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Steven K.

Steven K.

Joined on 02/16/09

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Most Favorable Review

The Only 2TB SATA 6.0Gb/s Enterprise Class HDD on the Market

Seagate Constellation ES ST2000NM0011 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Enterprise Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive
Seagate Constellation ES ST2000NM0011 2TB 7200 RPM 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Enterprise Internal Hard Drive Bare Drive

Pros: I have been extremely happy with these HDDs. I have two in RAID 1. I have never had any issue with these HDDs or with them in my RAID array, and I have had them for almost half a year now. Constellation ES is highest series of HDDs in the Seagate line-up. It is an enterprise class (EC) HDD, sometimes referred to as RAID spec'd or server class. Only Seagate offers a 2TB EC HDD that is SATA 6.0Gb/s. EC HDDs have a faster system response time that is often needed for RAID arrays, are typically higher quality, and designed to withstand being on 24/7. This HDD features a 64MB cache, and is fairly quiet. It is rated a little quieter than the Seagate Barracuda XT. Here is a little bit of a comparison between Seagate Constellation ES HDDs which are EC and Seagate Barracuda XT's HDDs which are not EC: -1,200,000 hours MTBF, compared to 750,000 hours MTBF of the Barracuda XT. -147 MB/s sustained data transfer rate, compared to 138 MB/s of the Barracuda XT.

Cons: There is a significant price premium for enterprise class HDDs like these over comparable non-enterprise class HDDs, because they are higher quality, longer lasting, and have faster system response times. The faster system response times are often needed for RAID arrays so that no HDD falls out of the array.

Overall Review: I was using a pair of WD EC 500GB SATA 3.0Gb/s HDDs for years in a RAID 1 that I was very happy with. I would have gone WD again, but only Seagate offers EC 2TB HDDs with SATA 6.0GB/s, so I went with a pair of these. If you are going to use a RAID array, it is a huge time and headache saver to use EC HDDs. Non-EC HDDs often will fall out of the array due to system response times that are not fast enough. I bought two of these many months ago, well before Newegg offered them for sale. So I won't have the verified owner mark on this review. System Information: ASRock Fatal1ty P67 Pro Intel i7-2600K ASUS Royal Knight CPU cooler Arctic Silver 5 2 x EVGA GeForce GTX 560 Ti 2GB in SLI 4 x 4GB Corsair Vengeance LP DDR3 1600 Thermaltake Black Widow 850W PSU 2 x Seagate Constellation ES 2TB SATA3 HDD in RAID 1 2 x Lite-On DVD-RW burner 3.5" FDD w/ memory card reader Cooler Master HAF X full tower Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit

10/25/2011
Most Critical Review

Good Bang for the Buck

EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) FPB 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card
EVGA 01G-P3-1556-KR GeForce GTX 550 Ti (Fermi) FPB 1GB 192-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card

Pros: The GTX 550 really is a nice card overall, and it's a lot of card for the money. A lot of people slam the GTX 550's in general, and I think unjustly so. Many forums and reviews talk about how the GTX 460, 560, and higher perform better. Of course they do. The higher the card, the higher the performance, and the higher the price. But not everyone is dealing with an unlimited budget or wants to spend that much. Fan is silent. HDMI v1.4a. Open GL 4.1. DirectX 11.

Cons: Mine arrived defective. It had an issue with faulty capacitors that caused the card to hum any time it was under load. Even with speaker volume at a decent level you could still hear the hum which sounded like having a digital dog whistle in your ear. Not sure if this is a video card or driver issue, but in SC2 it recommended many settings to be medium or low. I ran everything at highest setting anyway. My average FPS range was 40-60. EVGA did not have the most current drivers on their website. They told me to get the ones from the NVIDIA website instead. The fanspeed setting range in Precision is 41% to 77%. EVGA said that's how they set the fan range to be on this particular card. Only a two year warranty. EVGA used to give lifetime warranty on all their cards. Now they play games and give every card a different warranty. I've owned three different EVGA cards this year. Two of the three arrived defective. That's pretty darn bad.

