Date Joined: 10/28/05
Pros: 1600 - a great speed, and adequate for all but the most extreme applications.
Cons: Some RAM that I can never see because I don't have a window in my case is prettier?
Overall Review: I've used G.Skill for years with no regrets. It's great, fast, cheap RAM. DDR3 1600 with CAS 9 is sweet spot as far as price/performance.
Pros: Good power output - 1500 is more than enough to allow me to finish, save, and shutdown in the case of a blackout. Hell, I can get to the next save point.
Attractive design - Looks good next to my computer.
Cons: None so far. I really won't have one unless the power goes out and it doesn't work.
Overall Review: It's more attractive and offers more bang for the buck than competitive products from other vendors. I have had an issue with jostling the plug just a bit causing the alarm to go off, but I believe that to be an issue with my outlet, not the unit. A quick tap back in and it's fine, every time.
Pros: It's a GTX 670 - read the benchmarks if you don't know, but this is one of the fastest single GPU cards you can buy right now.
It exhausts hot air outside of the case.
Cons: No fancy add-ins or overclocking software, but this can be found from other places for free. You get the card and that's about it.
Overall Review: EVGA is my preferred graphics card vendor for nVidia, but we'll see how it withstands the test of time. Several months with zero issues so far. For the price I got it at, it was unbeatable. No regrets.
Pros: Stylish - it's a simple but very good looking design. Whether the front aluminum door is on or off.
Choose your own adventure in quiet/cooling - This is where the case really shines. Stock, with all panels installed, it's a very quiet case with adequate cooling for any typical setup. My i7-860 and GTX 670 never overheat and I can barely hear it.
Should you need more cooling though, there are options. The front panel can be removed, allowing much more airflow from the front. In addition, there are removable panels on the top and rear, allowing two more fans each. It can be a cooling monster if you really need it to be, though there are probably better cases for that purpose.
Room - the drives are mounted the right way (outward) and there's cable routing behind the motherboard tray. Nothing real fancy but everything you'd expect in a case of this class. The only downside is the 8-pin power cable may not reach around the back to to the motherboard. I had to route mine behind the video card. Not a big deal, but it was annoying given how cleanly I was able to do everything else.
USB 3.0 - you expect it in a case in this price class, and it's there. Two USB 3.0 ports on the front alone, accessible even if the front door is installed and closed.
Cons: Front door - only an issue if you use optical media a lot, or if you plan to open the door frequently for the increased ventilation. it opens both ways, which means it comes off either hinge easily. It's easy to remove the door when you just want to swing it open.
Bad on carpet - I say it has adequate ventilation with everything closed and this is true, but there is one caveat. It breathes from the bottom with the front door closed, and the power supply also breathes from the bottom, so you need something underneath the case if you plan to sit it on carpet. I have cardboard cut out to the right size, which has worked well, but it is something to keep in mind.
Overall Review: Overall I chose this case because it had everything I wanted. A very nice but understated aesthetic, quiet, but still with plenty of room and good cooling. I have no regrets.
Pros: This is a basic GTX 275. Stock cooler, no overclock out of the box. It runs relatively quiet (I can't hear it over the low to moderate volume of my system, which is no wind tunnel). There hasn't been an issue in the 6-months I've owned the card, and it's run every game I've played at or very close to max settings (I'm looking at you, Crysis).
Cons: None. Keep in mind that it likely can be overclocked to the same levels as any GTX 275 using the same basic nVidia cooler, but chips are often binned by performance. A particular card may not OC as high as their pre-OC'd bretheren, while others will.
Overall Review: The red coloring on the metal plate facing outwards when the card is installed is cool. It adds a welcome splash of color to an otherwise ho-hum design.
Pros: The board has all of the overclocking features you could ask for, and will do what you tell it to without any complaints. This makes overclocking a breeze.
It's been rock solid for the past 6 months, I've had no reliability issues at stock or overclocked. A good motherboard should be a bedrock of stability, and this fits the bill.
Cons: The time from power button pressed to the OS loading start is long. I haven't timed it, but it feels like it's about 30-45 seconds. If you have ExpressGate enabled, it will take an additional 10 seconds without any user interaction, but given how little value this feature will have to the power users buying this board, it will likely be disabled through the BIOS within a week.
Overall Review: ExpressGate is a neat idea, being able to access the web and some simple chat and voice programs (Skype, for example) without having to load the OS. Unfortunately internet requires use of an Ethernet cable to the built in NIC, as the drivers for any wireless cards won't be loaded. Given the power of any system with this board, it seems like a bit of a waste of time.
Overall it's a great board, which would be an easy 5-egg pick in my opinion if it wasn't for the long boot process (again, this is before the OS ever comes into play).
Pros: Fast memory and (in my humble opinion) good looking. The heatspreaders look nice without being too over-the-top with extraneous fins. While this matters nothing to some, with competing memory with similar price and performance on the market, it doesn't hurt.
