Date Joined: 01/07/11
Pros: CHEAP at 60% off! Accommodated my 10 tb WD Black. USB 3.0 interface. Very simple to use.
Cons: Need 120v for a 3.5" HDD. That just seems to be a thing for spinners. Gets warm!
Overall Review: I bought a 10tb HDD to replace the 2tb in my HTPC. My OS is on a different drive, so this was a very simple replacement...I formatted the drive on my main PC using the USB 3.0 connection, then transferred the drive to my HTPC's USB 3.0 connection and drag-n'-dropped the folders right onto the drive.
First step, the format went perfectly. Using an infrared thermometer I noticed the drive reached about 130 degrees while sitting on my desk, but that didn't appear to be a problem. Using the USB 3.0 connection, the format took about 10 hours. I'm sure the HDD was the bottleneck. Nothing ever disconnected, no interruptions in the process for hours on end.
2nd step, transferring about 1.7tb of info from the old drive to the new via the USB 3.0 connection took right about 4 hours (powered by an AMD a8-7600). Again, no disconnect issues, no hiccups of any kind really. Just a smooth process thanks to this handy little piece of equipment!
Pros: Long battery life, comfortable, compatible, familiar button layout, it just works
Cons: None really. I don't know if it can pair with an existing dongle (like, for instance, if you're already using a wireless keyboard and/or mouse. I'm using a wireless Logitech mouse and it didn't seem to automatically pick it up. Would be great if it could!
Every now and then it seems to hang onto an input for just a hair longer than it should. For instance, use joystick to rotate camera view, release joystick, camera view continues to rotate for just a moment too long. This is rare and tough to really establish that it's happening, but I swear it does now and then. Not often enough to be a problem.
Overall Review: I hadn't owned a computer gaming pad for probably fifteen years. The last one I owned was from way back when these things hardly ever actually paired with the game you were trying to play...like late 90's. I went a long time without playing a game for which a gaming pad would really be much of a benefit, and then I started playing Just Cause 3 which was just miserable to play with a keyboard. In the world of human interface devices there is a lot of junk out there (and some cheap brands that are actually quite good, but it can be impossible to tell them apart before you own said item), so I usually default to Logitech. This controller was very nicely priced and it works great!
My brother had a wired, cheap-o game pad that eventually died on him, and I bought him this one for his birthday as a replacement because I'd had such good luck with it. He loves using it and it works great for him also! You can't go wrong with Logitech!
Pros: Lots of space for 3-pin connectors! Low-profile, small design fits just about anywhere. Comes with adhesive tape if you want to use that. Decent connector retention.
Cons: Delicate pins. Be gentle with them or they'll bend and break off
Overall Review: I read a lot of reviews for these RGB hubs and many had poor connector retention issues. The connection method isn't very well designed, relying on the friction of the pins in the connector to really give the holding force. This one does alright though...unless force is applied, my connectors stay connected.I bought this to connect 9 case fans and the case itself to a single RGB controller. My 9 fans are connected using (2) 3-to-1 cables, while the other 3 fans plug in directly (as does the case), so with 10 spots, 5 are filled with fans, 1 with the case RGB lead, and 1 where the RGB controller connects. The RBG controller has a SATA power connector (as does the case), and with that arrangement everything lights with plenty of intensity. No lack of voltage. When you need an RGB hub, you need an RBG hub. This one did the trick perfectly!
Pros: Color and texture of the sleeves are very nice! Sleeves are woven and the orange I bought was pretty true to the picture. Kit came with 1x 24 pin mobo cable, 1 x 8 pin CPU cable (as a 4+4), and 2 x 8 pin PCIE power (both as 6+2's). Cables were a little stiff, but hold their shape well once bent. Plenty long enough for my full-sized tower case (Lian-Li 011D XL). Combs are clear plastic. You can decide if that's a pro or con. I like them not being obvious.
Cons: Only 2 combs per cable. For the CPU and Mobo cables this wasn't too big a deal because there isn't much cable to be seen. the PCIE cables extend much further to get to my graphics card plug so at least 1 or 2 more combs per cable would've been nice. Not a con, per-se, but know that using these will create loads of extra cable to hide in the back of your case.