Overall Review: Other than the defective capacitor issue, I thought this was a great card for the money. It came with some nice promo software too. Newegg's and EVGA's RMA service was excellent. You have to watch the last two letters of the model number. It determines if you will have a 1, 2, 3, 5 year, or lifetime warranty. If you do not register within 30 days of purchase date you will only have 1 year. Some identical cards have different warranties and are only on EVGA's site. This card is only just a little bit faster than my 9800 GTX+ SC 512MB, but it supports all the latest technologies and has double the memory. System Information: ASUS Striker II Extreme MB 3.0 GHz Core 2 Duo E8400 ASUS Royal Knight CPU cooler Arctic Silver 5 EVGA GeForce GTX 550 FPB 1GB 4 x 2GB Kingston HyperX Blu RAM Thermaltake Black Widow 850W PS 2 x WD 500GB RAID drives in mirror 2 x Lite-On DVD-RW burners 3.5" drive w/ memory card reader Rosewill Challenger mid-tower Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit

High Quality CPU That's a Good Bang for the Buck

Intel Core i7 6th Gen - Core i7-6700K 8M Skylake Quad-Core 4.0 GHz LGA 1151 91W BX80662I76700K Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 530
Intel Core i7 6th Gen - Core i7-6700K 8M Skylake Quad-Core 4.0 GHz LGA 1151 91W BX80662I76700K Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics 530

Pros: This is the third CPU from Intel's i7 series that I have used in my builds. I started with the i7-2600K, then the i7-3770K, and now the i7-6700K. Each has featured improvements in speed, on-die GPU, and memory utilization. There doesn't seem to be any ground breaking difference between them, but each is an improvement over the prior. I've never had any issues with any of my CPUs, so I've continued to keep buying the i7 "K" version every time I put a new build together. Even though I have bought a few "K" versions. I've only overclocked my i7-2600K. It overclocked by quite a bit on air cooling with no issues. But I did not see any real world difference, so I set it back to stock settings. I very rarely running anything that is processor intensive, and I haven't run any games on my last two systems. Most of what I do is very memory intensive.

Cons: This is not a con for everyone and probably not a con for most people buying this CPU, but after being used to all my prior Intel CPU's coming with a CPU cooler in the box, just be aware that this does not. It is just the CPU only. So you will need to make sure you have or purchase a CPU cooler for your build. This isn't all that big of a deal since the stock Intel coolers were always very poor performing and very noisy.

Overall Review: Some parting advice that I can offer from experience: The Intel 100 series of chipset motherboards do not like operating on anything below Windows 10. I first tried to use an i7-6700K with a Z170 motherboard and Windows 7 Ultimate. The 100 series chipset does not have native support for installing Windows 7. You have to use a special software application to inject the required drives into a Windows 7 install drive/disc. My Z170 system never ran right with Windows 7 and was missing key features. So I did a clean install of Windows 10 Pro instead, and everything was fine. So if you are looking to do an Intel 100 series chipset you're best bet is to go with Windows 10. System Information: ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha Z170 Intel i7-6700K Zalman CNPS9900MAX Arctic Silver 5 EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC 4GB 4 x 16GB G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4 2400 2 x Seagate Constellation ES.3 2TB SATA3 HDD in RAID 1 Mirror 2 x ASUS BD-RE Burner Corsair AX1200i 1,200W PSU Cooler Master HAF X Full Tower Case Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit 4 x ASUS VS247H-P 23.6" LED Backlight Monitor

Would Have Been a 4 Egg Motheroard If ASUS Had Better Quality Control

ASUS ROG MAXIMUS VIII HERO ALPHA LGA 1151 Intel Z170 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
ASUS ROG MAXIMUS VIII HERO ALPHA LGA 1151 Intel Z170 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Pros: I purchased this MB based on a combination of value and features that I was looking for. In general I like ASUS MBs for their hardware and software features. It also makes it easier to find answers to any technical questions online since ASUS is the most popular brand. But after the issues I ran into with this MB, I may consider a different brand for my next build.<br><br>For the most part, I do like this MB. It has USB 3.1 Type C, decent sound, WiFi, Bluetooth, RAID support, a decent amount of fan headers (although the CPU_OPT fan header needs to be controllable, just like the others), and connections for almost every type of device.<br><br>I also like the PS/2 combo port. In my experience, keyboards and mice don't work as well together when they are connected via USB and using both at the exact same time. I've had the best experience when they are both on PS/2 or one on PS/2 and one on USB.<br><br>I think the RGB LED features and controllable headers are a very cool feature. The RGB LED logo feature even works when the computer is off. It's purely eye candy, but it's a neat feature. So far I'm just using the on board LEDs. In the near future I plan to get a couple of LED strips and use the LED headers.<br><br>The MB's color scheme is alright. I find it a little bit muted though. I have a side-panel window, and my case is on top of my desk next to my monitors. So I would prefer it had a bit more color to it.

