TECH DEAL – I Believe I Got A Good Deal On This ASUS Desktop Computer

November 25, 2014

After nearly 8 years I decided it was time to changeout my HP computer… After a great deal of research and shopping around I ended up settling for the ASUS M51BC-US018S Desktop (3.3 GHz AMD FX-8300 Processor, 8GB DDR3, 1TB HDD, Windows 8.1) at Amazon. Pricing on this computer at the time and date of this posting was listed as $519.99 with a $60 ASUS rebate = $469.00…

ASUS makes a really nice computer and this box is no exception. I am very pleased with not only the build; but also with the performance. What sold me on this PC is the AMD -FX8300 processor which is rated equivalent to an Intel i7 processor; that the memory can be upgraded up to 32GBs; and, there is 10 USB Ports (6-USB 2.0 and 4-USB 3.0). There is room for expansion in this PC; however, when I broke open the case to insert my Hauppauge WinTV card I found that insertion of the card to be tight due to the installed video card consuming a lot of the space. I did manage to get it installed and due to the power of this computer, watching TV on this computer is a much better experience than my older PC with better clarity and video performance.

There was one issue I ran into with the purchase with this computer. Amazon had it posted to indicate that there are two $30 rebates (from ASUS).  After processing the rebates I discovered that ASUS would only honor one rebate and apparently the two posted on Amazon are the same rebate. In the end, all was good…  I contacted Amazon, reported the issue, and they immediately credited me for the additional $30. I checked today when I posted this article and they are still showing the $60 rebate. So, if you want to chance it and buy this computer; you too may be able to take advantage of the $60 return on the purchase.

If interested in this PC, which is a relatively new posting at Amazon, with myself making the first customer review, reflected below is the specs, in much more detail than what is posted at Amazon:

ASUS M51BC-US018S Desktop (3.3 GHz AMD FX-8300 Processor, 8GB DDR3, 1TB HDD, Windows 8.1)

ASUS M51BC-US018S Desktop

Product Type: Desktop Computer

Cache: 8 MB

Processor Core: Octa-core (8 Core)

Green Compliant: Yes

Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS

Memory Card Reader: Yes

64-bit Processing: Yes

Processor Manufacturer: AMD

Number of External 5.25″ Bays: 2

Chipset Manufacturer: AMD

Chipset Model: 970

Graphics Controller Manufacturer: AMD

Graphics Controller Model: R5 235X

Number of Total Memory Slots: 4

Optical Drive Type: DVD-Writer

Optical Media Supported: DVD-RAM/±R/±RW

Graphics Memory Capacity: Up to 1 GB

Graphics Memory Technology: DDR3 SDRAM

Hard Drive Interface: Serial ATA/600

Hard Drive RPM: 7200

Keyboard Type: Physical Keyboard

Number of PCI Express x1: Slots2

Number of Processors Supported: 1

Number of Processors Installed: 1

Total Hard Drive Capacity: 1 TB

Ethernet Technology: Gigabit Ethernet

Number of Total Expansion Bays: 4

Number of 3.5″ Bays: 2

Number of Total Expansion Slots: 4

Number of PCI Express x4 Slots: 1

Number of PCI Express x16 Slots:1

Network (RJ-45):Yes

Maximum Power Supply Wattage: 300 W

Audio Line In: Yes

Audio Line Out: Yes

Total Number of USB Ports:10

Number of USB 2.0 Ports: 6

Number of USB 3.0 Ports: 4

Memory Form Factor: DIMM

Memory Card Supported: Secure Digital (SD)

Memory Card Supported: Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC)

Memory Card Supported: CompactFlash (CF)

Memory Card Supported: Microdrive

Memory Card Supported: Memory Stick

Memory Card Supported: Memory Stick PRO

Memory Card Supported: Memory Stick Duo

Memory Card Supported: Memory Stick PRO Duo

Memory Card Supported: MultiMediaCard (MMC)

Memory Card Supported: Reduced Size MultiMediaCard (RS-MMC)

Memory Card Supported: Memory Stick Micro

Memory Card Supported: miniSD

Memory Card Supported: microSD

Processor Model: FX-8300

Memory Standard: DDR3-1600/PC3-12800

Height: 16.1″

Width: 6.8″

Depth: 16.5″

Memory Technology: DDR3 SDRAM

Operating System: Windows 8.1

Product Series: M51BC

Brand Name: Asus

Form Factor: Tower

Keyboard: Yes

Manufacturer: ASUS Computer International

Product Model: M51BC-US018S

Product Name: M51BC-US018S Desktop Computer

Pointing Device: TypeMouse

Processor Speed: 3.30 GHz

Processor Type: FX-Series

Controller Type: Serial ATA/600

Manufacturer Part Number: M51BC-US018S

Maximum Memory: 32 GB

Software Included

Anti-Virus Trial

Adobe Acrobat Reader

MaxxAudio

Microsoft Pack

Office trial

Utility:

