Date Joined: 01/10/08
Pros: Works first time, no problems
Cons: No cons. Just buy it.
Pros: Really nice screen -- hooked up to a GeForce 520M over HDMI. Very clear, bright, good viewing angle, nice minimal styling, matte black screen (no gloss!!). Built in webcam is decent, built in speakers are a nice plus but are not high quality at all, lots of ways to connect (HDMI, DVI, VGA). Lots of included cables!!
My past four LCD screens have all been Samsung -- IMO, their image quality is always mind blowing for a really good price. For $150, I took a chance on this ASUS and I was glad I did. I don't think the image is still quite as good as a Samsung, but I also paid over $100 less. If you're on a budget and need a built in webcam and speakers, I would absolutely go for this monitor.
Cons: When trying to calibrate the screen, the image was just a bit too bright or colors were too subdued -- I wasn't able to strike a balance between the two. I ended up using the built in enhancement mode along with some tweaks to the color on the GeForce card to get it as close as I could to optimal. Sided with being a little too bright instead of having the colors too dull. This is being pretty nitpicky -- the image is great -- but like I said before, my 4 other Samsungs were just superior and this doesn't quite match up in quality.
Overall Review: Used this monitor to build a kiosk system with a Zotac ZBox ID80. The back of the monitor is VESA 75/100 compliant and worked really well with the mount for the Zbox. Some monitors are really curvy in the back and the ZBox won't sit flush, but this monitor worked really well for this application. Plus, the built in webcam and speakers, along with the HDMI + audio really minimzed the cables needed in the back for a super clean look. I would highly recommend this for a kiosk build.
Pros: Super responsive wireless, clean minimal design, good bounce on the keys for a keyboard in this price range, supposedly one year of use on two AA batteries (we'll see!)
Cons: Plastic, really light. It's good quality for a $30 keyboard, but it's still a $30 keyboard. Just know what you're getting.
Overall Review: Logitech is always superior quality, this is no exception.
Pros: Wireless is perfect and super responsive, superior Logitech quality, feels great in the hand, nice minimal and clean design, no excessive buttons
Cons: It was smaller than I expected -- I would say it's 3/4 the size of what I would call an average mouse. It worked fine for me but if you have big hands or like to palm your mouse, you might want to step up to a premium Logitech instead of this one
Overall Review: Logitech is always good, no exception here
Pros: Very compact (smaller than a Wii), silent on default settings, lots of new tech built in (802.11n, USB 3.0, card reader, GeForce520M, UEFI motherboard), super easy to open and install hardware, VESA mount for a very clean installation on the back of a LCD. Paired with a wireless keyboard and mouse it made a brilliant kiosk system.
Cons: Random hardware hangs and crashes for the first few days. My add-on components were tested separately and were fine (GSkill 4GB SO-DIMM and OCZ Vertex3 SSD), so I started to question the mobo. Even though the temps looked fine for the system, CPU, and GPU, the initial smart fan settings were 30% min and 80% max and I never heard the fan kick in at all (see pros). Raised the min to 60% and the max to 100% and the hangs stopped completely. Even ran Prime95 torture test to verify with no problems -- a huge step up from just the BIOS setup screen overheating the computer (actually happened). Zotac forums were filled with complaints about similiar issues, especially hanging on S3 sleep mode, but Zotac has issued a BIOS update that seems to have fixed these as well. I didn't bother installing since my fan speed changes worked for me (my philosophy has always been don't update the BIOS unless you REALLY have to....) but it's good to know there's a confirmed BIOS fix waiting as well.
Overall Review: 3.8 Windows Experience Index due to the Intel Atom. Everything else was a 5.8 or above (SSD rates 7.8 on disk throughput!). While normal, everyday tasks are super responsive and breezy (web browsing, e-mail, full screen video, netflix, etc.), this is not the core of a gaming machine or any other high performance build. But if you're looking to build a super slick kiosk type system, this is perfect and seemed to be the best option among all the miniPC boxes I researched. It would have been nice to have the mobo working a bit better out of the box, but overall I'm really happy and will be looking at Zotac products again.
Pros: Action packed. Lots of scripted and dynamic level events to move the game along, great graphics, smart use of motion controls, fun co-op gameplay, three different characters to learn.
Cons: Short and simplistic. It's still just a beat 'em game, like Final Fight.
