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ASUS Zenbook UX303LA-DS52T?US51T Review

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Hey guys this is going to be a little bit of a different review... I picked this ultrabook out for my sister, and after spending time with her bringing her up to speed on windows 8.1 (I didn't have her install windows 10 because we did it on her old laptop and neither of us liked it much at first) before she went off to college again.

 

What does this mean? Unfortunately I am dumb and I don't have pictures, but I will say that the pictures on these two links are fairly decent impressions...

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00X4099OG?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=od_aui_detailpages00

 

http://www.amazon.com/Zenbook-13-Inch-Touchscreen-i5-5200U-Windows/dp/B00YI83REG/ref=cm_cr_pr_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8

 

Why do I have two links? Well... These two laptops only differ by one feature. The resolution of the screen, the first link (which officially I purchased) is 1080p, the second is '4k'. I originally had her purchase the 1080p ultrabook (which at the time was 10 dollars more lol than the 4k one) because I was worried about text scaling. When we started the computer, I was blown away by the sharpness of the screen and after confirmation through various pathways, I determined that we were sent the '4k' display. 

 

I say '4k' because its the same 3200x1800 screen that the Dell XPS 13 uses, and in fact given a xps 13 I have since seen and used lightly in person (a work friend brought one in), I have a very strong nagging suspicion that they are the EXACT same IPS panel. 

 

EDIT: Can confirm it is the exact same screen. The Zenbook is a IGZO display, but I didn't know if anyone else makes them. According to http://www.anandtech...xps-13-review/5 only Sharpe makes the IGZO displays and the Sharpe 1421 is the only IGZO display they have for 13.3 inches 3200x1800 and that is the same display used by the XPS 13. Also since it is the same display, it is very likely to have similar contrast and brightness levels (that means they are very good.)

 

And we all know how much Linus and everyone else loves the XPS 13 panel.

 

So was this an accident? I don't know, BUT one other person (the only one to mention specifics of the screen) in the reviews of the 1080p model talk about their panel having scaling issues (a clear indicator of a 4k panel).

 

Anyways back to the review.

 

Unboxing

This thing was packed like a beast... Like 3 boxes. A plain brown box with plastic wrap contained brown intel box with plastic wrap inside which contained the box with the computer and accessories... 

 

The accessories were standard fare. Documentation, Straps, AC power plug  (which looked kinda like this http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-Zenbook-TaiChi-Power-Adapter/dp/B008U0310S/ref=pd_sim_147_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1Q1EDKPPPM83NVZ0FJSK but with ribbon cording, an actually nice touch for wrapping it up.)

 

 

Design

As seen in the original links above, this thing is gorgeous... I mean it is straight up is the nicest looking laptop I have ever seen (better than the xps 13 and macbook air). It has this kinda bizarre (yet lovable) unibody metal frame that has its actual ridge on the underside of the computer. Why is this weird? Because it means the edge of the computer, while looking great has this slightly odd-feeling corner. It's a soft edge. I really don't know how to describe it... 

 

At 3.2 pounds and .7 inches thick this beast is about 10% larger and heavier than the XPS 13 (2.8 pounds and .6 inches thick) but man, full metal is worth it.

 

As a result of the unibody frame, the keyboard has basically no flex at all (an incredible improvement over the aforementioned XPS), and the backlit key board is nice but standard fare these days. No cardinal sins, no incredible features. The touchpad is nice, but I don't really have anything to say about it.

 

As I mentioned, this screen is amazing. I really can not say enough about it except to say that everything Linus said about the XPS 13 applies here (so much so that I truly believe it they use the same screen.) IPS on this screen is crazy. The only thing to note is the Asus does have a slightly larger bezel, which Linus himself talked about as both a con and a pro.

 

I did NOT test the webcam unfortunately before sending it off, but comments suggest its at least ok.

 

Connectivity

This is pretty standard fare here... 3x USB 3.0, Full-size HDMI, Mini-displayport, all in one 3.5 mm headset jack, Card reader (no lan, but thats normal I guess.) 

 

Compared to the XPS 13 it has one additional USB 3.0 (which is a very nice difference if using a usb mouse), but lacks a computer lock. If you are not in an enterprise environment, I think most people will be VERY happy to exchange these two.

