cover
Alexander Y.

Alexander Y.

Joined on 09/13/08

0
0

Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 8
Most Favorable Review
MSI GT72S Dominator Pro G-037 G-Sync Gaming Laptop 6th Generation Intel Core i7 6820HK (2.70 GHz) 16 GB Memory 1 TB HDD 128 GB SSD NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M 3 GB GDDR5 17.3" IPS Windows 10 Home
MSI GT72S Dominator Pro G-037 G-Sync Gaming Laptop 6th Generation Intel Core i7 6820HK (2.70 GHz) 16 GB Memory 1 TB HDD 128 GB SSD NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970M 3 GB GDDR5 17.3" IPS Windows 10 Home

Pros: Very nice laptop with one of the high-end Skylake laptop chips. Furthermore, it doesn't overheat and throttle when put under an intensive load. (By intensive, I mean like AVX2-intensive.) I got this laptop because it's currently one of the only gameable laptops that can be upgraded to 64GB of ram. If you plan on upgrading the memory on this thing, there are 4 memory slots. Two accessible from the back side and two under the keyboard. The ones on the back are more accessible since the ones on the front require removing the keyboard. For this model, the 2 x 8GB sticks that come with the laptop are under the keyboard and the empty slots are on the back. This is very convenient for upgrades. I currently run it with 48GB of ram by popping a pair of 16GB sticks in the back. There are four m2 SSD slots. Plenty of room for upgrades. And great if you prefer dual-booting from different physical drives. As far as aesthetics go: The screen is very sharp and crisp. And the colored keyboard looks really nice. For those who are not a fan of bright colors, the keyboard leds are software/driver controlled. So you can turn them off. The software and driver seem to be required to turn on the colors. But unfortunately, they are also very bloated.

Cons: The overclocking support in the BIOS is very clunky. It's not like your normal overclockable desktop BIOS options. Settings that are at default show up as zero which makes it tricky/risky to adjust things since you don't know what they are currently at. The base clock is the exception and the bios shows it as 10000 at default. (Again non-intuitive since there's an implicit decimal place as it's supposed to be "100.00".) If the CPU multiplier is set to anything other than zero (default), the BIOS will reset to default settings on the next reboot. So overclocking via CPU multiplier is not persistent. Even though the chip is overclockable and the BIOS supports it, it clearly isn't meant to be overclocked. Likewise, they probably didn't spend too much effort writing the overclocking menu. In addition to that, (perhaps I lost the silicon lottery), but a bump of 200 MHz (3.2 GHz -> 3.4 GHz) increases the power draw from 45W to >60W. I didn't go any higher. In order to open up the laptop, you need to break the warranty sticker. You need to do this even if you're doing something as simple as upgrading the memory and/or storage devices. That said, MSI claims to honor warranties with a broken sticker as long as there's no physical damage. There are two 2.5 in. drive slots. But I only found one power/data cable plug. So don't expect to fill both slots without mods. As with nearly all off-the-shelf computers, this one also comes with plenty of preinstalled bloatware. So power users may wish to wipe everything and reinstall Windows from a separate disk. The license key is in the hardware. So any Windows 10 installation disk will pick it up automatically. The DVD that comes with the laptop has all the drivers.

Overall Review: The fn and windows keys are switched on the keyboard. So fn is on the left side and windows is on the right. This makes a lot of sense for gamers who have a tendency to fat-finger the windows button and task out. But it messes with those (like me) who expect keys to be where they are supposed to be. The number keypad uses non-standard key sizes. They are narrower than normal keypads. Again this may take some getting used to for people with muscle memory for normal keyboards. This is a 17 in. laptop, but it's actually slightly bigger (and thicker) than my previous 17 in. laptops. This one doesn't have rounded corners so it may have trouble fitting into backpacks that comfortably hold other 17 in. laptops.

11/25/2015
Most Critical Review

Does not Work

Rosewill RC-211 Silicon Image 2 port SATA II PCI Express Host Controller Card RAID 0/1/0+1/5 JBOD
Rosewill RC-211 Silicon Image 2 port SATA II PCI Express Host Controller Card RAID 0/1/0+1/5 JBOD

Pros: Cheap. Perhaps too cheap...

Cons: Doesn't work. Or at least I failed to make it work after 2 hours of tinkering... Motherboard: Asus P6P67 Pro Operating System: Windows 7 x64 + Ubuntu 10 The card's BIOS shows up and Windows recognizes it. So isn't DOA. Windows was also able to automatically install the drivers from the CD. However, in both Windows and Linux, the card fails to recognize any drives that are plugged into it. (I tried 4 different working drives.) Next I tried getting into the BIOS by hitting CTRL + S or F4 as the instructions say. Neither of them work. It's impossible to get into the BIOS. (Perhaps it doesn't like the UEFI BIOS?) Next I installed the GUI that came with the CD. It says that the card is online, but there are no drives attached. So the point is: The card doesn't recognize anything that's plugged into it...

Overall Review: If I get the chance, I'll try to test this card in a different machine. Otherwise, I'm sending it back. There's no point in keeping something that doesn't work.

11/19/2011

Solid. But 3TB support is indeed only "partial".

SilverStone DS321B Aluminum / Plastic 3.5" Black SATA USB 3.0 Dual Bay External Enclosure
SilverStone DS321B Aluminum / Plastic 3.5" Black SATA USB 3.0 Dual Bay External Enclosure

Pros: This enclosure almost has it all: 1. Two slots. 2. Has reliable USB3. (I've had problems with multiple other products having unstable USB3.) 3. Supports 3TB drives.* The enclosure itself is very sleek. It's very easy to open up and install/remove drives.

