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Pros: Well packaged
Nearly all Windows updates already done
Cons: Slow as mud
2 GB of RAM (with Win 7? Really?)
Looks beat up
Took a long time to ship
Other Thoughts: With so many refurbishers out there, you would probably be best looking elsewhere. The unit arrived generously and carefully wrapped in bubble wrap, and the box was sturdy. It booted up OK on first start up, and I was happy to see Win 7 Pro x64 was already activated and nearly all the updates had already been applied. BIG time saver. However, that's pretty much where the good news ends.
Regardless of the lack of bloatware, the computer, with very few programs loaded (Word 07, Outlook 07, Excel 07 and a few minor applications) was excruciatingly slow, with very high CPU usage, for what, I am unsure, as there was so little on it. Internet connection was awful, in spite of a fast ISP connection. The unit itself was scuffed, though nothing seems broken. The mouse was an HP (not Dell, not that that really matters) and the left mouse button didn't work, making it effectively useless. This was bought for a budget-conscious client, and the intent was it was just supposed to work out of the box for simple business purposes, not require hours of my time to troubleshoot and upgrade.
I realize this is a refurb, so my expectations were tempered, and while this is not the worst computer I've ever dealt with, the abysmal performance pretty much would make me look somewhere else next time.
Pros: Very fast during boot; with an SSD, about 14 seconds from BIOS to desktop. When it ran, it ran fast.
Cons: My experience is right in line with many other negative reviews; it started blue screening almost immediately. It crashed, for no apparent reason, twice right after the initial installation of Windows 7 x64 Pro. It crashed again during the initial round of Windows updates. I never even got as far as activating Windows. I had read some other reviewer was able to alleviate his problems by installing memory from the QVL, but I was using Crucial memory and should have had no problems. This build was for a customer, so it was a waste of my time, money, and reputation if I had actually tried to install this for them. I had to start over again with a different motherboard from MSI; using exactly the same components, I have had no trouble thus far.
Other Thoughts: I like Gigabyte products in general, and I've used many of their motherboards over the years, so if I have any bias, it is in favor of their products. This one, however, is apparently a dog. If I could, I'd send it back and get something else, but all I can do now is hope the refurbed part I'll get back as an RMA actually works so it is not a complete loss. The parts I used with it were the following:
Intel G1850 (on QVL)
SP 480 SSD
Crucial BLS2K4G3D169DS1J 2 x 4 memory kit
It's really disappointing to see an otherwise good company release such a bad product.
Pros: The keyboard itself feels very solid, and I like the overall look and feel of the unit. The brightness out of the box is perfect for me. the layout is decent; has what you need, isn't cluttered with what you don't.
Cons: Not much else to say; my original keyboard was actually the more expensive version of this one, and, unlike even the most basic $12 keyboards I've owned, this one failed in just a few months. I'm not hard on my keyboards, I don't pound them or drop them, but first the "8" key would stick (I kept wondering why my password log-ins failed), then one day it just started opening windows randomly. I unplugged the keyboard, put in another one, problem stopped. Put the keyboard back, problem resumed, so it seems to definitely be the keyboard.
Other Thoughts: I originally bought this looking as much for an illuminated keyboard as a mechanical one, and this seemed to have the best compromise on both. I've used Saitek's illuminated keyboards, which look nice, but the paint on the keys smears off within a year, and the illumination actually makes it harder to read. I've used a lot of Thermaltake's other products (I love their Level 10 cases), so I thought I would give this one a try. Unfortunately, not only did this fail faster than any keyboard I've ever owned, even cheap ones, but I have been unable to get a warranty replacement on it. Their website was not easy to navigate, and the e-mail I did send to their customer service, over three weeks ago, was never answered. Perhaps I was unlucky, but based on my experience, I can't really recommend this keyboard.READ FULL REVIEW