Overall Review: I've built 8 or 10 computers for friends and family, but none of those builds really gave me the opportunity to get fancy with visuals. With this most recent rebuild of my own personal computer, I decided to venture into the little aesthetic attention-to-detail things I never played with before. Extension cables were one of those things. I was somewhat horrified to see how much some of these kits cost, and with the price of the case and fans didn't really want to shell out all the extra for, well, I'm not quite sure what. In the end I'm really glad I went with this kit! Fit and function are great, and the price was spectacular!
Pros: Looks great, came with 3 fans, great wire management with the rear section, loads and loads of interior space, 2 x 5.25 drive bays (!!), spectacular air flow! Lots of room for more fans!
Cons: No dust filter for the power supply intake, all 3 fans are 3-pin. I really like PWM fans.
Overall Review: This case is pretty big on the outside, but enormous on the inside! My goal with this case was to build a budget audio recording computer. My hardware (a Digidesign 002R) anchors me to Protool software from the mid '00's, so I decided to build this computer using Windows 7, and internal hardware from the early 10's. This helps keep all the driver info playing nice. Bonus, everything's cheap!
Build included a Gigabyte 990fxa-UD3 mobo with FX-8320, an HD7850, and 24 gigs of DDR3 RAM. I used a 240 gig Samsung SSD as a system drive, another 240 gig Samsung SSD for ProTools and any other software I'm running, and a 1T HDD for all my recordings. This case fit everything with ease! I was planning to really overclock the 8320 so I wanted really comprehensive cooling. I bought a Noctua D-15s cooler and that massive thing fit within the case perfectly! I opened the cooler and was shocked at the size, but this case swallowed it up without an issue. I OC'd the 8320 from 3.5Ghz to 4.25 Ghz with a mild voltage increase and it'll run Prime95 without going over 42C! It idles around 20C. I'll probably OC it harder, because it sometimes has to track from 7 input sources, plus record 1080p from my web cam, and that'll really tax a CPU. It's great to be getting these low temps and still have 3 spots to add 140mm fans if I decide to!
Overall, I'm really happy I bought this case! It looks great, has loads of space, and phenomenal airflow. It did everything I was looking for.
Pros: Colors are gorgeous, can be controlled using MSI's Mystic LIght program so you don't need a stand-alone program just for controlling the RAM colors
Cons: I could not get these to work with my system for the life of me! Blue screens a-plenty. G.Skill tech support wasn't terribly useful.
Overall Review: I built these into a system with the following components:
AMD Ryzen 5 2400G
MSI B450I Gaming Plus AC
Samsung 970 Evo M.2/Samsung 860 Evo 2.5"
Windows 10 64-bit Home
G.Skill is typically my go-to for RAM because their compatibility and quality are stellar. In this case, however, I got bit. I figured with "for AMD" right in the RAM description I couldn't lose, and G.Skill's web page does in fact list the MSI mobo I was using in the QVL for these particular sticks, but AMD doesn't list this RAM on THEIR QVL and really, I should've gone by that. I got the computer up and running and before long I was on the express route to BlueScreenville. I updated all drivers (and most recent BIOS), no luck. Re-loaded Windows 10 and started over, and loaded most recent drivers first this time instead of starting with my out-dated mobo disc. Got things running, but this time BSODs happened even more quickly. Before long I was turning blue before I even saw my Windows log-in screen. All BSOD stop-codes pointed towards memory issues so I tested both sticks individually, alternating between my 2 RAM slots. No improvement.
Finally I went back to MSI's web page and bought a new set of sticks making absolutely sure they were on MSI's QVL to the digit. I picked up a set of Corsair ValuSelect sticks (faaaaaar less visually impressive than these G.Skill sticks), but upon re-installing Windows 10 and all drivers again (with the Corsair sticks installed from the start), I haven't seen a single blue screen since. I've run about 6 cumulative hours of Prime95's Blend Test, updated Windows 10 to include all updates since my initial Image file, and everything seems to be running perfectly!
