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William B.

William B.

Joined on 03/27/05

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 14
Most Favorable Review

Best computer accessory

5.25" Dual Bay Mobile Rack for both 2.5" and 3.25" SATA HDD, Plus 2 USB 3.0 Ports
5.25" Dual Bay Mobile Rack for both 2.5" and 3.25" SATA HDD, Plus 2 USB 3.0 Ports

Pros: This is the single most useful computer accessory I've purchased in a long time. I've been using eSATA docks for years, both to retrieve data from drives of other computers and for my own emergency preparation. This is a great improvement on the concept of a dock. I have a three disk ZFS mirror on my system; one disk is now in this dock instead of sitting on an external dock. In the event of an emergency (such as an earthquake), I can just pop out the drive & off I go. This is nicer than an external dusty dock & drive, plus there's no external power supply or cable necessary. Both the 2.5" & 3.5" slots have their own SATA connector & they share a power cable. Each supports SATA III and can be used simultaneously, along with the USB ports (of course). Each bay has its own ice blue LED to indicate a drive is inserted, plus the LEDs flash purple when the drive has any activity. The blue LEDs are a bit bright, but are small & nicely integrated. The USB 3.0 connector is only for a USB 3.0 motherboard header, which is obvious from the photos & web pages. I'm surprised people give it bad marks because of this, because it's clear before you make the purchase. This is something I wanted, because my Intel dq77mk motherboard has the appropriate header and I of course had to plug something into it.(!) I have found at least three versions of this product, each with a different face plate but the same guts. There are no drivers necessary for this--just plug it in. Even if I ran Windows, this device requires no drivers and no special software. The three versions of this product that I have found are below, and the prices can vary quite a bit. It depends on your aesthetic preference, and if you want one, two, or zero locking bays: Kingwin KF-253-BK Thermaltake ST0026Z Syba SY-MRA55006

Cons: None to report

Most Critical Review

Average

MASSCOOL PCI-e 4 port SATA2  (SIL3132 Chip) Model XWT-PCIE10
MASSCOOL PCI-e 4 port SATA2 (SIL3132 Chip) Model XWT-PCIE10

Pros: Works OK.

Cons: BIOS cannot be updated.

Overall Review: This is just an average card. You can download a current BIOS for the card from the maker of the controller chip (Silicon Image), and I've used it on other cards with the 3132 chip. However, Masscool uses a flash chip not recognized by the utility, and three attempts at contacting Masscool about this resulted only in silence. Don't expect anything from the manufacturer. Get a card where people report success in flashing the card's BIOS.

Solid, quiet, outstanding

CORSAIR CX Series CX430 430W 80 PLUS BRONZE Active PFC ATX12V & EPS12V Power Supply
CORSAIR CX Series CX430 430W 80 PLUS BRONZE Active PFC ATX12V & EPS12V Power Supply

Pros: I installed this in an NZXT Vulcan case with an Intel DQ77MK motherboard, i7-3770 CPU, 32GB G.SKILL sniper gaming memory (1600MHz), 3x Seagate 7200.12 500GB drives, DVD-RW, Syba SY-MRA55006 internal SATA dock w/ USB, 3x 120mm fans, and a low end fanless NVidia video card. With all that it works great and with power to spare. Power supply fan is quiet, the cables are long enough (almost too long for this case), and there are just enough connectors for all the bits above without needing any splitters. Cables are nicely wrapped to help keep them managed.

Cons: None to report.

Overall Review: Second power supply I've used from this product line. I'll continue to purchase them because they're solid, look nice, and have ample connectors.

Good case, but with flaws

NZXT Crafted Series Vulcan Black Steel / Plastic Gaming mATX Computer Case
NZXT Crafted Series Vulcan Black Steel / Plastic Gaming mATX Computer Case

Pros: I bought this & installed an Intel DQ77MK motherboard and a Corsair CX430 power supply. I like the case design, although it has some flaws. I'll mention the flaws below, but overall I enjoy the case design & like how I was able to keep it a clean layout.

Cons: The way the metal is tapped for the thumbscrews on the expansion slots is poor, and the thumbscrews are very hard to turn without a screwdriver. The fans it comes with have very stiff & cheap wiring, but the fans are fairly quiet. Since they were on sale at NewEgg, I did buy COUGAR CF-V12HP PWM fans to replace these so the motherboard could control them. The stock fans are three wire & meant to be controlled by the knobs at the front top of the case. Just depends on your preference if you like the stock fans or not. I also found the front panel awkward to manage during installation since the wires are captive and short. There is a switch at the rear of the case through which the front power LED and a fan LED must be connected so you can turn off the lights. One pair of wires on that switch needed to be resoldered on mine. All the necessary wiring & connectors are there, but the documentation on this particular wiring configuration is poor at best. It could stand to have more of a hands free design, but for the money I guess it's too be expected that some old-school screws must be used for the 5.25" slots.

Overall Review: I know these issues might make it sound bad, but these are only minor flaws in my case. I wanted to detail them so some of the design choices might not surprise the next person. Overall, it's a good case, but probably not for the first time builder. I could not find a way to fit the CORSAIR Hydro Series H60 CPU radiator into this case with my particular motherboard. There isn't room next to the memory sticks.

12/11/2012

Awesome motherboard for UNIX users!

Intel BOXDQ77MK LGA 1155 Intel Q77 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
Intel BOXDQ77MK LGA 1155 Intel Q77 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

Pros: I've built a lot of computers with hardware from Asus, Shuttle, and several others. This motherboard was the quickest & easiest to configure. The BIOS options are flexible, BIOS updates can be done from the BIOS itself without needing any bootable media and just a flash drive for loading the new image. I built this as a UNIX workstation and to run various VMs with VirtualBox. I installed 32GB of G.SKILL Sniper Gaming memory purchased during NewEgg's Christmas sale and an i7-3770 CPU. That particular memory can run at its full potential on this motherboard by simply choosing the XMP profile for it from within the BIOS. See my review on the memory for more details. And for those interested, it runs Solaris 11.0 flawlessly. Since native SATA 3 & USB 3 support didn't come until Solaris 11.1, those controllers are still fully functional as their version 2 variants on this motherboard. Or install 11.1 once Oracle resolves some new USB bugs.... It also runs FreeBSD/PC-BSD 9.1 fine, and I'm sure virtually all other modern(ish) Linux & Windows operating systems. I have three HDs installed in a ZFS mirror internal to an NZXT Vulcan case, an external SATA dock, and an additional SiI 3132 controller for more eSATA ports if needed. With the requisite internal DVD burner and an internal card reader, this is all nicely outfitted for my particular needs.

Cons: I'd prefer at least two eSATA ports on the rear, although with five onboard SATA ports, one or more can be used for eSATA.

Overall Review: The smoothest running system I've used in years. Couldn't ask for better.

12/11/2012

Great on Intel DQ77MK

G.SKILL Sniper Gaming Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9Q-32GSR
G.SKILL Sniper Gaming Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9Q-32GSR

Pros: Not much to say. I plugged these into my Intel DQ77MK motherboard and they work perfectly. To get the full 1600 speed on this motherboard, you need to go into the BIOS, enter the Performance menu, choose Memory Overrides, then choose the XMP-1600 profile embedded on the memory sticks. Works great!

Cons: None to report.

12/11/2012