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Timothy G.

Timothy G.

Joined on 04/22/06

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 7
Most Favorable Review

Very low profile and solid RAM

Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3L 1600 (PC3L 12800) Low Profile Desktop Memory Model BLS2K8G3D1609ES2LX0
Crucial Ballistix Sport 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3L 1600 (PC3L 12800) Low Profile Desktop Memory Model BLS2K8G3D1609ES2LX0

Pros: - Very low profile - Reliable - As fast as RAM needs to be

Cons: - None so far

Overall Review: Ordered 2 sticks (2x 8GB) and ran them through an overnight MemTest with absolutely zero problems. I'm always a bit on edge when ordering RAM and HDDs so it's a great feeling when things just work. I installed mine into an ASRock Z97 Extreme4 and the motherboard detected the correct RAM timings/voltages automatically on boot, no toying around required. The low profile is very low - the securing latches on the RAM slots are higher than the sticks themselves. This allows for pretty much any choice of CPU cooler without concern of butting against the enormous fins of RipJaws and others. I installed the common Hyper 212 EVO onto my CPU and the fan clears the RAM with ample room to spare. If your CPU cooler won't fit over this RAM then it's not fitting anywhere. I tax my RAM heavily, loading dense sample libraries and pulling from them in multiple simultaneous instances. This RAM performs as well as I need it to and runs as cool as it needs to be. I've come to the conclusion that the fancy cooling fins of "professional" RAM is all just marketing and glam. Get this RAM and forget about concerns of temperature or high profiles interfering. Hassle free.

Solid and Simple Wired Keyboard

Logitech K120 Wired Standard USB Keyboard - Black
Logitech K120 Wired Standard USB Keyboard - Black

Pros: - Wired (getting harder to find this) - No odd "ergonomic" features that warp the layout - Nice feel to the keys

Cons: - Doesn't appear to work with a USB/PS2 adapter - No programmable shortcut keys

Overall Review: I wanted a wired and foolproof keyboard that was free of the annoying hiccups that wireless keyboards run into, as well as one that didn't have any of the ergonomic gimmicks that can interfere with typing. This was one of the very few I found. It's straightforward and plain - no programmable keys (which can be handy) and no extra features. The feel to the keys is nice and solid and the layout is where it needs to be - no oddly sized enter or backspace keys. The one issue I've encountered is that the keyboard does not appear to cooperate with a USB/PS2 adapter (which tested fine on other keyboards), so it must be plugged into a USB port. This was a minor inconvenience for me but I do prefer to reserve my USB ports when able. Otherwise if you're looking for a cheap and basic keyboard without gimmicks this is the ticket.

Quiet and effective, but can be improved

Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo CPU Cooler, 4 CDC Heatpipes, 120mm PWM Fan, Aluminum Fins for AMD Ryzen/Intel LGA1200/1151
Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo CPU Cooler, 4 CDC Heatpipes, 120mm PWM Fan, Aluminum Fins for AMD Ryzen/Intel LGA1200/1151

Pros: - Very affordable - Effective cooling - Configurable to accept other fans and multiple sockets - Includes thermal compound

Cons: - Included fan could be better in volume and airflow (can be easily replaced) - Not quite a tight fit over CPUs - Interferes with RAM in many motherboards (resolved with low-profile RAM)

Overall Review: I was in the market for a cheap and effective cooler for my non-overclocked i7 and went with this option. It's not quite perfect and I ended up making a few modifications to the cooler to better suit my needs. I'm not an overclock enthusiast - I need a powerful system for my uses but quiet operation and stability are my priorities, so I prefer to run components cool to keep airflow at low volumes. This cooler kept my i7 at great temperatures and the stock fan ran at a nice volume but I ended up swapping the fan with a Phanteks PH-F140HP, which is a 140mm fan in a 120mm package. The fan fit onto the cooler easily, dramatically increased airflow both in CFM and in the additional 20mm size, and runs noticeably quieter. That's not to say the Hyper 212 wasn't effective and quiet to begin with, but it was a marked improvement. The cooler fits rather loosely over the CPU, meaning once it is installed there is about 30 degrees of rotation that remains possible with the cooler. In practice this isn't really a problem - I set it as straight as I could get it and it has kept my CPU at great temperatures, but even so it made the assembly feel rather cheap and didn't instill a huge amount of faith. I'm sure when I move my system the cooler will rotate again, but I'm not particularly worried about it. The cooler fan does hover over the RAM on my ASRock Z97 Extreme4 motherboard, which encouraged me to pick up some Crucial Ballistix Sport low-profile RAM. That RAM fits under the fans with room to spare even with the 140mm fan I installed. For anyone considering a large cooler the Crucial RAM is a fantastic choice. All that being said, this cooler is amazingly affordable for what it does. Even after replacing the fan and with the rotation issues I'm still generally pleased with my purchase. Had I realized I was going to swap the fan with a Phanteks I may have saved up a little extra and gone with one of the Phanteks coolers to begin with, but even so the price was still nothing to scoff at. If you're looking for affordable and decent and aren't a perfectionist, the Hyper 212 will do the trick.

