Date Joined: 04/21/06
Pros: This heatsink was primarily designed for server applications. Which makes it design great for those low-profile case users. Heatsink works better than Intel's stock OEM heatsink. Keeps a 3570k cool under 100% load at 70*C. Even thou it was designed for a LGA1156, it will fit a LGA1155 socket too. 4-pin PWM 60mm fan makes it variable control by motherboard controler.
Cons: Heatsink pre-applied thermal paste is not protected when boxed. I found mine with bits of cardboard stuck to it. Expect to clean and re-apply TIM before use. Also the fan has a slight low-noise buzz sound. From a distance or in a well sound proof case this wouldn't be a bother. But the case that I use is a bit thin & airy, so the buzz sound does bother me.
Pros: These WD Red drives are built for the home user NAS systems. I am amazed at how quiet and low vibiration these drives are. They do also run cooler than other companies HDD.
Overall Review: If you are building a NAS or Raid volume system, forget anything else and get the WD Red HDD drives. Compared to Seagate, these WD drives beat them hands down.
Pros: The layout of the board is thought out. I can easily access all the ports and lay the wires out of the fans way. The Z68 chip gives me flexability to clock the CPU to be quiet running or raw power.
Cons: Unfortunely this board comes with more cons than I would like it to have for being a Z68 chip.
1. Asrock tech support is very lacking. Don't expect to hear a reply back on a issue within a week or a month for that matter.
2. This board will overclock, but it does not overclock stable. I'm running a i7 2600k, 3.4GHz it will do fine at. Anything higher, the voltages and clock speed will bounce. For a regular user, this will be fine and provide the short time speed boost. But I keep this CPU pegged at 100% workload.
3. The BIOS is really simple, but lacks fine tuning. The fan control will only allow a max temp of 65*C on the CPU &/or board. So if you work this board hard or have temperatures issues, it will become noisy. I've upgraded to aftermarket cooling to keep the temps below the 65*C threshold.
Overall Review: This board will best suited for lower power CPU's. Not that it can not handle a i7 95Watt, you just will not get the full benefit of it. This was the first and will probably be the last Asrock mobo that I buy.
Pros: Will give your CPU a good 10 to 15 degrees C cooler. Still easy to install. My i7 2600k core temps went from 65*C average on a stock Intel heatsink to 48*C average on the Zalman CNPS8900 Quiet. The i7 2600k was clocked at 2.8GHz at that time. With the i7 at its factory default speed of 3.4GHz w/ turbo boost, stock heatsink temps were 75*C average. Now with the Zalman CNPS8900 with the i7 at factory speeds, temps average 58*C, 61*C Peak.
Overall Review: Stress testing was done through folding@home program. Which will stress and load all threads. CPU is an Intel 2600k at factory defaults. Turbo boost mode read out at 3.5GHz during temp readings.
Pros: I have to say that this liquid cooling solution is better than the tower heatsink that it replaced. Easily dropped the temps down another 6 degrees C on the low setting on a overclocked i7 930 3.4GHz. The old heatsink kept temps around 74*C with a fully loaded CPU (F@H). The H100 keeps the temps around 68*C with a fully loaded CPU (F@H), and this is on the low setting.
Cons: The only con that I had with the Corsair H100 is the fans. The fans are designed for high static pressure, but they made a clicking noise that bothered me. I wanted a silent cooling solution. I replaced the fans with 2x old 120mm PWM (4-pin), now its quiet. I would suggest purchasing 2x GELID FN-PX12-15 120mm fans.
Overall Review: The Corsair H100 accepts both 3-pin & 4-pin (PWM) fans. It can accept a total of 4 fans, making it easy to setup a whole case cooling solution. The radiator needs a case that can accept twin 120mm fans side-by-side. My case accepts both 120mm & 140mm fans side-by-side, so I only use 4 of the 8 scews on the radiator to hold it up. Also there needs to be at least 2 inches of clearance from the motherboard to mount the radiator & fans inside the case.
Pros: To start, this case is cheap in price. All the parts are already well laid out and you quickly build a PC in this case. Air flow is very good. 2x 120mm top vents, 1x 120mm rear vent, and 1x 120mm side vent. The whole front piece is a vent by itself.
Cons: Unfortunely with a cheap price does come a cheaper case. The case is not very ridgit. So the side panel screws need a little help to align back in. The rear slots are one time use. If you remove them, they can't go back on. The front USB ports are not support to well. If you have a hard to push USB device, the USB ports tend to flex inwards on the case.
