Articles and Reviews

500w Power Supplies: Antec EarthWatts and Seasonic M12II

On the test bench today are two power supplies, Antec's EarthWatts (EA-500) 500w and Seasonic's M12II 500w (SS-500GM). They're both 500w power supplies, and in many ways they're the same, but also quite different. With one marketed for users who want a value priced energy efficient unit, and the other for gamers, I'll take a look at what sets them apart.

The Exterior

Antec's EarthWatts power supply is constructed of plain steel. It has a very plain look to it, which fits well with it's placement as a value power supply. The Seasonic M12II on the other hand is painted black, giving it a sleeker look, especially more enticing if your case has a window. The M12II is a little longer than the EarthWatts, putting the lengths at 16cm and 14cm respectively.


Antec Sonata Plus 550 Case

As we've uncovered in our P182 and P190 evaluation, Antec is a very capable designer of computer enclosures. In their Performance One line of cases, Antec was able to bring together well built cases that offered great noise and thermal performance. The P182 and P190 are in the higher end of the spectrum however. In this review, I will be taking a look at Antec's Sonata Plus 550 enclosure. The Sonata series of cases from Antec are targeted more to the mainstream and entry level enthusiast level. Today I will be determining if Antec can extend it's successful Performance One formula to the Sonata series.

Easy Homebrew 8800GT Cooling for Less Than $10 (or Free!)

I'm an owner of an nVidia 8800GT 512MB video card, an eVGA reference design model to be exact, and performance wise it's great. I'm able to play all my games at my 20" widescreen LCD's native resolution, usually with anti-aliasing and high quality settings. My one quirk with the card is that sometimes it gets quite hot. I know this because the whine of the temperature controlled fan increases high enough that I can pick it out of the background with ease. My hate of high pitch fan noise set me forth on a quest to find a way to quiet down the card. With my other video card, an 8800GTS 640MB, I never really had any noise issues. In comparing both cards, the 8800GT and the GTS, you can easily pick out the differences in the coolers. The 8800GT cooler is a mere single slot design, with a thin heatsink and smaller fan, whereas the 8800GTS cooler is a dual slot design, with a taller heatsink with more surface area and a bigger blower (not to mention it exhausts hot air directly out the case).


Kingston DataTraveler mini USB Flash Drive 4GB

The USB flash drive market is saturated with so many different choices. They vary in all factors including capacity, dimensions, form factor, special features and styles. With so many options, it can be difficult to pick the right drive for you. In circuitREMIX's series of USB flash drive reviews, we will try to offer more guidance on this issue and maybe find a few gems in the pack. Today we will be examining Kingston's DataTraveler mini USB flash drive (4GB). It's a bite size drive, with a big capacity, unique design, and Migo functionality right out of the package.

The DataTraveler mini

Kingston's DataTraveler mini is a unibody USB flash drive. By unibody, we mean that the drive itself and it's cover are built together as one piece. The whole drive is made of plastic, with the exception of the USB connector. The drive element is white plastic, and the cover portion is blue plastic. Kingston's "Easter Island head" logo, as I call it, is enscribed on the front of the cover piece, and the drive's model name and capacity is silk screened on the front of the drive piece.


OCZ Rally 2 Dual Channel USB Flash Drive 4GB

OCZ Technology has a reputation in technology enthusiast circles for making high performance and high quality products. Making popular products for enthusiasts and overclockers alike, today we're going to be examining one of their more performance products, the Rally 2 USB flash drive. This drive was made with performance in mind, and performance is what we're going to test.

The Rally 2

The Rally 2 is a USB flash drive of standard design, a flash drive with a cap to cover the USB connector. The body of the drive is made up mostly of black aluminium, including the cap. The ends caps of both sides lengthwise are clear plastic. An activity indicator is under that plastic on the flash drive end.


Antec's Performance One P182 and P190 Cases: A Visual Review

A case is an important component of any computer system. It houses all the components, and thus can affect the performance of all of them. With so many high powered components prevalent in the average enthusiast's systems today, a good case has to offer sufficient cooling and proper design to allow for the highest levels of compatibility and stability. Antec is a company that has a reputation of fulfilling these requirements with their cases.


Today we are going to be taking a look at two of Antec's cases, the P182 and the P190. Both of these cases are from Antec's Performance One series of cases. These are targeted towards high end users who want a high quality case with excellent noise and thermal properties.

FUNC F-Series Mousing Surface (F10.s)

From my first personal computer to now, I've never regularly used a mousepad. I used them once and a while when using someone else's computer or when at a public lab, but I never really picked up on use for myself. I've always found a plain desk surface to be much more usable. Things changed when I got a new desk. When using my cordless optical mouse on it, I found that the desk wasn't so great for optical mice to track on. With fast movement, or even on certain parts of the desk pattern, the cursor would jump erratically. Not wanting to give up the comfortable mouse I was using, I looked for other alternatives, namely a mousepad. The reason why I never really found mousepads to be practical in the past was because they were generally too small, most smaller than an 8.5x11 inch sheet of paper. When I used ball mice, this would prove to be annoying because the mouse would lose the ability to track when it rolls over the edge of the mousepad. As well, most mousepads were generally of the foam and cloth variety which tended to be pretty thick. This was more of a comfort thing. And concerning construction, I've seen that these generic mousepads don't last long. I've seen many mousepads with the cloth peeling from the foam base which leads to bad tracking over that area.

Kingston DataTraveler ReadyFlash USB Flash Drive 1GB

The USB flash drive market is saturated with so many different choices. They vary in all factors including capacity, dimensions, form factor, special features and styles. With so many options, it can be difficult to pick the right drive for you. In circuitREMIX's series of USB flash drive reviews, we will try to offer more guidance on this issue and maybe find a few gems in the pack. Today we are starting out with Kingston's DataTraveler ReadyFlash USB flash drive (1GB). The drive is a USB2.0 device which is designed and optimized for Microsoft's Windows ReadyBoost feature.

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