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Terry F.

Terry F.

Joined on 08/02/08

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 9
Most Favorable Review

Great case

Fractal Design Define S2 Gunmetal Brushed Aluminum/Steel ATX Silent Modular Light Tint Tempered Glass Window Mid Tower Computer Case
Fractal Design Define S2 Gunmetal Brushed Aluminum/Steel ATX Silent Modular Light Tint Tempered Glass Window Mid Tower Computer Case

Pros: 1. Quiet 2. Good thermal performance considering the acoustic performance 3. USB C header on front I/O panel 4. Easy to build in 5. I really like the way it looks 6. Room to add a nice open loop water cooling system with multiple radiators.

Cons: 1. It could use more height above the motherboard. For those who want to run a 420 x 140 mm radiator, you probably are limited to a push configuration, and may be limited to a radiator thickness of 30 mm. Even then, the rearmost fan may touch the rear I/O cover if your motherboard has one. I am not sure whether a 420 x 140 x 45 mm radiator will fit - perhaps it will with low profile RAM and no rear I/O cover. A 360 mm radiator should work in push, pull or push/pull, though, and you probably are not limited on radiator thickness unless you have super tall RAM (e.g., those new modules with 32 GB on a single stick). 2. It could use a little more width for a front radiator. An Alphacool NexXoS 280 x 140 mm radiator will fit, but a Hardware Labs Nemesis 280 x 140 mm will not. The Hardware Labs Nemesis 360 x 120 mm should fit fine, though. Nonetheless, there is a ton of room up front to use thick radiators and push/pull configurations. 3. The fan hub is very basic, but at least it has one. Since the fan hub plugs into a single fan header, my motherboard treated all the fans that were plugged into it as one, controlling their RPM in unison.

Overall Review: I added two additional 140 mm stock fans to the top of the case in the rear two fan slots above the CPU Cooler. I am presently using a beQuiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 mounted to a Core i9-9900k. I am using Asus's QFan in the bios to control the fan speeds. I now have fan splitters plugged into respective fan headers instead of using the fan hub - the 2 front fans on one splitter and the 2 top fans on the other. That way their RPM can be controlled in pairs rather than all together. I use the system for desktop productivity. The case fans typically run between 450 and 560 rpm and the CPU fans run around 600 rpm. I cannot hear them. The CPU is overclocked to 4.8 - 5.0 GHz on all cores, depending on the load. It idles around 30-34 deg. C and reaches a max around 60 deg. C during normal activity. During stress testing prime 95 running 4.9 GHz on all 8 cores with all 16 threads at 100% reached a max of 71 deg. C. I could barely hear the fans, having to concentrate hard to do so. Blender running 4.9 GHz on all 8 cores with all 16 threads at 100% reached a max of 89 deg. C. In that test I could hear the fans as they ramped up to maximum rpm, but it was not very loud at all.

11/13/2018
Most Critical Review

PowerColor AX5450 GBK3

PowerColor Go! Green Radeon HD 5450 1GB DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 CrossFireX Support Low Profile Video Card (UEFI Ready) AX5450 1GBK3-SHEV4
PowerColor Go! Green Radeon HD 5450 1GB DDR3 PCI Express 2.1 CrossFireX Support Low Profile Video Card (UEFI Ready) AX5450 1GBK3-SHEV4

Pros: 1) Low price, especially with the $20 rebate. Words good for up to two displays. Video playback seems fine. 2) Fanless, so very quiet. Temperature seems to be fine in my case.

Cons: 1) Only supports one or two monitors. If you attach three monitors to a single video card, one of them will be disabled. You can manually select which ones to enable via the Catalyst Control Center. In my case, I purchsed two video cards to drive 5 monitors (3 attached to one video card and 2 attached to the other), but this does not work and I am only able to use 4 monitors, two attached to each video card. 2) Cannot use a DVI-VGA adapter on the DVI port to enable you to use two VGA displays. So, if you have two older displays that only have VGA inputs, you are out of luck (unless you use two video cards). 3) The rebate says only one per household, so if you buy two video cards, like I did, you may not get the rebate on both cards.

Excellent Performance and Looks

be quiet! 250W TDP Dark Rock Pro 4 CPU Cooler with Silent Wings - PWM Fan - 135 mm LGA 1700 Compatible
be quiet! 250W TDP Dark Rock Pro 4 CPU Cooler with Silent Wings - PWM Fan - 135 mm LGA 1700 Compatible

Pros: Nice looking for a CPU cooler. Great cooling and virtually silent. More compact than a Noctua NH-D15 and much better looking. Significantly less expensive than a comparable performing AIO.

Cons: The outer fan may interfere with tall RAM, but it can be moved higher on the heat sink to a certain extent. (Note, it clears my G.Skill Ripjaws V Ram without any adjustment).

Overall Review: I have my Dark Rock Pro 4 on a Core i9-9900k overclocked to 5 GHz. It idles around 30-33 deg. C, and the hottest it reached during my normal activity was 63 deg. C. I am controlling the fans with my Asus Motherboard's QFan control, and I cannot hear them. The performance/noise ratio is probably on par with the Noctua NH-D15, though I believe the NH-D15 can spin the fans to a higher rpm to get a bit more cooling and, correspondingly, slightly more noise. But the Dark Rock Pro 4 is much better suited for a case with a clear side panel. I wouldn't put the NH-D15 in a clear side paneled case with those ugly brown fans. In fact, recently I built a computer using a NH-D15 I had lying around, but the cost of just replacing the fans with black ones and adding the Chromax covers to make it look nice was almost as much as buying the entire Dark Rock Pro 4. Thus, the Dark Rock Pro 4 is a much better value if you care about the way the cooler will look in the case.

