Date Joined: 11/06/07
Pros: - Silent case fans
- Fan controller built into front of case (simple slider with 3 settings)
- Great fit and finish for the most part, see below for more on this
- Plenty of options for cable management
- Love the modular top covers that remove to fit tons of different fan/radiator combos.
- Bottom mount PSU (more a personal preference, but I like having the PSU separated from the rest of the case's airflow, and bottom mounts seem better for cable management)
- Filters everywhere air is being pulled into the case, and they are easy to remove for cleaning
Overall I love the look of this case. Cable management was a breeze with plenty of places to route through the back of the case. I would recommend this for a quieter room (like a bedroom, or TV room), but some modification is required to get there...
Cons: Sad to say, but there are some issues with this case in the noise department. With all the efforts put into silent fans, noise dampening, and even rubber hard drive mounting grommets, there is a constant buzzing coming from this case I am having trouble getting rid of. I traced the source of the loudest buzzing to an occupied 3.5" hard drive carriage, where the 2 metal retaining clips lock into the hard drive cage (the clips were vibrating from the hard drive). I quickly solved this with some of the extra supplied rubber grommets by inserting them where the clips make contact. Unfortunately, as soon as I closed the case again, another source of buzzing became apparent: the door to the case itself... Something on there is making loose contact with the rest of the case and vibrating constantly (only over-tightening the thumb screws seems to remedy this, and even then it's still tentative). It comes and goes like an old AM radio wandering in and out of static. For a premium computer case this expensive, and the amount of advertising as silent, these annoyances just should not happen. That being said, I'm sure the reason I'm noticing these buzzing noises is because it doesn't sound like I have a model jet engine placed next to me on my desk (as with my old setup).
Some of the more minor cons include:
- On/off button feels cheap, lots of wiggle when pressing it in
- Case doors are a little flimsy. Can wobble and distend to a degree when off the case
Overall Review: The two areas that seem to need the most improvement are the hard drive carriages and the case doors. Probably the best suggestion to go about fixing the problems outlined above would be to just coat any of the contact areas with some kind of rubberized paint / plastic / foam tape / anything but metal on metal that can produce this constant buzzing.
Pros: I work at a tech bench and constantly use these on a daily basis. All drivers are still in one piece, and show minimal wear. Admittedly, I got these for free through a promotion, but I would definitely buy again if there was a need
Cons: Really stretching it for this, but the case is kinda cheap (the plastic cover broke off the hinge due to some careless co-workers). The black protective paint on the tips has worn off, but I can't really complain after using these on upwards of 5 different computers a day over a year and a half period.
Overall Review: I wish these came with a vinyl flathead to remove keyboards without running the risk of damaging the plastics around them.
Pros: Beautiful 1080p display. In both 2D and 3D this monitor has stunning colors. I like the ability to switch between different display settings (that I can set up and tweak) with the touch of a button (useful for a room that gets a lot of light during the day, but is preferred to be dark at night).
Cons: Surprisingly my biggest gripe is with the glasses. I know they are pretty much the only way to view 3D off an nvidia system, so you think a little more quality would go into making them. The flat lenses are not perfect, and actually have blurry spots in critical areas. $219 buys you some nice everyday glasses that I would expect to be free of flaws in the lenses. -1 egg for that
Another thing is there is a huge back light bleed on black screens
One other thing I should point out is the fact that there is still some minor ghosting in 3D, but the 120Hz does a good job at keeping it barely visible (ghosting is inherent in the technology, so I can't really mark this monitor down for that)
Overall Review: Gaming in 3D is life changing. Ranging a person down your scope in BF BC2 is much easier with 3D. Nothing can immerse you in a game more.
Pros: Fans are silent, all I can hear is the faint whooshing sound of rushing air. Temps are pretty much as good as liquid cooling. 6 heatpipe design. Oversized 140mm fan is great because not only does it push air through the radiator, but it also moves air pretty effectively over the motherboard heatsinks as well. The NH-D14 comes with a lot of great extras too (thermalpaste that's almost as good as Arctic Silver 5, a philips screwdriver, 3 different 3-pin connectors just in case you find running the fans at full tilt is too loud... which is actually not loud at all).
Cons: Color scheme looks like something straight out of a computer made in the 80s (beige on darker beige). The 120mm fan makes it impossible to access my RAM... let alone install a RAM cooler. I can see someone with high profile RAM (such as the corsair vengeance series) having difficulty with this (not saying it's impossible, but some creative placement of the fan might be necessary). Middle fan has to be removed to install/uninstall the heatsink, but hopefully you only have to do this once, so not really a big deal. And just to be nit-picky, the cables for the fans seem to be excessively long.