Solid and Sleek Case

Fractal Design Define R4 Titanium Grey Silent ATX Mid Tower Case
Fractal Design Define R4 Titanium Grey Silent ATX Mid Tower Case

Pros: - Sleek and attractive look without unnecessary bells and whistles - Very easy to work inside - Great vent/fan positioning - Nice amount of room behind the motherboard for hiding excess cabling - Acoustic dampening - Included fans run quietly - External fan 3-speed switch for quiet operation when needed

Cons: - Very little documentation - No hard drive access LED (can be swapped with the power LED) - Extra SDD mounts behind motherboard require removing the motherboard to access

Overall Review: I wanted a sleek case with plenty of room and ventilation but that didn't make me look like a 13 year old attending his first rave. This case fit the bill perfectly - a very attractive and professional look that places function far above lights, lasers, and dragons. There is ample room inside for my 6 hard drives while still permitting plenty of room for air cooling. I've placed 4 chassis fans inside the case and the temperatures always stay comfortably cool. A great bonus is the fact that this is a quiet case. The acoustic dampening does make a slight difference, albeit not as much as others may lead you to believe, but more so the layout of the case allows for large and quiet 140mm fans in optimal locations, reducing the need for pushing tons of air and causing turbulence/noise. I work with sound recording and production and a quiet system is a big factor for me so this is a significant draw. The two included fans run very quietly - I went with some Phanteks for my two additional chassis fans and my CPU cooler and they tend to push a bit more air. Although I believe the Phanteks do run slightly quieter they make up for it by pushing more air and creating a bit more turbulence, so in the end they are about the same volume. The documentation is minimal but it's not much of an issue if you take a look around the case and take stock of the included hardware. Once you get an idea of how it's laid out you can figure out what screws go where and so on. The case includes only one LED for power, but this can be easily swapped to function as the hard drive LED just by plugging it into the drive LED header rather than power (it's even explained in the manual). I prefer this approach anyhow as I don't need a blue light constantly telling me the computer is on when idling - I can kind of figure that out on my own. The case includes two "extra" SDD mounting spaces behind the motherboard, which you can see when you remove the opposite side panel. The thing is, you can only screw a SDD into these spaces when the motherboard is not in place - meaning if you ever need to swap one of those SDDs you're in for a nightmare of basically disassembling your entire system. With the huge amount of hard drive spaces in this case (even when removing the larger drive cage) I really think tossing an SDD into one of the extra rear slots is just going to make you regret it some day. Overall I was pretty picky about my case and I'm very pleased with the choice I made.

Simple, Affordable, and Works

SYBA SY-PEX30016 3 Port IEEE 1394 Firewire 2x 1394B & 1x 1394A PCIe 1.1 x1 Card TI XIO2213B Chipset
SYBA SY-PEX30016 3 Port IEEE 1394 Firewire 2x 1394B & 1x 1394A PCIe 1.1 x1 Card TI XIO2213B Chipset

Pros: - Affordable - Truly plug and play, no drivers needed - Offers a port for "legacy" firewire use - Extremely small board profile

Cons: - Ports run a tad close to the edges when mounted

Overall Review: I needed a way of interfacing with a legacy firewire audio device and this did the trick. Plugged it in and it worked immediately - no drivers or fiddling with anything. The board inside the case is very small so I was able to mount it directly beneath my graphics card with barely any interference with the fan uptake. The ports do run a bit close to the edges in my Define R4 case, but the cables still plug in just fine. I don't imagine it would be a problem for anyone.

Very Quiet Supply

EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G2 220-G2-0750-XR 80+ GOLD 750W Fully Modular EVGA ECO Mode Includes FREE Power On Self Tester Power Supply
EVGA SuperNOVA 750 G2 220-G2-0750-XR 80+ GOLD 750W Fully Modular EVGA ECO Mode Includes FREE Power On Self Tester Power Supply

Pros: - Very quiet fan - Eco-mode can make the supply virtually silent

Cons: - Slightly long and can obstruct case bottom fan placement in some cases

Overall Review: I threw this into a Fractal Design Define R4 case as part of an attempt at building a very quiet PC. I went a bit above my power requirements with this supply in hopes of helping it run particularly cool and hence quiet as well. Worked like a charm. My initial thought was to use the eco-mode to run the supply silently when I wasn't taxing it but the fan ended up being so quiet that I just flipped it to run constantly. The other fans in my case (also very quiet fans) are louder than the supply just from air turbulence, so really I never even notice it's on. The supply just barely obstructs the threads for placement of a fan in the second bottom vent of the R4 case with the cables ruling out any McGyvering around it, but for me it wasn't an issue since I didn't intend on placing a fan there.