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Kevin K.

Kevin K.

Joined on 08/11/05

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 6
Most Favorable Review

Decent Machine, but with some caveats

Acer Aspire V5-171-53316G50ass 11.6" LED Notebook - Intel Core i5 i5-3317UM 1.70 GHz
Acer Aspire V5-171-53316G50ass 11.6" LED Notebook - Intel Core i5 i5-3317UM 1.70 GHz

Pros: Has some nice, hidden features of interest to the hardcore techies Mix of USB2 and USB3 ports Rather upgradeable Very powerful for the money

Cons: Missing LED indicators that most other machines take for granted 5400rpm drive and Acer Bloatware makes it feel slow Feels cheap and plasticky Infuriating Trackpad Small capacity battery

Overall Review: Pretty decent machine for the money (This is really the Aspire V5-171 6860 model) The positives: a) The CPU is the 1.7GHz version of the Core i5 UltraBook CPU series - it's not slow by any means - and it comes with virtualization/cryptographic acceleration built-in. It has the faster HD4000 graphics chip, the Quicksync video conversion circuitry, and I have yet to see it "run slow" on anything modern. b) The machine is rather upgradable. It features 2 DDR3 mobile RAM slots, and can take up to 16GB of RAM in total. The wireless card is a Broadcom dualband (not single-band) 802.11n/Bluetooth combo card and can be swapped out with no BIOS locks, and the HDD bay will take 2.5mm 7mm Z-height drives (not 9.5mm standard drives - a little annoying there) The really good feature is that it comes with 1 USB3 port on the left, and 2 USB2 on the right. If you run VMWare you will see that as a massive plus (VMWare's USB arbitrator cannot do USB3->2 Translations) c) The BIOS is minimal, but quite generous when it comes to features left on - Virtualization is enabled, as is the no-execute bit and the vt-d/IOMMU. You can run KVM straight out of the box, which is not the case in most other laptops in this price range. The negatives: a) 5400rpm drive - no, Acer. Seriously? Decent CPU and sub-par HDD? And you have to shove a massive dose of bloatware in there? You are better off getting the entitlement key from the machine and do a clean install. Better yet, swap out that HDD and get a faster, 7200rpm model...preferrably a full disk encryption model. b) The touchpad will drive you nuts - It's not well regarded by press reviewers...and for a good reason. The button is built into the trackpad, and it does a semi-awful job detecting clicks. c) Acer trimmed back the LED indicators to only power and charge activity. No HDD indication or wireless connectivity, and no keyboard "lock" indications, so you can't tell whether the machine hung or is taking a long time due to swappage. What were you thinking, Acer?! d) The Battery has some seriously short legs - I have yet to see it go beyond 4 hours. Conclusion - this is an okay machine if you like large features at a bargain basement price. It would have been a great machine if Acer charged more and actually did less cost-cutting.

12/12/2012
Most Critical Review

Not a great product for mass transit commute

Microsoft 16" MT Laptop Backpack - Blue Trim Model 39306
Microsoft 16" MT Laptop Backpack - Blue Trim Model 39306

Pros: Really decent capacity Lots of small useful compartments comfortable for wearing

Cons: Cubish Takes up a lot of space in the back Destabilizing if you plan to run with it (to catch the train)

Overall Review: It's overall not a bad product, it's comfortable on your shoulders and has lots of small storage compartments for your modern IT pros. The problem is that the designer does not have to ride mass transit for his/her commute - the bag is cubish when you load it up, so you end up looking like you strap on a barrel or a box up back. If you take the NYC Subway, the Chicago El, or BART on a daily basis you would notice that it juts out back and takes up more space than urban etiquette will tolerate - running to catch the train would be tough since it's juts out enough to be destabilizing. It's probably okay if you drive to work daily, or use it as your in-flight carry on.

Poor documentation for making purchasing decisions

XFX TSK MULTIPLi X64 2-Monitor Radeon HD 6450 1GB DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 Low Profile Ready Video Card TK-DM59-NCD4
XFX TSK MULTIPLi X64 2-Monitor Radeon HD 6450 1GB DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 x16 Low Profile Ready Video Card TK-DM59-NCD4

Pros: Fits well into low profile Seems to perform well at low resolutions

Cons: Does not drive a pair of Dell U3011 Ultrasharp screens at anything beyond 1600x1200 in Windows XP or Ubuntu Linux Does not document maximum resolution supported via the DMS-59/DVI-D M1-DA cables supplied Support site requires registration (Do I really want to give you my email address for the same drivers that ATi is providing just so you can spam me with product news? No)

Overall Review: Note: This could be a decent card, but if the objective/selling point of the card is to support low form factor multi-monitor at the highest resolution possible, it's pretty important to mention what this card is capable of doing. A 5 year old ATi FireMV 2250 will cost less and do more.