Overall Review: It's a steal for $7. Just buy it. There aren't many good co-op games for the Wii.
Pros: Absolutely breathtaking picture. I ran some WinAmp visualizations at full screen 1900x1200 and I was amazed at the clarity, depth of color, and total lack of ghosting. Matte screen, matte casing is perfect. Rotation feature is somewhat unusual, from what I've seen, but for some applications it works very well.
Cons: I'm sitting at about 4 feet away and there is a slight change in contrast and color at the top and bottom of the screen. Hardly noticable and doesn't bother me at all, but if you need 100% accurate color you might want to measure your sitting distance. I would say about 6 feet between you and the monitor would mitigate the effect of the viewing angle difference.
Rotation feature doesn't click into place in landscape position, sometimes you have tinker with it to get it straight.
Buttons are kinda hard to push, but how often do you use them?
Overall Review: Samsung has never disappointed me with a LCD monitor or TV. I am consistently impressed with the picture quality as opposed to other monitors.
Pros: Bought the GA-X38-DS4, now discontinued. Only difference is the 'E' version has power saving / efficiency features. This board was highly configurable and great for overclocking -- once everything was up and running it was solid as a rock. Fits a Zalman 9700 cooler just fine. Passive heatsinks are quality and quiet (obviously!). GREAT manual.
Cons: Highly configurable and easy to give yourself headaches -- I had to reset the CMOS several times while setting up the board. SATA optical drives were not recognized reliably until I flashed the BIOS from F1 to F2. This is targeted at overclockers and tweakers -- if you don't want to play with configuring your motherboard, you might be better off with something different.
Overall Review: If you're not scared to dive into the BIOS, this mobo is fantastic! Others beware.
Pros: I went with ATI instead of nVidia due to the lower power consumption and better price/performance ratio. I wanted a high powered gaming system for under $1000, and this video card was perfect for my needs. Currently running on a 550W power supply with no problems.
Cons: If you want absolute performance at any cost, this isn't where you should be looking.
Overall Review: Zalman cooler was included as a stock fan! Made overclocking stupid simple -- I overclocked to the max with no fuss. FANTASTIC!
Pros: Overclocked to 3.3 ghz with minor effort. More power than I will need in the next 2-3 years. An application that used to give 95% CPU load now doesn't even register on the CPU monitor -- it's at 0%. Very cool as well, when paired with an aftermarket cooler (I have a Zalman 9700, works flawlessly)
Cons: None! Intel is the champ right now.
Overall Review: Installation is easy, but you have to apply just enough force that you'll think you broke something. It's a bit scary.
Pros: Fast, *really* quiet. It's covered by a non-removable optical drive face plate in my case and I can't even hear it working.
Cons: SATA connection presented problems during first boot-up of my new system. I had to flash the BIOS before the mobo would recognize the drive.
Overall Review: Even with the minor annoyance, I'm glad I went with SATA. The improved airflow in my case is worth the trouble.
Pros: Shiny. Red. Quality. Second one I've bought, no complaints.
Cons: AC Power adaptor has the annoying brick on the plug end, rather than in the middle of the cord or in the enclosure. I have a newer Vantec model and the power brick is in the middle of the cord. A consideration if your surge strip is getting full.
Overall Review: This was for housing my previous hard drive as a backup -- Installed hard drive, booted enclosure, copied all files to new internal drive, and at 100% the drive kicked the bucket. I got all my files off just in time!
Pros: In my current system (Q6600, overclocked to 3.3 ghz, 2 GB DDR2 RAM) it's obvious that the bottleneck is the hard drive, even with the 10,000 RPMs. Purchasing a slower hard drive would have just thrown even more CPU cycles out the window. If you're building a new performance system, I don't see how you can justify buying anything else.
Cons: Makes a hollow *clunking* noise during access -- I'm sure it's normal operation, just different from what I'm used to. Thankfully, it's not loud enough to be annoying.
Overall Review: The silica gel packet stuffed into the anti static bag with the hard drive burst open during shipping, throwing miniscule granules of silica all over the drive. Carefully cleaned every nook and cranny, and it works just fine. NewEgg shipping is normally great and I don't really fault them for this, but it was REALLY annoying to clean this up. Maybe some stronger packets are needed?
