Date Joined: 01/25/09
Pros: This is an excellent board to pair with the Silverstone PT13B and it was the only passive cooled quad core system I could find in this form factor.
Cons: Unfortunately, my board had a bad LAN port and I had to request an RMA. The ACTIVE light is on but there is no traffic on the port. I could not connect to any of the available servers through the "Internet Flash" option in the UEFI BIOS. When I installed Ubuntu 14.04.1, the LAN could not establish a connection. The Atheros alx driver was recognized (through dmesg) but there was no outgoing traffic. Since cleared the BIOS but still could not get a connection through UEFI so it does seem the port is dead. Also, a bright red light is visible through the green output audio jack. I'm sure this can be fixed through a BIOS setting but it would nice if the manual mentioned this as it must be common. I'm assuming that light is trying to tell me something is wrong with the audio as well but could not determine exactly what.
Pros: The right angle end is a welcome upgrade to the usual cheap SATA cables shipped with motherboards, drives, and chassis. If you are struggling with cable management in a tight case, the last thing you need is to fight with a stiff, straight cable when the SATA connectors are close to a side panel. Also, why can't the vendors get that a black cable looks better in ANY case than the pink or yellow nightmares they include? Does the black pigment really cost more? This should be the default cable shipped with any SATA supporting device.
Cons: A sleeved version would be nice!
Overall Review: You get a nice "snap" sound when you make a full connection. That audible clue is handy. I've had to reseat cheap SATA cables after diagnosing problems with SATA connections. This cable removes one source of frustration when diagnosing problems with a new build.
Pros: Great packaging and the inclusion of a desktop mounting bracket is a big plus. The bracket serves as a heatsink and allows for air to flow around the device. Be sure to download the Intel SSD toolkit software. This is a nice touch as well and does provide some additional value, at least if you are running Windows 7.
Cons: This is a slow drive for an SSD but then again it is marketed to the "value" segment. I use it to store virtual machine drives and not as my main drive. For that I am using a RevoDrive. These are so cheap though that it's easy to scale your storage as you need more space. Also, I would prefer Intel offer firmware upgrades as *.msi and not just an ISO. I don't have an optical drive connected and it's inconvenient to deal with ISO as the package format. The latest firmware is necessary to support TRIM on Windows 7.
Overall Review: The drive is plastic and a bit cheap looking. Earlier generation drives, such as the Samsung and Corsair drives, were a brushed aluminium. Vendors have obviously figured out a way to cut corners to bring the price down. While appreciated, I'd rather spending more for the aluminum casing.
Pros: I'm using this as my audio device on an ASUS KGPE-D16 AMD Opteron motherboard. Put it in slot 1 (the MIO slot) to avoid losing a PCIe slot.
Cons: Well, it's a basic HD/Azalia board. It does what it claims to do at a great price.
Overall Review: Don't expect flashy packaging. It's an OEM part. You'll get a cardboard box with pink bubble wrap. Don't forget to hook up your HD front panel connector to the header. Download the driver from the ASUS website. It works fine under Windows 7 64-bit.
Pros: I used these to replace the rusty PCI slot covers on a Silverstone TJ07 case. The satin finish is beautiful and they fit flush to the backplane.
Overall Review: For the modder who can't think of anything else to add to a rig...
Pros: It performs the intended function well enough. The only device I've tested is the Azio KB337BP Bluetooth keyboard. Download the latest Bluetooth stack from the ASUS website. It's a simple click-through install under Windows 7 64-bit.
Overall Review: Nice and discrete with such a low profile. If you use it on a desktop machine you can just leave it plugged in to a USB port and forget about it.
Pros: This is currently the best Opteron dual-socket board on the market. It worked perfectly on first boot and has been running reliably on the latest firmware. I'm using this with 2 Opteron 6168s (24 cores) and 32GB memory. The WINTEC DDR3 2GB DIMMs (non-ECC, 1333MHz) work great if you want to fill the board on the cheap. You will not need to fiddle with memory settings in the BIOS. The RevoDrive works fine on this board. Set SiImage RAID device as the 1st boot drive, CD-ROM second, and have a USB drive ready with the SiImage driver.
Cons: I know this is a bare-bones server board but I would have appreciated a Q-connector kit as the headers are some awkward gaps on the board. Despite claiming an SSI EEB footprint I found this is not so. I tried mounting in two EEB cases (ABS Canyon 695 and Silverstone TJ07) and even though they each include backplates, two standoff holes will not align. Minor quibbles.