 

Internals

This model comes with a i5 5200U which packs a nice punch with its efficient mobile Broadwell dual core cpu turboing up to 2.7 GHz. Very snappy Windows 8.1 installation (but really isn't everything?). Boot times from off to on were less than 3 seconds, which, while not uncommon for new sad-equipped laptops, is still one of the fastest I've ever seen.

 

It also comes with a 256 GB ssd (which I honestly don't know if it was m.2 or sata, because I didn't check crystal mark. but like I said the boot times were exceptionally snappy.)

 

I am also told that you can add ram to the model (which comes with 8 GB), something that is not possible on the XPS 13, but I can not confirm this.

 

It houses a dual band 2x2 802.11 AC card that works. (I mean yay! I don't know its specific model, but standard fare is expected haha.)

 

I don't know the battery size, but Asus claims 10 hours of battery life (and our testing suggests between 8-12 as well). This compared to Dell's XPS 13 which has a 52 Whr battery providing up to 12 hour battery life and it's pretty much a wash.

 

EDIT: Apparently the Asus claim has been updated to 8 hours, and after some digging, I found this came with a 50 Whr battery, so with all the same specs overall, I would expect the two to have within 10% or so the same battery life.

 

Conclusion

So this is where things really get interesting... A lot of this review has been compared to the Dell XPS 13 a universally state of the art notebook. In comparison to that laptop, it gets some clear wins (full metal body, keyboard, connectivity), a lot of draws (esp when it comes to technical specs), and only one real drawback (its 10% larger and heavier form factor.)

 

This Zenbook, however, has an ace up its sleeve...  It is (in order to get the same specs at the time of this review) 550!!!! dollars cheaper than the XPS 13.

 

This is an insanely huge price difference and puts the ASUS Zenbook UX303LA-US51T in a league of its own for price to performance in the ultrabook form factor (which admittedly isn't the best price to performance in the first place.)

 

Comparative spec netbook:

http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-13-9343-laptop/pd#overrides=dncwt5131b:8~256SSD   1399.99!!!!

http://www.amazon.com/Zenbook-13-Inch-Touchscreen-i5-5200U-Windows/dp/B00YI83REG/ref=cm_cr_pr_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8 849.99!!!!

 

The real question then becomes what do you give up for 550 dollars? Honestly, the only thing I've found is the slightly larger form factor (and I really can not emphasize how much it is slightly. This thing is ultra light.) and maybe a slower SSD (it seems possible but it isn't a slouch.) 

 

 

TL:DR This thing is amazing by itself with its sleek sturdy unibody frame, but when you take into account that its closest competition is notably much more expensive, I really can not recommend this product enough FOR people looking at 13.3 inch form factor ultrabooks.

 

I hope you liked this review, please leave your questions and comments below.

 

@LinusTech @nicklmg I'd love to see you guys check out the Zenbook line since you have looked at the Macbook Air and the XPS 13 now.

 

 

1/12/16 edit: Finally noticed and fixed the resolution typo.


LINK-> Kurald Galain:  The Night Eternal 

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Mass SSD: Crucial M500 960GB  // PSU: EVGA Supernova 850G2 // Case: Fractal Design Define S Windowed // OS: Windows 10 // Mouse: Razer Naga Chroma // Keyboard: Corsair k70 Cherry MX Reds

Headset: Senn RS185 // Monitor: ASUS PG348Q // Devices: Note 10+ - Surface Book 2 15"

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Also I don't really have any comments about the utility of the software that was included because literally the first thing I did (and that I do on all computers I buy) was remove everything I knew I didn't need.


