Joined on 09/24/03
Nice cooler for mid-range cpus
Pros: Easy installation with push-pins just like the stock intel heatsink. 4 pin fan letting OS or mobo set fan speed Very quiet Tower design blows hot air straight out the back of the case instead of spreading it around inside. Light weight Better performance than stock Intel heatsink
Cons: Probably not ideal for high-end or overclocked cpus. Push-pin mounting isn't ideal for tower HSFs, even ones as light as this one is. Any bumping of the case will put a huge amount of pressure on the pins, possibly enough to break them or pull them out. This could lead to cooking the cpu with no warning, or even let the HSF fall and damage other components. There are no rubber strips between the fan and HSF, so any fan vibration will be transmitted to the HSF which usually makes it louder. The fins are press-fit onto the heatpipes instead of being soldered. Baseplate is not flat so you'll need to use a thicker layer of thermal transfer paste between the cpu and HSF base. Fan may interfere with RAM slots, and base touches some capacitors near the cpu socket. The only instructions are printed on the back of the box with only pictures. A larger fold-out sheet of paper with the same pictures would have been a lot easier to follow. Also, I don't think the instructions show applying the thermal paste (its hard to tell, there is a step showing a square that might be the cpu, but no words at all?) so people who haven't done this before might skip that crucial step. Some words and better instructions would be a BIG improvement.
Overall Review: On unboxing, I was surprised at how light this HSF is. The HSF is mostly aluminum except for the heatpipes, so it weighs a lot less than other tower HSFs I've used. While this makes the pushpin mounting system workable, it's a minimalist approach to heatsink design that could affect performance. Some fins were slightly bent during shipping. The heatsink isn't secured very carefully in the box and the accessories are loose inside a smaller box inside the large retail box. The baseplate comes covered with a protective sticker, but the baseplate isn't even close to flat due to the direct heatpipe contact design of the HSF. The package includes sufficient hardware for installation and also a small packet of thermal transfer past. I used my own paste, artic ceramique 2, which I've had good luck with in the past. During installation, I had to remove the fan and my RAM to get enough clearance to push in all the push-pins. Once I did that, I saw that the fan's mounting position can be adjusted up and down a little bit based on where the clips fit in between the heatsink fins. This helped a lot because the fan overlaps my ram slots and the ram would have prevented installation if I hadn't been able to raise the fan up about a centimeter. Also, on my mobo the baseplate of the HSF touches a row of capacitors near the cpu, so the design and production tolerances of this are perfect, from the perspective of if it was even 1mm larger, it wouldn't have fit. Performance: I compared this heatsink to the stock intel heatsink on my core i5-2500 cpu. The cpu is running stock inside a mini-tower case. Ambient temps in the room were about 76F. I measured cpu temps with speedfan, and used prime95 to load the cpu. Stock intel HSF: Idle: 33C, Load 82C Gammaxx 400: Idle 32C, Load 64C So this HSF gave significantly better performance than the stock HSF. During testing, this HSF was essentially silent at idle and very very quiet at full load, a good sign. I also noticed that mobo/ram/hd temps were much lower with the Gammaxx HSF, with mobo temps dropping from 61C with the stock HSF to 51C using the Gammaxx HSF. This is most likely due to the tower design which exhausts the hot air directly out the back of the case. Conclusion: The Gammaxx 400 is a good HSF for mid-range cpus, but I would be very hesitant to recommend it for high-end or overclocked cpus. Design choices like the push-pin mounts, the press-fit fins, and the non-flat base, all reduce the product's performance. Considering the price, I would say that this is at best an "ok" choice. There are other similar HSFs for the same price that have different construction features that would make them more effective. The push-pin mounting also gives me pause. So, I recommend it and plan on continuing to use it in my computer, but I have some reservations regarding design quality and will need to keep checking to ensure it doesn't fall off each time I move the computer.
Works well as designed but has a design limitation
Pros: Decent speed and compatibility with all current Wi-Fi standards, including the new 802.11ac (see cons for 802.11ac use). Initial unboxing and setup was nice. The accessories included a little Wi-Fi configuration card with the information to make the initial setup logins, plus places to write your new SSID and passwords so you don’t forget them. The router also had a sticker on top with the basic initial settings including default SSIDs, IP address, and password. Other nice features of this router include D-Link's "cloud" configuration, and a wide variety of advanced firewall and routing that power users can take advantage of. From port forwarding to isolating the wireless from wired networks, this router does it all. Although I have a huge problem with this router’s basic design, I will say that once I had it set up and connected everything, the connections were rock-solid. It worked fine within the limits of the design, but the design has a serious limitation I explain below.
