Date Joined: 02/19/03
Pros: Back in 2012 I rebuilt an AMD desktop PC for my wife, and included a SAMSUNG 840 Pro Series 2.5" 128GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MZ-7PD128BW as the primary system drive, limited to containing the Windows 7 OS and program files, with the original old drive used for documents and files archiving. Recently the lash up with an ASUS Sabertooth 990 FX Mainboard, 8 Core AMD CPU and 16 GB of Ripjaw RAM failed to produce Nova Backup drive images. I eventually tracked this down to the drive being nearly filled and ordered the Samsung 850 RVO 2.5" 1TB SATA SSD Drive.
It arrived in record time, overnight by USPS on a Saturday, from a local source, and I installed it before dinner. The drive came with a Samsung installation disk containing Samsung Data Migration and Magician software, no download necessary (although it did download a updated version automatically). Instead of using a USB adapter, I plugged the drive into a open SATA III MB port, hooked up a power cable, ran the software and cloned the original drive. Too easy! Then it was swapped into the drive bay and I was done. The first attempt at creating a Nova Backup image to an external drive went flawlessly. Wife was happy.
The original 128 GB Samsung SSD Drive went five years without a hitch, except for being too small, so it can be expected that this one will be as solid. Lesson learned; don't skimp on storage capacity, pay the bucks and reap the benefit.
Pros: I needed two external drives for Linux Mint PC's, one tower and one laptop, because these were less expensive than I could assemble from parts, I bought two. After deleting the windows partition and creating a new Linux partition and formatting for ext/4 file system, and renaming it, this little drive produced a perfect backup. Way easy to do. Now the question is how robust will it be? Time will tell.
Cons: Yes the USB cord is a bit short, but long enough for my purposes, and not having a power block to contend with is a real benefit. The drive works with both USB 3.0. and 2.0, so there's no downside there.
Overall Review: Overall, I'm happy with the WD 1TB Elements Hard Drive, it is a good value for the cost.
Pros: First is the price, this laptop has all the functionality that a casual user needs for just about everything Internet, email, social media, even Skype - if you are so inclined. in 2012 I bought an ASUS A54C Windows 7 Laptop of the same screen size with 6GB memory but a 320 GB HDD, for $330.00, here you get a bit less memory, a lot more HDD, and the same number of ports. It comes with Windows 10 Home installed. It may not be top of the line, but it is more powerful than any computers I built from 1990 to 2006 at much greater expense. Economy of scale and robotic manufacturing keeps prices down.
Cons: The keyboard is a bit flimsy, I wouldn't buy it for key pounding kids, or ham-handed individuals, but then I'm pretty ham-handed and so far so good. Big fat hands and numerous injuries have left my hands numb, so touch pads are too awkward for me, My wife, being left handed didn't appreciate the touch pad being offset to the left, but it is what it is, I quickly plugged in a mouse before the initial boot-up and didn't have to change any settings. Like many newer laptops there is no hard drive activity LED, so I installed a freeware version, same with the lack of a network activity monitor. Still, one has to wait for the OS to boot to see what's going on with the HDD. The biggest con is Windows 10. However, that's the second reason I bought the Lenovo G50, to examine Windows 10. Slow to boot, and more phone OS than a true PC OS in design, I soon disabled what I didn't need, added HideMyAss encrypted VPN with tunneling, Webroot Secure Anywhere, and Spy Bot Anti Beacon, to stop Microsoft from spying on me. Installed Firefox and Thunderbird, then I disabled Cortana and some other stuff, uninstalled McAfee Anti-Virus, and added Classic Menu to try to get that Windows 7 look. Even went to the extreme of trying the old Desert theme that transformed Windows 7 to a XP like screen. Windows 10 now seems somewhat useful, a little faster, it may not be completely to my liking, but those 'charms' are gone, as is the Bing generated nonsense videos when I click 'Search Windows and The Internet'. Also limited the search engine to DuckDuckGo.
Overall Review: When I'm finished exploring Windows 10, the plan is to erase the system and install Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon OS, which works on just about any of my AMD systems, and contains everything one needs to do work, and is free. Meanwhile, we will learn all about Windows 10, if my wife doesn't pull her hair out first.
Pros: This is a genuine Canon toner cartridge. We received two with the original purchase of our MFD device, and since have purchased two more. They have worked flawlessly. What more can be said?
Pros: This is a great deal for the price. I bough the ASUS A54 Notebook as a travel unit so I didn't have to use my other notebook with all the data stored on board. It came with a free carry bag.
Screen is bright,sharp and ample, keyboard is large enough for my big hands and keys are larger than those on my Microsoft or Key Tronic desktops. and the touch pad works, although I use a mouse when stationary. There is ample RAM at 6 GB. I especially liked the ASUS facial recognition log-in using the built in video camera and software, a nice little novelty. It boots up much faster than my old notebook, and was easy to setup on my home WiFi network. Had three printers working in minutes, an HP LaserJet, Xerox Color Laser and HP OfficeJet via WiFi. I didn't bother modifying Windows 7 with the classic start menu or custom desktop theme used on my other 6 computers, it wasn't worth the effort.