LINK-> Kurald Galain:  The Night Eternal 

Top 5820k, 980ti SLI Build in the World*

CPU: i7-5820k // GPU: SLI MSI 980ti Gaming 6G // Cooling: Full Custom WC //  Mobo: ASUS X99 Sabertooth // Ram: 32GB Crucial Ballistic Sport // Boot SSD: Samsung 850 EVO 500GB

Mass SSD: Crucial M500 960GB  // PSU: EVGA Supernova 850G2 // Case: Fractal Design Define S Windowed // OS: Windows 10 // Mouse: Razer Naga Chroma // Keyboard: Corsair k70 Cherry MX Reds

Headset: Senn RS185 // Monitor: ASUS PG348Q // Devices: Note 10+ - Surface Book 2 15"

LINK-> Ainulindale: Music of the Ainur 

Prosumer DYI FreeNAS

CPU: Xeon E3-1231v3  // Cooling: Noctua L9x65 //  Mobo: AsRock E3C224D2I // Ram: 16GB Kingston ECC DDR3-1333

HDDs: 4x HGST Deskstar NAS 3TB  // PSU: EVGA 650GQ // Case: Fractal Design Node 304 // OS: FreeNAS

 

 

 

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Second post: Sorry guys. Can confirm it is the exact same screen. I knew the Zenbook is a IGZO display, I didn't know if anyone else makes them. According to http://www.anandtech.com/show/8983/dell-xps-13-review/5 only Sharpe makes the IGZO displays and the Sharpe 1421 is the only IGZO display they have for 13.3 inches 3800x1800 and that is the same display used by the XPS 13.


LINK-> Kurald Galain:  The Night Eternal 

Top 5820k, 980ti SLI Build in the World*

CPU: i7-5820k // GPU: SLI MSI 980ti Gaming 6G // Cooling: Full Custom WC //  Mobo: ASUS X99 Sabertooth // Ram: 32GB Crucial Ballistic Sport // Boot SSD: Samsung 850 EVO 500GB

Mass SSD: Crucial M500 960GB  // PSU: EVGA Supernova 850G2 // Case: Fractal Design Define S Windowed // OS: Windows 10 // Mouse: Razer Naga Chroma // Keyboard: Corsair k70 Cherry MX Reds

Headset: Senn RS185 // Monitor: ASUS PG348Q // Devices: Note 10+ - Surface Book 2 15"

LINK-> Ainulindale: Music of the Ainur 

Prosumer DYI FreeNAS

CPU: Xeon E3-1231v3  // Cooling: Noctua L9x65 //  Mobo: AsRock E3C224D2I // Ram: 16GB Kingston ECC DDR3-1333

HDDs: 4x HGST Deskstar NAS 3TB  // PSU: EVGA 650GQ // Case: Fractal Design Node 304 // OS: FreeNAS

 

 

 

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Awesome review, really enjoyed reading it! Rare that there's one this well written on here.

I'll be in the market for an ultrabook for school as well, to replace my Samsung Series 9 as it's only got 4GB of RAM and it's just not enough.

 

I was looking at the UX305, however this one looks promising.
Just wish it had a matte, non touch display.


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CPU: Intel i5 4690k Cooler: Corsair H100i V2 Motherboard: MSI Z97i AC ITX

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I also got this laptop :D It's really nice.


Intel i5 6600k~Asus Maximus VIII Hero~G.Skill Ripjaws 4 Series 8GB DDR4-3200 CL-16~Sapphire Radeon R9 Fury Tri-X~Phanteks Enthoo Pro M~Sandisk Extreme Pro 480GB~SeaSonic Snow Silent 750~BenQ XL2730Z QHD 144Hz FreeSync~Cooler Master Seidon 240M~Varmilo VA87M (Cherry MX Brown)~Corsair Vengeance M95~Oppo PM-3~Windows 10 Pro~http://pcpartpicker.com/p/ynmBnQ

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Awesome review, really enjoyed reading it! Rare that there's one this well written on here.

I'll be in the market for an ultrabook for school as well, to replace my Samsung Series 9 as it's only got 4GB of RAM and it's just not enough.

 

I was looking at the UX305, however this one looks promising.

Just wish it had a matte, non touch display.

For a non-touch screen display the xps 13 should be fairly affordable (although this one with touch still might be cheaper...) You can always not use it.

Also thanks for the feedback!

 

I also got this laptop :D It's really nice.

Glad to hear it!


