Date Joined: 06/12/06
Pros: * 8 Buttons<br>* Fluid switching on responsiveness<br>* Good size for my somewhat large hands<br>* LED isn't intrusive, but nice muted slightly blue glow.
Cons: * Extremely light - I do prefer a bit more weight or heft to my mouse<br>* Middle click seems to register two inputs with a single click. Probably a setting, but an annoying default.<br>* Had to download the Logitech software to stop the LEDs from doing the annoying "breathing" mode (fade in and fade out) by default.
Overall Review: All in all, for a mouse, it's a good investment at the price. I'd buy it again. It's nice an responsive, perhaps a touch too responsive at times, but that can be tweaked with settings.<br><br>I'm not a big fan of HAVING to download 3P software for every peripheral. That being said, the logitech software is nice and easy to use. Once the settings are changed, you don't need to keep the software in place/on startup - so that's better than Razer IMO.
EDIT: This refurbished unit failed after eight weeks. Middle click no longer works, and a side button is "sticky". Cannot recommend.
Pros: - Pretty PSU, went great with my black and white build.
- Was quiet until it failed
Cons: - It failed 1 year and 2 months after purchase.
Overall Review: About a year and change after purchase, this unit failed on me. Fan is doing the "death rattle". I'd return it, but honestly, I'd rather just get a higher-quality PSU than deal with any sort of return process, and be without a computer for possibly weeks on end.
I've had a few little "quirks" along the way with the PSU while overclocking with a 980 TI which made me believe the PSU was at fault, but nothing definite. Under normal use, this PSU seemed to work fine.
I would not purchase again, simply for the reason that I've never had a PSU fail on me in less than three years' time before. Ironically, that 3-year PSU was also a Raidmax, so I won't be going with this brand again.
I can only recommend to people to do your research on the tiers of quality in PSUs, and not try to shave 10-15 dollars off of a very vital component in your PC build.
Pros: Decent size. With a base OS install and "core applications" you can still fit a few high-consumption apps or programs on here.
Cons: It wasn't 250GB?
Overall Review: Got a great deal on this, so no worries. It's a drive, it holds data. It's SATA3.
I've seen a few reviews that go on about how it's slower read/write in XYZ benchmark. In real world use, you couldn't tell the difference between this drive and one for $50 more for the same price. Those faster benches seriously don't mean shaving 2-3 seconds off of boot time; we're talking 14ms.
TLDR; Good drive, works well, and will run anything you need for a great price.
Cons: No power switch.
Overall Review: This really puzzled me, I've never encountered a PSU that did not have a power switch directly on the box. It's a great PSU, so a pretty minor point...
But no direct cut off is bad in a few different ways.
However, it's EVGA, inexpensive, and will probably last longer than the person I built the computer for. One thing I admire about EVGA, they never cheap out on their stuff. This thing was solidly built, passed the system burn-in, and will be able to power more than what's in the system I built currently, for a fraction of the price of some others.
Pros: Very inexpensive.
Cons: Heat spreader in two pieces, seems glued to the side? I don't see any cons to cheap, workable memory.
Overall Review: Honestly, for the price doing a cheap build for a relative, this was perfect. Posted, booted and works fast enough for most applications. No frills, saves the bills.
Pros: - Roomy. Could easily fit a 980 TI in there.
- Solid construction
- Good options
- Comes with loads of screws and mobo mounts, just in case.
- No glaring LEDs, doesn't look like an alien landed near your desk.
Cons: - Power, USB, "front panel" ports all on bottom right of case. This is pretty terrible placement.The only way I can see these being usable is if you have the tower on your desk.
- ZERO options for cable management within the case. This was a shocker for me, as a 9-year old Dell case had loop holes to secure wiring in it. Nothing here. By nothing, I mean NOTHING to secure the PSU cables to, except the drive cage.
- Does not support a 2.5 inch SSD enclosure natively. - although the documentation has a typed line that says it does. I futzed around with it for a good hour and couldn't figure out how, unless the SSD is supposed to be mounted vertically, taking up both 5" drive bays. Strange. I had an old enclosure and mounted it that way.
