My worst and best tech purchases

I've been into computers for at least 20 years, so I had the chance to try a lot of stuff, from the first generation of 3D accelerators, to the latest and greatest CPUs, to legendary tech way ahead of its time.
I spent a ton of money on computers, and here are my worst and best tech purchases in the last 10 years or so.

I'm writing this in February 2019.

The worst

5. Logitech G502 Proteus Core (2014)

I bought this mouse in late 2014, expecting it to replace my aging Logitech G500. In a way it was better because the sensor was more precise but everything else about it sucked.

Logitech G502 Proteus Core

  • Horrible build quality and materials
  • Left and right buttons were too soft, others were too hard
  • Those gaming aesthetics
  • No internal memory for settings, forced to keep Logitech Gaming Software installed. The G500 not only had internal memory, but the software (Logitech Setpoint) had more features.

Newer iterations of the G502 have added internal memory, but the other problems are still there, so I still use my G500.

4. AMD Phenom II X6 1100T (2010)

I bought this CPU at the end of 2010 to replace my legendary Core 2 Quad Q6600, expecting great performance thanks to the higher core count and higher clock speed. I was wrong. I admit, I was fascinated by the idea of having 6 cores.

AMD Phenom II X6 1100T

  • Awful performance: most games were CPU bottlenecked at stock speed, I had to overclock it to over 4GHz just to play Skyrim. It died during my first playthrough.
  • Awful thermals: with its 125W TDP (probably 200W after overclocking), it was constantly on the verge of overheating

When it died, I replaced it with an Intel i7 2600k, it was one of the best decisions of my life.

3. Samsung UD590 (2014)

This was Samsung's first affordable (~700€) 4k monitor. I bought this in 2014 after years of 1080p. Unfortunately, the market just wasn't ready yet for 4k (and in my opinion, it still isn't in 2019).

Samsung UD590

  • Shitty, awful looking TN panel with visible vertical stripes like a cheap notebook screen
  • No GPU could run anything in 4k, forced to play in blurry 1080p or 1440p, no pixel perfect scaling obviously. I had a GTX 970 at the time
  • Most Windows software wasn't ready for High DPI yet (a lot of it still isn't to this day), a lot of apps were blurry or didn't scale at all. Eventually I gave up and used it at 96 DPI, which is very tiny at 4k, causing extreme eye strain.

I kept it for about 2 months then I bought a 1440p AOC Q2770P that I'm still using.

2. nVidia 9800GX2 (2008)

I bought this card at launch in May 2008 with one objective: play Crysis. It didn't quite go according to plan.

nVidia 9800GX2

The 9800GX2 was basically 2 9800GT 512MB in SLI, sandwiched with a TINY cooler in between. Since I bought it at launch, it was the reference model, and it was a dual slot card with a cooler way too small to cool the 2 GPUs, especially when running games that supported SLI.

  • Really awful thermals: in idle, my card would sit at around 78°C; in game it would overheat in a matter of minutes to 105°C, where it would begin thermal throttling every few seconds, making gaming near impossible
  • Due to the intense heat, after a while, the card would start artifacting; eventually, this was the death of it, when one of the VRAM chips died
  • Due to having a tiny cooler with one fan, the card was VERY loud
  • Games that didn't support SLI were limited to using only 512MB of memory, making games like GTA IV completely unplayable
  • Games that did support SLI quickly overheated the card, and even when they didn't, they often had stuttering and heavy lagging

Incredibly, the card lasted over a year, and I eventually replaced it with an HD5870, it felt like heaven.

1. AMD R9 290X (2013)

Clearly, I didn't learn my lesson with the 9800GX2, and in November 2013 I bought the R9 290X at launch. Being at launch, it was the reference model, and we all know what that became known for.

AMD R9 290X

  • Insanely hot, almost as bad as the 9800GX2
  • Loud AS FUCK; I could hear it while playing despite wearing noise cancelling headphones, you could hear it from downstairs
  • Terrible drivers: new games ran poorly (Assassin's Creed 4 for instance ran better on a much less powerful GTX 770); older games wouldn't run at all (my beloved Knights of the Old Republic still doesn't run on AMD to this day)
  • Due to intense heat coming from the GPU, one of the VRAM chips got roasted and the card died after only 1.5 months of mostly sitting idle waiting for driver updates

The 290x was so bad, there were memes on it, like this video

This other video gives you an idea of how loud this thing was

When the card died, I RMA'd it and got myself a GTX 770, an absolutely mediocre card but miles ahead of this garbage.