LINK-> Kurald Galain:  The Night Eternal 

Top 5820k, 980ti SLI Build in the World*

CPU: i7-5820k // GPU: SLI MSI 980ti Gaming 6G // Cooling: Full Custom WC //  Mobo: ASUS X99 Sabertooth // Ram: 32GB Crucial Ballistic Sport // Boot SSD: Samsung 850 EVO 500GB

Mass SSD: Crucial M500 960GB  // PSU: EVGA Supernova 850G2 // Case: Fractal Design Define S Windowed // OS: Windows 10 // Mouse: Razer Naga Chroma // Keyboard: Corsair k70 Cherry MX Reds

Headset: Senn RS185 // Monitor: ASUS PG348Q // Devices: Note 10+ - Surface Book 2 15"

LINK-> Ainulindale: Music of the Ainur 

Prosumer DYI FreeNAS

CPU: Xeon E3-1231v3  // Cooling: Noctua L9x65 //  Mobo: AsRock E3C224D2I // Ram: 16GB Kingston ECC DDR3-1333

HDDs: 4x HGST Deskstar NAS 3TB  // PSU: EVGA 650GQ // Case: Fractal Design Node 304 // OS: FreeNAS

 

 

 

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Hey guys this is going to be a little bit of a different review... I picked this ultrabook out for my sister, and after spending time with her bringing her up to speed on windows 8.1 (I didn't have her install windows 10 because we did it on her old laptop and neither of us liked it much at first) before she went off to college again.

 

What does this mean? Unfortunately I am dumb and I don't have pictures, but I will say that the pictures on these two links are fairly decent impressions...

 

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00X4099OG?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=od_aui_detailpages00

 

http://www.amazon.com/Zenbook-13-Inch-Touchscreen-i5-5200U-Windows/dp/B00YI83REG/ref=cm_cr_pr_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8

 

Why do I have two links? Well... These two laptops only differ by one feature. The resolution of the screen, the first link (which officially I purchased) is 1080p, the second is '4k'. I originally had her purchase the 1080p ultrabook (which at the time was 10 dollars more lol than the 4k one) because I was worried about text scaling. When we started the computer, I was blown away by the sharpness of the screen and after confirmation through various pathways, I determined that we were sent the '4k' display. 

 

I say '4k' because its the same 3800x1800 screen that the Dell XPS 13 uses, and in fact given a xps 13 I have since seen and used lightly in person (a work friend brought one in), I have a very strong nagging suspicion that they are the EXACT same IPS panel. 

 

EDIT: Can confirm it is the exact same screen. The Zenbook is a IGZO display, but I didn't know if anyone else makes them. According to http://www.anandtech...xps-13-review/5 only Sharpe makes the IGZO displays and the Sharpe 1421 is the only IGZO display they have for 13.3 inches 3800x1800 and that is the same display used by the XPS 13. Also since it is the same display, it is very likely to have similar contrast and brightness levels (that means they are very good.)

 

And we all know how much Linus and everyone else loves the XPS 13 panel.

 

So was this an accident? I don't know, BUT one other person (the only one to mention specifics of the screen) in the reviews of the 1080p model talk about their panel having scaling issues (a clear indicator of a 4k panel).

 

Anyways back to the review.

 

Unboxing

This thing was packed like a beast... Like 3 boxes. A plain brown box with plastic wrap contained brown intel box with plastic wrap inside which contained the box with the computer and accessories... 

 

The accessories were standard fare. Documentation, Straps, AC power plug  (which looked kinda like this http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-Zenbook-TaiChi-Power-Adapter/dp/B008U0310S/ref=pd_sim_147_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1Q1EDKPPPM83NVZ0FJSK but with ribbon cording, an actually nice touch for wrapping it up.)

 

 

Design

As seen in the original links above, this thing is gorgeous... I mean it is straight up is the nicest looking laptop I have ever seen (better than the xps 13 and macbook air). It has this kinda bizarre (yet lovable) unibody metal frame that has its actual ridge on the underside of the computer. Why is this weird? Because it means the edge of the computer, while looking great has this slightly odd-feeling corner. It's a soft edge. I really don't know how to describe it... 

 

At 3.2 pounds and .7 inches thick this beast is about 10% larger and heavier than the XPS 13 (2.8 pounds and .6 inches thick) but man, full metal is worth it.

