations. The keyboard isn't noisy, so I can use it during class without being disruptive. When actually being used in my lap, it does not give off appreciable heat.
Cons: I was really hoping to be able to install an M.2 SSD and swap out the existing 256 GB SSD for a larger mechanical drive, but the system doesn't have an M.2 port. This is the only thin that really would have made the machine top-notch.
The speakers are pretty weak even by laptop standards, but for most people that really shouldn't be a concern.
It's heavier than I expected, but certainly not unmanageable.
As is typical of every laptop sold in the last 6 or 7 years, pre-installed bloatware abounds. Although the bloatware on this Dell is less intrusive than previous laptops I've owned, it's still there and it's taking up precious gigabytes on a limited-capacity SSD. Even worse is now it's less intuitive which bloatware I should be removing.
Overall Review: I definitely recommend this to anyone who needs a good laptop for school or general productivity work, so long as your graphics needs are not demanding. Intel has come a long way with their integrated graphics, but they are still far less capable than the dedicated graphics of other machines. If you're going to be doing any gaming, significant photo/video editing, or any video rendering, you're going to want something with dedicated graphics.
Pros: This board has a ton of USB 2.0 motherboard connections in addition to the four USB 2.0 connectors on the back panel. I don't remember the last time I saw a motherboard with FIVE ports for installing USB connections. I can't imagine what I would need them for, but I know it makes a few people out there happy to be able to connect everything they own at once. This board, with no additional cards required, gives you the capability of 14 USB 2.0 ports (you'll need 5 connector jumpers).
USB 3.0 on the back panel is nice; USB 3.0 jumpers on the motherboard would be better (see cons).
Serial and parallel (printer/LPT/1280) connectors for those who might still need them, as well as two legacy PCI slots and an IDE (PATA) connector. If you have some older tech you plan to keep running, this board probably has what you need.
Relatively intuitive BIOS that includes easy/quick options for performance/quiet operation.
Supports Ivy Bridge LGA 155 CPUs right up through the 3770K (which is still a powerhouse of a CPU).
Supports up to 32 GB RAM, which is more than most consumers could ever need.
PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo connection for those who need it (let's face it – it's probably time to throw that keyboard out).
8-channel audio that is quite good as far as on-board sound controllers go.
Cons: USB 3.0 options are limited to the two on the back panel. If your case has a connector to provide USB 3.0 ports on the front, you're going to need a USB 3.0 add-on card and it's going to take up the second PCI Express slot (there are no legacy PCI cards for USB 3.0 and they wouldn't operate at USB 3.0 speeds if they were available).
Placement of motherboard's myriad of USB 2.0 I/O connectors will likely interfere with any graphics card installed in the second PCI Express slot. This is likely only a concern for those running Crossfire or a second graphics card for other reasons; otherwise their placement is fine for most users. And with a Micro ATX build, options are limited.
Fan header connections are lacking. The power supply fan connector is a three-pin, while the case fan connector is four (very odd). This board should have one more 4-pin fan connector.
Secondary PCI Express port is only x4 when it should be x8. This will only be applicable to a very small portion of users.
Overall Review: This is a great motherboard for several different purposes. It's well suited to HTPCs since it allows use of the Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge integrated graphics, which are more than adequate for most HTPC needs, the inexpensive chipset with plentiful SATA, and USB connectors. It's also good as a utility computer because so much legacy support is built into the motherboard, while the motherboard also supports advanced features like PCI Express 2.0 and modern CPUs.
I bought this for an HTPC that I was building. The chipset is inexpensive, but also very stable and allowed me to build the HTPC in a number of different ways. I subsequently added on a full GPU for when the computer was doing more than running Windows Media Center.
The SATA ports point up, whereas some point laterally out of the motherboard. This is neither a pro nor a con; you just need to be aware of it for planning your build. In my HTPC case, angled connections would not have worked for me.