- Instruction manual contains literally NO useful information or diagrams. Normally not a con, because hey, it's a computer case. I've built probably 20 + in my day, so not an issue. For a first timer's case, this is bad.
Overall Review: If you're going for a simple build, this case is pretty well made. With the placement of the "front" panel ports, I couldn't recommend it to anyone who was going to do any sort of serious computing, it just doesn't work. Even if you wanted that kind of setup, there are better options out there for a few bucks more.
For a simple office computer for mom (she's managed to plug a USB device into the Ethernet port), it works fine.
Honestly, I've worked with a few Fractal cases in the past, and came to expect a bit more from even their cheapest designs, so I didn't delve too deeply when I saw it on sale. This case is fine, good build quality, and will work for the purpose, but it was a disappointing experience compared to the other cases I've worked with from them in the 70-100 range.
Pros: These speakers are extremely well-built, bookshelf-style speakers with great finish and color. I've got a black and white build, so this finished off the color scheme well.
They are very nicely packaged to prevent damage to the finish. The company even included white gloves to unpack these with! Minor touch, but it's the little things (aside from build quality) that make this product just scream quality.
These replaced an old Logitech z4 set, and the sound from them is incredibly better, even to someone who can't "hear the difference". I have a number of low-bitrate MP3 albums I now have to upgrade, since these speakers allow you to hear the difference between 128 KBPS and higher (512 or FLAC) bitrate encoding VERY easily, as opposed to the previous "muddy" sound on my Logitechs.
Bass is extremely responsive, but not overwhelming, even at max setting. Speaker volume levels are crisp, clear, and you can tell the difference immediately hearing dialog from a movie, listening to vocals in music, etc.
Cons: I'm taking off one egg for some pretty minor reasons, mainly design problems in my specific environment. Anything with lights that can't be controlled is a no-no in this day and age for me, just a pet peeve.
First, the power button for these speakers - it's on the bottom right of the subwoofer, as is the subwoofer volume knob. This makes tuning this on the fly awkward if you have it placed under your desk.
Not removing an egg for this, though.
No, the egg deducted is for the lights.
The blue LEDs on the volume knob (at the front of the sub) is bright.
I'm not talking "wow, lights!" bright.
I mean "aliens abducting your desk bright".
Seriously, in a lit room, even under my desk, if I look down, my eyes hurt afterward.
Pretty sure there is a portal to some solar system with a blue supergiant under my desk, when the lights are off in the room.
No sleep unless I turn off the speakers or put a ^$%$ pillow over it. I'll probably just wrap some black electrical tape around it if I cannot figure out how to disable it internally.
It is great for doing shadow puppets on the wall, though.
The above are pretty minor issues, and may not be a problem for most setups.
Overall Review: I'll be the first to admit, I'm not an audiophile. I took one of those double-blind audio tests and would have gotten better results on the 8 bit versus 16 bit sound if I just randomly clicked answers on the test.
Pops and hisses which were "gotten used to" with other speakers or headphones and overwhelming bass from the "gaming speakers" I used to have, so if a deaf old fart like me can immediately tell the difference in quality of sound, I think that's a positive here.
Pros: While a bit pricier than some AMD offerings, this processor is a champ with gaming and single tasks. Best bang for the buck on a number of review sites, and probably one of the best CPUs I've owned in a while.
Plus, bonus, I can overclock when I start feeling lack of power for only a few dollars over the non-K version of the same processor.
Cons: I can't really think of any. It's a processor, and it does its job well. I might have gone a different direction with video editing or other tasks, but this CPU is pretty champ for gaming, web browsing, some minor multi-tasking.
Overall Review: None really.
Pros: * It's memory
* Low profile heat spreaders
* Nice black PCB on the memory, with a white heatsink cover.
* Goes well with my black and white build.
* Mobo immediately detected speed and adjusted the overclock for 1866.
Cons: Very, very slightly pricier than standard memory, but worth the couple of bucks difference.
Overall Review: It's RAM. It works, nicely, and has a unique appearance. Not insanely over priced, and... well, not much else to say about RAM.
