Joined on 10/22/04
Terrific when used to its full potential
Pros: This OS, when set up with an MCE compliant hardware setup, is probably the best version of Windows xp that MS has put out. The AverMedia M870 that I got was detected right away and helps make the Media Center what it is.
Cons: The Install is a bit more complicated than a standard xp install, but as long as you know where SP2 is located (Disc 1), and install the required .net files prior to the rollup 2 disc (also on Disc 1 - look for a folder called dotnetfx), it should be a smooth install. You can only get HD content via Over-the-air ATSC HD tuners. Unless MS helps the "little guy" (the enthusiast builder), and does something to address the issue of getting HD content on the Media Center, this OS, and Vista MC for that matter, will be nothing but a toy incapable of reaching its potential to more than a select few.
Overall Review: Aside from the critical updates, get Windows Media Player 11 - it will really make the Media Sharing feature of MCE much better! Also, download the WMP 10 Energy Bliss visualization from the MS website. It looks great on a TV screen while your music is playing. Setup: ASUS P5N32-E SLI, Intel C2D E6600, 2GB Kingston HyperX DDR2-800, 2*eVGA 8600GTS Superclocked (SLI), SB X-Fi Elite Pro, Ultra X2 550W, ULtra ALuminus case, Avermedia M870 hybrid dual-tuner, Windows MCE 2005.
Quick setup, works like a charm!
Pros: If your router supports WPS, you can literally be connected in 30 seconds. Once linked, plug in the Ethernet cables for your devices, and you're good to go! I've been running the new setup for 3 days without a hiccup so far - better yet, it resolved the problem that my XBOX 360 S model has connecting over 802.11n on the WRT 1900AC's 2.4GHz band. I literally had to force the 2.4GHz band into b/g only mode in order to prevent connectivity issues on the 360 S - a problem that seems to prevalent with this console and a few of the newer routers on the market, after doing some additional research.
Cons: None that I can think of - my older PS3 that uses 802.11g can now download at 24Mbps over Ethernet via the Bridge.
Overall Review: Not a Con, but I hate it when devices don't have an On/Off switch - I hate plugging things in "hot". I like the minimalist design of the bridge, which looks exactly like the WET610N that it replaced in one of my media hubs. Given that this device is 1300AC, I really hope that Belkin/Linksys relaease a 1900AC version of this bridge to take advantage of the speed potential offered by my WRT 1900AC. Given the CES announcement of the WRT 1200AC, these bridges would partner nicely with that router.
The only thing missing is the deep rumble...
Pros: This thing is great!!! I already knew that this cooler had good reviews when I was considering the purchase of one, but since my intention was to build a machine primarily for my SimRacing and gaming, this was a natural! I haven't checked yet, but just based on how the quiet the case fans are, too much heat is definitely not a problem... You will be impressed as to how great it looks after it's installed.
Cons: You will most likely need a hand installing this cooler. Even a case with a hole on the motherboard tray under the proecessor. It's just the nature of the beast, but still worth the effort! Also, the Red LED's on the case just aren't as bright as the packaging would lead you to believe... or maybe I just got a bum fan. It doesn't affect performance, so it doesn't merit losing an egg. Oh, and it's one of the tallest coolers I've seen. Make sure you measure your case height before ordering.
Overall Review: A GREAT looking cooler, with the performance to match! System Specs: ASUS Crosshair IV AMD Phenom II 965BE (125W) XFX ATI Radeon 5870 8GB OCZ 1600MHz DDR3 memory (AMD Black Edition Ready) Ultra X4 PSU (1050W)
All the benefits of a HAF 932, with an AMD touch to it...
Pros: This case is huge, and with 2 200mm fans providing the airflow, air cooling shouldn't be a problem... and heck, if you need more, there's room for a few more fans. Even better, this case is equipped to handle a liquid cooling system as well, so that's a bonus. An ATX motherboard with a large graphics card looks small after it's been installed in this thing! The side door really lets you show off your system, and the translucent AMD Dragon "fusion" graphic looks great! The fans, despite being large, are very quiet. much quieter than my previous build.
Cons: I have to admit, the front panel's red is a little loud, and doesn't quite match the typical red color you'd see on an ATI graphics card, for example. It's not really a con for me, but some might not like it. Also, the overlay on the I/O panel didn't quite stick on the right-side edge, so I have to knock CM a little on the quality control there - Sorry, CM.
Overall Review: If you want a box that screams "I have an AMD machine!", then this is the case for you. Since that was my plan, it was perfect for me... I also just noticed on the CM website that there is an AMD edition Sniper Scout that is/will be available (will it, newegg?). If this case is a little too big for you, but you want the AMD look, you might want to look into that one. System specs: ASUS Crosshair IV AMD Phenom II 965BE (125W) 8GB OCZ 1600MHz Memory (AMD Black Edition) XFX ATI Radeon 5870 ULTRA X4 PSU (1050W)
The best single-slot solution IMHO...
Pros: I bought a pair of these to replace the pair of 8600GTS boards that I had previously. Compared to those cards, I am now getting about 120% better performance, compared to those cards. The fans also happen to be a bit quieter than the 8600's were too.
Cons: Buying two of these was probably a bit overpriced at the time, compared to buying a single, current GTX card. Because of my specific configuration, however, I had to go with these. Not a big con, but just enough to lose an egg over.
Overall Review: My machine acts as a Media Center, so because of my P5N32-E SLI's slot configuration (tuner card, sound card, wireless card), I had to find the best performance I could get out of a pair of cards that used only one slot. These are a great single slot card solution (aside from perhaps the 1GB version that's available), especially if you need the slot next to the PCI-Ex16 slot that would otherwise be gobbled up by a dual-card's fans.
Pros: Kingston's Hyper-X memory has never let me down. I've used this Performance/Gaming memory line in three machines now, and they've haven't disappointed me yet. Compared to other high-performance memory chips available, it's competitively priced.
Cons: In this particular application (Asus P5N32-E SLI), I had to configure the memory in BIOS manually to Kingston's recommended settings for these chips, as the MB's Auto settings had them running at very modest timings. I would fault that more to the finicky nature of the board and its nVidia 680i chipset, than to the memory itself. I would have tried overclocking a bit, but again, this MoBo is rather finicky... No matter, the recommended speed is fine by me.
Overall Review: I bought these memory chips to upgrade my machine from 2GB. In a word, awesome.