I've had this motherboard for four years now, and it has been one of my best motherboard purchases. It is very stable, easy to adjust based on my preferences, and very capable. While it can't be used for overclocking, that's OK because that's not what it was designed for. Anyone could slap a high-power CPU in this motherboard and use it effectively for gaming, but it won't meet most gamers needs which include overlocking and precise control of fans, SLI and other things this board was never intended for. Everything it was designed to do, it does very well.
This is a quality board that should provide years of trouble-free use.
Pros: I needed to install a card that would allow me to connect the USB 3.0 ports on my case; my motherboard had USB 3.0, but no jumper connection for case ports. This card worked for the task perfectly.
Cons: The packaging for this item was terrible. The mini-CD was in the box with the card and got cracked in shipping (no useful bubble wrap, package was paper-thin cardboard). Ordinarily, this wouldn't have been a big deal, but it made the driver installation challenging. Windows 7 would't install the drivers automatically, so I had to go download them. The manufacturer's website is all in Chinese, which I do not read. Even using online translating tools, I couldn't find the link for the drivers. I finally did a web search on the component ID, which pointed me at a page that looked like it *might* be right. Sure enough, it worked.
Overall Review: I love Orico's wall chargers, but I think from now on that's all I'll buy from them. If you need a USB adapter, seek one from a manufacturer with better support for your language.
Pros: This case is a great shape and size for a Home Theater PC (HTPC). It fits in my entertainment center perfectly, has adequate expansion options, and good air flow. It comes with filters for the fans, but more to follow on those in the cons section. The case is designed to make it easy to assemble and disassemble your build, which means swapping out components is pretty easy even if your build is a complex one. The acoustics are good once you've buttoned the case up, and the installed fans are not as loud as typical pre-installed case fans. The case appears strong and durable.
The internal layout is reasonably good. It could be better, but anything to improve the layout from its current configuration would likely result in a larger case. The secret to effectively using this case is NOT using all of the installation bays. I'll elaborate in "Other Thoughts" below.
Rubber grommets for hard drive installation aren't great, but they are functional and do the job. They will reduce hard drive noise and also serve to help minimize shock felt by the hard drives when you move the case or bump it. That being said, don't get stupid and stick a ten-inch subwoofer next to this computer then get bummed when your hard drives keep failing..
The power LED is the right brightness for most users. It's bright enough you can see it during the day, but not so bright as to be overpowering or even noticeable when watching a movie at night.
USB 3.0 ports on the front are nice and in a good spot for HTPC purposes.
Front fascia construction is very nice. The power and reset buttons have nice audible clicks and a solid feel to them.
I don't care what other reviewers say; this case has good air flow. The two adjacent fans should be used as supply with the single fan on the opposite side used as exhaust. This creates a sweep across the RAM, motherboard, CPU, GPU, and at least one hard drive/SSD. It creates a good sweep of air with minimal power, noise, and effort.
Paint on the entire body is a nice finish (two reviewers commented it was peeling – not so with mine and I don't see how it is possible).
Cons: The fans that come with it are louder than the fans I would want for any HTPC. If your HTPC is tucked completely out of sight (and thus out of earshot), then this won't be a concern for you. Also the preinstalled filters are installed on the inside of the case, versus the outside, except for the power supply fan which IS installed on the outside of the case. I removed all the pre-installed case fan screens and used Silverstone SST-FF122 120 mm fan filters as another reviewer suggested. They blend perfectly and will be super easy to clean.
The HDD LED is an enigma. It's behind the front fascia and completely invisible except when looking inside the case. You really only have the option of having a Power LED or a HDD LED, not both. They should have just provided one lead and labeled it "Power/HDD" to let the user chose. If you prefer to see your HDD activity, just put the HDD LED on the Power LED connector of your motherboard.
I really would have preferred a better mounting option for the power supply. The case allows for an inverted power supply, but with only three screws instead of four; I opted to keep the intended installation, which draws air from beneath the case and discharges it out the back. One of the hard drive mounts is directly above the power supply with vents on either corner, so an inverted installation would be perfect to improve the airflow around that hard drive. I opted to use positive pressure in my case such that air is always blowing out those two vents and thus over the hard drive (SSD in my case).