Overall Review: Using an i7 970 @ 18C ambient temp, I got some pretty impressive results
according to Core Temp: 11C idle - 46C load........ whaaaaa?
I can't possibly believe this, so the most realistic reading I got was: 19C idle - 48C load
Pros: Comes in a fancy pants felt bag
Cons: DOA. Not only that, but before I realized it was DOA, the ATX12V cable was too short to reach my mobo in any conceivable cable management configuration. I ended up just leaving it in the front of the mobo for everyone to see. Now I get to throw away another $20 in shipping.
Pros: I bought this as a "just in case" item, but boy am I glad I had it around. Let's face it, nobody's perfect, and there is nothing worse than going "oops, my mobo is DOA" after you put on the heatsink.
Cons: Smells kinda funny
Overall Review: Protip: when removing any TIM (thermal interface material), be careful not to let any solution touch the circuit board around what you are cleaning. Many TIMs are conductive, and could cause a short on your board if left unchecked. This is not because of this product, but is just the nature of most TIMs
Pros: This card is beast. I am running a full 3D rig, and this thing barely breaks a sweat on most games with settings turned to the max. EVGA warranty can't be beat (I mean, who else will let you overclock, install aftermarket coolers, and still cover their product?). But then again, I guess it has to be... see cons.
Cons: The most obvious thing was when I first opened the box, the Metal mounting plate was twisted out of shape (as if it was dropped at the factory, since the box was not damaged). I contacted EVGA, and their awesome customer service got back to me next day. I got an ok from two different support agents for an RMA or to bend it back into shape without voiding the warranty (I chose the latter since I was already inconvenienced by an RMA mobo and PSU).
Temps are absolutely ridiculous, so I bought an aftermarket VGA cooler (another $80 on top of the $450 already). Once I peaked "under the hood" though, it was immediately apparent why I was breaking 70C. Gobs of TIM to the point where it was overflowing over the GPU (and dangerously close to the board). C'mon EVGA, I couldn't sing your praise enough before, now I'm afraid I have to recommend MSI for GPU.
My feeling though is if this is going to be the most expensive part of my build, I expect some QC before it reaches me.
Overall Review: Bottom line, any 480 GTX with a stock cooler, I would recommend upgrading to an Arctic Cooling Accelero Xtreme Plus.
about 45C idle --- >70C load
34C idle --- 60C load
Asus Rampage III Formula
6GB Mushkin DDR3 1600
EVGA GTX 480
Intel 80GB X25-M SSD
WD SATA 3.0 1TB Caviar Black
Pros: Super quiet extra large fans. All I can hear is the faint whooshing of moving air, and not the fans themselves. This truly is an awesome case that allows for exceptional airflow and cable management. The build quality is superb (a mostly screw-less design that works, no jagged metal around screw holes, thick steel, optional wheels for those of you who are into that sort of thing, even includes an adapter for mounting SSDs)
Cons: I like to pretend that I am warding off large ships from rocky shoals with my super bright blue power LED. Seriously, if you catch a glimpse of that thing directly in the eye, even from a distance, it's like cyclops is beaming you. The metal plates (not the screens, but the plates behind them) that cover the 5.25" drive bays are actually part of the chassis and have to be snapped off to allow for installation. Although most likely these slots will always be occupied, I am not a fan of things that can be removed and never put back in again.
Overall Review: On a side note, When I tried to put in the motherboard for the first time, I thought I had a poorly built case, as I was bending the board much more than seemed acceptable to try and get the screws to fit. Then I realized what the screw extenders were for (and the extent of my n00bness) and everything fit perfectly (including the oversized back plate to my Noctua CPU fans).
Asus Rampage III Formula
6GB Mushkin DDR3 1600
EVGA GTX 480
Intel 80GB X25-M SSD
WD SATA 3.0 1TB Caviar Black
Pros: Has both USB and eSATA connections! Hot-swappable! This is a great solution if you have any need to transfer data from one device to another. Construction for the most part is solid (see cons for the not so solid), and nothing screams geek to your friends more than a half exposed hard drive.
Cons: USB and power connections are a little loose (-1 egg). Not a good solution for long term storage (as it leaves most of the drive exposed), but then again, it never was intended to be.
