Date Joined: 09/26/02
Pros: Cheap. Bright.
Cons: Worked for just about five clicks on the switch before breaking. Brand new batteries but either the switch or the electronics broke.
Pros: This card packs a lot of bang for the power draw and cost. On a 3840x2160 screen, video plays back without visual tearing, full screen games play at decent frame rate and there were no visual glitches.
Cons: Not many cons to speak of. I needed to update the drivers to a later version but that's to be expected.
Overall Review: I bought this card to replace a Geforce 650Ti that was struggling with video at 3840x2160 resolutions. Host OS is Linux Mint 17.1. The main glitch I experienced was that the repository drivers (nvidia-331) did not work with this card. This was fixed by grabbing the Nvidia provided drivers then installing them (download drivers, then 'sudo service mdm stop', login as root, then run the Nvidia installer script). Once loaded, everything worked great. In particular, I could now play the 4K videos from YouTube and in VLC without any tearing in the output. The few games I played also worked much better (Left4Dead2 and Wasteland2 were all I tried but they were significantly faster than the 650ti it replaces).
Pros: Keeps CPU cool and is relatively quiet.
Cons: The manual is close to useless. DO yourself a favor and download the PDF version and zoom in on the tiny little images to make it more obvious how the PlateX connector is oriented. Pay special attention to which way the X is opened as it may seem to line up correctly but will not. Short version: You insert the PlateX in the "wrong" way then open it up to the "right" way. Note also that you'll need access to the back of your motherboard to replace the retainer plate. Also pay close attention to the three position screw holes. Depending on your socket type these will be different. Sure, the docs illustrate this with an arrow pointing to the position, but on installation it can easily move around as you're adjusting the heat sink.
Pros: Cheap. Fits.
Cons: This battery was purchased to replace the OEM unit on a T400. It fits but that's where the similarity ends. After the original battery had degraded to the point that it was only holding about 30 minutes of charge I replaced it with this unit (it is an old laptop and could not justify spending $90 for an OEM replacement).
The battery does not charge to 100%. It gets to 98% then stops. Battery life on an otherwise unloaded system is about 25 minutes. In other words, worse than the old battery that it is replacing. In the 5 minutes it took to write this review it has gone from 90% to 84%.
Pros: Has selectable cup size and strength.
Cons: Stopped working after two months (purchased as a Christmas 2013 gift on 12/19/2013, died on 2/28/2014). I averaged less than one cup a day. No warranty. Buyer beware. Caveat emptor.
Pros: I tend to overdo it on power supplies, but if there's one component in the entire build that is worth overdoing, it's the power supply. I've had great luck with the higher end power supplies from different manufacturers but Corsair is often my go-to component. I keep a couple on my shelf in case a swap is needed.
First thing you'll notice is that the packaging is top notch. The unit is a good weight and has a quality finish (i.e., no stray metal burrs, no cheap metal that literally smells like fish). Cables are wrapped in a quality mesh, plastic connectors are sturdy, etc..
On installation, the fan is relatively quiet and screw holes are properly aligned. This unit was driving an Asus M5a99X, FX-8150, Asus GeForce 660, 32G RAM.
Cons: None really. I wish there was a 1000W unit rather than jumping to a 1200W, but that's another discussion.
Overall Review: If you're doing a build, do a search for "80 Plus Certified" and one of the many power supply calculators out there. Do not scrimp on your PSU :D
Pros: These are not high-end studio audio monitors.. They also do not cost $1200 as some do. For the price they work excellently with the onboard motherboard sound. If you have upgraded sound hardware then a higher-end speaker may be in order, but for casual gaming, compressed audio on Netflix and Google Play and similar you won't be able to take advantage of diamond-tier speakers anyway :D. Volume and clarity is good. Bass is ok. They are a good weight which is a good thing as the lighter ones tend to fall over. However, I suspect the weight is actually from ballast rather than the speakers themselves :P.