I'm using this with an Intel 4690K and MSI Krait Edition LGA 1150 Motherboard.
Pros: * Quiet even under load
* Better than the stock cooler
Cons: * Doesn't lower temps from stock, but will keep them in an okay range under normal or slightly OC'd load.
* I'm used to some film over the thermal paste, or applying paste myself - but once out of the plastic, paste is right on the bottom of the cooler.
Overall Review: I bought this as I dislike Intel stock coolers - they are noisy, mostly cheap plastic, and the push-pins are a pain to get into the mother board. You feel like you're going to crack the mother board with that junk.
This cooler has a good weight to it, mostly metal, the fan is nice and quiet. Had to check that it was working a few times, because I couldn't hear the darn thing.
It will keep the CPU cooler than stock, but don't look to do more than a minor overclock with this cooler. Go for something a bit more expensive if that's in your immediate plan.
I plan on upgrading to a liquid cooler later, so I got this for the price of a Starbucks froo-froo coffee. The installation pins were easy to get in, and had screws to attach the frame to the main board. Took perhaps 2 minutes to install.
When removing it from the plastic shell, be careful - the paste is already applied and has no cover film, so I smudged it and had to re-apply aftermarket thermal paste.
I'm using this with an Intel 4690K and MSI Krait Edition LGA 1150 Motherboard. Unless you're installing it into a shoebox, this cooler will fit with no clipping on the RAM slots or anything else - it is slightly bigger square than stock, and perhaps an inch or so higher.
Pros: * Included software is some of the most polished I've seen. Automagically helps you with game settings, shows you what each setting does with in-game screenshots, and allows for video capture with a single click. Updating drivers for you, and the EVGA precision tool makes an overclock (relatively) easy.
* Drives a 2560x1440 144Hz ASUS ROG Swift monitor at 120-140 FPS for Elite Dangerous with all settings on Ultra.
* Does 90-110 FPS for insanely modded Skyrim (4 and 8K textures, parallax maps, over 200 mods, ENB enabled) on Ultra settings.
* This card overclocked ridiculously high, from the stock OC, first attempt and stable with Heaven 4.0. Base score of 1633, but can get up to 1688 with minor GPU push.
* All this while running with almost no noise at a solid 74c.
Cons: * Now I want a second one.
Overall Review: Lots of people talking about the 3.5GB/4GB problem. It's not a problem under "normal" use. Don't expect to drive a 4K monitor at over 40 fps and you'll have a hard time hitting the "problem".
This card is, hands down, the best bang for the buck on the market. EVGA has always been one of my favorite manufacturers because of little perks like the step-up program - but this particular card goes above and beyond. It's one of the highest overclocked cards right out of the box, and it's rock solid.
I've been told many times that "60 FPS is the lowest I'd ever game", and I always scoffed. After all, 30 FPS is your standard for video and console games, right? I considered it all just snobbery and ego stroking.
I was wrong.
Oh, so very, very wrong.
Problem is, you have to SEE the difference to see the difference.
It really is an amazing experience gaming when you're getting sub-60 fps, and then start gaming in 120 fps solid and steady. It's far more immersive, there is zero tearing (that "blur" when moving or looking around), and you can play for hours without feeling tired, or having to take a break.
I'm sure G-sync helps with some of the flubs, but with the games I play, dropping below 80fps is nearly impossible. I have to enable DSR for 4K downsampling to get it below 60fps in Elite. And even then, it's running at 52-65 FPS while docked in station (heaviest FPS hit in the game).
The problem is, you need a monitor with over 60Hz refresh rate to see it. Once I did, I really can't go back - even seeing below 80fps seems to be hitching, stuttery, hesitant, laggy.
I can now play for hours without blur hurting my eyes, and even my non-gamer GF stated "my games don't make her sick to watch anymore".
If you're debating between this card and any other for over 60fps gaming, don't. This is the sweet spot. The 980 is 10% better for $200 more, not a wise spend. Just buy two of these and SLI.
Pros: * Good clean minimalist design.
* Solid construction, not cheap.
* Bottom-mounted PSU
* Good feet, keeps the case off of even thick carpet.
