Joined on 09/21/08
Few Problems, but Cost/Battery Life/CPU more than compensate
Pros: Small and portable (which is really to be expected from a netbook). Touchpad is low friction and easy to use. Keyboard has nice tactile feedback and doesn't feel as cramped as a lot of other keyboards. The Dual core Atom makes a noticable difference compared to other netbooks I've used. Battery Life is unbelievable even for a laptop. I actually get pretty close to 10-11 hours of use when I'm just web browsing or listening to music. Streaming video (netflix, youtube, hulu, etc.) and Video Chat on Skype on occasion bring the life closer to 7-8 hours. Still some of the best battery stats I've seen much less experienced.
Cons: The 1GB of RAM is a huge bottleneck, even with Windows 7 Starter. On top of that, it is only upgradable to 2GB. It is not compatible with 4GB. I suspect the chipset does not support this. I did actually try it. I was really looking for a laptop/netbook with a slightly higher resolution, but it's pretty on par with the competition. Replacing the HDD (say with an SSD) voids the warranty. The Touchpad is always in the way when typing. Just get rid of tap to click. The Hard-Key for the mouse buttons is one strip with no noticeable or tactile indication of left or right click. The speaker is horrible for anything other than simple audio. It will actually buzz when playing louder sounds. Expect to use headphones for almost everything.
Overall Review: To their credit, the laptop is only spec-ed for 2GB DDR3. I'd had experiences before where that ended up not being an issue, but in this case it was true. So I didn't take an egg off of that. I have yet to try 2GB to see how much of a difference it would make. Lots of people complain about Windows 7 Starter, but really I don't mind it. It's not really much different than Home or Professional for the average user. It just doesn't look as nice and it is missing one or two features that people might actually miss for a netbook (but most of these can be replaced with 3rd Party Software anyways...) There are nice multitouch features, but asside from scroll, I find them all pretty useless. I disabled most of them. Including Tap-to-Click. I've never understood why that is any easier than clicking an actual button. It's always caused more problems for me than it's solved. All in all, for the money, this netbook is worth it (if you upgrade RAM and don't mind speaker buzz).
DOA, But the working replacement was great
Pros: Large Amount of Storage, Fast and Responsive.
Cons: DOA RMA took too long (Not the product's fault though). Unfortunately, DOA HDDs happen fairly frequently. I've come to accept them, but I'll still take off two eggs for it.
Overall Review: Unlike Western Digital, who has an amazing RMA policy, Seagate will make you pay for the return shipping and won't send you a replacement until they receive the bad drive. This is also NewEgg's policy, but all it took was an email and they quickly responded with a prepaid UPS shipping label for me. Still, it took an extra two weeks to get my HDD, because I had to wait for the drive to ship there, them to process and receive it, and then for the new one to ship back. This essentially tripled the time it took for me to get my drive, which was a fairly big inconvenience. I understand these things happen, but I look at Western Digital's RMA policy, which I've had to use a few times, and I have to think that if it works for them, it should at least work for Seagate as well.
Great, but don't bother upgrading from Sandy Bridge...
Pros: This is the tick, and it was probably worth waiting a couple extra weeks to upgrade my computer for its release. It's priced accurately compared to the 2500K, the last generation of this particular model.
Cons: None really, other than VirtuMVP isn't really worth it. I experimented with it a little, but ultimately decided the small occasional benefits in gaming weren't worth my trouble.
Overall Review: This is still better than the 2500K, but not enough to warrant an upgrade from it.
Pros: I could go into everything that works well in this board, but honestly, it would just be a repeat of the product description page. A few things that really impressed me: UEFI is so much better than BIOS. This was my first experience with it, so I'm not sure how this board's compares, but I was impressed. The WiFi and Bluetooth is nice and easy to setup, and the antennas are external and can be positioned away from any electrical interference. I haven't used the WiFi other than testing if it worked, but the antenna was right by the Router so I'm not going to comment on it's reception. Bluetooth is much better than the USB dongle I used to use. All-in-all I'd say it's worth the extra $15. PCIe is X16/x8 as opposed to x16/x4 like some of the Z77 offerings. If you are considering running SLI, this will make a difference.
Cons: Comes with a lot of bloatware. Don't bother installing anything other than the drivers from the disk. I would prefer the adapter to attach USB2.0 front panel connectors to a USB3.0 header. This is technically a problem with the standard, but a simple cheap adapter is all that is needed to remedy the problem. Unfortunately none currently exists. I'll have to get some parts from digikey and make my own. The issue is that I have 4 USB2.0 front panel ports, and the included WiFi/Bluetooth card requires 1 (which actually ends up taking a whole header). This leaves two of my front panel ports not working. Note that if you don't want the Bluetooth functionality, then you don't need to plug in the USB header. I personally would have prefered Blue status LEDs on the board, as the red ones ruin the black/blue aesthetic of my rig. But seriously, that's my only other gripe.
Overall Review: They don't tell you that you'll lose an entire USB2.0 header for the bluetooth functionality. That's utterly ridiculous IMHO. What's worse is that the documentation on the wireless card is pretty much nil, so that's no real help. I almost want to take an egg off for that, but I don't really think it's worth it considering how good everything else is. I was able to find a cheap, albeit not effortless, solution to make it work for me. I listed a few cons, but aside from the USB issue, it's hard to fault Gigabyte or their board for it. The fact is that this is an issue with a lot of boards. It's silly, because the USB3.0 standard could work with a USB2.0 internal plug's pinout if the pins were rearranged and were the same spacing and size as the USB2.0 header. It is a problem with how the USB3.0 internal header standard was written. Furthermore, this is an issue that reaches across manufacturers, so I won't remove any eggs.
Better than Analog
Pros: Digital really makes a huge difference with sound quality. If you're still using analog audio output to your sound system: stop. This is a great cable. Perfect Price.
Cons: It doesn't sit in the receptacle great. If I'm messing around with stuff around it and accidentally nudge it, it will likely fall out. I'm taking an egg off for it, but in general this doesn't affect its function.
Overall Review: There is no need to spend money on the same length cable. Digital cables are different than analog. While signal degradation is very apparent with cheap analog sound cables, you'll only notice the effect in special rare circumstances for digital cables.
Pros: Does everything it should. Solid Construction (for plastic). Integrated Fan Appears to do the job. Easy to install and use. Extremely cost effective
Cons: none so far.
Overall Review: This is the first hot-swap bay I've purchased. I wanted one, to help facilitate an easy backup solution. I was searching around and found this and then one that was almost $50. I couldn't find any real difference between the two that I thought might justify spending the extra cash, but it made me nervous that this one would be cheap and break. After getting it and using it, I'm no longer worried about that. I've only had it for a couple weeks, so we'll see how it holds up over the next few years, but so far I am more than satisfied.