Joined on 08/02/11
Good RAM, Good Design, Good Software
Pros: - Bright and vibrant RGB - Relatively subtle design allows the lighting to be the focal point - iCUE software gives adequate control and runs well - Default memory profile enabled and ran without issue
Cons: - A bit tall for "Compact" - Disabling the RGB on sleep requires a workaround - Visible hot-sports on RGB diffusers
Overall Review: When I put this memory into my system, I was not expecting the RGB to be as bright as it was. With the overall subtle aesthetic of the sticks themselves, I was expecting a bit more of a subdued light, but this memory commands presence inside a system. The iCUE software that is used to control the RGB lighting and effects on this RAM, as well as other Corsair products, is one of the best lighting softwares available. While it is quite large, taking up just over 1GB of disk space for just this memory, it offers plenty of lighting customization options, it actually works, and it doesn't constantly crash the system like some softwares that shall not be named here. In my experience, iCUE has generally behaved itself and is one of the few softwares I typically allow to run in the background on my systems. That being said though, one of my favorite options with this memory is being able to set a lighting effect that will play when iCUE is not running. Now for my complaints, of which there are two. First, this memory is not very low-profile. I understand that the lighting takes up a fair bit of space and I have no problem with that; but I feel that marketing this memory as compact is slightly misleading. Sure, it may be lower profile than some memory, but it definitely isn't small enough to fit under something like a Hyper 212 Evo; however, huge props for listing a height dimension. The second complaint I have about this memory regards turning off the RGB when putting the computer to sleep. When you put the computer to sleep, iCUE is suspended, software lighting stops, and the RAM defaults to the hardware lighting effect. The way to turn off the RGB lighting on sleep is to set the hardware lighting effect to a static color of black (0, 0, 0). There are hardware limitations that cause this problem, but I would love for a better solution. Overall, this is good memory with a subtle yet impactful design that is controlled with the iCUE software that is strides ahead of many other lighting softwares. I would not hesitate to put this memory in future systems.
Solid build, but fall short
Pros: - Very solid construction and quality - Good surround sound - Control panel has nice volume knob and stays in place - Nice rubberized plastic parts - Cushions and padding is soft and compliant - Soft backlighting that is not too bright - Smoked windows to see into cans
Cons: - Decently heavy - No height adjustability - Too big - wide and tall - Needs audio tweaking (equalizer, individual driver volumes) - Could not get the software to work - Very large volume adjust increments - Mic mutes the highs
Overall Review: Let's start with the good. The build quality of this headset is solid. This is evident not just from the weight, but also the tolerances; there is almost no wiggle between the components of these headphones. The plastics have a nice rubberized coating, and the cushions and padding are soft. The multi-driver surround sound is very good; it is easy to place sounds when gaming. I prefer the in-line control unit on this headset far better than others. It is large and heavy enough that it stays in place on a desk, the volume knob is smooth and easy to click to mute, and only having two buttons makes it easy to use without looking. The backlighting inside the cans would go great with a red theme and is soft enough not be blinding even in a dark room. However, even with all the good aspects, this headset will not become my daily driver. To start with, this headset is a little on the heavy side. Couple the weight with the lack of adjustability and the sizing for a head far larger than mine (and I have a big head), this headset quickly becomes unwieldy on the head. It almost feels as if you are attempting to balance a brick on your head. My other big issue is that audio quality is poor. While it can be easily fixed by applying an equalizer and by adjusting the individual volumes of the different drivers (mainly bringing the center drivers down), I still find it lacking. The individual driver volume settings are also reset if the main volume is touched which is a shame. Now, this may be an option in the software, but I could not get it to work on my computer. I emailed GSkill, and got a prompt response the first time, but a subsequent email has yet to receive a reply. My other minor complaints are that the volume adjusts in very large increments (not what I was expecting when I first turned the smooth-turn volume knob), and mic quality is not the best (highs tend to be muted). Overall, I would not suggest this headset. While it has some nice features and is well built, the fitment issues coupled with the mediocre sound quality and decently large price tag really bring it down.