Cons: My biggest cons with this MB are with the poor quality control at ASUS. Newegg was great in handling the exchanges. I had to deduct two eggs for the multiple MBs that had issues. I deducted 1 egg for not having more internal/external connections and for still not being able to get all the wireless software installed and features set up. I listed out the individual cons below:<br><br>First MB had a big dent on the LED ROG logo.<br><br>Second MB would automatically power on any time the power was connected. I had the BIOS set to stay off after loss of power. I had a suspicion that the ROG AURA LED feature might be the cause of this, because the LED lights continue to work even when the computer is off. So before doing any RMAing I contacted ASUS tech support. I wasted about two hours speaking to three different techs. They all said the MB was defective. So I RMA'd it through Newegg.<br><br>Third MB had a large gouge in the metal near the "Hero" logo that was obvious from a distance.<br><br>The fourth MB I received was only the second MB I actually installed. It came installed with an outdated BIOS. I tested the MB to make sure it wouldn't self power on. Then I updated to the latest BIOS and check again. Again it didn't self power on, so everything was good so far. It wasn't until after I install Windows and the ROG AURA software that the MB would self power on. So because of the wrong information from three ASUS techs and/or ROG AURA software bug I had to go through two additional MBs and one additional install for no reason.<br><br>ASUS tech support is severely lacking in even basic MB knowledge, let alone advanced. Their tech support is not USA based either.<br><br>5-Way Optimization software in Ai Suite changed settings for far too many things (i.e. auto hibernate, always run at OC speed, and other settings that it doesn't inform you that it's going to change). The fans ran better before optimization, and there is no control for CPU_OPT fan. Unfortunately, there is no undo option after you run the the 5-Way Optimization. It was a tedious task to get things running back to normal.<br><br>No e-SATA port.<br><br>Needs more than just two USB 2.0 headers. My PSU has a USB 2.0 cable and so does the front ports of my case.<br><br>Audio software is a bit lacking.<br><br>I have not been able to get all of the wireless software to install. Some of the main features, like WiFi-Go!, won't install.<br><br>Manual was lacking a lot of key information about UEFI BIOS options and information about the software.<br><br>The UEFI BIOS wizard for setting up RAID is not good. It does not set up the RAID correctly. Use the separate RAID BIOS menu instead.<br><br>Only a single M.2 port, so you can't RAID M.2, unlike some other manufacturers.<br><br>There aren't enough SATA ports for my build. There are 4 x Intel SATA ports. Two are used for my RAID 1 Mirror. Two are used for my two optical drives. That leaves just the 2 x ASMedia SATA ports. My case has a front e-SATA port and two front removable SATA hard drive bays. So that leaves me one SATA port short to connect everything.<br><br>The 2 x ASMedia SATA ports only support hard drives.<br><br>Be aware that some of the ports are shared. In order to use the U.2 ports you have to disable the corresponding SATA port. The M.2 port is shared with the PCIEX4_3.<br><br>RGB header feature is neat, and I do plan to use it in the near future. The manual says to keep the RGB strip under 2 meters, but it doesn't say if that is for each of the two headers or both combined.<br><br>I ran into too many issues trying to install Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, and the system never ran right after. Key features, like Microsoft Aero were missing. I had to switch to a clean install of Windows 10 Pro 64-bit, which did the trick. This was either an issue of the the ASUS Windows 7 install tool or an issue between Windows 7 and the Z170 chipset.