The rear exhaust fan mounts are not well designed. I purchased two Noctua 80 mm fans to install here, but they wouldn't fit. The fan housings were too thick to allow me to physically seat the fans there; the screw holes were never going to line up. If you're intending to install 80 mm fans, they need to have the smallest frames I've ever seen (I don't know that any exist).
The case management rubber tool that came with the case is absolutely worthless.
Overall Review: You have GOT to plan your build not only when assembling, but when purchasing your components. This case is more challenging than most from an airflow perspective because the power supply leads and almost any spare connecting wires are going to be in close proximity to the exhaust fan. Plan on the fewest components you can get away with, because cable management quickly becomes a nightmare. I bought a modular power supply to help with cable management, but I ended up using all but one module, which didn't really help me at all. You can help yourself by picking a motherboard that will allow you to drive all fans from the motherboard (mine could not).
Hard drives and SSD are installed inverted. This makes the use of angled SATA connectors impossible and places a bit of strain (not much, but noticeable) on the SATA/power connectors for SSD. It could be improved, but isn't worth listing as a con.
This case is not intended for high-power builds. If your video card of choice is GTX 780 or a GTX 980 Ti or any video card more than six inches long or higher than 60 watts TDP, you're looking at the wrong case (or the wrong video card). You should either be using integrated graphics or a very low-power GPU. It's very irritating to see reviews that are critical of this case because it won't work with these high-end video cars. IT'S NOT SUPPOSED TO BE USED WITH HIGH-END VIDEO CARDS!!! Further, if you even thought about installing water cooling in this case, you need to surrender any computers you have and go with pre-built PCs for the rest of your life. This is not a case for extreme builds, and everyone reading these reviews is dumber for having read your attempt. End of rant.
The ideal build for this case would be a motherboard with integrated graphics (or integrated via the CPU), a single hard drive, and possibly an optical drive. That build would be simple and easy. Because I often use my HTPC for other things, I wasn't able to get away with this (my integrated graphics are Intel HD Graphics 2000, which are pretty weak and I need the speed of an SSD and the storage of a mechanical drive). Also you could find a motherboard with an M.2 connector an install your OS on the M.2 SSD with a single hard drive as your storage, but that might be overkill for an HTPC. But even with the build challenges, this still looks like the best case in this category for now.
My build (a partial upgrade of a four-year old HTPC):
Asus P8H67-M PRO/CSM motherboard
Intel Core i3 2120T (Sandy Bridge, 35 watts TDP)
Corsair XMS3 2GB DDR3 1333 x 4
Zotac GeForce GT 730 w/ 4 GB 64-bit DDR3 (29 watts TDP)
Mushkin Enhanced Reactor 2.5-inch 512 GB SATA III SSD
Western Digital Black 1 TB 7200 RPM HDD
Orico Monster USB 3.0 PCI Express Card (5 rear USB ports, 1 internal USB 3.0 connector)
Corsair CS550M 550 Watt 80 Plus Gold Active PFC Power Supply
Noctua NF-P12-1300 120mm Case Fans x 3 (ultra-low noise resistors used on all 3).
Under normal conditions, my CPU runs at about 42 C and my GPU runs at about 50 C. Under heavy load the CPU runs at about 55-60 C with the GPU as high as 75 C. If I open the doors to the entertainment center, my temperatures drop about 2 degrees. This is well within the recommended ranges and could be easily improved with more aggressive cooling, but that would mean more noise.
Pros: This radio is lightweight and simple to use.
All the stations you might need are preset, and you simply push a button to go to the next channel. There is no need to fine tune to get clear reception. There is a red LED indicator identifying which channel is currently selected.
The radio is relatively sturdy and has decent volume (about what you would expect for a handheld unit. The telescoping antenna is similarly sturdy, but as always be careful when extending and retracting it. The antenna does improve reception, but if you're close enough to the transmitter it is unnecessary to extend the antenna.
The power/volume is a combined knob. When the power is off, it's truly OFF, which means it won't drain your batteries just by sitting on the shelf.