Dishonorable mention: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ (2018)

A completely useless toy, a hybrid between an underpowered PC and an Arduino. I got this as a gift so I feel kinda guilty to shit on it so badly, but if I bought this, I'd be pissed.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

  • Too underpowered to do anything useful
  • Awful video drivers
  • Proprietary everything, even on Linux
  • No USB3, Gigabit ethernet is broken
  • No 4k output, can barely output 1080p at a decent framerate

I tried very hard to find a use for this thing, but just like in the 4chan meme, it's sitting on a shelf, collecting dust.

If you need an SBC, I highly recommend something actually useful like the Minnowboard or the Odroid-H2. You'll have better performance, better drivers, and less proprietary garbage.

The best

5. Sennheiser HD598 (2014)

I bought these headphones in August 2014 and absolutely fell in love with them. They're lightweight, they sound great, they look good, and they come at a relatively low price of 150€.

Be careful if you want to buy these, there are many variants of these headphones and they're all different: make sure you get the original brown ones with 50 ohm impedence.

Sennheiser HD598

4. Logitech G500 (2011)

I love everything about this mouse, and now that it's out of production, I bought 2 spare ones in case it breaks.

Logitech G500

  • Good sensor
  • Great shape, no gaming aesthetics
  • Many programmable buttons
  • The wheel can be unlocked for quickly scrolling through long pages
  • Internal memory for settings
  • Doesn't require Logitech Gaming Software, uses the old Logitech Setpoint, which has more options for customization and doesn't look stupid

After almost 8 years, I'm still using it. It will be a sad day when this mouse dies.

3. Oneplus 3T (2017)

I bought this smartphone in early 2017 to replace my Moto G, and I absolutely fell in love with it.

Oneplus 3T

  • Large battery (for the time at least) that can go 2 days of normal usage
  • Excellent performance even after 2 years
  • Very reasonable price
  • LineageOS runs great on it
  • Good screen
  • Good camera
  • Nice aesthetics
  • Fast fingerprint sensor
  • Charges very quickly (although it uses a proprietary technology for this. Humpf)

I'm still using it to this day, and I think I'll keep it for another year at least, I really see no reason to change it.

2. Intel i7 2600k (2011)

The legend. The absolute dominator. The CPU that single handedly beat the crap out of AMD for several generations. This CPU was awesome. When it came out in 2011, Sandy Bridge was so far ahead of the competition that AMD couldn't match its performance until Ryzen came out almost 6 years later.

I bought this CPU in late 2011 when my 1100T died and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Intel i7 2600k

  • Excellent performance, both in single and multi thread
  • Excellent thermals: this was back in the good old days when Intel used solder instead of thermal paste
  • Great overclocker: could easily reach 4.7GHz from the stock 3.4GHz, on air
  • It just worked: from games to week-long video transcodes, you could literally run anything on it, without any issue

I kept this CPU for about 4 years, until I replaced it with an i7 6700k, moving to DDR4 memory. If you still have a 2600k, give it a hug and a kiss, I wish I still had mine.

1. nVidia GTX 1080 (2016)

In the same way that Sandy Bridge beat the shit out of AMD, nVidia's Pascal absolutely mopped the floor with AMD's GCN and its successors for years. Not quite as many years as Sandy Bridge and its successors, but close.

I bought my GTX 1080 in 2016, an MSI Gaming X to be specific (this time I learnt my lesson and didn't buy a reference model) and I absolutely love it.

nVidia GTX 1080

  • Excellent performance: it's been almost 3 years and I'm still surprised at what this card can do
  • Excellent drivers: everything works, new or old. This is AMD's main issue in my opinion
  • Great thermals and low power consumption
  • Silent

The only bad thing I have to say about it is that it doesn't overclock much.

It looks like I'll be holding on to my GTX 1080 until the next generation comes out.

Honorable mention: APC Back-ups 1400 (2015)

Why include an UPS in this list? Well, before I bought this, I had to buy a new power supply for my computer every about 1.5 years, they just kept getting blown by voltage spikes caused by industries in my area. The Back-ups filters out these spikes and drops, and with its battery, it can keep my PC powered for a few minutes if the power goes out for some reason. It also has a USB port for monitoring, which is very useful.

APC Back-ups 1400

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