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William S.

William S.

Joined on 12/09/05

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 21
Most Favorable Review

Worth Every Penny

CORSAIR CMXAF1 Fans
CORSAIR CMXAF1 Fans

Pros: Out of the box to installed in the system: 3 minutes, tops. Quiet, especially when combined with a fan speed controller (or controlled through BIOS fan controls). Clearance for almost any memory, DOES NOT have to be used with Corsair Dominator series only, can be used with any memory stick that complies with "standard" height and size.

Cons: I guess if you had a couple of gorillas moving your PC around for you (being rough with it) the cooler could work its way off. The cool "mounts" to the memory retention clips of your motherboard via compression/friction only. If you wanted to make this more secure I suppose you could apply some nonskid rubber strips to the cooler finger clips. Personally, my setup works just fine as is. The cooler does stand a bit tall, if you are using a low profile format custom case this probably won't fit, measure first, buy next.

Overall Review: Does sit close to my Zalman 9500 but doesn't touch (on an ASUS P5N32 SLI Plus). On the same board an eVGA 8800GTS installed in the first PCI-E 16x slot comes very close, but does not touch, the memory cooler.

Most Critical Review

Questionable tool-less design, skimped on hardware

Rosewill R5717-P BK 120mm Fan ATX Mid Tower Computer Case,with mesh air filters,adjustable vents & Tool-Free kits
Rosewill R5717-P BK 120mm Fan ATX Mid Tower Computer Case,with mesh air filters,adjustable vents & Tool-Free kits

Pros: Inexpensive, lightweight, unobtrusive design blends in well. Case has plenty of expansion bays for both hard drives and 5 1/4 components. 120mm fan is very quiet.

Cons: Tool-less mounting for the 5 1/4 drives REQUIRES that you remove the front panel from the case. Additionally, the mounting rails will ONLY work with CD/DVD-ROM type units. I have a number of removable HD bays and the compression clip technology used withe supplied mounting rails is incompatible with them. Since there are no holes in the bay rack that line up to "normal" mountpoints on the removable HD bays I cannot use them with this case. The HD mounting rails are plastic with tabs that line up with the HD screw holes. This feels very flimsy but works out OK when actually installed to the HD bay. My case only came with 6!? motherboard standoffs which is cutting it to the bare minimum in my opinion. Even though this is a less expensive case I feel they could at least supply 8-10 MB standoffs.

Overall Review: Many sharp edges on the interior which lends to an unfinished feel (and nicked fingertips). The case only comes with the single 120mm fan and has a mount point on the front that will accommodate another fan of either 120mm or 80mm. Air cleaner element is handy but useless unless another fan is installed on the front of the case.

Impressive Case for Impressive Builds

Cooler Master HAF X Blue Edition - High Air Flow Full Tower Computer Case with Windowed Side Panel and USB 3.0
Cooler Master HAF X Blue Edition - High Air Flow Full Tower Computer Case with Windowed Side Panel and USB 3.0

Pros: Cavernous, massive airflow potential, quiet. This case offers a lot of options for cable routing and management and it's easy to create a tidy build. Nice little touches here and there that go a long way towards noise abatement like the rubber skids for the power supply mount or the integrate rubber feet on the base of the case. The case comes with a number of accessories you may or may not need depending on your build like a GPU hold-down bracket and GPU fan shroud if you have a dual-GPU config. The case provides a lot of bay space without feeling (or looking like) a server tower and I appreciate that. Special nod to Cooler Master for providing LED disable toggles on all of the cooling fans; my PC is meant to work, not cruise down the avenue. This case swallows any ATX motherboard whole with ease, even with the largest CPU cooler attached.

Cons: Not quite sure why case manufacturers continue to place the accessories box inside the case. The power supply shroud had a cracked bracket upon receipt due to the accessories box having come loose inside (just needed one more twist on those ties) and it banged around inside during shipment. Nothing that some super glue won't fix but when you are spending this kind of money for a case you expect that extra mile and attention to details. Speaking of the PSU shroud it's made out of cheap ABS plastic, not metal. The casters that come with the case are just barely up to the task of supporting a fully-configured system - they certainly don't roll very nicely (again, that extra mile thing I was on about). The bottom dust filter is impossible to get to once a PSU has been installed so I don't see that being changed very often. Also advertising as "High Air Flow" and then skimping by only providing one top 200mm fan on a case that costs 2 bills feels a bit like cutting a corner.

Overall Review: As others have mentioned this case desperately cries out for the inclusion of a 3.5" to 5.25" bay adaptor for card readers. I think that nearly everyone would agree that a bay adaptor would be of greater value than the GPU bracket that actually does come with the case. I can see the various nooks and ribbed styling of the case eventually being a dust magnet if not kept in check with regular visits from the vacuum. I have a Cooler Master 832 case from years back and one of the best "features" that it had was a relatively smooth, sleek appearance that didn't offer so many dust opportunities. It should also be noted that this case doesn't have any built-in handles for easily moving it around once loaded; and it WILL be heavy once you get it loaded. Again, my kingdom for some quality casters these match the case quite nicely but they don't roll very well even on my wood floors.

Great Value for Money Blu-Ray Player

SAMSUNG Blu-ray Player BD-P1400
SAMSUNG Blu-ray Player BD-P1400

Pros: I bought the Samsung BD-P1400 in early-January 2008 and have been using it frequently since receiving it. I needed a player that had the ability to output multichannel analogue audio, and this player is able to internally decode Dolby True HD and Dolby Digital Plus (as well as standard DD and DTS) and output 5.1 analogue audio, it will NOT output 7.1 unless you connect to an external decoding device (receiver) with an HDMI cable. Take a look at the rear panel photo, the unit only has 5.1 outputs plus and extra stereo pair. I have the player connected via component outputs to my current display as my TV is a bit elderly and does not have HDMI inputs. Due to this I am limited to 1080i as my maximum output resolution but I must say it still looks absolutely stunning. The unit runs quiet except during disc tray open/close when there is a very audible sound of gears being engaged. The integrated fan on the rear panel is silent and cannot be heard at any time.