Performance is great. I dropped the set into an ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 and it booted without incident. Selecting the X.M.P. settings in the BIOS and it clocked to the published specs without any further adjustment needed.
Cons: I got this memory back when it was no more expensive than any other comparable DDR3 kit. Prices have gone up across the board, and this set in particular is no longer the great value it was originally.
Overall Review: I can't accurately compare value as the picture has changed since I purchased in May, but in my experience these modules have done everything I asked without any issue. That's about all I can ask from memory.
Pros: All copper design and smooth, polished base make this unit a very effective cooler. I am a sucker for the look of copper, and this unit doesn't disappoint. It can be mounted in any orientation, allowing for optimal airflow out the top or back of the case.
Cons: The fins are quite thin, leading to sharp edges. Not so sharp to where you can't handle it without gloves, but when trying to work around it making connections in tight spaces can lead to small cuts.
It's similar to the man laying on a bed of nails. Grabbing the unit and getting your hand around it is no problem. Scraping against just one fin however can lead to the aforementioned cuts.
Overall Review: It's a very effective and, in my opinion, very pretty cooler. The LED is unnecessary, but goes perfectly with my Nine Hundred Two case so I can't complain.
Pros: For a budget case, it has a nice clean look. Everything about the case inside and out is functional, with no unnecessary extras.
There's plenty of room behind the 3.5" bays for good cable management, and everything fit together well. It may be a budget case, but practically every edge you would possibly come into contact with is rolled, so there's nothing to cut yourself on.
Building was a breeze. It may feel a bit "flimsy" compared to more expensive cases, but it's braced in the right places and plenty strong enough to get the job done. I enjoyed building with this case.
Cons: At MSRP, you're at or close to the price of an Antec 200 or 300, which are better cases. On sale for 15-20 less though it becomes a good deal.
The PCI expansion covers are break-away, meaning once you've snapped one off, you can't cover it again. This may not be an issue if you have spare slot covers from another case, but it was the main thing I did not like about the case.
The front panel connectors will reach the bottom of the case, but just barely. Putting an optical driver in the very top bay may make the reach impossible. I would start with the second bay for this reason.
On my particular case, the power switch cable was wired backwards, meaning the black cable was the power cable and the colored cable was ground. Something to watch out for.
Overall Review: None of the above cons are dealbreakers, but they are the reason why I give the case a 4/5. It is still a very good case when priced below it's retail price for a budget build.
Pros: The power supply looks great, and it has plenty of connections for two high power graphics cards and as many devices as you could possibly fit in a reasonably sized case. One rail so power balancing is a non-issue.
Cons: There's a lot of cable here. If you're running a system with a relatively modest number of components, you will find yourself with a lot of extra cable which may be tricky to tuck away. If you're working with a smaller case, you may want to consider something modular, at least if you're a neat freak when it comes to cabling
Overall Review: I love the power supply. The cables come with a tight, high-quality mesh wrap, there's more than enough connectors, and inside my Antec 902 it goes perfectly. On that note, you can easily peel off the side and back labels and place them on upside-down if you're mounting the PSU on the bottom of the case (so it appears right-side-up)
Pros: Aesthetics - Everything about the case looks high quality, and the black painted interior is much nicer than the vanilla Nine Hundred
Build quality is excellent and the installation is simple. The ability to route cables underneath the motherboard tray is great for a case in this price range, and the pre-wired fan controllers are an excellent addition
Cons: The case is a bit cramped. It will fit any video card, but you won't be able to place a hard drive directly behind the card if you have a GTX 260, 4870, or greater. Installation and cable routing is a bit cramped and difficult to do properly. Unlike many Antec cases, the hard drives are not on rubber grommets of any kind to reduce vibration and noise, though with the fans on anything but low you probably won't notice anyways
Overall Review: A very solid case. It is well built and attractive (in my opinion). There is a lot of potential airflow, and it will fit just about any component you may want to install, though it may not be easy. If you're looking for a good case for a gaming rig that you don't want to have take up a lot of room, this is a great choice. If you're looking for ease of installation though, I'd recommend something larger and more importantly longer.
Pros: I just used this drive to install Mac OS X on a Dell Mini 9. The drive worked flawlessly. I did keep A/C power hooked up to the computer, but I always do as optical drives are notorious for battery drain. I haven't had the opportunity to burn with it yet.
The drive looks great (and can be used both horizontally and vertically), and works well. Two USB plugs may or may not be necessary, depending on how much power you computer supplies each port
Cons: The cord is short - no more than two feet long. In most cases it will be used very close to the computer anyways, but keep in mind if you have USB ports on the side, it will have to be used on the side with the ports
Overall Review: A well-performing DVD drive from a reputable brand (that admittedly doesn't typically deal in this kind of hardware) with a slick look and a great price. Burning capability needs testing, but it looks very good so far.