Date Joined: 11/21/04
Pros: Worked for about 2 months.
Cons: Worked for a couple of months, but then like thousands of others out there, seems to increasingly drop out connections that need to be rebooted. Very annoying. I didn't even get to break even compared to a Comcast modem. Very disappointed.
I should have listened to all the reviews out there, but I needed a modem quickly, and bought it at a BB brick and mortar store.
Pros: Whopping storage size, decent price
Cons: None so far. Due to the huge GB size, it takes many hours to format, but that's not the fault of the drive. Just let it format overnight.
Overall Review: Great drive. I have purchased about 9 relatively new HDD's over the past 3 years, including WD's, Sgate, Hit*chi, etc. in 2.5 and 3.5" form factors.
This so far seems to be the most quiet and vibration free drive that I have ever purchased. I can't even feel any vibration when touching the drive in it's external eSATA dock.
Even though it's a slower spindle speed, the drive seems very fast (although I have never benchmarked it). So far, so good. I hope it lasts longer than the previous gen Sgt drives.
Pros: Lots of marine features and alarms, such as anchor drag alarm, low water depth alarm, (from map depths) Man Overboard function, etc. The coastal marine plots seem fairly good and accurate to the paper chart I have of Upper Chesapeake Bay.
Very fast at screen changes and map scrolling (for a handheld). Has great accuracy with WAAS/Egnos turned on. Fast satellite lock.
Decent screen visibility in bright sunlight.
I was afraid it was going to be large due to the extra long design (to allow it to float on the water). I find it not too large, and it's OK while hiking. It's not too heavy either.
Large onboard memory (~1.6GB?) with ability to add maps also to micro SD card slot.
Has extensive Geocaching functions, although you have to purchase other map software or micro SD cards.
I find the 2 AA battery life is pretty good.
Cons: Price kinda high, but the accurate marine charts are worth it. Base maps (on land only--the marine charts are good) are a joke, and optional 100K topo map software are still sparsely populated.
Overall Review: I got my Garmin 78sc a couple of weeks ago, to use not only on the water (Chesapeake Bay), but for hiking and geocaching. By now I've sailed for 3.5 days,(about 18 hours total run-time), before needing to change the alkaline batteries, so I'm fairly satisfied with the battery life. I am now trying NiMH rechargeables, and they seem to last fine, after a 4 hour trip, seems to have plenty of juice left. Always Bring spare batteries sailing.
Also, having the buttons on top of the screen are a little weird, but it's not a big issue in use. It's very fast in finding the satellites and switching display screens, etc. The built in electronic compass (multi-axis)calibrates quickly, and reacts quickly to movement, but seems very accurate. There is an option to have the map orient to either the compass heading (direction you point the GPS) or from the track (direction you were moving in.
Very satisfied with this hand-held marine plotter, as I can use it hiking also (with optional maps).
Pros: I've owned this drive for a little over a year now, with fairly regular use in an external hot-swap eSATA docking station. I use if for High Def Video editing and system backup use.
I pull the drive and transport it between work and home (in it's anti-static bag), about once per week, and there have been no problems with frequent docking/undocking or use.
The drive is fast, quiet, stable and so far totally reliable.
Pros: Looked good, and white color was different than all the black and silver units out there.
Cons: It had a 9 pin (DIN type?) power connector instead of a typical DC power adapter. It tended to easily fall out of the back of the unit when you touch it or move it slightly.
Also, after about 8 months of use, the DC power circuit lost some power somewhere, and did not supply enough power to spin up any of my 3 HDD's whether 3.5" or 2.5" drives. The drives were fine because they spun up a different docking unit.
Pros: Was not too small, and fairly comfortable for all day use
Cons: Died after 3 months of normal use. Seems to be rather poorly constructed and designed.
Pros: Great little player. Very responsive, tiny player with full video capability.
The new Microsoft Zune 4.0 PC software is much more responsive than the older software. And now, it has videos in the Zune Marketplace.
The Zune pass is a great deal.
The screen is very nice, with a crystal clear glass faceplate that's much more scratch resistant than the ip*ds. The screen is larger than the competition's small player, and videos are watched with the player turned "sideways" for a larger sized screen.
