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Shane A.

Shane A.

Joined on 03/14/03

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Most Favorable Review
AMD Radeon SSD Radeon R7 2.5" 240GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) RADEON-R7SSD-240G
AMD Radeon SSD Radeon R7 2.5" 240GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) RADEON-R7SSD-240G

Pros: Very fast Windows 7 boots to login screen in under 15 seconds Lightweight 3.5" adapter brackets included Drive transfer software (key) included

Cons: No SATA cable Wish there was more adjustment to the adapter brackets

Overall Review: This is a rebranded OCZ drive and AMD make it clear on the packaging. There is no effort to deceive or obfuscate the drive's origins. I still run a Core 2 Quad q9450 system so I can't hit top speed in the benchmarks that I ran, however, my hard drive transfer speeds nearly quadrupled. I've known for years that my hard drives were antiquated and have always been one of if not the biggest bottlenecks in a computer system. This one upgrade cut a nearly 2 minute boot time to under 15 seconds. My games load before everyone else that I play with. Even my e-mail client is more responsive. Do yourself a favor and seriously consider this for new and old systems.

Most Critical Review

Needs a companion local storage device to be a real winner

Arlo Q - 1080p HD Wi-Fi Security Camera with 2 Way Audio with Free Arlo Basic 7-Day Cloud Storage Recording - VMC3040-100NAS
Arlo Q - 1080p HD Wi-Fi Security Camera with 2 Way Audio with Free Arlo Basic 7-Day Cloud Storage Recording - VMC3040-100NAS

Pros: 2.4 and 5GHz WiFi support Motion detection Sound detection 2-way communication (see cons) Good night vision IFTTT compatible

Cons: Requires Internet connection Inconsistent motion detection App crashes randomly App crashes when trying to speak through camera from app Limited to 1 gig online storage with free subscription No constant recording with free subscription 2-way communication difficult due to latency No local storage option

Overall Review: Initial setup was a pain. It has you enter wireless credentials and then generates a QR code that you must place in front of the camera. I could not get it to read the code from my Samsung Galaxy S4 after a dozen attempts. I switched to my desktop PC and went to arlo.netgear.com and it read the code fine. You must also agree to a ToS and Privacy Policy during setup where you feel like you're signing your life away to use a piece of technology that you own. If you could handle video storage locally, I doubt this would be necessary. In the Privacy Policy I read "We may share information with third parties." in bold. Yikes. After setting the camera up on my PC, I signed into the mobile app and my PC was automatically logged out. It takes a good 10 to 15 seconds to start a live view. The app crashed seconds into my first viewing session when I tried speaking through the camera. I have yet to get this to work correctly. After playing around some more, it crashed again when I tapped on what turned out to be an icon for the timeline feature, which requires adding a CVR plan. I was able to easily add a second user and grant administrative permissions to the camera. In the camera settings, I noticed that it was set to 720p by default. I was able to change it to 1080p. Videos seem to be easily managed in the Library tab of the app. At 1080p, I've observed the camera using up to almost 12 Mbps in a fixed location in my garage as measured by my DD-WRT enabled router. A still image with background noise is between 1 and 2.5 Mbps, still image with more noise is closer to 5 Mbps, and opening the garage door spikes it to the highest reading I've seen yet. I'm sure it would use more bandwidth still with more motion than just the door opening and closing. It uses almost no bandwidth when there is no recording or live view happening. The figures I recorded are vastly different from Netgear's claimed max bandwidth of 1500 kbps. Maybe soemone forgot a 0. I'm personally getting a little tired of companies peddling expensive products like this and then nickel and diming customers with monthly fees. The plans seem way overpriced for what's offered. I would much prefer local storage and control with optional cloud backup, but I can see the value some people may place on letting someone else handle the storage despite the tradeoffs. Motion detection seems to work well for me in testing in the kitchen, but not in my garage. I was able to catch cats jumping onto the counters and found optimal placement for deterrents. I mounted it in the garage next and linked it through IFTTT to my Wink hub to turn on the lights when motion is detected. There is a delay of about 10 - 40 seconds. Sometimes it won't fire at all and I can't yet determine if it's an Arlo or IFTTT issue. I'd like to see Netgear partner this with Wink directly so that I can take IFTTT out of the mix. The motion detection seems to suffer a bit in the garage as I have to walk to within about 10 feet of the camera for it to trigger a motion alert even on the highest sensitivity setting. The default "Armed" mode was sending me notifications and emails every time it detected motion. Once you've placed your camera, I would recommend creating a new mode to suit its purpose as you can then easily modify motion sensitivity, motion zones, audio sensitivity, actions, recording length and notifications. Overall, I wouldn't recommend basing your home's security on this camera, but it would be good for monitoring kids or pets or supplementing other security measures. I really want to like this product more, but I feel too restricted by the cloud storage and the caveats that come with it. I feel that this really deserves 3.5 eggs, but I can't round it up to 4.