Overall Review: One other tip...I'm using the MIO-888 HD audio card that you can get cheaply here on newegg. Put it in the first PCIe slot which is actually a PCIe/MIO dual purpose slot. If you do this you can still put a device (i.e., GPU) on the 2nd 16 lane slot despite what the booklet states. The slot is switched so if you use it for a non-MIO PCIe device you will lose the use of the 2nd slot.
Pros: Alright, I feel like a fool. The review I gave was negative due to what I felt was a hardware failure with the trackpad. That was pilot error. I had inadvertently pressed the trackpad lock button (one of the "Internet" keys). Azio excellent tech support realized this and was very helpful. I now love everything about this keyboard and would recommend it.
Cons: To avoid support issues like this Azio should document what each secondary function key does, including the mislabeled "Internet" key which toggles the trackpad lock. For example, I have no idea what the Fn+ScrLk, Fn+7, and Fn+8 keys do. The spares documentation should be rectified. But not enough to dock it an egg.
Pros: I bought this as an "upgrade" to my older ICY DOCK SSD bays. The older plastic bays were a great product. Ridiculously easy to install, well made, and looked great inside a case. This product on the other hand...
Cons: This next-gen product is junk. The aluminum is cheap looking. Worse, the screws don't fit. Or rather, the holes for the screws have only a few threads that are easily stripped. In fact, I thought at first they shipped the wrong screws. Turns out these are the standard drive mount screws that everyone has. The issue again is the shallow holes in the converter itself. I would get an RMA if I though it was worth it but I've wasted enough time with this junk.
Overall Review: I'll stick to their last gen converters. Let's hope they keep making them. ICY DOCK, better revisit your design in the future. Did you actually test this product in real chassis?
Pros: The best DDR3 memory out there for the money. I have these in a KGPE-D16 Opteron (16 DIMMs for a total of 32GB) workstation as I did not need ECC. They worked on first seating and look great. The austere black heat spreaders are low profile and slick. Much nicer than the ridiculous "kid's toy" gamer memory (RIPJAWS...pheh).
Pros: I used this to replace a PS3 MediaBoard Pro (for a PC) due to the nice aluminum finish. I love the footprint and it does look fantastic. The keyboard has a nice feel. The Enter key is unusually large and the keys are multiple function to enable such a small footprint. There are nice blue highlights on the secondary functions and the blue LED matches my other equipment. I want to like this product...
Cons: Now the bad news...after just 24 hours of use the trackpad doesn't work. The keyboard continues to function but the pad is DOA. Unacceptable. I will be going back to my LogiTech. I tried everything I could think of to bring it back...re-pairing, re-installing Bluetooth stack, etc. It really does appear to be a hardware failure.
Pros: I put two of these in a workstation. Hits the sweet spot for performance/watt and gives me a fantastic tool for HPC R&D. Also, as a developer these processors make short work of large builds. I plan on upgrading to the socket compatible Bulldozer processors next year.
Cons: So far so good on Windows 7 64-bit. I'm using VirtualBox to run several guest OSes as well. The procesors run cool and stable.
Pros: Perfectly sized to reach a SlingLink.
Overall Review: What do you expect from TRIPPLITE? As always, a quality product.
Pros: Nice work NVIDIA! The GTX 470 is the sweet spot for optimal performance, fan-noise, and cooling. I replaced a GTX 285 and the fan noise is lower and so far no cooling issues. You'll need good airflow in your case and I'd recommend a 1000W PSU. I'm using a Corsair 1000HX and never had a PSU issue. Note that OpenGL 4.0 drivers are available for Fermi on the NVIDIA website. The box advertises the older 3.2 version.
Cons: Just before installing this card I noticed a transparent film over the sides, front, and fan hub on the card. Don't forget to remove these plastic films before installing.
Overall Review: This is the first real GPUGPU. I'm using this for research into many-core computer architectures. The PTX 2.0 ISA supports a stack and heap management. NVIDIA, please release a C++ compiler that actually supports these new instructions! You can't advertise "full C++" support without recursion and a dynamic memory allocation. Otherwise, great work on the architecture!
Pros: I'm moving all of my digital media to microSDHC. I think this 16GB unit hits the sweet spot in terms of capacity/speed per dollar. I pair these up with a USB reader so I can transfer them between a PC and an Archos 5 IT depending on where I want my media.
Cons: Very tiny, but that's the point after all. It is "micro".