The ASUS is quiet, runs much cooler than my old notebook, and has a DVD RW drive, although I backup with external USB drives. Overall this inexpensive notebook will do everything I need to do when traveling.
Cons: Like most OEM computers these days, the ASUS A54 came with a good deal of bloatware. I spent about two hours cleaning all the unneeded programs, such as McAfee off, and installing Vipre Internet Security 2013, Prevx and HMA Pro Secure Internet Encryption and Sandboxie. No surprises, just an annoyance for someone that builds desktops from scratch. It was also necessary to use my Microsoft Office license to install that suit. Also I installed Firefox and Thunderbird. Everything worked as expected. .
Overall Review: Sure it has a plastic case, but half of my crew cab diesel pickup is plastic or some type of composite material. This is just a reality with modern manufacturing methods designed to produce gadgets at the lowest cost and energy efficiency.
Pros: Good layout, Zalman CNPS9700 110mm CPU cooler fit with room to spare for installing DRAM modules. Placed in a Antec 302 ATX mid tower case nothing was crowded or difficult to connect. Plenty of cooling air flow.
Equipped with AMD FX-8120 Zambezi 3.1 Ghz AM3+ 8 core CPU
16 GB G. Skill Ripjaws X Series DDR3 SDRAM 1866 (PC3 14900) memory
WD Caviar Black WD1002FAEX 1TB 7200 RPM SATA 6.0Gb/s bare drive
Asus Black 12 BD-RE SATA Blu-ray burner.
Corsair Pro Series HX750 (CMPSU-750HX) Modular PFC power supply
ASUS ENT430 Video Card
Windows 7 Professional SP1 64 - bit OEM
System booted first time, Bios flashed to latest version, MB drivers and OS loaded normally. No surprises.
Cons: ASUS Blu-ray drive was defective on arrival. Tray would not open automatically, and when opened manually, disks could not be read. RMA'd back to Newegg following day, at least the RMA process is easy. Swapped out drive from another computer to load programs. This is a common defect that I have experienced with other brand drives.
Overall Review: There is one problem. Loading Windows Virtual Machine and Windows XP Mode will fail with the error message "Windows XP Mode Could not complete Setup. Please try again." This was solved by disabling BIOS setting for SVM, AMD's virtualization in CPU. Default state is enabled. Also if there are numerous error messages in Windows event viewer for Event ID 10, Download and run the MS Fix It 50688 from: support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;2545227
Other than those few problems, this was one of easiest builds to date.
Pros: Originally part of a system built in 2003, been working fine until December 8, 2011 or 8 years. Today it began to release the aroma of an over heating capacitor or transformer so shut down and replace.
Cons: For the Antec BP500U it's still 2003, without modular cables, and other current goodies, but that's what needed.
Overall Review: Sometimes its good to be able to find parts for an obsolete system that is an exact fit. Still have four newer systems in critical applications so no big deal.
Pros: Good price, heat spreader, cool blue color.
Cons: Purchased four sticks of G.Skill F3-10600CL8D-2GBHK for new build. Immediately ran into trouble after installing Win XP SP3. Experienced installation failures loading ASUS MB support drivers. Catalyst failed installation, causing many exception errors, DEP errors crashing Windows Explorer and Dr. Watson Debugger. Windows would crash occasionally, while just idling with no inputs when the screen saver came up. After following many Event Viewer trails to nowhere, finally uninstalled all but one stick of G.Skill memory and reformatted drives. Everything loaded normally.
Then began substituting each stick until one caused BSoD never booting past POST routine. Removed and replaced that stick to insure it was installed correctly and it booted into Windows once, crashed and wouldn't boot even into Safe Mode.
One of four sticks of this memory was defective out of the box. It tested good under CheckIt Diagnostics but failed performance test when installed solo.
Overall Review: These types of failures, when a component is defective or DOA before install can be difficult to diagnose. This computer is now operating normally with two sticks of this G.Skill memory. If you experience errors after installing this memory, my recommendation is to test each stick individually before wasting time on software troubleshooting.
Pros: Roomy, easy drive installation, plenty of access to use right panel as wire gutter. Superior cooling with five case fans and one huge top fan that prevents dead air space where heat collects (reminding me of a locomotive radiator fan). Also plenty of room for a Zalman ZNPS9000A LED CPU cooler. This case was very carefully though out and manufactured, every screw hole and slot lined up with the MB and drives. Drive cages that are accessed from the font are a bonus that makes changing drives easy. Even the MB shield lined up perfectly with all the ports! Bottom PSU location shortened runs to MB and HD plugs, using a modular PS keeps everything neat. Good sturdy case, well done.
Cons: It's black - requires a lot of light to see what you're doing in that cavernous interior. My preference is sliver or beige, but that's not cool for this market segment.
Those front panel switches are too easily pressed accidentally, shutting down or resetting the computer. This is something shared with the Antec P160 case, where the slightest brush against the power button would shut down Windows and loose data.
