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Bruce P.

Bruce P.

Joined on 01/16/05

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 10
Most Favorable Review

Solid card, Great price. GET IT!

SAPPHIRE Ultimate Edition Radeon HD 3850 512MB GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 CrossFireX Support Video Card 100226U
SAPPHIRE Ultimate Edition Radeon HD 3850 512MB GDDR3 PCI Express 2.0 x16 CrossFireX Support Video Card 100226U

Pros: The card runs relatively cool with minimum cooling. (I have two 1200 and one 500 RPM Scythe Kaze Jyu-Ni 12cm fans in my case) After a couple hours of gaming, with the card overclocked, and the game's graphics settings up all the way, the card almost reaches 50c and my rig hardly makes any noise. I was able to run CoD4, and the contents of the Valve Orange Box with the graphics all the way up with no problems. (At 1280x1024/75hz) Great bundle!

Cons: While it doesn't necessarily take up 'two slots', it is BIG. And LONG. If you just put it in the topmost slot, it doesn't block any slots...but put it in any other, and the radiator might block the slot above it. (On the M3A32-MVP Deluxe, you can put two in and crossfire them, and only lose a PCI slot.)

Overall Review: With my latest build, I made the move back from nVidia to ATI. For little reason other than the fact that my motherboard, the ASUS M3A32-MVP Deluxe is a quad-crossfire board. It seems to me it was a good decision. The new version of ATI/AMD Crossfire looks to be a better solution than nVidia's SLI, and this is a very solid card for the money. I'm running mine at 708/936mhz, and the default clocks are 669/829mhz (Core/Memory) and that's just the OC I was able to attain using the automatic tuning tools. The bundle includes full versions of 3DMark06, PowerDVD, an activation key for Valve's 'The Black Box' (HL2:EP2, TF2, Portal), and a suite of other DVD software from Cyberlink. I only got one, but I'm getting another for sure!

Great drive, better price!

Western Digital WD Green WD20EARS 2TB 5400 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive
Western Digital WD Green WD20EARS 2TB 5400 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive

Pros: - Pretty fast for a 'green' drive. - Very reliable so far. - Ridiculously inexpensive. (With or without rebates and other offers)

Cons: - 2TB barely cuts it these days, even in an array. - Things cost money. - Computer cases never have enough places to put them. Nothing I can take an egg off for!

Overall Review: I've purchased 6 so far, and only had one failure, with my RAID controller detecting a problem within the first few weeks. (Though I let it go until it actually tested as failed, and then RMA'd it.) I also own EIGHT of the 1.5TB version of this drive. Remember, HDD failure rates are a bathtub curve: they'll either fail within the first several months (Or be DOA) or last for YEARS. These figures scale with level of use, but the fact remains they'll either die early/immediately, or have a good long service life. (There's always exceptions though...these are just statistics, afterall.) Luckily, with S.M.A.R.T. monitoring and a good disk drive controller, you'll usually get some warning. And if you ever need to RMA a drive, WD's system is very straightforward and fast, they even offer replacement cross-shipping. (For a fee, of course.)

Incredible chip! Maximum bang for your buck!

AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition - Phenom II X6 Thuban 6-Core 3.2 GHz Socket AM3 125W Desktop Processor - HDT90ZFBGRBOX
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T Black Edition - Phenom II X6 Thuban 6-Core 3.2 GHz Socket AM3 125W Desktop Processor - HDT90ZFBGRBOX

Pros: First of all, the price is unbelievable, especially compared to Intel's offerings. The performance is great right out of the box, but this is a Black Edition, so who cares about the stock performance? You want to know about the overclocking! Well, you will NOT be disappointed! It OCs very simply! Stable at 3.60GHz with no VCore adjustment, no heat. Stable at 3.80GHz, slight VCore bump, bit warmer than stock. About 90% stable at 4.00GHz, VCore up to around 1.4V, though that gets pretty hot under full load with with the stock cooler unless you have aggressive airflow in your case. With a nice big cooler, you can probably run it at 4.00GHz perfectly stable all the time. Though I bet 4.20GHz and beyond might be possible. What these numbers actually mean for gaming: Upgrading from an original Phenom X4, it was like putting in a brand new GPU. Huge performance boost, much higher FPS at higher settings. Can't wait to ACTUALLY get a new GPU!

Cons: None.

Overall Review: Motherboard: MSI 870-G45 Memory: 4GB G.Skill DDR3 1600 Operating System: Windows 7 Ultimate N x64 I do a lot of graphics work, including photomanipulation, 3D animation, and graphic design. I'm usually multitasking no less than 3 apps, 5 if I'm working on my website. And that's in addition to a browser and all the usual stuff. I put this machine together as a replacement while my old board gets RMA'd (AGAIN!) because I needed to get back to work ASAP. Renders go nice and fast. Both in Blender and in Lightwave 3D. In fact, I was doing test renders in Blender using scenes from the movie Sintel, graciously provided by the Blender Foundation. Adobe Photoshop CS5 x64 starts up in 2.5 seconds. No kidding! Ubuntu Linux 10.10 (AMD64) was loving all that CPU to play with. At this point, my bottleneck is having only 4GB of RAM. My old board used DDR2, so I had to buy some DDR3 to get the new machine up and running... I plan to upgrade to 16GB eventually.

11/27/2010

Great, inexpensive, board!

