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Karl L.

Karl L.

Joined on 05/04/10

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 3
Most Favorable Review

Superb timings, great OC RAM

G.SKILL PI 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL6D-4GBPI
G.SKILL PI 4GB (2 x 2GB) DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-12800CL6D-4GBPI

Pros: Works for Intel, but clearly ideal for AMD systems since the Phenom II x6 Thubans are highly sensitive to latency/timings (moreso then RAM clock frequency). Bought 2 of these (8 GB total) for a new 1055T build. OC from 2.8 GHz to 4.2 GHz no problem with this RAM providing you tons of overclocking room and stability. A truly great product with sufficient speed and more importantly: timings. This is -the- RAM for AMD until the new FLARE memory is available/affordable.

Cons: Heatsinks are large. The base of the RAM to the top of the heatsink is easily the height of a credit card. Recommend you check space/clearance.

Overall Review: G.Skill delivers great value and performance with all their RAM. Wish they'd develop DDR3 with CAS of 5 or 6 at 2000.

Most Critical Review

Not as powerful as AM1 Kabini.

BIOSTAR A68N-5545 AMD A8-5545 (Quad core 1.7G, turbo 2.7G) Processor AMD A70M Mini ITX Motherboard / CPU Combo
BIOSTAR A68N-5545 AMD A8-5545 (Quad core 1.7G, turbo 2.7G) Processor AMD A70M Mini ITX Motherboard / CPU Combo

Pros: - Does everything the other reviewers mentioned. - Works out of the box. No nonsense config and no compatibility issues. - Useful (if not the only current option) platform for a small/cheap Linux box (PFSense, NAS, HTPC, etc.). - Reasonable value when on sale (got mine for $59 CAD Black Friday). - Is at least somewhat available, whereas AM1 Kabini basically...is not. - Out competes other options

Cons: - Dated technology. Not as powerful as AM1 Kabini, despite having the dual-channel memory (whereas AM1 has single channel). - Its a laptop-grade chip that scores drastically lower in all compute tasks. A basic Arch/Lubuntu N-Queens benchmark problem will run in 18 seconds on this board whereas my AM1 will scorch it in 4-5 seconds (and my Ryzen will pull 0.41 sec). A basic spreadsheet will noticeably lag when highlighting/deselecting cells. This 2013 notebook chip is simply just a lot less responsive in desktop tasks then Kabini (2015). - Despite both APUs scoring similarly in those synthetic cpubenchmark points, Kabini (2500 pts, 25W) will leave this A8 thing in the dust (2400 pts, 19W), and you can somewhat overclock Kabini (and use ECC ram in some cases). - Will not overclock to anything stable worth talking about, despite a hidden multiplier option in the BIOS to do so. It just runs too hot baseline, you can't control the voltage, and the silicon is low-binned laptop grade stuff from 2013. - On this APU, a 2GB GPU RAM allocation is borderline for HTPC, even with lightweight Linux and some tunings, a browser running twitch.tv will pin all 4 cores at 90% utilization. Don't expect to multitask. - Runs quite hot (even at idle), but is silent.

Overall Review: I was originally considering a mini ITX cluster of these things for some Docker/Hadoop and other distributed experiments. If you have old/disposable parts available, it might be worth it to build an ugly but simple/cheap system around this thing. For my application(s), I figured the dual-channel memory would scale-out better than a single-channel Kabini cluster. Of course you can't really get AM1 Kabinis now, so that leaves this board as really the only good, cheap x86 option to derp around with. With the current (Jan 2018) RAM and SSD prices, this thing doesn't scale nearly as well. You would be overpaying for last-gen components (no real carry-forward upgrade paths for DDR3 and SATA) and sticking them on an anemic cpu/mobo combo.

Impeccable Value. Hidden Gem.

Philips Performance SHP9500 Over-Ear Open-Air Headphones - EXCLUSIVE - Black
Philips Performance SHP9500 Over-Ear Open-Air Headphones - EXCLUSIVE - Black

Pros: - Good overall specifications. - Decent construction and build quality. Robust plastic with some aluminium reinforcing the overhead band. - Does not require high-end dac/amp to drive respectfully (32 ohms), but will scale reasonably well with one. - Removable 3.5 mm AUX cable. - Compatible with headset mics like the V-Moda Boom Pro. - The sound is well-balanced. For me its just on the brighter side of neutral. Presentation is natural, not too cold, and only subtly analytical. You can listen to these all day without getting "tired" from the sound as you would with other headphones. The sound stage deals out good lows and delivers mids/highs crisply without lingering. - For more discerning audiophiles, you might benefit from some fine tuning, mainly where the frequency response transitions between the upper mids and lower highs. Can not fault these headphones for that. They're optimized out of the box for all kinds of music, especially where distinctive listening is prized and overdone bass is a no-no. - Would suggest pairing with a warmer-side-of-neutral amp or eq process for some types of music.

Cons: - Size adjustments involve very lose notches that tend to slip unless under load (i.e. actually on your head its fine). - Clamping force is a bit light --> worried it will be too loose in the long run, after fatigue and break in effects. - Earpads can not be changed out except via some modding.

Overall Review: The SHP9500 are "sleeper" headphones. Most will not stumble upon these unless lucky, well-informed, or in pursuit of extreme value. Stellar comfort, reliability, and of course audio quality for the price. When on sale (~$99 CAD), they completely shatter the price/performance ratio of the current (2015-2016) era headphones market. At this lower price-point, they become rank 1. When not on sale, they still defeat most, if not all, products at the higher, entry-level audiophile price-point of ~$250 CAD. My first 5 star review ever on the internet after years of reviews.