Once I had the computer running stable on the Corsair RAM, I pulled it out and put the G.Skill back in. Blue Screen upon first boot-up before even reaching the log-in. I contacted G.Skill's customer support. They asked if I had the most recent BIOS loaded and I replied that I did. They asked if I'd run Memcheck to validate the RAM and I replied that the computer won't run long enough to initiate Memcheck (or even boot into Safe Mode for that matter), and I never heard from them again. I would sell this memory second-hand because it's no good to me, but honestly I don't know if it's damaged or just incompatible so I'm hesitant to unload it. I'll probably try and RMA it still, and then sell the replacements since then I know they're brand new.
The tl;dr version: mobo QVL > RAM QVL.
Pros: 80+ Gold Efficiency rating, great brand, adorably small, fully modular, robust 450W rating for such a small unit. The 650W must be really impressive!
Cons: Cables are SHORT!! Doesn't come with an ATX adapter
EDIT 2-22-19: With this still running strong in my HTPC I decided to buy another one for a friend's build. I'm building in a mini-ITX tower case (In Win 901) and even with it being a mini-ITX case the 24-pin connector is still waaaaay too short to span the distance from the bottom-mounted PSU location to the motherboard. Even if you ran the cable directly from the PSU to the motherboard (with no thought to clean routing) it wouldn't make the span.
Overall Review: I bought this power supply to use in a microATX case. My goal was to build an HTPC using the Silverstone ML03B case, and reviews on that case had stated that while an ATX-sized power supply will fit, if your build is to include a DVD drive, there's going to be fractions of an inch between the back of the DVD drive and the power supply. After building this PC I can confirm that yes, it would be true. So, my hunt for a smaller power supply began. I'm really glad Corsair decided to break into this smaller power supply market because the brands making the sub-ATX power supplies don't fetch outstanding reviews, and not many (if any) offered a Gold efficiency rating. This power supply has all the markings of a quality unit; fully modular, quality coating, substantial feel, quiet, etc... Durability is yet to be proven, but it's been in operation maybe 8-10 hours a week for the last 4 months so I'd say sudden infant death syndrome is ruled out.
The reason I docked an egg is, the fact that this PS is designed for a smaller case means that it really is DESIGNED FOR A SMALLER CASE! My 24-pin MB connector didn't even reach across the case from the power supply to the mother board socket! It was that tight! You will need to buy an SFX to ATX adapter bracket to mount this power supply if you use it in a case designed for an ATX power supply, and that's actually quite lucky because I wound up having to bend that bracket inward in order to buy an extra 1/4-1/2 inch reach for the 24-pin cable!
Overall, I think this is a quality power supply and will give me many years of reliable use, especially with the limited time it spends in operation, but be careful if you're using it in a microATX application (and buy yourself an SFX to ATX adapter!).
EDIT 2-22-19: As stated in the Cons section, the 24 pin cable didn't even reach the mobo in a mini-ITX tower case. Still, high quality power supply, but just plan to buy an SFX to ATX adapter AND a 24 pin extension along with your power supply. Just add them all to the cart at the same time and save yourself an extra few days of waiting on a partially built computer.
Pros: Amazing price, great over-clocker, fast and capable, stable, same socket as the more powerful Ryzen chips, with 3.7GHz overclock it seems to be faster at most tasks than my FX-8350 at stock clock, and uses like 2/3rds the electrons.
Cons: Quad-core with no hyperthreading (or whatever AMD calls it) which may hinder it in content creation situations
Overall Review: I bought this chip to pair with my MSI M7 ACK motherboard. The intent was to run this chip for a year or so and then pick up a Ryzen 7 chip, but after using the chip for a while I have no reason to even trade it out for a Ryzen 5! After reading a bit about its overclock potential I overclocked it to 3.7 GHz on the stock voltage, cooled with an EVO 212, and it's extremely snappy and fully stable. I use my computer for MS Office applications, web surfing, some video editing in Adobe Premier, and a bit of gaming (X-Com, X-Com2, Mutant Year Zero...I like strategy games). Paired with my GTX 1070 FTW graphics card I can play any of these games on max settings without a problem and video rendering is plenty quick enough for me as a non-professional. If the release of AMD's next socket drops prices on AM4 chips I'll probably consider finally getting that Ryzen 7 for the sake of future-proofing, but this little powerhouse does all I need and more! Well done AMD...slow-clap.