 

As a result of the unibody frame, the keyboard has basically no flex at all (an incredible improvement over the aforementioned XPS), and the backlit key board is nice but standard fare these days. No cardinal sins, no incredible features. The touchpad is nice, but I don't really have anything to say about it.

 

As I mentioned, this screen is amazing. I really can not say enough about it except to say that everything Linus said about the XPS 13 applies here (so much so that I truly believe it they use the same screen.) IPS on this screen is crazy. The only thing to note is the Asus does have a slightly larger bezel, which Linus himself talked about as both a con and a pro.

 

I did NOT test the webcam unfortunately before sending it off, but comments suggest its at least ok.

 

Connectivity

This is pretty standard fare here... 3x USB 3.0, Full-size HDMI, Mini-displayport, all in one 3.5 mm headset jack, Card reader (no lan, but thats normal I guess.) 

 

Compared to the XPS 13 it has one additional USB 3.0 (which is a very nice difference if using a usb mouse), but lacks a computer lock. If you are not in an enterprise environment, I think most people will be VERY happy to exchange these two.

 

Internals

This model comes with a i5 5200U which packs a nice punch with its efficient mobile Broadwell dual core cpu turboing up to 2.7 GHz. Very snappy Windows 8.1 installation (but really isn't everything?). Boot times from off to on were less than 3 seconds, which, while not uncommon for new sad-equipped laptops, is still one of the fastest I've ever seen.

 

It also comes with a 256 GB ssd (which I honestly don't know if it was m.2 or sata, because I didn't check crystal mark. but like I said the boot times were exceptionally snappy.)

 

I am also told that you can add ram to the model (which comes with 8 GB), something that is not possible on the XPS 13, but I can not confirm this.

 

It houses a dual band 2x2 802.11 AC card that works. (I mean yay! I don't know its specific model, but standard fare is expected haha.)

 

I don't know the battery size, but Asus claims 10 hours of battery life (and our testing suggests between 8-12 as well). This compared to Dell's XPS 13 which has a 52 Whr battery providing up to 12 hour battery life and it's pretty much a wash.

 

EDIT: Apparently the Asus claim has been updated to 8 hours, and after some digging, I found this came with a 50 Whr battery, so with all the same specs overall, I would expect the two to have within 10% or so the same battery life.

 

Conclusion

So this is where things really get interesting... A lot of this review has been compared to the Dell XPS 13 a universally state of the art notebook. In comparison to that laptop, it gets some clear wins (full metal body, keyboard, connectivity), a lot of draws (esp when it comes to technical specs), and only one real drawback (its 10% larger and heavier form factor.)

 

This Zenbook, however, has an ace up its sleeve...  It is (in order to get the same specs at the time of this review) 550!!!! dollars cheaper than the XPS 13.

 

This is an insanely huge price difference and puts the ASUS Zenbook UX303LA-US51T in a league of its own for price to performance in the ultrabook form factor (which admittedly isn't the best price to performance in the first place.)

 

Comparative spec netbook:

http://www.dell.com/us/p/xps-13-9343-laptop/pd#overrides=dncwt5131b:8~256SSD   1399.99!!!!

http://www.amazon.com/Zenbook-13-Inch-Touchscreen-i5-5200U-Windows/dp/B00YI83REG/ref=cm_cr_pr_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8 849.99!!!!

 

The real question then becomes what do you give up for 550 dollars? Honestly, the only thing I've found is the slightly larger form factor (and I really can not emphasize how much it is slightly. This thing is ultra light.) and maybe a slower SSD (it seems possible but it isn't a slouch.) 

 

 

TL:DR This thing is amazing by itself with its sleek sturdy unibody frame, but when you take into account that its closest competition is notably much more expensive, I really can not recommend this product enough FOR people looking at 13.3 inch form factor ultrabooks.

 

I hope you liked this review, please leave your questions and comments below.

