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Andrew L.

Andrew L.

Joined on 12/01/06

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 5
Most Favorable Review

Brilliant, simple, cheap & fast!

Koutech PCI to USB2.0 Card Model IO-PU520
Koutech PCI to USB2.0 Card Model IO-PU520

Pros: * Installed under Vista 32-bit immediately * Internal USB port/header is a great addition * price is right * fast

Cons: * Shape of card made it difficult to install (between the other cards in my system -- no big deal.

Overall Review: I had suspected problems with my on-board USB for some time. The computer is 5 years old, so I can't complain about that, I guess. Lots of unrecognized devices and spotty performance. Using this card to replace the on-board USB connections resolved every issue. I even purchases an internal card reader a year ago I could never use -- it worked immediately when connected to the internal USB header on this card. Bonus!

Can't go wrong!

MSI 785GTM-E45 AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard
MSI 785GTM-E45 AM3/AM2+/AM2 AMD 785G HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard

Pros: Easy to setup, worked immediately with my processor (Phenom X4 9750). Actually ran cooler on this board than my previous one. Plenty of upgrade options since it supports AM3 processors. Great selection for an HTPC. Shipped with current BIOS (8.2).

Cons: No eSata; no sideport memory -- although I knew this going in, so it's not a surprise.

Overall Review: I am very satisfied with this board, and MSI in general. I have 2 MSI boards at the moment, and both are winners (including this one). I have tried Asus and Gigabyte, but simply have had better luck with the MSI offerings, particularly in the HTPC arena. As far as the eSata miss -- I just bought a sata to eSata connector bracket. Problem solved, $5 bucks on a popular auction site. It would be nice to have it on board, but this is no longer an issue for me.

Amazing Cooler

ZALMAN CNPS 8700 NT 110mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler
ZALMAN CNPS 8700 NT 110mm 2 Ball CPU Cooler

Pros: Huge difference in temps - almost 10° C. Under load I never go above 40°. Huge difference from stock cooler. Cools Northbridge and RAM as well. Quiet and PWM support. Clears RAM height and Northbrige heatsink while remaining low profile.

Cons: Install was slightly tricky due to my smaller HTPC case and mATX board.

Overall Review: Enormous difference in temps, truly impressive. I would not have though that it would make this great a difference. I have an AM2 socket so install was far easier than it would be with Intel (motherboard must be removed in this case) but it was still awkward, primary due to the confines of my HTPC case. Highly recommended. Specs: Vista Ultimate 64-bit SP1 Asus M2A-VM HDMI AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ (65W) 500GB SATA HDD; Mushkin 4GB (2x2GB) DDR2 800 SDRAM nMEDIAPC HTPC 500BAR Samsung 20X DVD±R HD HomeRun; Lumanate Angel Dual Tuner Linksys DMA2100; WRT600N Router

So Far, So Good

MSI P35 Platinum Combo LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard
MSI P35 Platinum Combo LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard

Pros: Still finishing build but appears to be a great board. Lots of connections, and everthing is well-labeled. The on-board LEDs are very helpful, particularly with no speaker present in my case (NZXT. Lexa Blackline)

Cons: Rear panel plate is not a "perfect" fit, but works. It also seems cheaper than some (embossed, rather than labeled, and the parts that needed removing were sharp! Be careful.

Overall Review: I got 2 turbo cards (unlike some) but they were oddly packaged. One was nicely packaged in a sealed anti-static bag, the other, simply thrown into the box amongst the manuals, and connection cables. I was nervous it would not work, but it seems to be fine. I agree there is some quality control issue with MSI in the packaging the accessories, but the board itself if top-notch.

Great HTPC Case

nMEDIAPC Black Aluminum / Steel HTPC 500BAR ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
nMEDIAPC Black Aluminum / Steel HTPC 500BAR ATX Media Center / HTPC Case

Pros: Looks great in a home theater environment, built-in remote control receiver works perfectly in Vista. VFD is lots of fun to play with/config, and especially valuable to me when listening to music (I keep the plasma screen off due to potential burn-in) so I can see the track info without the need to keep the tv on.

Cons: Power LED is too bright -- always. I will either disconnect it or find a way to dampen the intensity via resistor or darkening the LED (will require removing the front panel -- yuck).

Overall Review: I'm really happy with this case. I almost gave it a 5. My DVD drive works perfectly with the case door. This is my first DIY computer build, and first HTPC and everything went smoothly. Would recommend!

12/17/2007