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Ralph E.

Ralph E.

Joined on 04/06/09

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 6
Most Favorable Review

Nice box

Acer Desktop PC Aspire AX1301-U9032 Athlon II X2 215 (2.70GHz) 3GB DDR2 320GB HDD NVIDIA GeForce 9200 Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Acer Desktop PC Aspire AX1301-U9032 Athlon II X2 215 (2.70GHz) 3GB DDR2 320GB HDD NVIDIA GeForce 9200 Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Pros: Awesome small form factor, very handsome. Tons of input ports. Good power for the price. Upgrading from an 8-year-old box, it's mind-blowingly fast. Windows 7 64-bit was very very fast, I wish I could have kept it, but I had some app compatibility problems so I reverted to XP Pro, which also works great but doesn't seem quite as fast.

Cons: The POWER BUTTON (On/Off button) is flaky and stupid, sometimes takes about 20 stabs before it'll finally come on and stay on. (I set the BIOS to always boot to power and use a power strip to boot it up anyway, and also I don't boot it that frequently, so it's not that big a deal to me.) I have a question in to Acer support on the issue and will report back if they have any help there. It is completely non-obvious how to even get to the hard drive if you wanted to upgrade it, and needless to say there are no expansion slots for drives. So I dread ever doing any work on this puppy. I guess there wasn't TOO much crapware, but there was quite a bit of software I felt compelled to remove before I could get to work.

Overall Review: I wish the firewire port was in the back rather than the front, but oh well. SD Card reader works well, but I haven't tried every other port. Yes the door that covers the front ports is flimsy, but it pops off nicely, so I just leave it uncovered all the time (because I have to leave a firewire device plugged in all the time, so it makes sense to just not have the door at all.) I have no trouble at all with the CD/DVD door or tray, it's just an ordinary sideways tray that works fine. I do wish the drive had LiteScribe though, but it doesn't.

Most Critical Review
AZiO BTD-V201 USB 2.0 Micro Bluetooth Adapter
AZiO BTD-V201 USB 2.0 Micro Bluetooth Adapter

Pros: cheep.

Cons: Didn't work very well. Trying to use it to get my laptop talking to my Logitech Boombox. If you're pairing it for the first time, it works fine. Subsequent disconnects and reconnects made the Boombox appear to be connected successfully, but no sound would come out. Only be de-pairing and re-pairing could I get the sound to come out again. What a pain in the rear, totally unacceptable.

Didn't last long

Mushkin Enhanced 2.5" 240GB SATA III 7mm Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MKNSSDCR240GB-DX7
Mushkin Enhanced 2.5" 240GB SATA III 7mm Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MKNSSDCR240GB-DX7

Pros: worked fine while it worked

Cons: Bought this in April of 2014. In Sept 2015, it started giving S.M.A.R.T. failure prediction warnings, when I investigated, the specific S.M.A.R.T. message was "drive has reached End of Life". Now, I run my computer 24/7 as part of my I.T. job, so I'm a very heavy user, also I know now to turn off scheduled Drive Defrags on SSD drives, but still... Year and a half? WEAK. Maybe it was already used when it was sent to me? Who knows. Won't buy another Mushkin, that's for sure.

Never Again

SAMSUNG Laptop Series 3 AMD A8-Series A8-4500M (1.90GHz) 4GB Memory 500GB HDD AMD Radeon HD 7640G 15.6" Windows 8 64-Bit NP365E5C-S01US
SAMSUNG Laptop Series 3 AMD A8-Series A8-4500M (1.90GHz) 4GB Memory 500GB HDD AMD Radeon HD 7640G 15.6" Windows 8 64-Bit NP365E5C-S01US

Pros: Cheap for the specs on paper.

Cons: Wow. Would never buy again. Regretting this purchase. Probably going to try returning it. The main reason I bought this to replace my 18-month-old Acer laptop was that I was tired of not having gigabit LAN and USB 3.0. Imagine my disappointment to find that the "USB 3.0" ports do not provide a single lick of improvement over USB 2.0. Believe me, I know what I'm doing, I've used these same external toshiba USB 3.0 drives on other machines and seen blazing performance, but this was just pathetic. So there goes half the rationale for buying this. Also, the combination of Samsung bloatware and lipstick-on-a-pig Windows 8 makes the performance of this machine just utterly pathetic. Is Microsoft assuming everyone has an SSD now, and tough luck if you don't? The hard drive is actually noisy, which is something I thought was a thing of the past. And usually the hard drive is crunching away for no good or apparent reason. Fan is quite noisy as well unless the PC is doing absolutely nothing. So overall if you're looking for a laptop that won't distract you from your work in a quiet room, this is not a good choice. I even turned on the supposed Samsung utility to reduce fan noise (yes they include one) and it didn't help at all. Some of the Samsung bloatware was literally CRASHING upon first boot of the machine. Not a good sign. Keyboard is annoying offset, with the "G-H" center of the keyboard not only to the left of the physical center of the machine, but also to the left of center of the trackpad. There's no excuse for that. In Device Manager, the Realtek hardware for the SD Card Reader is showing a yellow exclamation mark. I didn't actually try to read or write an SD card, but there's no excuse for a brand-new machine reporting hardware driver problems. In the image-based backup software that I use, when I went to burn a recovery CD, it reported that it could not find a valid USB 3.0 driver. Undoubtedly that has something to do with the fact that USB 3.0 is not running at USB 3.0 speeds. I had my power settings and trackpad settings all configured the way I wanted them, and Lo, a Samsung "update" went and reconfigured them all back to the defaults. Thanks Samsung.

Overall Review: You get what you pay for. What I thought was a well-spec'd machine for the money is actually a poor performer. Maybe this would be OK for a child or student, but if you're counting on all those fancy specs to mean something...don't.

Noisy - loud clicking

TOSHIBA MQ01ABD100 1TB 5400 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 2.5" Internal Notebook Hard Drive Bare Drive
TOSHIBA MQ01ABD100 1TB 5400 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 2.5" Internal Notebook Hard Drive Bare Drive

Pros: Works.

Cons: NOT QUIET. HAS VERY LOUD CLICKING. This came as in internal drive in my Arctic MC001, which is supposed to be a completely noiseless, fanless HTPC. However, the terrible clicking that this drive gives off during normal operations can clearly be heard during quiet times from across my living room. As a result, I am having to replace it.

Overall Review: I'm sure there are lots of application where a clicking hard drive would not be objected to. But trying to use it in a "silent" HTPC is not one of them. Bad choice, Arctic.

Garbage

WD TV Live Hub 1TB Media Center - WDBABZ0010BBK-NESN
WD TV Live Hub 1TB Media Center - WDBABZ0010BBK-NESN

Pros: Would be great if it worked. Impressive if you've never seen a media streamer before.

Cons: Worked OK at first, but has gotten progressively worse. Must be some log file filling up or something: It can no longer go a single day without suddenly not being able to play movies or videos any more. Hard-rebooting will fix it for a while, but the time periods that it is "fixed" are growing shorter and shorter and are now lesss than a day.

Overall Review: WD: You are welcome to buy this device from me for only $250, I'm sure that will help you to perform the QA/Testing/Troubleshooting that you should have done before you sold this piece of garbage to me. On the plus side, this device has made me increase my knowledge of building my own HTPC and has given Roku even more business. Good job WD.