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intrepid r.

intrepid r.

Joined on 04/02/04

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Most Favorable Review

Awesome performance, reliability, and function

ASUS Laptop X556UQ-NH71 Intel Core i7 7th Gen 7500U (2.70 GHz) 8 GB Memory 512 GB SSD NVIDIA GeForce 940MX 15.6" FHD Windows 10 Home 64-Bit
ASUS Laptop X556UQ-NH71 Intel Core i7 7th Gen 7500U (2.70 GHz) 8 GB Memory 512 GB SSD NVIDIA GeForce 940MX 15.6" FHD Windows 10 Home 64-Bit

Pros: i7 is beyond what is needed for everyday usage --- but there are always websites that are poorly written or bloated with graphics and at those times the CPU's extra processing power eliminates any delays. 8gb of memory is the perfect size for Windows 10, more than enough for Office, Chrome browsing with multiple tabs, and background tasks like pandora/netflix/youtube on a secondary screen. The SSD is the perfect storage size for long-term usage without having to worry about space anxiety. SSD speed is faster and more reliable than any spinning drive - worry free. The Geforce software seamlessly switches graphics processing from the i7 to the 940MX without any hiccups. I do not see any extra battery drain when the Geforce is not used. Exhaust cooling going to the screen hinge is a neat aesthetic design while also keeping my hands from getting warm like on side exhaust laptops. A simple thing like the touch pad is just designed better by Asus than most other brands - size, integrated buttons, Windows functionality. USB 3.0 ports are true to standard speeds. Plastic appearance is a as nice as you can get for plastic. The plastic casing is also solid - with the laptop open, I hold it by the corner and there is no flexing in the case despite being 15in screen and some heft. Screen is clear and matte making it less strain on my poor eyes (14hrs/day!). Audio quality to Bose headphones is very clear and adjustable. Keyboard finish and feel are better than most laptops but not as good as the +$1500 systems.

Cons: Cooling fan for cpu is noticeable more audible than comparable Dell models. A keyboard backlight would have been nice. The SDHC slot has gone the way of other manufactures - sd cards only go in half way which I believe is to keep cost down/reliability up since there is no need for an eject mechanism. I liked to keep an SD card inserted always as a constant option for backup and/or scratch disk for encoding to save the system drive from wear and tear. I also use headphones most of the day with an external mouse - it would have been nice to have the headphone jack on the left side with the other I/O ports but this is more of a preference than con. Speaker is quality adequate to good but I prefer the speakers to project from the keyboard than the front. My previous Asus laptop had that design. Speakers in the front sound great on hard surfaces but once on a bed/couch or empty space, the sound suffers dramatically while speakers in the keyboard keep sound the same.

Overall Review: I sit in front of my laptop for about 9-14hrs 6 days a week. Majority of that time is spent reading text books and using study websites. Other times I use Netflix and x265 videos. The 512gb drive is worth the price difference over the lower model. The graphics chip is a huge plus for casual gamers over the 7500u integrated GPU but is not a top tier gaming chip. The SSD drive is fast and does everything I ask of it from copying large files quickly to reading multiple small files demand but it is not as fast as top tier Samsung SSD drives. I have not used the USB C port yet but its a nice addition as this is way everything is going. The system has only 2 USB 3 ports but they are able to power everything without issue. Every Dell that has not been the professional line, has had trouble delivering reliable power to all the ports making them useless in most instances. WiFi 5g is fast but distance is limited. WiFi 2.4g is more than plenty for web browsing/streaming HD content. I have transferred up to 10gb files to my NAS and speeds stay around 50mbs. I cannot give a fair assessement on signal strength as I have a very good router that provides coverage beyond my property lines (RT-AC68). Webcam video quality is adequate for typically work, no complaints with webcam audio quality. Cortana is able to pickup audio request from across the room with no issues so I believe mic quality is solid too. DVD writing is as quick as can be expected from an optical drive (drive is as noisy as can be expected too).

Most Critical Review

Absolutely Horrible

Cisco Small Business RV180W-A-K9-NA RV180W Multifunction Wireless VPN Router IEEE 802.11b/g/n, IEEE 802.3/3u/3ab
Cisco Small Business RV180W-A-K9-NA RV180W Multifunction Wireless VPN Router IEEE 802.11b/g/n, IEEE 802.3/3u/3ab

Pros: Clean physical design, Cisco name

Cons: *Slow -> takes 2-3 minutes to get rolling *Web interface consistently times out using IE, Waterfox, Firefox, or Chrome *Unit would not recognize internet connection (I believe just bad luck being defective) *Was able to update bios after two tries (first time it timed out before I was able to upload the file) *Defective products happen, but my interaction with Cisco vaunted technical support left much to be desired.

