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NICHOLAS O.

NICHOLAS O.

Joined on 10/08/08

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 20
Most Favorable Review

Great Laptop

ASUS TUF Gaming A17 - 17.3" 120 Hz - AMD Ryzen 7 4800H - GeForce GTX 1660 Ti - 16 GB DDR4 - 1 TB PCIe SSD - Windows 10 Home - Gaming Laptop (TUF706IU-AS76)
ASUS TUF Gaming A17 - 17.3" 120 Hz - AMD Ryzen 7 4800H - GeForce GTX 1660 Ti - 16 GB DDR4 - 1 TB PCIe SSD - Windows 10 Home - Gaming Laptop (TUF706IU-AS76)

Pros: - It's not top of the line specs, but more than enough processing power and graphics muscle to handle all of the games I play on high settings, as well as all of the tech/programming related tasks I perform. - Based on above, amazing price to performance ratio. - 17.3" inch screen packed into roughly the same form factor as my 15.6" gaming laptop this replaced. The gaming laptop I had prior to that one was a 17.3" which was massive, hard to carry around anywhere, and heavy. Definitely enjoy the extra screen real estate. - 1TB M.2 SSD is fast and spacious - Second M.2 SSD Slot. I popped another 1TB in there for extra storage. - Sleek design. Its stylish without being obnoxious like some gaming laptops.

Cons: Runs a little hot, but I usually use it with a lap desk that has built in cooler fans so it helps tremendously. I definitely do not recommend using it directly on your lap, or on a soft surface which will restrict airflow.

Overall Review: I specifically waited to get my hands on a Ryzen7 4800H + 1660 Ti combo when they were released, and after a few attempts at catching it in stock I snagged one. After a couple months of use, I have not been disappointed. I am primarily a desktop gamer, and have a very high end system. This laptop is a great value and packs a heck of a punch even in comparison to that rig. I have been travelling more, and this laptop has allowed for gaming and general use on the go.

12/10/2020
Most Critical Review

When it works, it works great

ASUS TUF Gaming X570-PRO (WiFi 6) AMD AM4 (3rd Gen Ryzen ATX Gaming Motherboard (PCIe 4.0, 2.5Gb LAN, BIOS Flashback, HDMI, USB 3.2 Gen 2, Addressable Gen 2 RGB Header and Aura Sync)
ASUS TUF Gaming X570-PRO (WiFi 6) AMD AM4 (3rd Gen Ryzen ATX Gaming Motherboard (PCIe 4.0, 2.5Gb LAN, BIOS Flashback, HDMI, USB 3.2 Gen 2, Addressable Gen 2 RGB Header and Aura Sync)

Pros: - Pretty - Lots of connectors - Easy flashing of BIOS (once you overcome the inability to push the button, see below) - Price. It had some nice features that were only found on other boards in a much higher price point.