Excellent sound with a good pair of earbuds.
Cons: The earphones are rather cheap, but so are every other player's standard offering. I got a cheap, great sounding pair of Sennheiser's CX300, and they sound great.
No graphic equalizer setting, but it still sounds good, with good, flat frequency response with a good set of ear buds.
Overall Review: 8Gb is on the small side these days. But the price has come down a lot on these lately, so it's still a good value. I have an older 80GB Zune player I bought a couple years ago, so I keep all my ripped movies and larger video podcasts on the 80GB (After using that one for thousands of hours, I still love it).
I use this 8GB player when I need a smaller player like when hiking, running, etc. It works out great.
The earphone jack is on the "bottom" side, but I don't think this is much of a problem.... When you watch videos, you turn the screen sideways anyway to see the image anyway, so the jack winds up on the side.
Pros: The price was great, and the typical fast Newegg Shipment is a plus. The monitor looks nice, and has 3 inputs, Analog, DVI and HDMI. The HDMI is nice to get high quality video from game systems and Blu-ray players for movie watching (the 1920x1080 monitor resolution matches Blu-ray output perfectly). Or you can hook it up to a digital DVR/tuner and use it as a cheap TV.
Cons: The button system on the front is very difficult to figure out and is not logical. I spent 20 minutes trying to figure out how to adjust the brightness and contrast.
To switch input modes (say from computer DVI input to HDMI) you MUST use this difficult button system to switch input sources. Prepare to be frustrated and go up the learning curve if you plan on switching inputs a lot.
Text on the monitor looks fuzzy. I had to turn on XP's "Clear Type" font smoother for the text to be "smeared together" so it didn't look fuzzy. (I typically don't use Clear Type on higher quality monitors, but I had to here).
Overall Review: The monitor does not height adjust or pivot 90 degrees to portrait, but that's to be expected for a large, cheap monitor.
Altogether, not a bad monitor for the price for casual computing, gaming, movie watching. Just don't expect excellent color reproduction, sharpness, etc. But more than adequate for home use for the price.
I don't use the speakers, so I can't comment on the sound.
Pros: All metal construction, seems very robust. Well thought out design. Nice paint job. Has all the cables, including eSATA and double head USB (for powering drives if single headed USB doesn't supply enough power to spin your drive-mine did).
Has a nylon carrying case which is a nice touch. I keep my drive always in the mesh pocket side, even when plugged in for "air cooling" through the mesh.
Vantec supplies a port for a 5V DC input on the back side of the drive for those that don't want to use USB power for the HDD. No DC cable is supplied, however, but the manual gives you all the specs you need to find a suitable DC plug/brick.
Cons: While the nylon carrying case is nice, when trying to store both eSATA cables and double-headed USB cable in their pouches, it tends to get "fat", pressing down on the HDD while zipped up. I'm worried that the extra pressure on top of the HDD drive while zipped up will push down on the HDD lid too much in the zipped case? Probably not a big deal, as the HDD heads are not over the disk when the drive is powered down inside the zipped up case.
People have mentioned it needs rubber feet. I agree. The bent metal feet on it are slippery, and may scratch surfaces it's sitting on?
Overall Review: It was easy to put a 160GB Seagate 7200 RPM drive in this thing. Slipped right in, with no software needed for my XP and Vista computers. That fast drive only needed a single USB cable to power up the drive, but it's nice that Vantec supplied a double-headed USB cable if you have a laptop that puts out weak power through the USB port.
I corrupted my drive at one point and had to reformat. THIS WAS NOT THE FAULT OF THE VANTEC UNIT. I think I had a hiccup during an eSATA transfer. I think it was because I did not turn off HDD caching. Since this is a portable drive, there is a greater chance of pulling a plug during transfer, causing corruption.