ASUS AI-SUITE II

ASUS AI Manager

ASUS My Logo2

ASUS Easy Update

ASUS Q-fan

ASUS Vibe

ASUS AI Charger

ASUS WebStorage

ASUS Music Maker

Standard Memory: 8 GB

Weight (Approximate): 19.80 lb

Graphics Controller Model: R5 235X

Processor Speed: 3.30 GHz

Processor Type: FX-Series

Controller Type: Serial ATA/600

Manufacturer Part Number: M51BC-US018S

Weight (Approximate)19.80 lb

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TECH DEAL – Lexar JumpDrive S73 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive (limited time only)

November 6, 2014

I don’t know how long this one will last…  A Lexar JumpDrive S73 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive (for less than $50 + FREE Shipping)…

 Lexar JumpDrive S73 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive

Lexar 128 GB

Store and transfer content faster with SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology

Speeds up to 3 times faster (up to 45MB/s read and 20MB/s write

Retractable connector with convenient thumb slide

Reliably stores and transfers photos, videos, files, and more

Compatible with PC and Mac systems


Featured Tech Toy – Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball

October 25, 2014

If you have never used a trackball before you do not know what you are missing. Probably the best way to describe a trackball is that it is a stationary mouse (no mouse to move around) with a ball that you use your thumb to navigate (or roll the ball) to perform your onscreen point and click operations.

Compared with a mouse, a trackball has no limits on effective travel; at times, a mouse can reach an edge of its working area while the operator still wishes to move the screen pointer farther. With a trackball, the operator just continues rolling, whereas a mouse would have to be lifted and re-positioned. Some trackballs, such as Logitech’s optical-pickoff types, have notably low friction, as well as being dense (glass), so they can be spun to make them coast. The trackball’s buttons may be situated to that of a mouse or to a unique style that suits the user… source: Wikipedia

Looking at the trackball options out there, the best-of-the-best, in my opinion and based on customer reviews in the Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball. If we look at this at What’s On My PC @ Amazon (at the time of this writing), there were over 4105 reviews submitted giving the Logitech M570 a near 5 star rating. I personally am looking at this trackball to prevent injury to my wrist and to use it as a media center device. Another plus to the trackball, is if you have limited desk space, the trackball is the way to go because you do not move it, and it only takes up the space where you position it (plus, no mouse pad is required).

Logitech M570 Wireless Trackball

Logitech Wireless Trackball M570

Features

  • Trackball comfort: Sculpted shape supports your hand and stays in one place?move the cursor without moving your arm
  • Logitech Unifying receiver: Connect up to six compatible wireless devices with one tiny receiver that stays in your laptop
  • Long battery life: Go for up to 18 months without changing the included AA battery* (* Battery life may vary based on user and computing conditions. )
  • Smooth cursor control anywhere: Precision laser tracking on your desk, couch, bed or almost any other surface
  • For Windows or Mac OS: Control your laptop, desktop computer or home theater PC wirelessly from up to 30 ft. away** (** Actual wireless range will vary with use, settings and environmental conditions. )
  • Compact footprint: perfect for tight workspaces and busy desks.
  • Logitech Advanced 2.4 GHz wireless
  • Logitech Unifying technology: Easily connect up to six compatible wireless devices?keyboards, number pads or mice?without the hassle of multiple receivers filling up your USB ports.
  • Trackball comfort, Time-tested shape
  • Wireless freedom: Control laptop, desktop computer or home theater PC from up to 30 feet (10 meters) away.

A Dual Mode Laptop – Switch Between Laptop And Tablet Stand Mode

October 20, 2014

Having experienced some of the Lenovo offerings that are out there these days, I especially have an eye for their Lenovo Flex touchscreen line of laptops.

What is cool about the Lenovo Flex 2 is that it can adapt and transform into whatever you are doing; making it a truly multi-functional device. It can go from being a laptop to a tablet (on a stand).

When you’re relying heavily on the keyboard — drafting documents or working on a spreadsheet, for example — keep your Flex 2 in the classic laptop mode for maximum productivity.  But when you’re focusing on touch applications, web chatting, or enjoying a film or video, flip the screen 300 degrees to enter stand mode.

Once I get something like this in my sights I usually head to Amazon, not only for a price comparison; but, mostly to see what other people are saying about the product.

After looking at the Lenovo Flex flavors they were showing (see here), I ended up looking at the Lenovo Flex 2 15D 15.6 inch model that carries the AMD A8-6410 Quad-Core 2.0 GHz Processor. I know many folks would go for one with the intel processor, but if you want to save green backs, then go with AMD. I have had AMD processors in my main desktop computer(s) for years. I am currently on my third one, with my main desktop computer, for which I am typing this article, is now over 7 years old.