 

@LinusTech @nicklmg I'd love to see you guys check out the Zenbook line since you have looked at the Macbook Air and the XPS 13 now.I

Looks like a great alternative to the xps 13 I was looking at, with one major flaw that is either Amazon's fault or asus's fault. $849 is £542 when directly converted which is a great price, however on Amazon UK the laptop lists for £899 ???????????? WTF. I'm gonna have a good search around to see if somewhere in the UK sells it at its actual price.

 

Great well written review though.


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Posted · Original PosterOP

Looks like a great alternative to the xps 13 I was looking at, with one major flaw that is either Amazon's fault or asus's fault. $849 is £542 when directly converted which is a great price, however on Amazon UK the laptop lists for £899 ???????????? WTF. I'm gonna have a good search around to see if somewhere in the UK sells it at its actual price.

 

Great well written review though.

Unless it was meant to be that price and the US is just getting the uber lucky stick as an attempt to penetrate the market? I don't know, but I'm very sorry to hear that is the case.


LINK-> Kurald Galain:  The Night Eternal 

Top 5820k, 980ti SLI Build in the World*

CPU: i7-5820k // GPU: SLI MSI 980ti Gaming 6G // Cooling: Full Custom WC //  Mobo: ASUS X99 Sabertooth // Ram: 32GB Crucial Ballistic Sport // Boot SSD: Samsung 850 EVO 500GB

Mass SSD: Crucial M500 960GB  // PSU: EVGA Supernova 850G2 // Case: Fractal Design Define S Windowed // OS: Windows 10 // Mouse: Razer Naga Chroma // Keyboard: Corsair k70 Cherry MX Reds

Headset: Senn RS185 // Monitor: ASUS PG348Q // Devices: Note 10+ - Surface Book 2 15"

LINK-> Ainulindale: Music of the Ainur 

Prosumer DYI FreeNAS

CPU: Xeon E3-1231v3  // Cooling: Noctua L9x65 //  Mobo: AsRock E3C224D2I // Ram: 16GB Kingston ECC DDR3-1333

HDDs: 4x HGST Deskstar NAS 3TB  // PSU: EVGA 650GQ // Case: Fractal Design Node 304 // OS: FreeNAS

 

 

 

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Thanks for the well written review. Is the glossy screen difficult to see with glare from overhead lighting? this computer looks great for using as a student, but would it be able to play league of legends or some steam games at medium to low settings with around 30+fps(i'd assume you would scale resolution to 1080p)? or should i look for dedicated gpu/apu.


Specs: Amd 1700x | NH-u12s | Asus crosshair hero vi | 2x8g Gskill flare x | Zotac 1080 | Samsung 960 EVO | Seasonic ssr-750GD | Thermaltake core x5 |

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Thanks for the well written review. Is the glossy screen difficult to see with glare from overhead lighting? this computer looks great for using as a student, but would it be able to play league of legends or some steam games at medium to low settings with around 30+fps(i'd assume you would scale resolution to 1080p)? or should i look for dedicated gpu/apu.

I honestly don't know. I would assume so, but I haven't tried.

 

Everytime I have used the screen its been beautiful.


LINK-> Kurald Galain:  The Night Eternal 

Top 5820k, 980ti SLI Build in the World*

CPU: i7-5820k // GPU: SLI MSI 980ti Gaming 6G // Cooling: Full Custom WC //  Mobo: ASUS X99 Sabertooth // Ram: 32GB Crucial Ballistic Sport // Boot SSD: Samsung 850 EVO 500GB

Mass SSD: Crucial M500 960GB  // PSU: EVGA Supernova 850G2 // Case: Fractal Design Define S Windowed // OS: Windows 10 // Mouse: Razer Naga Chroma // Keyboard: Corsair k70 Cherry MX Reds

Headset: Senn RS185 // Monitor: ASUS PG348Q // Devices: Note 10+ - Surface Book 2 15"

LINK-> Ainulindale: Music of the Ainur 

Prosumer DYI FreeNAS

CPU: Xeon E3-1231v3  // Cooling: Noctua L9x65 //  Mobo: AsRock E3C224D2I // Ram: 16GB Kingston ECC DDR3-1333

HDDs: 4x HGST Deskstar NAS 3TB  // PSU: EVGA 650GQ // Case: Fractal Design Node 304 // OS: FreeNAS

 

 

 

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