Date Joined: 10/02/07
Pros: PCI-E 3.0, Great Fans, Easy To OC, Stable, Good Price-to-Performance
Cons: A tad large (but not giant like a GTI 280X)
Overall Review: The ASUS HD7870 is a great card to pick up for those looking for a card that can take on a heavier load with graphically intense games at the 1080-1200p threshold. I am able to run a cool 60 FPS in Guild Wars 2 with everything maxed out (even oversampling), though frame rate greatly suffers with massive PvP events (drops to around 30-35 FPS with 15-20+ players on screen simultaneously). I bought the card for $240 and at that price it was a pretty good buy. The card is harder to find these days, but if you pick it up for under $200 new/like-new it's definitely worth the purchase. Only the obvious 7890 or 7970/7990 can top this before hitting the 8000 series. From the reviews I've read, this card runs Crossfire extremely well, doubling your frame and detail capabilities and then some (probably an increase of 110-115% with 2 cards). Make sure you have a reasonably sized mid-ATX case or you'll be squashed for space with cables since this isn't a tiny or regular sized card like older/less-capable GPUs.
Pros: Great read/write speeds
240GB on an SSD is more necessary than I initially thought
Small and easy to install with harness
Cons: Not THE fastest SSD on the market for read or write, but read speeds are near the best right now and the read speeds will still drastically outperform standard HDDs/Hybrids
Overall Review: Been running this since October 2012 and haven't had a single issue. I didn't purchase refurbished but that's the only listing for my SSD that I could find. I initially thought I would just stick to a 120GB SSD, but now that I've owned it for a while I realize that would have been a mistake. I do some PC gaming, though not heavy amounts and I only purchase a couple games per year. Still, my Steam account had a few games on it already and re-downloading those plus running Windows 8.1 and all the apps I have on top of it puts me just under 200GB. Installing big MMOs like Guild Wars 2 and World of Warcraft will eat up a lot of space, so take that into consideration when you're thinking about buying an SSD. I'm really hoping to slot a 500+GB SSD in the next year. I keep a 2TB for all media storage and have deactivated routine disc scans from Windows because those can reduce the life of the SSD by running more frequent tasks on the SSD, something you want to avoid since these have a more finite lifespan than mechanical HDDs. Still, it is estimated to last around 7 years and I will more than likely move onto another SSD in well before that time. If you're looking for a more affordable SSD the Agility 3 from OCZ is worth a look. If you are more enthusiast driven, there are overall faster options elsewhere that will bill you around $250-$300 at this time, but really you're only looking to get a better Read experience, not so much Write.
Pros: It's important to take Judgment for what it is: a spinoff of a AAA franchise. It carries all the signature GoW traits but works in a few fun additions/changes to keep things fresh. The Declassify and Overrun variants are two very welcomed firsts, one being a challenge mode for campaign, the other a longer multiplayer engagement that acts more like Battlefield 3's Rush gametype. Graphics are best in series and the soundtrack is awesome. Story delivery is a cool twist.
Cons: Early on there are times this feels like downloadable content to GoW3 (which it originally was going to be) but it's not a feeling I got after the first hour or so of playing.
Overall Review: I don't understand some people's deep negative criticism. This is a fun and creative change of pace for Gears, which needs something new if it is to survive the coming years. If you love Gears, Judgment is a no brainer purchase.
Pros: Lots of performance without having to overpay
Ivy Bridge really shines
Lower than expected power requirements
Easy to install
Integrated graphics if you don't need dedicated GPU
7.6/7.9 Win Exp Index
Cons: Intel's higher price points have kept me away for a long time...
Overall Review: I was an AMD supporter for many years, mostly since the first days of Win XP. They've always run true and have proved to be very fair priced. Because of Intel's higher price points, I never bothered to convert. But when I found out that my AM3+ Phenom II, Bulldozer, and their upcoming chipset wouldn't support PCI-E 3.0, I was conflicted. After considering just sticking with PCI-E 2.0 and hoping to find a big performance graphics card, I realized it was a pipe dream if trying to stay under $250. So I just said screw it and ran with Intel. I got $50 off the combo of a mobo (ASUS) and the 3570k. Good deal. Took it home and had the old hardware out and the new hardware in within 10 minutes. Installation is so much easier with Ivy Bridge as there are no pins. Loved it. So as much as I support AMD, I'm probably going to have to support Intel for a while on the CPU side of things. At least I can say I purchased an ASUS 7870 and can support the company that way! If you're looking for quality performance in a quad core CPU without spending $300+, you have to get this CPU.
Quiet Under Load
Cooler Than Expected
Plays BF3 and GW2 on Max settings smoothly!
PCI-E 3.0 seems to be boss
Cons: Somewhat large card - make sure you have adequate space!