Pros: Quiet, good quality materials, solid construction
Cons: Doesn't seem to do ANYTHING really
Overall Review: I bought this to put on my A10-6800k chip. I noticed the chip was running warm with the stock FM2 AMD cooler on it, so I figured this might help. The chip is in an older mid-ATX case which has a slightly limiting width so the compact (for a vertical cooler) nature of this cooler was appealing.
Well, I got it installed and ran some Prime95 tests because I was planning to overclock. That didn't work out so well. The first few Prime95 runs yielded CPU temps near 80C. I removed the cooler, wiped off the thermal paste and applied Arctic Silver paste, then reinstalled the cooler. Ran Prime95 again at the stock frequency and once again I got near 80C. I thought maybe it was a mistake, maybe something wasn't communicating with CPUID properly, and went ahead and started to overclock. With only a few digits added to the multiplier the CPU was reportedly hitting 100C. I went up another few digits and saw temps near 128C, and then the machine shut itself down so I know it was reading reliably.
The long and short of it, this thing really didn't do anything for my A10-6800k in a well ventilated, spacious case. About 65C idle temps and up to 80C running Prime95 with stock clock.
Pros: Just the right amount of extension for my application, connector ends are made cleanly, fit in terminals on board and power supply connector, locks engage and hold firmly, release when pressed
Cons: One of the pins was only about 30% inserted into the connector end. The retaining lock hadn't even engaged meaning all that was holding the pin in place was the rigidity of the wire the pin was crimped around. I realize that's only 1 in 48 pins (when you count both sides), but this is not a complex component. Proper assembly should be a given.
Overall Review: I put together a HTPC using an SFX power supply in a case that was a microATX, but was designed to accommodate a full ATX power supply. I'm glad I used the SFX, but the 24-pin connector that came with the power supply was only barely long enough to reach my motherboard's socket. I made it work by bending the SFX-to-ATX adapter bracket just a bit, but didn't want to leave it that way since it was applying tension to the socket. This was the shortest 24 pin extender I could find and it fit the application perfectly. As I stated in the "Cons" though, while examining the extension prior to installation I noticed one of the pins wasn't fully seated into the connector. This likely would've caused a very confusing power issue, and at least one additional removal from my entertainment unit which is a pain in the rear in general. I would expect a company skimping on wire material (though I don't condone it), but an assembly issue in a connector? Come on Coboc!
Pros: Case looks great in my opinion. Has tons of internal and external expandability, including a 3.5" bay which is great for a card reader or more USB3 ports. Can hold 5 x 120mm fans. Shrouded PSU enclosure makes for a clean build and there are a ton of pass-throughs and tie-downs for wire looms
Cons: Only 1 x USB 3 on the front of the case, air ingress from the front is somewhat limited. Running Prime95 with the front door closed vs open made for a difference in temps of about 4C. Fan controller is stupid. Why do these keep showing up on cases? Your motherboard has everything it needs to run your fans adequately! If you really want to mess with fan speeds, just do it in your BIOS so it's automatically implemented instead of you going, "Game time! roughly 70 degrees in this room...maybe I should bump fan speeds up...?" Supplied fan has a blue LED. I'd rather it not light up.
Overall Review: This case was VERY easy to build in and for the price had a lot of nice options that allowed a clean and tidy build. Tucking and securing cables was a piece of cake, and the case came with everything necessary to make that a simple task. Lots of drive expandibility available. I build this with an M.2 and a spinner so there were still a bunch of 2.5" mounts open and at least 1 3.5". Cable pass-throughs didn't have plastic grommets, but the metal was finished nicely enough that I wasn't worried about cutting or chaffing wires. As I said in "Cons", fan controller is a waste of space on the front of the machine. Another USB 3 port and possibly another USB 2 port would be appreciated instead of the fan controller switch. All the cabling for the front control panel was adequate in length, though routed a little funny when the case was assembled at the factory. I routed the front panel through a different hole so it could reach the rear portion of the case more cleanly. The case came with a 120mm fan which has a blue LED. It seemed like a quality fan, though I wish it didn't have a light. I added 3 x 120mm Arctic fans to the case (2 on the front and 1 on the top) and the 4 fans together keep things nice and stable. Buy quality fans though. To install fans in the front or top you have to pinch the little plastic pegs that hold the fascia panels on, and given that they're plastic and hold the panels in place via spring tension, I'm not sure how many times you're going to want to mess with them. They'll stop doing their jobs eventually. For the price, a great case! If you are a tinkerer who's never satisfied with their setup and always a few months away from swapping out components, get a more expensive case that uses more metal and screws. If you're building a computer that's not going to come apart again until something inevitably fails, you won't be disappointed with this.