Overall Review: While I was disappointed with the discontinuance of the Antec P160 case, this is a good replacement. While the P160 had a removable MB tray, it wasn't missed in the 1200.
Pros: Reasonable price and specs. Heat spreader, nice appearance.
Cons: One stick was bad from the get-go, tested okay by Check it Diagnostics, but when isolated by installing solo, produced BSoD errors, couldn't boot into Windows XP SP3 safe mode, trapped in reboot loop. Removed and reinserted and it booted into Windows, then crashed Windows Explorer, produced DEP errors, and generally produced many unrelated errors. Just idling without any inputs it would crash and reboot the system.
Overall Review: Installed 2 of the 2 gigabyte kits. Immediately had many errors loading MB drivers, especially Catalyst - which failed. Led on many wild goose chases by various Event Viewer error messages. Wised up by installing one chip where everything loaded and functioned normally. If you buy this memory don't waste time looking for software conflicts, use process of elimination to track down bad stick, or purchase something else.
Pros: Price. Has only two print heads, the Business Jet 1100 it replaced had four but cost of replacement is about the same. Ink cartridges load from the front. Quick to print after an extended initial automated setup alignment. Pages are satisfactory once it's sorted out after installing.
Cons: I installed this printer on a WiFi network for 4 computers using the USB port on a Linksys Print Server. The printer worked well with the server, but initial glitches made it more work than necessary. First page failed to eject completely, had to use front panel button. Reset printer.
Suddenly pages failed to print text, and images became very black, heavily banded and color reversed to negative images. Page was speckled with black ink drops and smears. The black/yellow print head was heavily fouled with a thick deposit of black ink. After cleaning with a damp cloth normal function resumed until next use, then repeated. This happened three times, each time cleaning the head fixed the problem. Printer now seems to work normally after shutdown and restart.
Overall Review: I only installed the HP drivers with the printer, with other HP products those additional programs become a nuisance, being more for marketing than anything useful.
When contacting HP email support, be prepared for a long dissertation not germane to your trouble report.
Also remember that HP products use a date chip on the ink cartridges that prevents printing after expiration. Be sure you get new cartridges that haven't been on a shelf for an extended period.
Pros: Uses existing DDR RAM, easy jumper less set up, small form factor.
Cons: Power led pins require 3 pin connector. No IEEE 1394 support.
Overall Review: Purchased this board to replace ASUS A8V-E Deluxe that failed after two years. Everything swapped out easily. Bought the bundle and replaced CPU with AMD A64 X2 4200+ 2.2G 939 OEM. Cooled it with an Rosewill RCX-Z1 RTL $15.00 fan. The entire project took about two hours and was back up and running with only a network driver reload, and MS XP validation change. It may not be the ultimate gaming machine, but for office work and graphics the difference isn't worth worring about.
Pros: Supports both parallel and USB printer ports.
Cons: Is incompatable with most USB printers, will not recognize or operate them. No mention of this limitation is made in the literature, and a list of supported printers is not provided prior to purchase.
Overall Review: The set up for wireless operation is very difficult, and I never did get it to work, where other similar products were easily configured in the past. Pass on this unit until you check if your printer is supported.
Pros: Used this to replace integrated wi-fi card on ASUA A8V-E Deluxe when it failed. Downloaded and installed latest Win XP driver from Zonenet, plugged in the card and allowed Windows to configure it, copied and pasted the WEP key and it was up and running in ten minutes from opening the box.
Cons: None really, except that low price had me wondering if it was any good. I have spent four times that much for adapters that didn't do anything more or do it any better.
Comments: I purchased this board because it had built in WiFi 802.11g capability. This saved the expense of a USB WiFi adapter, and allowed connection to my home network. The board was equipped with an Athlon 64 3500 CPU, 1 gb Geil PC3200 (4x265, and a Zalman CNPS-7700 120mm CPU cooler. A 120 mm front case fan was added (yes with cool lights). I selected a middle of the road MSI NX6600GT display adapter, as I don't game (except in Vegas and Reno). The entire mess is powered by an Antec 430 watt True Power PS in an Antec P160 Aluminum quite case. ASUS may have changed that chipset fan, becuse I can't hear mine at all. The case fans are plugged into the Antec PS which controls fan speed (and monitors the MB fan speed) and the Zalman cooler is controlled by the MB, even with hearing aids on I can't hear this thing over my three other PC's. Setting up the WiFi is a snap, just use the Windows XP setup wizard and not the ASUS program, type in the WEP key and network name, and you are connected in less than a minute. Overall a fast, easy to setup board with enough features for all but the extreme gamer with an overclocking obsession.
Comments: Purchased 2 of these drives from Newegg. Installed both in my old Celeron system, one backing up the other. Also installed drive cooling fans on both. These drives are so quiet I have to look at the HD led to be sure they're working.Very fast, very inexpensive, and with Maxtor reliability. These drives have been running 24 hours a day five days a week with nary a glitch; not bad for $66.00 each!