Overall Review: I work for a major computer repair chain, and we use these to handle data transfers all the time. I was so impressed with their reliability (while other data transfer cables broke all the time) that I got one for myself to upgrade my home-server. If your computer died, or even if your hard drive is in a mild state of failure, this is the perfect solution to saving your files.
Pros: Great firmware (v 1.12NA) allows one to easily configure router and set up static IPs, forward ports, secure wireless network, etc.
Great features such as dual bandwith, network USB to add a networked printer or hard drive.
Gigabit wired networking
Lights are kinda cool. Not annoying as some reviews will tell you (if you're like me and like showy LEDs)
Cons: The router constantly needs to be reset. I never had this problem in my first year of ownership, but lately it has been a real nuisance where every few days, websites will not load, my home server becomes inaccessible, and the router page itself disappears so the problems cannot be rectified without resetting the whole thing and reprogramming all the previous settings.
Shareport utility (the software you need to load on any computer that will access the network USB... yeah) is an absolute joke if it even works at all.
Price is a little steep (I wouldn't have bought this particular router if I didn't receive an employee discount from a certain electronics store)
I'm being nitpicky here, but I wish it was more sturdy. Just the weight of the wires alone is enough to make this thing pop a wheelie, and have its front feet up in the air
Overall Review: If this review was less than a year into the life of the router, it would have been a definite 4 eggs (-1 for the shareport utility that never really worked reliably). However emerging problems made this a 2 egger. Bottom line is a router this expensive should not have these problems just over a year into its life. I am writing this review out of disappointment, as I just had to reset the darn thing.
Pros: This is a true system builder's board. It is packed with features, including a program to flash the BIOS from Windows, how cool is that! Lotes CPU socket. USB and SATA 3.0 on board. And best of all, error check LEDs. At first I thought I had an rma board due to no posting, but after a bit of reading the manual, I saw that the RAM error LED was on. Turned out I had installed the RAM into the black slots instead of the blue ones (rookie mistake I know). After a quick swap, I booted up no problem. ASUS driver support is great (website even allows you to download drivers via torrents). I would definitely recommend this board (and already have).
Cons: I hate to say none, so I'm really nitpicking here; some of the programs it comes with are practically useless. For example: the temperature monitor might actually be useful if ASUS included a legend as to what components the bars on the graph represent, and what the temperatures are. The manual could go more in depth about the BIOS. Like I said, nitpicking.
Overall Review: I know what you're thinking: There's only one pci express x16 slot! Well you're right, this board doesn't support crossfire or sli. However there is another version of this exact board that does (a little more expensive, but worth it if you need that sort of thing).
Pros: Looks nice
Cons: When it came time to install the case fans, one of the molex connectors had bent pins. The other fan connector actually popped pins out the back when trying to connect to the psu. The paint job looks like something was resting on the case while it was drying. Screws on case were stripped from someone torquing them down too much. I also bought a 3.5" Rosewell internal card reader for this build. The screw holes for that did not match up, so I will have to be drilling my own. Closing the case made system temp rise dramatically, meaning the fans are not pulling enough air.
Overall Review: There are better cases out there for the money, check out Cooler Master. I won't be buying a Xion again!
Pros: two of these paired with an i7 860 allow me to load my desktop instantly (never realized how much time I was actually wasting just waiting to be able to click on something). LEDs are awesome.
Cons: I can see the lights being annoying if you're not into that sort of thing, but 9 times out of 10 if you have a case with a window on it you want this sort of thing anyway. RAM natively shows up as 1333MHz with 9-9-9-24 timing in BIOS, even after a BIOS flash. Probably more of a motherboard thing, but it seems like the previous reviewer has the same issue, even on a different board. Very quick fix for this, I'm just ultra paranoid about messing with it on a fully set up server lol.
Pros: Keeps my server nice and cool. Will fit in smaller cases. Plenty of fit kits for different processors. Ran Prime95 for 24 hours and CPU temp never rose above 46 degrees. Also it's very quiet, even at full speed; my optical disk drive is much much noisier if you need a comparison.
Cons: Upon installation, it was hard to tell if the plastic feet were fully in the motherboard. minor detail though.
Overall Review: i7 860
(2x) 2GB crucial ballistix tracer 1600
4650 xfx GPU
(2x) 500GB seagate barracuda
500w Antec earthwatts PSU
msi p55m-gd45 mobo
Pros: Wizards for everything. Good entry point into the world of servers and networking. Most XP drivers will work with WHS. All my files are available online.