Overall Review: The big takeaways that I have for this MB is don't run anything other than Windows 10 with Z170, plan on a high probability of getting a board with some sort of a physical or operational defect, make sure that it has all the ports you need (and that you understand that some ports are shared), and that some of the software/features are finicky.<br><br>I'm only marginally satisfied with this MB. If I had known I would have had to go through four MBs, I never would have bothered with this MB. I am having a bit of buyer's remorse and wondering if I should have purchased a different MB or a different brand. This is also the first MB that I have owned that has me maxing out the number of ports. I've maxed out the USB 2.0 headers and the SATA ports. If I wanted to run a RAID 10, 5, or JBOD along with my internal optical drives, this would not be possible. I'm not even sure if I could run SSD caching with my setup. The only way SSD caching might work is if I can utilize the M.2 port for it. On my prior two builds I used SSD caching. I didn't bother on this build only because SSDs have come down a lot in price, and I plan to switch over to an SSD RAID 1 Mirror.<br><br>If I didn't have issues with multiple motherboards, and if I could get all the software installed and features setup then this would be a 4 egg motherboard.<br><br>System Information:<br>ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha Z170<br>Intel i7-6700K<br>Zalman CNPS9900MAX<br>Arctic Silver 5<br>EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC 4GB<br>4 x 16GB G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4 2400<br>2 x Seagate Constellation ES.3 2TB SATA3 HDD in RAID 1 Mirror<br>2 x ASUS BD-RE Burner<br>Corsair AX1200i 1200W PSU<br>Cooler Master HAF X Full Tower Case<br>Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit<br>4 x ASUS VS247H-P 23.6" LED Backlight Monitor

Good RAM at a Good Price

G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 64GB (4 x 16GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 2400 (PC4 19200) Desktop Memory Model F4-2400C15Q-64GVR
G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 64GB (4 x 16GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 2400 (PC4 19200) Desktop Memory Model F4-2400C15Q-64GVR

Pros: I've been running this RAM for a couple of weeks. This set had the best combination of price, speed, and timings for 64GB (4 x 16GB) 1.2V kits.<br><br>When I initially installed the RAM it ran at its default non-OC (JEDEC) speed of 2133 out of the box. I selected XMP in the UEFI BIOS, and everything automatically switched to the OC specs of 15-15-15-35, 2T, 1.2V, DDR4 2400.<br><br>Prior to this set I was running a 32GB (2 x 16GB) set of G.Skill Aegis DDR4 2400, but I found the cheap Aegis stickers annoying. Since I wasn't thrilled with my 32GB Aegis set, when a deal came up on this set, I decide to purchase it. I do a lot of multitasking with several programs open at the same time. Under Windows 7 I would occasionally max out the memory usage. Windows 10 seems to be more efficient with memory usage, so I doubt I will ever utilize more than 32GB of RAM.

Cons: G.Skill and most memory makers do not guarantee two kits of RAM to work together. So if you are hoping to use two of these kits on a MB that supports 8 x 16GB RAM, you would be better off buying a single 8 x 16GB kit instead.<br><br>It would alleviate so much confusion for buyer's who don't know how OC'd RAM works if manufacturers would start listing how OC'd RAM works on the packaging and in the details. This is something that all RAM manufacturers are guilty of.

Overall Review: For those who don't know how OC'd RAM works. It is usually set to run at JEDEC (non-OC) speed out of the box. You usually have to go into the UEFI BIOS and manually set the bandwidth, timings, voltage, and command rate, or select XMP (if you have a MB and RAM that both support XMP) to get it to run at the advertised OC'd speed. If you are not familiar with setting up OC'd RAM contact the manufacturer.<br><br>Many OC'd RAM sets have less than five egg ratings from system builders who don't understand that OC'd RAM usually needs to be setup in the UEFI BIOS, so they assume there is a problem with the RAM when there isn't.<br><br>System Information:<br>ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha Z170<br>Intel i7-6700K<br>Zalman CNPS9900MAX<br>Arctic Silver 5<br>EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC 4GB<br>4 x 16GB G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4 2400<br>2 x Seagate Constellation ES.3 2TB SATA3 HDD in RAID 1<br>2 x ASUS BD-RE Burner<br>Corsair AX1200i 1200W PSU<br>Cooler Master HAF X Full Tower Case<br>Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit<br>4 x ASUS VS247H-P 23.6" LED Backlight Monitor