Cons: The reception is not as good as I was hoping. It's adequate, but it also can't compete with a similar base station I bought (made by a different manufacturer. I deducted a single egg for reception just because I think it could be better, but it is adequate.
Overall Review: I would definitely recommend other people buy and keep one of these handy.
Pros: This laptop has good processing power and is easy to work on. The hard drive and RAM are easily accessible and do not require disassembly (beyond removing a cover). The graphics are good enough for modest needs. The CPU is adequate for most tasks. Web browsing, email, office applications, even some CAD work would be fine on this laptop. I've done photo and video editing on it with no complaints. I love having the 10-key pad. The touchpad (mouse) is easy to work with. The screen is very bright with good resolution and pixel density. It's not a full HD screen, but that's OK. The graphics can output full HD to an external monitor.
Cons: This PC has limitations in its processing power, but that's to be expected from a bargain laptop. The Toshiba-installed crapware takes some time to uninstall, and it's hard to know which programs are safe to remove without watching them for a while. This laptop is heavier than comparable, more expensive laptops from other manufacturers.
Overall Review: A couple of days ago my laptop started exhibiting some weird problems. The laptop wouldn't successfully boot, but the lights would come on and the fan would spin up. Only way to stop was to hold down the power button to force a shutdown. Every other time I booted I would see the BIOS POST screen, but then the screen would go dark and nothing would happen (lights kept burning and fan kept turning).<br><br>I thought it might be a problem with the 8 GB of memory I installed, even though it had been working. Put the original memory back in, noted the laptop was working fine again, ran a BIOS update (easy), restarted to make sure it took, and then reinstalled my 8 GB and found everything was fine.<br><br>As it turns out, the BIOS needed to be cleared. Once I removed the battery and did that (hold down the power button for ten seconds), it ran like a champ.
Pros: Great batteries at a great price. There are only three brands of batteries I trust these days, and Duracell is one. I don't know where you're going to find 70 AA and 30 AAA cells for the same or less money. These batteries are reliable and have good power. You will get excellent performance out of them. I've already been through about 20 of the AA cells and 15 of the AAA cells. They are every bit as good as the batteries you might buy off the shelf at the store.
Cons: These batteries are near the end of their useful life. Typically, when buying Duracell batteries, you expect to see "Good for 10 years" or similar on the packaging. These batteries are going to reach the end of their shelf life in the next four or five years. That's probably part of the reason they're such a great deal. As long as you intend to use these batteries, it's a bargain and probably not a "Con" for you.
Overall Review: Packaging was a little odd. Some AAs in packs of 20 and the AAA in a pack of 20 with another AAA pack of 10. It seems like it might be random with regard to where they're getting these batteries from. There are no duds so far, so that's good. If you plan to distribute these batteries in some way, you may find this useful.
Someone else mentioned that Duracells have a habit of leaking. This is not my experience. I work in an industrial environment and have a number of flashlights that I use regularly. I also keep a supply of emergency flashlights at the office, in the car, and in the home. I can only recall one instance of a Duracell battery leaking, and I'm pretty sure that was the flashlight's fault (It was they type with an electronic switch so it had a continuous - albeit small - power draw). Whether it's my regular use flashlights or my emergency use flashlights, Duracells are highly reliable. There are two other brands that I trust, but I can't mention them in this review. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out.
Pros: This caddy holds a BUNCH of batteries and is fairly well organized. It seems well built and sturdy. I like the progression of D, C, 9V, AA, AAA. The battery tester is a nice touch, although it's a bit awkward.
Cons: I was hoping for something I could keep in my car. The batteries are not snug in the caddy; they simply rest in it. Tip it over too far or give it too big of a jolt, and the batteries will fly. I got the caddy specifically because I was tired of batteries rolling around in my trunk.
Pros: This RAM is quick and dependable. I bought my wife a new Dell laptop recently and rather than pay Dell to upgrade the RAM, I decided to do it myself. I got my wife faster RAM for less money, and I'm pretty sure it's higher-quality RAM than what came with her laptop.