* Cable management is beautifully simple and will give you plenty of cable to run anywhere.
* Roomy without the 5" bays - Space in case for even 12 inch cards (probably would fit a 24-inch card)
* Beautiful paint job, no corners cut there.
* Front panel ports are easily accessible, and the power button is level with the top of the case - LED light is white, and not too bright or dim.
* Fantastic airflow, and the included 120mm fans are very quiet and dead sexy.
* Supports liquid cooling pretty well, lots of air/dust filters and little touches that make using the case simple.
Cons: * There were supposed to be included motherboard screws, but these were not included (there was one in the bag, the remaining seven went MIA).
* Another pack of screws listed on the instruction sheet was not included.
* The white paint near the thumbscrews was starting to flake after a few removals.
Overall Review: Not a fan of their QA leaving out the mainboard mount screws from the package (well, they included one....). If I hadn't had several others, that would have prevented me from finishing the build until I could get some (next day).
There is an open gap on the PCIe/add-on card mount, next to the thumbscrews used to secure the cards. It's not major, but without that sealed off, you're going to want to clean your case more frequently. Odd design choice given all the great filters over the fan intakes, etc. they seem to have meticulously placed.
Overall, it's a good case. Beautifully painted, simple and no frills. Omits any 5" bays and DVD/etc. on the front panel. This was fine for me, it's a waste of space (haven't used a DVD/BR/CD for at least 5 years). And for the price, it's a fantastic buy.
There's enough CPU cooler clearance for even the big boys inside the case, so feel free to go wild on that. It's made for water cooling, though, so I may well do that when I start OCing this puppy.
I ended up doing a black and white build with an SLI Krait mobo, Fury X white RAM, and this case. Cable management was made much easier and the case/mobo cables are pre-run and secured. Most of the cables get hidden under the PSU sleeve, and running cables throughout the case neatly was a breeze. Might have liked a little more space between the mobo backplate and case cover, but I should probably just get better at running flat cables, too.
Pros: Modular, low price, output is higher than 450w based on my testing, and it's much quieter than my previous 530w Raidmax.
Cons: One more molex connector would have been nice, to power the additional fans without having to add a whole sata connector. But I have two more SATA SDDs to add, so they will be put to use shortly.
Overall Review: While time is the true test of a PSU (my old Raidmax died after two years), this PSU has handled a mild and strong overclock on the CPU and GPU without fluctuations or issues.
If you don't require over 450W (which is actually most systems, unless you're running pairs of top-end graphics cards), this is a great little PSU.
System: AMD A-8 3750K @ 3.4GHz, 8GB DDR3, 2GB HD7850 @1040/1450.
Pros: Compact design
Cherry MX Brown keys
Cons: None, really - I suppose I can say the tenkey is radically different (to save space), so it might not be ideal for all users.
Overall Review: I've been looking to cut my teeth on my first mechanical keyboard since an old IBM I owned some 20 years ago. Cherry Brown is a great start. Volume of the key presses is identical to a "standard keyboard", but the tactile response is much better. These keyboards are far more sensitive than a standard keyboard, so if you are a "sloppy" typist, you will register key strokes by brushing up against another key.
Other than that, the USB detachable cord is well-secured, and does not feel flimsy. It's braided cable, so aside from a rabbit wandering into your room for an electronics snack, you're not going to snap it or kink it.
The keyboard is pretty heavy, easily 2x the weight of a standard "dell" or other $10 board. The feet easily support the weight though, so no worries there.
I love the alternative tenkey design. It takes some getting used to, but the LED (white) backlight is strong and easily configured (manual sucks, though - use the FN function key). If you don't use the tenkey that often (like myself), then this board is really a blessing. Smaller form factor really makes it easy to use in smaller areas, it's not tiny (like a PokerKBC), but it is shorter.
Honestly, aside from 10-key entry, this should be pretty standard format for keyboards, not the exception to the norm.
Pros: - Easy install
- Extremely high quality
- Best card for the cash
- OC potential (not needed right now, but good longevity feature) - it actually comes stock overclocked, but room for more
- Got it at a great price
Cons: There are absolutely no cons with this product. I didn't buy one sooner?
