Joined on 07/19/03
Awesome media player!
Pros: Plays everything I've tried, including a variety of subtitle file formats, recognizes my home network without fail, connects to my Netflix account, and self-updates as firmware becomes available.
Cons: Remote is tiny and lacks extra support for Netflix. This isn't to say it doesn't work with Netflix. But since it advertises Netflix support, it would be awesome if the remote provided character keys or at least a telephone-style keypad.
Overall Review: Don't know what made this thing have to go through recertification; it works just fine for me. There is a delay at power on where my TV screen goes blank for 15-60 seconds. But it always comes on eventually, and once on, it stays that way until I shut it down.
Houston, we have a problem
Pros: I *love* the expansion feature. When plugged into a USB 2.0 port, data transfer is consistent. I have cloned OS drives multiple times without a problem.
Cons: For whatever reason, this thing simply does not maintain a connection when copying large amounts of data while connected to one of my USB 3.0 ports. I don't know if this is the fault of my motherboard (Gigabyte GA-970-UD3). I've tried un/reinstalling the usb 3.0 drivers multiple times and replacing the cable. But it still goes through this maddening cycle of "forgetting" the drive, then "remembering" it. And each time it happens, or course, the copy operation fails. So it's unusable in USB 3.0 mode for me, which is a pity since that's specifically why I bought this dock.
Overall Review: Because of my issues with the dock in USB 3.0 mode, I use it exclusively in USB 2.0 mode now. It works just fine that way. My next test, I suppose, will be to pick up a different USB 3.0 docking bay and see if the same intermittent amnesia occurs. If so, I will conclude that it's a motherboard problem.
Unique geek gift
Pros: Immediately recognizable. Reconfigurable (obviously). Perfect for an inexpensive, yet memorable gift for your young or old nerdling--video gamer status not required. Only one piece can be plugged in and the rest light up when connected to that piece, or to another piece connected to that piece. I suspect that two or more kits may be connected via one plugged-in piece, but I only got the one kit.
Cons: Color panels only on two sides, opposite each other. The other sides are white plastic. I wish the colored sectioning went all the way around. Best position them strategically.
Overall Review: This is a unique look for lighting that draws attention even from non-gamers who've never even heard of tetris.
Follow-up: Good idea on paper
Pros: This is a follow-up to my earlier review. WD is a good vendor and makes it easy to return defective or problematic products, with a comparatively generous RMA window and a solid 5-year warranty.
Cons: Wd responded to my earlier review, suggesting I try the drive in another machine and to run their diagnostics program. The former was not an option for me. But I did try different cables and different connections, including swapping connections with another SSD. In all tests, the WDBlack2 drive showed up as "Generic FCR SATA Loader Loader (4MB)" while the other SATA was ID'ed correctly. I also tried the WD diags. It saw the drive, but also mis-ID'ed it and reported that it could not continue with the unrecognized drive. That's when I filed for RMA. WD granted the request and even sold me a UPS label at discount for returning the drive.
Overall Review: This arrangement has a LOT of promise. But the implementation has a serious flaw. The 1 TB mechanical drive is only accessible via driver. When you install this drive, the BIOS does not appear able to see the mechanical part of the drive and the OS cannot access it without the drivers. Consequently, when the SSD part of the drive failed on me, I also lost all of the contents I had written to the mechanical part of the drive. There should be some way to bypass the SSD in cases like mine. If there is, it's well-hidden. (BTW, to the reviewer who called the included USB "key" "DRM protection", that is nonsense. You can download the drivers at WD's website if you prefer. The USB key is just a convenience.)
Good enough, really!
Pros: BIG tube of quality thermal compound. If you do a lot of PC chopshopping, it's a cost-effective way of using "nearly" the best.
Cons: Despite the name, it is a ceramic compound with no silver, which means it's not going to get that last 3-4 degrees you might be looking for.
Overall Review: If you are a serious over-clocker (I'm not), you might want to pay double the price for the tiny tube of less effective compound.
Great cooler, poor AMD implementation
Pros: Super quiet. Dropped my AMD Phenom X4 955 15 degrees!
Cons: Zalman's implementation for attaching this cooler to a socket AM3 motherboard is, to put it nicely, minimal. This went into a tower, and all that is holding this gigantic cooler to my motherboard is a single tension clip. I would rather sacrifice ease of removal for a sturdy, screw-mounted cooler of this size.
Overall Review: I have a roomy Antec mid-tower. This cooler clears the door to the case by about a half-inch. Be absolutely sure you will be able to fit this in your case!