Cons: - Not SLI compatible. This one is on me for not researching more. I was upgrading from a system based on a B450 board where I had wanted to do SLI and saw I needed a X470 in order to do this. When building this new system, I picked X570 and expected it to work. It does not with this board. Again, my fault. - As another reviewer mentioned, the plastic USB Header piece was missing. This means the USB cord from the case feels a bit loose. - As another reviewer mentioned, the hole for the Flashback button does not line up with the board so it cannot be pressed without manually moving the board slightly. - No built in speaker. Had to find one to hook to the front panel pins to hear the POST error codes when first building (was no VGA detected, more on that below). - I use this Tuf Gaming boardin the Tuf Gaming GT501 case, and the positioning of the connectors along the bottom of the board are inconveniently placed with the opening to the PSU area covering when having to deal with trying to make it look pretty. They shouldn't have to bend so aggressively. - Unstable. I thought I was having PSU issues, but the same PSU powered another system perfectly. The other PSU I put in this system seemed to work at first but then steadily started exhibiting the same random nonsense over the next 24 hours. Different but compatible RAM also resulted in the same problems. Some of the issues "could" be signs of a bad or overheating CPU, but Ryzen Master and BIOS monitors discount that idea. Instability ======== The system wouldn't "turn over" right away. The RGB lights would come on for a split second and then stop. I'd hear a defined click from the PSU. If I pushed it a few times, it would finally turn on completely. At that point, sometimes it would POST and boot, sometimes it would POST and hang on the opening Splash page, and other times it wouldn't POST at all. It reached a point with the original PSU (EVGA Supernova 1300 80+gold) where it would never turn on. With the replacement (EVGA Supernova 850 80+gold), it would come on with a couple attempts. The same was seen with a third older 750W FATAL1TY PSU I had laying around. I'd get random POST beep codes on power up, such as no keyboard, no VGA detected, or no memory detected. All of those things were present. In most cases, it was the VGA error code, and almost always as soon as it said there was no VGA, the monitor would come on to the Windows login screen. I lived with this for a couple weeks before the problems escalated. I tried firing up VirtualBox for the first time, and my entire system shut down instantly. I tried again, and same thing happened. I found fatal errors in the Windows event logs, and it didn't even display a blue screen. I attempted to get into the BIOS screen to verify some virtualization settings and after 30 minutes still hadn't managed to coax the system into the menu through any means (DEL or F2 button on boot, Advanced menu in windows recovery UEFI boot, holding power button). ==EDIT#1== Getting the SN is a chore if you no longer have the packaging. I normally keep the boxes for my boards until I purchase the next one, but this time it seems to have been thrown out with the mountain of other cardboard refuse generated by my most recent build. It is NOT exposed to the BIOS, it is not accessible by API through WMI or through programs such as Speccy/CPUZ. The WMI command does return a serial number, but its not the one needed to register the board for warranty work. I was finally able to find the true SN on a sticker on the board after moving some components around. After registering, the RMA site is down. So this nightmare continues for now.

Overall Review: I love my TUF Gaming A17 laptop, so it seemed like a no brainer to build a desktop around a TUF Gaming board. I was wrong. I should have returned this board at the first sign of problems, and now I am a few days past the 30 day return window and will have to deal with ASUS directly. I've had this system built for about 30 days now and have had nothing but issues. Overall, I cannot recommend this board at this time. When I get a replacement, I'll see if it behaves any better. If not, I'm going to have to find something else.

Not great out of the box

XFX Radeon R9 290 4GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 CrossFireX Support Double Dissipation Edition Video Card R9-290A-EDFD
XFX Radeon R9 290 4GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 x16 CrossFireX Support Double Dissipation Edition Video Card R9-290A-EDFD

Pros: Worked amazing the first day Looks great in my build.

Cons: Since the second day, any attempt at gaming has been met with the dreaded Black Screen within minutes. I was aware of this issue in the 290 series for some prior to purchase, but have had amazing luck in the past with cards which have had issues for some people. Luck doesn't last forever I suppose. Searching on forums indicate the best way to deal with the issue is to. 1. Use a UEFI enabled motherboard. I already have this. 2. Increase VDDCI and underclock the cards memory. This is not acceptable when spending this much money on a card specifically for these specs. As best I can tell, this only makes it less likely it will happen, and doesn't stop it completely. 3. Update GPU BIOS. XFX website is pretty void of downloads. I have opened a support ticket on this issue to see if they have an updated VBIOS or any other suggestions. I will update review as 4. Use legacy drivers. I have yet to find one that works. 5. Verify with other PSU. Same results on several different very capable PSUs. 5. RMA the card. This might be an option if support does not have a different BIOS that actually works.

Overall Review: Not exactly the experience I was hoping for with this new rig. My particular variant of the Black screen occasionally recovers enough to check GPU-Z. I see that even after killing the game process, GPU Core clock ,GPU load and Fan speed are still maxed until reboot, while the memory clock rate had tanked to almost nothing at moment of crash. I can run Furmark GPU burn in test for quite a while with no issues, however gaming seems to cause the issue within minutes. AMD FX-8350 @ stock 4.0Ghz [liquid cooled] GIGABYTE GA-990FXA-UD3 Rev.4 @ latest BIOS version G.SKILL Trident X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) @ 1866 EVGA 220-GS-0850-V1 850W 80 PLUS GOLD Samsung 840 EVO 250GB SSD Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit XION Predator case

