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Robbin N.

Robbin N.

Joined on 01/21/04

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product reviews
  • 221
Most Favorable Review

Nice little box

Pivos AIOS Network HD Media Center PTGMCART35-US – 3.5" SATA I/II Hot Plug HDD Drive Bay HDMI LAN SDHC USB3.0 HTML 5 Browser UPnP P2P MKV Blu-Ray ISO Support
Pivos AIOS Network HD Media Center PTGMCART35-US – 3.5" SATA I/II Hot Plug HDD Drive Bay HDMI LAN SDHC USB3.0 HTML 5 Browser UPnP P2P MKV Blu-Ray ISO Support

Pros: Very tinkerable, great community support with alternative firmwares. The stock firmware is nothing to shout about but it does what it says on the box. Having tinkered with a few I have settled on the semi-official R20 firmware which pretty much rocks the box. If you know a little about linux and are comfortable with telnet and busybox then you will be at home with this media player. I have it hardwired into my network on a GB switch with access to my media shares on my other machines, plus an internal 500GB Spinpoint drive. Setup of mountable nfs shares can be achieved and acess to things like Youtube etc are built in. UPnP operation is very straightforward and it will work with WMP 12 and Playon as the server. The aios can also be configured as a UPnP server itself. Video playback in all the formats I have tried is excellent and in certain areas puts my quad core HTPC to shame, especially with mkv files.

Cons: The built in internal memory is approaching it's maximum capacity as firmwares are released with out of memory errors being reported in some cases. The GB lan connection whilst perfectly suitable for streaming video is badly bottlenecked by the hardware and by the HDD interface in the box especially if your HDD is not ext3 format. For maximum throughput and to alleviate space issues the internal HDD should be formatted as ext3 with a swap partition activated. This also improves the throughput on the USB 3.0 port.

Overall Review: If pivosgroup continue with this product then I think they should probably think about increasing the available memory onboard or allow it to be user expanded. The community around this device is extremely helpful and pivos themselves seem to be very responsive to help requests and wishlists. This item was a replacement for an Argosy HV335T which served me well for 3 years until it died, it is a very capable replacement and the tweaks and interface make it a much better user experience. It certainly passes the wife test in terms of usability.

Most Critical Review

Deader than a very dead thing

WD My Net N900 Central HD Dual-Band Router with 1TB Storage - 1TB Storage, 4x Gigabit Ethernet Ports, 450 + 450 Mbps, USB, Dual-Band, 2.4/5 GHz, FasTrack Plus WDBKSP0010BCH-HESN
WD My Net N900 Central HD Dual-Band Router with 1TB Storage - 1TB Storage, 4x Gigabit Ethernet Ports, 450 + 450 Mbps, USB, Dual-Band, 2.4/5 GHz, FasTrack Plus WDBKSP0010BCH-HESN

Pros: Worked for 5 months

Cons: Worked for 5 months

Overall Review: Completely dead, not even a hard reset did anything. Upon performing a post mortem there appeared to be a very slight smell in the box. I'm wondering if the fan or something else burnt out. If you need to open the box be aware the screws are mounted under the feet and a fifth one under the label. I also needed to get into mine to get at the HD as I had some material on there I needed to get to.

Takes me back to the days...

Seasonic SYNCRO Q704 Case, 2021 iF and Red Dot Design Award Winner, Cable Management Design to Create Quality & Clean Look, Use with SYNCRO PSU Highly Recommended
Seasonic SYNCRO Q704 Case, 2021 iF and Red Dot Design Award Winner, Cable Management Design to Create Quality & Clean Look, Use with SYNCRO PSU Highly Recommended

Pros: Built like a bomb shelter Build Quality is very high Cable Management Nirvana Custom PSU is desirable but standard PSUs can be used 4 included fans with plenty of options for additional ones. Reverse ATX maximises GPU cooling This case has been incredibly well thought out The Custom Syncro PSU is expensive but a major Pro No sliced knuckles or fingers after installation, doesn't appear to be any sharp edges in the case.

Cons: Price... with the custom PSU this is an expensive case psu combo Weight, my review title harks back to the all steel cases from the late 90s with 10 x 5.25" front bays that seemed to cause a gravity well in your room. This case is up there in that respect. The reverse ATX design causes some interesting pauses during the build when I had to think about what to do next.

