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Christopher C.

Christopher C.

Joined on 03/05/08

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 13
Most Favorable Review

Cable Management GALORE!

Phanteks Enthoo Evolv iTX Black Steel / Plastic  Window Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case  PH-ES215P_BK
Phanteks Enthoo Evolv iTX Black Steel / Plastic Window Mini-ITX Tower Computer Case PH-ES215P_BK

Pros: - Plenty of space for the necessary components - Good build quality - Versatile and thoughtful layout - Excellent cooling and airflow - The removable fan bracket on the top is a great design choice. Makes maintenance a snap. See Cons for other comments about this.

Cons: Small preference but the SSD plate near the video card should be perforated to allow heat to rise. Also, the top panel should have additional air flow. The air volume that is allowed to enter or exhaust through the top can easily be constraining with just 1 fan. I installed a 2-fan radiator and there is simply not enough ventilation to exhaust the heat from the chassis. A perforated top or larger side grooves would have been better here.

Overall Review: I installed a Corsair H100i GTX onto the top bracket and it fit perfectly. Plenty of room to slide it inboard or outboard as needed. Even though my RAM has larger heat spreaders on it, there is plenty of clearance.

Most Critical Review

I have a "Fix" for the stalling...

HighPoint RocketRAID 622 PCI-Express 2.0 x1 SATA III (6.0Gb/s) Controller Card
HighPoint RocketRAID 622 PCI-Express 2.0 x1 SATA III (6.0Gb/s) Controller Card

Pros: Well, the price, of course. I don't think there's anyone else selling a SATA III RAID card at this price point.

Cons: Overall, the performance is much less than expected for the card. Also, like many others before me, I suffered from the dreaded write hangs on my RAID array. While writing to the RAID 5 array, one of the drives would indicate hung and the entire array would reset, leaving the write operation incomplete and about a minute of pure agony. Like all the rest, I updated my drivers and had not better results. I then installed the latest version of the Web RAID manager and began tinkering...

Overall Review: As it turns out, I found a work around by changing the write policy to Write Through (which should be set this way anyway since there's no battery to back the RAID cache) and most importantly, disabling write cache on the individual physical drives. In the web UI (1.56) choose Manage > Device. Then, for each drive in the array, click the drive, then the change link next to write. This will disable the write cache for each drive. Then, you can copy that 4TB of stuff to the array without the stalling/crashing issue. You will, however, experience a significant performance drop over large write operations. The RAID card can't keep up and you write performance will go from 100+ MB/sec to about 6MB/sec. This is the other reason for the lower rating. PS - I'm using 5 x Samsung HD204UI 2TB drives with the latest firmware in a RAID 5 array, 64k block, 512B sector.

Good case, bad combo with motherboard

XION XON-560 mATX/ ITX Meshed Mini Tower Case, USB 3.0, White/Blue LED
XION XON-560 mATX/ ITX Meshed Mini Tower Case, USB 3.0, White/Blue LED

Pros: The case itself has been described in detail by others here. I have nothing to add to these comments about it.

Cons: Did not fit with my motherboard. The USB3 header facing the outboard edge of the motherboard prevents the insertion of the front panel cable. The connector on the cable is a little large with the strain relief molding and the extra 2.0 cable. This turned out to be a problem for me.

Overall Review: I ordered a MSI Z97M-G43 LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI 4 x SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 Micro ATX Intel Motherboard to go with this which required me to cut away some of the drive cage and wedge the board in to place with the connector and jack already mated. This may be more the motherboard's fault for facing the connector out but that trend is growing these days so case manufacturers need to work with board manufacturers to be sure these things are addressed.

Tactile, snug fit for micro USB connector

UGREEN 10832 USB 2.0 Micro USB Charging/Sync Cable USB 2.0 A male to Micro B USB cable for Android Samsung Kindle HTC Motorola Sprint Nokia LG HP Sony & Blackberry,  Elegant Aluminum Case 10ft/3m
UGREEN 10832 USB 2.0 Micro USB Charging/Sync Cable USB 2.0 A male to Micro B USB cable for Android Samsung Kindle HTC Motorola Sprint Nokia LG HP Sony & Blackberry, Elegant Aluminum Case 10ft/3m

Pros: The cable is jacketed in a rubbery sheathing. At first touch, it feels a little weird but it seems to perform well. The micro USB connector on this cable is dimensioned perfectly to fit snugly in my Samsung Galaxy S4 charging / USB port.

Cons: I guess we could ask for a lower price but you get what you pay for on this one.

Overall Review: I had purchased 2 black 10' cables from another retailer that only lasted about a month before they failed to charge the phone. This one is working fine and still fits securely.

Not as 'awesome' as expected

Intel Core i7-4790K - Core i7 4th Gen Devil's Canyon Quad-Core 4.0 GHz LGA 1150 88W Intel HD Graphics 4600 Desktop Processor - BX80646I74790K
Intel Core i7-4790K - Core i7 4th Gen Devil's Canyon Quad-Core 4.0 GHz LGA 1150 88W Intel HD Graphics 4600 Desktop Processor - BX80646I74790K

Pros: Performs well, as expected. Power efficiency is good with this CPU.

Cons: Included fan is a bit noisy. The performance 'gain' is not really noticeable when compared to the CPU I upgraded from (see other thoughts). The price is a bit high for what you get.

Overall Review: Disclaimer: I have been an AMD fanboy for many years. Unfortunately, their last few APU revisions have been evolutionary at best. I decided to jump the fence and try Intel. I 'upgraded' from an AMD A10-5800k APU to this Intel CPU which is 3 times the price of the other CPU and several years newer. I really expected to see better day-to-day performance with Visual Studio 2013, Office, photo editing and other productivity apps. The actual experience is identical to the AMD experience at an elevated price. How disappointing. I gave my old motherboard, CPU and RAM to my kids in a new case and I still use it from time to time. It's as fast as ever and shows no signs of stopping. The on-die graphics of the AMD APU completely smash the Intel graphics (although I am not basing this rating on that aspect of the performance evaluation).

Solid power; excellent build quality

EVGA SuperNOVA 850 G2 220-G2-0850-XR 80+ GOLD 850W Fully Modular EVGA ECO Mode Includes FREE Power On Self Tester Power Supply
EVGA SuperNOVA 850 G2 220-G2-0850-XR 80+ GOLD 850W Fully Modular EVGA ECO Mode Includes FREE Power On Self Tester Power Supply

Pros: Delivers power well within the tolerances expected. I have 3 of these now and all 3 were built, packaged and perform extremely well. The most surprising aspect of these power supplies is the super-quiet fan. I have my PC in my bedroom and keep it on 24x7. The noise generated is below the level I can hear it. I see the PC power light on but I cannot hear that it is operating.

Cons: A little more costly than other options but well worth the extra $$$.

Overall Review: Unless you're running 2 or more video cards or an extreme CPU, you really don't need this much power supply wattage for your PC. I've always purchased power supplies with at least twice the wattage I expect to draw under load because the performance characteristics of using a power supply in the middle of it's rated band leaves plenty of overhead for burst power and does not stress the components. Also, these larger power supplies have active PFC and other safety circuits that protect your PC from power spikes or brown outs.