Looks great installed in my wife's Dell - until I put the case back together.
Overall Review: This RAM contributed to substantial increases in performance of my wife's new laptop. I ran before and after benchmarks. Before it had 4 GM of PC4 2133 RAM. I have done RAM upgrades before and I was blown away at the difference in performance both in system response and in benchmark performance.
Pros: I like the size and weight of this lantern. It uses thee D-cells, so you know the wind isn't going to blow it around at all. It also has a very respectable light output for the amount of time the batteries will work (expect over two days continuous use). It feels very solid
Cons: As the previous reviewer noted, there are basically two settings - bright and dim. The control knob has a spot at which the output dims substantially and immediately, you can't really adjust it between these two extremes.
Overall Review: I bought this lantern despite the awareness of the lack of fine control for light output. For the amount of money, it was too good to pass up. This light can sit and be ready to use with good batteries for close to a decade. Or I could use it on hiking/camping trips and ever worry about it failing me.
Pros: This SSD is fast for the money. It's not as fast as some others out there, but 90% of the users won't see the benefit in paying the extra necessary for the faster SSDs. It slides right into any 2.5 SATA slot with no problem at all. It comes with a spacer to make the SSD body taller, but I can't imagine anyone would actually need it.
I was able to use the Crucial-provided software to transfer an image from my hard drive to this SSD. After installing the SSD into my laptop, the laptop booted fine, installed a driver, rebooted, and has been speedy ever since.
I have noticed no heat generation from this SSD at all, and installing it in my laptop boosted my battery life over 25%.
Cons: The software that you get to download for free is almost completely useless junk. If you're patient, you can use it regardless of how you're trying to configure your hardware, but it's not easy. They want you to pay for a premium version that will unlock other features. My suggestion is to seek alternative software. Their paid version doesn't look like it would be user-friendly (the unpaid version certainly is not).
Overall Review: I plugged this into a 5-year-old laptop that was limping along. It's got 8 GB RAM, a decent CPU, and is used mostly for office programs and some photo editing. This SSD breathed new life into it. I went from boot times (Windows 7) around a minute to booting in less than 20 seconds, and that's with some old hardware (AMD Athlon II Neo K325 CPU).
I really couldn't be happier with the hardware; it's the software Crucial provided that I find annoying. I actually find myself wishing it was completely useless because then I would uninstall and be done with it. But I've used the software to make two HDD images and I don't think I'll be able to use those images with other software.
Pros: There are several pockets to keep things separated. The quality of the bag seems good so far.
Cons: It's not much bigger than the typical fanny pack; it's much smaller than I thought it would be based on the pictures. They don't list the size of this bag on the specifications, but when I read that it was big enough for a small tablet, I wasn't thinking "Just barely large enough for an iPad mini."
Overall Review: I was able to make this bag work for my needs, and it's not expensive. If you're carrying several small items, it's probably perfect. But my wife has purses that hold more.
Pros: This Maglite is a winner. The flashlight has a strong beam with a nice focus. The focus is adjustable and unlike my previous XL50, this flashlight's focusing knob has some resistance so whatever focus you adjust it to, it should stay there. The accessories are nice: a belt clip, a rubber lens cover, and three color filters (blue, red, green). The flashlight is extremely rigid and built to take a beating. My last XL50 survived numerous falls, drops, and bangs. It only succumbed to leaking batteries that made the contacts stop working.
Cons: The carriage for the 3 AAA batteries is not as durable as I would like; the plastic seems a bit weak. That being said, the carriage in my previous XL50 that this flashlight is replacing survived much abuse. I don't like the switch design, which causes the batteries to slowly drain down because there is always a small, but definite flow through the electronic switch. That being said, the batteries can sit in the flashlight for over a month with plenty of power still available.
Overall Review: My last XL50 was one of the first ones made; I bought it almost immediately after it came out. The candle-power seems much higher despite the model number being the same. I'm guessing the company makes ongoing improvements in LED power and efficiency where they can, but without changing model numbers.