Seasonic SYNCRO Q704 -10/12/2021 6:06:41 PM

Pros: The Seasonic SYNCRO Q704 is a quality and spacious reverse ATX mid tower case that has a few unique features. Nearly everything in the case is black including the screws. The right side tempered glass ships with a retaining clamp so the magnetically held side case door does not swing open. The case was well-packaged and had protective film covering the outside of the glass. Once removed, it is easy screw-less access. The top port access is easy access and gives access to the most commonly needed USB 3.0 (2x), USB Type-C, audio in out. The brushed black steel at the front covers the fans, so keep that in mind as it will cover the front case fans and wont directly show RGB from the front. I am using liquid cooling for the CPU and used the top mount, which can handle a radiator/triple fan up to 360 mm, giving a lot of options. As someone that spends a lot of time on having tidy cabling, including breaking out a Dremel tool on some cases, the cable management was well thought out when coupled with a SYNCRO PSU (DGC-650 for this build). The CONNECT module of that power supply helps with cable management and is modular including the connections to the video card. Up to two 3.5 and three 2.5 storage drive can be installed and are hidden. Installation does take a bit of time to route and manage cables, but the result is well worth the effort. The three removable dust filters are quick to remove being held in place with magnets. The case comes with four Seasonic Nidec fans (3 front, 1 rear), which provide good air flow for cooling. Selecting between the minimum to maximum fan RPM selection one can find a good balance or choose between cooling and noise when gaming or using the web.

Cons: There were some minor fit and finish issues with the screws. The painted screws were very tight and some thumb screws were difficult to start the threads. A couple needed a little grease, otherwise it would nearly needed pliers to install. Another possible con is the limit of two 3.5 disk drives. Coming from a case where I had three 2.5 and three 3.5 drives installed, this did require removing one drive.

Overall Review: The high-quality case can be made into a great looking system that is especially dark. It looks great both outside and inside with superb cable management.

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Seasonic SYNCRO DGC-650 cable management and long-term quality10/12/2021 6:04:49 PM

Pros: The Seasonic SYNCHRO DGC PSU is designed for use with the Seasonic SYNCRO Q704 case. It has a unique cable management cable management with the CONNECT module. It does that well and results in one of the best modular cable management results I have used. Cables are routed and hidden well. A power supply tester is included and a welcome addition. Efficiency is respectable with 80 plus gold. Fan control includes fanless mode, resulting in near zero noise. It has shown stable performance and quiet operation in all usage scenarios. The case also looks good with black and subtle chrome mesh on the top of the PSU case. The 10 year warranty gives one confidence in long term reliability.

Cons: There are only 5 SATA as the corresponding case limits it to five drives. This PSU will only work in the case it is designed for, which limits future flexibility and moving to a different case.

Overall Review: Seasonic PSUs are known to be high quality and long lasting. I used a Seasonic S12-500 PSU from 2006 until 2020 until upgrading to a higher wattage, with about the last 5 years in 24/7 operation without issue. If you plan to use a SYNCRO Q704 case, this series is a choice I can recommend.

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Raijintek Ophion M Evo – an appealing mATX case3/16/2021 11:16:03 AM

Pros: Aesthetically the case is appealing with the dual tempered glass panes offering a modern look for a micro-ATX (or ITX/mini-ITX). I like the brushed black aluminum look and rounded features. The inside of the case is nicely blacked out in both metal and cabling and is a good base for an attractive build. This case does require a bit more planning to make sure all your components are going to fit, so be sure to take this into account when planning your build. For component selection it can handle a radiator/triple fan up to 360 mm, giving a lot of options for liquid cooling, also includes space for DIY pump/reservoir in the pursuit of quiet and high-performing builds. Keep in mind the 82 mm maximum CPU cooler height when choosing components, since this removes many tall heat-pipe coolers, restricting you to low-profile CPU coolers if you want air cooling. A modular power supply can help with cable management, as is typical with smaller builds. It can handle up to 200 mm case cooling fans. Video cards (up to 410 mm long, so vast majority will fit) and a riser cable is included and there are two mounting slots at the back of the case. Sufficient room for three 3.5” or five 2.5” (three inside, two outside in front of the front cover) storage drives. The case was well-packaged and had protective film covering the outside of the glass. The instructions in the installation guide on one large page, has relatively small pictures and minimal text. Download the PDF and zoom in if needed, but otherwise it is straightforward to follow. Installation does take a bit of time to route and manage cables, but worth the effort. Cooling is adequate for this case and with appropriate fan selection and settings, quiet.