Fast RAM with good lighting
Pros: - Lighting is well dispersed yet bright - XMP profile enabled easily and worked flawlessly - iCue software is easy to install and responsive
Cons: - Custom XMP profiles through software are not implemented yet
Overall Review: Installation of this memory kit went just like any other. The height of the RAM is about average for a non-low-profile kit - most large coolers should work fine. I installed this kit with a Dark Rock Pro 4 and it was tight but there was no interference. When I turned the system on for the first time, I was surprised by how bright the RGB was - in fact, I ended up turning the brightness down to about 50 percent. The diffusers on the memory sticks do a good job of blending the individual LEDs to the point where you must get close to see any hot spots. In terms of speed, this memory does well. The XMP profile was detected and enabled without issue in my BIOS. The XMP profile was perfectly stable, and I was even able to push the memory a little beyond advertised speeds while maintaining the XMP timings. The XMP speed and timings can be over 20% faster than the default speed and timings in certain tasks so make sure to enable the profile. As for software, iCue installed easily and immediately detected the memory kit. It launches quickly and is responsive. The software allows for plenty of customizability even allowing control down to the individual LEDs on the sticks. There is also an option in the software to set the "Hardware Lighting" effect which dictates how the lighting behaves when the computer goes to sleep (blank or off is an option). iCue can also be used to monitor the voltage and temperature of the sticks. What iCue does not offer (at this time) is custom made XMP profiles. While advertised, as of this review this is a "preview" feature that requires not just a specific version of iCue but also a compatible Gigabyte or ASRock motherboard. As a note, my motherboard lighting software found the RAM and took control of the lighting away from iCue; not a problem with iCue but something to note if having to troubleshoot. Overall, this is a great memory kit. The design and color options will work with the aesthetics of most systems and the RGB lighting is well diffused while still being bright. The speeds are excellent and the software is solid. I would not hesitate to put this memory kit in future systems.
High quality, solid case that misses a few marks
Pros: - Sturdy and durable with mostly good attention to detail - Comprehensive accessories - Good use of magnets and damping rubber and foam - High quality finishes and materials - Nice pre-installed fans - Effective packaging materials for shipping
Cons: - Only 2 3.5" HDD slots - Power supply shroud allows PSU stickers to show through - No gaskets or covers on cable pass-throughs - Will not fit a 140mm wide radiator in the front
Overall Review: This case has some amazing qualities that align with its price point, but there are also some shortcomings that I would only expect to see in a case less than half of its price. As this case is designed for use with a specific power supply, I will have a section on that towards the end. As soon as I started working with this case I was impressed with the quality and attention to detail. The top, bottom, and front filters all use magnets to hold them in place, as does the glass side panel. The magnets combined with the overall rigidity of the parts makes it a treat to service a filter or open and close the side panel. The rubber gaskets on the tempered glass side panel are something I wish all cases had. The transportation lock, something that could have easily been a throwaway plastic part, is a brushed aluminum bracket with a rubber damper. I find it really nice to see such attention given to something that will likely only be used once. The included accessory package is quite comprehensive - you get a plastic storage box for the screws and grommets, hook and loop cable ties, a microfiber cleaning cloth, and even a pair of white gloves. And the quality even extends to the pre-installed fans, rather than just any old generic fans, the case comes with 4 Seasonic branded Nidec Servo gentle typhoons. Aside from the basic looks and the short cables, these are great fans. But not everything on this case is perfect. Despite being able to mount the included double hard drive sled in two locations, only one is included. I know modern desktops are going away from clunky HDD storage, but at this price point I would have liked to see a second sled included to allow up to four 3.5" drives to be mounted. My next two gripes both have to do with aesthetics of a completed build. The honeycomb pattern on the power supply shroud is great for airflow and provides for the option of mounting the power supply with the fan facing up, but it also allows all the stickers on the power supply to show through. I would have liked to see some sort of magnetic cover that could be used to cover up the honeycomb when mounting the power supply in the typical fan-down orientation. My other aesthetic complaint is of the lack of covers or grommets on the cable pass-throughs between the front and back of the case. While the cutouts aren't sharp or likely to cause trouble for any cables, the openness allows for a good amount of visibility behind the motherboard tray. Any cables running past those cutouts will be seen. My biggest complaint though has to do with compatibility. All the guides and marketing led me to believe that I could fit a 280mm radiator with fans in push-pull in the front of this case. Unfortunately, I had to modify the case to make my setup fit. The hardware I put in the case was a Nemesis 280GTS radiator with a pair of Corsair SP140 fans on the front and the back of the radiator. When installing the radiator, it would not go far enough towards the center of the case due to the backplane and did not align with the 140mm wide holes in the case. I worked the holes out a couple millimeters and went on with my build. The next problem came when I went to put the front cover back on. The 140mm fans on the front of the case interfered with the front panel by about 5mm. The fans were in the standard 140mm slots on the case - my 1-2 millimeter shift of the assembly would have actually helped the front panel to fit if it had been more like 5-10 millimeters. The front panel clears externally mounted 120mm fans but has a reinforcement lip that contacts 140mm fans. The radiator solution for the front of this case would be perfectly fine for any 120mm based radiators. Now for a couple comments in regard to this case with a SYNCRO power supply. This case comes with a cable management channel to allow the use of a standard power supply. The proprietary power supply designed for this case replaces the cable management channel. The Connect Module makes routing the 24-pin and other main power cables a breeze but at the same time makes routing other cables such as SATA a bit more difficult in the case due to the cable management channel being gone. That being said, aside from the rear fan cable being far too short, this was the easiest system to cable manage that I have ever built. Overall, I truly like this case. The sturdiness and materials are excellent and the design is distinctive while not being obnoxious. If you are looking for a high-end case with a unique solution to cable management this is a great option. Seasonic remains a brand you can trust.
