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Tom L.

Tom L.

Joined on 03/19/02

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 14
Most Favorable Review

Great card for the price

IOCrest SI-PEX40064 PCI-Express 2.0 Low Profile Ready SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) Controller Card
IOCrest SI-PEX40064 PCI-Express 2.0 Low Profile Ready SATA III (6.0 Gb/s) Controller Card

Pros: The price is good for a 4 port card. Speeds were okay/acceptable. UnRAID Linux has a driver built-in, plug-n-play. Remember you don't need RAID support for the unRAID OS.

Cons: The maximum bandwidth accessing multiple drives simultaneously seemed to have bottle-necked at only 2 drives, even in PCI-E 2.0.

Overall Review: Read your motherboard manual closely! My ASRock H55M/USB3 stated my PCI-E x1 slots were PCI-E 2.0 @ 2.5GT/s speed. Look up the 2.5GT/s bandwidth spec and you find out that's PCI-E v1.x speeds. How can they advertise my x1 slot as 2.0? :/ PCI-E 2.0 should be 5GT/s bandwidth. I found this by using my x1 slot and tried to clear (write zeros) to 2 of my hard drives simultaneously. When I ran the task on the 1st drive I was getting 135MByte/s (average speed even in windows while accessing these drives). I opened up a new window and ran it again on the 2nd drive then the 1st speed dropped down to 102MByte/s while the 2nd drive got 90MByte/s. So it pretty much maxed out the PCI-E v1.x total bandwidth of 250MByte/s one direction. I put this card in my PCI-E 2.0 x16 slot and the bandwidth was better, it must be a true 2.0 speed slot. For the first 2 hard drives I got 135/120 MB/s. I was not able to run a 3rd drive, it had a difficult time with lagging accessing the 3rd drive, like the bandwidth was still saturated. When the 1st 2 drives finished I ran it again on the last 2 drives and I got 140/140 MB/s. Better speed, but I didn't get to try it on a 3rd drive that time, so I'm not sure if the problem earlier was a fluke. But while using my onboard SATA ports with different drives I was able to clear 4 drives simultaneously at around 130MB/s each. And all of these speeds coming from some original Samsung 2TB HD204UI SATA 3.0Gbps 5400RPM drives.

S/PDIF Output Works Great

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Express x1 Interface Sound Card
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Express x1 Interface Sound Card

Pros: S/PDIF out & off-loaded sound processing.

Cons: none

Overall Review: I took a chance and purchased this elsewhere used for half the price. I don't see how people can say S/PDIF optical out does not output 5.1, because it does. I purchased this specifically for XBMC since my on-board S/PDIF TOSLINK optical was Realtek and XBMC does not like Realtek S/PDIF. I was getting a static noise blip when multichannel audio started with Realtek, but not with this card. Multichannel audio plays good the first time. When I play a movie with DTS audio I see and hear my Onkyo TX-SR600 change modes. The display changes to "DTS". When I play a Dolby Digital movie in XBMC my Onkyo changes and displays "Dolby Digital". It even changes and displays "Dolby Pro Logic II" when I play the appropriate format. Even when I played a movie with only a DTS-HD Master Audio track, it gets down converted to plain old DTS and still plays okay and my receiver displays "DTS". People need to know that the Control Panel->Sound->SPDIF Out Properties->Advanced-Default Format is the shared mode output, which is limited to 2 channels. That's where the audio device is shared by multiple programs at the same time, where windows and other programs can play audio all at the same time and get mixed together. But if a program can have exclusive access to the audio device then it can take full advantage of all its features. Which is why there's an "Exclusive Mode" option in the advanced tab. And XBMC uses this exclusive mode with the WASAPI mode. When I played a movie using VLC it didn't automatically select the correct output mode. It was still using 2 channel mode. I had to select Audio->Audio Device->A/52 over S/PDIF. Then my receiver clicked into multichannel mode. So if anyone says this card does not output 5.1 over S/PDIF optical, they are uninformed. Because it does.

Perfect

Intel 520 Series Cherryville 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) SSDSC2CW120A3K5
Intel 520 Series Cherryville 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) SSDSC2CW120A3K5

Pros: Fast & small. The cloning went perfect; used a USB to SATA adapter. The installation went almost perfect; see below. Turned on and ran perfect; no BSODs or freezing. The Intel SSD Toolbox runs perfect on Win 7 32bit. Boot time went from 30 seconds to 11 seconds; the Win 7 four twirling balls don't even get a chance to form a windows logo. And all this speed while using it in SATA II (3.0 Gb) mode with a Core 2 Duo 1.86 GHz & 2GB RAM. Remember, you don't need SATA 6.0 Gb to take advantage of SSD speed. ANY old computer can benefit! SATA 6.0 Gb only has the advantage when you're processing very large files.