Cons: This unit will NOT upconvert standard DVD content to higher resolutions when using the COMPONENT video connection, it will only upconvert when using HDMI. This is noted in the product description but it is worth restating here. Blu-ray load times vary, but range anywhere from 15 seconds to a minute. I have had a few titles (Sunshine) take up to 100 seconds to load to menu titles. It seems that the extended load times are tied to additional BD-Java features on some of the later releases. The remote that comes with the unit is functional, but little else. The ergonomics follow Samsung's TV remote line, long, slim, unbalanced toward the back. It seems that occassionally the unit it slow to respond to button presses, especially during movie playback, with a second or two delay between button press and console response. The lack of internal memory for this unit means it doesn't deal with DVD layer changes as smoothly as my older Denon standalone DVD player. Not terrible.

Overall Review: This particular Samsung model has been the target of much criticism, but in my experience it's worked flawlessly for every disc I've thrown at it. I have yet to have a Blu-ray or DVD title fail to play in it, and that is with the factory shipped firmware. There have been reports that this unit "locks up" when paused for more than 5 minutes during Blu-ray playback, I have yet to experience this. Supposedly DVD playback is also problematic, with dropouts and disc restarts, again; I've never experienced either of these issues over numerous playback sessions. Those users that have been having upgrade difficulties with the firmware need to ensure that they are burning an ISO image disc and not the ISO data file as a data disc. There have been reports of users getting better performance from using the CD-R ISO update method vs. using the built in Ethernet connection to update via the Internet. I have yet to have the need to upgrade my firmware.

Second Review - Eight Months Later

Antec Performance One P180B Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel for durability through the majority of chassis
1.0mm cold rolled steel around the 4 x HDD area ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Antec Performance One P180B Black 0.8mm cold rolled steel for durability through the majority of chassis 1.0mm cold rolled steel around the 4 x HDD area ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Pros: So, after having owned and lived with this case for the last 8 months I thought I would return and give some honest opinions on the the good and the bad from my long-term use. The Good This case has excellent sound dampening capabilities. The sheer mass of the build contributes to lower resonance and sound deadening. The hard drive caddy system that this case uses isolates your drives from the case itself, leading to a quieter overall experience. Despite my earlier concerns about the durability of the plastic door double-hinge, it has held up admirably despite my terrible bad habit of hanging the headphones on the open door. The finish is very understated but keeps clean easily and doesn't show fingerprints. Sadly, one of the reasons I'm writing this revisit review is to detail some of the negative aspects of the case that were not immediately apparent to me.

Cons: Despite being an ATX mid-tower, the inside of this case is CRAMPED to say the least. The lower bay for the PSU seems like a great idea at first consideration, but it has a number of drawbacks: 1. heat rises, and despite the separators between the two compartments any PSU of consequence is going to be sharing the warmth with the system area, 2. running wires is a trick and requires some creative planning 3. almost without exception you will need to buy a 4-pin CPU power extension to be able to route under the MB tray. The case ships with a 120mm fan in a bracket within the lower PSU compartment, but between an EPS sized PSU and non-modular wire system, there was no way to keep the fan down below and store the unused leads. With the case being so heavy (not in itself a con), the lack of handles makes moving it a difficult task. Having only 4 external 5 1/4" bays has come to be very limiting. Between 2 HD bay coolers and 2 optical drives, I'm out of front panel expansion options.

Overall Review: The biggest limitation I've run into with the case has come in terms of cooling after adding a second 8800GTS 640mb card for SLI. The close proximity of the second card to the "floor" of the MB tray area does not allow it to have proper airflow and the card will ramp up to 78'c under load. Unfortunately the case maxes out on air cooling options rather quickly, only allowing for three 120mm fans in the system area. Tolerances between the front of the 8800GTS and the backs of the HD rack are almost nil. I'm having to upgrade to a full-tower to get cooling issues under control. Also, 2 of the side panel plastic seating tabs have snapped off. ASUS P5N32-SLI Plus, 3gig Kingston DDR800, Intel C2D 2.66, eVGA 8800GTS 640mb (x2), WD Caviar 250mb 7200rpm (x2 RAID1 system), WD Caviar 500mb 7200rpm (x2 RAID1 data), PC Power&Cooling 750 SilencerQuad PSU, Zalman CNPS9500, Corsair CMXAF1 Memory fancooler, Swiftech MCX159-CU NB cooler, Vigor HD radiator (x2), Samsung 245BW 24" LCD (x2)

11/30/2007

Not compatible with 8800GTS cards

COOLER MASTER STF-B01-E1-GP Cross Flow Fan for CM-Stacker
COOLER MASTER STF-B01-E1-GP Cross Flow Fan for CM-Stacker

Pros: Keeps motherboard components cooler without having to replace Northbridge stock cooler (but you should do this anyway). Relatively quiet.

Cons: DOES NOT WORK WITH 8800GTS format cards. I have dual eVGA 8800GTS 640mb cards in an SLi configuration and this cooler will not work with my CM Stacker 832 case, the door won't shut! Sadly, this fact is not present in the description on Newegg or even on Cooler Masters site. Cooler Master support confirmed what I found out the hard way.

Overall Review: It seems highly irregular that a device designed for use in a case recommended for SLi applications won't actually work with high-end SLi cards. Apparently this device works with the GeForce 7 series, but not the 8 series. Final bit of advice, on the CM Stacker 832, in order to install this you have to remove (or not use) two of th 120mm door fans.

11/18/2007