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Michael B.

Michael B.

Joined on 10/18/04

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 6
Most Favorable Review

Best X570 mix of quality / price / features

ASUS AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi) ATX Motherboard with PCIe 4.0, Dual M.2, 12+2 with Dr. MOS Power Stage, HDMI, DP, SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.2 Gen 2 and Aura Sync RGB Lighting
ASUS AM4 TUF Gaming X570-Plus (Wi-Fi) ATX Motherboard with PCIe 4.0, Dual M.2, 12+2 with Dr. MOS Power Stage, HDMI, DP, SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.2 Gen 2 and Aura Sync RGB Lighting

Pros: - 3rd gen Ryzen ready - built-in 802.11ac Intel WiFi & BT 5.0 - good documentation supporting error-free build; this is the first PC I've assembled myself (have prior experience swapping components and a decade ago would have called myself a PC enthusiast)

Cons: - none

Overall Review: Was concerned about other reviews which indicated the BIOS had issues preventing successful Windows install and required comms components disabled. This is not an issue I encountered (maybe my board had newer BIOS version without this problem). From my research on X570 chipset boards - this one generally hits the sweet spot in terms of features, quality, and price. Two weeks following my build, I have no reason to disagree.

Best CPU value

AMD Ryzen 5 3rd Gen - RYZEN 5 3600 Matisse (Zen 2) 6-Core 3.6 GHz (4.2 GHz Max Boost) Socket AM4 65W 100-100000031BOX Desktop Processor
AMD Ryzen 5 3rd Gen - RYZEN 5 3600 Matisse (Zen 2) 6-Core 3.6 GHz (4.2 GHz Max Boost) Socket AM4 65W 100-100000031BOX Desktop Processor

Pros: - fast - reasonable power consumption - amazing value

Cons: - none - if you value low noise and temps invest in a good AIO liquid cooler

Overall Review: Read reviews that this processor runs hot so I built with a AIO liquid cooler (Corsair H100x) instead of the stock AMD wraith cooler. Monitoring temps - I generally read about +5 degrees Celsius at idle (versus ambient) and +25C with intensive use. Have yet to record a temp above 60C (+35C over ambient). Power consumption given performance is excellent - leaves plenty of headroom for GPU with reasonable capacity power supply (I chose 550W).

High performance / low profile

Fractal Design Meshify C Black ATX High-Airflow Compact Mid Tower Computer Case
Fractal Design Meshify C Black ATX High-Airflow Compact Mid Tower Computer Case

Pros: - Really easy to build with - excellent cable routing options and built-in tie-downs - Good airflow with two pre-installed 120mm fans (one front one back) - Solid documentation

Cons: - none

Overall Review: Matter of preference, but I like that this case bucks the lights-everywhere RGB trend - aesthetically the case reads as quality without being flashy or visually loud. This was a first-time build (though I have prior experience replacing PC components) and I appreciated the thoughtful design of this case and the windowless side-panel option (my cablework is fine / out of the way but not necessarily pretty).

Fairly easy to install & good performance

CORSAIR Hydro Series H60 (CW-9060007-WW) High Performance Water / Liquid CPU Cooler. 120mm
CORSAIR Hydro Series H60 (CW-9060007-WW) High Performance Water / Liquid CPU Cooler. 120mm

Pros: Excellent cooling performance Idle temp 18 degrees C Max gaming temp under 38 degrees C Easy installation on AMD FX-8320 (AM3+ socket)

Cons: Extremely thick tubing makes positioning cooler / pump unit somewhat difficult during install.

Overall Review: Reference AMD heatsink/cooler performance was terrible ~ 35 C idle / ~ 60 C max; which is about the generally understood max safe temp for the processor - so I bought this. Happy so far.

No problems

KINGMAX 256MB 200-Pin DDR SO-DIMM DDR 266 (PC 2100) Laptop Memory Model MSDB62F
KINGMAX 256MB 200-Pin DDR SO-DIMM DDR 266 (PC 2100) Laptop Memory Model MSDB62F

Pros: I had no problem with installation and have not experienced any memory-related malfunctions. Good price.

Cons: None.

Overall Review: Added an additional 256mb of this Kingmax memory to my Toshiba Tecra S1 which I use more frequently than I used to.

Great value esp. w/ the rebate

EVGA GeForce FX 5500 256MB DDR AGP 4X/8X Video Card 256-A8-N313-LX
EVGA GeForce FX 5500 256MB DDR AGP 4X/8X Video Card 256-A8-N313-LX

Pros: - Low price ($xx or xx w/ rebate) - Lots of memory (256 mb) for textures - Impressive performance given the chipset's mainstream specs - Active cooling (fan) - eVGA quality Newegg processed and shipped my order quickly.

Cons: - Relatively low memory bandwidth (6.4 GB/sec) - Relatively low polygon rate (~ 68 million vertices/sec)

Overall Review: This card replaces a fried GeForce4 TI4600 AGP4x card. While the FX 5500 isn't quite as fast as the TI4600 when comparing spec sheets, I've noticed only a slight reduction in performance. In CS:S I see a 5 fps reduction on average. In AoE3 I see about 10 FPS less, but in both games I've noticed an improvement in lighting and textures. Relevant Machine Specs: Falcon-NW Built Athlon XP 1900+ 1 Gig PC2100 DDR 300 watt power