Cons: Does not support RAID! The way WHS is installed, it goes strait to a GUI and does not allow you to install 3rd party drivers! Having been defeated this way, I tried slipstreaming the drivers onto an install disk, which worked unitil I got to the EULA, where it would freeze. Sure there is software raid built in, but hardware raid is so much faster (relevant because I originally planned on making this a gaming server as well). Most xp software doesn't work with WHS either, but I was kind of expecting that. Now I'm sitting here with an i7 beast, wondering whether I should upgrade to win server 2008, or some other Linux distro that will pick up where WHS left off.
Overall Review: Bottom line, good for average Joe, but if there's a problem, you'll be needing an expert to figure out why. I originally bought this for a media server/ gaming server, but WHS is more of a storage solution than anything else. I added a graphics card in hopes of playing my movie collection over the tv, but video drivers are one of the things WHS doesn't support. If your techie enough to say "hmm I think I need a server," then definitely do your research first (something I regret not fully doing) and consider using linux to accomplish your goal. There are plenty of free distros out there that will accomplish everything WHS does, and sometimes more.
Pros: Removable mobo tray! Something you don't usually see in the less expensive cases.
Thick steel and sturdy construction make for a solid feeling case.
Seems to have sufficient cooling power (and quiet fans), but we'll see after I'm done running my stress tests
Comes with extras like a cleaning cloth, a complete extra set of all screws.
Cons: Hard drive/ optical drive cages. These were a nightmare to install. I'm not sure who's bright idea it was to put the HDD cage right behind the graphics card, but it is a huge problem if you get a big card like nvidia 260. Also, there is no way to open the side panels, so it is nearly impossible to get the single screw that holds the HDD cage down back into its hole. Then to make matters worse, the top optical drive slot is oversized, so only one side of your dvd drive can be secured (meanwhile flopping all over the place while you try to get the first screw in).
Cable management is also pretty hard in this case. You don't have much space left once the PSU is installed. I would recommend going modular if you can.
Overall Review: I really wanted to give this case 5 stars, but the hassle of installing the drives really hurt the rating. It has some great features, and is a real looker. However if this is something that you are going to be opening often to mess around with, you may want to reconsider.
2x Seagate 500GB HDD
4GB Ballistix Tracer 1600 (red)
xfx ATI 4650
500w Antec Earthwatts
Pros: Feels very solid. Thick aluminum case. Comes with eSata and USB connections. Easy and sturdy drive installation. Looks spiffy.
Cons: Feet aren't the most sturdy things in the world. Feels like it could fall over on its side just from bumping the table. HDD activity light went out a few months after I purchased this. Maybe a hard drive problem, but recently an electronic buzzing noise has been coming out of this case.
Overall Review: Would be nice if there was some driver to sense when the computer has been turned off so this can turn off the HDD when not in use.
Pros: Does all the things a keyboard should. It really shines if you need it for a hazardous environment (ex. the kitchen, dirty/dusty work areas, intense snacking @ computer). Of course it is also ultra portable because you can roll it up.
Cons: Not the easiest thing to type on. If you get any dirt on it, it will stick and give the keyboard a nasty feel.
Overall Review: When it comes down to it, this keyboard is just a gadget. Sure you'll impress your geek friends when you unroll this thing and start typing away, but I'd rather just get a cheap traditional keyboard if I was worried about ruining it.
Pros: Huge improvement over the dell 1184 I previously had (now a paperweight). Set up a network printer with ease using the shareport utility. Really easy to set up static IPs. Came with firmware update 1.01 right out of the box (known problem for this router is it can come with firmware v1.00, which does not take full advantage of this router's features).
Cons: Probably my iPod's fault, but I still can't get my iTouch to connect to wifi. Could use a third antenna for increased range.
Overall Review: Did not buy this router at newegg, but a retail store. The only reason I bought this at a store is I get a discount, otherwise I probably would have settled for something less expensive.
Pros: Thick aluminum and top vents keep your hard drive cool. Easy installation/removal. eSATA is a nice option. Probably cheaper and faster (because of the eSATA) than a pre-assembled external drive
Cons: Indicator light died exactly 1 year after purchase, hard to tell if it is on or off. Plastic feet don't seem too sturdy, but they get the job done.
Overall Review: Installed a Seagate Barriccuda. I also own a Rosewill RX353-S enclosure, and would take this Icy dock over the Rosewill any day.