Overall Review: I wound up not buying this from Newegg because I found it locally for about $10 less without a rebate required. But I rarely buy anywhere else besides Newegg and as this card nears the $200 price point it will likely be the best at that price point. I upgraded from a GTX 480 Fermi and a 6850 before that. This card hands-down outperforms either of those cards in a big way. Where the GTX 480 suffered, mostly in heat and sustained FPS with lots of detail, the 7870 excells. Running at 1920x1080, BF3 and GW2 (Guild Wars 2) I have everything maxed. I haven't seen GW2 dip under 58 FPS yet, and the great thing is I'm running stock. I'll OC some if I need to for big multiplayer events if it dips a bit, but from what I hear this card has some room to push without suffering instability. A great buy for me.
Pros: Direct X 11 compatible
Easily best bang-for-your-buck at $200 or less (purchased for $180 on sale)
Battlefield runs @ ~45 FPS consistently on Ultra @ 1920x1080
Guild Wars 2 runs @ 40-60 FPS (depending on number of players on screen) pretty consistently
Cons: Large card
It does run warm, but it's intended to (be sure you have good air flow in your case)
Overall Review: This card performs very well for its price. It is a 400-series card, but it's the flagship card of the series so it pumps quite a bit of power. The only way I'll upgrade is when the 670 or 580 gets under $200. Until then, this is the best gaming card I've owned. I upgraded from a Sapphire Radeon 6850 1GB, which was adequate, but couldn't run BF3 on ultra anywhere near 30+ FPS and Guild Wars 2... it played fine on medium/med-high settings but WvW (pvp) forced me to stay @ medium settings to keep 15-20 FPS. All that to say if you get this at $200 or less, you're getting the best card you can buy in the price range. But be sure you have a fair sized case! I have the Antec 300 and it fits, but it only leaves about an inch or two of space between its end and the drive bay's beginning.
Pros: Well above average write/read speeds
240GB is plenty for a system SSD
Restarts Windows 7 in under 30 seconds with my desktop
Good value for the money
Cons: Doesn't ship with SATA cable (but they're so cheap to pick up I don't care)
Overall Review: Paying $120 after rebate for this SSD! There are better performance SSDs out there, but for the storage capacity and all-around performance, the OCZ Agility 3 240GB is a great buy. I imagine I'll eventually pick up an Agility 4 or perhaps one of the high performance Corsair SSDs, but this thing will certainly lead the way on my desktop for a year or two. I have no need to upgrade until SSD prices come down more. Pick this up if you're shopping for a good value!
Pros: Good power to run all the latest games at High/Max settings (depending on the game)
2 DVI, 1 HDMI, 1 Display Port = 4 digital video outputs (winning)
Free Dirt 3 game is a nice touch
Crossfire would be a killer combo with this card
Cons: Doesn't handle Battlefield 3 at ultra settings @ 60 FPS... but there aren't any cards out at the moment that I'm aware of that do. So no egg docking for that.
Overall Review: Running mostly The Old Republic, Dirt 3, League of Legends, and doing lots of HD video on a 27" 1920x1080 monitor and it does so great for the money I spent on it! Runs TOR @ 50-60 FPS with all settings maxed unless I'm in PVP, where it dips to 30-40 FPS. I'm sure dropping a 2nd card in would run BF3 on ultra settings @ ~60 FPX @ 1920x1080
Pros: Plenty of connections for tons of USB connections
Can slot dual PCI-E 16x video cards (HD 6850, for example)
Some great software to go with it for OC/tuning
Cons: The board is a bit narrow so it doesn't line up with all the mounting points for my Antec Three Hundred case. This is not a typical dimentioned board within the ATX configuration, but it still mounts fine, just a couple corners aren't mounted on the right side of the board. Nothing serious, but I deducted 1 egg for that AND the fact that I RMA'd my first board because it was acting really strange upon powering up. 2nd one was perfect.
Overall Review: Great expandability/upgradability with this board. Running an AMD Phenom II X4 960T Zosma currently, and can upgrade to the FX 8150 down the line if I really want to heat it up on the CPU side. But all things considered, this is the best motherboard I've ever installed, and it wasn't ridiculously expensive. That's why I always love AMD. Not having to break the bank to make a good config!
Pros: Plenty of space
Lots of drive bays
Mount for PSU on the bottom (better for air flow and temp control IMO)
Easy to install hard/disc drives
Plenty of air flow with grated/mesh construction and 4 x 120mm case fans!
Cons: For a mid-ATX? No real gripes at all. It could only get better by being slightly bigger, but then it's not a "mid" ATX case.
Overall Review: Can't go wrong here. Installed everything without a hitch. Dropped an ASROck 970 Extreme3 board on to it. The board is a tad short for a full ATX config, so not all the mounting holes lined up properly, but that's ASRock's fault, not Antec's.