Cons: Most will likely select their own fans anyways, but it is worth nothing no fans are included. The width of this case, due to its two-compartment design, is 23.1 cm (over 9 inches) and wider than some big ATX cases. Another possible con for some users is the presence of only one USB 3 port and a USB C port on the front of the case, but not a concern for me.

Overall Review: The case is a high-quality and can be made into a great looking build with appropriate component selection. Be sure to plan carefully and you can create a nice system using this case.

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ASUS Phoenix GeForce GTX 1060 6GB4/5/2020 3:46:20 PM

Pros: The ASUS Phoenix GTX 1060 GB is a strong contender for high quality and high value gaming at 1080p. It delivers performance on gaming, without the high expense associated with the newest graphics cards. For me, this was the sweet spot coming from an aged GTX 660. It is energy efficient and has a relatively simple cooling system with a copper base and aluminum fin heatsink and single Phoenix fan. The fan is a dual ball bearing fan is quiet and should be reliable over the long term. It is a dual slot cooler and in a short card at only 7.2 inches long. It supports four monitors and has two HDMI 2.0b and two DisplayPort 1.4 connectors, and one Dual-link DVI-D. It is considered VR ready for the current generation of devices. The warranty is reasonable at 3 years. Performance wise, there are sites with benchmarks. For overclocking, there are overclocking defaults in ASUS GPU tweak II, which this handled with no issue. I have been using a typical 2025 to 2076 MHz GPU clock with a max temperature of low 70’s C.

Cons: Cooling system is single fan and other cooling solutions are more advanced.

Overall Review: For me, this was the sweet spot coming from an aged GTX 660.

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RAIJINTEK PALLAS low profile cooler, great for HTPC4/5/2020 2:12:26 PM

Pros: The build quality is good, with a well-polished heat sink mating surface. The heat sink is made of aluminum and copper and plated with nickel, appearing reflective and shiny. The installation of the heat sink was simple, up to the fan install (see note below). There was plenty of room to install above RAM with low height heat spreaders, but RAM with tall heat spreaders would be an issue. Fan is 140 mm diameter and PWM. I am using this in a home theater PC, so minimal noise is important, and it must fit in a home theater case that does not accept full height cpu coolers. The cooling quality is better than the stock Intel hsf on a long (since 2011) serving i5-2500k. The cooler supports modern CPU sockets, so when I upgrade it can most likely be reused.

Cons: The fan is low profile and is listed as a sleeve bearing. It would be improved in the long term with a ball bearing fan. The wire clips used in the installation of the fan was a bit fiddly, but once installed adequately does the job.

Overall Review: The included fan was black, so if you were expecting a red fan to match a theme, that might bring some displeasure.

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CORSAIR Vengeance 650M – semi modular, quiet, stable, reliable5/20/2019 7:48:23 AM

Pros: The CORSAIR Vengeance 650M PSU has a black exterior, uses high quality capacitors, has no LED lights. It is smaller than other higher wattage power supplies I use, and this was important in the case I am using. It is a semi-modular PSU, with four fixed connections (i.e. ATX 24 pin for motherboard, 8 pin EPS for CPU, and two 8 pin PCIe for graphics cards). The remaining connections are modular, which is a nice feature as it is unlikely to need a floppy adapter or 4 pin peripheral connectors in modern builds. Installation was simple. The 80 Plus silver certified means this will be 85% efficient at typical loads. The connectors are firm and given confidence they will stay connected. The 120 mm fan is quiet, especially in zero RPM mode and makes no fan noise depending on the load. It does not switch on until 260 W, then the fan is still single digit dB noise level until well over 500 W load. The 12V is switchable between single rail (54 A) or multiple rails (five at individual 30 A max each) with a button on the back of the PSU. In use thus far, it is very stable and quiet. The five-year warranty suggests Corsair is confident in the built quality and will stand behind the product.