I STRONGLY SUGGEST turning off write caching on the external HDD, by going into "Device Manager", "Disk Drives", right clicking on the external HDD and going to "Properties", and then the "Policy" tabs. Select "optimize for quick removal". It makes copying a little slower, but a corrupted hard drive is no fun! It trashed all my dat
Pros: Looks just like the Thermalt*ke BlacX unit I bought a few months ago. (See other thoughts)
I did not need to install any software for Windows XP or Vista. The OS recognized the 2.5 or 3.5" drives through USB or eSATA connections.
Cons: Will NOT fit a WD Velociraptor drive. This is because the Velociraptors have eSATA and power connectors in "non standard" locations due to the big heatsink puts on the Velociraptor.
However, it seems to fit all other 2.5" and 3.5" SATA drives
Overall Review: Before you trash this review for being for a different unit (Thermalt*ke BlacX unit), it looks IDENTICAL. I went to do a review of my Thermalt*ke BlacX, and it has fallen off the face of the earth. My GUESS is that the name or company changed to "Sunbeam", but take my word for it-- this is the same unit I bought from Thermalt*ke.
Pros: Fast for a 2.5" drive, 7200 RPM large cache. Mine is very quiet and vibration free.
Designed and Engineered in the USA unlike Fujitsu, Hitachi drives (of course, none of the drives are made in the US anymore). Seagate owns their own factories. There aren't any firmware issues with this drive like some of their newer 3.5" drives.
Cons: None that I can think of. No issues.
Overall Review: This was a replacement for a smaller 160GB Seagate 7200 OEM drive on a laptop workstation (D*ll M6400). There was nothing wrong with the Seagate 160 GB, but it was too small for my needs (HD Video editing and engineering analysis FEA and CFD work).
I imaged the old drive with free version of Macrium Reflect software, and put the image (and MBR) on the new 320GB drive. No issues, but it did take a few hours.
Rather than putting the original 160GB drive in the 2nd HDD bay on the laptop, I reformatted it and put it in an external 2.5 Therm*ltake case (eSATA and USB connections). Works great, and now I have a fast 7200 RPM portable drive to shuttle huge HD video files between computers.
Pros: Seems to be a very realistic simulation of flying... You can start off on fairly "easy" settings, and change to harder and more realistic as you learn.
I think a lot of what you will learn will be applicable to what real pilots need to know in terms of navigation, flight theory, control layout, etc.
After registering the program online, I do not need to insert the game DVD to be able to play. It works from the hard drive.
Due to the realistic nature of the maps and landmarks, it's very entertaining to fly over an area you know well. Things look different from the air!
No issues with installation or even after installing the FS Service Pack.
There is almost worldwide support of airports, cities, etc. Of course your house won't be there, but it seems like a lot of the major landmarks and mediums sized airports are in there. Yesterday, I "flew" in Oregon, Washington, Florida, Japan and Brazil. I wish I could get frequent flyer miles!
Cons: Took couple of hours to load, on 2 DVD's, and takes up a lot of hard disk drive space.
Since this is a simulator, it can be as boring as flying in a real plane. This is not for the adrenaline junkies, as there are no fighter aircraft and bombs, etc. It's not an arcade game!
Overall Review: I had the older MS FS 2004 version. This seems to be a significant upgrade in terms of visual eye candy.
I have an expensive new Quad Core D*ll M6400 Laptop (thanks boss!) with a strong Quadro video card. Running Vista 64 bit with 8GB of RAM. It's a pretty serious laptop, and I'm running so far at full screen resolution of 1920x1200, full color with most of the game settings at "Med-High, and with anti-aliasing turned on. No issues or (computer) crashes after 10+ hours of "flying". Of course, I have crashed the airplane, but that's not the software's fault!
I haven't tried the helicopters yet, but the Airbus is hard to land! It's pretty sluggish (not due to software, I guess multi-ton airplanes are just that way!)
Using an old USB joystick, Thrustm*ster Top Gun Fox pro2 and it works great.
Pros: Nice small size, very large hard drive, very bright and readable screen. Has 3 USB connections, and the 6 cell battery lasts 3-4 hours and was worth the extra money over the 3 cell of the cheaper models.
Realtek HD sound codec sounds pretty good playing music in my kitchen when hooked to a good set of 2.1 speakers. Has a graphic equalizer function in the software. The large hard drive holds thousands of my songs (yes, purchased legally through Am*zon.)
