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Kenneth E.

Kenneth E.

Joined on 09/30/04

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Most Favorable Review

Oddball chip is a diamond in the rough.

AMD Phenom X3 8750 Black Edition - Phenom X3 Toliman Triple-Core 2.4 GHz Socket AM2+ 95W Processor - HD875ZWCGHBOX
AMD Phenom X3 8750 Black Edition - Phenom X3 Toliman Triple-Core 2.4 GHz Socket AM2+ 95W Processor - HD875ZWCGHBOX

Pros: Triple Cripple: Extremetech.com had a complementary review where a triple core at 2.3GHz surprisingly topped an E8400 at 3.0GHz in games. This Black Edition overclocks to 3.1GHz at 1.38V and good air cooling, giving you similar percent-overclocking potential to the afore-mentioned E8400. Phenom architecture actually does more calculations per core clock cycle than Athlon (I didn't know this before, though it's still behind Core2 on a per-core basis). Still, Vista Experience gives this proc at 3.1GHz a 5.9 rating. My E8500 at 3.8GHz nets a 5.8. Not exactly the end-all-be-all benchmark, but still a pretty good result for a $120 chip with an unlocked multiplier versus a $160-$180 chip. Does in fact feel superior to the E8500 at 3.8GHz in the games I care about, and this could have easily held me over until AMD's AM3 chips release.

Cons: Tripple cripple moniker seems unsexy at first. AMD finally has 45nm out, I purchased a 940BE and am already starting to miss this thing. Full potential of this chip may require a BIOS update, even for AM2+ boards. On my ASUS M3N32-MVP WIFI board, the cores wouldn't exceed 73% processor utilization on Unreal 3, and the game would flinch now and then running my 4870X2 with 4xAA/8xAF, max settings and Vsync. Since flashing to newer BIOS, it'll break over 80% utilization, and the flinching is almost non-existant. I discovered this by accident, because I have been trying to get Crysis to run DX10 without success. Never had issues with any of my dual cores. Wondering at this point if Crytek's DX10 coding is completely incompatible with triple-core? DX9 works fine...of course you can't access max settings which this system should handle fine. >:-( Besides that, this puppy is an excellent value, giving you most of the practical advantages of quad core at a killer price.

Overall Review: I wasn't going to buy this initially. I previously ran a 6400+ at 3.45GHz, and really I was just fine with it. But the novelty of owning a triple-core tugged at me, and I had resolved not to buy quad core until AMD released 45nm. Then I saw the Extremetech.com review. And then this Black Edition released. Well, I happen to also own an E8500 setup running at 3.8GHz, and while I don't waste much time benchmarking, this 8750BE running at 3.1GHz does in fact feel equivalent if not better than the Core2 at 3.8GHz. It depends on how the game is coded of course. Anything by Unreal is better on the 8750 due to better multi-core utilization. Crysis OTOH is mostly single-threaded, at least in DX-9 (watch the Core activity in task manager while running the game if you don't believe me), giving Intel as big an advantage as possible. Runs best on Intel indeed... Games coded for dual cores are generally a wash, since graphics drivers work multicore all the time.

Great last hurrah for the AM4 platform

AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D - Ryzen 7 5000 Series 8-Core 3.4 GHz Socket AM4 105W Desktop Processor - 100-100000651WOF
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X3D - Ryzen 7 5000 Series 8-Core 3.4 GHz Socket AM4 105W Desktop Processor - 100-100000651WOF

Pros: AMDs final word for AM4 retains overall gaming parity with Intels best, much newer and more expensive 12900KS, and does it without any need for a new MB, extremely expensive RAM format, or unusually challenging system cooling solutions. I actually expect it will prove superior in the games I play over timemore on that later. Just updated my BIOS and dropped in, booted without issue and everythings running smoothly, no fuss. If youre gaming already on an AM4 MB in particular and are interested in stretching its gaming performance for as many years as you can, check and see if theres a BIOS update allowing this chip to drop in. This will be a very strong gaming chip for many years.

Cons: Engineering constraints for the worlds first stacked cache chip ever necessitated limitations to clocks etc that actually impose mild performance concessions on less-complicated, more heavily multithreaded computing. This primarily means production appsalthough that also includes *some* games. So while this chip will provide much higher performance than any Alder Lake chip on some games, it also lags in some others. Hence it ties the best 12900KS systems overall, but its not uniform across the board. One trend I see, RTS games appear to favor Alder Lake. The 5800X3D averages faster everywhere else. RTS happens to be the only genre I never play, soyeah.