Cons: The inclusion of five SATA power connectors might not be enough for some builds, though more SATA connectors are available on the 750W model of this power supply.

Overall Review: In addition to this PSU, I use CORSAIR power supplies in three other builds in gaming, home server, and general office/web use PCs and the performance has been stable and reliable in each.

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Corsair AF140 140mm Blue Fan2/24/2019 4:17:02 AM

Pros: The Corsair AF140 140mm fan (25mm thick) has a black case with opaque fan blades. The build quality appears to be good. The four blue led lights evenly light up the blades. Install was easy with the included Philips screws. The power connector is three pin and easily connected to the motherboard. Fan rpm was detected and could be monitored by software. At the peak 1150 RPM it is listed to give up to 62 ft^3/min air flow. The bearing is listed as a hydraulic bearing. Qualitatively the fan is quiet and listed as 26 dBa on the packaging. It is noticeably quieter than an older sleeve fan included with my case. So far it has performed well and been without issue.

Cons: The 18 inch wire lead is way longer than I needed to mount to the fan header, but wire management is easy with the thin wire.

Overall Review: With the move towards RGB lighting, this fan only has one color option. Using this fan, I replaced a molex connector powered fan, which with a modular PSU let me remove one additional wire for a cleaner installation.

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CORSAIR AX850: top quality hardware and warranty for the next decade2/13/2019 6:50:05 AM

Pros: The CORSAIR AX850 power supply has many positives including a high build quality of the hardware including high temperature rated Japanese capacitors, ball bearing 135 mm fan. The fan has a zero RPM mode, remaining silent for up to about half the power rating (425 W) and is therefore nearly silent for many operation modes. There is a button on the back to turn on or off the zero RPM fan mode. Even when operational, the noise level is very low below 15 dBa. The 12 V single rail can output up to 70 A, which will more than meet my foreseeable needs. There is built in over voltage protection, and other review sites show it is possible to go several hundred watts above the rated wattage before over power protection engaged, showing this easily handles 850 W. The titanium rating is the highest rating in the 80 PLUS and this PSU can achieve in the low 90% efficiency depending on input voltage and load. The warranty is very attractive at 10 years, an order of a magnitude better than low end power supplies with a 1 year warranty. Even the packaging with black bag and labelled canvas storage bag for the modular cabling is included. It makes for easy cable management when you only include the cables you need. It is a backwards compatible as possible, even including a floppy connector – although I do not see myself using that anytime soon. Red, white, and blue magnetic side labels are also included, in addition to the light grey label on the side of the power supply. Branded Velcro table and zip ties are included along with a case badge and detailed manual.

Cons: It is difficult to find a con with this power supply. The length dimension is about 6.7 inches, longer than a typical lower wattage power supply that might be about 5.5 inches. In most cases this won’t matter, but it might matter in a small case such as those used for home theater that accept ATX power supplies. There was no issue installing in a typical mid tower case.

Overall Review: There is no RGB lighting and is a clean and sleek looking power supply. It has been stable at any load situation used with it so far, and I expect the same for the next decade.

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Toshiba L200 2 TB laptop PC hard drive - worthy storage drive10/20/2018 3:11:45 AM

Pros: The Toshiba L200 2TB laptop hard disk drive comes in a 2.5” width and 9.5 mm thickness, slightly thicker than the 1TB which is 7 mm. It was contained in a retail box with air filled plastic padding. Make sure this drive fits your particular application. It is a SATA 6.0Gb/s connection and a 5400 RPM drive with a 128 MB buffer, which is appropriate for this type of drive. It is quiet when spinning and writing. It has a low power profile, which should help to optimize battery life in portable uses, and it appears to run cool. The built-in shock sensor and ramp-loading technology would hopefully minimize loss of data or damage for a dropped or bumped laptop. Installation was simple, and after a simple format the drive was recognized without issue. It has been in use without issue for a couple weeks so far. It does not have the fastest transfer rates compared to other higher RPM drives, but that is not what this drive is designed for, which is a relatively large storage space in a small size and reasonable cost. It is a worthy storage drive from a reliable manufacturer.

Cons: The warranty is only 2 years. There were no mounting screws included, ensure you have those available.

