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Stephen G.

Stephen G.

Joined on 03/17/06

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 3
Most Favorable Review

Seems OK, but Corsair playing with the numbers

CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model Twinx2048-3200c2
CORSAIR XMS 2GB (2 x 1GB) DDR 400 (PC 3200) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory Model Twinx2048-3200c2

Pros: I am bit torn here on how to review this memory. Yes, you can just plug it into your motherboard and it will work just fine - and used in this manner, will likely provide years of service. It is nicely made, employs a quality multi-layer PCB and has heat spreaders. There is even a lifetime warranty.

Cons: What bothers me is the way this memory is advertised. The C2 suffix designates a CAS latency of 2, but this is not what the memory's SPD is set to - by default, this memory will operate at CAS 3. Somewhat annoyed by this, I called Corsair's technical support line and got to speak to a knowledgeable technician (with almost no wait). Their story is something like this: Corsair, to be JEDEC compliant, specify this memory with a 3-3-3-8 timing in the SPD. Their reason for doing this is to guarantee maximum compatibility with motherboards / chipsets and allow the system to boot correctly. The onus is then upon the user to manually go into the BIOS to set the 2-3-3-6-1T timing the memory is capable of, and raise the memory voltage from the default of 2.6 to Corsair's recommended 2.75. In fairness, much of this info can be found on their web-site, but you will need to dig...

Overall Review: My system is a new Asus A8N-SLI Premium with the later nVidia nForce4 chipset. If my system is capable of supporting 2-3-3-6 timings, which it is, the SPD should be set so I do not have to mess about in the BIOS. There is plenty of other 3-3-3-8 memory offered by Corsair for slower / older machines. I have a sneaky suspicion Corsair do this as part of a screening process - the memory is built as CAS 3 and then some of them will test out at a faster speed and get the 'C2' suffixed sticker. The problem is that the SPD is set to the CAS 3 timing. ***Come on Corsair - be up front about this. Say it's a CAS 3 which has been tested at CAS 2 (CAS 2 capable).***

Most Critical Review

Old mutton dressed as lamb

Moneual Black Aluminum MONCASO 301 B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
Moneual Black Aluminum MONCASO 301 B Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case

Pros: Seemingly a clone / rebirth of the defunct Dvine / AHANIX MCE301B cases, this enclosure provides nice aesthetics that will be a good match to many a home entertainment system. VFD is a plus if you can figure out how to drive it and the bundled remote will save you a few bucks as well. The brushed front aluminum panel is nice piece that adds a touch of class. It’s a pity then, that the class stops here…

Cons: I found several significant issues with this case. First, for the huge amount of money this thing costs, the build quality is so-so at best. The tiny screws which hold the main cover in place do not line up correctly with the holes in the chassis and are just begging to be lost. The black finish of the screws is easily marred and they are just as easy to cross-thread during installation due to the alignment problems. Cooling is also a concern and if you are planning on putting some power-hog processor in this case think again – the fans are small, the air flow compromised and the venting inadequate for anything other than a “standard” processor. High-end video cards will not fit, though this is not the primary focus of this case. The button to depress the eject on the CD/DVD needs very carful alignment to operate reliably – twisting of the case when reassembling the misaligned cover only serves to make this worse.

Overall Review: This is a low profile case that needs careful selection of components – any expansion cards need to be low profile to fit. Although a lot of cards such as wireless network adaptors are typically available in a low profile form factor, many do not come with the low profile brackets, which will mean breaking out a Dremmel tool and a rivet gun. Overall, you need to be dedicated to experimenting with different components, playing with the drivers to get the VFD working, finding a quiet low height heatsink for the CPU and testing cooling fans to effectively get the hot air out of the case. If you don’t care about the VFD, and personally I found it was just not worth the effort, there are many other choices out there.

Quality Build - Nice & Quiet

ENERMAX Liberty ELT500AWT 500 W ATX12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
ENERMAX Liberty ELT500AWT 500 W ATX12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Pros: Nice, quiet new generation power factor correcting (PFC) 500W PSU, which seems to have no problems with my Athlon 4200+ system w/7900GT graphics card. Black finish with modular sleeved cables allow you to use just the cables you need. There are some issues with this approach (see cons). Helpful manual and the cables even come in a velcro pouch! Rather unneccessary but shows the attention to detail. Fan has the ability to be monitored by the motherboard.

Cons: No matter what length you make the cables, they are never quite right for the given application. Although this PSU has modular harnesses, they are all the same length, which for my mid tower, meant a lot of bundling up the spare length on the shorter runs. The net result is a mess similar to a PSU which does not have this feature. High inrush current when this PSU starts up, enough to make the lamp at my desk momentarily dim. This is not unusual for switching supplies.

Overall Review: Provide additional (shorter length) harnesses, or allow them to be purchased.