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Joseph C.

Joseph C.

Joined on 06/10/04

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 9
Most Favorable Review

Fine card

areca ARC-1110 PCI-X 64bit/133MHz SATA II (3.0Gb/s) Controller Card
areca ARC-1110 PCI-X 64bit/133MHz SATA II (3.0Gb/s) Controller Card

Pros: I purchased this card primarily because it is supported in OpenBSD. The arc drivers immediately recognized the card, and it has now been working fine in an Asus M2N-LR for over a month. As other reviewers here say, the card is fast. So far it has been been stable, no problems.

Cons: The card came with a two-pin Adda AD0412MB-G70 40mm fan mounted on a base that was positioned on top of the card's main processor. I don't like cheap little fans. In my experience they are unreliable, which is the last thing I want in a critical component of a high-availability server. (Continued below.)

Overall Review: Since Areca included a passive heatsink that could be substituted without much trouble, I tried it. It got hot enough to scare me, so I substituted a Zalman ZM-NB47J passive Northbridge heatsink. This might block card slots and it probably voids Areca's warranty, but with a little Arctic Silver thermal paste it works beautifully. The Zalman mounts without modifications onto the Areca card, using the two holes for the Areca heatsink. It has a much greater surface area than the stock heatsink. The base gets hot, but the ends of the long aluminum prongs remain just warm, even with mediocre ventilation. This is a minor complaint, but the card's alert beeps should have a volume setting. No one in a quiet environment will be able to get any work done while this card is beeping. I decided to shut off the card's beeps entirely, which I would have preferred not to do.

Most Critical Review

Read the hundreds of posts on the Seagate Forums

Seagate BarraCuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive
Seagate BarraCuda 7200.11 ST3500320AS 500GB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive

Pros: Fast, quiet, initially inexpensive.

Cons: Please don't make the mistake I did, and look only at the overall 4 star Newegg user rating for this drive. Read the latest posts here, read the posts on the Seagate forums, then buy a different drive. The ST3500320AS is a Seagate disaster in progress. I have purchased three ST3500320AS drives in the past two months. One developed bad sectors, that increased with every chkdsk /r. A second drive has started making the dreaded spring-click of death during backups. Luckily none of these drives has yet "bricked," which seems to be a common problem. On Seagate's website you can check whether or not a drive needs a BIOS update based on its serial number. However, many posters claim that their bad drives were not on that serial number list. While Seagate has issued several BIOS updates, from the Seagate forum posts it is far from clear that updating the BIOS really fixes the drive's problems. Also, there are stories of RMA replacement drives from Seagate that quickly failed.

Overall Review: If you value your time or your data, buy a different drive.

Quiet and reliable

SeaSonic S12 II SS-380GB 380W ATX12V V2.3   80 PLUS Certified  Active PFC Power Supply
SeaSonic S12 II SS-380GB 380W ATX12V V2.3 80 PLUS Certified Active PFC Power Supply

Pros: I installed six of these during the past year. No problems whatsoever. I even put one in my main personal computer.

Cons: None.

Overall Review: CPU and hard drive specs sell new computers. Power supplies are usually mentioned in a computer ads only as power output ratings. Yet as I have learned over many years from a series of fried motherboards and short-lived hard drives, the quality of the PSU is a critical factor in the longevity and reliability of a computer. If you want to build a better computer than the typical Dell or HP, start with a better power supply. You will not go wrong with Seasonic.

Solid, great touch

KeyTronic DESIGNER-P2 Black 104 Normal Keys PS/2 Wired Standard Keyboard
KeyTronic DESIGNER-P2 Black 104 Normal Keys PS/2 Wired Standard Keyboard

Pros: Legal secretaries and transcriptionists have high standards for their keyboards. I bought one of these for the law office I support, and after testing it, everyone on staff wanted one. It was an easy purchase decision that has worked out well. After seven months with the Designer-P2 as the standard office keyboard, there have been no complaints and no problems.

Cons: None.

Overall Review: After NMB folded, I must have gone through a dozen different types of keyboards without finding one I really liked, until the Designer-P2.

No RPM signal to motherboard

Rosewill RCX-Z100 - CPU Cooler - One Ball Bearing for Over 45,000 Hours of Service Life
Rosewill RCX-Z100 - CPU Cooler - One Ball Bearing for Over 45,000 Hours of Service Life

Pros: Substantial and apparently well made, with a thick slab of copper on its base. The fan is not silent, but is certainly quiet and it moves plenty of air. Good price.

Cons: The fan I received is apparently defective. It does not signal the motherboard of its rotation speed, so the motherboard Fan Off Control shuts the computer down immediately after booting starts, to prevent CPU overheating. I tried two motherboards with the same results. I don't want to shut off the Fan Off Control in the BIOS, so I cannot use this fan.

Overall Review: Posters here say that the the heatsink is difficult to attach. It's not THAT bad, but if you have never attached a CPU heatsink, this is probably not the one you want to learn on. I would have preferred a clip with the usual large receptacle for a screwdriver head positioned on the outside. This unit has a tiny curved catch on the inside of the clip, which is harder to access and requires a fairly narrow screwdriver head.

Not quite perfect

Logitech UltraX Silver/Black 104 Normal Keys 6 Function Keys USB Wired Standard Media Keyboard
Logitech UltraX Silver/Black 104 Normal Keys 6 Function Keys USB Wired Standard Media Keyboard

Pros: One of the best looking keyboards I've ever seen. Feels good too, high quality, a tool not a toy. Quiet typing, easy on the hands. Reasonably priced.

Cons: Lettering eventually comes off keys. I now have eight keys with all or part of the lettering gone, after about 18 months of moderate use. It is a bit tricky to remove and replace the keys for cleaning beneath them. I never broke a key, but it would not be hard to do so.

Overall Review: While this keyboard is very good, it does not have quite the positive key feel of the best conventional, non-laptop type keyboards.