Cons: *I'm writing this primarily to confirm the 3TB issue from a previous reviewer. Here are the primary symptoms: 1. A 3TB drive formatted elsewhere and placed in this enclosure is recognized as not formatted. 2. A 3TB drive formatted in this enclosure and placed elsewhere is recognized as not formatted. Other observations: 1. A 3TB drive formatted elsewhere and place in this enclosure does not corrupt the data as long as the drive is not written to. 2. The reverse is also true. An 3TB drive formatted in this enclosure and moved elsewhere does not corrupt the data. Plugging it back in this enclosure and rehashing all the data shows that the data is intact. 3. 3TB drives formatted in this enclosure can be moved to different slots (switched) and still be recognized and readable. So basically, you can't put an existing (formatted) 3TB drive into this enclosure. Likewise, you can't pull a 3TB drive out and expect it to work elsewhere. They are essentially two separate worlds. If the enclosure fails, you data is lost unless you purchase an identical unit. Aside from that, the fan is very noticeable in a quiet room - as is the case with all other dual-slot enclosures with fans that I've owned.

Overall Review: Aside from this compatibility issue, 3TB support is complete. If you don't intend to move drives around, this enclosure is perfect. (Slightly a shame since it's so easy to install/remove the drives.) My guess is that the controller doesn't correctly conform to the standard data format for >2TB drives. So it's works fine internally, but is incompatible with everyone else. There also appears to be a power-saving mode that spins down the HDs and shuts off the fan. So while it silences the fan, it also adds a bit of lag time to access files when the device is in power-save mode since it needs to spin up the drives.

Update on the defective USB3 Review

Vantec NexStar MX Dual Bay 3.5" SATA to USB 3.0 / eSATA RAID Enclosure
Vantec NexStar MX Dual Bay 3.5" SATA to USB 3.0 / eSATA RAID Enclosure

Pros: Update from the defective USB3 review from before.

Cons: The USB3 controller has serious a design flaw. I have now received a new unit back from RMA. And the USB3 issue still exists. As before, it is unstable to unusable on 2/2 of my machines with USB3. Initially I thought I had a defective unit. But with the same issue on the new unit as well, I must to conclude that this product has a serious design flaw in the USB3 controller that causes it to be unstable or even unusable on some devices. If you are considering buying this product for the USB3. It may not work. Consider yourself warned.

Cooler Master COSMOS 1000 RC-1000-KSN1-GP Black/ Silver Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case
Cooler Master COSMOS 1000 RC-1000-KSN1-GP Black/ Silver Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case

Pros: Tons of space for just about everything! The handles makes it easy to carry around. Silent. Air Filters.

Cons: Lack of cable management. Most cases now have space behind motherboard to wire cables. This case doesn't. (very little, and only behind the drive bays) Very little airflow. Too little to handle a high-end workstation. I would have preferred if the case had more intakes. The reset button is a too close to the USB ports. It's too easy to accidentally hit it when plugging and unplugging devices.

Overall Review: Dual 3.2 GHz Xeon X5482 Harpertown 64 GB (16 x 4 GB) DDR2 FB-DIMM @ 800 MHz Tyan Tempest S5397 Geforce 9800 GTX+ 64GB SSD 750GB HD 4 x 1TB HD (may upgrade to 8 drives) Enermax Galaxy 1000W Even with 130 CMF fans on both in and out-takes, this rig will not last more than 20 minutes of prime95 before the case temperature gets high enough for the rig to start overheating. I currently run this system with the side open and with a giant air filter slapped to the side of it. Although my comments are mostly negative, I gave it a 4 because this is the only case I've found that will comfortably hold this rig (which may eventually have up to 9 hard drives). Everything else I've found that can hold 9 HDs + optical drive + card reader (11 total) is either too cramped or has even worse airflow.

Amazing...

ENERMAX SGALAXY EGX1000EWL 1000 W ATX12V/ EPS12V/ BTX SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply
ENERMAX SGALAXY EGX1000EWL 1000 W ATX12V/ EPS12V/ BTX SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply

Pros: I've went through several high-end (and expensive) power supplies trying to power the following setup, and finally, this one did it... Tyan Tempest S5397AG2NRF Dual 3.2 GHz Quad-Core Xeon X5482 Harpertown 64GB (16 x 4GB) DDR2 FB-DIMM @ 800MHz with IDC3 Stepping GeForce 9800GTX+ 512MB ram 750GB Seagate (boot drive) 4 x 1TB Seagate tons of expansion cards... and tons and tons of fans to keep this rig from starting a fire... What more can I say? It advertises that it can handle power-hungry workstations and it actually does...

Cons: A little pricey, but it powers on my workstation. Can't complain... Just to be nitpicky... The bag that comes with it to hold the extra cables is inadequate. It's too small and doesn't close very securely. But then, I'm only running 1 video card and "only" 5 hard drives so I'm using 2 of like the 50 modular cables it comes with... The rest of which don't really fit into the bag. Just look at those pictures... There's no way you can possibly fit all those cables into that little bag. (And they don't...) Aside from that... Great power supply :)

Overall Review: This PS finally ended my 2-month long frustration... I went through several high-end gaming power supplies but none of them could handle the sheer wattage that 64GB of ram can pull. Apparently, most power supplies have separate rails for PCI-e and CPU/mobo/ram. Which explains why high-end gaming PS's that can handle 4 full-sized video cards usually don't stand a chance against 16 FB-DIMMs and 300 watts of CPU. And if you're wondering, I use this computer for programming, number-crunching, and gaming. (It runs Crysis pretty well on max settings as long as the resolution isn't too high.)