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John B.

John B.

Joined on 11/05/03

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product reviews
  • 82
Most Favorable Review

Bought two, so I'll post twice

ASUS Striker Extreme LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX The Ultimate Gaming Motherboard
ASUS Striker Extreme LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI ATX The Ultimate Gaming Motherboard

Pros: I had one socketed with an E6600 C2D, purchased March 07 with the v1004 BIOS -- didn't have a problem. Schweet over-clocking. Flashed the BIOS forgetting to reset the CMOS (generally a good procedure; specifically urged in the manual); panicked; bought a second one; got the failed BIOS replaced through BIOSMan.com; discovered the first board was still great; decided to keep both. Running Q6600 now with Crucial Ballistix DDR2-1000's -- 3 GB-worth. The original board is awaiting a case-mod for use with VISTA 64-bit OS and Crucial Tracers.

Cons: I was watching these cust-reviews since November, '06, and they have continued -- statistically -- to be ambiguous and controversial. You'd think, purchasing two, I'd get a "bad board," but no. You DO need to know what you're doing, match with good memory -- but personally, I haven't had a problem. The bad BIOS-flash was my fault.

Overall Review: To date, this "last-year's Cadillac" of the ASUS line is certified Wolfsdale (Penryn) compatible, but not for the quad Yorkfield. Maybe a BIOS revision will resolve that problem -- maybe not. It's rock-stable with either an E6600 or Q6600 by my own experience, so would work with any Conroe or Kentsfield processor.

11/24/2007
Most Critical Review

A source of intermittent trouble: Do the research, Buyer!

CyberPower Intelligent LCD UPS CP1350AVRLCD 1350 VA 815 Watts 10 Outlets UPS
CyberPower Intelligent LCD UPS CP1350AVRLCD 1350 VA 815 Watts 10 Outlets UPS

Pros: Batteries seem to last. PSU switches in brownouts and preserves computer operability in blackouts -- or provides orderly unattended shutdown.

Cons: I have been using UPS hardware since 1993, when a violent storm in Northern Virginia killed or damaged some of my computer hardware. Starting with TrippLite, I've also used APC and Belkin. I tried replacing old batteries with new on these units and with some success, but decided the cost was too close to the retail UPS price to bother. Units at end of their warranty period or expected life get re-deployed to purposes that don't require as much concern over BSODs, orderly shutdown, or even monitoring. Dead units wait for the Saturday drive to the county recycling center. NOBODY advertised or indicated that this model has incompatibilities with (some) Active-PFC-enabled computer power supplies (PSUs). This is confirmed by an earlier review by "Dan" who was able to provoke a response and explanation from Cyber Power -- very helpful but a bit late to some buyers.. NO . . . COMPUTER . . . ENTHUSIAST . . . is EVER likely to choose a PSU which DOESN'T FEATURE ACTIVE PFC. I have gravitated almost exclusively toward Seasonic PSUs, because of their review history and the simple emerging facts that they end up as rebadged units marketed by other makers of reliable power-supplies. For instance, PC Power &Cooling, which featured their 550W "Turbo" model some years back, began to offer "Silencer" models, while changing ownership to OCZ and at least another manufacturer. I have been troubleshooting a very intermittent problem for at least six months. I went forward sooner with planned upgrades with new parts -- I had a budget; I tracked down every source of red or yellow "bang" events in my event logs and eliminated the OS or software as a possible cause; I reset my BIOS settings to stock or "auto" for CPU and RAM. The event logs were all "blue" and the intermittent instability stopped occurring for a period of some three months 24/7 operation. But I had also been tracking other events during the months of troubleshooting: for instance, the timing of freeze-ups or BSODs -- often occurring some hours to as much as a day after a momentary brown-out and switch between AC and battery. All of this took time and patience. I made sure to test my Seasonic 850W "Gold" PSU with a testing device, but the software monitors also showed it to be rock solid and giving ripple-attenuated steady power for the three voltages and ample rails. This last time, there was no other explanation than the problem cited by the other buyer and acknowledged by Cyber Power. Two brownouts in one day were followed some hours later by the familiar, otherwise infrequent freeze.

Overall Review: The unit is heading into its sunset years. I've ordered a replacement which had a spec sheet touting "compatibility with Active-PFC." The 1350AVRLCD will be redeployed for my Home Theater AVR and HDTV. Good grief. If you left home for an hour, you wouldn't know when a brownout had occurred, allowing you to reboot the system to avoid instability. These things are expensive enough to warrant some patient testing before you choose to keep the product. Who would imagine?!

I usually avoid "refurbished" parts, but this seems like a good bet . . . .

