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John H.

John H.

Joined on 08/21/04

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 11
Most Favorable Review

Durable and comforable, serve their use well

PLANTRONICS GAMECOM 1 3.5mm Connector Circumaural Stereo Gaming Headset
PLANTRONICS GAMECOM 1 3.5mm Connector Circumaural Stereo Gaming Headset

Pros: I've had these for over two years and they've been used for pretty much everything in that time; Guild Wars, iPod, movie watching, and even as a telephone headset. The two-ear classic design is much superior to most smaller headsets which feature mono sound and very little adjustability; these are comfortable and versatile, allowing for many hours of pain-free wear due to their excessively padded earpiece design. The mic is of very high quality for a headset and is very clear to listen to via TeamSpeak or telephone. It is also very adjustable, so you can put it out of the range of your breathing. I've found it produces clearer sound without the black pouf on the end, but of course picks up more breath and background noise that way. In-line volume and mic controls are very useful; I just wish the mic switch was a push-button instead of a switch, but no big deal.

Cons: Cord is easily tangled due to the long y-shape; the split between the two cords (mic and phones) could have been much closer to the end of the cord to prevent this. I suppose this is made for those who don't have mic and phones ports right next to each other on the PC, but that's pretty rare in my experience. Does not come with an adapter for single-port configurations (those seen on phones as well as on the Xbox 360) but you can get one for < $3. Not a big deal, as most will use this only for PC gaming.

Overall Review: This has been my staple for voice-chat gaming for years, both in PC and console, and will probably remain so for a long while (they show no signs of wear or breakage, and have been though a LOT). While the sound quality isn't up to par with quality non-mic headphones, this won't be a concern for those looking for a solution for gaming or phone use. I'd highly recommend this over any single-ear or small-form headsets, due to the greatly increased comfort as well as mic fidelity and stereo sound.

Most Critical Review
D-Link Xtreme Gigabit Router (DIR-655) Wireless N300, USB SharePort, Gigabit
D-Link Xtreme Gigabit Router (DIR-655) Wireless N300, USB SharePort, Gigabit

Pros: Foremost, I found this router's web configuration to be EXTREMELY useful, user-friendly, and full of settings. This router supports features and configuration options that are missing from my office's $500+ wireless routers and access points. The available security and logging settings are great; the router can log at a specified level of verbosity and even e-mail or syslog post the logs to you. uPnP NAT transversal (i.e. automatic port forwarding) works great, as does the DHCP server. Switching from a wgt654 to this, my network transfer speeds increased by a factor of 5, even though all of our systems are only using 802.11g. The Shareport option, which allows the router's USB port to work as a file or printer sharing host, is a welcome (and unexpected) addition, although the software and drivers required on each computer accessing it is an annoying catch. The physical design is also very robust, being made of surprisingly thick aluminum instead of plastic and feeling very solid.

Cons: Initial results were very good; after about 2-3 days of use, however, I noticed that the router was occasionally dropping connections between the hosted PCs and the internet (though not each other). This fault rendered downloading of files via web browser impossible, as an interrupted connection often makes the download break irrecoverably. Searching online, I have found that this is a common defect in the A4 hardware revision of this device. The biggest surprise about this is that the router worked absolutely great for the first day or two, and I was constantly impressed with the speed and connectivity. However, after noticing the problem, I found that it continued to get worse over the course of a day. Internet sources claimed that this problem may be due to overheating, so my first repair attempt was turning off all ancilarry processing options (WPA, SPI, advanced DNS, etc) and setting a large fan next to the upright-mounted router, but the problem continued. I have since RMA'd.

Overall Review: I chose not to rate this router at 1 or 2 eggs simply because I believe this problem to be an incidental (though common) defect, and not a design fault. Many newegg reviews of the A4 firmware exist and do not report this problem, as do reviews on other sites. As with the Xbox 360, I feel that the device is worth chancing the defect rate, as its merits (when working) are unrivaled. This opinion may change after my replacement arrives, however. Overall, I would certainly recommend this router at this point, but not for any critical application which makes a possible replacement a huge issue. Replacing this router, for me, was a simple and fairly unobtrusive procedure; my previous router still works fine and I simply plugged it back in for the time being. Make sure you have a backup on hand, or at least a long Ethernet cable, and don't update the firmware unless you absolutely have to.

Pefect for Android Torque

CY-B06 Super Mini ElM327 v1.5 Bluetooth OBD2 CAN-BUS Auto Scanner Tool Supports All OBD-II Protocols Compatible for OBD-II Complaint Vehicles and Bluetooth Diagnostic
CY-B06 Super Mini ElM327 v1.5 Bluetooth OBD2 CAN-BUS Auto Scanner Tool Supports All OBD-II Protocols Compatible for OBD-II Complaint Vehicles and Bluetooth Diagnostic

Pros: Purchased to use with the Android OBDII "Torque" application. Works great; just as good as the "official" alternatives which cost ten times as much. The application warned me when first pairing that this was a "clone" adapter, and therefore "may have issues," but that turned out to be completely untrue. The adapter works great, gives me every error code and sensor reading my car supports, and fits perfectly behind the panel-door where my car's OBDII port is hidden. It switches to a very-low-power mode when not paired with a bluetooth host, and therefore won't drain your battery when you're not driving. Again, I bought it for Torque, so I can't vouch for the software CD that came with the adapter. However, if the hardware's performance is any indication, I'd expect good results.

