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OCZ ARC 100 ARC100-25SAT3-480G 2.5
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: • Solid build with some heft
• Attractive design
• Minimalist packaging (for those that care)
• Price (after rebate) in line with current capacity prices
• Sequential speeds are comparable to other drives in this class
• Useful SSD Guru tool

Cons: • Doesn’t include install sled/screws (for those that care)
• Upper price realm for capacity when rebate is inactive

Other Thoughts: Another excellent OCZ SSD. I’ve owned quite a few in my time, going back to building RAID 0 stripes with the 32GB Vertex models. I read a lot about OCZ drives failing, but out of the 20+ I’ve owned – I’ve never had a failure. I believe the SSD industry as a whole has dialed in their firmware, and with that advance, you see far fewer drive failures across all brands. I’m also a firm believer that SSD’s, like RAM are all the same at a given output level. Bottom line – almost all drives have the 500/500 sequential R/W speeds, and 2-3 year warranties, so it becomes a matter of cost for me. The OCZ drives have always delivered good value for me, and so long as their cost is comparable to the competition, they’ll always be the first drive I look towards when making a purchase.

The people that I know are looking for these larger capacity drives with one main purpose in mind – to eliminate platter storage. Who doesn’t want their machine running all SSD?! No moving parts, lower power, barely any heat output, and you can mount them almost anywhere. And quickly, regarding reviewer’s comments about the lack of sled/screws included with the ARC 100 – how many people actually use those? I know I don’t. I either stick them behind the MOBO tray with double back 3M tape, or I use the sleds/screws included with my case. The way I see it, that’s four less screws, and a useless piece of metal that I need to bury in a box somewhere.

Benchmarks were done on a modest Core i3 machine running Windows 10 64-bit with 8GB of RAM. I don’t believe in benching empty drives, because that’s pretty pointless, unless you just collect drives for benching. I went ahead and dumped a large 360GB folder full of music, pictures, videos, and ISO files. Even with that mixed bag, AS SSD still pulled a 1310 overall score, and 438/430 sequential R/W speeds. These benches were performed multiple times, with and without the use of the secure disc wipe within the SSD Guru utility (one of the cool included features in that software utility). Comparatively speaking, on the same test build, nearly every SSD I’ve benched that claims 500/500 speeds, performs at this level. Real world numbers were fine, as well, with nice bursts on the smaller files, and expected slowdowns on the ISO files. No mixed bag here – just predictable results.

While some people may be put off by the Spartan accessory load that comes with the ARC 100 (basically nothing outside of the drive itself), it was a non-issue for me, as consistent performance was number one on my list. I will say that price is a little high minus the rebate, but in all honesty, rebates come and go on almost all of the drives, so it’s just a matter of time before the drive you want will have a rebate to go with it. Good looks, good build quality, good performance = highly recommended in my book.

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CORSAIR RM850i 850W ATX12V / EPS12V 80 PLUS GOLD Certified Full Modular Active PFC Power Supply
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: • Excellent warranty
• Proven leader in the PSU industry
• Uses CWT as their OEM (quality PSU maker)
• Long cables for full tower cases
• Black wires sleeved in black mesh – very clean design
• Full modular (no 4-pin cables to stash away)
• Zero RPM fan mode (won’t kick on until 40% load capacity)
• Corsair link allows you to switch from between single and multiple 12v rails
• Gold certified
• Japanese capacitors (higher quality)
• Dual 8-pin EPS support
• 71 amps = high-end triple SLI/Crossfire support
• Good price for high quality
• Little extras that some people care about (case badge/zip ties/PSU bag/cable storage bag/black install screws)
• Huge multi-language manual that has some useful information (individual cable lengths is a standout)

Cons: • Cables are really long, so tougher cable management in smaller boxes
• Big PSU body takes up valuable space in small case builds
• Uses the popular dual 6+2 PCI-E design (two connections on one cable) – not a fan of this style, as it makes for a big wad of cable coming off the GPU
• Silent fan design means the unit will run a little warmer

Other Thoughts: So many people dump a ton of money into the “glamour” components. Hexacore procs, high-end GPUs, fancy RAM, bling cases – but scrimp on the PSU. The PSU doesn’t make your games run faster, doesn’t perform complex calculations, and doesn’t give you much in the bragging rights department. What it does do is far more important – supply stable power to all of those fancy, expensive parts. Cheap PSUs pop caps on $300 motherboards, and fry $500 graphics cards. The PSU should be the foundation of EVERY build. A good PSU will be the cornerstone of every rebuild, traveling from case to case, bringing confidence and security along the way. The RM850i is another outstanding PSU in a long line of quality units distributed by Corsair.

The RM850i brings a lot to the table. Nice looking unit with neutral matte black/white design that will look great in any build. Full modular design, so no need to hide unused 4-pin/8-pin or extra PCI-E cables. I’ve hand-sleeved a lot of PSUs in my time, and while I prefer the individual cable look, Corsair did it right with the RM850i. All black wires, tight black mesh, and ribbon cables for the SATA/Molex strings. Effective design that looks fantastic. The cables are all very long, and had no issue running behind the mobo tray in my Corsair 700D test build. While I’m not a fan of the dual-end PCI-E cable design, it is efficient, and makes wire management easier. Corsair executes it well with the RM850i.