Pros: Rock-solid reliable, newer connectivity, PCI slot along with PCI-E x16
Cons: HDMI is 1.4 so while it maybe can do 4K, it can't do it at 60Hz. No S/PDIF, no M.2
Overall Review: I used this board to build an HTPC and over-all it worked out pretty well! I've been using the computer pretty regularly for a little over a year now and it's been rock-solid reliable...never freezes, never fails to boot, all drivers have worked perfectly fine. I've decided I'm probably going to replace the board though because a) I'd like to have an M.2 connection and while that's pretty unusual to find in an FM2+ board, AsRock makes one, and b) I wish the board had an S/PDIF audio connector that I could run to my Dennon surround unit. I looked into sound cards that carry this connection and if you're shopping low-pro cards, you're pretty limited. For the price I'd have to pay for a low-pro card that has S/PDIF I could get a new motherboard that has it and not need to waste a PCI-E slot on a sound card. The HDMI 1.4 is kind of a bummer, but also expected given the scope of most motherboards of this era. Again, low-pro format is somewhat limiting, but a GT1030 offers HDMI 2.0 for not too much money, and it'll only take up a single slot width.
Overall, if you're looking to build a basic HTPC this is an excellent board. I've been enjoying it for a year and it's been a "set it and forget it" experience. It has a great list of features and is dead-reliable, but for just a little more money you could get a top-o-the-line board and have all the features. Will reliability be equal or better with AsRock? I suppose we'll find out!
Pros: Cheap, quality construction, extremely quiet, PWM, seem to do the job
Cons: Wire leads a tad short, but should fit most applications
Overall Review: I built a computer using a DeepCool Dukase WH and figured with the hard plastic front on that case it would probably be a good idea to include some extra circulation motivation. This computer was being built for an extended family member so I wanted to keep the cost low. At the sale price I wasn't expecting a whole lot of these fans so I bought 3 of them (2 for the front, 1 for the top, 1 rear fan came with the case). When I pulled these out of the box I noticed that they were actually Swiss-built (or at least Swiss-designed). Switzerland makes quality stuff so my expectations were immediately raised. Once I had the computer all together I booted into the BIOS to set up the fan profiles and was shocked to (not) hear how quiet these fans are! At full clip I could barely hear them! Very impressed. I don't care about LEDs and was actually kinda disappointed that the case came with an LED fan. I considered replacing it with another F12, but as I said earlier, the goal was to keep costs down. After the computer was all set up and running well, I set the computer to bake for a few hours on Prime95. Running the blended test to wring out the Ryzen 5 1600 and 16 gigs of Team Dark RAM, my board and chip temps never got above 65C (about 58C with the case front open). Moving forward, I expect to use these in all my builds! CONSIDERABLY cheaper than Noctua, and while Noctua may offer better longevity, the difference to me between a 3-year fan and a 6-year fan isn't important. 2 of these is still cheaper than a Noctua and the amount of effort it takes to replace a fan is minimal. One caveat, the front case fans wouldn't quite reach the fan pin header on the motherboard so I used a Y-splitter to tie them together and gain the extra few inches that were required. The Y-splitter I used was actually a left-over from a previous build in which I'd used Noctua fans, so I guess it's fair to say that the extra money you pay for Noctua in part goes to the niceities that are included, like splitters, noise suppression resistors, and rubber mounts, but again, when a Corolla will do, do you really need an LX470?
Pros: Case is a reasonable size, looks nice, has adequate space if you're building a simple HTPC, has feet so it can sit vertically or horizontally, flip-up drive bay bracket is VERY handy, but a little difficult to lay flat once all your drives are installed.
