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Christopher P.

Christopher P.

Joined on 01/12/04

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 39
Most Favorable Review

2x 5970 QuadfireX fun

SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 5970 (Hemlock) 2GB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 CrossFireX Support Video Card 100280SR
SAPPHIRE Radeon HD 5970 (Hemlock) 2GB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 CrossFireX Support Video Card 100280SR

Pros: Fastest single card out there. Contains 2 GPU's on the same card design. Easy install if you have the room to fit it. No issues with several driver versions thus far. I've gone from 10.3 - 10.10 with this card and it's never had trouble. Lots of aftermarket support even with its high price tag. Aftermarket air coolers are cheap, and there are several water blocks to use with the 5970 if you want to take the watercooling route. Benchmarks are fun to watch. 3DMark Vantage score of about 30,600... bring on 3DMark 11! I can FINALLY play Crysis maxed out at my native 2560x1600 resolution. @ Very High I'm averaging 52fps. Lowest I ever see framerates drop to is 34fps and when inside buildings or in the heavily forested areas I can maintain a steady 60fps. I play with VSYNC enabled so I'm not sure about max framerate. Bring on Crysis 2!!

Cons: No native HDMI port. Seriously.. why not!? I have to run audio through an optical audio cable from my sound card to get videos to play audio through my receiver. HDMI would have been way nicer. Some games benefit from Quadfire well and others seem to not work at all with it. Bad Company 2 performance is still bad and the game crashes randomly. I was really looking forward to better Gothic 4 performance with another 5970 but sadly I saw no change whatsoever in this game. Extremely loud stock HSF (Heat Sync & Fan). This thing bugged me so bad I spent $80 twice for two aftermarket coolers to replace the stock fan setup.

Overall Review: I replaced the stock HSF's on my cards in favor of the Arctic Cooling 5970 aftermarket cooler. Much, much quieter. Temps stay lower for a lot longer. 2x Radeon 6870's in xfire will almost always beat out a single 5970 by 10-20%. If you don't ever plan on using two 5970's in Crossfire then I suggest taking the 6870 Crossfire route. System Specs: 2x Sapphire Radeon 5970's in QuadfireX Intel Core i5 750 @ 4.2ghz w/ Corsair H50 WC 4gb DDR3-2000mhz G. Skill RAM 60GB OCZ Agility 2 SSD 640GB Seagate HD (Games) 1TB Seagate HD (Multimedia) 1000w Kingwin LZG Gold PSU Corsair Obsidian 700d full tower case

Most Critical Review

Great board... for Integrated use only.

ASUS P5Q-EM LGA 775 Intel G45 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
ASUS P5Q-EM LGA 775 Intel G45 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard

Pros: Very good integrated video chipset. Video playback is smooth, can do some light gaming. Played WoW at 1920x1200 resolution and all settings on low and maintained playable framerate. HD Audio is amazingly close to the quality of my X-Fi card, but not quite at the same level. Plenty of USB ports, 4 ram slots, pci-express 16 ver. 2

Cons: Came with a faulty pci-express slot. I spent the last 4 days troubleshooting this board. Tried memory tests, separate brand new power supplies, video cards, disabling onboard devices such as sound, new LAN card, XP and Vista, new and old drivers, BIOS updates, etc. Pretty much everything I could try, I tried. In the end, it was the faulty pci-express slot causing system lock-ups. Usually happens when trying to play a game and it locks up in a few seconds of playing. Had it lock up twice just while browsing web.

Overall Review: If you are looking for an integrated, all-in-one board, this is GREAT! If you are going to use this for a micro atx case, and plan to use it for heavy gaming, I would look elsewhere! Very frustrating experience. 4 long days of troubleshooting. Finally tried my buddy's micro board of a different brand, and everything has been running smoothly. Didn't have to reinstall Vista 64-bit either, thanks to Vista's amazing hardware compatibility. Just gave my friend the ASUS board since he only uses onboard video anyways. Was on the phone for 40 mins to talk to ASUS tech support and all they could tell me was that it was either a grounding issue or that I needed to send it in for an RMA. Complete waste of time. It was definitely not a grounding issue because it worked fine with onboard video.