Overall Review: This 2TB capacity in a 9.5 mm thickness drive is better than the older 2 TB 12 mm thickness drives, since this drive could be used both in a laptop and most portable SATA to USB drive adapters.

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Cooler Master CK550 premium mechanical keyboard8/8/2018 9:47:51 AM

Pros: The CK550 is a well-built keyboard with a nice brushed aluminum case. The hardware design appears to be of high quality and it has a premium look and feel to it. The keys are rated for 50 million keypresses, certainly more than low-end keyboards that I have had a key or two fail during normal usage over several years. For the CK550, after connecting the USB cable, a quick testing commenced. A quick start guide lists the many available changes using combinations, such as the function and other keys. In addition to RGB settings, other things such as volume and media controls (play/pause, next/previous track, pause) may be done. I installed the CoolerMaster Portal v1.00 software. It shipped with firmware 1.03.00 and I updated to firmware 1.05.02 without any issue. There are many customization possibilities for the RGB settings for the LEDs. Changes to the settings are quick and easy to do. Multiple electronic profiles are available for quick switching though the software or FN + 1 through 4 using the keyboard. I preferred using the Portal software as there were many more options, for example fully custom colors, that can be selected. Within the software, I could also change the MM520 mouse to match the settings and theme of the keyboard. There are many LED modes: static color, rainbow wave, crosshair, reactive fade, custom (i.e. gaming), stars, rain, color cycle, breathing, ripple, multilayer, multizone, system status, snowing, reactive punch, heartbeat, fireball, circle spectrum, reactive tornado, water ripple, snake, and off. Custom background color with reactive fade with random colors is my current choice. Macro can easily be recorded in the software. The feedback from the keys is positive and after using it for a couple weeks, I am impressed, and I prefer it to conventional keyboards.

Cons: There are no additional keys for one button macros as found on some other larger keyboards. There is no wrist rest on this classic shaped keyboard.

Overall Review: The warranty is two years. However, judging by the apparent build quality, I do not expect most would need to use this.

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Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB External Drive6/8/2018 3:54:59 PM

Pros: The Toshiba Canvio Basics 1TB external hard drive has a USB 3.0 and is compatible with USB 2.0. The plain case is black and not glossy, so fingerprints do not show up. The cable is relatively short, but works for most scenarios and the short cable makes it compact. The case appears to be sturdy, with no evidence for any screws holding it together. The drive is powered by the cable and is quickly recognized in Windows 10. The model I received contains a Toshiba MQ04UBF100 and is a 5400 RPM drive. It has a SATA 3GB/s to USB connection. The transfer rates I found were near 150 MB/s sequential read and write in benchmarking and about 140 MB/s over USB 3.0 when copying files from another spinning disk. Performance was fine for general backup uses and copying of files. It has performed reliably in the couple weeks I’ve used it. At the current price level, it is a good value.

Cons: The warranty is a bit short at 1 year.

Overall Review: An easy to disassemble case would make the combination more flexible.

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Corsair Dark Core RGB SE: flexible modes and customizable5/9/2018 6:38:55 AM

Pros: The Corsair Dark Core RGB SE is a mouse with several attractive and modern features. The build is black plastic and the quality is good. There is a slight raised texture to the grip with a contoured shape and it has two interchangeable grips. There are four backlit RGB LED locations and three multipurpose dot LEDs. It can operate in wired, 1 ms wireless 2.4 GHz, or low latency Bluetooth wireless mode. There are two switches on the bottom, the first to turn on/off, and the second to switch between 2.4 GHz wireless and Bluetooth. The wired cable has a nice fabric wrap. The optical sensor is up to 16,000 DPI and fully adjustable in software to the single dpi. The wireless receiver was recognized and active in less than a second within Windows 10. It also has the option for Qi wireless charging. It has 9 programmable buttons, easily customized (including disable) within the Corsair Utility Engine. I used the sniper button on one profile to open Chrome as a web browser. The three profiles are onboard, so easy to move from computer to computer. It takes about 10-15 seconds to write the profile. The CUE software has a surface calibration. The DPI is fully adjustable for each mode, as well as for the sniper mode. The lighting effects include Rainbow, Color Shift, Color Pulse, and Static color. The color change speed it adjustable using a slider bar. There is a lot of customizability for the various parameters. The response and performance has been good for both gaming and general computer use.

