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Andrew F.

Andrew F.

Joined on 08/11/08

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 13
Most Favorable Review
Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
Antec Three Hundred Illusion Black Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Pros: It's an easy case to get into, without having to magically guess where to push or pull. There aren't any sharp edges or glaring manufacturing flaws. The ties to hold cables out of the way work well. It's quiet if you set the fans to low, which you can with four pretty big (120 mm or larger) case fans and room for a fifth. My Radeon HD 5850 fits easily with about an inch and a half of clearance. I suspect that larger video cards would fit just fine, too, though for the very biggest, you might have to twist the card to get it under the bar for one end of the hard drive cage before reorienting it underneath.

Cons: The fans are quite loud if you don't set them to low. Changing the case fan speeds requires opening up the case, and changing the control manually, so they can't automatically adjust based on how hot internal hardware is. I don't particularly like having lights in the fans, but don't care enough to do anything about it.

10/22/2009
Most Critical Review
Hanns·G HH-191DPB Black 19" 5ms LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 DC 15000:1(1000:1) Built in Speakers w/ HDCP Support
Hanns·G HH-191DPB Black 19" 5ms LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 DC 15000:1(1000:1) Built in Speakers w/ HDCP Support

Pros: Cheap, serviceable monitor. It's also bright, at least if you want it to be.

Cons: The one I got has two defective pixels. White text on a dark background also looks bad, as the text doesn't appear properly white, or even a consistent color. It doesn't have this problem for black text on a light background. It says it has DVI connectivity, which is true, but the DVI cable is sold separately.

Overall Review: You get what you pay for. I'm using it as a secondary monitor off to the side, and not my main monitor, so it's perfectly good for that. I also seem to be nearly the only person in the world who hates shortscreen ("widescreen") monitors, on the basis that they're simply the wrong shape for things like web browsing, word processing, or e-mail--that is, things that people do on computers.

10/22/2009
SAPPHIRE 100282SR Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card w/ATI Eyefinity
SAPPHIRE 100282SR Radeon HD 5850 1GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFire Supported Video Card w/ATI Eyefinity

Pros: It's fast. I got over 600 FPS in Guild Wars with all graphical settings maxed, at least while staring at a wall up close. A lot better performance than needed even in the busiest areas, too. I realize that isn't the most demanding game, but at the moment, I'm only familiar with games that would at least run on my older card, a Radeon X1300 Pro. Good features, too, for future-proofing. DirectX 11 is going to be a huge deal. Three monitor support is a nice touch. It can do GPGPU stuff with OpenCL, but most people who buy this card will replace the card before GPGPU catches on. Eyefinity will matter greatly if someone can make bezel-free monitors, and not until then. It soon will be able to do hardware deceleration of physics computations (Bullet, Pixelux, and Havok), but that's a stupid gimmick that's only to say "we can do something as useless as PhysX too". Using a video card for non-traditional uses is only a good idea when the video card isn't already busy rendering a g

Cons: The power usage isn't as advertised. Using the drivers that came with the card, my entire system used 97 W at idle (including one monitor), as measured by my uninterruptible power supply. After getting the latest drivers on AMD's web site, the entire system uses 121 W at idle, and I've been unable to revert to the older drivers. FurMark is only able to push the system up to 211 W, and a gap of only 90 W between completely idle and very heavy load is a lot less than advertised (27 W at idle vs 151 W at load for the video card alone). And that 90 W gap isn't just the video card, either, as it includes power supply inefficiencies. The culprit is that the card doesn't properly downclock when idle. It will not clock the GPU below 400 MHz, which is more than half of the full speed stock rating of 725 MHz, even when it reports 0% activity. The memory won't downclock when idle at all, but stays at its rated speed even when completely idle.

Overall Review: Earlier drivers were able to properly reduce the power consumption while idle before the most recent drivers (8.661.0.0) broke that functionality. Perhaps there's hope that future drivers can recover it. Still, if the worst I've got to say is that idle power consumption isn't nearly as low as advertised, that's not bad. At least they've got actual DirectX 11 cards out that give good performance, as opposed to having to trot out the company CEO with a fake Fermi that he insists is real in spite of screws sticking out oddly, an SLI connector covered by a backplate, an exhaust vent mostly blocked, and the end of the PCB sawn off right through electronics and everything.

10/22/2009
OCZ OCZACSSDBRKT2 Solid State Drive 3.5" Adaptor Bracket 2
OCZ OCZACSSDBRKT2 Solid State Drive 3.5" Adaptor Bracket 2

Pros: It does basically what it promises: lets you mount a 2.5" solid state drive in a 3.5" hard drive bay without the use of elastic, Velcro, duct tape, or other adhesives.

Cons: It doesn't properly fit my case (Antec Three Hundred Illusion). The hard drive thumbscrews that come with the case are too big to fit in the holes for the mounting bracket. Fortunately, the bracket comes with its own screws that do fit its own holes, even if they're rather small for the standard holes in the case. If there's writing on the hard drive and there's writing on the bracket, you might expect that when mounted, the writing should both go in the same direction. But you'd be wrong about that. And OCZ designed both, so they can't claim that some other company messed up with something non-standard. You might also think that the pictures shown give you a view of the bracket from above. But no. If mounted that way, the screw holes don't line up with the case. The only way to make it fit is what appears to me to to be upside down, with the drive hanging from the bracket by four screws rather then gently resting on it.

Overall Review: Maybe 3.5" hard drive sizes are a lot less standard than I think they are, or maybe OCZ will have to come up with a third generation adaptor bracket shortly. I did get the drive mounted after sufficient trial and error. But if paying for what is essentially a convenience part, I'd expect more convenience. Or at least a slip of paper to serve as a manual and say what the right way to mount it is. Also, the person posting the manufacturer's response is posting a dead link to the OCZ forums. Drop the "c" from the end of the link, so that it ends in "index.php" to get the right URL.

10/22/2009
Logitech S120 2.0 Stereo Speakers, Black
Logitech S120 2.0 Stereo Speakers, Black

Pros: They're good enough speakers that fit a budget well.

Cons: The light that says that the power is on is bright. I covered it with duct tape, and it's still rather bright, though a lot less so than before.

Overall Review: I'm not enough of an audiophile to be able to tell the difference between these speakers and really, really good ones. While I haven't found anything wrong with them, I wouldn't necessarily find it even if there were something severely wrong.

10/22/2009
Thermaltake Silent 1156 CLP0552 92mm CPU Cooler For Intel Socket LGA1156
Thermaltake Silent 1156 CLP0552 92mm CPU Cooler For Intel Socket LGA1156

Pros: It's quiet, and it keeps the processor cool--essentially the ambient temperature at idle. My Core i7-860 at stock speeds only reaches 55 C even running Prime95. Under more realistic loads, it's substantially cooler yet. That leaves a lot of room for a moderate overclock.

Cons: I had an awful time trying to get the pins to stay in place when mounting the heatsink. Pushing on two pins at once as the instructions described isn't enough, at least not without pushing hard enough that I'd fear breaking the motherboard. Twisting the pins back and forth while pushing (which the instructions don't mention) finally worked with far more moderate amounts of force.

Overall Review: The picture on the instructions does advise an orientation that would make the fan blow air toward the back of the case, contrary to what another review said.

10/22/2009