Overall Review: I'm running an A8-3870K with 8GB DDR-1600 I put together over a year ago as a "budget gamer" for less than $200 with discounts from the egg. Also has a nice 256GB SSD, and 1TB WD HDD. I was running a GTX260 Core 216, and thought I would need nothing more for some time.
I use this to play some MMOs, streaming video, and some BL2/SC2/random new titles. It's never been a problem until I started some FFXIV. Maxxing out settings on this game suddenly started dropping my frames to 20-30fps in crowded areas - without AA or shadows, effects turned low.
After installing this card, my benchmark score in FFXIV on my system went from (at high settings, 1920x1080) 3728 up to (at maximum settings, 1920x1080) 7983. Zero lag, hesitancy or anything, even with a hundred players running around in a crowded server center.
I think I lucked out and this card was marked for less than it should have been, because the price went up by $40 within hours after I bought it.
I'm not complaining. :)
Others have told me flat out to buy an Nvidia card (650 Ti Boost) which doesn't perform as well (per benchmarks on the hardware site, no less) - which costs between $60 and $80 more.
Don't get me wrong; I love me some Nvidia. But bang for the buck, this can't be beat. Getting 2 more fps at 1080p (in one game, mind you) doesn't seem worth that much money.
I get brand loyalty. I do. But that's just dumb advice.
Pros: Small, lightweight and stable. Good range.
Cons: Not sure... antenna is sort of long?
Overall Review: Honestly, can't think of anything bad with this wireless adapter. Using it on my desktop, getting the full 300Mbps connection with the router, downloads a 3 gig file in less than 40 minutes. Worth the money, for sure.
Pros: It's pretty quiet. My GTX 260 video card fan is definitely louder. no power fluctuations, and despite several electrical surges from storms, it's been working flawlessly for over a year. The modular aspect was pretty useful with my build. Cables are a bit long for a mini-ATX, but for my tower, with the PSU at the bottom (CM Scout case), the cables reached everything I needed it to. It's powered a GTX260 with A8 AMD CPU, 3 hard drives and all the rest without any issues. It will easily power my GPU upgrade for a 7850 when I get there, as well.
Cons: I personally can't think of any. It's not 600w?
Overall Review: This will power most anything short of a triple-card setup or something ridiculous. But if you're looking for something other than a simple CPU-GPU-HDD setup, you're not looking at 530w, so...
Pros: Still works. Pretty inexpensive. Good speed.
Cons: Does sometimes disconnect from the network randomly. Signal strength not as strong as an antenna USB adapter.But it works.
Overall Review: I purchased this a while ago, but missed doing the review. It's sufficient for a laptop, but if you need one for a desktop computer, go with a dedicated antenna - signal strength and drops will be much less.
Pros: This is a simple, no frills gaming headset. Still ticking after a year of use. Speakers are decent quality, very good at cancelling out background noise. The mic is simple, nothing fancy. It's on a metal extender, which can be positioned easily anywhere near your mouth or out of the way. Very comfortable to wear for extended periods.
Overall Review: I just needed a headset for communicating on Mumble. This did the trick. For the price, it can't be beat.
Pros: It's a solid, good drive. Tested the blocks, all seems to check out. The value for it (as a refurb) was good. Plugged in and via windows Vista Ultimate worked out of the box.
Cons: None that I can think of.
Overall Review: This was an added drive for an SSD system for a relative. They needed data storage since they were downloading little casual games and glutted the SSD I provided with the system (down to 2% available space). Plugged it in, moved and redirected some files, and she was away.
Intel Core2Duo.e6750, OCZ Vertex 60GB HDD, GT8800, 4GB DDR3.
Pros: Low price for performance, built-in graphics, easy install, fires up without issues.
I was building a budget gaming system to get into a newer model from an old Core2 Duo system. This chip fit the bill and was about $120 less than competing Intel chips. 10 FPS or .05ms response time isn't worth that for me, so this is a perfect chip.
With an unlocked multiplier, you could (with some aftermarket cooling) keep this chip alive for some time.