Cons: The Corsair Utility Engine is a 229 MB download and requires 532 MB free disk space. This seems large for what it does. An internal storage compartment of the mouse for the wireless adapter would have been a nice addition for use while traveling.

Overall Review: The documentation is sparse in the six pages of printed manual. There is additional information on the box that is not in the manual. The warranty/guarantee is listed as 2 years in the retail packaging and documentation.

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MasterLiquid Lite 120 All-in-one CPU Liquid Cooler4/1/2018 3:27:16 PM

Pros: The Cooler Master MasterLiquid Lite 120 All-in-one CPU Liquid Cooler fits pretty much every socket CPU (except TR4, but even for that an adapter is available). The specification list up to 180W TDP, more than the 150 on the air based TDP HSF. It is compact and that makes installation a breeze. The flexible tubes are of appropriate length, making installation simple. Remove the motherboard and put the backing plate on the back side of the motherboard. It is low depth and fit readily with no case modification, even with an older case that does not have a cutout behind the CPU area. The instructions are mostly visual and simple enough to follow. The pump and fan connections to the motherboard are straightforward. The entire installation process replacing a conventional air HSF took less than an hour. It is quiet, with the pump listed at < 8 dBA and the fan 6-30 dBA. The pump is described as a dual dissipation pump and the entire thing should be maintenance free. The specs for the pump list 70,000 hours MTTF, which works out to about 8 years, and the fan is listed as more than double that. The fan appears to be high quality and has a high density sine fin design, and qualitatively it was quieter than my case fans. Performance was great, even better than I expected. It had no issue taking a 6600k to 4.6 GHz and in stability testing it stayed below 60 degrees C. That is something I can easily live with and have no concerns.

Cons: The copper block had clear machining marks, as shown in gallery images, and was not particularly smooth or polished. I considered polishing it and then testing again to see if there is any improvement in cooling performance, but given the above performance it did not seem like it would be worth the time.

Overall Review: This is my second CPU liquid cooler, with the other cooling a 4770k. I may obtain another one of these to use with a currently air cooled 5820k.

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GAMDIAS Gaming Chair Achilles E1 RGB BackLighting - Black / White3/7/2018 5:31:36 PM

Pros: The Gamdias E1 gaming chair is unique in its RGB backlighting. It is an appealing gaming chair in terms of looks. The USB extension is sufficiently long to be routed out of the way and plugged into a monitor. The chair is built of study metal for the important components. The chair I have has material that is black and white vinyl with the look of leather and the stitching is white. The arm rests have good adjustability up/down and back/forward. Height adjustment is easy as well as the recline angle. A few support items are included as well, I found the head support cushion the most useful and tried the lumbar support cushion, but did not keep using it. The back is quite tall and would provide head support for most tall individuals. The packaging included a sturdy box and items packaged in plastic bags. The included instructions were somewhat small print, but images were all that were needed to put this together. Assembly took some time, but was not particularly difficult. All the Allen bolts were the same size and an L-shaped Allen wrench with plastic grip was included. On using it for a couple weeks, the chair is comfortable and sitting in it for long periods of time is no problem. The seat is shaped like a U, and way the side curves up it might be less comfortable for those with a larger frame. The Hera software used to control the RGB lighting is easy to install and use. The brightness and speed are adjustable. The selectable modes are wave (selectable colors), breathing, neon, blink, 7ColorWave, RandomLight, Rotate, Static, Run7Wave, and Cross. This goes well with other RGB lighting in my system, which includes case fans, keyboard, mouse, and desk lamp, which adds to the theme.

Cons: When assembled, there was a slight lean to one direction in the seat portion. I checked and rechecked, disassembled and reassembled but still the same result. I ended up placing spacers between the seat and base, which I had laying around to level out the top part of the seat. I don’t know if it was a QC issue, or shipping damage, but it was an easy fix.

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Shark NV355 Navigator Lift-Away Professional Upright Vacuum Cleaner2/14/2018 11:12:31 AM

Pros: The Shark NV355 vacuum cleaner was refurbished, but there was no indication of use and it appeared like new. No dust in the dust cup bin, or wear marks. All of the accessories and user manual was included. The suction is strong and the rollers worked well. The dust cup bin is easy to remove and empty. The extensions were easy to attach and use. The ability to use suction only and no rollers in nice when using the attachments. It is easy to turn around corners the way it pivots.