Overall Review: The case does what it needs to be. For a cheap PC on the fly, this case does the trick. If you are planning to be going into water cooling, you might want to pick a taller case where you can the radiator on the top vents. Only enough space for 2x 120mm fans on the top vents. But water cooling is still possible with a single 120mm radiator.
Pros: One of the first extreme edition motherboards from Intel. While the 975XBX2 is more flexible, the 975XBX is limited in CPUs that it can handle. Currently have it running just fine on an Intel QX6700 quad core CPU. It does what I need it to and got everything I needed for a low price. The 3x PCIe slots is bouns with this motherboard.
Cons: Low memory speed. I have 4x 1GB 800MHz sticks in, but it only shows up as 400MHz. But for what I use it for, it will do just fine.
Pros: This GPU is outstanding in graphing power. Can be used in most OEM PC's that have at least a 450Watt PSU. In 3DMark11, it raised the score level from a 470 with a GT420 to 4900 with the GTX560Ti. It is faster than the GTX470 and runs cooler too. Idleing, the GTX560Ti runs about 50*C and full load running can get up to 92*C. But with good venting around the case, usually gets no higher than 82*C.
Pros: This heatsink is able to effectively cool an I7 930 CPU under full loads and still be quite. Under idle, temps stay below 30*C. Under full loads, temps stay within the 50*C ranges. But once the load is gone, the CPU temps drop like a brick back under 30*C.
Cons: Its aircooled, so just got to clean dust from it.
Pros: It is an SSD, what else can be said. Fast, low-power usage, light, soild construstion. 128GB to support most all OS, programs, gaming needs. Is definitely worth every penny.
Cons: Needs Windows 7 with Trim command support to bring the full potential of the SSD.
Overall Review: 128GB supports all needs for laptop usage, but will need an HDD support for recorded tv. Suggest using the SSD for the OS and programs. But use an second HDD for gaming and recorded tv. Also, this SSD is built by an trusted name in storage solutions.
Pros: Case has ample space for all mutli-media needs. Able to hold 6+ HDD when needed (I currently use 4x HDD and 1x SDD). Hot swap HDD is nice to have for server needs. Plenty of air flow from all the slits cut around the edge lip of the case. Sound is kept quite and isolated within the case.
Cons: Case is longer than most mid-tower cases. This may be a problem to some where space is a problem. The tool-less installs of drives is a joke. I took the screws out of the tool-less brackets and used the screws to securely hold my CD-roms and HDD in.
Overall Review: This case comes with a bracket for SSD support. But not much for any extra hardware screws.
Pros: This battery does what it claims to do. Much longer runtimes when compared to my aging OEM battery (4400mAh). Great fit and finish. When testing between the OEM (4400mAh) and Lenmar (6600mAh), playing an 720p encoded movie, runtimes were OEM = 26mins & Lenmar = 1hr 20min. CPU average usage was about 85% during the test.
Cons: Sony has a software installed on their laptops that checks the battery to be OEM. The software is "ISBmgr" under the startup tab in the MSConfig. ISBmgr needs to be unchecked and the laptop given a reset for the new battery to work.
Overall Review: The battery may work good for the couple of times before you may get an message stating that the battery is incompatible and the laptop then proceeds to shut down and won't bootup any more. Disable the "ISBmgr" under the startup tab in MSConfig fixes this issue.
Pros: This game has a good story line that kept me playing for hours. Graphics is like artwork in motion. Show much detail in every object. Can't wait till the third part comes out.
Cons: This game will stress test any GPU. Will need the lasted GPU to get every detail. The GTX470 will work plenty hard just to keep up.
Overall Review: This game involves a lot of car driving. So it is best to invest in a game controler. It is still playable with keyboard and mice, just expect to be doing a lot key tapping.
Pros: Very powerful GPU for what I use it for. Runs F@H proteins in matters of just an hour, instead hours (9800GT). Can produce very beatuiful details in Mafi II. Runs quite when idling.
Cons: Can run hot without sufficent air flow in the case (90*C +). Can also be loud when the fan is running high.
Overall Review: Is a great GPU for the performance and price, but needs to have better improved cooling. Having a case that supports ample air flow is recommended, or converting the GPU to water cooling is option.
Pros: SSD support works great and doesn't require any user setup. Everything that Vista had, made better. Quick start-ups, shut downs, and resume.
Cons: Windows did away with the DreamScene that was in Vista Ultimate. Extremely long time to install on a filled SSD.
Overall Review: This is a good OS for any system. It is stable once loaded and supports a full range of hardware. User friendly GUI, and more flexible on controling programs that run (unlike Vista).