Hitachi Ultrastar 7K3000 HUA723030ALA641 3TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA III 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Enterprise Hard Drive - w/1 Year Warranty
Hitachi Ultrastar 7K3000 HUA723030ALA641 3TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA III 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Enterprise Hard Drive - w/1 Year Warranty

Pros: First, it's an enterprise-class drive, and by all indications, it is built to last for running 24/7/365. Second, it's a big drive. Maybe not like the enterprise, helium-filled 14 Terabyte HGST UltraStar Hs14, but for an enthusiast, home-user or someone inclined to building a home-server or even a small business with the same end in mind -- this seems like a good choice -- especially because of . . . [third] . . . . the price-tag. I decided to build my server from at most 4 disks, and wanted a larger-than-2TB size. I'd always wistfully coveted "enterprise class" disks, but couldn't bear parting with that much money. I always install my drives for noise reduction, but these are quiet enough. I ran tests on the drives once they were installed, and they check out "tip-top." They seem to have 0 hours on their Smart odometer, according to Stablebit Scanner. Temperature-wise, for a 7,200 RPM hard disk, they seem to be about right. I need to improve ventilation in my Corsair Vengeance C70 case, which has less-then-stellar airflow reputation. At the top of a stack of 4 3.5" hard disks, they run mostly at 39 to 40C degrees in a room-ambient of 78F. Tests in recent studies show that 30C to 40C is a sweet-spot for HDDs. That is, drives that are running in that temperature range have the greatest longevity or fewest failures.

Cons: I really cannot think of any. Hitachi always had a good reputation; HGST has always had a good reputation. Truly, I am going to find out, but I think these will last a good while.

Overall Review: You'd usually expect to pay two or three times the price of these for enterprise class disks. Note that the Egg and GoHardDrives has offered them "on sale" this last couple weeks for $50 each.

G.SKILL has become a habit which reinforces itself . . .

G.SKILL TridentZ Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 3200 (PC4 25600) Intel Z370 Platform Desktop Memory Model F4-3200C14D-16GTZ
G.SKILL TridentZ Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 3200 (PC4 25600) Intel Z370 Platform Desktop Memory Model F4-3200C14D-16GTZ

Pros: I'm building and testing a Z170 i7-6700K system and taking my time about it. The first step is always testing the parts to beat Egg's 30-day RMA deadlines. I couldn't help but get started with the over-clocking, even to find the lowest stock-speed voltage and then bump up the perfunctory 200Mhz to 4.4Ghz. I mean -- RMA or not, I had to just find out where this project is headed, and see good things ahead. The TridentZ DDR4-3200 16GTZ kit will run at stock settings with the processor under load at 4.2 Ghz turbo -- out of the box. You only need set the XMP profile -- and there's only one such profile. Otherwise, without XMP the kit defaults to 2133 Mhz which you'd want to use as a setting in the process of a CPU OC. At 4.4 Ghz, you may have to tweak your now-minimal CPU voltage to get full stability, but the RAM only needs the XMP setting and speed set at 3200 Mhz. You don't need to increase VCCIO beyond "Auto," don't need to increase the XMP voltage fixed at 1.35V. They ran for a 600% coverage of HCI-Memtest-64 to the spec setting -- quite enough unless you change from the spec. 8-13-2017 UPDATE The first kit had performed flawlessly on the best computer system I've ever built. Because I'm also using an NVME caching volume to accelerate SATA devices and caching the boot-system volume to RAM, I wanted to increase RAM to enhance caching performance. I kept saying to myself I didn't NEED to do it, but I WANTED to do it. The advice of G.SKILL, enthusiast colleagues and I MYSELF was a consensus that the best thing to do involved simply replacing the 2x8=16GB kit with a "32GTZ" 2x16=32GB kit. That means putting aside the existing kit and spending ~ $380. G.SKILL tech support told me they couldn't provide RMA replacement support for the second of two identical kits that weren't provided as a four-module 4x8GB kit. They were more positive when I spoke of downclocking the RAM to 3100 or 3000 Mhz. I just had to try it . . . Well, folks! I'm running 9 instances of HCI Memtest-64 v.5.1, and we're past the 200% coverage point. It is very unlikely with a statistical sense of things that this configuration will fail if I let the test run to 400 or 500% coverage. The 4x8GB configuration runs at 3200 Mhz, 14-14-14-34 2T. Now I only have the challenge of restoring my 4.7 Ghz clock-speed to the CPU and making VCCIO and VCORE tweaks if necessary. Or -- I could simply down-clock the RAM a 100 Mhz and dispense with the voltage tweaks. 8-17-17 UPDATE: To restore my 4.7 Ghz Skylake overclock to total stability, I only had to fix the VCCIO or memory-controller voltage to 1.182V from the default Auto range of 1.152 to 1.162V. A mere 30 millivolts! Rock solid. I have yet to try actually overclocking this 4x8=32GB RAM configuration to 3,466 Mhz with looser timings, but the word from a fellow enthusiast at AnandTech Forums with the same DDR4-3200 kits tells me it is possible. But why bother?

Cons: I'm trying to think of something . . . . I just can't.

