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Mark S.

Mark S.

Joined on 05/22/06

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Product Reviews
Seller Reviews
product reviews
  • 61
Most Favorable Review

pretty good

Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000 USB 2.0 WebCam
Microsoft LifeCam VX-3000 USB 2.0 WebCam

Pros: Cam is flexible and adjustable to perch just about anywhere. Image is better than the competing "Quick Connect" Cam from another "logical" producer. Picture is adequate, dial focus feature works well, decent craftsmanship.

Cons: Yeah, this isn't a top-of-line cam with whistles and bells, but it didn't cost that much either. I can't comment on the software as I set this up for a relative; I didn't even try tweaking the picture as the initial images in Windows Live looked fine.

Overall Review: This cam was for a long-distance relative; I set it up while visiting over thanksgiving, been video chatting a bunch of times since. The picture on the receiving end looks good, definitely fits the bill. Falling down easy to set up.

12/17/2008
Most Critical Review

Still Not There are we MS?

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit

Pros: Hey, it's Windows, it's a predictable known entity. Been running Win since 3.11. Like the new search, lower right switch to desktop, esp.

Cons: Look, why can my Vista and 7 WMC recorded TV storage be easily recognized by each separate TV/PC combo? There is a commercial running right now in my area that shows a big theatrical production, being controlled by remote as a consumer moves from room-to-room. Win7/Vista boxes should be(and can based on web search, followed by downloadable binaries, with a lock of tweaking) able to share recorded TV media this easily - they just can't without major tweaking. It's disappointing. MS still has this inability to compete feature for feature with Tivo, and all the dish PVR stuff. And I'm pretty accomplished with PC's and I struggle. I scarcely can imagine what low-knowledge PC owners do when they run into glitchiness/sharing problems.

Overall Review: I bought this 7 key, and I like 7 better than Vista as it is what I drive at work, and the newer features and improved search (over Vista) are pretty nice. But I installed 7 almost strictly for Windows Media Center. And I actually switched out a box for Vista's Media Center due to lots of glitchiness and problems from 7. Why did 7 change fairly dramatically away from what I think is a pretty good Vista interface? More focus groups that demand as much text as possible in any given WMC screen? I could have purchased a Vista key instead, but like to be current. Boy, does the 7 WMC interface feel like a step back, or a step into the over-complicated.

Good HTPC motherboard

ASRock J3455M Intel Quad-Core Celeron Processor J3455 (up to 2.3 GHz) Micro ATX Motherboard / CPU Combo
ASRock J3455M Intel Quad-Core Celeron Processor J3455 (up to 2.3 GHz) Micro ATX Motherboard / CPU Combo

Pros: 3 slot matx board, has enough features to be a decent htpc. Low power but capable.

Cons: OK, the first board was DOA, so I got a second board on RMA. Process worked fine, no complaints. Second board arrived, dead again. So I played with every combination I could think of with the CMOS reset jumper, until the board finally POST-ed. So, if you think the board is out-of-box dead, give it a whirl. Never ever had to try go to those lengths, just to do an otherwise simple build.

Overall Review: I have several low-power Celeron quad core boards, including this one. It seems a bit faster than the older J1900 Celeron boards. Be cautious about memory. I had several speeds/sizes of DDR3 memory that the board didn't like. A couple of sticks from the approved memory list and we're in business, so don't think this board will boot up with just any DDR3. I wish other mobo makers would try to play in this embedded space a little harder.

Seeking a x1 HTPC card

ZOTAC GeForce GT 710 1GB DDR3 PCI Express x1 Video Card ZT-71304-20L
ZOTAC GeForce GT 710 1GB DDR3 PCI Express x1 Video Card ZT-71304-20L

Pros: I can't believe I found this card. I replaced a 1080p monitor with an older HDTV panel. Intel graphics driver on the basic Celeron/Pentium embedded systems do not handle overscan, so the picture blows out to the edge of the panel. I ended up buying a new board, etc. because my old board only had an x1 slot. This card was the answer that I was seeking. x1 provided plenty of bandwidth to a basic card like this one. I also know it is 100% usable in an x16 slot as I used it to troubleshoot another build. Passive heat sink, instead of a failure-prone buzzy fan. The bracket isn't a shiny chrome but more of a smoked look. Looks subdued and cool with an all-black case I bought.

Cons: Can't think of anything, it wasn't free?

Overall Review: I purchased the x16 version because it was a few bucks cheaper. Needed the same kind of performance in a build that has an x16 slot. For a while I thought about just getting 2 of these x1 because of the flexibility of swapping them into systems with x1 slots. Seems more and more the mini-ITX systems have only x1 slots on them, and I'm into the low-power, lightweight, quiet systems for HTPC. I'd been looking for a PCIE x1 card for years that wasn't some ridiculous old chipset or was very expensive or a tiny amount of memory. This card is the answer.

Great for HTPC

ZOTAC GeForce GT 710 1GB DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x8 Video Card ZT-71301-20L
ZOTAC GeForce GT 710 1GB DDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x8 Video Card ZT-71301-20L

Pros: Low profile and standard brackets very helpful. Passive heat-sink. Played HDTV signal for 24 hours straight, no issues. DX12.

Cons: Product description is wrong, it is a physical X16 card. But I have an x16 slot.

Overall Review: I got the PCIe x1 version of this card for a MITX board that only had a x1 slot. A very old 8400GS was having problems in a new build. So, I decided to get this x16 one for a MATX. Zotac seems to be covering a lot of the odd/unusual applications with reasonably priced product. An nVidia based card is an absolute necessity for Win7 media center because it can handle over-scan, which is present on many older HDTV's. Kudos to Zotac for making vid cards that are passive cooled and do the job for the right price. This card was the right price with a passive heat sink and good nvidia drivers. Years ago, I liked the AMD HD4350/4550 for similar reasons, but it seems Zotac stepped up to fill that void in the market.

Easy to take apart and use for custom stuff

Rosewill RCH-200 - 2-Port USB 3.0 Front Panel Hub with 20-Pin Connector - Fits 3.5" Drive Bay, Aluminum Frame
Rosewill RCH-200 - 2-Port USB 3.0 Front Panel Hub with 20-Pin Connector - Fits 3.5" Drive Bay, Aluminum Frame

Pros: Industry standard USB cables/plugs.

Cons: Not a thing.

Overall Review: I wanted my front USB3 on a Think-center to be usable. Unfortunately, I covered over the USB3 motherboard header with a big ol' graphics card. This front panel hub was the right price, and looked in the pictures to be pretty basic without special molded connectors. I de-soldered the USB plugs from the circuit board and put them in the front panel bracket. Straight up industry standard plugs on both ends. Tried various thumb drives and cables - these are in snug. Now I'm waiting for the USB3 to SATA riser card to complete the deal. The cables are long enough to reach all the way through the case. Recommended.

seller reviews
  • 3

Scam

Part not in retail packaging but wrapped in some foam. Missing parts, took about 3 weeks to arrive, not from a US address but China.

On-time
Delivery
Product
Accuracy
Customer Service
Satisfactory

Very good.

No issues with product packing delivery, etc., flawless transaction.

On-time
Delivery
Product
Accuracy
Customer Service
Satisfactory

Good communication

I'm usually skeptical of marketplace sellers. Having said that, Viaplay was offering an interesting gadget for a reasonable price. I did get an e-mail soon after ordering that they might have shipped a double order. Turns out they did. Anyhow, the HTPC remote controls were well-packed and work as expected. But the thing I really appreciated is the quick communication.

On-time
Delivery
Product
Accuracy
Customer Service
Satisfactory