Good low-height cooler, Mediocre product experience
Pros: - The slim fan is remarkably decent - Can be mounted in a couple different orientations - Good cooling performance for a low-height cooler
Cons: - The fan I received was all black rather than red and white - Attaching the fan with the spring clips was difficult - Instructions could be better
Overall Review: Despite the product page showing a fan with a red housing and white blades and the box I received showing a fan with a red housing and white blades, the fan inside the box was all black. Personally, I prefer the black and nickel look, but the product was not as shown. On the topic of the fan, I was not expecting much from it given the fact that it is a slim fan, but I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did it stay relatively quiet under idle and load, but it moved a good amount of air. When I replaced the fan with a standard thickness 120mm fan, I noticed no difference in temperatures. Thumbs up for this fan. Mounting this cooler was quite the mixed bag. I put this cooler on an i7-4790k (LGA 1150) so I cannot comment on the AMD mounting solution. In terms of instructions, the text descriptions weren't terribly helpful and the pictures were a little small. Putting the bracket system onto the motherboard wasn't too difficult although it was a little tedious getting the Intel brackets on straight given that the slots to fit the different sockets were smooth. Now, the cooler would probably mount just fine even with a good amount of angularity on the brackets, but my OCD dictates that brackets must be straight and other coolers utilize notched slots to make this easier. Mounting the heatsink to the brackets also went pretty well for me. I oriented the cooler such that it overhung the I/O and VRM area of the motherboard so that I didn't have any RAM clearance issues. A long magnetic tipped screwdriver was extremely helpful for lowering the fasteners into position and getting everything tightened down. Putting the fan on is where it all fell apart for me. I'm not sure if I got some out-of-spec spring clips or something but it took a lot of force to mount the fan. I ended up removing the heatsink from the case, putting the fan on outside the case, and then remounting the heatsink into the case (with new thermal compound of course). One thing I noticed once everything was mounted is that one of the spring clips for the fan comes somewhat close to the first PCIe slot. While this wasn't an issue with my motherboard (it has an x4 slot up top), on an ITX motherboard, this clip could be rather close to the back of a graphics card which could potentially cause a short and lead to a very bad day. Just something to keep an eye on. On to some numbers. I have this cooler mounted on an i7-4790k running a 4.4GHz all-core overclock. Under a mid-tier tower cooler this chip hangs out around 68°C while running Cinebench tests. With this Raijintek Pallas cooler, my chip stayed at about 81°C while running the same Cinebench tests. This is good performance for a low-height cooler. Overall, this is a solid low-height cooler. I removed one egg for the fan not being the advertised color and a second egg was removed for the difficulty I had mounting the fan. If you can fit a standard tower cooler into your case, don't give this cooler a second thought. But if you need a low-height cooler for a small form factor build, the Raijintek Pallas should make your list.
Fast boot drive at a low cost
Pros: - Black PCB - 3 year warranty - Built in access LED
Cons: - Built in access LED
Overall Review: I have used this drive as a boot drive in a computer that doesn't get used often so I cannot attest to the longevity of this M.2 drive. A 3 year warranty is nice to have when things do go wrong though. The black PCB on this drive is nice as it helps it blend in on most motherboards and look good under most heatsinks. However, the built in access indicator LED ruins any points this drive would have gotten for aesthetics. While an access indicator is a novel touch that can be useful at times, I find it to mostly be an annoyingly bright LED unnecessarily lighting up the inside of my computer case. The worst part is that the LED is on the very end of the chip where most heatsinks don't cover. Overall, my complaints don't significantly impact the functionality of this product. This HP M.2 drive offers decent performance at a great price. Given the reports of poor lifespan, this is probably not a great drive to put in your main computer or to store anything vital on; but for a secondary, or in my case tertiary, computer that you don't want to spend much money on, it may be a good option.