Overall Review: *My office has used Cisco/Linksys WRT310N that died after 2 years of good use (albeit slow network speeds), upgraded to a Linksys E4200v2 that died 11 months (very fast, efficient router), and then decided to purchase this unit. The product appears to have amazing features, but the slow boot and terrible customer service experience with this unit and E4200v2 have pushed me to jump ship to a RT-AC66u (2yr warranty from factory).

Excellent daily desktop replacement!

ASUS PN50 Mini PC Barebone with AMD Ryzen 5 4500U Six-core Mobile Processor, up to 64GB DDR4 RAM, M.2 PCIE up to 1TB SSD, WiFi 6, Bluetooth, USB-C with VESA Mount (PN50-BBR065MD)
ASUS PN50 Mini PC Barebone with AMD Ryzen 5 4500U Six-core Mobile Processor, up to 64GB DDR4 RAM, M.2 PCIE up to 1TB SSD, WiFi 6, Bluetooth, USB-C with VESA Mount (PN50-BBR065MD)

Pros: Small, clean form factor with solid chassis. Very easy to work on and cooling is great for the size. Excellent CPU scores for office and web applications. Surprisingly efficient cooler for daily tasks and fan speed only ramps up after sustained CPU loads. I personally prefer the USB C ports for future proof at the expense of losing USB A ports.

Cons: I did need to purchase a USB hub as some devices are still in the transition to type C still. I wish there was an Asus branded powered USB hub that stylistically fit the PN50 (similar to NUC options).

Overall Review: Absolutely recommend for work and home use that only requires office and web usage. ASUS PN50 Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2 2280 500GB G. Skill Ripjaws 16GB DDR4 3200 (PC4 25600) Dell S2721QS 27 Inch 4K UHD DisplayPort Cable 3.3ft, iVANKY DP Cable, [4K@60Hz, 2K@165Hz, 2K@144Hz]

Quiet, clean power

CORSAIR RMx Series RM550X 550W 80 PLUS GOLD Haswell Ready Full Modular ATX12V & EPS12V SLI and Crossfire Ready Power Supply
CORSAIR RMx Series RM550X 550W 80 PLUS GOLD Haswell Ready Full Modular ATX12V & EPS12V SLI and Crossfire Ready Power Supply

Pros: Very quiet, efficient (based on usage), stays cool under heavy load

Cons: 1 of the 4 screws supplied was stamped wrong to the point it was useless. I do not have extra black screws so I contacted Corsair via e-mail to have a replacement screw sent - no reply 10 days later. Not the end of the world.

Overall Review: Absolutely recommend this brand and line of PSUs due to long term reliability, efficiency vs. price, modular/cable quality, and cooling fan runs only when needed!

Quiet, functional, clean

Corsair Carbide Series 330R Blackout Edition CC-9011076-WW  Black Steel, Aluminum, and Plastic ATX Mid-Tower Computer Case
Corsair Carbide Series 330R Blackout Edition CC-9011076-WW Black Steel, Aluminum, and Plastic ATX Mid-Tower Computer Case

Pros: Very quiet fans, professional appearance, rounded edges inside, great cable management options, easy adjustment path for advanced cooling if needed. Filters easy to remove and clean.

Cons: Plastic door hinges look like a weak point. Door unfortunately also closes on a plastic peg rather than using magnets.

Overall Review: For the price, one of the top cases for professionals using ATX boards.

Quality

ASUS TUF Z270 Mark 1 LGA1151 DDR4 DP HDMI M.2 USB 3.1 Z270 ATX Motherboard
ASUS TUF Z270 Mark 1 LGA1151 DDR4 DP HDMI M.2 USB 3.1 Z270 ATX Motherboard

Pros: Quality components, pretested hardware, easy to setup, stays cool under heavily stressed i7 Kaby Lake, clean airflow

Cons: Asus tech support misinformed me that the board was dual m.2 sata compatible. Asus sales support was able to provide better information. Newegg covered Asus missteps and resolved my SSD return. Asus website is total disaster (has been for 10+yrs) but BIOS/drivers/etc. relatively easy to find.

Overall Review: Bios was very old (but easy update before installing OS). Only brand I buy, this is my 50+ Asus motherboard in the past 12 years, first TUF branded one and its definitely of quality construction. The I/O speeds are very good but I haven't tested it against other Z270 boards yet.