Date Joined: 07/12/07
Pros: The Athlon 5150 consumes very little power, costs less than $50, and has the advantage of being a quad core processor. The fact that it is an ALU makes it particularly well suited for use in entry level machines, and the on die Radeon 8400 has more than enough power to deliver a seamless multimedia experience at a full 1080p image quality.
Beyond the technical jargon, this is a solid product, and it works well for my father. Though, the CPU delivers slightly less performance than the Phenom II X3 in his old machine, the on die GPU seems to more than make up for it.
Cons: The Athlon 5150 would not be a good pick for serious gamers. It lacks both the CPU and GPU power to make for a passable entry level gaming machine.
Overall Review: As an entry level option for basic computing and multimedia entertainment this processor is well worth the purchase. If you are looking for a sub $50 CPU with a decent power to performance ratio the Athlon 5150 is worth a look.
Pros: The Xonar DX is a balanced card, and has good value for the money. It is not strictly a "gamer's" or an "audiophile's" card, and has a good mix of features for both purposes.
It is an amplified card with EAX, Dolby, and 7.1 capabilities, so you will not have any problems getting plenty of ear splitting decibels out of it, and it produces clean and crisp sound. With high end speakers or headphones such as my Sennheiser Audiophile 555s and even my HD380Pros it sounds amazing. An added luxury is the ability to attach your computer chases’ standard front audio to the card, giving you easy access to the system without having to buy anything. The Xonar DX uses standard Intel HD audio front panel pin-outs, and is set up for ease of access.
Overall it is a great card, and quite frankly, ND annihilates the competition in its price range. If you are shopping around for a good all around sound card, the Xonar DX is a good option to consider. Overall my I have been very happy with this card.
Cons: The Xonar DX is not the "best card" for a single purpose. It sounds great, but not as good for games as the ASUS Xonar Essence ST or STX, or at recording or listening to music as M-AUDIO's Audiophile line. If you are looking for a single role, multipurpose card the DX is OK but not the best.
Overall Review: Overall, the Xonar DX is a great card in an affordable price range. It takes a balanced approach to sound and is a great choice for overall quality. If you are looking for a balanced mid-end sound card, the Xonar DX is a good choice.
Pros: Great Graphics, good car selection, nice controls, and a high degree of customizability.
Cons: PS3 exclusive title; game play can get repetitive.
Overall Review: Overall GT5 is a great racing game that provides a decent challenge, and immerses the player in a highly realistic world. If racing games are your genre, and you own a PS3, GT5 will make a great addition to your game library.
Pros: Going from 4 to 8GB of RAM was a great decision, and this RAM runs fast and stable.
Overall Review: Some systems underclock this and other manufacturer's RAM. This is a not a RAM issue, it is a BIOS issue. If you find that your system is underclocking your RAM you may need too hand set the timings, CAS, RAS, and tRAS.
Another thing to note is stability and voltage. When buying RAM, remember to check your manufacturer's motherboard spec sheet. Look for compatible RAM nomenclatures with the correct voltages.
Pros: The card installed without a hitch. The card I purchased is PCI so I do not lose a PCIe x1 slot, this could be a con in some cases, PCIe x1 is capable of 400Mbs verses PCI at 133Mbs. As of Linux kernel 2.6.30 and ALSA version 1.0.20 there is an DS/STX driver available, OSS 4.2 drivers support the card in FreeBSD and Solaris. The front panel audio support for standard HD Audio dongles is very nice as well.
Cons: Have not had one, running Windows 7 Pro x64 and 32bit , as well as XP and Vista. I have yet to try it in a Linux/UNIX environment; not really a con.
Overall Review: If you are experiencing hardware issues try disabling redundant hardware such as other sound card. Remember to check for hardware conflicts in device manager or a similar Linux/UNIX utility, and when in doubt, install drivers directly from ASUS.
If all else fails, remember to be persistent; search Google, try some tech forums. It may seem like a pain; it makes you a better tech, and worthy of claiming high tech knowledge. It also gives you the knowledge and experience to help your self in the future.
Pros: All my high end components fit in this case with room to spare. It has solid construction and great cooling options.
Cons: It is a big case, and requires a considerable amount of space.
Overall Review: The added 2.5 inch bay on the bottom of the case is a nice addition.
Pros: Fast and stable, quiet and cool. This little beast slaughters anything and everything I throw at it, games, engineering, mathematical computations, etc.
