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Lance W.

Lance W.

Joined on 04/20/02

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Most Favorable Review

Might be the best 4k monitor on the market right now

LG 27UD68P-B 27" FreeSync IPS LED Monitor 4K UHD 3840 x 2160 16:9 Widescreen On-Screen Control with Screen Split Game Mode & Black Stabilizer, VESA Mountable
LG 27UD68P-B 27" FreeSync IPS LED Monitor 4K UHD 3840 x 2160 16:9 Widescreen On-Screen Control with Screen Split Game Mode & Black Stabilizer, VESA Mountable

Pros: - No dead pixels - Extremely bright screen - Extremely deep and accurate colors, great black levels - 60Hz. at 4k using HDMI with Deep Color Ultra HD enabled (see note in Other section!) - Beautiful finish, high quality materials - 90 degree swivel between portrait and landscape modes - AMD FreeSync compatible - Multiple gaming modes and various enhancements to make games look as good as they can

Cons: - Uses an external AC adapter (power brick) - Clunky OSD, takes some getting used to - Need to enable a special mode to run at 60Hz. - Bezel is a little thicker than the images portray (but not very large at all) - No DVI input (HDMI and DisplayPort only!)

Overall Review: I've been using this monitor as my primary screen for a few weeks now, and I have to say I absolutely love it. This replaced a high-end 120Hz. 1080p screen from Asus, which ended up becoming monitor 2 in a 3 monitor setup. I had some trouble at first getting the monitor to run at 60Hz, finally discovering, buried in the back of the owners manual (PDF only, of course!) that you need to enable Deep Color Ultra HD in the Video settings of the main menu. Once you do that, and use the provided monitor driver (fully Windows 10 compatible) you can run 4K at 60Hz over HDMI. I spent a number of hours playing Overwatch at 4K on this screen and I am absolutely blown away. With my GTX770 the game ran at 70fps with all High settings and the monitor never seemed to hiccup. I was really worried that going from ultra-smooth 120Hz at 1080p down to 60Hz at 4K would cause some issues, but I was pretty much used to it after a few minutes. I ran into some issues with display scaling between this 4K monitor at 150% and my 2 1080p screens at 100%, but it just takes some getting used to the way you need to move windows between them and it won't bother you. This is more of a Windows 10 issue than an issue with the display, itself. I found the packaging of the monitor was extremely good, it arrived with no defects, scratches, or dead pixels. Lots of static cling protection to peel off for those of you into that (I'm into that). The stand was more than enough to support the weight of the screen, and only took a few minutes to assemble. Really the only true issues I have with this monitor are the external AC adapter (probably to make the screen thinner, which it is EXTREMELY thin!) and the lack of a DVI connection, but you can easily use a DVI to HDMI adapter if you need to. It's pretty rare for me, but I'm giving this monitor 5/5 Eggs. I can't really fault LG enough to remove an Egg for the lack of DVI and the whole AC adapter thing - everything else just takes a little getting used to. Honestly, for a monitor of this quality, I'll gladly sacrifice a little initial frustration for the benefits it gives me.

Most Critical Review

Good fan but LOUD

MASSCOOL 9025B1M3/4 90mm Case Cooling Fan
MASSCOOL 9025B1M3/4 90mm Case Cooling Fan

Pros: This fan moves a ton of air. Came with a nicely wrapped power cable, rare at this price point.

Cons: LOUD! Much louder than anticipated. They claim 34 dB, seemed a LOT louder than that in my media center.

Overall Review: This would be a fine fan for a desktop computer, however this was going to go in my media center and the noise this thing created was so distracting, I ended up having to remove it and just deal with higher temps. The fan in my case now is rated at 32 dB, apparently a 2 dB difference is pretty drastic - keep your application in mind when purchasing!

