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Zachary H.

Zachary H.

Joined on 02/14/07

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Most Favorable Review

Fast, High [Single-Drive] Capacity, Stable

Seagate Backup Plus 4TB USB 3.0 3.5" Desktop Hard Drive STCA4000100 Black
Seagate Backup Plus 4TB USB 3.0 3.5" Desktop Hard Drive STCA4000100 Black

Pros: If using USB 3, the speed is limited by the 7200 RPM drive. The performance behavior is exactly the same as if you had it internally installed. The drive has proved stable to me after my standard month-long testing. I dumped copies of all of my work (images, source code, and models, etc) done on my laptop each day as well as filled it up with FRAPS recordings. The drive has not thrown any issues at me so far.

Cons: This drive does require the use of the included power supply, effectively restricting its use to a nearby power outlet. It also powers on as soon as it is plugged in; there is no power switch to control the drive manually.

Overall Review: Formats to 3.63 Terabytes. Be sure to set power saving settings accordingly to keep the heat down. This drive stays rather warm if left idling and could be a concern to some. The temperature did not affect the stability of my drive however. The included software, already on the drive as soon as you plug it in, is unnecessary but can be handy for some. Seagate Dashboard 2.0 includes a backup utility to perform backups directly to the drive as well as upload to their storage services (login required).

Most Critical Review

Decent Gaming Desktop PC

ASUS - Gaming Desktop PC - Intel Core i5-9400F (6-Core 2.9 GHz), NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660, 8 GB DDR4, 512 GB SSD, Intel B360, Windows 10 Home 64-bit, GL10CS
ASUS - Gaming Desktop PC - Intel Core i5-9400F (6-Core 2.9 GHz), NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660, 8 GB DDR4, 512 GB SSD, Intel B360, Windows 10 Home 64-bit, GL10CS

Pros: First of all, this desktop comes with an extra side panel that is semi-transparent acrylic and is an awesome addition to give you freedom to personalize the PC. This is a great idea, and is further enhanced by having RGB lighting inside that can be customized through Aura Sync. The overall case aesthetic design is fantastic! I think the location of the power button being on the top and slightly to the side is excellent. I have easy access to the button yet won't accidentally bump it when using the other ports on the top. The included keyboard and mouse are fairly basic (lightweight plastic, and not backlit) but do the job out of the box. I think it's assumed that they would be replaced with your own peripherals but are meant to be included for a mostly complete experience out of the box. Most of the specs are respectable (no pun intended). The Intel i5 9400F is an fantastic processor for gaming at an entry level. Excellent choice with more than plenty of power for the price. Having an SSD for the main drive is great as it destroys traditional hard drives in startup and loading times. The Gigabit LAN with 802.11ac wifi means that you have the latest compatibility with 2.4 and 5ghz wireless. Bluetooth 5.0 included is icing on the cake. The Armoury Crate software is pretty neat. The interface has cool information and is the hub for the customization and personalization needs like RGB controls.

Cons: My PC arrived with the CPU heatsink detached from the motherboard (!!) which appeared to be such that whoever assembled it didn't have the quick snap on plugs set to stay locked. I found them switched to the detach setting. Fortunately, no damage had occurred, but I did have to reapply the thermal paste since some of it ended up smeared on points where it came into contact with the case and components when loose. And finally, I think the airflow in this case could be a bit better. When using an entry level graphics card, airflow is more valuable to keep things quiet as well as to maintain performance. This case comes without any intake fans and only has one 80mm fan out the back to attemp to draw from near the CPU.

Overall Review: With the GTX 1060 being the previous generation, you could do quite a bit better with a configuration that has an RTX 2060 graphics card in it. That said, you still get decent performance with this configuration. My favorite game to run is Monster Hunter World and it can handle it just fine with the game graphics set to High and with variable resolution enabled. Asus in general is one of the most reliable manufacturers and includes the least bloatware for their desktops, so I highly recommend them.

Upgrades galore from the original K-series mechanical keyboards

CORSAIR K70 RGB TKL – CHAMPION SERIES Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - CHERRY MX SPEED Keyswitches - Durable Aluminum Frame - Per-Key RGB LED Backlighting - Detachable USB Type-C Cable
CORSAIR K70 RGB TKL – CHAMPION SERIES Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - CHERRY MX SPEED Keyswitches - Durable Aluminum Frame - Per-Key RGB LED Backlighting - Detachable USB Type-C Cable

Pros: Coming from the original K-70 RGB series from a few years back, there are so many improvements to Corsair's mechanical keyboards. First off, the switches: they're AMAZING. Dubbed the MX SPEED Silver switches, these are extremely smooth and just the right amount of springiness to feel great. The volume roller has been smoothed a little bit to a more subtle diamond pattern but still feels great.