Pros: $47 for 8GB of DDR3 1600!? It's like McDonalds, because I'm Lovin It!
Good heat spreaders
Overall Review: If you're looking for a good set of RAM for a competitive price, look no further. Slightly cheaper than the Corsair XMS 8GB config, just as good (if not better).
Pros: Runs everything like a boss. I'll have Old Republic up with Zune and IE9 and I don't experience any load/rendering slow downs. I love it! Not worth upgrading unless you want to shell out for FX-8150 to compete with the i5/i7 2500k series. Paired with an ASUS mobo that has FX upgrade path. Unlockable 5/6 core option, but I'm not gonna mess around with that as I prefer stability and longevity and it does everything I need already very well.
Cons: AMD could take a page from Intel and figure out a pin-less or pin-concealed configuration to prevent bent/broken pins.
Overall Review: I chose this OVER the FX-4100 and FX-6100 as it offers better performance overall than the FX-4100, even if the 4100 is a bit cheaper at the moment. Once the FX-8150 dips to $150 or less, I'll opt for an upgrade. Until then, I'm plenty pleased with the Zosma and it's competent capabilities!
Pros: 80 PLUS certification
Plenty of power cables
All cables seem to be plenty long for my mid ATX case
110-220 v flexibility
Cons: None that I can think of
Overall Review: Thought it was DOA when I first purchased it. Did an RMA on the motherboard and PSU just in case. I think it was just the motherboard having some contact points that wasn't properly powering, so 5 eggs for this guy. It powers 4 120mm case fans and the following:
-AMD Phenom II X4 960T Zosma
-2 x 4GB G.Skill Ripjaw 1600 MHz
-Sapphire Radeon HD 6850
-WD 400GB Sata 3 HDD
-WD 500GB Sata HDD
Pros: 1080p resolution
Lots of different video/audio options
Big enough for small rooms, small enough for LAN parties!
Cons: Light shadow/ghost effect with some input devices
Only 1 HDMI
Only 5ms response time
Overall Review: Using an Xbox 360, I notice a lot of these subtle shadow effects against anything with an edge (letters/numbers, object models). This seems to detract a little from the overall sharpness & detail, but it's less noticeable from a distance. The picture is pretty good otherwise. For the price and quality (Samsung does good work overall) you'd be hard pressed to beat it. Wish it was a >3ms response time. Might be better off spending a few more bucks and getting a higher end monitor (just sayin). But don't feel like you're wasting your money. These are just nit-picky thoughts I have with the monitor. Videos/TV shows look good.
Pros: -1080p HD Screen with Blu-Ray disc drive
-Intense Quad-Core i7 to eat through games/programs like a zombie eats the living
-7000 XT series HD Radeon to annihilate games
-Gorgeous full keyboard
-Beats audio bar & physical controller integration
-1600MHz DDR3 memory support (aaaah yeah!)
-Remarkably cool after 12 hours of use
-Solid build construction for a little abuse taking
Cons: -On the heavy side (just over 7 lbs)
-Gloss screen only good for indoor use, wish it had a soft matte finish to diffuse some external light sources
-Doesn't come with any "Suck It, Mac!" stickers
Overall Review: The Envy 17 surprised me. It maintains the traditional HP-black outer body but the inside takes a near photo-copied page from the Macbook Pros. The big differences are the Beats audio bar and circular volume adjuster on the side. It sounds GREAT for a laptop and can easily be heard over mild background noise (major plus in my book). How they rocked a 7690M XT in this thing and kept it under $1500 is beyond me, but I'm stoked they did. This is one of the few laptops I've ever been excited to use and it's the only one I'd easily recommend as a gaming desktop replacement. You'd be surprised at how cool this thing runs. I was shocked, after having it sit on a table for almost a full day expecting for it's air exhaust and table surface to be really warm, to only feel cool/mild air coming from the computer and the table temp feeling hardly heated at all. I'm not a fan of gloss displays, but I can easily overlook that omitting for the incredible performance. HP got it right this time
Pros: -Quick & easy to install (really, you don't even have to finish the steps for it to be good to go).
-Tons of customization options for everything from typical wireless security to which antenna broadcasts what type of signal
-Super consistent. Never drops signal
Cons: After thinking of everything that I may not have enjoyed, I've arrived with the conclusion that everything has been satisfactory or better thus far. So NO CONS.
Overall Review: For gamers, this router setup with an OPEN NAT out of the box. I run a Macbook Pro, HP laptop, and an Xbox 360 pretty regularly off this router (all wireless) and have yet to experience drops or hangups. My nephew unplugged the router once and, after about two minutes of being unplugged, it came back with all the settings as if nothing had ever happened. I also live in an older house with walls that favor higher density that can interfere with signal and, being about 40 feet from the router with several walls to go through, I get perfect signal. So far everything is excellent from this router!