Overall Review: After delays while I secured a graphics card I finally completed this build this week. I had hoped to put together a killer build with this case as it really is a killer case. Unfortunately the state of the GPU market currently has meant that I've had to use a placeholder GPU until the 3070 and upwards class of CPUs return to sensible pricing levels. So in the meantime The Seasonic has the following build. Gigabyte A520 AORUS Elite AMD Ryzen 5 3600X Masterair MA410P Cooler G.Skill Trident Z NEO 2x 8GB 3600 ASUS ROG Strix GeForce RTX 3060 Z-EDGE U28T4K 28" Ultra HD 4K Monitor Corsair SCIMITAR RGB ELITE Mouse CORSAIR K68 RGB Keyboard Hisense HS205 soundbar. I would like to replace the CPU with a 5950X when availability and price makes it more possible and the 3060 with a 3080 Ti but my bank manager would probably have a fit. The build went very smoothly, no swearing (unusual!), with only the occasional timeout as my ageing brain came to terms with the reverse ATX and what that did to the layout of various components and cabling. The Syncro PSU while optional for this case is essentially a must. The PSU and its distribution box makes cable management in this system enjoyable, rather than the patience and soul sucking activity it usually is. Honestly I don't think I have put together such a well cable managed system as this in my 35 years of building PCs (yes I go back that far, first build was a 286 system back in the early 80s). The completed system is restrained but impressive. Factoring in the cost of the case and the current state of the silicon market this is an expensive build, but it kills the games that I play on a regular basis. World of Warships and Skyrim are gorgeous. Not finding any major concerns with it apart from cost, but as I've said everything is expensive right now. Most deservedly 5 eggs.

10/23/2021

Good looking reasonable price.

Montech Air 900 Mesh ATX Mid-Tower PC Gaming Case, High & Max Airflow, Full-Metal Mesh Front Panel, Tempered Glass, Dust- Proof, Unique Mesh Side Panel - EATX, ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX - Black
Montech Air 900 Mesh ATX Mid-Tower PC Gaming Case, High & Max Airflow, Full-Metal Mesh Front Panel, Tempered Glass, Dust- Proof, Unique Mesh Side Panel - EATX, ATX, Micro ATX, Mini ITX - Black

Pros: Comes in at a very Competitive price C/W two near-silent fans Tempered glass panel Magnetic dust filters covering all intakes Ample positions for all sorts of radiators HDD drive bays don't need tools 5 x 2.5" capacity Water cooling mounts Huge amounts of space behind the mobo wall for cable routing 2x USB 3.0 on front panel Looks pretty good.

Cons: This is not a specific con to this particular case but about black cases generally, black case, black motherboard, black screws... in a confined dark space... makes the simplest task for those of us with restricted eyesight somewhat challenging. Build quality was perhaps not the best, some sharp edges here and there and some sloppy riveting. Also the materials were a little bendy. Not nearly as bad as some cases I've dealt with in the past but the bendability is there and the case once put together in its final setup did flex slightly. 2x USB 2.0 on front panel... really can we not just dump this or stick them around back where they belong. Removing/reattaching the front panel is a bit fraught as there is a possibility of breaking the retention tabs.

Overall Review: As far as the build was concerned this was a fairly painless exercise, apart from a single knuckle slice. AMD Ryzen 5 1600 ASRock Fatal1ty AB350 Gaming K4, PNY Geforce GTX1060 6GB, 32 GB (4x8GB) DDR4 Team T-Force Night Hawk RGB 3200, 240GB NVMe Seagate IronWolf 14TB HDD. This was a rehousing of an established system from an old (about 10 years IIRC) and fairly ugly NZXT case. Once installed and running the case fans were hardly audible and seemed to be doing a fairly stand job. The black interior was doing little for the RGB DDR4 but to be honest not a big deal for me. For the price band a good case, a few flaws here and there certainly not the best but good nonetheless.

Excellent budget Notebook

ASUS VivoBook S15 15.6" Whiskey Lake Intel Core i5-8265U Processor, 8 GB DDR4, 256 GB SSD, Windows 10 - S530FA-DB51-GN, Portable IPS Full HD NanoEdge Bezel Laptop, Backlit Keyboard
ASUS VivoBook S15 15.6" Whiskey Lake Intel Core i5-8265U Processor, 8 GB DDR4, 256 GB SSD, Windows 10 - S530FA-DB51-GN, Portable IPS Full HD NanoEdge Bezel Laptop, Backlit Keyboard

Pros: Very light Good Battery Life Fast boot Backlit Keyboard Fingerprint Sensor Upgradeable in terms of memory, HDD/SSD (spare 2.5" slot). M2 SSD is upgradeable to a larger capacity also. Games will run fairly well, World of warships will run comfortably at high settings, 1080 with 35-40 fps. The size of the power brick is very surprising, I have old phone chargers that are larger!

Cons: Numpad is non standard in terms of size, if you're a numpad user then this may cause you some issues. I'm not so it didn't. The color, not to my taste but to be honest not a deal breaker at this price. Thinking about opening the case will cause fingerprints to spontaneously appear everywhere! The charger while small is of the right size and orientation to mess up other outlet access on some power bars. Trackpad is tricky, at least for me.