Cons: The 3.5" tray puts the 2.5" drive in the center. So the power & data connectors are actually offset than a real 3.5" drive. The connectors are shifted to the middle than at the edge like a real 3.5" hard drive. I had a little issue putting the 3.5" tray into the plastic hard drive caddy of a Dell XPS 210 slim case. The caddy has an opening at the side, expecting a real 3.5" drive. No biggie though, I just had to turn the SSD around and move the cables to the back side.

Overall Review: It would be nice if the 3.5" tray aligns the power and data connectors to the side like a real 3.5" drive. This is my first SSD. I was in the market as my spinner had a 72% health. I've been waiting for an SSD drive to claim reliability and last more than 6 months. I've been reluctant to purchase one due to the failure rate from all the reviews I've read. One would think an SSD should last many many years longer than a spinner, no moving parts right. What's the reliability rate of CPU? They just work. It's almost unheard of to get a DOA or a failure within a year. An SSD should be the same! I for one am willing to spend the extra dollar for claimed reliability. Reading spinner reviews is very depressing. It's amazing how many spinning hard drives fail within the first day to a year. When has this been acceptable? We all just bend over and take it because we have to. I hope these are more reliable than the others as claimed, and way more reliable than a spinner. Only time will

Almost completely silent

Rosewill RCX-Z90-CP - 92mm CPU Cooling Fan - Long Life Sleeve
Rosewill RCX-Z90-CP - 92mm CPU Cooling Fan - Long Life Sleeve

Pros: The price & performance. Almost completely silent while running at low speed (800 RPM). Better sound frequency than stock Core i3-530 CPU heat sink/fan. Snap-in clips are great so the motherboard does not need to be removed.

Cons: The snap-in clips were a little difficult to pop in at first since the metal around them is flat and that there's some wiggle room with each clip. Definitely not as easy to drop in as an Intel heat sink, since their clips have plastic sleeves around them, there's no wiggle room with those and they just drop straight down perfectly each time. I've installed over 30 Intel heat sinks in my time, and this one definitely installs a little differently. The clips only added a couple minutes to the install, so really installation wasn't that bad.

Overall Review: The stock Intel heat sink/fan has a sort of mechanical hum to it. My motherboard would only run it down to about 1000 RPM to level 5 (H55M/USB3 R2.0). This Rosewill fan runs down to about 800 RPM using a level of 1 and is nearly silent. I tested in a small quiet bedroom with my case open, and there's a barely noticeable mechanical noise at this speed while about 1 foot away, but most of what you hear is just a little air movement. 800 RPM is so low, there almost has to be no noise at this level My CPU temp stays around 35c. With Prime95 the RPM kicks up to about 2556, and of course it is louder at this level. But again most of what you hear is air movement, and not a mechanical noise like the stock Intel fan. I have my BIOS temp setting at 45c, so around 45c-49c is when my fan kicks in up to 2556 RPM and cools it down. I use this in my HTPC and I'm very satisfied with the quiet level compared to the stock Intel fan. For me temps don't matter, but silence does.

Works Great

Kingston 2GB Secure Digital (SD) Flash Card Model SD/2GB
Kingston 2GB Secure Digital (SD) Flash Card Model SD/2GB

Pros: Cheap storage.

Cons: none

Overall Review: Works great in my Garmin Nuvi for a map expansion.

Looks Aesthetic

Titan TTC-NK35TZ/RPW/V2 95mm Z-AXIS BEARING CPU Cooler
Titan TTC-NK35TZ/RPW/V2 95mm Z-AXIS BEARING CPU Cooler

Pros: Looks pretty darn rad! The copper, the silver, the fan, & the heat pipes. 4 pin cable, so there's power control. 3 heat pipes. It's probably really silent. A lot of accessories provided. Easy snap-on clips, so the motherboard doesn't have to be removed (which is how it should be). Have I said this thing looks pretty cool.

Cons: Size. Make sure you have just about 6 inches clear from the top of your CPU to the case. It's that tall. I unfortunately did not measure my clearance (impulse buy). I have about 4.5 inches of space in my case. Oh well, I'll store this on the shelf for later or perhaps use it as a center piece.

Overall Review: The heatsink fins just seem to high for maximum efficiency. There's just so much length of the heatpipe exposed without moving air or fins that it seems there would be a lot of heat buildup on the lower copper pipes.