Cons: None so far. Physically the adapter could be a little smaller, but for my car it doesn't stick out at all. Might be a problem for some if your OBDII port is close to your leg or steering wheel, but I doubt it.

Overall Review: The many variations on the OBDII bluetooth adapter that can be found on Newegg--and even elsewhere on the internet--are almost identical, hardware-wise. The same interface chip (ELM327*) is the standard for this application and is used in almost every adapter I've found, from the $10 ones to the $150 ones. Simply put, if your application or software recommends the break-the-bank version, this one will almost certainly be a perfect substitute, as the hardware "guts" are exactly the same.

ASUS ROG MATRIX 5870 P/2DIS/2GD5 Radeon HD 5870 Platinum 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card
ASUS ROG MATRIX 5870 P/2DIS/2GD5 Radeon HD 5870 Platinum 2GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card

Pros: Excellent card for the price: factory overclocked to 900MHz/1225MHz, giving it a decent performance gain over standard 5870s out of the box. I was able to easily overclock it to 1040/1370 within a few minutes using the supplied iTracker tool, which is quite possibly the BEST graphics card overclocking and tuning software I've ever seen. Unlike similar solutions by MSI and ATI, iTracker lets you save your overclocking settings to the graphics hardware, so it doesn't need to run at computer startup to maintain the overclock; this results in less resource overhead during PC use, for an even faster gaming experience. For those of you afraid to adjust voltages and timings, I've found this card runs very well at 960/1250 using the stock voltages and timings, which is impressive in itself (remember that many 5970s are capped at 900Mhz core!). The ASUS custom cooler works very well, keeping hot exhaust air OUTSIDE the case (where it should be) and the card stays extremely cool, even OC'd.

Cons: The card is somewhat long, and those of you with smaller cases may have trouble fitting it in with your hard drives and SATA connections in the way. Fits perfectly in my Antec Twelve Hundred, though. It also requires 2x8-pin PCIe power cables, which some older, non-modular power supplies may not support.

Overall Review: Having previously been looking at 5970s for my new PC build, I decided to go with this card (and save over $200) after reading comparisons and reviews which tended to show that the 5970's dual-gpu construction didn't work as advertised in many games (especially older ones). In addition, a single 5970 is MUCH slower than two 5870s in Crossfire, and I've left myself that option for later. :-)

Seamless in Vista and W7 x64

ENCORE ENLWI-N Wireless Adapter IEEE 802.11b/g, IEEE 802.11n Draft 2.0 PCI 2.3 Up to 300Mbps Wireless Data Rates
ENCORE ENLWI-N Wireless Adapter IEEE 802.11b/g, IEEE 802.11n Draft 2.0 PCI 2.3 Up to 300Mbps Wireless Data Rates

Pros: Installed automatically and perfectly under both Vista and Widows 7 (64-bit versions). Upon first boot with the card in, Windows found drivers on windows update (from Raitek, the chipset manufacturer, not Encore). Have had zero issues in the month since; data transfer speeds are definitely up, as is range (I now get a 5-bar connection from across my apartment, including through 3 walls). I was at first hesitant to buy a off-brand wireless adapter, but the chipset is solid and performs without a single problem.

Cons: None at this time.

Overall Review: Would definitely recommend to others, as it's both extremely easy to install and a great performer, especially for the price.

Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Antec Twelve Hundred Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case

Pros: Excellent design; every feature, from the integrated cable management system to the vibration-insulation hard drive cages, shows that this is the product of extremely meticulous engineering and design. Coming from a Thermaltake Tsunami mid-tower, this case was initially dauntingly large; however, once I started installing the PC components, I realized how much of an advantage this is. Working inside this case is simply so much easier than a mid-tower, as everything is nicely spaced out and easy to install and cable. The hard drive bays do not interfere with my large video card at all (GTX 280) and the empty space in between provides for excellent cooling. The case is shipped with 7 120mm fans, although you don't need to use the two optional ones; the first is a side-panel intake which cools the Video card and south bridge; the second is a wind tunnel fan which directs the front intake directly toward your CPU heatsink. All fans are very quiet, even on the "high" setting.

Cons: Once you install a power supply and other PC components, this case becomes ridiculously heavy. I was unable to carry it and had to drag it from the workshop to my room. I'd recommend putting it on a piece of cardboard to drag it across carpet. Or a dolly. Seriously. One small thing, mine was damaged a little in shipping; the side panel window was broken--the acrylic clear part had snapped off of the steel frame and fallen into the case, while stripping the tiny screws that previously held it on. Simply replacing the screws was enough to re-secure the panel, although I would say that it would be no problem to epoxy or glue the acrylic panel on to keep this from happening...still, a very minor issue.

Overall Review: I was initially worried that a case with this many fas would be extremely loud; hwoever, even with every fan set to the highest airflow, the case is quieter than my old Thermaltake (which only had 3 120mm fans). I assume this is due to vibration-reducing case construction as well as the fact that the Antec Tricool fan is remarkably quiet on its own (they use the same ultra-quiet bearings as the Scythe high-end fans). The large top fan is nearly totally silent as well. since everything is blue LED, the case looks very good in the dark; the LEDs aren't that bright and don't glow too much, so they make the case look elegant rather than tacky or showy. Looks very good with a Logitech G11, which remarkably happens to be exactly the same LED color as the case.