Date Joined: 01/09/09
Pros: I really like the design of the case -- it's basically impossible for mATX to be any smaller. Installing a hard drive is a bit confusing, but otherwise, everything is pretty well laid out and easy to work with. Cable management and airflow are not a problem at all. Very attractive.
Cons: Power supply only worked right for a day. I'm using a 65w CPU and a 150w GPU (with a molex to PCI-E adapter), so I can imagine that with the other components factored in, my total power draw is probably just under 250w. I guess this was too much for it, despite being rated 300w, as by the second day, 3D applications would lock up the whole machine after a minute or so. Disappointing, but it appears to be replaceable, and I still feel like the case was a good value.
Overall Review: Basically met my expectations. Still a really good bit of design for the price.
Pros: Super long-lived, tiny, almost-silent LED projectors are a fairly new niche, and while they don't get a lot of attention due to being thought of as low-end products, it's hard to say no to <60w 720p for less than $500. On a purely technical level, this is very, very impressive, and when my old PJ-TX1000 (2004 MSRP: $3000) died and I decided I still didn't need any more than 720p, I was glad that this new tech had matured enough for me to justify a somewhat horizontal upgrade. Has a coax jack, speakers, and a sleep timer -- very TV-like. Refresh rate is really, really good.
Cons: Fixed zoom (if this is an issue for you I'd recommend getting a ceiling mount, they're very cheap and will likely solve any positioning problems). Colours aren't as deep as I'd gotten used to, and I wasn't crazy about the display presets, but it's plenty tweakable.
Overall Review: Smaller and better than you think. Nicer display quality can be had, but not for less than 3x the price (and a tenth of the lifespan).
Pros: This is the smallest (and best-priced!) case available that still supports a full-sized mainstream video card in the $150-300 range. The cooling is exceptional -- I'm running a 2500k at 4.4ghz with no heat issues using the stock cooler, which is amazing -- and you sacrifice almost nothing with mITX these days (can't do dual GPUs, but two memory slots is enough for 16GB of DDR3, and virtually all PCI cards can be replaced by USB devices).
Cons: Cable management is initially intimidating; it's certainly not the easiest case to work in, but once you've taken it apart a couple of times it actually becomes pretty easy to tuck excess SATA cables / USB headers / ATX plugs into the front and the top without obstructing the main fan.
Overall Review: Really terrific. Given that Intel's current development efforts are focused on iGPUs and power consumption, this case + Sandy Bridge + a Kepler GPU will likely remain a high watermark for powerful, compact desktops through 2015.
Pros: This is the most powerful single-slot GPU on the market. Great if, like me, you're a crazy person and like building gaming PCs in tiny Mini-ITX cases.
Cons: The 6850 is normally among the best-bang-for-buck video cards that you can buy; this card is an almost 50% markup from the average price. Unfortunately, it has no competition for what it is.
Pros: Well priced for an 802.11n card, and comes from a good manufacturing pedigree. Unless you're one of the unlucky people who have no end of trouble with this thing, then it's a fine purchase.
Cons: Ugh, I don't even know where to start. This thing has been on the market for four years now, and even the newest drivers (provided by either D-Link or Atheros; take your pick) pose severe stability issues on Windows 7 x64 (Gigabyte mobo). Trying to do more than one network-intensive action at one (like copying files via Windows explorer or running torrents) will, more often than not, cause either a bluescreen, a system lockup, or (best case scenario) the card to roll over and die and not be able to find any networks until a reboot. Exasperated, frustrated, need to replace the darn thing.
Pros: Oh, heck yes. I'd been using an Eee 1000HE for the better part of the past eighteen months, and while I loved the thing, it really did crawl compared with any other computer I use regularly. I got this model rather than the Core 2 Duo Timeline because I've had such good luck with dual-core Pentiums in every machine I've built in the past year or so, and this guy is no exception -- easily three times as fast as my Eee, and despite the larger screen, it's virtually no bigger (in fact, it still fits in my carrying sleeve, which is nice ...
Cons: ... because this didn't include one. Kind of cheap of them, but this is by far the best netbook-plus I've seen for the value, so I can't complain too much. Despite the more powerful CPU, this still gets upwards of seven hours of batter, and it's not fractionally as much of a fingerprint magnet as my Eee. The one disappointment so far is the touchpad; ASUS has been using some crummy ones on the newer Eee's, but I was absolutely spoiled by the 1000HE's, and I'm having a hard time adjusting to the lack of two-finger middle-click. It's fine otherwise, though (I turned the sensitivity way up).
Overall Review: I can't imagine needing 4gb of memory in this thing, but thanks anyway, Acer! Unequivocally recommend the purchase to anybody who wants a little more from a netbook.
Pros: This board is quite cheap, and fully-featured; the onboard sound is more than good enough, and the layout is solid.
Cons: It's not the greatest for overclocking. It has a featured called Fox Intelligent Stepping which needs to raise the PCI-E rather dramatically in tandem with the CPU; the highest I could get it stable (with an E5200) was 240/115, and I didn't want to push it any farther than that - though it would've topped out at 265 anyway. I did, however, painlessly get a 20% increase over the stock speed, and it raises the memory frequency in tandem. In fact, there's no option not to.
Pros: Very solid all-around case
Cons: 3-pin HD access LED connector had to be cut up
Overall Review: I'd been putting off a new build for a long time because I couldn't settle on a relatively small case that'd allow me to use a full-size video card without having to worry about heat, power, or size. Ultimately, I went with this mini tower, and I'm very glad I did - it keeps very cool, it's not too loud, it's not too heavy, and it's not too ugly!