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Chris W.

Chris W.

Joined on 03/16/01

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  • 81
Most Favorable Review

Very good value, but not perfect

ASUS VW246H Glossy Black 24" HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 ASCR 20000:1 (1000:1) Built-in Speakers
ASUS VW246H Glossy Black 24" HDMI Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 ASCR 20000:1 (1000:1) Built-in Speakers

Pros: This monitor is clear, bright, high-contrast and has plenty of screen real-estate. After some tuning, the color is fairly accurate. Response times are excellent and ghosting is minimal, making this monitor a good choice for gaming. Has 15-DBA, DVI, and HDMI inputs. The glossy finish is nice though not exactly elegant. For the price, its specs are quite high overall.

Cons: With a price like this one should expect some cut-corners, so the following should come as no surprise. Viewing angle's a bit shallow so you've got to look at this thing more or less dead-on. The stand is short and a bit flimsy, and can't be raised in height. If you want to use this at eye level, you'll need a third-party stand. Out of the box, the picture looked horrible; I had to spend some time getting it color calibrated using an sRGB tuning utility. Using the controls is a bit cumbersome compared to other monitors I'm used to. The speakers are tiny and pathetic, and really aren't much of a feature. I have the volume on mine zeroed out. Last but not least, the backlight lamps (CCFL) leak light into the screen space. This means that in a situation where the top and / or bottom of the screen is black, e.g. while watching a letterboxed movie, you will see a substantial glow coming from the top and bottom edges of the display. This is a common problem in cheap monitors.

Overall Review: Overall, the VW246H is a good value for those who can take its weaknesses along with its strengths. On the other hand, the cost of replacing the stand alone for example could justify the purchase of a higher-end monitor. Thus, this monitor is not a steal justifying an impulse buy. Do your homework before buying; you might be able to get a better value with a different make or model. Finally, if you do choose this monitor, here are the settings that resulted from my sRGB tuning: Brightness 60, contrast 80, R= 82, G= 77, B= 78 ...or just set the brightness and contrast, then set the color temp to "Normal". Depending on your particular monitor and your lighting conditions, you might have to hand-tune it somewhat, but the above should at least be a good starting point.

Most Critical Review

Fast and Unreliable

Crucial M4 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) CT064M4SSD2
Crucial M4 2.5" 64GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) CT064M4SSD2

Pros: Undeniably extremely fast for the money, especially after upgrading to 0009 firmware.

Cons: Had several of these in a RAID for a storage node, running only the OS for the host machine (not being used in the storage array). Despite the very low duty requirements of the task, they kept causing IO freezes which would make the host OS unresponsive. Futher, one drive kept falling out of the array. I'd re-add the device only to have it fall back out again after 20-40 minutes with IO errors. Next I tried upgrading the firmware, running a power cycle (vendor recommendation), switching AHCI modes, disabling all ATA power saving, switching out the SATA cables, tried different ports and even different filesystems. When I thought perhaps the Intel ACHI controller might be unhappy with that particular model SSD, I even tried throwing it in a different system with a different AHCI controller. Same issue. Replaced the SSD with a brand new replacement of the same model, had the same symptoms. Replaced with a different SSD brand, and the machine has been up for days without a hiccup. Hmmm.

Overall Review: After running into these issues, I did quite a bit of research on this model and found the problems we ran into are actually pretty common. There is a theory that the onboard Marvell logic controller has a major part to play in the IO blocking behavior, but I don't have a reasonable way of vetting that claim (besides, my company is no longer buying Crucial brand SSDs due to our experiences with them so far, so there's not much impetus for me to do so). There were some grumblings of negative posts to this effect being exorcised from Crucial's forums, though I was not witness to any of that, so can't comment on it either way. Some people seem to have no issues with this drive, but I think it's very possible there's a lot of folks out there who are blaming their OS for instability that's really the fault of their SSD. Fanboys may "unhelpful" this review into Internet oblivion, but hey, I do this for a living and the problems I experienced with this model were unfortunately very real.

Horrible, horrible thermal characteristics

ORICO M.2 RGB NVMe SSD Enclosure Aluminum Alloy USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C 10Gbps Support UASP for NVMe SSD Size 2230/2242/2260/2280 - Gray
ORICO M.2 RGB NVMe SSD Enclosure Aluminum Alloy USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C 10Gbps Support UASP for NVMe SSD Size 2230/2242/2260/2280 - Gray

Pros: Nice, simple assembly. Fairly sturdy. Doesn't rely on USB power.