Cons: One huge limitation inherent in the design of this router is the lack of gigabit Ethernet ports built in to the router switch. The router has 802.11ac which exceeds 100Mbps, but any computer using 802.11ac will be sharply handicapped by the ultra-slow decades-old 10/100 switch technology used in the DIR-810L. In my testing, transfers from my laptop to a fast computer on my lan using a D-Link DWA-171 adapter were capped at a rock-solid 57Mbps even when the wireless connection was 433Mbps, indicating that there is a serious speed bottleneck between the wireless radio and the 10/100 switch. Using a direct wired connection, transfers capped out at about 95Mbps, which is approximately the top practical speed for many 10/100 switches. This is a huge design limitation, since any wireless router using 802.11ac MUST include a gigabit switch to take advantage of the faster wireless speeds above 100Mbps. The higher speed gigabit switches have been around for many years, and omitting them may have saved a few bucks but it means wired computers on the network must use a separate gigabit switch, and wireless computers can never connect to anything faster than the slow 10/100 switch speeds no matter how fast the wireless connection is. 10/100 Ethernet technology was effectively obsolete more than 10 years ago, so this is just D-Link being cheap and making artificial product differentiation between casual and serious computer users. For me personally, the thin and upright construction of the router seemed attractive but impractical. It tended to get tipped over on my desk, where my old router that lays flat never seemed to get knocked over. The power cord was also WAY too short, which made the upright design even more awkward. In addition, there is no provision for attaching external antennas so if you intend to attach a directional or high gain antenna for additional range, this is not the right router. One thing I used to like about the D-Link wireless routers was their easy to use setup menus. Unfortunately, D-Link has kind of messed this up too. In the name of trying to make it easier with lots of “wizards”, they have actually made the setup menus more confusing. It takes twice as long to get through all the configuration menus as it should, because of all the wizard clutter. While all the necessary features are there plus a ton of extras to manually set up advanced routing and the firewall, the clutter makes it harder to get to the setup options you might want.
Overall Review: This router, while nice for a casual home user and reliable in my testing, is not really for gamers or anyone else who may have multiple computers using wired connections on their LAN. The unforgivable omission of gigabit Ethernet means your wired Lan will be just as slow as computer networks were more than 10 years ago, and it makes no sense except maybe to make their higher end products more attractive to more serious users. The additional cost for gigabit Ethernet ports is pretty small, so their omission looks like a marketing tool to get people to buy the more expensive routers. That said, if you already have a gigabit Ethernet switch then you can partially get around this handicap by plugging the switch into the router and plugging all the wired computers into the gigabit switch. This router advertises wireless speeds well in excess of 100Mbps, but transfers from your wireless computers to wired computers attached to this router will be capped somewhere below 100Mbps, due to this design. In the end, although I was very pleased with the basic performance and reliability of this router, this design flaw dramatically decreases the value of the really nice 802.11ac wireless connection. Once your wireless connection speed hits 100Mbps you don't get any faster no matter how good your wireless connection is. And now that pretty much all new computers come with gigabit Ethernet adapters, you'll find that your Lan speeds are really being held back by this router. Adding a wired gigabit switch can partially help this but that won't change the limitation going to and from wireless and wired computers using this switch.