Pros: Heat was never an issue when using this cooler -- have a Q6600 overclocked to 3.3 ghz, idles at about 37C and hits 60C under full load. The automated fan control is wonderful -- during normal usage the slower fan speed is definitely noticable and welcome. Even at full load it's still fairly quiet, but loud enough it wouldn't be appropriate for a home theatre box.
Cons: Giant, massive, heavy, and ridiculous. If you ball your hand up into a fist, this cooler is probably about 3x times bigger. Installation is moderately difficult due to the weight and size. No problems with my current mobo (Gigbabyte GA-X38-DS4), but this cooler could easily not fit because of your motherboard layout -- do your homework before you buy.
Overall Review: The included thermal grease is top notch and, in the reviews I read, performed just as well as Arctic Silver 5. I skipped buying an extra tube of grease and used the included compound with fantastic results.
Pros: Powerful, cheap, standard size (maybe just a *tiny bit* longer) plenty of connections for everything, long cables, shiny gunmetal finish. Color coded cabling. Comes with some useful velcro ties for securing cables. Blue LED in the fan is a nice touch.
Cons: Long and non-modular cables get in the way in smaller cases or when unused -- I ended up tying the unused ones with velcro and hiding them in a optical drive bay. Looks messy with a case window if you don't take time to organize the extra cables.
Overall Review: Running at Q6600 overclocked at 3.3 ghz with a Zalman 9700 and a ATI Radeon 3870 overclocked to max settings with a Zalman cooler, and a WD Raptor 10,000 RPM SATA HD. Lots of potential for power draw, but so far no problems. I suspect that the 550W rating is fairly close to the actual capacity -- sometimes that's a hard thing to find in power supplies.
Pros: Coming from a mid-range Microsoft optical mouse, I didn't think I would see much improvement in everyday usage (I knew gaming would be improved), but I was quite wrong. On the highest sensitivity levels, there's a noticable difference in the way the mouse cursor handles in Windows XP -- it's extremely smooth, like the difference between a game running at 30 fps and one running at 60 fps. The mouse is covered with a semi-rough blue coating, which gives nice grip when your palms are sweaty. On the fly DPI changes are a great feature as well. Mouse cord is sheathed in fabric which is a nice touch too. Overall, very happy.
Cons: Sometimes the sensitivity will randomly change while playing a game and the on-mouse controls can't reset it -- I have to quit and readjust using the driver controls. I don't know if it's just a random glitch in the game or some archaic button combination I happened to push, but it's a minor quibble and not enough of an annoyance to deduct any points.
Pros: Stock timings are tight, but no problems booting up at my mobo default of 5-5-5-15. In addition, these require 2.1v, but again, no problem booting at 1.8v. Modified these settings on first boot and away I went. I mildly overclocked these on the 2.1v with no problems (CPU wouldn't go higher without adjusting the memory), but Mushkin recommends staying under 2.3v or you void your warranty. It was plenty fast for me, so I stopped tinkering. The blue heatspreaders look great under all the blue LEDs in my case. Overall, a great product!
Cons: I believe my overclocking efforts hit a wall due to this memory, but I wasn't willing to go past 2.2v to test my theory out. If you're looking for extreme overclocking, these may not be the best to use.
Overall Review: The support forums were great. It's worth buying Mushkin just to get their great customer service.
Pros: Fantastic case for cheap! I didn't think I could get this quality at this price. Spacious enough for a Zalman 9700 cooler with the window fan installed, with an inch or two of space left. Solid construction, beautiful glossy black finish, very stylish and minimal front cover. The front panel comes with non-removable optical drive face plates that cover the actual drive when installed -- I didn't think I would like this, but it gives the case a nice look and it seems to quiet down the noise when the drive is active! Internal organization is great -- the side facing hard drive caddy makes swapping hard drives super easy. I love this case and I will be buying from NZXT again.
Cons: Second blue front cover LED wouldn't light-up -- the first LED looks like it's embedded in one of the wire harnesses and plugs directly into a header on the mobo -- no problems with that one. However, the other LED is part of a standard molex connector that's missing two pins -- I don't know if this was the design or I got a defective part, but this is a minor quibble in an otherwise great case. Even with the one LED, it still looks great and I don't miss the second.
Overall Review: There are two audio harnesses... one labeled 'HD Audio' and the other labeled 'AC 97'. Manual doesn't specify the difference... plugged HD audio into my motherboard and everything seems to work fine... left the other dangling.