One of the Best Power Supplies Ever Built

CORSAIR AXi Series AX1200i Digital 1200W 80 PLUS PLATINUM Haswell Ready Full Modular ATX12V & EPS12V SLI and Crossfire Ready Power Supply with C-Link Monitoring and Control
CORSAIR AXi Series AX1200i Digital 1200W 80 PLUS PLATINUM Haswell Ready Full Modular ATX12V & EPS12V SLI and Crossfire Ready Power Supply with C-Link Monitoring and Control

Pros: I've been using this PSU for just over 2.5 years. I leave my computer on 24/7. I've never run into any issues. I have been very happy with this PSU. I didn't need to upgrade, but I really wanted to move to a PSU that was fully modular and more efficient. My last PSU was semi modular, 850 watts, and 80 Plus Bronze Certified.<br><br>After doing research about PSU efficiency, it turns out that getting a PSU that is about double (if memory recalls) of what your system uses is roughly the best for efficiency, in addition to being 80 Plus Platinum Certified. The increased efficiency of this PSU over my prior one was obvious. Inefficiency generates heat. The more inefficient the PSU, the more heat it generates. My office would get warmer with the door closed over time from my old PSU. When I switched to this AX1200i, the room never got warmer. It was a bit surprising, and it wasn't something that I considered. I also like that I'm saving on my electric bill with this PSU too.<br><br>The included cables are pretty good. I have my PSU mounted on the bottom of my computer case. With my prior PSU I had to use an extension cable to reach the CPU power input at the top of the motherboard and a SATA hard drive adapter cable (because my prior PSU SATA cables were too bulky), but I didn't need to use either of those cables with this AX1200i. The included cables are long enough to use in bottom mounted PSU full tower cases, and the SATA cables are not bulky. Single sleeved cables are still better for looks and cable management though.<br><br>The Corsair-Link feature and software are done quite well. Not only can you monitor every aspect of the PSU, but your entire PC system. You don't need to purchase anything for this feature to work. There is an included USB cable to attach from the PSU to one of your motherboard's internal USB headers.<br><br>The voltage readings for the 12V, 5V, and 3.3V are spot on or just a couple hundredths of a volt over. This is exactly where you want the output to be.<br><br>This is a single 12V rail design, which means all the amps are available on each of the 12V lines.<br><br>It's a nice quality finish on the PSU, and it's a nice touch that regardless if you install it with the fan facing up or down, the side decal is orientated the correct way.<br><br>The self test feature is a nice feature. It lets you test the PSU at the push of button before installing it into your system.<br><br>The fan is completely silent.<br><br>The seven year warranty is a nice touch, and so is the USA based tech support.<br><br>Optional single sleeved cables are available for purchase directly from Corsair in a variety of colors (black, blue, green, metallic graphite, red, and white).<br><br>This is one of the highest rated PSUs by Jonny Guru.

Cons: There really aren't any cons for this PSU. Just a couple of things that would have been nice to have. It would have been nice if it came bundled with singled sleeved cables. They do offer single sleeved cable kits directly from Corsair, but they are expensive. Speaking of expensive, this PSU is pricey, but the quality and features are top notch. There's nothing here that's anything to call a real con or anything to take an egg away from the rating.

Overall Review: When I purchased this PSU, it was the highest model that Corsair made and one of the most powerful PSUs on the market. Nowadays there is a 1,500 watt version and other companies make PSUs that are 1,200+ watts too. Most, if not all, of the PSUs that are above 1,200 or 1,300 watts need a 20 amp line to achieve that higher wattage though.<br><br>System Information:<br>ASUS ROG Maximus VIII Hero Alpha Z170<br>Intel i7-6700K<br>Zalman CNPS9900MAX<br>Arctic Silver 5<br>EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SC 4GB<br>4 x 16GB G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4 2400<br>2 x Seagate Constellation ES.3 2TB SATA3 HDD in RAID 1<br>2 x ASUS BD-RE Burner<br>Corsair AX1200i 1200W PSU<br>Cooler Master HAF X Full Tower Case<br>Windows 10 Pro 64-Bit<br>4 x ASUS VS247H-P 23.6" LED Backlight Monitor