Fantastic case to hide a monster in!

LIAN LI PC-V33B Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ATX PSU (not included) Power Supply
LIAN LI PC-V33B Black Aluminum ATX Mid Tower Computer Case ATX PSU (not included) Power Supply

Pros: - Sleek and extremely light case made of aluminum. - Plenty of space for any ATX motherboard, GPU and PSU. - Enough space for 240mm radiator water coolers and fans. - Ease of access to any component of your build. - Includes a couple of cable ties. This case is definitely the easiest one I've ever dealt with while assembling a computer. I took an existing gaming build from my Thor V2 full tower case and transplanted it all into this PC-V33B.

Cons: - Loud stock case fans. The back of the case is all black, including the screws for fans and thumbscrews, yet Lian Li leaves you with silver power supply case screws, which throws off the looks entirely. I was lucky to have black screws of the same type to use in their place. Small frustration, but one that shouldn't have gone overlooked.

Overall Review: Good luck finding a case this small and light that will allow you to build a monster gaming rig without worrying about whether or not you can fit a certain power supply, graphics card, or ATX sized motherboard into. This will handle it all. I couldn't find any other cases this small and light that would house all of my components. If noise is a factor then I recommend you order a couple of aftermarket case fans to replace the two 120mm fans included with this case. They are too loud, even while the PC is idle. I replaced them with some Noctua NF-S12B Redux fans, and the case is now virtually silent at idle. I no longer dread the thought of dragging my gaming computer to a friends place, or even outside to clean it. It's so much lighter and easier to maneuver that I don't mind doing so. PC specs: Intel Core i5 2500k @ 4.0GHz with Corsair water cooler 8GB G.Skill DDR3-2133 memory Gigabyte Windforce GTX 980 Ti OC Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H ATX motherboard 1TB Samsung Evo SSD 250GB Samsung Evo SSD Creative Sound Blaster Z audio card EVGA 1300W Gen2 Power Supply

Beast for the price

SAPPHIRE Radeon R9 290X 4GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 BattleField 4 Game Edition Video Card 100361BF4SR
SAPPHIRE Radeon R9 290X 4GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 BattleField 4 Game Edition Video Card 100361BF4SR

Pros: Low power consumption when idle, good chunk of VRAM (4GB) for higher resolution gaming, easy installation for Crossfire setup without the need for bridge connector(s). Much cheaper than Titan, and for almost half the price as of this writing. Good GPU scaling in Crossfire mode, but all newer cards do this well. Ultra settings on most games runs very well at 2560x1600. Some of the more demanding titles such as Metro Last Light and Crysis 3 run very well (60+fps avg.) on High Settings, but still fall under 60fps when maxed out. BF4 runs great (mostly 65-175fps) on Ultra settings with two of these in Crossfire mode at 1600p resolution. One card will suffice for anyone running 1080p or lower.

Cons: AMD drivers for this card caused quite a headache for me over the weekend. I tried the ones included on the disc first since I received my card on Friday and AMD had not uploaded drivers for the 290X on their website at that time. Some games ran fine, others locked up the PC after a few minutes of play. Newly released drivers didn't change anything. Games ran fine with Crossfire disabled, but not when using both cards. This led me to purchase a power meter to see if I was somehow maxing out my 1000w PSU and causing the crashes due to power issues. Nope, even with 5 HDD's, a DVD burner, four case fans, Sound Blaster Z audio card, an overclocked i5 2500k to 4.0ghz, and 2x Radeon 290X's, my power usage stays somewhere between 600-790watts when playing various games. After much research I found a suggestion to disable AMD's audio device through the Device Manager. It fixed the issue for me! It must have conflicted with my Sound Blaster Z. Try this if you get lock-ups!! My upgrade from a 2GB VRAM GTX 680 to this 4GB 290X still isn't enough VRAM for all games. BF4 uses ALL of it on Ultra settings @ 1600p. I saw numbers above 4040mb of usage when using HBAO and High Anti-Aliasing mode. I switched down to SSAO and it tends to stay around 3880mb of VRAM used. BF4 is VRAM hungry! This card runs too hot! I now need to get a new case with more airflow to help control the heat. The cards hit 95c quickly and it raises the temps of everything else in the case. My CPU temps rose from an average of 45c while gaming to about 58-62c just by moving up from much cooler GTX 680's to these scorching 290X's. AMD claims it's well within the safe limit of the cards, but I'm worried about my other components now.