Great up-gradable system
Pros: Bottom line up front – This Newegg Select edition ROG STRIX GL12 system is a gamer’s dream starter system. It comes with enough high performance components to perform well with just about any game straight out of the box so you don’t HAVE to fiddle with it, but the places where Newegg and ASUS controlled costs with careful parts selection like fans, cpu cooling, and additional lighting, makes it clear that this is a perfect starting point for building your own customized gaming machine. This is the first “Newegg select” full system I’ve ever had, so right away I was very eager to see how the features selection match up on a value vs. performance comparison. On paper, just buying the parts alone would cost almost exactly the same as buying this computer, so when the box arrived I was immediately looking for the value beyond just the sum of the parts. You really can’t build this any cheaper using retail parts unless you’re re-using a lot of components that would still have to be fairly new, so every nice touch is an added value that goes beyond just the price. Pros: Fast performance right out of the box Custom case that looks great yet is VERY customizable Case has plenty of space above the motherboard for a single-fan sized water cooling radiator Quiet Clear or ventilated metal side panel both included Some lighting included and is controllable by the included ASUS software suite Amazing bang for the buck - you can't buy these components by themselves for any less than this complete system with warranty As expected, setting up and using this system was a great experience. Unboxing the system was fun, and I spent quite some time inspecting the computer, taking some of it apart (like the dimm.2 SSD riser) to see exactly what parts were included. Inside the box was the computer, an additional clear plexi side panel, a keyboard, an optional front panel to cover the area where an optical drive and removable SSD chassis can go, and a small accessory box with a fold-out installation guide, warranty guide, power cord, mouse, and removable 2.5” drive chassis for the front mounted hot swappable drive option. Taking the side panel off, we can see the first sign that this system was intended to be customized. The interior is not painted. It is bare steel, and the packaging even included an anti-corrosion strip of absorbent paper to fend off rust. Other immediately noticeable details were what looks like a stock intel cpu cooler, bare memory sticks with no heatsinks or lighting, and fairly basic black power and data cabling that was competently installed but not particularly attractive. There is only a single basic case fan, installed as a rear exhaust. This is exactly what I expected for this system, but there were some very nice things that also stood out. First and foremost, this system appears to have room for either a single fan water cooling radiator on top, or a thin double length radiator in the front. At the top, this case leaves an extra 2 inches between the top edge of the motherboard and top of the case, permitting a decent thickness radiator and fan to be installed at the top of the case without impinging on the motherboard. ASUS deserves praise for this design feature! Opening up the back panel, I can see that ASUS and Newegg have chosen a non-modular PSU, but went with sleeved black wiring to avoid the visual horror show you get with bargain power supplies. Again, the wires are competently and neatly routed but not particularly inspiring. The extra power cables are stuffed in between the PSU and a drive cage sized to hold 2 conventional 3.5” hard drives. It’s nice to see the cage available for multiple drives like this, since it adds a world of additional storage options. An unused fan mount in front of the drive cage would blow air over and around the drive cage, but has only a few small holes to permit airflow through the drive cage so there simply won’t be much airflow around drives mounted here. There are vent holes underneath the lower drive cage permitting some air to flow in or out of the case below the drive cage, another nice additional feature. The 2 wifi antenna wires are routed up to underneath the top trim plastic of the case and there is no option to attach your own external wifi antennas unless you get and add a backplate with the appropriate connectors of your own. I saw a total of 1 cpu fan and 3 chassis fan headers, and additional headers labeled cooler LED, RGB header, ODD PWR (Optical drive power?), and PSW8001. The removable drive chassis is powered by a dedicated motherboard header labelled HDD PWR. It would have been nice if the optical drive power cable were included or available.
Cons: There are a few cons that are probably inevitable due to the nature of this system's component selection choices. When you're building a fast system with an eye towards controlling costs, some of those options are going to be really basic. While I'm listing these in the "Cons" section, realize that just about every one of these cons represents a place where Newegg and Asus chose to save you money since you are likely to upgrade them anyhow. The case side panel screws are not thumbscrews. This is an easy fix. The cpu cooler is just the stock intel cooler so while it's fairly quiet and does the job, it is audible when the system is fully loaded and the cpu does get fairly warm. Again, there is plenty of room in the case for an alternative cpu cooler of your choice to be added. Instructions for adding in commonly used components such as an optical drive or which power headers are recommended for water cooling were also missing, as were the custom wiring harnesses you would need to fully utilize the optional features on the motherboard. Now for a couple of actual "Cons" that should be fixed. There is no real manual for the motherboard and since it is not a retail board, figuring out the various optional headers and finding cables to plug into some of them (like the optical drive power header) is going to require some searching. The inside of the case is not painted at all, which could potentially allow some rust or corrosion. A simple primer coat wouldn't look any worse than the bare metal and would head off potential rust issues, while still permitting customization down the road.