Gaming with the onboard video solution isn't great, but you can run D3 fairly well (medium-high settings) and most of the other games (Orcs must Die 2, TSW, etc.) run well enough for me without any lag. I'm guessing that the onboard graphics will work fine for anyone playing 1 year old games, or Torchlight2-level games. Not strong enough for the FPS-elite crowd, for sure. I switched back to using my 260 discreet from my old system after some playing around.
Cons: I really can't think of any. Well, perhaps the wiring diagram for hooking up the power/reset switch wasn't really well-detailed. Quick google search showed me what I needed to know.
Only other thing - in this day and age, can we get a usb stick with the drivers? CD is so 1990's, dahling.
Stock heat sink is fine for everyday applications. However, I would not use it for OCing (which eventually I will do).
Overall Review: Plugged it into the system below and it fired right up, no issues, no BSODs. I decided to go with a CD-less setup/install for this rig, and the on-board LAN drivers had to be downloaded separately before I could get online. Honestly, though, no problem with the mobo - just the first time I'd gone with a totally media-less setup.
AMD A8-3870K Llano
Biostar A75MH Mobo
G.Skill Ripjaws 8GB DDR3 1600
OCZ Agility3 120GB SSD
CM Storm Scout
Raidmax Hybrid 530W PSU
Pros: There are some pretty thorough reviews out there of this case; I won't explain valet parking - this case is worth the price. It's beautifully constructed, with mostly steel and some plastic, very solid, most pieces are well-placed.
Do homework if you're trying to fit certain pieces in, and want to be sure they fit. Larger video cards may require some jerry-rigging. MOST CPU coolers should work fine. Cabling will be tricky in some applications, but certainly not difficult or impossible.
No fan troubles, no LED troubles, LEDs are a nice soft red. If you want it to look like a Chernobyl sunset, get some aftermarket LEDs; these are nice and soft glow, not garishly "my eyes are bleeding" bright.
Cons: This is a personal peeve, but the bottom-mounted PSU blows outward through a filter in the bottom of the case. This is documented in product specs. However, I don't like resting it on the floor for this reason.
There were a lack of screws for the motherboard. Easily fixed, I had plenty from earlier builds. Instructions for an mATX board have you put in unnecessary supports. None of this is really a con with the case. Just stuff to be aware of when building.
Overall Review: If your front USB ports aren't working, 90% probability you haven't installed your mobo drivers, or haven't plugged in the cables correctly to the mobo.
Be aware that SOME PSUs will not work well with the bottom-mounting. This is pretty rare, and mainly for SFF PSUs. My Raidmax worked perfectly, and the cable length on this PSU is pretty normal, so I really don't see it being a true problem unless you're trying to re-wire the main cluster through some labyrinthine method.
Front ports are USB 2.0, so be aware of that.
Honestly? Even if I upgrade components, I'll keep the case for many years to come.
Pros: Fastest way to get your system speed to increase nowadays. Got this as a shell-shocker, so that just sweetened the pot.
With my system configuration, booted up without any drivers (even mobo drivers), and the drive was just recognized in BIOS. Win7 installed in less than half an hour (wasn't keeping exact track, but it went quickly). As a boot drive, this baby is perfect, snappy, and does the job. Boots Win7 in less than 7 seconds (again, haven't timed it - but you're not seeing the boot screen long enough to read how much RAM is recognized - and Win7 barely has time to play the little animation before you're able to log in).
Overall Review: AMD A8-3870K Llano
Biostar A75MH Mobo
G.Skill Ripjaws 8GB DDR3 1600
OCZ Agility3 120GB SSD
CM Storm Scout
Raidmax Hybrid 530W PSU
Pros: They work. Look good. Connect A to B and stay in place. The little clips work well, make an audible click noise, and can be easily removed when the clips are pressed, but stay in place otherwise. Color is as represented in photo.
Overall Review: It's a cable. No bells and whistles.
Pros: It works. It's fast (7.8 windows rating). At 8GB, perfect for most gaming applications in Win7. No compatibility issues. Snazzy-looking heat spreaders, perfect with red LED case.
Cons: None whatsoever.