Excellent Motherboard

ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390 Gaming Motherboard LGA1151 (Intel 8th and 9th Gen) ATX DDR4 HDMI M.2 USB 3.1 Gen2 Onboard 802.11 ac Wi-Fi
ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390 Gaming Motherboard LGA1151 (Intel 8th and 9th Gen) ATX DDR4 HDMI M.2 USB 3.1 Gen2 Onboard 802.11 ac Wi-Fi

Pros: 1. Gorgeous (as far as motherboards go). 2. The bios user interface and features are fantastic. 3. AI overclocking and QFan control are great. 4. The VRM water cooling block is nice for someone who is going to use the motherboard for extreme overclocking with an open loop water cooling setup.

Cons: 1. Price. 2. It would be nice if the W_Pump header was user configurable to be able to be used as a conventional fan header with rpm control. 3. The LED lighting on the I/O shroud and Armor cover plates should be brighter. 4. The VRM temperatures are not showing up in CPUID HWMonitor (perhaps this will be fixed with a future bios update).

Overall Review: I wanted an Asus ROG Maximus XI Code, but after looking for a couple of weeks could not find it in stock. By the time my Core i9-9900k shipped, I decided to sign up for auto notify on both the Code and Formula and take which ever one I could get my hands on first. That happened to be the Formula, which is the more expensive of the two. My Core i9-9900k CPU is running nice and cool using the Formula's AI overclock to 5 GHz and QFan control. I have a beQuiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 air cooler, and I cannot even hear the fans running. Meanwhile the CPU idles around 30-33 deg. C and the hottest it has gotten during my daily use so far is 61 deg. C. This motherboard is performing outstanding. That being said, the VRM water block probably is not a necessity unless someone is doing extreme overclocking. As noted in the Cons, I can't see how hot the VRMs are running, but there is no thermal throttling and the system has been rock stable at 5 GHz. Thus, for most people, the Maximus XI Code, which is very similar but uses a conventional VRM cooler, is probably a better value if you can find one in stock.

Happy With the i9-9900k

Intel Core i9 9th Gen - Core i9-9900K Coffee Lake 8-Core, 16-Thread, 3.6 GHz (5.0 GHz Turbo) LGA 1151 (300 Series) 95W BX80684I99900K Desktop Processor Intel UHD Graphics 630
Intel Core i9 9th Gen - Core i9-9900K Coffee Lake 8-Core, 16-Thread, 3.6 GHz (5.0 GHz Turbo) LGA 1151 (300 Series) 95W BX80684I99900K Desktop Processor Intel UHD Graphics 630

Pros: Fast

Cons: Price

Overall Review: I have my i9-9900k overclocked at 5 GHz using my Asus motherboard's AI overclocking. It performs well - a significant improvement over my old i7-3770k (oc'd to 4.3 GHz). I have seen reviews where the i9-9900k runs fairly warm during stress testing. However, so far it is running cool for my daily usage. I use it for desktop productivity. I purchased it to get burst of speed when performing OCR on very large pdf files and when performing some complicated document analyses (not just spelling/grammar checking). I have a beQuiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 CPU cooler. The fans are controlled by the motherboard's QFan control, and they are running slow enough that I can't hear them. I have been monitoring CPU temps most of the day using CPUID HWMonitor, and the maximum temp reached on my hottest core was 60 deg. C. The package reached 61 deg. C. Most of the time, though, the temps are hovering between 30 and 33 deg. C.

It works as well as I had hoped

TRIPP LITE B004-2DUA2-K 2-Port Dual Monitor DVI KVM Switch with Audio and USB 2.0 Hub, Cables included
TRIPP LITE B004-2DUA2-K 2-Port Dual Monitor DVI KVM Switch with Audio and USB 2.0 Hub, Cables included

Pros: It worked right out of the box with no issues. It includes all of the cables needed to connect two computers to the KVM switch (use the cables that came with the monitors to connect those to the KVM switch).

Cons: Price is a little high.

Overall Review: I looked at multiple 2-port DVI KVM switches. With some of the other brands people had various issues with mice, docking stations, etc. This one had good reviews, so I purchased it, even though it was more expensive. My biggest concern was whether my Microsoft Surface docking station was going to work with the switch. The Surface docking station has mini display port outputs, and the switch has DVI inputs. I used ACTIVE mini display port to DVI adapters to connect the docking station to the cables that came with the switch. It worked perfectly on the first try with no fuss whatsoever. My other concern was whether my wireless mouse was going to work. I plugged my mouse wireless receiver into the USB port on the FRONT of the switch and the mouse works fine. There is a dedicated USB port for the mouse on the back of the switch, but I was concerned that plugging the receiver into the back side of the switch may result in weaker signal reception due to the metal of the switch's case being positioned between the mouse and the receiver. I had trouble with this mouse before when it was too far from the computer I was using it with (which was not that far). For the heck of it, I tried plugging the mouse receiver into the back side USB port just to see what would happen. My hunch was correct. The cursor was not as smooth due to the weaker signal. So I moved the receiver back to the front of the case and everything works fine and dandy. This is not a flaw in the switch, but is an issue with my particular mouse. I posted this information so that if anybody experiences an issue with a wireless mouse when using the backside USB port, they will know to try using the front USB port.