Showing Results: Most Recent
This review is from: SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Model SDCZ88-128G-G46
Pros: - Decent USB3 speeds. Best I was able to achieve was 196MB/s Read and 189MB/s Write. This is a pinch more than 3x the max speed of USB2 (60MB/s).
- Nice aluminum shell
- Has a lanyard hoop
- Easily retractable
- Unobtrusive blue activity light
- Comes with SanDisk's "SecureAccess" software which uses 128-bit AES password encryption on the contents. (This is a "lite" version of their full software package "EncrypStick")
- You don't have to encrypt all the data. You can pick & choose what to put in the encrypted "vault" folder. So you can have both encrypted and open data on the stick at the same time.
- Lifetime warranty
Cons: - No physical dust cap. Contacts are always open to the elements.
- In testing on (4) different systems, each having a different USB3 chipset, I was never able to attain SanDisk's claimed speeds of 260MB/s (Read) and 240MB/s (Write).
- Not necessarily your best bang for the buck.
Other Thoughts: - Speeds will vary based on the USB3 chipset it's attached to, although this is relatively 'par' for most USB3 devices; They all seem to have different preferences for chipsets.
- Testing compressible data via the ATTO Benchmark utility, my best case scenario was 196/189 with the ASMedia chipset. Worst case was 142/128 with the FrescoLogic FL1000 series.
- Testing incompressible data via the AS-SSD utility resulted in a best case of 187/184. Worst case showed 133/119.
- Dimensions: 7/8" x 2_13/16"
- The SecureAccess software is usable/functional. The first time you run it, you'll be prompted to create a password as simple or complex as you like. You'll also be given the opportunity to set a hint phrase.
The software allows you to set the max number of attempts before forcing a timeout, and how long that timeout lasts. It also allows you to set the password expiration date.
One thing to note is that without the SecureAccess executable (7MB) available, the encrypted file is worthless. So you either need to leave it on the stick or plan on downloading the software on the host PC.
For me, this unit ranks a 4 out of 5 eggs because it's a tad bit pricey and didn't attain SanDisk's quoted specs, although it was still well within the USB3 territory. Looking at the list of "CONS", it's pretty short.
The included/available encryption software is a nice addition and it works, but I think that anyone concerned about data security will already have a solution they plan to implement. But if not, it's there for you and it's pretty easy to use.
Here's my biggest issue with these high capacity USB3 sticks... The only reason I see for requiring the stick format is for ultimate portability: tiny, no cables, toss it in any pocket, and go. Otherwise, could get a SanDisk SSD such as the X210 ($110), Ultra Plus ($95), X110 ($100), or the Extreme II ($110) and a nice pocketable, self-powered USB3 2.5" external case (~$25). And you'll still have some cash left over! Not to mention you'll have a better chance of hitting higher speeds across the board.
(All test systems have an SSD as the OS/Boot drive)
Test System 1:
- Intel Core i7 3930K.
- USB3 Chipset: ASMedia XHCI.
-- Driver v18.104.22.168
Test System 2:
- AMD Phenom II X4 975.
- USB3 Chipset: NEC/Renesas.
-- Driver v22.214.171.124
Test System 3:
- Intel Core2Quad Q6600.
- USB3 Chipset: FrescoLogic xHCI FL1000 Series.
-- Driver v126.96.36.199
Test System 4:
- AMD A8-4500M
- USB Chipset: AMD Reference.
-- Driver Catalyst 13.x
This review is from: Corsair Raptor HS30 Dual 3.5mm Connector Circumaural Gaming Headset
Pros: + Solid bass response all the way down to 20Hz
+ The highs aren't so bright that they hurt your ears
+ Good physical adjustment range for the cans
+ Good response up to 15KHz
+ No problems with Skype, Microsoft Lync, & other similar apps
+ Simple, secondary volume dial and on/off switch for the mic
+ Makes me think my Sony MDR-7506's drivers are shot
+ Fancy packaging
(Note: "Cans" = Headphones. "Drivers" = Speakers)
I performed most of my analysis using my computer with a Pioneer BDR-206 as the disc player and an Asus Xonar Essence STX sound card (which is one of the best/cleanest prosumer audio cards you can buy.)
For testing and evaluation, I used the following CD's:
The Ultimate Test CD (The orange/green one by Woodford Music)
Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon (Gold coated disc)
The Cleveland Orchestra - Gustav Holst's "The Planets"
Techmaster P.E.B. - Bass Computer
Miles Davis - The Complete "B*tches Brew" Sessions
Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy (for non-music/spoken word testing)
Christian McBride - Live @ Tonic
As others have noted, the bass may be a wee bit overstated, but the drivers certainly get there. Testing with a sinus tone of 20Hz really made the drivers dance and it wasn't sloppy or overly mushy. Impressive!