Cons: There is no height adjustment for the rollers. There is no easy way to remove the roller to remove long hair that gets wrapped around it.

Overall Review: Overall this was a good vacuum for the price. There is a good supply of spare parts.

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TP-LINK LB120 Smart Wi-Fi LED Bulb2/14/2018 10:56:53 AM

Pros: The light works well and reliably with Google Assistant. The Kasa Android app is reliable in changing brightness and color temperature. I use the app to control two smart plugs and this one smart Wi-Fi bulb. It has always worked and responded to Google Home commands. The light is sufficiently bright, and I use it at lower than maximum settings as an above a kitchen table light. It was easy to setup and name.

Cons: The bulb is long and would not fit into a ceiling fan globe fixture. There are no dimensions listed on the specification page here.

Overall Review: Good energy efficiency.

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quality, good performance, and customizable12/31/2017 9:59:20 AM

Pros: The fan cases are black material and gray corner caps and the fan blades are made of an off-white plastic. There are two wires coming out of each fan. The kit comes with a fan hub and lighting node PRO, each of which are powered by a SATA power cables from the main PSU. One should take some time and consider how to best arrange the various wires for the best cable management, which looks better and can have slightly better air flow through the case. The hub and node are relatively thin and in my PC case I was able to place both hidden and out of view on the back side of the case, with the included double sided tape. The three connections to the hub need to the sequential. The Lighting Node Pro also needs to be connected to the hub and plugged into a USB 2.0 header. The three fans are powered from the motherboard 4 pin headers. Hardware installation went smoothly, but took some time. The software is the Corsair Link software, which is available for download. The Lighting Node Pro was detected and easy to configure. It defaults to the rainbow wave, with several other selections available (rainbow, color shift, color pulse, color wave, static, temperature, visor, marquee, blink, and sequential). The speeds, brightness, and colors of the effects are also adjustable. The link software is well done and shows many sensors (e.g. temperature of motherboard, cpu, hard drives, gpu) and has logging capabilities. The warranty is a very solid five years. The bearings are described as magnetic levitation to reduce friction and noise, with specs listed as 25 dBa. The air flow is about 47 CFM, which is moderate for this size fan and sufficient even for a moderate gaming system. The RPM range is from 400 to 1600 controlled by PWM, which worked well after calibration from the motherboard software. The fans are very quiet at low RPM and still reasonable at maximum RPM for heavy load and usage.

Cons: There are a number of wires involved, which could look messy if not arranged well. There is a loss of an internal USB 2 header, and since I am using the H80i v2 liquid CPU cooler, both of the USB 2 headers on my motherboard are in use for cooling hardware.

Overall Review: These fans coupled with liquid CPU cooling and a RM850X PSU, where the fan does not spin at low loads, leads to a very quiet system. Also, other corner cap colors are available for further customization. Using cold cathode lighting for over a decade, the flexibility and customization capability of RGB lighting is welcome and is nice that options are available that also extend to the keyboard and computer mouse.

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TP-Link HS100 Smart Wi-Fi Plug11/11/2017 6:48:21 PM

Pros: Works with Google home and a simple setup. It has been fully reliable and no need to reconnect or reset in nearly two months of use so far. I have these controlling two floor lamps in the living room, one is the ‘left lamp’ and one is the ‘right lamp’. A simple “Okay Google, turn on the right lamp” – and the right lamp is on, or the left. Combined with a Smart bulb, all three can be turned on, or all three turned off. Scheduling and away mode add some options. This is my first foray into voice control/automation and these have worked great.

Cons: The TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Plug covers both outlets and is not a mini plug.

Overall Review: These have a green LED, which is noticeable but not too bright, that stays lit during operation. The maximum power is 1800 watts, which means one could use high power draw device such as a ceramic heater. The warranty is 1 year.