Incredible Upgrade from a 3.5" SATA SSD

Corsair MP600 PRO XT M.2 2280 2TB PCI-Express 4.0 x4 NVMe 1.4 3D TLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) CSSD-F2000GBMP600PXT
Corsair MP600 PRO XT M.2 2280 2TB PCI-Express 4.0 x4 NVMe 1.4 3D TLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) CSSD-F2000GBMP600PXT

Pros: + insanely fast read/write speeds + very high IOPS even compared to RAID SSD's + tons of storage + very easy to install + great heat dissipation + looks awesome

Cons: - no RGB - seriously, that's it... if it had RGB this would be a 6/5 - oh, wait - it's not free

Overall Review: What can you even say about this drive? It's 2TB worth of some of the fastest silicon on the market. I'm at a bit of a disadvantage in that my main PC is an X79 Socket 2011 system, so no built in NVMe support... but even with a PCIe x4 card I was still able to pull ridiculously fast speeds off this drive. The synthetic benchmarks only tell part of the story - yeah, it's 6x faster than SATAIII SSD's in a RAID0 array - but the big change is loads times - from start to character selection in Destiny 2 I went from 2:09.74 down to 1:18.69 - it cut load times in half. FPS didn't really change much, but I'm limited by my CPU there (i7-4820k). I know if I had full PCIe4 NVMe support this thing would probably cut that down by another half, at least. This will 100% by my next boot drive, as soon as I finally decide to update. Buy this drive. 5/5 eggs, no questions asked.

Great Powerline Extender

devolo Magic 2 WiFi next Starter Kit
devolo Magic 2 WiFi next Starter Kit

Pros: - Great wifi signal over power for dead zones - Speed was pretty good for a powerline adapater - Setup was pretty easy, plug and play - Outlet passthrough on both devices - Dual gigabit ethernet ports for wired connectivity

Cons: - Speeds not quite as advertised - Pairing took a little while and required a few device restarts - Range on the wifi network isn't great, and fall off is pretty drastic even with line of sight to device - App isn't the most intuitive compared competitors, but it gets the job done - Supplied documentation is pretty lacking (basically just a getting started pamplet)

Overall Review: I've spent about a month using the Magic 2 as my wifi extender in my garage, which usually is a complete wifi dead zone with my Netgear Nighthawk Mesh wifi. It wasn't feasible to run an ethernet cable, so this solved a lot of problems. I have a few Wyze cameras connected to the wifi network, and they've been pretty stable - with a little under 100mbps to work with, it's not the 2gbps rocket ship they advertise - but devices on the same wifi network show anywhere from 400-800mbps connections, with actual transfer speeds varying depending on their distance from the adapter. Using the powerline network as the backhaul obviously puts a big dent in your speeds, but having the flexibility to extend your home network without having to run cable is a great option. I should note, I didn't notice any impact on devices plugged into the outlets the Magic 2 was on - some powerline adapters will cause odd things to happen, especially to lights or audio devices - nothing to note here. Overall, I'm very happy with the Magic 2 as a powerline adapter - don't think it would replace my existing mesh wifi system, but if you're looking for a powerline network adapter - definitely make sure this is on your short list.

Another Great Mid-range Corsair Power Supply, Mostly

CORSAIR RMx Series (2021) RM750x CP-9020199-NA 750 W ATX12V / EPS12V 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Power Supply
CORSAIR RMx Series (2021) RM750x CP-9020199-NA 750 W ATX12V / EPS12V 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Power Supply

Pros: + 750 watts, 80 Plus efficiency + High end, Japanese capacitors + Fully modular + Beefy 62.5 amp 12 volt rail + Zero RPM fan mode up to about 300 watts + Fan is virtually silent even full load + 10 year Corsair warranty (one of the best out there)

Cons: - Only the 24 pin, 8 pin CPU, and 8-pin PCIe cables are braided - all others are flat plastic - Accessories ship in plastic bags vs. the nice nylon velcro bags Corsair used to use - Auto switching 100-240v might be an issue for some people (no selector) - No fan test button - difficult to troubleshoot POST issues with zero RPM fan mode at idle

Overall Review: What can be said about the RMx series? This is another solid mid-range entry from Corsair that's sure to last the life of your PC. If not, it's backed by one of the best warranty's in the business. No issues getting up and running in a few minutes, cables were strong, but flexible. I'm still a little annoyed Corsair doesn't include all braided cables, but those are easy enough to replace if you want to go for that super-clean look. The power supply fired up and performed perfectly at idle and under load, no issues with whining caps, noise in the power line, or other issues some mid-range PSU's tend to exhibit. If Corsair built this thing to a price point, it certainly doesn't show. Bottom line, if I could give an extra half Egg to the RM-750x, I absolutely would - it's only faulted by a few nit-picky issues and stuff we're somewhat used to at this price point. I subtracted one Egg for the lack of all braided cables, and the lack of that fan test button which, in my opinion, should be mandatory for any PSU with a zero RPM fan mode! At the end of the day this PSU breathed new life into an old HTPC for me, and the PSU will likely out-last all of the components in the machine.