Internet access (using my 802.11G router) is flawless and connected with WPA security no problem. I haven't tried it on an 802.11N router yet.
It was very easy to add another 1GB RAM stick, in addition to the 1GB that's soldered to the motherboard, but yes, I guess I voided the warranty by breaking through the sticker on the bottom of the case. Nevertheless, in looking at the motherboard while the case was open, it seems to be well put together, and has a Western Digital 160MB hard drive.
Cons: Keyboard is feel is good, but I feel the location of the CTRL and FN key should be swapped. I keep hitting the wrong one after 3 weeks of consistent use. Also the period and comma key are smaller than other keys, so I tend to hit the wrong one.
As someone mentioned, the laptop tips backwards away from you when actually on your lap or soft surface. If it's on a hard surface (table) it does not tip over.
Overall Review: Although the screen is bright, readable (LED backlit), and relatively large for a netbook (10") it is of course still only 1024x640 pixels. So be prepared for a lot of scrolling up and down. This is made easier with a USB mouse, as the FN-Pg Up and FN-Pg Down are a little wonky on my model (sometimes does strange things).
I was surprised that the Atom single core processor seemed fairly speedy. Atom seems to have dual-threading capability, and shows 2 processors although it's only a single core in reality. (Intel makes dual core Atoms, but this is not one of them).
Not really a con, (as this class of computer is SUPPOSED to be tiny), but please make sure that you can live with any netbook's tiny screen and small keyboard. It's smaller than I expected, but then again, I had never seen a netbook before. Don't let the pictures fool you--It's a lot smaller than a regular laptop. I'd suggest getting your hands on one before taking the plunge. I still think it's a great 2nd comp
Pros: The box looks nice.
Cons: It crashes my computer--hard. I bought a new quad core Vista 64bit computer. Premiere elements crashes immediately, or after a few minutes. It completely locks the computer, and I have to do a hard reset.
I uninstalled and reinstalled it a few times, with no luck. I even did a completely new OS install (fresh install-not a restore), but Premiere elements still completely locks up.
I then tried uninstalling/reinstalling PE7 and then running it in "compatibility mode" that runs the program with "administrator" priveleges and with Win XP compatibility. Still no luck.
Overall Review: I'm giving up being a long-time Premiere Elements proponent. Since I need something to edit HD video from my new camera and with my new computer, I'm going to look for something else.
After all these problems, I researched Premiere Elements on the web. There seem to be a lot of stability problems out there. BUYER BEWARE! At least until they fix the stability issues...
Pros: Nice screen, relatively small size, good sound quality on my MP3's.
Has a standard USB plug connector for power and downloads- don't need to carry a special cable like other brands.
You don't have to use the (lousy) Creative software to upload/download files, unless you have to do video conversions (see other thoughts below).
Cons: I was somewhat disappointed with the player, as I also have a larger 80GB MS Z*ne player, and comparisons were inevitable. The MS Z*ne has a much better, slicker interface that's easier to read, with less button clicks than this Creative Zen.
While the Creative Zen is small, the size of a credit card, it is also fairly thick. It's also rather heavy for it's size-surprising since it does not have a tough glass screen like the Z*ne.
The Zen's buttons are very "clicky" (noisy), and require moderate force to press.
As everyone says, the screen scratches too easily, and there's no carry case or skins included. And yes, the supplied cable is a joke.
Very limited video file format support without conversion.
Overall Review: I had an older hard drive based Creative Zen Micro, and hated their buggy, slow software, so I refused to even load the disk (not necessary, and Win XP found an appropriate driver-no problem). I like that you don't have to use the Creative software to get files on and off this Zen player.
However, I was surprised at how finicky this player was with video file formats. I have a lot of home movies in .wmv format, and also wanted to watch .MP4 or .MOV video podcasts. It did not play any of these natively. I had to use a 3rd party video converter (SuperC) to convert these using a Divx 5 codec at 320x240 pixels with MP3 audio and save it as an .AVI file to get this player to play them. (Remember I didn't use the Creative software that has a built-in video converter). That conversion is a pain and slow to do.