Overall Review: I recently purchased a new laptop after my trusty HP Envy 15 decided that its hinges had opened too many times and completely disintegrated on me. I eventually bought an Asus TUF FX505 which is a fair bit higher spec than this Vivobook. Having said that, for almost 90% of my usage I would have been able to have gone with the Vivobook and saved myself circa 550 samolians, shhh don't tell the wife. It does all of the things snappily and competently that my TUF will do, the only difference being the gaming performance, which is why I bought the TUF in the first place. The Vivobook will run most games but only at low to medium settings, high settings for less demanding ones. Using Steam with in home streaming went very well as a work around to this but really the Vivobook is not designed or meant as a gaming notebook. As a general purpose work machine for document generation, internet browsing, email, media consumption it really punches the ticket. Now for some specifics:- The out of the box setup was smooth and without issue, no driver problems and once the bloatware and the ever present, nagging and utterly irritating Mcafee was removed this was a very pleasant experience. As an eczema sufferer I have a hate hate relationship with fingerprint readers, my fingers frequently have outbreaks that mess with the readers ability to id me. The reader on the Vivobook has given me less trouble than the one on my old HP. The trackpad is a bit iffy in my opinion but this may be due to me me being so used to HP's trackpads as I have similar problems on my TUF and I'm sure it will get better as I become acclimated to its tricks. I do wish that it had it's own drivers rather than rely on the built in Windows 10 ones as these, in my experience, are not as customizable as manufacturers ones. Sound is OK but like a lot of notebooks it seems to be of limited volume, as a person who doesn't like headphones this is an irritation that most notebooks give me. Wifi is good, and Intel! I have had problems on other machines that have Realtek Wifi adapters with the adapter disappearing completely when the notebook is woken up from sleep/hibernation, not an issue with Intel ones. Bluetooth response is great although I had problems connecting to a Rosewill Bluetooth 2.1 speaker system, but this was more due to the versions of Bluetooth on the speakers and the age of them I believe. User Benchmark (easy quick and dirty BM) rates it as a Destroyer as a desktop, with its gaming and workstation performance taking significant hits from the Graphics and Memory. The Graphics hit is understandable, the Intel UUHD 620 is a major improvement on past Intel integrated graphics cards but is still not designed for high games performance. The Memory hit is down to single channel mode I believe, addition of a second 8GB stick will improve this and currently is a very affordable upgrade. Overall this is a great workaday notebook, it will fit very comfortably in terms of size and weight in a briefcase/backpack and for those that need computer access without AC power it will give a good number of hours of use. If you are looking for something to play heavy duty games, look elsewhere and prepare your wallet! For its price point, design (apart from the color), and workaday performance I give this 5 eggs, none of the cons I've listed above are serious enough for me to give a lower rating.

12/21/2019

Functional with some issues

Montech Flyer Micro ATX Computer Gaming Case/ High-Airflow, Acrylic Side Panel, Pre-Installed 2 x 120mm Fan, Hairline Surface Front Panel, RGB LED Shining Strip/ Micro ATX, Mini-ITX/ Black
Montech Flyer Micro ATX Computer Gaming Case/ High-Airflow, Acrylic Side Panel, Pre-Installed 2 x 120mm Fan, Hairline Surface Front Panel, RGB LED Shining Strip/ Micro ATX, Mini-ITX/ Black

Pros: Looks good, no sharp edges and for a low cost case it is fairly robust.

Cons: Front fan cable came disconnect, at some point the plug, presumably the molex shared with the front panel LEDs got torn off the fan cable. The top mounted USB ports are very finicky, they make intermittent connections with any USB device plugged into them.

Overall Review: As a budget case it works well, but don't expect too much of it. The PSU section is extremely tight, if you are using a modular PSU you really have to mount the cables before you install the PSU in the case making sure you leave empty sockets close to the open side of the PSU mounting area. Cable management is also pretty tight as there really isn't a lot of space on the underside of the mobo plate. The only other issue is the manual, as it is it provides no instructions as to how to mount HDD or indeed any detail on SSD mounting. The blackness inside this case is total! Black mobo, Black memory modules, Black GPU, Black SSD, Black PCIe WiFI adapter, all in a very Black case mean that an angle poise lamp is a must during the build!

seller reviews
  • 4

Good fast dispatch

No criticism of their delivery. The case itself is basic but functional.

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Satisfactory

No problems, efficient

Would recommend, and I would certainly buy again should the right deal appear.

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Satisfactory

Good with reservations

The reason I gave 3 eggs is because of phoney tracking provided by this supplier. The tracking number is to this day, months after the delivery was completed, still invalid. Not only that but my order history still shows the item as preparing to ship. This is all well and good because I already have the item but it begs the question what happens when the item never arrives.

On-time
Delivery
Product
Accuracy
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Satisfactory