Cons: None really. A bit large.
Overall Review: If the price was under $25, I'd give it 5 stars.
Pros: I have two of these boards and will be getting another one soon (more on that in the cons). I paired it with an FX-8150, Asus GeForce 660, 32G Corsair memory and installed CentOS 6.3. There were no UEFI problems running Linux, and could update the motherboard with just a USB stick. All components were detected with the stock Linux installation including sound, USB, NIC and thermal sensor.
Cons: So I mentioned I have a third board coming. After having such great luck with the first board, I ordered a second. The second one was just as easy to install, but shortly afterward began to lock up randomly. Over the next two weeks I swapped memory, graphics, power and even CPU and then ordered a replacement MB. The motherboard turned out to be the culprit but after swapping, the new board has run flawlessly. This is the reason for taking off a star for an otherwise excellent board. This is the first Asus MB that has failed on me so I'll see how the replacement works and may bump it back to 5 stars.
Overall Review: Not really a downside, but I wished that consumer boards would support more than 32G of RAM. I run two or three virtual machines and it's nice to be able to spin them up with 8G or more.
Pros: The Samsung B300 has a clear, bright screen, is lightweight and power efficient, and a good value at the $149 when it went on sale. It's a no-frills monitor, but works as advertised.
Cons: Main downsides are what one would expect in a value-priced monitor. It doesn't ship with a DVI cable (another $6 or so), viewing angle is ok (though somewhat mitigated by a mode switch that adjusts the viewing angle) and no physical adjustment for the stand. There's only a DVI and VGA input so you'll need another adapter if sending HDMI.
Overall Review: At $149 on sale, it's a good value and I should have picked up two. At the regular price there are better values.
Pros: This is a relatively inexpensive card given the performance. It is perfect for moderate to serious gaming enthusiasts, supports compositing Linux desktops such as Compiz, and is relatively easy to install (both physically and from a driver perspective).
Cons: Duke Nukem freebie appears to be Windows only.
Overall Review: This card replaced a GTX280 running under CentOS 6. The first thing to do is to load the proprietary Nvidia drivers. This requires blacklisting the existing Open Source Nouveau driver and then running the installation script. It's a few steps, but easily done. Unigine demos work wonderfully on this car. I am awaiting my Steam build and will let you know how it works.
Pros: I've used the same physical card in both a Windows 7, Windows 8, Linux Mint and CentOS systems. The card works in all of them.
Under Linux, however, it is not out-of-the-box configured. Under CentOS 6.3 for example, I had to download the kernel module driver for the rtl8192ce chipset and rebuild. This is easy enough, but a bit frustrating.
Other than that, throughput is excellent. It easily outperformed the previous single-antenna card and I'm able to transfer 2G files in just few minutes.
Cons: There is one glitch I noticed. Every few days it will lose connectivity to the WAP. Even re-loading the modules didn't fix. I had to reboot to get it to reconnect. The card itself is detected but goes into a sleep mode every so often and refuses to re-connect. Hopefully an updated driver will resolve this problem.
Overall Review: Better Linux support would be nice. I would buy a dozen of these if driver support was easier.
Pros: I built a mid-range box using this case. When I purchased it, it was strictly because of the price and I was looking for a cheap, decently reviewed case and wasn't expecting all that much.
I was surprised to find that it was so well-made. There's ample room for my ATX motherboard, built to tight tolerances, and easy to access. Side covers slide off easily and securely and close tight when re-assembled. Drive bays latch into place securely. There's a separate housing bay for laptop drives so no drive carrier is needed.
PSU bay is located on the bottom of the unit. This improves stability when assembled.
Cons: None really. It looks a bit boy-racer but some people think that it's aggressive :/.
Pros: Easy to install, interface is responsive, packaging was easy to open.