I guess I'll just listen to MP3's on this Creative Zen and save the videos for the larger MS Z*ne, that play many more video file formats without conversion.
Pros: Runs Solidworks 2007 & 2008 without any problem.
Was rather inexpensive compared to high end GPUs for CAD.
Works just fine in a 2 small monitor setup.
Is a certified card with Solidworks and most other CAD programs.
Fairly quiet fan, and is a relatively small 1 slot PCI-e card. It over-clocks moderately with the Nvidia control panel software.
Cons: None really. However, if you use CAD programs with hundreds of parts in an assembly, it might get rather slow? But I've had no problems with medium sized CAD models in Solidworks 2007.
Since it's an inexpensive card, you can't turn the Anti-aliasing all the way up in your CAD models without a noticable speed hit. Moderate anti-aliasing settings are OK and look decent without being too slow.
Overall Review: This video card and extra RAM gave an old 3GHz Pentium 4 computer a second life as a "poor mans" CAD and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Fluid Dynamics (CFD) workhorse.
I updated the video drivers right off the NVidia website. No problems there. I like the Nvidia software as it allows you to control the fan speed (trade off cooling vs. noise) and can overclock right in their software.
I was not satisfied with the way the edges in Solidworks looked (jagged lines) with the settings at "let the application decide", so I manually turned up the anti-aliasing to about 4X (a moderate setting) through the Nvidia control panel. It made the jaggies almost completely go away, without a serious speed hit when rotating 3D models.
It works just fine for casual 3D CAD use. The videocard is even better than the one in my 2 year old D*ll M70 laptop workstation (custom designed for CAD work).
Pros: Has saved my system 2 times from very badly behaving Internet Security suite software (Trend Micr0 and Z0ne Alarm both messed up my WinXP installation).
Saved me countless hours and frustration.
Cons: The interface is a little cryptic, and not for total newbies. The terminology is "techie" and can be a little bewildering if people don't know what "Images", "Mounting", "Secure Zones", etc.
I've heard that it does not work well on RAID HDD systems (if you don't know what it is, then you DONT have RAID)
Overall Review: Very powerful. Works seamlessly on my Win XP installation with 4 separate hard drives (non RAID). I have used it 2X to rebuild my System disk after poorly behaving software trashed it.
Pros: Was easy to install. Interface looked pretty good while it worked.
Cons: The software really messed up my Windows installation. (AMD X2 4400+, Asus MB) I couldn't get to the internet, even if I turned off all the firewall restrictions, and even turned off the firewall.
Even after uninstalling ZoneAlarm, it had permanently damaged some OS files.
Overall Review: Caused me about 20 hours worth of work trying to "fix" my windows install, and then after giving up, from reinstalling windows and all my applications and preferences.
This pain caused me to buy Acr*nis True Image Home backup software (great software by the way) to prevent all this pain in the future.
While trying to troubleshoot, on another computer that could get to the internet, found that the software was destroying a small percentage of other peoples system also. Zone Alarm knew about it for a long time, and had no real fix that worked.
Pros: Well, it seemed to have a nice user interface
Cons: It trashed my operating system. I couldn't get to the internet. I had un-installed all the conflicting software it recommended (Spybot, etc) before installing it, so I did everything they recommended before installing it. I couldn't get back to a "pre-trashed" state with system restore either, even though I had some previous states.
Overall Review: I guess it gets so deep into the operating system, that it has the ability to really screw up your system if something happens.
I'm glad that I previously bought Acr*nis True Image home backup software, so I re-installed my system using Acr*nis.
Pros: Fast eSATA connection and still has USB2.0 for versatility. It does not have a fan, so it is relatively quiet, at the expense of slightly higher temps. Shouldn't be a big deal for a 7200 RPM drive.
Has all the needed cables (external and internal eSATA, and USB) and computer eSATA back plate connector.
Solidly designed with quality construction.
Cons: Not hot swappable when using eSATA connection. Big logo on the side does look cheesy.
The mounting screws for the HDD mount are hard to put in without dropping into the case a few times as the holes are recessed -- it's a LOT easier if you use a magnetic tipped screwdriver.