Overall Review: No cold bug; will accept phase change cooling systems with out a problem.
Pros: Good IO speed, gets a 5.9 in Windows 7 Pro 32bit, it has a fair capacity, and it is lightweight.
Cons: could have a larger capacity, but it meets my fathers needs.
Overall Review: Seagate is a great company. I have been using them since 1996 and continue to get a great value for my money with their products.
Pros: With stock cooling this card runs cool for a high end GPU, around 36.84 C 102 F idle, and I have never seen it hit more the 71 C 167 F running on load and full HD. This card works great with Windows 7 and gets a solid 7.9 in my system, and as a plus it plays well with Linux/UNIX systems. Another plus is the fact it is made by Gigabyte; they are one of my go to companies for reliability, stability, and durability. I have been using Gigabyte components in systems since 2000 and have yet to be disappointed.
Cons: none so far :)
Overall Review: The card is long; before buying I suggest checking your case dimensions. The card is 4.376” high or 111mm, and 10.5” long or 267mm. I suggest you give yourself at least a couple of inches between the card and your drive bays. You may be able to squeeze this card in a smaller chassis but you may damage your system; less heat dissipation and less room for cable management.
Pros: The Micro-ATX form factor allows for the assembly of a smaller and more space flexible system while allowing for a fair amount of expansion capabilities. This board works great with the Athlon II x2 240, and is a great option for someone looking to make a budget business and multimedia PC., or Linux/UNIX box.
Cons: Still a DDR2 board. Yet, this is not really a con.
Overall Review: Board runs stable in XP 32 bit, Vista Business, Home Premium, and several versions of Ubuntu, Fedora, Mandriva, Debian, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD.
Pros: It was a great price from a company I have trusted for years. The image quality is unbeatable, with full 1080p support and 50,000 to 1 dynamic contrast ratio, colors pop and images are lifelike. It is like looking through a window into another world.
Cons: The response time and refresh rate could be a little bit higher, 8ms at 60hz can be a bit blurry with fast motion.
Overall Review: You can not beat the price for the quality. This system is hands down the best buy I have found in this price range. I would recommend this product to anyone looking for a good HD TV that will not break the bank.
Pros: This controller is very well put together, and it has excellent response. It is great for console emulation, and for the most part it fits well in the hand.
Cons: Feels a bit clunky at times; though much better than the 1st generation Xbox controller. It might be an issue for smaller hands. I wish they would have made the grips a little bigger in the back, more like a Dreamcast controller, there are times when I do not feel as though I have a good enough grip on it.
Overall Review: Overall this controller is a great buy. It is of much higher quality than most other PC controllers I have ever owned. It is much more responsive and has a better overall feel in the hand. If you are looking for a gamepad for your PC, I would give this product a high recommendation.
Pros: I have never had a problem with MSI in over 500 system builds over the last five years. This board like the others I have worked with is rock solid stable and reliable right out of the box. I can not comment on MSI tech support; I have never had to call them. Everything seems to just plane work, and any problems I have had have been at most minor a minor inconvenience. I would recommend this board to anyone looking for a mid-level Gaming rig, or business machine.
Cons: SATA ports 1 and 2 are a bit awkward in their placement on the board. My graphics cards ubstruct both of them so it is not possible to use them with out a special SATA cable. This is more of an annoyance than anything.
Overall Review: Flashing the BIOS was a bit archaic, MSI's upgrade utility worked but it made me a bit nervous trying it from Windows. Used the DOS version instead; worked great.
Pros: Runs faster and cooler than my P4D. I have seen a definite increase in performance in all of my Operating Systems including Vista, XP, and Linux. With 2gigs of RAM both Vista's Aero and Linux's Beryl run flawlessly. I have noticed a substantial in game performance, and my core system temperature has never been over 40°C/104°F with the stock fan, and idles around 36°C/96.8F.
Cons: The stock fan is a bit tricky to mount, be certain to read the instructions carefully before installing it. Replacement fans are relatively inexpensive.
AMD is still cheaper, and their are still some advantages to owning an AMD system. The Athlon 64 x2 and FX's memory performance is insanely fast.
Overall Review: Be a well informed consumer. Know what you are buying and know what you are doing. When you build your system, make sure you have a clean and dry work environment and remember to use ESD protection. An Anti-static wrist strap is a small investment and it can save you thousands of dolors in hardware.