Cons: This keyboard is not wireless. For a tournament-ready keyboard that is not at all expected, but is is something to consider if using this keyboard for multiple devices and want improved portability. The font changed to be more edgy and blocky compared to the previous font. While it is larger and increases legibility, it does look tacky to me. I would consider changing the keycaps at some point to something with more timeless styling.

Overall Review: The tournament switch in front changes the lighting to become red, and has a latch that keeps the switch in place and has an indicator to show to staff that the tournament mode is engaged. Pretty thoughtful feature. Overall, I'm very impressed with this keyboard. It even comes with a keycap puller and a set of their gaming-oriented caps that used to be sold separately in earlier K70 releases. I think one other possible change change would be to have the top-left media buttons be obvious macro buttons instead. You can still remap it using the iCUE software, at least. - A note on images and video: Just in case you were concerned seeing a key seemingly have an issue, I have the right-hand function (Fn) key unlit on purpose through iCUE. The lighting works just fine as expected. Cheers!

Air 900 ARGB is Packed for Mainstream

Montech Air 900 ARGB ATX Mid-Tower PC Gaming Case/ High-Airflow, ARGB Lighting Strip, Sync With Motherboard, Dust- Proof, Unique Mesh Side Panel/ EATX, ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX/ Black,White
Montech Air 900 ARGB ATX Mid-Tower PC Gaming Case/ High-Airflow, ARGB Lighting Strip, Sync With Motherboard, Dust- Proof, Unique Mesh Side Panel/ EATX, ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX/ Black,White

Pros: Wow. This case is awesome. The design uses a lot of real estate as mesh to maximize airflow and brings with it the trend of ARGB and tempered glass for showing off your rig. The appearance of the design is refined and not overly busy or obnoxious, and has a lot of customization with RGB fans. There's a lot of space inside the case, which means that there is plenty of room for bigger components like big GPUs, fat CPU coolers and water cooling. The cable routing through grommets helps keep wires out of the way and improves organization and airflow. I also like the drive holders and the PSU located at the bottom of the case to keep center of gravity lower, which is event more important if the case is resting on carpet. The HDD bays are tool-less.

Cons: The main downside I noticed of this case was the case screws. The screws have plastic grips for tightening with your fingers, which is nice, but some of the threads were abnormally tight on my case and made it impossible to unscrew without tools. Felt like the threading was off. I wish the nuts that held those screws were also deeper (along with the screw length) so that they felt more stable as well. Some of these materials felt a little cheap and it shouldn't cost much for them to use higher quality fasteners -- this would bring incredible benefit. The magnets on the removable mesh grill dust filters are stuck with a weak adhesive and come off rather easily. I have to stick them back into place each time. For flexibility reasons, I feel like it would be better if they were just held into place by using rails similar to other cases, where you just slide the mesh in and out. In the end these gripes are just barely enough to take an egg off an otherwise fantastic case.

Overall Review: The brand slogan for Montech is "With Good Value!" which delivers on all fronts. This feature-packed case is one of the best you can get at this price point. It's difficult as it is to get to this price point and also have all of the popular features of a case. It looks good and has what you need in a modern case. You can't go wrong with this choice.

Excellent Fully Modular 850W PSU

CORSAIR RM Series RM850 CP-9020196-NA 850 W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Power Supply
CORSAIR RM Series RM850 CP-9020196-NA 850 W ATX12V / EPS12V SLI Ready CrossFire Ready 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Power Supply

Pros: - 80 Plus Gold efficiency - Fully modular - Can handle 2 to 3 graphics cards at once - Quiet operation - 10-year warranty coverage - Supports Windows 10 Modern Standby

Cons: - Doesn't have the NR135L fan anymore that previous models had, but didn't seem to be an issue so far.

Overall Review: The RM850 provides more than enough power for your standard rigs, with extra juice for SLI setups. It's fully modular, which allows for optimization of cable usage and provide more room for coolers, fins, lighting, or empty space to make your rig look its best. It seems to be shaped to better fit smaller and other modern-shaped rigs. It runs very quiet. The components are new from the previous model, providing support for very high efficiency under light loads. And finally, the 10-year warranty pretty much guarantees the purchase thru the next time or so that you upgrade. If you were on the fence since the old model, this new model is a large improvement.

Excellent Thermal Paste!

CORSAIR TM30 Performance Thermal Paste, CT-9010001-WW.
CORSAIR TM30 Performance Thermal Paste, CT-9010001-WW.

Pros: Very soft paste that is easily dispensed. Like other premium pastes, this is better than stock. They provide enough for a couple applications depending on how liberal you are on using it. Unlike many other stock pastes, it shouldn't dry out which is a great reason to consider getting some. After a month of typical gaming and encoding use, I inspected the paste and it is still as good as when I originally applied it. So far so good!

Cons: None

Overall Review: This thermal paste is comparable to other premium pastes and it will not let you down on its effectiveness. This product is very new but I don't expect any issues with its longevity. If you're building a new PC or are considering squeezing a little more out of a pre-built one, it's worth grabbing some.