Overall Review: You must turn on the drive before turning on the computer. I just leave the power on, and the computer still actually turns the HDD on and off like it was inside the computer case, the the drive is not spinning all the time-Nice.
Since there is no fan, the unit is quiet, but it may run a little hotter than others. My 500GB 7200RPM Seagate backup drive is only 2C higher than other drives in the case.
If you have a Seagate drive, don't forget to remove the little jumper from the drive before putting it in the case (Read the sticker on the HDD). I forgot-DOH. So I had to insert those d#%m screws twice!
If you don't remove the jumper from some Seagate drives, you will not get 3Gb/s transfers, only 1.5Gb/s.
Pros: None. The levels of failures I've been reading about are apalling and not acceptable for the higher prices Seagate seems to think they can charge.
Cons: Had trouble starting the platters rotating. Had to apply power 3 times to get the disks rotating. Worked long enough to format it and checkdisk it, and transferring ~100GB to it.
The next time I tried power-up, the disks didn't rotate. Nothing can get it to start up.
Overall Review: The drive, when it worked vibrated quite a bit, and was about 5deg C hotter than my 3 other WD drives.
Also, when the heads were seeking, they were very noisy.
Seagate seems to be having major problems in their new China plants (may be the one they took over from Maxtor?).
Seems like Seagate lost a lot of quality control when they moved to China and switched to perpendicular recording. I'm very disappointed, and will go back to W D drives or even try S@amsung.
Pros: Great low price. Lots of planes and airports, all over the world. I'm sure there's an airport in your neighborhood that you can fly from. There are planes from WWI fighters, Spirit of St. Louis and all the way through a 747. There's even an acrobatic plane that's fun to fly. Flight controls seem to be very realistic plane to plane. (but I'm not a pilot)
Cons: It's silly not being able to fly out from Washington DC Reagan Airport. You can land there, but I guess there's some security thing??
I wish there was a fast military jet in the software, as the Learjet is stll a little slow maneuvering. (stunt plane is fun though)
Overall Review: I always wanted to fly since high school 20 years ago, but it was too expensive. This is cheap and safe!
Washington DC scenery is fun to see from the air-all the museums and monuments are there.
Get a real flight Joystick (not a gamepad)-you'll need it for the most enjoyment.
This is more a realistic flying game, not a fast-paced kids game.
Pros: Looks understated and respectable. Holds computer internals OK.
Quiet fan with 3 levels of flow
Cons: Power Supply died after a few months. It was not easy or fun having to troubleshoot it and then replace it. I replaced it with a Se*Sonic unit.
The Fan shroud us junk
Overall Review: I thought it was a good deal until the Power Supply failed. Then it was a major headache with weeks of downtime until I figured out it was the PSU and not the motherboard.
Pros: High Capacity for the money.
Quiet and no excess vibration.
Formatted to NTFS with no problems or bad sectors.
Cons: None really. You will need a new SATA power connector on your power supply as it does not have the old Molex power connector on the drive anymore.
Overall Review: The ~320GB size seems to be the sweet spot for large enough size without really high prices. The 400GB to 750GB sizes are just too expensive right now.
The drive seems pretty fast, but I haven't done any benchmarking against an PATA drive.
Pros: I can hear sound from the speakers, but that's not why I bought them. I wanted to dub a voice narration track over home video using video editing software, so I needed a microhone.
Cons: The microphone is garbage. Defective wiring? I have to shout for any thing to be recorded, and there's lots of "hum".
I know the problem is not in my setup or computer, because I found a 20 year old condenser microphone in the basement, and the recorded volume was 10X louder than the Plantronics when plugged into the same mic port with the same volume settings.
Also, when I moved the boom mic out, I could hear feedback and crackling through the speakers, so it must be a bad wiring job.
Overall Review: Very disappointed in Plantronics. This is the 2nd item I've bought from them, and both have been poor.
I know the price wasn't too high, but it was 3X higher than the cheapest microphone out there. I paid the extra dollars thinking I was going to get "Plantronics quality". I guess that's what I got. Never again.