Overall Review: You can probably tell I like this computer and all the potential it has. I strongly recommend this system as either a complete basic gaming system with some amazing features, or as the starting point for your own custom gaming machine. Here are some additional thoughts. Overall, the build quality looks to be very high, with good attention spent on detail while using components carefully chosen to give a great bang for the buck. I do wish the interior had been at least painted with an unoffensive primer, but otherwise the build is solid with no obvious problems. I found it interesting that while the wired network chipset was not specified in the system specifications, in my system it was in fact an intel I219-V chip, a nice feature upgrade from the generic Realtek network adapters we see in cheaper motherboards. The wireless was of course the intel AC-9560, which provided quite nice performance on my 802.11AC network. Benchmarking is not my focus on a system like this that is intended to provide the best bang for the buck, so I limited my benchmark use to determine if all components were working properly. After 10 hours of testing over a few days, I determined that there were were not any problems with cpu or video card cooling, and the system performed exactly as expected for this processor and gpu combination in a variety of tests. I ran prime95 to get the cpu nice and hot, and had no stability problems. I used 3dmark to get a feel for if the system was properly configured, and my results were right in the middle of the pack for other systems using the same CPU and GPU. During unboxing, you can clearly see that this is a full ASUS ROG factory computer. The packaging was high quality, with plenty of padding and a prominent “Republic of Gaming” welcome gift right on top when the box is first opened. Inside the welcome gift I found an ROG branded “Mechanical Sculptures” 3D metal sculpture from Metal Earth. This is a nifty 3D ROG insignia sculpture kit printed in thin metal that you can put together for a fun display, and an instruction pamphlet advertising more Metal Earth 3D metal model kits if you like how the ROG sculpture went together. It’s a clever bit of advertising swag that has nothing to do with performance but it’s a nice touch emphasizing the premium nature of this product line. If nothing else, it will be fun putting it together while running the obligatory benchmarks almost everyone runs to verify new system performance. What else can you do with this system? Just adding a higher performing cpu cooler or single-fan water cooler and a couple of additional case fans with LED lighting would make the system quieter while running cooler and adding quite a bit of visual impact. It would be easy to add a few customized add-ons to give you the same high performance in a computer that is completely unique to your preferences. The main drawback I have is the lack of documentation especially for the motherboard, and specifically the header specifications that anyone modifying this computer would likely need if they were not going to replace the motherboard as step 1. For a mod-friendly system like this, a little more documentation on how to get the most out of the included hardware when adding additional features would be very welcome and it’s simply missing here and as an OEM-style motherboard, there is little to no documentation available online either. In the end,I think this is a great solution for anyone who wants a unique custom gaming system without having to spend 2 or 3 times what this computer costs. Highly recommended!
Nice case with good airflow
Pros: Bottom line up front - if the few limitations of this case don't affect your build, then this is a good option for an attractive case with good airflow. I made a basic installation in this case for my evaluation, including a micro-atx intel motherboard, custom double-wide (approx 240mm) water cooler, nvidia 1060 video card, one hard drive, and one SSD. I had thought I could move my home server to this case since I've had some problems with drive cooling and my current server case, however my home server has 4 hard drives and this case only supports 2 HDDs. I plugged the case fans into my motherboard. I was unable to test out the automatic lighting due to my motherboard not having an rgb controlling connector, however that would be a very nice feature when matched with a newer motherboard that has those connectors for lighting control. What I liked: The SSDs can be mounted behind the motherboard, or inside the case. There are a handful of holes where they can be mounted depending on if you want them to be seen or not. I like the flexibility for fan mounting and the fact that the HDD cage can have a fan blowing air directly over and under the 2 hard drives. This would be great for HDD cooling, and I only wish there was room for 4 HDDs instead of just 2. The fan filters are a nice mesh that feels durable, and are attached with magnets. There is one issue with these, listed below. Overall, my build was very straightforward. I did not have enough room above the motherboard to mount my radiator on top, but the hoses were long enough to mount it in the front. I prefer having hot air exhaust up not forward, but for cooling purposes it is effective enough. Finally, all the metal edges appeared to have been rounded off or deburred so there were very few sharp edges to cut fingers on.
