Joined on 03/02/02
Pros: It actually works. I've tried the rest, don't waste your time. Just bite the bullet, spend a little more and be happy!
Cons: Somewhat expensive (but you do get two tuners). No analog support. There are no setup/manual or software in the box, just a card that points you to an internet page for setup, software, & driver downloads. The network tuner paradigm may not be for everyone (I resisted myself...)
Overall Review: I am tickeled to death! I have tried and returned 5 (count 'em...FIVE) ATSC tuner cards from Howpage (2 models), ATeye, Pintacle, Vista Vue. Although most worked OK, none of them were stable, some not even lasting a day before a reboot was required. The HDHR has now been plugged in for two weeks without a single tuner failure or failed recording. Reception is excellent and I thought the setup was quite easy. 100Mb eithernet IS NOT a con!! 1 ATSC channel is 15 Mb. There is room for two tuners with room to spare @ 100Mb.
A Decent Looking Case but Mediocre at Best Design
Pros: Looks nice. Decent airflow (but only because of the side fan).
Cons: You get what you pay for in terms of layout and design. Metal is one step above aluminum foil. Even though it has rolled edges the metal is so thin that edges (and especially corners) are still pretty sharp. Putting the side panels on requires great care as it is very easy to bend the tabs (fortunately they can be easily bent back using fingers alone). Only two of the three fans are LED. Front fan is in danger of actually being useful, for the most part it will just blow hot case air around rather than pull outside air in from the front. Plus it only blows over the very top of the HDD cage so the bottom drives cook themselves. Rear fan mount is 120mm yet the exhaust is only for a 92mm fan, significantly restricting hot air exhaust. The only thing keeping this from being a hot box for a high powered system is the side fan. HDDs are hard mounted to cage (no rubber grommets for noise or vibration isolation), and the only way to mount them is by the front, leaving back of the drive cantilevered half way out into the case. A real head scratcher are three 5.25" bays, two or which are tool free, but there is only a single front panel knockout. Since the font is curved a 5.25" device that is installed here will not be flush with the front.
Overall Review: I would not get this at it's normal price, it has lots of quirks but will work. It should be possible to do much better than this at it's normal price.
Does a lot of things adequately, but does very few things well
Pros: There a few things I consider case to do well: (1) The assembled look of this case is fantastic. Fit and finish is nothing short of what is expected from Fractal Design. It's not quite as minimalist as Fractal Design is known for, but it is still simplistic and attractive. (2) The cooling potential is phenomenal with the dual fan meshed front and multiple potential exhaust fan points. The intake air is well filtered to keep the dust bunny's out and the included fans appear to be of superior quality (albeit three pin, not PWM). (3) Two 5.25" drive bays. Yes, you can actually use a CD ROM and card reader with this case, one of seemingly few Fractal Design cases that will do so. (4) LARGE window that compliments the overall look rather than making the case look cheap and gaudy.
Cons: So close, and yet so far on so many other things. (1) While the fans are fans you'd like to keep, it needs at least one more in the rear to exhaust hot CPU air. Unfortunately, at this time, it appears Fractal Design does not sell these fans as aftermarket items. To ensure matching fans you have to replace the front ones too. (2) The hard drive mounting brackets are exceedingly flimsy and an HDD will actually move about in the cage when installed due to the loose fit. (3) The SDD mounting point behind the motherboard is infinitely impractical and takes away already limited space for cable management. I used some velcro to put mine on top of the HDD cage. (4) The space behind the motherboard is very tight for cable management. Although it can be made to work, expect difficulty and some frustration to arrange cables flat enough so that the panel will close without interference. (5) The fan grids on top are slightly squished in. I noticed this in many on-line photos as well so seems to be "just the way it is". (6) The feet are not tall enough to clear even modest carpeting, starving the PSU for cooling air. The PSU cannot be mounted securely "upside down" in this case, so the case must be raised off the ground (I set mine on a sheet of plywood). (7) The Power and HDD LED are EXCEEDINGLY BRIGHT to the point of annoyance! They are like flickering flashlights shining up in your eyes! (8) While Fractal Design was careful to design the front to be removed without having to disconnect any front panel items, it will hang up on the bezel of 5.25" devices, necessitating their removal as well. Unfortunately, removal of the front panel is required to remove and clean the intake filter, so this will be somewhat frequent.