Overall Review: The BF4 code included only works from 10/27 on. Those who had issues beforehand simply needed to wait until closer to launch day. Even though the mode that switches from Quiet mode to Uber allows for higher fan control, it still caps it at 55% fan speed. As a result, the card will still hit 95c and then the card will throttle down in clock speed. I've seen it fluctuate between 850-950mhz quite a bit while playing Metro Last Light and Crysis 3. BF4 seems to hold steady at 1000mhz core clock when running on Ultra settings. Unless you have very good airflow, or go with some sort of water cooling route for these cards, you are still going to run into heat issues which will downclock the speed of the cards. The cards will do whatever is necessary to maintain at or below 95c, which means downclocking the core speed even on the Ultra bios setting. If these cards had thermals similar to Titan, I would be highly impressed and it would be enough for me to give them a perfect 5/5. The only other flaw I ran into, or I'm sure not everyone will, is the AMD audio locking up my computer. It took a lot of troubleshooting to figure it out, but I did. Watch out for this!

10/29/2013

Great looks... but that's it...

LOGISYS Computer CS308RD Red / Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 480W Power Supply
LOGISYS Computer CS308RD Red / Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case 480W Power Supply

Pros: Great looking case. It's very hard to tell just by looking at it that it costs so little. Easy to build a budget PC in this case as there is plenty of room for components.

Cons: Arrived with scratches already on the front panel where the red paint is. Side window arrived with broken plastic at the bottom. The power supply was bent at a strange angle and the PSU mount/shelf was also bent downward so the PSU didn't have a proper rest. I had to fix this myself. Thankfully it's such thin metal that it was easy to bend back in place. The interior of the case I received is NOT black, even though it's clearly stated to be black on Newegg's website description/pics. The box I received the case in was even marked as black steel, but mine has a silver interior. Not sure how this passed the quality check.

Overall Review: Don't buy this case and use high-end components. That doesn't mix well. If you have nice equipment then look for a nicer case. If you're on a strict budget then this will do nicely. This case worked out for building a low-budget PC for a friend of mine. I just wish it had come in proper condition, and as advertised. Logisys should be ashamed of their quality control.

10/17/2013

Great speakers - need lots of power!

Polk Audio Monitor Series New Monitor 75T Four-Way Ported Floorstanding Loudspeaker (Black) Single
Polk Audio Monitor Series New Monitor 75T Four-Way Ported Floorstanding Loudspeaker (Black) Single

Pros: I had to write this review after seeing some of the garbage that has been written about these speakers. Uninformed purchasers are giving these some bad rep because of their mistake of buying high-powered speakers and using it with low-end equipment. This leads to a lackluster impression of what truly is a great product. These speakers produce wonderful highs and mids, with some impressive low-end if you have the right set up for it. For the price paid, I'd say these are the budget bargain to go for, given you have the power to run them. These Polk's look intimidating with the grills off, but any light at all and the cones shine too much, especially in a room-darkened environment. Thankfully they still look great with the covers on.

Cons: These are very power hungry, and because of that a lot of people buy these with high expectations, and are let down when they hear how they sound when hooked up to under-powered and/or low-end receivers. Don't blame these speakers for your lack of power.

Overall Review: Please give these adequate power in order to get the most out of them. If you have these in a 5.1 or 7.1 setup with a 90wpc receiver, you're realistically only providing them with about 65-75 watts of power, as the receiver has to distribute power across more than it's stereo-rated array of channels. If you are running stereo only you may be alright with a receiver that supplies around 120 watts of power. The more the better. Once you hit 200+ is where the magic happens. I didn't like how mine sounded until I purchased a 5 channel amp with 200 watts of continuous power per channel. These sound incredible when fed well! If you don't have the juice for these then you should probably step down to a lower end version. The 55T's would sound better if ran on a low powered receiver.