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Craig V.

Craig V.

Joined on 02/21/04

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 13
Most Favorable Review

Nice little board

ASUS A88XM-A FM2+ AMD A88X (Bolton D4) SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS
ASUS A88XM-A FM2+ AMD A88X (Bolton D4) SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 HDMI Micro ATX AMD Motherboard with UEFI BIOS

Pros: Paired with AMD A10-6800K Richland 4.1GHz and running some older 8gbX2 Gskill 1800 sticks. Boots to desktop in less than 15 seconds. No crashing so far, no install hassles. Plugged it all up and booted up existing installed drives. Current version Ubuntu found everything, on board sound and networking worked. Linux, man. Do eeet! Plug and play! UEFI didn't complain by default. Yay. Libre office flies open (from the SSD) in less than 2 seconds. Bluefish editor flies through a text file that crawls like a slug on another system with Windows. Compile times are excellent. The screen savers are nicer than my last board, even running an older video card. The on-die mojo seems to be working. This thing is a monster for video editing (with two hard drives.) I don't game on this system. Run some virtual machines? Yes please.

Cons: None so far.

Overall Review: I am satisfied, even running 16gb of older memory, older video card, with a new hot-rod quad cpu. This system smokes. It squashes everything I throw at it. Cpu activity monitor is yawning. "Is this all you've got for me to do? Come on, render some video or something." Prepare yourself for 90+% idle 90+% of the time if you're using this for web browsing, email, emulator gaming, virtual machines, and web development. GET AN SSD IF YOU DON"T HAVE ONE! You'll kick yourself for what you were missing! :)

12/18/2013
Most Critical Review

1 DOA, 1 RMA, going try again

ASUS P2-M2A690G AMD Socket AM2 AMD 690G 1 x HDMI Barebone
ASUS P2-M2A690G AMD Socket AM2 AMD 690G 1 x HDMI Barebone

Pros: Small, cute, nice specs. SATA and IDE. Comes with Molex-to-SATA power adapter. Supposedly supports dual core AMD procs. Fairly quiet (at least the fans would spin up.) CPU heatsink fan blows through holes in the side of the case (I'm sure that helps cooling) Plenty of USB ports, extra internal USB header if you can figure out where to run the cable. Built in flash card readers

Cons: No agp or pcix slot. No DVI port. Really big pci cards won't fit. Driver disk doesn't have WinXP or 2k drivers. Manual is weak, no detailed diagram of the motherboard layout. Extra internal USB header is undocumented. Some optical drives (with a thick tray) will jam on the spring-loaded cd cover door. (old sony cdu5211, tray is .78" thick, didn't fit) BE CAREFUL: The power supply arrives set for 220 volts. If you're in the USA, be SURE to flip the switch to the 110 volt setting. Case cover is a little finicky to put on, but hopefully you'll only do it once.

Overall Review: Failed to POST with the following stuff installed: OCZ Reaper 2x2gb (4gb total) ddr2 800 (pc6400) memory AMD 64x2 5600+ brisbane 2.9ghz processor. No beeps, or anything, just spinning fans. ASUS website is no help for detailed information on this system, no guidelines for memory or CPU compatibility. ASUS web forums on barebone pcs are empty, no FAQs that apply to this barebone system. ASUS website was a bit disappointing. Cleared CMOS, still no POST. I can forgive a DOA. I RMA'ed it and await round #2. According to the specs, it should be compatible with the CPU and RAM. 1 egg for DOA (I hope the CPU/RAM aren't incompatible) Another review with more eggs and performance info if (when) I finally get it working.

12/10/2008

Excellent all-purpose EDC

FOURSEVENS Quark Pro QPA (AA) Flashlight
FOURSEVENS Quark Pro QPA (AA) Flashlight

Pros: The lowest mode claims 15 DAYS of continuous runtime. It's only useful in pitch black with night-adapted vision. I use that mode the most and have yet to change the battery. Color tint is pretty good, even though I didn't get the "high CRI version." My primary use for this light is the low modes and the extreme runtimes that they offer. "Lego:" Assembling components from the same maker into other lights. Foursevens can do this. You can get a different battery tube, head, clip, or switch. With a pile of such parts, you could come up with a few different lights. The AA body is the only difference between this and the single CR123 Quark, you can get this light, get the other battery tube, and have a choice. Also, they offer endcaps for your battery tubes so you can use them as battery carriers (or match safes.) This is an outstanding choice for campers, mechanics, motorcyclists, wiring geeks, craftsmen and just about anyone who needs a reliable light.

Cons: High mode is a tad underwhelming, even with a 14500. In the end, I just stuck an Eneloop rechargable in there and called it a day. This isn't a pocket blaster, or WOW-factor... just an excellent everyday tool. This might sound weird, but I think the clicky tail switch is very loud. Also, there is no momentary. If this sounds bad, then go for their "tactical" model. Also, you can just get the "tactical" tail switch separately. It's a touch heavy to hold in your mouth, but it's doable.