Low price rockstar for ESXi

HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer Server System AMD Turion II Neo N40L 1.5GHz 2-Core 2GB (1 x 2GB) DDR3 1 x 250GB LFF SATA 658553-001
HP ProLiant N40L MicroServer Server System AMD Turion II Neo N40L 1.5GHz 2-Core 2GB (1 x 2GB) DDR3 1 x 250GB LFF SATA 658553-001

Pros: Cheap (obscenely cheap) Supports 4 SATA drives - even comes with the caddies and the screws/torx driver already mounted on the inside of the server access door. The design was definitely made with some serious thought in mind - more inclined to buy Proliant servers after this. Decent firepower Okay memory capacity (16GB with G-Skill F3-1333C9D-16GAO) Easy to service and repair Quiet enough to sit in a small apartment Internal USB port, great for loading VMWare ESXi or a Debian/BSD boot image

Cons: Could come with a hardware RAID option (discounted P410?) Could come with an extra NIC

Overall Review: Great machine, surprised by how well the Turion N40L (Same as an Athlon II/K625) handles multiple VM workloads. It's definitely good value. HP really should continue development of this series and add a more expensive Intel Core i5 option with VT-d support so it can be used with VMDirectPath.

12/19/2012

Decent 7mm Drive

Seagate Momentus Thin ST320LT009 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 2.5" Internal Notebook Hard Drive Bare Drive
Seagate Momentus Thin ST320LT009 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 2.5" Internal Notebook Hard Drive Bare Drive

Pros: Good solid performance, 7200rpm, HDD password based self-encrypting drive, no need for trusted platform module

Cons: Does not come in 500GB version, HGST version of the drive is not sold by newegg, not even sure if it's even available

Overall Review: Long-time (2+ year) user in their 9.5mm standard height 7200.FDE2 500GB drive in an Acer Timeline 1810T (also a great machine), had nothing but great things to say about that model. The Timeline replacement (Aspire V5) only accept a 7mm drive, so was forced to buy a new unit...boo. Only thing that fits the bill (FDE, non-SSD, HDD, made by Seagate) is this one. Priced at $80 USD as of Black Friday 2012, had to re-install Windows 7 to get a clean install into the machine. So far I am happy with it. Only wish that Seagate offers a 500GB version (I run a devy of VMs so more capacity is always better, or if SandForce SSD vendors are better at defining what their so-called encryption happened to be (or if it's actually priced better). I am sticking with HDDs, and this one looks like a winner. Oh yeah. Newegg, you guys are rockstars. Fast shipment and great pricing - can a geek ask for more?

Not bad for a $600 Portable Powerhouse

Acer Laptop Aspire Timeline AS1810T-8638 Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 (1.30GHz) 4GB Memory 320GB HDD Intel GMA 4500MHD 11.6" Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Acer Laptop Aspire Timeline AS1810T-8638 Intel Core 2 Duo SU7300 (1.30GHz) 4GB Memory 320GB HDD Intel GMA 4500MHD 11.6" Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Pros: Light, reasonably fast, Good value for the feature set - Core 2 Duo/SU7300, Bluetooth, 4GB of RAM, Win7HPre, decent HDD performance, HDMI output, 8GB DDR2 memory max supported. This is like the low cost alternative to a Thinkpad X200.

Cons: Build quality is not exactly ThinkPad-like, shiny bezel smudges and chips easily. Warranty is only 1 year and covers parts-only, but this is not a business-oriented machine anyways. Not sure if the Insyde BIOS can support virtualization. The Chipset and the CPU certainly does. Acer also tries to dilute brand by offering Pentium SU4100 versions at around the same price-point.

Overall Review: Seems to be an extremely competent NetBook replacement - while not all that fast (any C2D SU9400 will beat it), it is better than the Atom powered machines out there (even the Ion powered ones). Only wish that Acer has a version with the Geforce 9400M instead of the Intel GMA4500 MHD (which is not really all that bad for work), and maybe toss in a free carrying vinyl case like the MSI Wind series. Overall, it is a good bit of kit. Will probably upgrade chassis to 6GB of RAM and then attempt to run VMWare Workstation on it.