Cons: Where to begin? This is horribly unintuitive. Though I've used Windows for close to 20 years, the new interface manages to take the worst of tablets and the worst of the desktop metaphor and combine them into an ungodly mess. Searching on "update" returns no matches. Searching for shutdown is equally frustrating. There are Alt-keys where there should be icons. There are tiles where there should be menus. Apps randomly seem to open in fullscreen while some are old-style windows. There are no max/mini buttons so that I can reduce the size of the browser on my 24" display. As a consequence some text pages have less than a third of the display used.. the rest is blank. Finding applications in the search feature is hit-or-miss.
Overall Review: Wait until the next release.
Pros: I purchased this at the $50 early promotional price. Ships with 32 and 64 bit versions.
Cons: Windows XP upgrades require a scratch and reload (clean installation). Vista can supposedly be upgraded. Alas, here's where the problems started. After reading that XP could not be upgraded, I decided to install on a Dell Studio XPS running Vista 64. The upgrade target has 4G of RAM, Nvidia graphics but is otherwise fairly generic. On inserting the DVD, the install prompted to download and run the Microsoft Update Advisor. I did. Alas, the advisor returned errors that it could not contact the Microsoft server. Firewall was disabled, anti-virus was turned off, Defender was disabled, etc., but nothing worked.
I went ahead and did a full image backup of my laptop using Ghost.
The install was otherwise uneventful. However, on rebooting I've been having crash issues when running applications such as Adobe Reader, CDBurnerXP, and a few others.
I'm *extremely* disappointed.
Overall Review: Wait until SP1 before you buy/install.
I'm very disappointed that Windows7 did not run smoothly for me. This laptop is less than 6 months old, but I've been having so many issues with Vista 64 that I went ahead and bought this during the promo period. Unfortunately, Windows7 seems like more of the same. I feel like I've been suckered.
Pros: Light, fast (relatively speaking), good sound, good video playback, excellent battery life. I have several full-sized laptops but they are nowhere as portable as this little unit. One thing I was looking for was the ability to playback video. I usually convert my DVDs to DivX and was happy to see that fullscreen video plays without hiccups. Sound is actually pretty good, though the volume is not very loud. What sold me on this one was the non-glossy finish which is much easier on fingerprints and grip.
Cons: Like all netbooks, the keyboard is cramped and takes a while to get used to. But after a few minutes you can probably type at 80% of your speed on a regular sized keyboard. The webcam is a nice addon, but not as sharp as the one on my XPS. Serves its purpose though. There's a recovery utility that partitions the drive into three sections. Be very careful how you do this, as the default configuration splits the free space down the middle -- one for OS, one for recovery partition.
Overall Review: Perfect for travelling.
Pros: It works with Vista. Cheap.
Cons: It doesn't work reliably with either XP or MythTV and not for want of trying. There are sites that detail processes to copy drivers from Vista disks, or different settings for LIRC, etc., but I couldn't get anything to work properly.
Pros: I bought this specifically to lessen the amount of USB devices I had to carry when travelling. It replaced an AT&T branded Sigmatel USB881. The AT&T Comm manager found it right away and connected after a couple seconds. It *seems* faster than the USB device, but that could just be a perception. It's small, unobtrusive and not as fragile as the Sigmatel which had been damaged when I accidently closed it over the USB cable.
Cons: There are some bright LEDs on it that's distracting especially when in low light. Normally I wouldn't dock a whole star for something so minor, but when I turn the LCD down on my laptop it because quite annoying.
Pros: Small and unobtrusive. This keyboard is more of a "show" keyboard and looks stylish. It's Mac compatible. Has volume controls which is convenient.
Cons: Where to begin? The keyboard looks good, but the keys themselves are in a non-standard layout to accomodate the size. The keys also feel like a cheap laptop keyboard. There's not a lot of travel (though admittedly some people like this) so don't expect to use this if your livelihood depends on lots of typing. There's no place to rest a pen, either. It also feels flimsy.
