Date Joined: 12/10/02
Pros: ... they weren't _all_ DOA.
Cons: I bought nine of these drives for a build for my lab. Of them, one had death clicks immediately, and another SIX of them failed their smart checks right out of the box. Two seem to be working for the moment.
Overall Review: Western Digital Blacks are pretty much the new Hitachi Deathstars.
Pros: If you're looking for something reasonably priced and reliable this is a good option.
Cons: Louder than I'd prefer, but then again, I guess I had that coming when I went with a 2011 instead of a newer Ivy Bridge.
Overall Review: Glows blue... I'd have rather spent a dollar less on it and not have it glow.
Pros: These are solidly built units! I can't speak to longevity, but I can tell you that working with them has a very similar feel to working with Canon L lenses.
Cons: The packaging was a bit much, a secondary inner box that is labeled "Power Cord" in huge gray letters really isn't necessary or helpful; power cords need no introduction.
Overall Review: I ended up only buying 4 of these because Newegg ran out of stock :-( . Let's hope the replacements for the rest are as good as these!
Pros: This is a terrific case! The side panels slide nicely, it comes with a standoff driver, has tons of space and good cable management. What's not to love?
Cons: The motherboard tray is a wee bit thin. I just finished building 9 systems based on this case, and in those 81 motherboard standoffs three of them accidentally stripped.
The other thing I noticed is that the spacer that holds the power supply in position is just a tiny bit too tall. The workaround was easy, just start each screw before the power supply is flush with the back wall, so it wouldn't be right to ding it an egg, but if the NZXT people are reading this, dropping that spacer by a millimeter or so would definitely help!
Overall Review: Next time I'm building a system I will be buying this case again, the combination of features and price is the best I've seen in a long long time.
Pros: It looks fantastic, which is key when we're talking about displays.
Cons: It has been said elsewhere (but not loudly enough), that Dell couldn't be bothered to accept more than 1080p through the HDMI port! For some reason this is only ever documented in reviews. If you were planning on using HDMI because that's the only unused port of your graphics card, tough luck... off to buy a new graphics card.
But wait, it gets worse. The DisplayPort connector is junk, sometimes at the top of the screen lines will flicker, and sometimes the whole display goes black, only to show back up moments later. I can trigger it manually just by poking the DP cable. I guess this could be a bad DP cable (I don't have a way of verifying off hand), but this brings me to my final gripe:
For $700 Dell can really afford to throw in a good HDMI cable and a good DisplayPort cable... but they don't... for no apparent reason... unless perhaps they know that their HDMI and DisplayPort support sucks.
Overall Review: If and only if you plan on using Dual Link DVI, this is a very pretty monitor for a fairly reasonable price and you should consider buying it. In any other case you'd be better off looking at other things.
Pros: As before, it's just like a Kinect, but a lot smaller and powered completely by USB!
Also, if you're looking for something with good industrial design and feel this is not the device for you, get a Kinect instead, right now the Xtion is very clearly designed for hackers.
Cons: My previous review (which I can't figure out how to edit) was too hard on the device, it didn't have a stroke, but by a terrible coincidence all the other machines I tried it on had the same library version conflicts which led them to all malfunction in the same way, which led me to conclude it was a hardware problem and exchange it. I was wrong.
The one con I can think of is that the software required to make it work doesn't play as nicely with ROS as you might expect, given how buddy-buddy ROS and OpenNI are.
Overall Review: If you get a technicolor snowcrash on the RGB camera this is caused by a conflict with one of the packages of ROS Electric, specifically the package ps-engine (openni-dev can also conflict but the symptoms are different). The fix is pretty simple, just reinstall the sensor bin from the OpenNI website (NOT from the repo as this is likely the older ROS version).
Pros: Fantastic game. Best RTS I've ever played bar none.
Cons: GPG net is pretty stupid, but you won't spend much time interacting with it.
Overall Review: IMPORTANT! Install the original game before you install Forged Alliance. If you don't do it in this order the game will break in asinine ways and you won't be able to play online without a complete reinstall.
Pros: Modular cables are nice, but the non-modular ones are plentiful enough that I don't have any of the modular ones connected, but it's nice to know that I could if I wanted to.
Overall Review: It's way to soon to tell how good of a PSU this will be, call me in 4-6 years and I'll tell you how it has held up. My enermax 431W from 2001 is still running strong for what that's worth.
650W is more than you need. I'm running two 1TB hard drives, a 9800GT, firstname.lastname@example.org, an external HD, 2.1 Klipsch, 24" samsung lcd, 20" dell lcd, and my total power draw at the wall is less than 250W (yes I'm measuring it). So what makes you think you'll need more than double that for the tower alone?
The closer you run your PSU to its rated max the closer to the optimal conversion effeciency you'll get, but the number does fluctuate so you'll want to overshoot a little bit (10-20% or so). If I were to buy again I'd get a good brand (Antec is a pretty good brand) of 400-500W just in case I want to boost up SLI later.
Pros: This is the CPU to have. Running apps in VMWare's Unity mode feels like they're native. Gaming doesn't tax it. In fact I haven't found anything that taxes it.
Don't let the 130W rating scare you off, my entire system draws 240W at the wall, and that's with two large LCDs, speakers, external HD, single graphics card. Perhaps if I could find something more CPU intensive than Supreme Commander that number might climb a bit, but not much.
I'm running this one under a Scyth Mini-Ninja with no fan underneath the giant fan in the top of the antec 900. The heatsync is warm but not hot to the touch (not that touching a heatsync in a running machine is ever advisable...).
Easy to install too, just drop it in and clamp it down.
Cons: None really
Overall Review: This chip looks to the OS as if it has 8 cores since each of its 4 cores has hyperthreading. The actual performance of this is somewhere in between 4 and 8 depending on the application(s).
HT is effectively two heads on the same body, so if one head has to wait for something for any reason the other one can quickly take over control of their shared body and put it to better use than the other head would have. So you'll almost never get it to be as fast as 8 cores would be (assuming you have some way to max it out in the first place), but similarly it'll almost never be as slow as 4. Of course the point is moot if you're not maxing out the CPU.
Pros: Runs quiet, so fast that I end up using vsync, cheap.
Cons: none that I've found so far.
Overall Review: If your screen refreshes at 60hZ, exactly what do you need more than 60fps for again?
Pros: Easy to use and it works well.
Cons: None, the only reason to buy a system without buying this to use on it is if you already have some left over from a previous build.
Pros: The low setting on these fans is VERY quiet and cools well enough that I can game on my passively cooled (mini-ninja) i7. Gotta love that. Not sure what the other settings would do, I've had no reason to try them.
Cons: The blue LEDs in the 120mm fans is pretty tacky IMHO, but a few seconds with some wire snips fixed that problem once and for all.
Overall Review: The cable routing isn't great, but it isn't as bad as many of the other reviews would have you believe.
Pros: They carry data from point A to point B and back, what more could I want? They route nicely too.
Cons: The metal clips on the ends of these cables weren't compatable with all of the ports on my P6T (but they did work in some of them), so I can't use most of these that I bought.
Overall Review: I only bought these because I bought an openbox mobo which wasn't guarenteed to come with cables. Newegg, in their great-serviceness, sent the cables that came with the mobo, so I didn't need these, but oil well, always good to have spares.