Decent Headphones

GOgroove Bluetooth IPX6 Water-Resistant Sports Fitness Headphones with Handsfree Calling & Wireless Music Streaming - Works with Apple iPhone 6s , Samsung Galaxy Note 5, LG G4 and More Smartphones
GOgroove Bluetooth IPX6 Water-Resistant Sports Fitness Headphones with Handsfree Calling & Wireless Music Streaming - Works with Apple iPhone 6s , Samsung Galaxy Note 5, LG G4 and More Smartphones

Pros: - Decent sound and a water resistant sport headphone for good price - Good range so I can listen to music without having to carry phone around while moving around my apartment. - Eliminates the need for wires while working out, which is fantastic. - Multiple sized adjustable buds for tailored fit. - Good battery life, allowing for multiple hours of music listening during workouts or other activities. Not quite the 8 hours advertised, but variation from the "perfect" conditions is to be expected.

Cons: - Initial pairing was a bit problematic. My headset requires the sync button to be pressed for about 10 seconds, while the instruction manual says press button for 5 seconds. This made me think it was DOA at first. - Microphone is not that great. Seems to pick up a lot of static when used for voice on both computer and phone based calls according to person on other end. - Button positioning isn't the greatest. It has three small unlabeled buttons closely grouped on the underside which makes it difficult to use without unseating a bud or taking off the headset, especially while running.

Overall Review: - Although its a sport model, for me the headphones tend to bounce on the back of my head while running, eventually working themselves out of position in my ears. Since this has happened with other headphones I have owned as well, I can't really count it as a con of the product itself but rather the activity paired with bud type inter-ear headphones. Still I think it is important to consider. - Has a custom charging port instead of a standard USB type, so wire clutter is increased and replacements may be hard to acquire should it be lost or broken, especially in the future when this model is no longer available. - The charging port has two metal contacts which can become coated with grime or sweat from heavy activity. This may make it charge slowly or not at all. Use a q-tip with rubbing alcohol to clean the metal contacts on both the charging cable (while not plugged in of course) and the headset to return it to normal operation. I would also imagine sweat could corrode the contacts, eventually making the headset no longer able to charge, so keeping clean is important.

Good product

Logitech Supra-aural Wireless Bluetooth Headset for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch (981-000381)
Logitech Supra-aural Wireless Bluetooth Headset for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch (981-000381)

Pros: - Compatible with my tablet (Nexus 7), phone (Galaxy Nexus) and Windows 7/Linux (Kubuntu) machines. - Good sound quality for the price point. - Has wide enough range to enjoy media without being tethered to one spot. - Microphone seems decent enough for teleconferencing - Buttons are in convenient locations - Uses same type charging cable as my phone and tablet (micro usb), so there is no need for additional cables cluttering up my workspace. - So far battery life seems to be acceptable.

Cons: The headset would not connect 'out of the plastic bag'. Found that it needed to be reset before it could be discoverable again. Since (for me at least) it did not come with any instructions and I was unable to locate any online, it took a while to get working (see Other thoughts). Since each device has its own method of doing things, having some documentation is vital. Before locating the correct method, I spent some time holding down buttons for n-seconds. Because of this I subtracted one egg.

Overall Review: Luckily I found a review on another site which mentioned how to reset the headset so that it would work. If the headset is not discoverable and the power button is blinking green slowly, it needs to be reset. To reset the headset, hold down both the mic mute button and the volume up button for a few seconds. Once this was done, the power light began to blink green more rapidly and it instantly became visible to my computers and mobile devices. From that point on it has performed flawlessly.

Great disks

Optical Quantum 25GB 4X BD-R 25 Packs Logo Top Blu-ray Disc Model OQBDR04LT-25
Optical Quantum 25GB 4X BD-R 25 Packs Logo Top Blu-ray Disc Model OQBDR04LT-25

Pros: Price and quality

Cons: None so far

Overall Review: I bought my first BD Drive/Burner about 6 months ago due to needing a high capacity backup option. The price of BD media is a bit restrictive, and I hesitantly purchased this as the lowest cost option. Well worth it! Ive now purchased 3 25 packs and 3 10packs when they were cheaper than the 25. To date I've had only 1 coaster, which I suspect was not due to drive or actual media. For those with high failure rates, I'd consider a different burning ROM or check your write speed. When factoring in the cost of BD media, taking a bit longer to burn while improving the chances of a successful burn and less headaches has been worth the wait.