Cons: Power supply, power supply, power supply! USB 2.0 ports on the front instead of 3.0, only provisions for a single fan in the case, door hinge interferes with the surface it's sitting on if you have it laying flat and you try to open the front panel. Must hang over the edge of the shelf it's on by an inch or so
Overall Review: I read the reviews on this case and knew the power supply was a weak point, but I built this HTPC for my parent's beach house and thought it would be fine since it only gets mild use. They don't maintain an internet subscription there since no one's there most of the time, but I thought it would be nice to have this there with a whole bunch of movies loaded on the hard drive, and figured the low usage interval would stretch the life of even a sub-par power supply. Well, it didn't. After about a year of VERY intermittent use, the power supply still gave up. What a piece of cr@p. If you buy this case, just replace the power supply right off the bat. It may in fact still be under warranty, but I don't even want another one of these! I'm going to pay 40 bucks for a Seasonic and hopefully be done with it. If this computer were used daily from new, the power supply probably would've lasted about 2 months. Really disappointing.
Pros: Nicely made, nice looking, comes with heat pads
Cons: As the write-up states, this will only work on a single-sided M.2. If you have chips on both sides you might be outa luck.
Overall Review: I bought this to use with my Corsair MP500, 240 gig M.2. I should've read better, because when I sandwiched the thing together as per the instructions (just a cartoony exploded diagram...but effective enough), the 2 little metal clips that are supposed to secure the stack together wouldn't make it around the whole assembly. They just weren't deep enough. In the end I made it work with some mechanic's wire, twisting a short length around the stack at each clip location kind of like a twist-tie, and then cutting off the excess. It's not pretty, but it is functional. Shame too because this is a very nice looking heat sink if you can get it all clipped together properly. It may seem unreasonable to dock an egg because I didn't read the product write-up well enough, but the real reason I'm docking an egg is because it would've been simple enough to supply a set of clips for single-sided M.2's and double-sided M.2's. It would be a wise move because at this point there isn't a huge variety of M.2 heat sinks and to offer a single kit for both varieties would be pretty clutch.
Pros: Extremely easy on-tv-screen setup, powerful, versatile, many features and functions, the mic-assisted speaker calibration feature is really cool
Cons: Limited speaker connectability. This receiver can play ATMOS front height speakers, but at the cost of your rear surround speakers.
Overall Review: I got this receiver at a great sale price (with 100 dollar Newegg gift card no less!) after researching these things for quite a while. When it came down to it, I was torn between this receiver and the 4300 (the one above it in the lineup). This one saves 200 dollars over the other, which I'd decided based on the features the other has over this one was the way to go, but while setting up the speakers I encountered the fact that this receiver has a limitation in the number of speakers you can utilize at one time.
If you don't have Dolby ATMOS speakers, you can do front L/R, center, surround L/R, rear L/R, and sub...that's a pretty impressive array! If you DO have Dolby ATMOS height speakers though, you will have to sacrifice your rear L/R pair. Because of the way my room is set up, with my couch at the rear wall and my rear L/R ON the rear wall, I decided these could be effectively re purposed as surround L/R speakers which are supposed to be directly to your left and right in your listening position. So, my speaker array is front L/R, center, ATMOS front L/R, surround L/R (I had to get rid of my sub because it hooks up with speaker wire and this receiver only has a sub output via RCA plug). I tuned all the speakers automatically and then popped Guardians of the Galaxy 2 into my blu-ray. I was definitely impressed! This unit made much MUCH more use of the rear speakers (now surround speakers) than my old Yamaha unit ever made of them!
Over-all I really like this unit and I'm happy I bought it. If you have the extra money I think the 4300 unit would probably let you use ALL your speakers (unless you have rear ATMOS height speakers...in which case you're probably not in this range of receiver anyway, and you can just leave equipment selection to the guy you hired to build your home theater room).
Pros: Great power considering the cost! Came with a cooler that seems to work well enough. On-board graphics capabilities are pretty great!
Overall Review: I bought this APU to use in an HTPC I was putting together. So far it's been 4 or 5 months and it's been fantastic! I paired it with 8 gigs of DDR3 RAM and it runs and boots quickly. While I had my main computer apart I used this computer to convert 8-or-so video files and it made shockingly quick work of the task. I wasn't expecting much considering what I paid, but this little guy packs a punch! I haven't done any gaming on it, but it can play 1080p files from Blue Ray and my hard drive without an issues. I haven't tried anything 4k yet because I don't have a 4k TV, but I question the claim a bit that it can do 4k smoothly. We'll see if it becomes relevant. For the meantime I couldn't be happier! Having such a powerful graphics processor, I think this is probably the ideal HTPC chip, unless you can get an A10 on super-sale. At regular prices I don't think the price bump in the A10 is justified.