Lenovo Flex 2 15D 15.6-Inch Touchscreen Laptop (59418242) Black

Lenovo Flex 2

Screen Size 15.6 inches
Max Screen Resolution 1366×768
Processor 2 GHz A-Series Quad-Core A8
RAM 8 GB DDR3
Hard Drive 1000 GB mechanical
hard drive
Wireless Type 802.11bgn
Number of USB 2.0 Ports 2
Number of USB 3.0 Ports 1
Average Battery Life (in hours) 4 hours

 

 


You Can Pre-Order The HTC Nexus 9 At Amazon

October 19, 2014

You have probably seen all of the recent hype on the Google Nexus products. The Nexus that is catching my eye is the Nexus 9 featuring Android’s new OS called Lollipop.

At a glance the Nexus 9 features an 8.9” IPS LCD display with 4:3 aspect ratio constructed from Gorilla Glass 3; 1536 x 2048 pixels screen resolution; Dual front-facing speakers with HTC BoomSound; 8MP rear camera – 1.6MP front camera; 64-bit NVIDIA Tegra K1 Dual Denver @ 2.3GHz CPU; 2 GB DDR3 RAM; Quad-band GSM, CDMA, Penta-band HSPA, LTE; and 3.5mm audio.

Amazon currently has a pre-order page up — CLICK HERE

HTC Nexus 9 Tablet 

HTC Nexus 9


An “All In One” 120 GB SSD (Solid State Drive) and 1 TB HDD (Hard Disk Drive)

October 11, 2014

Many folks, when installing a SSD (Solid State Drive), will install the operating system on the SSD drive and then will keep their second HDD (Hard Disk Drive) to store their data and program files. Western Digital, having recognizing this, has developed the world’s first dual drive that consists of 120 GB SSD and 1 TB HDD in one 2.5 inch package (or kit).

WD Black Dual Drive (120 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD)

WD Black2 Dual Drive 2.5" 120 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD Kit (WD1001X06XDTL)

Features At A Glance:

  • Revolutionary dual drive with 120 GB SSD and 1 TB HDD
  • Fully accessible SSD for the operating system, generous capacity hard drive for personal data and large files
  • Lower cost-per-gigabyte advantage over the solid-state competition
  • World’s first 2.5-inch dual drive storage solution
  • Easily create a backup of your SSD on the hard drive while on the go or use for massive storage
  • Dual drives extend the life of MLC NAND and maintain optimum SSD performance
  • You control where your data resides with no need for large cloud storage or expensive third party storage plans

 


Recently Installed This PNY SSD (Solid State Drive) In My Lenovo IdeaCentre Q150 Nettop

October 8, 2014

You are probably wondering, from he title of this blog post, “What in the world is a Nettop?”. Back on November 5, 2010 I posted an article titled, “My Mini (HTPC) Media Center Setup Featuring Lenovo, LG and Bose” which featured the Lenovo IdeaCentre Q150 Nettop.

A nettop is a very small form factor, inexpensive, low-wattage desktop computer designed for basic tasks such as surfing the Internet, accessing web-based applications, document processing, and audio/video playback. – Wikipedia

The Lenovo Ideacentre Q150 that I purchased in 2010, is a Windows 7 Pro computer that sports an Intel ® Atom Dual Core processor D510 (1.66GHz, 1MB L2 Cache); 2 GB DDR2 667 RAM; 250 GB, 5400 RPM Hard Drive; HDMI NVIDIA ION Graphics Processor with 512MB graphics (with full HD 1080p support), and wireless network ready. I originally had the nettop attached to the rear of my TV, but since then I use it in my garage to primarily surf the internet. Lenovo to this day still serves up the nettop footprint in their latest Q190 models (see here).

Recently I decided to breathe some new life into the nettop and installed a PNY XLR8 SATA 120GB 6Gbps 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive. Using AMOEI Backupper Standard to image the original 250 GB drive I was able to seamlessly move the operating system and data over to the PNY Solid State Drive (which is a smaller drive at a 120 GBs). Some would question, why go from the larger drive to the smaller drive and my answer is that I was seeking a performance upgrade (and not a capacity upgrade). The nettop I use is connected to my home network where I have plenty of space on external drives to manage and store data; plus, I have a ton of online storage. So capacity is not the issue…

After installing the PNY XLR8 SATA 120GB 6Gbps 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive and performing several reboots I immediately noticed a big improvement in boot time, software loads and browser page loads.

If you are looking for an upgrade in an older PC, I highly recommend going with a solid state drive installation and highly recommend the PNY XLR8 SATA 120GB 6Gbps 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive. This drive is at a decent price point at this time and carries with it a 4.5 star customer rating.

PNY XLR8 SATA 120GB 6Gbps 2.5-Inch Solid State Drive

PNY’s lineup of XLR8 SSDs feature a 2.5” SATA III, 6Gbps interface, support 128-bit AES encryption and is powered by the SandForce 2281 controller, offering up to 500MB/s seq. read, 450MB/s seq. write speeds, and 60,000 random read/write IOPS. Manufactured in the USA and designed for long term photo/video storage and home usage such as web browsing, emails, faster operating system and program launching.


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