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Alexander L.

Alexander L.

Joined on 09/15/07

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 10
Most Favorable Review
AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition - Phenom II X4 Deneb Quad-Core 3.0 GHz Socket AM2+ 125W Processor - HDZ940XCGIBOX
AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition - Phenom II X4 Deneb Quad-Core 3.0 GHz Socket AM2+ 125W Processor - HDZ940XCGIBOX

Pros: A very quick processor. Composite scores from early reviews indicate that it is between Intel's Q9400 and Q9550 in performance, though that depends on the application. In gaming it tends to perform very well, and occasionally beats out the QX9770. At stock speeds it almost hits the performance levels of my 9850 BE at 3.4 Ghz. An excellent overclocker.... I managed a very easy 3.7 Ghz through AMD Overdrive using a +.1V increase. Can push much further using more voltage. Runs cool at stock speeds... with my Thermalright IFX-14 as a cooler, it idles at 25C. The chip does great at underclocking too, if you are into that.

Cons: Price to performance on the base processor isn't any better than Intel, which is a deviation from AMD's standard practice. However, the entire system platform is still a better bang for the buck in most instances. But it looks that for now, the price war has been put on hold.

Most Critical Review

Early Beta

Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures PC Game
Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures PC Game

Pros: More engaging combat system than other MMO's. Fatality moves are always entertaining. Funcom has ambitious goals in terms of PvP, and fresh ideas on old topics in all areas. Pretty adult oriented (may want to keep your kids away lest they see women running around top-less). If they can pull it off, it will be the best out there, for a little bit at least.

Cons: Should not have been released this early. The game engine is not optimized. I had to tweak the engine all to hell just to get it playable. My ATI 2900XT had massive issues.. wouldn't run anything more than 10 FPS, and many people have this issue which seems to be related to GPU under-utilization that seems to only affect ATI cards. I installed my 8600GT and I can now run at 40-60FPS in most places at 1680x1050.. for about an hour then it begins to crash. There are so many bugs all over the place, you have to wonder if it was even beta tested at all. Major content is missing, most evident in crafting and pvp spheres. Tech support is overwhelmed, and thusly offers poor service. Each patch seems to increase the bug count rather than diminish it.

Overall Review: I'm sticking with it for a while, and see how it turns out. Despite all the issues, I'd still buy it again.

47" 1080p Full HD LCDTV w/Pixel Plus 3 HD
47" 1080p Full HD LCDTV w/Pixel Plus 3 HD

Pros: Large amount of real estate for the money. It generally has very good color reproduction, and is fairly bright. The one I ordered had no light bleeding or stuck pixels. Simple and classy design. Decent number of inputs.

Cons: The Pixel Plus 3 Engine seems to be a little weak. Digital (Not HD) TV tends to look like garbage... chunky and color washed. My guess would be there is minimal, if any, up-conversion taking place. Blu-Ray has great picture quality, but when some of the features are running, there can be some ugly issues in some playback. This can include image jittering, ghosting, and sometimes very over-sharpened and pixelated backgrounds. It doesn't happen all the time... only in certain scenes, but it is difficult to watch when it happens. Turning off features (like Dynamic Noise Control and Dynamic Contrast Ratio) helps a lot for these scenes... but then the picture looks drab. DVD and HD television do pretty well on this set.

Overall Review: Bought from another vendor (they make computers) on one of their super deals for a little less than what it's going for here. I would probably go with an LG or Samsung for a decent value TV if I could choose again.

Very nice..

Foxconn A7DA-S AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard
Foxconn A7DA-S AM2+/AM2 AMD 790GX HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

Pros: Has the 750 southbridge, which can overclock Phenom chips quite higher than the old ones. The northbridge includes a the ATI HD 3300 IGP, which is an HD 3200 boosted to 700mhz, and includes a decent amount of sideport memory, so it doesn't eat into your system ram and offers more performance. This is without a doubt the best integrated graphics on the market. It's further expandable with two pci-e 16x slots. Of course, if you use two cards, they only work as 8x each, meaning you're probably bandwidth limited past a couple ATI HD 4850's. As others noted, it comes with a very comprehensive manual. Supports my 9850BE just fine. Firewire and E-SATA inclusions a nice bonus.

Cons: As with the 780g boards, the north bridge runs a bit warm. This is a bit of a concern to me, as my old Asus 780G board died an early death due to north bridge failing.

Good Idea.. Some work needed

SilverStone Kublai Series KL02-BW Black Aluminum front panel, SECC body ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
SilverStone Kublai Series KL02-BW Black Aluminum front panel, SECC body ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Pros: The case has a relatively clean look. The drive bay unit is a good idea, combining a 120mm fan (detachable I might add) in front of 4 potentially hot swappable (need to buy the adapters) 3.5" drive carriages. If paired with decently powered fans, this somewhat small case can become very chilly.. as the lack of internal space means whatever air is warmed is expelled from the case shortly thereafter. I also find the lack of a side port to be beneficial, as incoming or outgoing air from the sides tend more to create turbulence, and instead of expelling hot air it will just spin around in the case.

Cons: It is fairly tight for a tower, and could use about an inch of room in both height and length. As other reviewers have mentioned, the drive bay units can block longer graphics cards and sata connections mounted at the end of the board. Another problem is that hard drives really do restrict airflow in this case due to their dense packing in front of the fans. The biggest problem is the limitations of the case in cable management.

Overall Review: If they put the power supply in the bottom, added two 120mm fans up top, moved the bays out from the board some and installed a good cable running system... this would be the case to have. Putting the drive bay fans behind the hard drives in a hot swap sata/fan holster combo would also be ideal. It would give a bit more velocity inside the case, and still pull cool air in, while dampening noise a bit.

SP1...

Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders
Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium SP1 64-bit for System Builders

Pros: 64 bit, so can make better use of x86/64 architecture, yielding sizable performance increases for some chips.. and increasing the maximum memory of the system past 3.25gb. The OS handles threading better than Windows XP, making multi-core systems more efficient. It's a little more secure than XP.... presumably because hackers pity the Vista user.

Cons: The disk I used would not successfully install. After many grueling hours of testing ram, testing disks, testing CPU's, searching forums, swapping parts... I am still at the same point. I have found the cause, which is that some Vista 64 bit SP1 disks are different versions than others.. and some are incompatible with B3 Phenom chips. Why would Microsoft not recall these known defective disks? Granted, I was expecting a little difficulty with Vista.. most people have had problems with it.. but come on! Can't get your drivers to work with a fairly popular processor of all things? That's pretty basic, guys. Get some quality control.

Overall Review: *sigh* time for Linux.