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Cooler Master MasterMouse MM52011/11/2017 6:27:57 PM

Pros: The MM520 is a claw grip wired mouse with good button placement. The optical tracking method works well on standard surfaces. The 12000 dpi sensor leads to precise tracking. The four levels of on the fly dpi adjustment allow one to quickly tune the response. The default lowest (400) and highest levels (12000) are quite slow or rapid movement, but the middle two are what I first found most useful. Each is adjustable, and I preferred the feel of raising the lowest value and lowering the highest value to make each setting the most useful for me. The OS sensitivity, double click time, and button respond time are also adjustable. Macro creation is also possible. The RGB illumination in three zones is customizable, with 5 profiles available. The Cooler Master Control software enables full tuning. Static color settings are fully adjustable. The color cycle goes through all the colors in rapid fashion, whereas the breathing mode alternates from light to dark. The key assignments are very customizable for each of the buttons, including rapid fire and many other options. Within Windows, the remap of the browser forward/back buttons to keyboard [Ctrl+Lwin+Right] and [Ctrl+Lwin+Left] to switch between desktops.

Cons: The Cooler Master portal software functions well enough, but portions could have better in app help/settings information (e.g. what does changing the USB polling setting do?). The question mark merely lists the software and firmware versions, but does not provide and help or link to any of the settings.

Overall Review: This mouse has no issues working on a USB 3 port. I have another mouse that periodically has issues on staying connected on any USB 3.0 port, but is fine on USB 2.

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Verified Owner
Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
Google Home11/11/2017 6:21:26 PM

Pros: Google home is an entertaining device for voice activation for a variety of services. In using this for about 5 months, it has been a useful device. The entire family uses it to listen to steaming music. I use it to tell me about my day since I use Google calendar. It is also a quick way to hear about the weather while doing other things. Have a question, or want to play an animal sound for a toddler, it can do that too. I have it setup to control two smart Wi-Fi plugs to control two floor lamps and one smart WiFi LED bulbs, which can also be adjusted for brightness. The voice control for turning on and off lights is something one quickly gets used to and it is useful. One, or all lights can be turned on or off with a simple command. The free US calling is a convenient way to call using a speakerphone. The voice quality is decent. More features to come I imagine.

Cons: Sometimes the voice recognition requires more than one try but that is not too big of a deal.

Overall Review: It has been completely reliable and has not needed to be reset or restarted.

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EVGA GeForce GT 710 passive cooled9/23/2017 3:06:12 PM

Pros: The GT 710 is a dual slot passively cooled video card. It is silent operation where I am using it in a home theater PC application in Windows 10 for Kodi and Ubuntu for MythTV. There are three ports, HDMI, DVI-D, and D-SUB (VGA). The maximum digital resolution is 4096 x 2160. In use since November 2016, in a home built passively-cooled home theater case, which relies on a stock CPU fan and power supply for air flow, with no other fans for cooling I have not had any issues or overheating.

Cons: Passive heatsink takes two slots, so ensure the neighboring slot is available

Overall Review: It is not a gaming video card and should not be used as such.

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TOSHIBA N300 4TB Desktop Hard Drive8/2/2017 5:28:59 AM

Pros: The Toshiba N300 hard drive is a standard 3.5 inch drive designed for 24/7 operation. It has 128 MB cache and a rotational speed of 7200 RPM. There are three capacities available at 4TB, 6TB, and 8TB. This review refers to the 4TB model. It can be used as a standalone desktop drive or in a Network Attached Storage (NAS) environment, with scalability up to 8 drives in a multi-RAID system. The specs indicate a workload up to 180 TB/year, which should be more than adequate for most users or small business. The drive is designed and built with multiple sensors to compensate for rotational vibration and shock, coupled with error recovery control. There is a dynamic cache technology with buffer management that will help make the best use of the ample 128 MB cache. The transfer speed is up to 240 MB/s and impressive for a spinning drive and benchmarks, but in general a lower transfer than that max was observed in typical usage. The warranty is three years and standard or slightly better than the current generation of hard drive products. I have this installed in a system with 8 total hard drives operating in a 24/7 usage. In about 3 weeks of use, it has performed flawlessly in a mix of writing and reading files mostly ranging between 1-5 GB. After formatting, it is a quiet drive both at idle and on reads and writes. Others may be more sensitive to noise, since there were seven other drives nearby so I could not notice any additional noise coming from this drive. In my setup it is cooled by a fan and runs sufficiently cool for a 7200 RPM drive, even surrounded by other older drives that generate more heat than this N300.