Keep in mind, we're reviewing these as $50 headphones, not >$100 headphones.
I used the Techmaster CD to check how the drivers handled both extreme low & high frequencies at the same time. Again, I came away impressed!
Another test I use is "The Planets". This will really give a sense of the drivers sensitivity. There are areas where the music hits a crescendo and then tapers off to almost nothing. That 'almost nothing' is sometimes the subtle nuances that make a live recording what it is, especially in orchestral music.
Speaking of sensitivity, this is what sealed the deal for me... I've been using my Pink Floyd "Dark Side Of The Moon" CD for testing for a long time now. I heard something that I've never picked up before! At the absolute very end of "Eclipse", the last 3 seconds where most people only hear silence, there is what sounds like a game-show theme song playing. At first I thought I was hearing audio bleeding in from outside so I pulled the cans off and looked around for the audio source. Nothing. I played the end of the track again. WTH?!?! Then I thought it was just digital artifacts that you'll occasionally hear in music when it goes through a conversion, such as MP3 encoding. Nope! This was actually some type of music in the background! "WOW! After all these years!!!" I even played it back through my home audio system (Higher-end Sony receiver, Klipsch towers). Even with my ear up to the tweeter & midrange, it was barely audible. Color me sufficiently impressed with Corsair's driver selection!
Cons: - A little bit more adjustment on the mic placement would be nice
- Mild resonant noise transfer from the wire to the can
- Not really effective for mobile headphone-only usage
- They don't collapse for travel
- Since the microphone is integrated, Corsair could spend a couple more pennies and make these USB-based.
- Makes me think my Sony MDR-7506's drivers are shot
- Fancy packaging
Keeping in mind that these are completely passive headphones, there's not too much to complain about. Yeah, they might be a little soft in the middle of the frequency spectrum, but I don't think that's going to bother gamers too much. Vocals still come through clean and vivid enough. There's a slight dip in response around 10KHz, recovers at 11KHz, then tapers off until there's nothing left after 16KHz. Again, nothing major there.
As for the build quality, I did not get the same impression as others have noted. I didn't find the microphone to be fragile. It bends in the middle so you can bring it closer to your mouth. Nothing major there. If I was to complain, it's that it doesn't necessarily want to stay put; It kinda wants to straighten itself out again.
I do think the inner-diameter of the cushion may be a bit smaller for some people with larger ears. However, it's an oval opening and the cups do rotate a little bit for better fit. You just have to 'adjust for feel' once they're on your head.
I certainly didn't find them loose around my ears, although as others have noted, I never did get fully comfortable on the top of my head. BUT, I also don't have months of wear on them to where they would/should eventually settle to the shape of your head. My Sony's are like I'm wearing nothing at all. But they've also got hundreds of hours on my head and fit like a well-worn leather glove.
With volume at approx 75%, I couldn't hear myself snapping my fingers, but I could hear myself clapping. That's acceptable for $50.
A notable annoyance is the wire(s) leading into the can. ON more expensive units, this is typically a more pliable material or it's isolated better. With the HS30's, when any part of the cable between the can and the volume-block is touched or brushes against something, you hear that resonate into the can. Very similar to what you get on almost all inexpensive earbud headphones.
Lastly, they aren't meant for travel/mobile use because of the mic wire and the fact that they don't collapse in on themselves like higher end units (see the Sony MDR-7506 for reference), so packing them in a bag for travel is essentially out of the question. That's also another reason for making them USB and not 1/8" plugs...they aren't going anyplace, so just leave 'em plugged in with a single cord.
Other Thoughts: This is one of those times where I seem to be at odds with the other Eggxpert Reviewers here. I'm normally a tough critic, but these have wowed me enough that they are gonna get 5-stars. However, that's coming from the standpoint of a semi-audiophile and not a marathon gamer. The fact that I thought so highly of my reference Sony MDR-7506 headphones was a wake-up call. I don't believe they were always this bad...I have to believe that the drivers are shot after years of use and the HS30 headphones simply pointed that out to me, loud and clear! (Pun absolutely intended!)
It's rather cold here, and I wasn't doing anything with them in which I'd break a sweat, so I don't know how well these cans breathe. I'm guessing probably not too well, but unless you're REALLY into your game or you're in a hot room (bad for your computer!), then I don't think sweating is gonna be too much of a concern.
As other reviewers have noted... what's up with the packaging??? Yeah, it looks fancy, but geeze...unpacking 'em without worry about breaking them was not an option. It's quite the puzzle for the first timer. Unless you just tear into boxes with no care about saving it, then you're fine.
For $50 headphones that will stay on your desk, these are great, if not a tad bulky/space-consuming.