Very few people are truly qualified to properly test a PSU, especially from the standpoint of having the needed equipment, and the ability to work with controlled power loads. Those numbers are easily found in online technical reviews. What most people care about – is knowing what their PSU can handle. Here’s my test build:

• Intel i3570k (overclocked to 4.64 GHZ @ 1.31vt)
• 32GB of Mushkin Black 2400MHZ RAM
• 3x EVGA SC GTX 780
• Creative X-Fi sound card
• 11x Fractal Design Silent Series 120mm fans (two push/pull radiators)
• Swiftech MCP655 pump
• 4x LED light strips

The RM850i fan didn’t turn on with a single 780 installed. That would make a lot of people nervous, which is why Corsair has a fan test button on the rear of the RM850i. A second 780 got the fan going. Very quiet fluid dynamic bearing design meant that the fan could not be heard over the volume of everything else running. After the third 780, fan noise was still at a minimum, and the RM850i was actually cooler to the touch (despite the load) because of the now active fan airflow. I went ahead and played Titanfall for a couple hours – no hiccups, no restarts, nothing that would even make you notice the RM850i was really working. A quality PSU is like a good NFL offensive lineman – if it’s getting the job done, you don’t even take notice.

Corsair delivers a serious hit with the RM850i. Great performance, warranty, clean looks, all for under $160 (at the time of this review). That’s an easy buy for me every time. High

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Linksys EA8500 AC2600 Dual-Band Smart WI-FI Wireless Router
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

5 out of 5 eggs Expensive -- but worth it to me 07/06/2015

This review is from: Linksys EA8500 AC2600 Dual-Band Smart WI-FI Wireless Router

Pros: • Efficient packaging (for those that care about that sort of thing)
• Beefy blade antennas
• No BLING lighting (for those that have their network gear in commonly used areas of the home
• Sturdy build
• Very quick setup right out of the box
• Solid documentation for those that like to set things up buy the book
• Smart Wi-Fi web app is easy to navigate with useful features for the average user
• Wall mountable (but doesn’t include the hardware to do so)
• MU-MIMO technology for a little future-proofing (if there is such a thing)
• Dual-band with support for the latest Wi-Fi connections (G,N, AC)
• Runs cool for a higher powered network device

Cons: • Expensive – you are paying a lot for technology that isn’t mainstream yet
• Large – huge desk footprint
• No mounting hardware ($280 should include some screws/mollies)

My notes will start here:

Finally a router to defeat my current champion (the Asus RT-N65U) and crack the code of non-buffering wireless streaming to our downstairs TV. This is the third Linksys router that I’ve reviewed in the past year, and while the previous two editions were barely worth my time – the EA8500 is excellent in nearly every aspect.

We live in a 2400 S/F home, with all network gear upstairs, and the main living area downstairs. There is a half-wall that runs along the staircase – and that wall has proven to be the nemesis of every router that we have used in our two years living here. We have a 105MB Xfinity Blast package that is of no use for downstairs Netflix streaming, as we are always caught in a sea of spinning red circles. Connections were always maintained, but no good for any real streaming use. The EA8500 has changed that, giving us a consistently strong signal that hasn’t had so much as a hiccup through three separate installations, over the span of the past three weeks.

Let me get this out of the way early -- we don’t own any MU-MIMO enabled devices, and they are not readily available in the consumer market. This makes the EA8500 pretty expensive for what it is today – a powerful router, with room to grow for the future.

Other Thoughts: Setup went off without a hitch over three separate installations. Speed tests were conducted with a simple Ookla for Android app on my LG G2. Wireless speeds were comparable to every quality router that we’ve used, ranging in the 20/5MB range in the outskirts of our home, and 30/10MB within a sight-line. Where the EA8500 showed its strength was with the door closed to the upstairs room housing our network gear, and me running the tests downstairs. Numbers stayed in the 25/8MB range, and that’s with two phones, two laptops, and two tablets, all connected to the internet, and with our smart TV streaming Total Recall over Netflix. Never a hiccup, and not a single buffer circle over the span of two hours of constant use/connectivity.

The Smart Wi-Fi app has a very user friendly interface, and provides useful information/setup for common home networking needs. The EA8500 broadcasts a single SSID to all three networks (2.4, 5.0, and Guest) by default. All of this is easily configurable with the Smart Wi-Fi app. Some network purists will complain that the feature set is pretty basic here, but I think it covers everything that your average home user would be looking for – especially for those that want a quick setup, easy security, and then just want to forget about it, and go about their busy Wi-Fi lives.

The EA 8500 also includes a USB 3.0 port located on the device rear. The performance of these ports over the network is sometimes pretty lacking – but not this one. Network file access/transfer rates were rock solid with a 128GB USB 3.0 thumb drive, and were great with multiple people accessing the drive’s contents at once.

I haven’t had a decent Linksys router experience since the days of the WTR54G – sad but true. The EA8500 squashes those bad memories, and has made for an excellent centerpiece within our home network. Is it worth $280? That depends on what you’re looking for, and the complexity of your network situation. It’s worth its weight in gold for our household, as we are now able to use our strong connection to its fullest, while having at least eight wireless devices connected at all times, in a larger home with a tough network placement setup. You always pay a technology premium as an early adopter, but even without being able to fully utilize the current MU-MIMO technology, the EA8500 is still an exceptional device.

I will report back in six months to see if this great experience is long lasting.

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Eric R.'s Profile

Display Name: Eric R.

Date Joined: 05/25/05

Achievements:

  • Top 1000 Reviewer
  • Reviews: 69
  • Helpfulness: 44
  • First Review: 12/09/07
  • Last Review: 08/24/15
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