10/19/2021

Great execution by Asus, let down by a sluggish platform from AMD

ASUS TUF Gaming Laptop - 15.6" Full HD - AMD Ryzen 5 3550H - RX 560X - 8 GB DDR4 - 256 GB PCIe SSD - Gigabit WiFi - FX505DY-ES51
ASUS TUF Gaming Laptop - 15.6" Full HD - AMD Ryzen 5 3550H - RX 560X - 8 GB DDR4 - 256 GB PCIe SSD - Gigabit WiFi - FX505DY-ES51

Pros: + Fast NVMe SSD, Western Digital brand + Nice 1080p screen, good brightness + Very few useless apps (McAfee and Office 365) + FreeSync compatible, up to 60hz + Good thermals + Good battery life with integrated GPU

Cons: - Very poor gaming performance, struggles to maintain 15-30 fps in games at 1080p - Aura service will not link to keyboard, keyboard is ONLY red - All plastic with metal texture - Only a 60hz screen - Only 8GB RAM, single channel - Very dark keyboard without backlighting, almost impossible to read/see - No case lighting (although the pictures look like it has it) - Getting kind of pricey for the specs

Overall Review: After spending quite a lot of time with an Asus ROG Strix Scar II as my primary mobile computer, I had very high hopes moving over to their TUF line. I expected a rugged computing experience with great battery life and I've heard nothing but rave reviews of the new generation of AMD Ryzen/Radeon products... I could not have been more disappointed. First of all, I'm not sure what has changed with this new generation of TUF machines, but they might as well have just called it "CHEAP." It's all plastic, and not even nice plastic - this is like 1990's General Motors interior plastic. You're also stuck with one color on the keyboard - red. So hopefully you like red backlighting, because the keyboard is impossible to see without it. Performance-wise, the CPU isn't the worst ever, it's a quad core with multi-threading, so you've at least got 8 threads to work with - normal every day tasks run fine. Would have definitely liked to see a Ryzen 7 in this machine, at least. It'll play YouTube videos at 1080p full screen with no problem. All the normal productivity software (Office, etc.) opens quickly and runs great - one thing this laptop has going for it is a very fast NVMe Western Digital SSD. If it wasn't for that, I'm not sure I'd recommend this laptop at all. Graphics and gaming are another story - I struggled to maintain 30 fps at 1080p with medium to low settings in almost everything - Destiny 2, COD Warzone, even older games like CSGO and TF2 seemed to really fight for performance. Dropping resolutions down to 720p helped, so the lower video memory in the RX560X may be part of the performance bottleneck... but that card just really can't cut it anything FPS intensive. Strategy games, MOBA's, casual games - anything where FPS and refresh rate aren't really important would probably be OK at medium to low settings. All in all I'm just very disappointed with this outing from Asus - I feel like the AMD platform at the heart of this laptop really let down what could have been a great performer for the price. Because of the performance issues, and the fact this machine has been creeping up in price (plenty of other options in the sub-$1000 category these days), I'm awarding the Asus TUF FX505DY-ES51 3 out of 5 Eggs. I'll keep tweaking settings and updating drivers and hopefully I can revisit this review in the future with some positive updates. Here are some benchmarks scores, as well as comparisons to other platforms I've reviewed: Asus TUF FX505DY-ES51 AMD R5-3550H/RX560X Time Spy 1955 Fire Strike 5477 Sky Diver 15354 Night Raid 6793 Asus ROG Strix Scar II Intel i7-8750H/RTX2070 Time Spy 7169 Fire Strike 16455 Sky Diver 36955 Desktop PC Intel i7-4820K/GTX1080 Time Spy 6274 Fire Strike 13970 Sky Diver 28305 Alienware 17 R3 Intel i7-3820hk/980M Time Spy 3042