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James B.

James B.

Joined on 05/04/06

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 30
Most Favorable Review

Long term review

Thermaltake Armor Series VA8003BWS Black Full Tower Case w/ 25CM Fan
Thermaltake Armor Series VA8003BWS Black Full Tower Case w/ 25CM Fan

Pros: Plenty of room for anything. Modular HDD cages, Plenty of airflow, FDD bay included for legacy support, 120mm fans are going strong after a full year, one of the 90mm fans is still perfect, the other still works...read more in cons. Case lock is sturdy enough to feel secure at lan parties with strangers. 4 access ports for water cooling. Storage tray is large enough for tools or to hold CD's in OEM sleeves. (I keep my Vista DVD in it)

Cons: The 90mm fans were not designed to be hung horizontally. The fan that I mounted on the top of the case started buzzing constantly. Releasing the clips on one side so it hung at just a tiny bit of an angle cleared it up. No cable management. At all. I had to take a dremel to the case to route the cables around out of sight. the 250mm (25cm) fan on the side if just for show. The airflow it provides is minimal compared to having an extra 120mm fan on the front of the case. The usb/firewire/audio connections on the top of the case make it impossible to stack anything on top of this beast with any amount of stability...poorly located for me. They would have been better on the front. The tiny little flapper doors...not sure what to call them...on both sides of the front look neat, but if they are partially closed and your CD/DVD tray cycles, you get to replace the tray face. They will cleanly grab it, and hold the tray open, mine eventually broke.

Overall Review: I added an extra HD drive cage in the front bays and the extra air from that 120mm fan is like a hurricane. my system stays nice and cool. Also, I purchased a Thermaltake Bigwater CPU cooler, and the radiator fit perfectly to the back of this case where the stock 120mm fan is located. With the included tube holes above this fan location, and the mounting holes on the bottom of the case, it was a nice clean install.

Most Critical Review

FIRE!

APEVIA ICEBERG ATX-IB680W-BL 680 W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready Power Supply With 3-Color LED Lights
APEVIA ICEBERG ATX-IB680W-BL 680 W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready Power Supply With 3-Color LED Lights

Pros: Pretty Lights, cables are a good length, plenty of connections.

Cons: Lasted 6 months before it let the magic smoke out. It also liked my motherboard so much, it decided to take it along to the dumpster when it died. I've never seen so many chared circuit pathways on a single motherboard before.

Overall Review: If you see this coming, RUN!

So far, so good.

Seagate BarraCuda Green ST2000DL003 2TB 5900 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive
Seagate BarraCuda Green ST2000DL003 2TB 5900 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive

Pros: Quiet, cheap, big.

Cons: none yet.

Overall Review: I grabbed 4 of them and a raid controller. In raid 5, I have a bit over 5.5TB of formatted space. Painfully slow to write to, about 20mb/s, but they saturate the PCI-e 1x bandwidth for reading. The slow write time is from the software Raid 5 controller, not the drives. I wouldn't suggest the 5900RPM for an OS install, I got these to store media for a TVeristy server, and they work great. Streaming HD content over a gigabit ethernet connection, no problem.

Fast..not for me.

Intel Core i5-2500K - Core i5 2nd Gen Sandy Bridge Quad-Core 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Intel HD Graphics 3000 Desktop Processor - BX80623I52500K
Intel Core i5-2500K - Core i5 2nd Gen Sandy Bridge Quad-Core 3.3GHz (3.7GHz Turbo Boost) LGA 1155 95W Intel HD Graphics 3000 Desktop Processor - BX80623I52500K

Pros: It's quick, and as a K series chip, the unlocked multiplier is fantastic. This is the Tock part of Intel's Tick-Tock release cycle...so it's really just a beta (as seen in the initial release recall) of the "bridge" series chips. At 4.2Ghz, on a Noctua NH-C14, this chip runs 10c cooler than my HTPC's Q9550@3.4ghz with the same heatsink. Quad core with On The Fly overclocking is great.

Cons: My main issues... #1 - The ram - looses triple channel support, Dual channel DDR3 is just a faster version of LGA 755 memory. For video encoding and high end gaming, this is not ideal. #2 - Limited PCI-E bandwidth. Only 16 lanes...really? Fine if you're running one GPU...If you're interested in SLI, wait for the next CPU release.

Overall Review: I didn't pick this one for myself, it came to me from a friend who ended up needing money, so I can't recommend it, I'll buy Ivy Bridge when it hits the shelves. Bottom line, this is not an enthusiast chip. The fewer PCI-E lanes are full speed...so the 8x/8x is as fast as older half-duplex 16x/16x, but it feels like a Ferrari with a v6. If you're looking to game with one video card at 1920x1200, this is for you. If you want SLI at 2560x1600, wait until Q3. I'm running this with twin gtx460's at 2560x1600, the framerates are only about 10% higher than my older q9550. Only difference is the motherboard and the CPU, with nearly a 1ghz CPU advantage from the new cpu. Just not impressed. Other system specs: 8Gb of G.Skill 1600Mhz DDR3 2gbx4 9-9-9-24 10k RPM raptor main drive 7200 RPM program drives in Raid 5

Excellent

Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 - Core 2 Quad Yorkfield Quad-Core 2.83 GHz LGA 775 95W Desktop Processor - BX80569Q9550
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 - Core 2 Quad Yorkfield Quad-Core 2.83 GHz LGA 775 95W Desktop Processor - BX80569Q9550

Pros: Fast, stable.

Cons: Older Core tech.

Overall Review: If you don't want to spend the cash on an i series CPU, this is the CPU you want. I've been running this thing at 3.4Ghz (8.5x multiplier/1600mhz FSB) for 8 months now, ZERO issues. Speedfan shows the hottest core to be Core 0 @ 39c running off of the 120mm Zamlan cooler I was using on my old e6700. Yeah, if you're running an older mobo and you want to wait on the iSeries plunge, get this chip.

Between good and great.

PLANTRONICS GameCom 777 3.5mm/ USB Connector Circumaural Surround Sound Gaming Headset
PLANTRONICS GameCom 777 3.5mm/ USB Connector Circumaural Surround Sound Gaming Headset

Pros: Excellent mid-volume sound. Crisp highs, acceptable lows. Versatility to use USB or 3.5mm jacks. Microphone is easy to position, and works very well.

Cons: Deep deep lows will cause fluttering when the volume is maxed. The USB dongle doesn't power the headphones enough for me. The spring in the shirt clip on the cable broke after about 18 months. No foam on the mic means it sounds like I'm in a wind tunnel if I'm close to a fan.