Overall Review: In the end I want to like this case, and I generally do. I like Fractal Design cases as a whole too. What this case does well, it absolutely nails it. Unfortunately there are just enough turn offs and caveats, many are minor but others may be serious to some, that it's difficult for me to think of this as being anything more than an average case.
2 out of 3 ain't bad?
Pros: It spins it's impeller round and round to apply the slightest touch of pressure on air molecules within it's grasp. This has the effect of gently (and quietly!) accelerating them out of the fan, thereby drawing in a fresh batch of molecules into the opposite side to ensure a continuous process. Four blue LEDs mounted strategically around the hub provide a mellow emission of blue photons, just enough to ensure you and the molecules endure enlightenment and happiness so long as the fan spins...
Cons: I ordered 3 fans, 1 possibly is from a different OEM or factory or just a complete dud. The LED color clearly off kilter (more blue-green than blue), especially noticeable when the other 2 fans are nearby. On top of that the bearings are starting to rattle after only a week of use. Finally, one of the photon emitters, er, LEDs just turns itself off and back on at seemingly random intervals (we're talking days between events).
Overall Review: These are not exactly a force to be reckoned with in the wind department but are probably about average. Rosewill RFTL-131209B is definitely a superior air mover, although it is not silent at full speed.
Pros: Installed in a 5 year old thinkpad that already had it's drive replaced once. Been working just fine for about a month now.
Cons: Somewhat thicker than the old drive, had to trim some of the parts in the laptop to fit.
Overall Review: I've been slowly warming up to Toshiba drives after starting as relatively "unknown" (even though they are Fujitsu and Hitachi in heritage, their is no guarantee the product is representative of either), having installed this exact same drive as a PVR drive ~2 years ago and a 3.5" in my son's desktop last fall. I figure PVR duty is a pretty good stress test, and that drive is working just fine. Given Toshiba's recent financial difficulties, I hope we do not loose what appears to be a fine HDD manufacturer. It's slowing becoming a two vendor race between "the worst" and "you just thought the other guy was the worst"...
Iron Wolf or Lead Balloon? Only time will reveal...
Pros: Been running 2x of the 4GB drives for about 3 months now in a ZFS mirror on an AsRock C236 WSI under NAS4Free 11.0. Very quiet drives! The physical installation was as expected (completely straight forward) and the data transferred ("re-silvered" in ZFS speak) from the old, smaller mirror without issue. No issues to date in use.
Cons: Smartmontools (at least the version that ships in NAS4Free at this time) hasn't caught up with these drives yet and give some alarming readouts from the SMART data and even warns the drive should be replaced. You will need to search for the SMART codes for Seagate to manually decode the hexadecimal values to see what's really going on. In my case I have what appear to be extraordinary high Seek Error Rates and Command Timeouts, however after decoding the reported value I actually have NO Seek Errors and only TWO timeouts that I can trace to my doings at installation (see below)...but boy do the raw numbers look terrifying!
Overall Review: Been very very wary of Seagate starting with a bearing failure in a Barracuda 7200.10, which over the next few years was followed by failures of nearly every retail or OEM Seagate drive I owned (I have exactly one left out of 10 or so, which is the OEM drive in a 6 year old Thinkpad...the only success story Seagate can claim with me in the past 10 years!). I do hope this re-branding is sign they are distancing themselves from this era and have returned to their former glory. This will serve as the test case to see if I start buying Seagate again. Five stars for now, but only time will tell if it continues to deserve this rating. At installation I always run both short and extended SMART check and these passed, no issues, but apparently the USB dock I was using confused HDDTune software into thinking that the test wasn't actually running (could be a dock, drive, or software issue...don't know), but I could see each attempt logged a Command Timeout in the SMART data. Smartmontools on a direct SATA connection ran the tests just fine.