Cons: This case has a couple of minor design limits that should be considered, to see if they will be a problem for your build. Other than these limitations I really had no big problems in my test build so I'll just list the issues as I see them. 1. The fan filters are nice mesh screens with magnetic strips to attach them, however the front one requires removal of the front of the case. This isn't really a problem except that it takes a bit of time to carefully un-pin the many plastic clips that hold the front on, and over time I would expect some or all of those clips to break off. Since there is room for 3 front fans and almost any water cooling setup would have a front mounted radiator, this fan filter is going to get dirty and will need cleaning fairly often. 2. Once again we have a case that doesn't have enough space at the top of the case above the motherboard for a top mounted radiator and fans. Most cases, even ones sold as water cooling friendly cases, don't really leave enough space up on top for a radiator and fans without interfering with the motherboard. A water cooler of fairly decent length can be mounted in the front (240mm should be easy, more than that would probably require removing the HDD cage) but that would need longer water cooling hoses that some AIW coolers might not have, and more careful planning than you might have with a more convenient top mounting option. 3. The HDD cage can only hold 2 full size hard drives. HDDs are becoming less and less popular as SSD prices drop, but some people still have more than 2. If that's your situation, then this case will NOT work at all since there is no place at all for more HDD mounting. At least it uses tool-free brackets, and there is room for a front mounted fan to blow directly across the drives so they'd be kept cool with direct airflow. Considering that this case doesn't even have any front panel or optical drive options, I think it would have been possible to add another cage for HDD mounting where there could be good air flow. 4. It's in the specs so you shouldn't be surprised by this, but this case has no way to mount an optical drive or an expansion plate for things like memory card slots or advanced audio IO panels. It's a design choice and if you don't need it then it makes the case easier to work with, but if you need any external connectors that use an older style front mounted panel or an optical drive, then this is not the case for you. 5. This could be a positive or negative, but the side panel is glass not polycarbonate or plexiglass. That means it won't scratch nearly as easily as plastic/plexi/poly but if it breaks you've got a heck of a cleanup job to do. 6. The tray cutouts for power cable routing at the top of the tray don't have the rubber cutout grommets and fillers. The other 2 tray cutouts near the bottom and front do have the rubber grommets. The cutouts have rounded edges so they shouldn't cut the cables but the rubber grommets would have looked nicer.
Overall Review: I would recommend this case for anyone who has a relatively simple build and needs good airflow. It should be rather overclocker friendly, and the tempered glass side panel would show off a tidy installation with more pleasing aesthetics than a clear poly panel because the glass is simply more clear and doesn't scratch as easily. If you need ANY front mounted panels or an optical drive however, this case simply won't work. And if you need more than 2 old style hard drives, there wouldn't be any place to mount them. You'll also need to carefully plan any water cooling installation since any double length or longer radiator may need to go behind the front panel not up top, depending on how thick your fans and radiator are. But if those considerations are still ok for your build, then the design of this case is great for cooling and the look of the case is very clean so I would recommend it with those caveats.
Great sounding speakers especially for the price!
Pros: First off, the price. Very inexpensive considering what you get with these. I really like that they're not powered just by USB like other small/cheap computer speakers so they can put out more volume without distorting. The sound is very nice for the reasonably small size of the speakers, with good high and low response and not much distortion. Everything including voices, movies, and music from rock to beethoven sounds nice.
Cons: I am a bit concerned that eventually I'm going to whack the exposed speakers and damage them. I prefer speakers to have some sort of grille over the speakers for protection. That could be a big problem for people with smaller or more cluttered computer desks or with kids who like to poke stuff.
Overall Review: The're not premium speakers so don't expect live concert quality sound, but I'm very happy with these speakers. For the price, they deliver exactly what I wanted. Good quality 2-speaker sound in an attractive design without breaking the bank.
Easy upgrade to older laptop
Pros: I love G.Skill memory! I have an older laptop that only had 4GB of ram, so this kit let me double it and keep the computer being useful for another few years. The upgrade was easy, and when I ran the memory testing program it came back with zero errors or defects. I've been using this now for over a year and it's still working great, slightly faster than the old memory that the computer originally came with.
Cons: No Cons at all!
Overall Review: Windows 7 really needs extra ram, so this upgrade boosting me from 4GB to 8GB let me put windows 7 on my older laptop without it getting too bogged down and slow. I'm very happy with the results!
Product (cpu) was as advertised however the electrical contacts on the cpu were not clean, had debris or something on it. I was able to clean it and it works fine but if I had not noticed the dirt on the cpu, I don't think it would have worked and it might have damaged the motherboard.