Overall Review: As far as overall gaming is concerned this is currently tied for best chip on the market at a much more reasonable price than Intels 12900KS. It will also be far less finicky about everything else in the system, so getting that performance will be a lot more reliable. If building entirely from scratch, the 5800X3D does carry a price premium relative to a DDR4-based 12700 system which games almost as well. Although that isnt considering if the 12700 *might* also need more premium cooling (possibly also MB) to perform up to review benchmarks. Architecturally its only difference from base 12900s is four fewer efficiency cores and mildly reduced cache. Its remarkable that Intel offers so much given how much less they charge for 12700s, but for exactly that reason thermal and power draw concerns are what I would look into more if I were considering one myself. If youre looking for a production-first chip on AM4 you will be better served with a 5900X or 5950X, which happen to still be extremely powerful gaming chips anyway. Now if your first priority is to say you spent the most to tie the best regardless of whether its the best for the games you actually play go get a 12900KS, and just remember it cant be the K or KF (as those are slower), you cant skimp anywhere on your MB, you will NEED more expensive memory, a bigger power supply, better cooling etc etc just to draw even. 12900s can draw two or even three hundred watts just on the CPU which means a LOT of thermal dissipation to avoid thermal throttlinghigh-quality water cooling is almost obligatory at that point. Its also why you would NEED to get a top-flight MB that can reliably put that kind of juice into it. May as well wait to fuss with early adoption issues on AM5. At least that will be a much higher-performing platform. But if the primary motivation is to game right now, especially if like me you dont happen to care for RTS-type games which appears to be where Alder Lake does best, the 5800X3D is currently the best gaming chip you can buy. And it drops into any AM4 board that has an available BIOS update for it. In that situation this chip is a no-brainer.

Nicer build quality and feel than expected for the price

Adesso WKB-3100UB 2.4 GHz RF Wireless Mini keyboard built-in Optical trackball, with mini receiver and receiver holder
Adesso WKB-3100UB 2.4 GHz RF Wireless Mini keyboard built-in Optical trackball, with mini receiver and receiver holder

Pros: Compact. Even so the keys have a surprisingly solid feel to them, as does the chassis itself. Only the roller ball lacks the nice weighty feel that the keys have, but thats an extremely mild ergonomic quip for a $20 keyboard. It still feels perfectly solid and durable in use. Also the USB dongle plugs in very compactly leaving little opportunity to be errantly struck or damaged. Overall much nicer than expected for $20.

Cons: Behaved as if broken at first. Out of the box many of the keys would signal for incorrect letters or not respond at all. After fussing with it a half hour or so trying all the usual things I decided I would have to return. Luckily before doing so I randomly retried after a few days and suddenly everything worked perfectly. Suspect it was merely condensation during shipping. We do have rainy Winters in Portland where I live and the product packaging did not include the keyboard being in a sealed bag. But I prefer not using even more unnecessary plastic wrapping that mostly ends up in landfills that wont decompose for potentially hundreds or even thousands of years anyway. I would recommend adding this potential caveat to troubleshooting tips during setup.

Overall Review: I specifically wanted a compact wireless keyboard that can be easily set aside for media/gaming PCs hooked up to large screen TVs, with an integrated roller ball to obviate the need/clutter/hassle of a mouse when sitting on a sofa. I cant game with standard keyboard mouse setups for any worthwhile length of time as my wrists and fingers rapidly get extremely sore, and such a setup only gets more awkward sitting on a couch. So this keyboard effectively acts as a remote control for the PC and if gaming I just use an Xbox controller. This keyboard checks all the boxes quite nicely and theres not exactly an abundance of competing products that fit my specific needs so well, so I was extremely relieved to find my sample wasnt defective after all. I expect to order at least one more now for my other media PC. Very satisfied with product.