Overall Review: Fit and finish were top-notch. Comes with a nice belt holster. BTW, this *IS* the Gen 2 version you read about on the foursevens website. Foursevens also offers an angle-head reflector, diffuser, and filter kit (the "Prism" kit." for this light to make it even more versatile: headlamp, pocket work light, so on. Oh yeah, you can tuck a square of aluminum foil into the pocket clip and make your OWN reflector/diffuser with the light "tailstanding." Instant lantern. I have also shined it into a white plastic grocery bag as an improvised diffuser. I carry a spare AAA battery in a AA converter case so one spare can feed this OR my AAA backup. With the kind of runtime the Quark offers on low, I'm more likely to swap out my AAA backup battery.

EDC for over 1 year, then lost it. Ordering another one.

JETBeam PC10 XM-L LED Flashlight 550 Lumens W/ Nylon Holster
JETBeam PC10 XM-L LED Flashlight 550 Lumens W/ Nylon Holster

Pros: Wickedly bright with an IMR rechargable (4.7V CR123 size.) Independent testing shows that the max lumens claim is ever so slightly overstated. It's around 500 lumens if you've got the right battery. Expect a dip to about 300 lumens after 15 minues of use or so. Use rechargables and just simply top them up. Lithiums love that and hate being fully discharged; they have no charge memory, that's NiCads (which are junk.) You'll NEVER get 550 or even 500 lumens on a regular CR123. I don't even use primaries, it's rechargables only for me. I was quite pleased with the color tint on the one I carried for over a year. It was a little warm, but mostly pleasantly neutral. I can't stand cheap blue-tint emitters these days. I really liked the momentary switch, though some say it's a bit mushy with long travel. This helps prevent accidental mode changes when you've got the head loosened. Runtimes are good enough on low and medium mode. I top the battery up about once a week anyway to preserve that wicked high output on a fresh charge. Optics aren't particularly bright, but I think they're a great combination with the output. It holds its own (but is not brighter than) $200 and $300 flashlights that I have.

Cons: It remembers the last mode when you have the head loosened. Tighten the head and use high mode for a while, loosen the head and the flashlight has forgotten what setting you had. I found this really very irritating until I got in the habit of leaving the head loose and mostly only using low mode. Once I use high mode, I have to loosen the head and find low mode again. I find that pressing the light to my hand while searching for the low mode helps preserve night vision if you used high mode outside and are walking into a dark structure (or cave, whatever.) I found this irritating enough to knock one egg. It's a 5 egg light otherwise. My favorite lights default to low mode with head loosened and default to high with the head tight. Tap one or more times to access alternate modes. It works and it's really the way it should be, IMHO.

Overall Review: Tighten the head for turbo, tap once for strobe. Loosen the head slightly to access the other modes. It remembers your last mode setting as long as you don't tighten the head and use turbo mode. It really says a lot when I lost my PC10 and am buying another after reviewing the market over a year later. This isn't a "vampire" or "moonlight firefly." It's more of a blaster that you "reload" on the battery charger once in a while. It does not have long-range optics, but provides a good balance between close range flood and long range throw. Keep the rechargable topped up and it will do you right. Don't forget, you need a "hobby" charger that is compatible with lithium ion. Go read about this flashlight on candlepowerforums.com.

It worked, it's a web cam.

Logitech C310 HD Webcam, HD 720p/30fps, Widescreen HD Video Calling, HD Light Correction, Noise-Reducing Mic, For Skype, FaceTime, Hangouts, WebEx, PC/Mac/Laptop/Macbook/Tablet - Black
Logitech C310 HD Webcam, HD 720p/30fps, Widescreen HD Video Calling, HD Light Correction, Noise-Reducing Mic, For Skype, FaceTime, Hangouts, WebEx, PC/Mac/Laptop/Macbook/Tablet - Black

Pros: Plugged in to a Windows 7 machine. Downloaded the Logitec software. It worked. No brainer. Price was good.

Cons: None to speak of.

Overall Review: Nothing bad to report. It worked as expected.

12/18/2013

It's a power supply, it works.

ENERMAX Platimax EPM850EWT 850W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS PLATINUM Certified Modular Power Supply New 4th Gen CPU Certified Haswell Ready
ENERMAX Platimax EPM850EWT 850W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS PLATINUM Certified Modular Power Supply New 4th Gen CPU Certified Haswell Ready

Pros: Feels nice to the touch. Appears well-made. Plugged it in, it worked. Supposedly, it's highly efficient. It's quiet. Zero issues, so far so good

Cons: None so far. Kind of pricy, but then again I was going for quality and durability.

Overall Review: Yeah, it's pricy... I'm sick of having junk power supplies. This one seems nice. Spend the money.

12/18/2013