Overall Review: I'm using the Sabertooth Z170 board (S model, but this applies as well to the Mark 1). These TridentZ's are supposed to work well with the Saber and the upper-tier ASUS boards as well. I believe a higher-speed GTZ kit is on the Sabertooth QVL list. That's how I matched them. G.SKILL does not yet have the Sabertooth Z170 on its configurator page for the TridentZ's. There had been earlier problems getting the Sabertooth models to reach 3200 Mhz. Possibly a BIOS upgrade had fixed this, but I have yet to flash anything newer than March 2016. There is just no problem with the TridentZs. See my UPDATE to the "Pros" section.

Perfect for needs and desires as expected

Crucial MX300 2TB SATA 2.5 Inch Internal Solid State Drive - CT2050MX300SSD1
Crucial MX300 2TB SATA 2.5 Inch Internal Solid State Drive - CT2050MX300SSD1

Pros: Benchmarks show the drive operating at its full spec. I've had MX100 and MX200 Crucial drives -- never had a problem with them. If I wanted the "very best," I might choose S**s**g, but for the price, Crucial SSDs are great.

Cons: None so far.

Overall Review: This drive replaced a S**g**e B*rr*c**a 5,400 RPM 2TB drive that was cached to an NVMe SSD. With the caching, I could just as easily left everything as is, but couldn't help my hardware-junkie inclinations. Now I can cache the MX300 to the NVMe drive! Is my Skylake system overpowered? Yes. Do I like it even more? Abso-freakin-lutely.

Very pleased, as I expected before I hooked it up

BenQ ZOWIE XL2730 27" 1440p 1ms(GTG) 144Hz eSports Gaming Monitor, FreeSync, Black eQualizer, Color Vibrance, 350 Brightness, S-Switch, Height Adjustable, VESA Ready
BenQ ZOWIE XL2730 27" 1440p 1ms(GTG) 144Hz eSports Gaming Monitor, FreeSync, Black eQualizer, Color Vibrance, 350 Brightness, S-Switch, Height Adjustable, VESA Ready

Pros: By way of explanation. I have been able to squeeze 15 years out of a single PC monitor. We have a V**wS***c 4:3 LCD 23" monitor in the house with 13 years of constant use and no change compared to performance at time of purchase. I waited before I purchased my first HD monitor. I bought a BenQ XL2420Z gaming monitor about 2 years ago, and I was (and still am) so pleased with it that I kept putting off the decision to get a 2560x1440 or 4K model. And as for UHD, the 1440 is my way of testing the water for 4K. Mostly, I wanted to see how my GTX 1070 would handle the higher resolution. 27 inch screen is certainly big enough for me. But purchasing a BenQ with similar features to the old one had no disappointments. Yes -- the BenQ models need some fine-tuning at setup for the color and other features. So what? A one-time application of your time. I really appreciate the connection options, because BenQ allows you to use them simultaneously as if the monitor had its own built-in "V" part of a KVM switch. This takes us to the topic of the "S-Switch," common to certain BenQ models but not all. It is a mouse-like device with four key-switch buttons and scroll-wheel/button, to access the OSD setup for the monitor. You can re-arrange menu items: for instance, I wanted to quickly change the inputs from DVI to HDMI-1 or HDMI-2 and back again. So I can make those options pop up in the main menu on an initial key press. I will always keep an eye on the BenQ model-line in the future. The XL2420Z was top-notch for 1080p HD, and this XL273 ZOWIE is wowie-zowie the cat's meow. 2560x1440 144Hz with the features I'd come to know and love.

Cons: To tell the truth, I cannot think of any cons except for the price, but with this model, you are getting what you pay for. Or I should say, it is "approximately" worth it.

Overall Review: I began to lust for a larger monitor despite my XL2420Z's 24" size. I was curious about resolutions higher than HD/1080. I might have put off this or similar purchase for a couple years. Nobody should feel an urgency for upgrading to 4K, or even 1440p. Certainly, the image is sharper, but doesn't mean a mandate for HD replacement. But I am happier than a pig in [s***] poop with this XL2730 ZOWIE. Happier than a 3-year-old on a warm day with a giant Hershey bar and chocolate drool on his polo shirt.

seller reviews
  • 5

Noctua 120mm x 15mm slim fans

These were just what I needed to deploy on the rear side of drive cages which obstruct the airflow of intake fans on the front of my case chassis. They are quiet; they seem to move a lot of air in a difficult situation; and the temperatures on my hard drives now remain in the mid 30's C.

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Satisfactory

As good as one expects for a simple little item like a C2G 3' HDMI-HDMI cable

I'm always good for doing business with outfits offering the right item at the right quality and price.

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Satisfactory

A wise choice of NVME PCIE expansion, if you worry about quality of other cards

This card, by ASUS, was designed for two purposes: it can be used to install an NVMe M.2 drive, or it can be used with the ASUS Hyper-Kit which is a mini-SAS HDD adapter. The card cannot be used simultaneously for both. ASUS motherboards seem to go far in controlling voltage and current. If you have any misgivings about other cards, I would pick this card over the others regardless of who made your motherboard.

On-time
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Satisfactory