Cons: I had to use foam and rubber bumpers to keep drives from clunking around (though mine did ship with two rather flimsy foam pads, they weren't quite sufficient). But the largest drawback is the lack of any heat dissipation whatsoever. A 5400 RPM drive ran so hot after 3 minutes that I could feel the heat radiating from the drive when I held my hand above it. In fact, I had to drill vent holes into the plastic lid in order to let heat escape. The result? The drive runs about room temperature. It should have shipped with vent holes molded into it, I shouldn't have had to modify it myself.

Overall Review: If you don't plan on applying a little DIY elbow grease, I'm not sure I can recommend this enclosure.

Good value

Micron 1100 2TB SATA 6Gb/s 2.5-inch MTFDDAK2T0TBN-1AR1ZABYY
Micron 1100 2TB SATA 6Gb/s 2.5-inch MTFDDAK2T0TBN-1AR1ZABYY

Pros: Decent speeds, peaking at ~500MBps for both linear reads and writes. Low cost per GB, especially since I got mine on sale. Runs pretty cool at 37ºC / 98.6ºF, which isn't much above ambient as of this writing, and there's no airflow over it (SSDs like to run a bit on the warm side for longevity). Shipped with current firmware.

Cons: When zeroing this drive before use, it started out at >500MBps but eventually settled down to roughly half of that after a few minutes. So for heavily sustained writes at least, the low pricetag certainly shows. The housing on this drive is a bit flimsy feeling, but this isn't much of a con IMO; it's to store bits on, not to feel expensive in the palm of your hand.

Overall Review: I bought this drive specifically to house games, so there wasn't much risk in terms of durability. Not only will its workload be far more read-intensive than for writes, but there is nothing there which can't simply be reinstalled. I'll write an updated review if I have any problems down the road, but so far so good.

Tripp Lite quality

Tripp Lite DisplayPort Cable with Latches (M/M), DP, 4K x 2K, 10-ft. (P580-010)
Tripp Lite DisplayPort Cable with Latches (M/M), DP, 4K x 2K, 10-ft. (P580-010)

Pros: Works at DP 1.2 standard. Good build quality. Perfect length for typical desks/workstations with cable management.

Cons: None noted.

Overall Review: In my opinion, it's worth going with Tripp Lite over no-name brands. "Saving" a few dollars only to find the product doesn't work very well isn't a very good value proposition, IMO.

Great upgrade for low-end systems

EVGA GeForce GT 1030 2GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 Low Profile Video Card 02G-P4-6332-RX
EVGA GeForce GT 1030 2GB GDDR5 PCI Express 3.0 Low Profile Video Card 02G-P4-6332-RX

Pros: Silent, fanless operation. Powered exclusively by PCIE buss. 30W max power consumption. DDR5 provides quite a lot of memory bandwidth considering its narrow 64-bit buss. Quite good build quality for an entry-level card, typical of EVGA. On the card I received, it appears brand new and there is no obvious indication that the card is refurbished at all. Surprisingly decent performance for desktop rendering, accelerated video playback, and selective gaming.

Cons: Mine shipped with only the full-length bracket pictured, which is expected. But this one was going in a small form-factor system with low-profile PCIE slots. Thus I had to re-use a matching low-profile bracket I already happened to have, which was expected though somewhat inconvenient.

Overall Review: Installed this as an upgrade in an older HP dc5750, which is a small form-factor business class desktop. It just *barely* fit with the CPU cooler, to the extent I was worried it'd fit at all without modification. But when I actually slotted it in, the clearance of the tapered video heatsync was so snug and precise it was almost as though it'd been designed for this very system. Lucky coincidence.

seller reviews
  • 3

No compaints

Shipped promptly, item as described, well packaged.

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Satisfactory

Great company to do business with

I ordered a belt from them which was exactly as described. Unfortunately it didn't quite fit comfortably (which was MY fault, not theirs). I requested a replacement and they kindly obliged. Not only that, but their return process was quick, painless, and hassle-free. I'd buy from them again without hesitation.

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Satisfactory

Shipped on time, product as described

My transaction with Zake.com went as smoothly as one could hope. Having a mishap and seeing how they'd handle it might be more indicative of how they treat customers, but I certainly can't complain that I didn't have any reason to contact them in the first place.

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Satisfactory