Pros: Sturdy enough, specious enough, USB3.0 ports on front, good fan mounting options
Cons: Says it can fit an ATX power supply, but as others have said, if you're including a disc drive, get ready for a struggle.
Overall Review: I bought this case to put together an HTPC. This was my first computer build and over-all it went pretty smoothly! As another poster suggested, don't use an ATX power supply if you're using a disc drive. Spacing will get tight fast! I used a Corsair SF450 which was a great choice, but be careful...you'll need an SFX to ATX adapter bracket, and my 24-pin cable couldn't reach the mother board socket unless I bent the mounting bracket to free up another 1/2" or so.
The case looks nice and feels sturdy enough when it's all together. I noticed after loading everything in the weight distribution caused the case top to not line up quite right, but the screws still go in cleanly and you really can't tell from the front. The USB 3.0 connections on the front are really handy for loading in all my movies and music, and I put a Rosewill wireless card in with no clearance problems at all. Just make sure to get a low profile card. The width of the cooling fins was fine. The right hand side of the case is all holes and it was easy to mount 2, 80mm Noctua fans which seems to do a great job of cooling the unit. I think you could mount more 80mm's if you get creative, but I tried to keep the installation as clean as possible, and used Noctua's rubber mounting studs to ensure no noise was generated. If you just used screws or zip ties you could probably fit more fans. I think that's all. Happy building!
Pros: I shopped a lot of monitors when picking this one out and for the price there wasn't anything with the same level of quality. It's generously large, the display quality is great for movies, games, or just every-day computing, and over-all it's a great looking monitor.
Cons: The speakers are kind of a joke. I already had a 2.1 speaker set on my computer so I wasn't planning to use these, but tried them anyway. They are kinda pathetic: no volume and poor quality. I wish they had left the speakers out and dropped the price accordingly. Also, the menu is kind of a pain to use but once you get it set you don't have to worry about it anymore
Overall Review: A typical computer user would find this monitor to be completely enjoyable. The size is wonderful, it looks clean and nicely understated, and you can't beat the price. If you do high level video or picture editing this probably won't suit your needs since it is a TFT, but otherwise you'll likely be satisfied with this one. Don't count on using the speakers, they're pretty silly.
Pros: rocket-ship specs list, a whole slew of inputs and outputs (including 2XUSB 3.0), incredible price before discontinuation, sound is INCREDIBLE, nice feel of touchpad/palm rest, body, 3+ hours on battery using most conservative mode. from an i7 with a 16" screen I'm truely impressed by this! Also, the touch sensative buttons are fun and handy, manual over-clock and fan speed is a neat option. Full number pad is a real saver since I do a lot of spread sheet work.
Cons: Reletively heavy, power converter is HUGE. This is honestly a problem because it REALLY takes up space in my backpack. Drivers are questionable...LEDs worked for 2 days before Windows told me to uninstall the driver for them. I don't really care if the LEDs work, but it wasn't a good start to ownership. Had a reletively serious problem with all USB inputs dying for roughly a month right at the beginning. displayed "Surge on hub port" error, but somehow this has fixed itself. Low res screen can't comfortably disiplay 2 full browser windows side-by-side. Super-cool High-def web cam has never worked. May also be a driver issue. Likely so, in fact. Rebate took 10 weeks to come back. I had seriously given up. No indicator lights for num/scroll/caps lock. This of all things is actually beyond frustrating! Last thing, partitioned hard drive. I HATE that!
Overall Review: The name of the game with this laptop is compromises, but this should be expected from a full-on gamer/desktop replacement for under a grand. The question is were the right ones made? I'm not a big gamer so I don't exercise this machine to its fullest. In my opinion, for the stellar price that I got it for I'll put up with the lack of software refinement, low res screen, and rather cheap keyboard feel for the 12Gb expandable RAM, i7, powerful graphics card, and incredible sound output! All in all, as long as more driver issues don't keep haunting me I stand behind my 4-egg rating.