Joined on 11/04/05
Works well with a few reservations...
Pros: Just about every port you could need or want on the back. Kill-A-Watt Readings: ~ 24 Watts Idle. Sometimes it jumps as high as 30 but it usually tapers back down to 24ish and stabilizes. Choosing Power Saving and High Performance power profiles seem to have negligible effects on this reading, so I leave it in High Performance. - ~32 Watts watching 720p video (from hard drive) on a 1024x768 monitor - ~ 35 watts installing Starcraft 2 while watching same video, and no don't even bother trying to play ~ 29 watts copying large files (movies) over USB 3.0 dont have appropriate blu ray playing software yet so I can't comment on that. I would expect these readings to be higher also on a larger resolution screen (i.e. 1080p).
Cons: I/O ports on the back are the most flimsy I've ever felt. Plugging in the VGA cable with normal pressure, you can feel it flex a good 3mm. Worried about long term use, it might break off. I downloaded drivers from the Asus website. The integrated graphics use Catalyst Control Center 2, which is pathetic. I removed it and installed AMD Vision Control Center 11, which is much better, even though it still has no settings for overscan/underscan (just my fault I guess for having an old cr@ppy HDTV). So I guess I'm stuck with the XGA monitor for now. The GUI bios thing is ok, there is a simple and advanced view. There does not appear to be any provision for undervolting your RAM, or at least you cannot go lower than 1.35V which is the normal operating voltage for G. Skill's Eco lineup. Yes you can undervolt the processor, but have not played with that yet. (see last paragraph on other thoughts)
Overall Review: Cooler Master Elite 100 (This Motherboard) G. Skill Eco Memory (2x2GB running at 1066) TOSHIBA MK3265GSX (320GB single platter laptop drive) Sony Optiarc Slim Blu Ray Drive Windows Vista x64 Ultimate (SP2) Vista x64 Scores: Processor: 4.4 (I thought that was funny) Memory: 5.1 Graphics: 4.1 Gaming Graphics: 4.7 Primary Hard Disk: 5.9 I'm happy with the setup. As it stands now, I could use my little monitor and power this thing with a 60Watt solar panel. Opera Browser is pretty slow, I don't think it has hardware support yet for graphics (all CPU), but Chrome is snappy. (I don't know what they were thinking with the sta ports on the edge of the motherboard. The right angle cables they included point straight down into the motherboard tray. You can't use them on the lower sata ports, and using them on the top ones will cover the lower ones. Just use regular sata cables and you should be fine. The motherboard is about 2 inches shorter than most mATX mobos, so you wi
I would avoid this keyboard
Pros: Slim, LED for num lock, caps lock, power and low battery.
Cons: The thing does double and triple type letters as others have posted. I'm using it right now and it seems to be behaving, but it acts up often enough that I want to replace it. The rangge e ispooor (ooh i ginxxedd myself). It would not work aat all ffroom 88 feet aawway (at lleeast with ttthe usb reecceeiver inni the backK) Itt's allsoo loud. feels likee youruru smmaaccking the plastic reaaelly loud on the left half of the keybboard, but strangely the right half is silent. Hey its working again nice.
Overall Review: Wish some1 mmmade ssomething like this tthat works well, and iss bluetootth iinstead (for tthose offo us lucky eenooughh too hh aahve bluetoooth oon ourru motheehrboarrdss)
Pros: Regarding the refurbished nature: No evidence of prior handling, if I was sold this laptop and told it was brand new, I would believe. No scratches or finger prints, and all glossy surfaces come new with protective film. Other: for being all plastic construction, feels very solid. The speakers are a bit better than I am used to hearing on a laptop but just remember it is a laptop. I use desktop speakers as this is a desktop replacement for me. Screen quality is adequate. I would say about on par if not a little better than HP's G7 line 15-17 inch laptops (glossy led backlit). The hard drive is not partitioned, thank goodness. The laptop has a very minimalistic look to it (good in my opinion). Black laptop on a black desk, you don't get distracted by the way it looks.
Cons: I've seen worse bloatware, but it still takes a good 45 min to remove completely. Keyboard has no indicating lights for capslock, mute, etc.
Overall Review: Because the screen is LED backlit, the whites have that slight blue tinge. If you are a graphic designer I doubt you would be considering a laptop at this pricepoint anyway. Keyboard feels a little bit smaller than I am used to, but I am still typing at about 85% of my normal wpm, it just takes a bit more effort. Out of the box windows index ratings are: Processor: 6.6 Memory: 5.9 Graphics: 5.2 Gaming Graphics: 6.3 Primary Hard Disk: 5.9
Pros: Simple design, matte rubberized texture.
Cons: Construction quality is *almost* bad, but not quite (so far as I can tell in the couple hours I've tested it). I would say its solidly in the realm of "decent". I will be happy to use it but I will be careful to not treat it so casually that it gets knocked around.
Overall Review: Comes with 2 USB cables, one for power one for the data and I guess power if your laptop provides power through USB. The two laptops I tested were HP 2730p and HP TM2T and both of them worked fine with the single usb (no extra usb required for power). So I am happy. The drive is secured via two long screws (provided) that go into the rear of the enclosure and through to the internal drive. Seems solid. I am using an older Pioneer DVD-R unit that has the flush face where the CD enters and gets spat out without any ejecting tray. The front of the drive fits nice and flush with the edge of the enclosure. Very clean look overall. I tossed out the included faceplate as I won't be needing it... suckers!
Pros: - it lights up as your hand approaches it (within 2 inches or so) - fairly quiet - keys feel very good, easy to speed type, although it took a little getting used to - unifying reciever, logitech software is unobtrusive, can use without if you wish (although only 1 peripheral per reciever in that manner) - has multiple lighting levels - battery indicator - on/off switch - caps lock light
Cons: - not bluetooth (the better unifying receiver) - built in battery as far as i can tell (no AA's, etc) - no num lock light
Overall Review: - you can use it while you charge it via a usb cable with a small end (same size the newer phones use) - feels like it has some flex to it when lifting it, but on the table it feels solid as your hands rest - so far I have been using it 3 days, and I havent turned the switch in the "off" position yet. It has maintained 2 bars of battery since out of the box.
Pros: As well ventilated as a case of this size can be. 450 watt power supply. Included intake fan is quiet enough to not warrant replacement.
Cons: The metal cover is flimsy. It buckles in and out like the top of a snapple bottle cap. The hard drive rack is designed to put the sata/power cable connectors right up against the graphics card. 90 degree cables are not a "good idea", they are required. The power/reset buttons do not "click" nicely. Its more of a sloppy mush followed by a click if you press down hard enough.
Overall Review: The PSU can be turned upside down so that it intakes air from outside the case instead of inside. This would be to avoid the PSU and CPU fan fighting each other, as they would be face to face, pulling air in opposite directions. You could reverse your CPU fan if you want, but flow characteristics are not the same in opposite directions. In my experience, if you are lucky enough to achieve similar cooling, at the very least, noise will be increased by fan reversal. There are shallow dimples on the top perforated sections of the case that are not easily visible in pictures. They are in the shape of truncated square pyramids. I don't know if it was for increasing rigidity or for looks, but it looks/feels bad in my opinion after you notice it.