Pros: I upgrade to this after owning the ASUS P6T6 WS Revolution. It is only an evolution from that board, with the addition of a IEEE-1394a header courtesy of a VIA chipset, and a couple of NVIDIA PCIe bridges to enable 7 PCIe 2.0 x 16 slots. If you need lots of PCIe lanes (GPU computing) then this is the rig for you.
Cons: An external IEEE-1394a on the back panel would have been nice, though you can connect the header to your front-panel is the chassis supports it. If you don't care about Firewire and making use of all of those PCIe slots, you can get by just fine with the older P6T6 WS Revolution.
Overall Review: Make sure you remove the plastic film off the silver heatsink over the NVIDIA bridge chips/Southbridge. I almost had the board powered on before a last minute flashlight sweep revealed the plastic film. Do I smell something burning? I have not noticed it running hot as others have suggested. Processor is 29 C idle and MB is around 34 C under normal usage.
Pros: Works perfectly under Windows 7 64-bit but make sure you download the Bluetooth stack on Broadcomm's website first.
Cons: Included CD is useless but I've come to expect that lately with any gear I buy.
Overall Review: Virtually identical to all the other little Bluetooth dongles with one exception...no annoying blue LED!
Pros: These have become my preferred way of storing my portable audio (FLAC). I just wish there were more portable devices with SDHC slots available. You will need quite a few of these for large FLAC collections, but they are very convenient for slipping into a pocket.
Cons: Nothing I can think of, other than a painful shipping experience...my worst ever with NewEgg. It took me about a month to receive this item from the day I placed the order. It appeared to be in "limbo" during a hand-off from DSL to USPS. NewEgg handled this poorly from a customer support standpoint. Very disappointing.
Pros: This monitor is the perfect balance of form, function, and aesthetics. I've never been so pleased by a monitor. I replaced a larger and more expensive LCD (26" LG W2600HP) and will never go back to back-breaking heavy monitors. Once tuned (see Cons) the panel is gorgeous. The sleek piano black bezel matches the PS/3 keyboard I'm using (another fingerprint magnet!). The deep indigo blue border only adds to the overall beauty, though the color is subtle and will appear black from a distance. The biggest surprise is the weight...it is light as a feather and only less than an inch deep. Set up took a minute. Flip it over on the foam bag, pull straight up on the plastic tab on the back and it will pop out of the clips. Stick the ring on (only one way to do it) and turn the screw until tight. Clip the plastic tab back on. Done. I found no need for the ring stabilizer. The monitor angle can be adjusted with one finger from 10-20 degrees without slippage due to the rubber feet. Great job ASUS!
Cons: The default display settings were terrible. The colors were dull and brightness far too high. I initially lowered the brightness to 20% but found that simply switching to "Theater Mode" gave me the colors and brightness settings I was looking for in normal use and saved me endless fiddling with the settings. The touch sensitive buttons are difficult to active. I had to switch from my index finger to middle to trigger them. Weird. With a little patience and experimentation you'll get the hang of it. The external power plug is ugly but you can hide it behind the monitor. I wish it could have been hidden in the bezel somehow.
Overall Review: I hesitated to purchase based on ergonomics. I have neck/back issues and relied before on tall monitor stands. If this is a concern for you, understand that this monitor will force you to correct your posture and sit up straight. By angling it back a bit you will gain the same benefits as a taller stand and then some. That alone is worth the price of this monitor. XBMC looks stunning on this monitor and the 2ms response makes a noticeable difference over the 5ms of my last monitor.
Pros: I looked for a solution to install a Bluetooth dongle inside my case, off of a USB motherboard header. There are a few PCIe cards with USB headers but they placed in a way that would only allow a cable to connect and not a USB device.
Enter this product...you can now stick a USB thumb drive or Bluetooth dongle inside the case without interference.
Cons: Odd red PCB for someone who prefers black or blue, but I'm being pedantic.
It fits relatively loosely in my motherboard header. I would have preferred a tighter fit, but I don't fear it will fall out unless I lifted my case and shook it.
Also, a single USB port would have been sufficient. I believe most people will find the awkward placement of at least one of the ports to restrict it's usage to one device.
Pros: Finally, Microsoft has released an OS I can say that I like. Nice performance, at least on modern hardware, and rock solid. I have not blue screen since the Vista days. While not radically different looking than the Vista desktop, several subtle details enhance the user experience.
All existing drivers (with one exception) worked after the Vista upgrade which came as a shock. I did have to locate and install the AD SoundMAX drivers for my motherboard audio. Bluetooth stack is finally stable without the random disconnects I experienced in Vista.