Pros: I bought this drive to upgrade the unit in my Dell Inspiron E1505. This is a CentOS 5.3 laptop that's my daily workhorse. I noticed immediately that the boot times were noticeably improved. Running some quick benchmarks show it to be about 20% faster than the stock 5400 160GB that was installed before.
Cons: It seems slightly louder than the previous drive, but I don't really hear either over the sound of my A/C unit.
Pros: Works great with a Seagate Momentus 320G. No tools are required to open the case (just a couple nubs to depress to remove the covers). The drive itself is secured with 4 screws, and once closed does not rattle as some of the other cases tend to. Also comes with a very nice case that's about $8 alone.
Cons: Some reviewers like the glossy finish, but I prefer something less slick looking. It does pick up fingerprints easily.
Overall Review: Don't be tempted to use a single port USB cable as I did. Though the case ships with a dual port cable, I had several single port cables around and figured I'd just use one of them. This was unreliable on the 320G drive, though it works perfectly on lower capacity units. Switching to the dual port cable resolved all those issues.
Pros: Works great. I have a few Dell Inspiron E1505s. Dell informs that they only support 2G maximum, but most of the e1505s see this memory fine. I'd actually ordered the single 2G DIMMs (versus 2 1G DIMMs) by mistake and was happily surprised to find that the laptop sees all 4G. This makes it run VMWare much better. You'll need an OS that supports 4G addressing to make use of it, but other than that, works awesomely.
Cons: No real cons that I can think of. There are some less expensive DIMMS out there that would probably work just as well.
Pros: The case is very solid (note the cons though) and has lots of room for drives. Internally it's quite easy to access. The 3.5" bays are removable. Case fans are painless to install.
Cons: My biggest gripe is the way that 5.25" drives (i.e., CD/DVD) are installed. The case comes with slide-in fasteners which usually simplifies the installation. I.e., attach the slides to the drive, insert into the case. Not with this case. To install a drive requires attaching the slides to the drive, removing both side panels of the case, unclipping two tabs, depressing the side release, maybe calculate and integral or two to remove the front bezel, *then* sliding in the CD/DVD drive.
Then do the same in reverse to reassemble the case. This is bearable if the case tabs were either screw in or more solid. But this huge front bezel is held in place by 4 tabs just a millimeters wide. They will break no matter how gentle you attempt to remove the bezel.
Overall Review: It's huge. Not a bad or good thing, just something to note.
Pros: Sharp, clean interface. It doesn't look at Tonka-Toy as XP. Aero looks awesome with the right hardware. Startup seems quicker than XP and support for 4G machines is a life-saver.
Cons: My printer, pc card sound, tv tuner, doesn't work (no drivers). It's a gross memory hog and is almost unusable with less than a 2 gig. I run multiple apps at once, and though they worked together fine on the same machine running XP, under Vista it's always pausing for seconds at a time as it pages out.
Overall Review: It's freaking expensive for little benefit over XP. Knock off $100 of the price and it's worthwhile.
Pros: Camera is easy to use, rugged, and above all, takes great video. I researched the price range heavily and the DVC60 beat out the Canons and Sonys in *this price range* and the next tier. Low light mode is great, controls are simple for regular shooting, color is beautiful. Price is awesome (under $2500 at retail).
Cons: OK, controls are simple for regular shooting, but accessing some more esoteric functions means navigating the menus. You can assign functions to user keys, but it's not too intuitive. It's well suited for shoulder mounted shooting, but a little larger than I'd imagined.
Overall Review: Everyone wants the next step. This camera has been a joy to use, but I'm now debating whether to get the DVX100B or another DVC60 (two cameras really help when shooting).
Pros: Lots of power for little expense. I'm using this processor with 4G RAM running Fedora Core 6 with multiple Xen virtual machines. It's a cheap way to support a few online sites and miscellaneous medium-duty office applications.
Cons: Minor: motherboard needed to be updated before being stable. The 3800/4000 works out better for price/performance.