Solid, budget-friendly drive

Crucial P5 Plus M.2 2280 1TB PCI-Express 4.0 x4 NVMe 3D NAND Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) CT1000P5PSSD8
Crucial P5 Plus M.2 2280 1TB PCI-Express 4.0 x4 NVMe 3D NAND Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) CT1000P5PSSD8

Pros: Single sided Reasonably priced Pretty darn fast PCIe 4.0

Cons: Not the fastest available

Overall Review: Unlike the other reviewers thus far, I didn't run hard numbers-based speed tests. I know my system isn't fast enough to keep up with this thing's potential. My test PC is a few years old with a smaller (in both physical size and storage capacity) SSD. It turns out the system that I had planned on installing this into couldn't support it, so double check before you buy. This card is M-keyed. For those not in the know, that means the connector on this card has a slot cut into it in a specific spot that will physically prevent it from fitting into an incompatible M.2 socket. Most sockets these days are probably M-keyed, but others may be B-keyed. To add further confusion, some M.2 M-keyed boards may not support NVMe; the drive should still work, but at reduced speed. PCIe addon cards are available that should work with most desktops that can add a compatible socket if needed. The drive is single sided so it should fit any board that can accommodate a 2280 size M.2 I cloned my installation over to this drive. I did notice a decreased boot time and programs loaded quicker as did my current addiction, Valheim.

Beware drive options

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: Clean design Removable, magnetic dust screens Flexible fan options Really cool glass panel Good wire management options USB 3.0 and 2.0 connections Comes with two basic fans Lightweight

Cons: No 5.25" drive bay Only two 3.5" drive bays 2.5" bays are all over the place Minimal accessories Only comes with two basic fans

Overall Review: I haven't come across a case quite like this myself. The tempered glass side panel is way cool, easy to clean, hard to scratch, and quickly removed with 4 thumb screws. Inside the edges are all rounded over and smooth for the most part. There were no burrs to cut me which is appreciated. All the metal seems to be finished in a rough satin black powder coat. The case seems pretty sturdy yet light with minimal flex. I like the magnetic dust screens. There is a screen on the top, bottom, and front. You simply pull them off, clean them, and slap them back on - very cool. To clean the front dust screen the entire front fascia must be popped off. Popping off the fascia does require some force and I believe a hinged front would be much better. There's an LED on/off button built into the top of the front panel that the manual indicates works with Asus Aura Sync, MSI Mystic Light Sync, and Gigabyte RGB Fusion. It seems like a simple push on push off button with a two pin connector. I didn't test this function as I don't have any compatible products. Honestly the drive mounting options are kinda whack and this is the main failure of this case. If I needed more than two drives, I'd probably start looking at a different case. There's no option for a 5.25" drive at all. The 2.5" drive mounting options are basically wherever they could cram them. - There are two 2.5" drive attachments behind where the motherboard expansion slots would be. - The two 3.5" drive bays also accommodate 2.5" drives. - There's also a fifth 2.5" drive mounting option on the front top corner sandwiched between the aluminum side cover and the motherboard mounting plate. The 3.5" bays have plastic mounting sleds that slide in and out. I pulled one out and it took me 3 minutes to get it to line up and slide back in. The lack of proper drive bays does make the case a bit smaller while allowing the biggest, honkin'est video cards to fit. The expansion slot cutouts on the back panel are stamped and must be broken out where needed. Kinda cheap, but not a big deal. Overall I like the case, but it wouldn't serve me for my primary PC due to the drive configuration.