MSI 870-G45 AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard
MSI 870-G45 AM3 AMD 770 ATX AMD Motherboard

Pros: I bought this because my primary computer has been down for a month as I RMA'd and re-RMA'd its motherboard. I couldn't take it any more, so I bought the cheapest board that sounded good. I really lucked out with this one! It's totally solid! It was VERY inexpensive. I even got it on sale! Supports the Phenom II X6 out-of-the-box. It has a LOT of features in the BIOS for overclocking and general fine control of all the working bits. You can even turn off those blinding diagnostic LEDs. The OC'ing is great, my 1090T is running stable at 4.00GHz. Has very good audio, with the exception of two issues. (See cons) It's got a ton of USB ports. (There is one con though.) Chipset and everything is supported from the get-go in Windows 7. No RAID drivers needed! Everything just works. Fastest Win7 install ever! (The X6 might have helped though.) It was even able to detect and mount my RAID0 system drive from the old board, which had an ATI SB600 chipset. I call th

Cons: The PCI-E 16x slots can only do 16/4. I wouldn't expect 16/16 at this price point, but 16/8 would have been nice. But this isn't really a board you'd build an uber SLI box in, though it's a fine gaming board. The soundcard seems to pick up a slight high-pitched hum from somewhere, but it's only noticeable if I crank my speakers all the way up. (And there may yet be a way to get rid of it.) It's still much better audio than I'd expect on such a cheap board. Another minor issue with the sound, is that it's not made clear anywhere whether the front panel header is for HD AUDIO or AC'97. While it has 3 additional USB headers on the board, it does not come with any brackets. But for the price, it seems fair enough. And I'm sure we all have a couple spares by now. It didn't come with an MSI sticker! (What can I say? I like making my case look like a race car!) None of these issues are worth taking off an egg in my opinion.

Overall Review: The price is ridiculously low, even without the extra ten bucks off I got. I would LOVE to make a rack of network rendering nodes with this board, a Phenom II X6 1090T, and 4 sticks of cheap G.Skill DDR3. It'd be incredibly fast for what it'd cost! (Especially after the 1090T comes down in price a little.)

11/14/2010

Great monitor, great price!

SAMSUNG TOC T260HD Rose   Black 25.5" 5ms HDMI Widescreen  HDTV  Monitor 300 cd/m2 DC 10000:1(1000:1)  Build in TV Tuner & Dolby Digital Surround Sound
SAMSUNG TOC T260HD Rose Black 25.5" 5ms HDMI Widescreen HDTV Monitor 300 cd/m2 DC 10000:1(1000:1) Build in TV Tuner & Dolby Digital Surround Sound

Pros: Gives an incredible image; bright, amazingly crisp, and full of beautifully saturated color. There's no way it's only 300cd/m2 brightness, it seems brighter than my 400cd/m2 monitor, and MUCH brighter than my numerous other 300cd/m2 monitors. Refresh speed is more than sufficient. The various connections are all well-placed and very useful. The HDMI and component video inputs also make it an ideal monitor for people who want to play console games (New and old) at their desk. The TV-style rearward-facing connections are a good idea, and less of a pain than the standard Samsung monitor vertical connections. The menu system is very nice and well laid out. The monitor firmware can be updated from a USB memory stick using the maintenance port on the back, that's pretty good thinking. From the menu you can change the behavior of the power LED. (i.e. you can actually tell it to stay OFF when the monitor is on, and only blink when the monitor is in standby.)

Cons: The dynamic contrast sucks, don't bother with it. Not _THIS_ monitor's fault, that's just the way DC is. Speakers quality is poor. Again, not _THIS_ monitor's fault, that's just the way it is with pretty much all on-monitor speakers. I was tempted to take an egg off for the lack of height and pivot adjustment in the stand, but this is really meant for watching movies, TV, and playing games, and height and pivot adjustment are features for the PC monitor market, and at no time have I had a problem viewing the monitor in spite of it. The pixels-per-inch of the monitor is lower than standard LCD PC monitors, meaning it might not match the size of a standard 1200px tall PC monitor. This shouldn't be a problem for most people though. I would say that the biggest problem is that, if you see one in person, you'll want your own. IMMEDIATELY!

Overall Review: I actually bought this for my younger sister, who wanted a monitor good enough to watch movies on. The day before it arrived, the 24" primary monitor on my machine died, so I took to borrowing this whenever she wasn't around. (Waiting to RMA mine.) Now I want one of my own, badly. I don't know why, but it seems so much bigger and brighter than my 24".

A must for high-performance air cooling

Scythe SCNJ-CU1000 120mm Ninja Copper CPU Cooler
Scythe SCNJ-CU1000 120mm Ninja Copper CPU Cooler

Pros: Well made. Cools like you wouldn't believe. Doesn't need much air. MIRROR finish on the main cooling block. I put this on an AMD Phenom 9600 overclocked to 2400mhz, after running an unbiased physical light renderer through a complex scene for over ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY HOURS, my system was still running cool at 37-38°C, with a peak of 41°C (Which was only reached while cooking dinner one night). I have 3 Scythe Kaze Jyu-Ni (SlipStream) 120mm fans in my Antec P182SE case. A 1200rpm in the front upper chamber, another 1200rpm for exhaust, right behind the CPU, and a 500rpm attached to the Ninja Copper to provide push/pull action with the exhaust fan.

Cons: Big and heavy. Worrisomely so. Like you spend the entire installation worrying you're going to break the motherboard. Sharp as a &@#%$, too. This thing will claim its pound of flesh if you're not careful. Fan bracket is a little annoying to put on.

Overall Review: Forget Arctic Silver 5, I'm willing to bet that if you want temps like I'm seeing, you need to do what I did. Innovation Cooling's 'IC Diamond' thermal compound. Seriously. I've never had a computer run this cool. My Athlon X2 5200+ machine IDLES hotter than this EVER gets under constant load!