Cons: A longer warranty would add value.

Overall Review: The long term reliability of this line of drives is not fully known, but based on previous drive lines from Toshiba this should be as reliable as could be expected from these capacity drives.

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v5/27/2017 11:25:03 AM

Pros: The Corsair TX-M Series CP-9020131-NA 750W PSU has several features that make it appropriate for a modern day build. The case is black with silver lettering and features a black-bladed 120 mm fan supported by a rifle bearing. I found the fan to be quiet in my system and less audible than other 120 mm fans in my case. It features a semi-modular cabling with the 24-pin ATX and 4+4 cable (12V) hard wired, which will be used in nearly all modern builds. The modular cables are the 6+2 PCIe, 2x4 SATA and 1x4 PATA cable, giving sufficient power for multiple disks and fans. The 750W maximum power on a single 12V rail is more than sufficient for many users, including mine, and the 80 PLUS Gold certified efficiency is attractive. The quality capacitors and ability to function at high temperature should promote stable operation at various conditions, particularly when coupled with over- and under-voltage protection, short-circuit and over power protection, and over temperature protection. The seven year warranty is a good indication that the manufacturer is confident in the longevity of the internals. It has provided stable power for a Z170-based build.

Cons: The main 24-pin cable is sleeved, whereas the others are not. A minor con, but worth noting.

Overall Review: I have been using a Corsair RMx series 850W PSU and it has served me very well in a primary gaming PC for a while. This Corsair TX-M 750W PSU has also performed flawlessly for several weeks in a medium-high build and is well suited for all but the most extreme builds.

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Linksys E900-NP Wireless N300 router4/8/2017 6:44:55 AM

Pros: This router is easy to setup and has sufficient capabilities for many typical low bandwidth uses, such as e-mail and web use. It is an N300 and has four 10/100 ports to connect wired devices to the network. It comes with an Ethernet cable and a power adapter and a CD-ROM with software to setup the router. The connections are simple and the setup from the CD is straighforward enough, albeit a little slow, that any inexperienced used can easily get up and running. Within a few minutes, a new wireless network with custom name was up and running. Placing the router inside a closet, and testing the speed on the opposite side of the house, the transfer speed still managed over 5 MB/s. That’s plenty for the types of usage this router is best suited. A more optimized location and speed transfers would improve substantially, see other review. The build quality seems decent enough, considering the price range this router occupies.

Cons: No gigabit connectivity. Only N300. No printer sharing. No wall mount holes. Not the newest tech. No frills. Just a wireless router, but it does that successfully.

Overall Review: This is a basic wireless router that serves that purpose and not much more. This is fine for those who do not demand the absolute highest transfer speeds or ability to configure many options for a complex home network.

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Corsair K55 RGB Keyboard lights up your night2/27/2017 6:37:01 AM

Pros: The Corsair K55 keyboard connects via USB 2.0 or 3.0 and comes with a detachable soft plastic-rubber wrist rest. There are collapsible feet on the bottom of the keyboard to adjust the angle. It has three customizable zones with dynamic RGB backlighting. There are about 12 preconfigured lighting modes, which are easily accessible by the function button and 1-0, minus, and equal keys. The first six are three different static colors, seven is user customizable, eight cycles the same color through three zones, nine is a pulse, zero is a color shift, minus is a color pulse that moves sideways, and equals gives a rainbow wave. The speed and direction of the dynamic modes is easily adjusted with the function and arrow keys to speed up, slow down or change from left to right, to right to left. The lights can easily be turned off, and adjusted for brightness with dedicated buttons at the top of the keyboard. There are also dedicated multimedia keys and volume up and down keys. There are six programmable macro keys (G1-G6) located along the left edge, with an MR macro record button at the top. It adds some interest to the keyboard and is helpful when working/gaming at night. Using this for a few weeks and I like it, and expect it to last.

Cons: There is some bleed-through of lighting between zones. You can’t maintain completely separate colors or on/off for numbers vs. letters.

Overall Review: The write rest could be of higher quality material. The windows key lock mode can be of use while gaming. The media keys would be nicer if backlit, but you get used to the order.

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