Love it

ASUS ZenBook 14 UX431FN-IH74 Ultra-thin and Light 14-inch FHD Laptop, Intel Core i7-8565U, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB PCIE SSD, GeForce MX150, Windows 10, Silver Blue
ASUS ZenBook 14 UX431FN-IH74 Ultra-thin and Light 14-inch FHD Laptop, Intel Core i7-8565U, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB PCIE SSD, GeForce MX150, Windows 10, Silver Blue

Pros: Sturdy aluminum construction Good battery life Light weight Boots up quickly Solid-state hard drive 16 gigs of RAM Quad-core I7 processor

Cons: Low sound output Integrated battery Normal setup annoyances

Overall Review: To quell my doubts about the construction, I scraped into the casing in a few places with a knife to verify it was really aluminum and not just coated plastic. The screen has a matte finish instead of a glossy finish, a plus for me. I immediately decreased the text and icon scaling from the default 150% to 100%. The display is plenty sharp enough for me to see everything without the extra zoom. I installed OpenShell as well as I guess I'm a bit of a Luddite when it comes to my Windows interface. For anybody else like me who prefers the older Start Menu style of Windows 7, Vista, or XP, OpenShell makes life much easier. I found the sound output severely lacking at first. I was tweaking some media files and could barely hear anything. After playing around I located a preinstalled program named ICEpower. Setting it to Movie Mode or Gaming Mode seemed to make a big difference. It can still be a bit weak depending on what's being played though. I find it a bit laughable that Asus boasts about the Harman Kardon quad-speakers and high-quality surround-sound. Anyway, the sound works well enough for me now and I didn't expect stellar sound quality from a thin metal chunk anyhow. The next annoyance I encountered was the function keys. By default they respond to their 'secondary' functions (volume, brightness, etc.). I was able to change this setting in the ASUS Keyboard Hotkeys program. The last thing that was bugging me was the wireless throughput. I seemed to have trouble connecting to any of my access points at full speed. Even after letting everything auto update, it still wasn't right. I finally resolved my issue by installing the driver for the Intel Wireless-AC 9560 downloaded directly from Intel. Once past these initial hurdles, I found this a most capable notebook and one that I would definitely recommend. I didn't get around to trying any games on it, but I was hard-pressed to bog it down in any way. It feels sturdy, boots up quickly, and just works as I want it to.

12/25/2019

Great hardware, OK software

XEROX XD-Combo 600 dpi 24-bit color, 8-bit grayscale, 1-bit black & white Hi-speed USB 2.0 (3.0 compatible) Interface Flatbed or Automatic Document Feeder (Duplex) Duplex Combo Scanner
XEROX XD-Combo 600 dpi 24-bit color, 8-bit grayscale, 1-bit black & white Hi-speed USB 2.0 (3.0 compatible) Interface Flatbed or Automatic Document Feeder (Duplex) Duplex Combo Scanner

Pros: Easy setup Light weight Easily portable Quick

Cons: Accurate color scans require tweaking Software UI could use refinement

Overall Review: When running the installer, I kept getting a download error when choosing the web option. I didn't bother to troubleshoot and went for what was available on the DVD. Installation is broken up into several installers that must be selected and clicked through separately. Once installed, everything seemed to work as I'd expect. I didn't give the business card software a go, but the rest seems competent enough. I did get a couple blank pages until I unlocked the scanner by toggling the lock on the bottom. The duplex function worked well as did feeding multiple pages. Getting color images scanned in accurately seems to be something of an art involving adjusting brightness and contrast as well as increasing the DPI. The factory options just are not dialed in well here. Grayscale scans are less touchy; the defaults for the most part work, but increasing the DPI helps with readability on smaller print. The OCR function worked well only when increasing DPI to 600 for me. Overall, this seems like a good scanner. I do think the software could be a bit more straight forward though.