No worries even with old 700 south bridge

AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition - Phenom II X4 Deneb Quad-Core 3.0 GHz Socket AM2+ 125W Processor - HDZ940XCGIBOX
AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition - Phenom II X4 Deneb Quad-Core 3.0 GHz Socket AM2+ 125W Processor - HDZ940XCGIBOX

Pros: So it's already been established that ACC isn't necessary to get high overclocks. I decided to purchase this chip even though my "old" ASUS M3A32-MVP Deluxe doesn't even have the 750 south bridge. I'm also getting 3.6GHz at 1.4 volts with no magical overclocking knowledge. System's perfectly stable whether overclocking via upping FSB to 240, multiplier to 18, or 225 FSB and 16 multi. Combined with a 4870X2, this system is liquid.

Cons: Nothing left to get for this system but ancilliary stuff?

Overall Review: Guess I'll go ahead and kick up the system RAM from 4 to 8 Gigs and get a couple cheap hard drives and RAID'em up. Debating also whether or not to get another 4870X2.

Still the best solution for Crysis

Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 - Core 2 Duo Wolfdale Dual-Core 3.16 GHz LGA 775 65W Processor - BX80570E8500
Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 - Core 2 Duo Wolfdale Dual-Core 3.16 GHz LGA 775 65W Processor - BX80570E8500

Pros: Check the benchmarks and see for yourself...to this day nothing runs Crysis faster than an overclocked, big-cache Core2 Duo. Mine overclocked to 3.8GHz without fuss. Any higher and...enough fuss that I haven't bothered clocking higher. It'd be nice to hit a nice even 4.0GHz, but 3.8 runs awfully well. Though the price has spiked a bit recently, this is still the better value versus the E8600. E8600 is mostly for overclcoking gurus willing to pay an enormous premium for those minute performance increases.

Cons: Won't have the same longevity as quad cores. AMD's new tripple cripple Phenom IIs sell for less and overclock just as well, meaning similar performance in anything not named Crysis (or perhaps Far Cry)...Intel may soon drop the price on this chip in response. Still, for right-now performance in a decent number of apps this manages to still be as good as anything.

Overall Review: I have this in one PC and in the other an AMD 940BE running at 3.6GHz. I prefer supporting AMD when they can manage to be competitive since they're the smaller company, but I also wanted to have the best dual core around, and the E8XXX's are it.

But...do I want a second one?

ASUS Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 CrossFireX Support Video Card EAH4870X2/HTDI/2G
ASUS Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 CrossFireX Support Video Card EAH4870X2/HTDI/2G

Pros: It's been a few years since I bought a completely top-flight video card, but I am sooooo happy with this purchase. Right now I just leave CCC set to 4xAA and 8xAF...it just doesn't matter, even for Crysis on Very High (via the hack for XP). I even leave V-sync on, though that one could be a toss-up in Crysis at Very High for some. This is with a 3.45GHz Athlon dual-core...I haven't plugged it into my 3.8GHz E8500 rig yet.

Cons: ASUS (or is it Newegg) keeps playing games with my head. Their cards keep disappearing and reappearing (as I write this there are two completely identical 4870X2s listed), and I know at some point they'll switch this model over to one with a different fan, probably like the one on the current 3870X2. I eventually want a second one of these for crossfire, but I want to wait till the price drops some, but...I'd also prefer that it has a visually matching fan. There isn't really much reason to get a second one of these right now between the games currently out and CPU bottlenecking, but I'm not huge on ASUS's non-archerbabe fans which recycle heat inside the PC case (and don't have the archerbabe). Jiblets...

Overall Review: I haven't gotten this card to work with Vista 64 yet, which is what my Intel system is running on. And I know it's because of Vista 64 because it wouldn't work with my Athlon system either when I tried switching it to Vista 64. I also have a 4850 that doesn't work with Vista 64. I figure it'll clear up with driver and BIOS updates since I'm not seeing anyone else have this issue, but why am I dealing with this on two completely different systems? I've got 8 gigs of Corsair Dominator and I can't even pair it up with this fabulous card. Ridiculous. Vista gets zero egg.

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XFX has been doing pretty well of late

Cards performance is stout, and the temps havent given me cause for concern yet. All Ive been doing so far has been Fallout 4, but that can still be challenging with all-maxed settings on a 4K screen. It has no problems maintaining the 60fps cap as far as Ive noticed, generally running over 50-90% GPU utilization. Microstutter is frequently a challenge with this game and can make the frame rate appear a lot lower than it is, but thats not the cards fault. Definitely activate SAM (resizable bar) and XMP in the bios to largely eliminate the problem.

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