Cons: Network configuration is still a bit of a hassle as compared to OS X and Linux. I don't like having so many ways of achieving the same end when configuring networks.
Overall Review: This is the "sweet spot" in the Windows 7 family as you will get all the features you need without extra cruft you'll just end up uninstalling.
Pros: It's not seven different colors like the Cisco antenna.
Cons: It just about competes with the 5db antenna I replaced as stock on an Antec router. Barely. If you are buying this as a range expander, look for another solution.
Also very cheaply made. You can hear the wire rattling loose inside the antenna housing.
Pros: Very unusual looking speaker, looking like something you'd see on a Yes album cover. The pulsing green LED heartbeat adds to the mystique, as do the fractal speaker grill. I'm using this in a desktop setup for casual music listening, and the audio quality is fine for the price. I enjoy having the flexibility to pick the ball up and place it where I'm sitting in the room.
The initial charge took about 2 hours. Wait until the LED is green before attempting to pair.
To connect with Bluetooth on Vista 64, use the latest Broadcomm stack with A2DP support. Hold the connect button down on the ball until you see the LED flash between green and red. Scan for the speaker and you should see the MSB-100 detected. Use the passkey code 0000 for pairing. I had to disable my AD SoundMAX audio speaker device and select the MSB-100 as my default speaker.
I very much prefer the austere black matte appearance over the other MSB products.
The AC recharger is included as is a black carrying bag.
Cons: There is just not enough volume, but then I wasn't expecting much. At maximum volume, it projects just enough to keep you from frustration. The battery life is very low at just 5 hours, but that is the cost of wireless.
Overall Review: You will be assimilated! Enjoy the ball.
Pros: Absolutely the best quality case I've seen, even outflanking the Mac Pro case. Black anodized aluminum inside and out, easily removable panels and motherboard tray, spacious chambered design, slick front panel, SATA backplanes, 140mm fans, channels for easy cable management, exceptional ventilation, and built in acoustic padding on the side panels. The dust screen is more than just a convenience if you have a cat in the house, and since it is just plastic, you can just wash it in the sink. The side panels can be removed in a few seconds. Just twist a single thumb screw and pull. It's just as easy to put them back on. I'm using this with the ASUS WS Revolution and the Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme 1366 fan/heatsink. The included black cables are long enough to reach everywhere in the case. I removed the molex adapters from the 140mm fans and just plugged them directly into the ASUS MB to control them via Q-Fan. No need for the front panel switch!
Cons: Sparse documentation for such a high-caliber chassis. I had to stare at the insides and plan my cable management carefully. Probably not a case for a beginner, but there is nothing better for you system artisans out there! If the power/HDD LEDs are out, make sure the front panel connectors are connected properly. If using the Q-connector (you should) for header consolidation, the text on headers should face towards you on both sides of the connector. Cable management is a challenge if you refuse to use the channels between chambers. Just use those and save the hassle. With this many fans in such as large case you won't need to worry about overheating. I have cold air blowing out the back of the case even under load.
Overall Review: You can remove the two female fan headers from the front panel if you are using ASUS Q-Fan to control the fans. You won't be able to use the front panel fan switch, but you should leave thermal decisions to the MB anyway. I left the exhaust fan connected to the fixed PWR connector on the MB. You can daisy-chain the 80mm fans to the power connectors in the drive chamber to save molex connectors. You don't need any of the fan adapters if you've got an ASUS MB. This case is a dream when paired with the Corsair HX1000W. If you are using a Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme 1366 heatsink, you'll need to move the VGA tower bracket over one screw slot to accomodate the fan. I'm using ICY DOCK 2.5" converters in the drive bays to hold Corsair SSDs in RAID0. They look great in this case.
Pros: This is the card to get for GPGPU computing. You'll appreciate the quiet cooling solution if you have a workstation sitting on your desk. It has the same R770 chip (800 stream processors) as the 4870 but runs cooler. The card looks good enough to eat, with the blue flame sticker and copper heatpipes. The gold connectors and black PCI bracket complement my case and DVI cable (ABS Canyon 695) for those into the aesthetics of system building.
Cons: I would have appreciated a version of the ATI Stream SDK to ship with the Catalyst driver, including Brook+ and CAL, though they would quickly become outdated anyway.
Overall Review: The included "goodie", a combination flashlight, level, and screwdriver, was surprisingly quite useful. The light was perfect for working in cramped quarters in a new chassis, especially for cable management.