I believe that after a while, the headband will finally settle in. (Just surprising that it's not more comfortable because it seems so supple right of the bat.)
In testing with Skype and other voice-based communications, the placement of the mic did not have that great an impact, so that lack of adjustment towards the front of your mouth isn't a serious concern. Almost every soundcard, no matter how cheap, has the ability to turn up the gain on the mic.
I think these will really be liked by gamers who require attention to sound. FPShooters certainly need it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it with my driving sims. Oh, and at max volume, I didn't notice any significant distortion. Although this is probably due to my soundcard as well as the drivers. If you have some dumpy onboard audio, your distortion measurements will likely vary.
"So what do we have?" $50 for comfy headphones that help keep out the noise AND sound as incredibly good as they do in this price range??? Yeah, I'm in for pair! 5 Eggs!!!
This review is from: CORSAIR Voyager LS 128GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Model CMFLS3-128GB
Pros: - Aluminum protective shell
- Self-retracting USB connector when 'closing' it
- Blue LED activity light is not obnoxiously bright
- 5yr warranty...is that a PRO?
Cons: - Potentially just a bit too bulky to sit it next to another USB stick if they were side by side (width-wise)
- While the self-retracting feature is nice, I still prefer physical caps to cover the interface. This particular unit only retracts it and then generally hides it behind the aluminum cover, but by no means is it enclosed. Look at the 3rd picture in the gallery above.
- Does not like all USB3 chipsets
- Significantly underwhelming write speeds. Overall average write speeds are in the 23-24MB/s ballpark. And if you work with a lot of files that are smaller than 256K, forget it! And if they're small files in a compressed format like JPG, ZIP, RAR? Hahahah! Just stop reading now because you'll be dead long before it writes 128GB of those file types.
- I'm suspicious of a 5yr warranty, meaning that it seems short. Why should these devices get such short warranties but their SDRAM gets a lifetime warranty? I can think of various reasons, none of which endow me with a sense of functional longevity for this device.
Other Thoughts: Thinking of "PROS" was a bit tough. There wasn't really anything to make it stand out from the growing field of higher capacity memory sticks.
And now the 'not so good' and outright 'bad' news.
I tested this on 3 different systems, each with a different USB3 chipset, all with the most current driver available from mfg. The stick was plugged directly into the motherboard slot or connector on the PCIe card. The following write/read numbers will be the average MB/s based on an evenly distributed sample set of files from 256K to 8MB.
PC1 is a Core i7 3930K, ASMedia USB3 chipset
Write: 25.23 --- Read: 101.62
PC2 is a Phenom II X4 975, NEC/Renesas USB3 chipset
Write: 24.06 --- Read: 114.68
PC3 is a Core2Quad Q6600, Fresco Logic FL1000 USB3 chipset
Write: 23.75 --- Read: 112.83
Average of those three sets of data... Write: 24.34MB/s --- Read: 109.71MB/s
On the Fresco Logic I was getting constant disconnect/reconnects. I have 6 other brands of USB3 devices and none of them exhibit this behavior on this controller. Although from what I can tell, as long as the drive was active, such as during benchmarking, it was fine in terms of not disconnecting.
So where does that leave us? Well, if we consider that the theoretical maximum data transfer on USB 2.0 is 480Mbit/s (60MByte/s), the read speed is definitely USB3-qualified, but it's barely working at USB2 speeds when you need to load this thing up with data. And therein lies the big rub for me. If I have 128GB that I need on a portable device, at speeds this slow, it's gonna be a one-time only gig because I don't want to wait more than once for that data to be written. And I think it's rare that MOST people truly have 128GB they're gonna store on a USB stick. Maybe for storing multiple, complete system images that have everything ready to go? Otherwise, I'll save a couple of bucks (and LOTS of time) by getting a 64GB SATA2 SSD and an external USB3 case, at the minor expense of not-quite-as-portable-but-still-pocketable size.
I have somewhat of a hard time finding a good place for USB sticks of this capacity. Yes, the size is nice, but when you objectively look at the situation, are you really going to fill all that space on a consistent basis? I don't think so.
I'd say that since the read speeds are decent, you could use this with ReadyBoost in the Win7/8 environment. But I'd still have a hard time deciding to use this instead of a smaller capacity USB stick. The only other use I can think of off the top of my head would be for long term storage instead of using Blu-Ray discs or (much more less-expensive per MB) conventional HDDs.
Overall this unit gets 3-eggs. The irritatingly slow write speed coupled with questionable functionality across all USB3 chipsets definitely take it down a couple notches. If I really needed this much external capacity, I'd kick in another $22 or so and get a 120GB SSD & a USB3 external case. (Example: N82E16820211602 + N8