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Larry B.

Larry B.

Joined on 12/18/07

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 36
Most Favorable Review

Not the king, but definitely a winner in it's price range

MSI Z87I LGA 1150 Intel Z87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard
MSI Z87I LGA 1150 Intel Z87 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Mini ITX Intel Motherboard

Pros: WiFi/BT works great, dropped my latency by about 20ms and increased DL by 5Mbps vs a USB adapter. Mini-PCI-E slot. Great BIOS, very easy to overclock my i5 to 4.6GHz+. Fan controls are pretty good, see more in Cons. Onboard audio is actually the same as the Realtek 1150, just with 2 channels chopped off.

Cons: Nitpicks: Only 2 fan headers and the system fan header is in a bad place. 4-pin power plug is also placed in a bad spot. PCI-E locking mechanism is kind of a PITA, but it could just be that I'm used to Gigabyte's excellent mechanism.

Overall Review: Aside from some goofs on chipset layout, this is an excellent motherboard. It offers everything you need to have a powerful Haswell system in a Mini-ITX form factor. It may not have the power phases or headphone amp the more expensive boards have, but in my experience those don't make as much of a difference as you expect. Will update a few months later, but so far I am loving it.

Most Critical Review

Disaster!

Diablo III PC / Mac Game
Diablo III PC / Mac Game

Pros: Hyped to hell.

Cons: Just like Max Payne 3, the 3rd part of the trilogy was developed by a different team who had no idea what made the first two games fun. Sure it looked pretty and we all believed it would be great while they were teasing us at Blizzcons, but what we got was not what we thought we were getting. Do yourself a favor and just remember Diablo 2, just forget this game ever existed.

Poor man's G400?

ZALMAN M350 Combo 4 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Optical 2000 dpi Advanced Gaming Sensor Mouse Combo with Gaming Mousepad
ZALMAN M350 Combo 4 Buttons 1 x Wheel USB Wired Optical 2000 dpi Advanced Gaming Sensor Mouse Combo with Gaming Mousepad

Pros: For my complete review, see Other Thoughts. +Blue glow is actually classy, not the typical gamer LED that I hate. +No driver or software required! +Perfect weight and size for medium size hands (more on that below). Compared to my G400, it's 3mm small in height, 2mm shorter in length, and about equal in width. The G400 feels 5-10g heavier. +Entire mouse is covered in soft-touch, anti-slip material +HTPE feet are very quiet and glide effortlessly. +One of the lowest lift-off distance I have seen, almost no mouse jitter when picking up the mouse. +Mouse wheel has excellent feedback and quiet. +Mouse buttons feel very nice, I do believe these are Omron switches. They aren't clacky, but they aren't mushy either. +Mouse pad is a decent size, slightly larger than my Razer Kabuto.

Cons: -Mouse pad is very basic, literally nothing makes this a gaming mouse pad. It does work fine, just not a gaming mouse pad. -DPI settings are very basic, only offering 800/1400/2000. For me, the only usable setting seems to be 800. -Not made by Zalman, no idea who the real manufacturer is. -Polling rate is 125Hz, with no way to change it that I can find.

Overall Review: So let me tell you what happened. I bought a Logitech G400 around 5 months ago because all my friends said it was the best budget gaming mouse. I love the shape and size, but found the extras to be unnecessary. I tried to use the thumb buttons, but they just never felt natural. The software for Logitech is horrible and would reset the settings all the time. All in all I liked the mouse, but wanted something cheaper without the bells and whistles. Last week, my G400 died. Every 10-30 seconds it will disconnect then reconnect. I contacted Logitech RMA and they wanted me to provide all kinds of proof of purchase that I just didn't have. So without a way to get a RMA, I'm here buying this mouse. Right off the bat, I loved the way this mouse looked. I could just tell that it was a good size and not too flashy. Now that it's in my hand, I am very happy with my decision. It is very close to the G400 in feel, except it's ambidextrous. The G400 tracks a little better, but I'm chalking that up to the 1000Hz polling rate. The sides have a nice wave pattern that helps you grip the mouse using only your thumb and ring finger/pinky. The mouse buttons extend very far out, making this mouse great for claw grip or palm grip. The middle mouse wheel is recessed slightly, which I like. I don't like mouse wheels that are poking out high. The wheel has a nice rubber texture with bumps in it. It has a very similar resistance to the G400 when scrolling, I would even say it's better. I haven't had any problems with accuracy or speed. I play just fine in games like Dota 2, SC2, Diablo 3, CS: GO, and Bioshock. When you first plug it in, be prepared to learn the mouse. Every mouse has it's own way of accelerating and tracking. You just have to give it a while to sink in. If you're looking for a cheap gaming mouse that isn't compact, this is it. I will update in the future regarding durability and performance.

Some flaws, but overall a great case

Fractal Design Node 304 Black Aluminum/Steel Mini-ITX Small Form Factor Computer Case
Fractal Design Node 304 Black Aluminum/Steel Mini-ITX Small Form Factor Computer Case

Pros: Great design Great open space design makes it easy to work in a small area. The fans are extremely quiet and the fan controller is great. All of the cables are wrapped, making it aesthetically pleasing.

Cons: Lots of the screws over-tightened from the factory or stripped. Hard drive cages just get in the way, I had to remove two in order to make room for all the cables and the GPU. The PSU mount is flimsy, even after you screw down the PSU it still moves around. My GPU is 280mm and while it did fit, the PSU cables hit it even though it's 140mm long.

Overall Review: I think the design is great, just the execution could have been better. I'm still happy with the case and will even look into future Fractal Design cases.

Good for a storage drive

WD Blue 1TB Desktop Hard Disk Drive - 7200 RPM SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5 Inch - WD10EZEX
WD Blue 1TB Desktop Hard Disk Drive - 7200 RPM SATA 6Gb/s 64MB Cache 3.5 Inch - WD10EZEX

Pros: Lots of storage for the price Decent speed Somewhat quiet

Cons: Lots of seeking noises when you are doing data intensive tasks. Still pretty slow compared to even the slowest SSDs.

Overall Review: I think if you need a storage drive, this is probably your best choice. I wouldn't use it as a boot drive though, just not fast enough for that.

Way better than I was expecting

Intel Core i5-4670K - Core i5 4th Gen Haswell Quad-Core 3.4 GHz LGA 1150 84W Intel HD Graphics Desktop Processor - BX80646I54670K
Intel Core i5-4670K - Core i5 4th Gen Haswell Quad-Core 3.4 GHz LGA 1150 84W Intel HD Graphics Desktop Processor - BX80646I54670K

Pros: Maybe I just got lucky, but my chips OCed to 4.6GHz @ 1.22V. Max temps while gaming is around 55C. The iGPU is actually quite good and you can play some games at 1080p. The new adaptive voltage is amazing, allowing you to have stable voltage for high OC while still downvolting for idle states.

Cons: None

Overall Review: If you already have an Ivy Bridge, you may want to hold off. If you're on Sandy or below, definitely take a look at what Haswell has to offer.