Pros: This drive is compact, light weight, and quite. It does what Seagate has claimed it will do, and thats to increase the speed perforamce of the HDD. This HDD has a limited amount of built in SSD memory. The HDD uses adaptive programing to select certain files or programs you use the most and stores them in the faster SSD memory. This way, programs and files load much faster. Boot up times have dropped dramticaly.
Stock = + 6' 00"
1st boot = 2' 21"
2nd boot = 1' 54"
3rd boot = 1' 51"
4th boot = 1' 48" (lowest time so far)
Cons: The only con that I would say is the limited amount of SSD memory. 4GB of on-board SSD memory does help improve speed, but storage hogging programs can easily fill that amount of space. 16GB or 32GB would have been better suited (if Seagate does reconsider)
Overall Review: This is a laptop HDD. So a 3.5" to 2.5" bracket is needed for desktop use. Unless your case already has provisions for a 2.5" drive.
Pros: Vista is really pleasing to look at. Side bar gadets are more useful than I except them to be and are easily upgradeble to other gadets. Dreamscene is a nice touch for allowing a moving background wallpaper. Makes Vista really come alive. Start-up is faster. Aero feature makes the glass look more appealing. Better folder windows helps to relocate and move files easier without the need to open mutliple windows.
Cons: Not all hardward will support Vista. Let Windows download the correct drivers. If a hardware piece doesn't load, download the correct one. Had power options not work. It would go into sleep, but would not come out of it. Found that I needed the lastest BIOS, once re-flashed, power options worked correctly. 64-bit OS is not supported by some software. Some games have problems loading with Vista, espeically the older ones. And may not support the correct video res or corupt the backgrough wallpaper when exiting the game. 1 crash so far, but easily recovered. Due to internal data error by Vista.
Overall Review: Vista is really a leap forward from XP. But if you can wait till 2010 for Windows 7, it might be best to wait. If you need a OS asap, Vista Ultimate is a good choice. Utlimate includes features that the other bundles do not offer through Microsoft Update.
Pros: Quite, massive storage, fast, dependable
Cons: 1 HDD still has the click noise after a month of operation. But still has yet to fail.
Overall Review: This an add-on review to my last post. The replacement HDD that Newegg has provided is working great. Just like my first Seagate HDD. Its operatering quitely and smooth. Thou waiting the extra 2weeks for it, is kinda of strainfully. But its worth it since its working the way it should be.
Pros: The HDD is quite. Massive amount of storage space. Easy setup for a Raid config.
Cons: Some clicking noise. First 1TB HDD I ordered and used for over a month has proved reliable and quite. The recently 2x 1TB HDD have had some issues. One of them was DOA. The second HDD is working, but at certain times makes the same noises as the DOA HDD. Which makes me believe that this HDD may fail in the future.
A side note, both recently purchased HDD were made from China. My older 2x 500GB and 1TB HDD were made from Singapore and Thailand.
Overall Review: Seagate does build really decent HDD. But with the recent purchase, I'm led otherwise. My older Seagate 500GB have lasted really well over time and abuse with many non-stop hours of file transfers. Maybe my recent purchase was just a bad batch made as my much earlier Seagate 1TB has provided even better service. 4 eggs due to abnormal click noise and a DOA HDD.
Pros: It is HD ready and DTV ready. It does pick up HD channels over the air. Picture is the same quality as the ATi 550 Pro tuner. You can record 1x DTV channel and watch 1x Analog channel, but not 2x on the same. 100% compitable with MCE 2005. Software included is not needed, unless you don't use MCE as main guide. To use QAM (unencrypted digital cable), you need MS Vista OS.
Cons: Wish I could watch & record on DTV channel at the same time. The twin tuners is just 1x analog & 1x digital tuner, seperate. But its not too much of a problem.
Overall Review: Good upgrade option
Pros: CNPS9500 AT cools my Pentium D 840 CPU alot better than stock heatsink. What took a stock fan to achive at max speed, the Zalman did at idle. Temps were before 60*C CPU Idle. Now are at 45*C and can still be lowered. Full Load on the CPU, Temps only reach 50*C and still can pushed Further. 4pin connector, whisper quite (Even @ full), pure all copper.
Cons: A bit chunky but lighter than a chunk of almunium heatsink. Will not work on a Intel 975 BTX board, made my own bracket to make it work. Barely enough heat grease suppiled but just enough. Will be hard to fit on some boards becuase of size.
Overall Review: If you have overheating issues, I highly recommend this product. Its mainly designed for a ATX board with a Intel LGA 775 socket. Fan is so whisper quite, I might replace the two 120mm case fans with Zalman.