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Pros: - 3yr warranty!
- Machined aluminum case (but a plastic bottom)
- 14" length of cable (not including the length of the connectors).
- Barely got warm in testing
- Unobtrusive Activity LED unless you're looking right at it
- Comes ready to use in NTFS format. Drive is formatted to 1 trillion bytes (1 TB), but keep in mind that this translates to an effective 931GB of reported usable space
- Included software works pretty well for being free:
- Includes the basic WD SmartWare suite, but has (3) activations available for the full Pro version. (Not sure why you'd need three, unless you setup the software on three different systems)
- Ability to password protect the HDD. On systems you designate, you can have it automatically unlock. This keeps the password lock from being overly intrusive every time you go to use the drive. As well, if you have your system on any type of automated power-on to run backups, you wouldn't be able to perform the backup if you weren't there to input the password.
- Backup software can do scheduled backups or always-on continuous backups as data changes. After you go through the super-easy online activation to the Pro version of SmatWare, you'll also have integrated backup/restore from your Dropbox account
- Basic utilities for checking drive health
- The included help file pretty much will walk you through any of the functions you can do with the software.
Using CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3, I tested the drive 5 different systems, all with USB2 & 3 capabilities. The average 1MB Sequential Read/Writes on USB3 was a pleasant 113MB/110MB per second. On USB2, it takes a significant but expected hit. It only averages 32MB/30MB on the 1MB Sequential Read/Write test, which is about half of USB2's theoretical 60MB/s max speed.
I'll cover the 512K Random tests in the "Other Thoughts" below.
Cons: There's really not much to complain about with this drive! If I had to nitpick...
- 14" cable (not including the length of the connectors)
- USB2 speeds could be a bit faster given what it's capable of using USB3.
- Currently $90 at the time of this writing. For $110, you can double your capacity with the "Titanium" model, although I can't say it's the 'exact' same drive inside, just larger. The 2TB version of this particular drive is $140, so still only $50 to double your capacity.
Other Thoughts: Other than picking at the price point on this drive, I really have no significant complaints.
You may have noticed that I mentioned the 14" data cable as both a PRO and a CON. I think for portability, people don't want to be wrapping up a 3ft cable. For me, 14" is long enough to be able to plug in the drive and then place it out of the way, but also not so short that if you plugged into the back of a tower, you're not left with it dangling.
I really like the fact that it has a 3yr warranty and performs decently on a variety of USB3 controllers.
The other thing to mention is it's 512K random read/write speeds. I specifically didn't list it as a PRO or a CON for a couple of reasons. 1) If you're using this for a backup drive, larger sequential read/writes are going to be the primary operation and this drive is fine for that. 2) It's been a while since I've reviewed HDD performance factors. I've been doing all SSD reviews and rarely use HDDs anymore, so I can't say that this drives Random 512K Read/Writes are far out of line. I did find it interesting that it's 512K Random Write is ~17MB/s FASTER than its Read. On USB3, the 512K Random Read is ~42MB/s and the Write is ~59MB/s.
This drive ALMOST gets a 5-egg rating. I believe the performance is up to par and the free software seems like something someone may actually use. And the mostly metal enclosure is nicely machined. However, 5-eggs are reserved for items that I unequivocally recommend as a "Best Buy". That being said, I'm taking off one egg because the case is not 100% metal as you might expect, but primarily because you can double your capacity for about another $20-$50, so the 2TB model is a better overall value in a GB/$ comparison.
This review is from: DEEPCOOL STEAM CASTLE (BLACK) Unique Steam Punk Style With Side Window 200mm Fan(Front) Micro ATX / Mini-ITX +120mm Fan(Rear)+4 Magic Controllable LED Lights (Top) SGCC+PLASTIC(ABS)+RUBBER COATING
Pros: - Case is a rubberized matte finish on the top, bottom and front. The sides and back of the case are matte painted metal with one side including a plastic window
- Plastic over metal thumb screws for sides of case
- Removal of the body panels is tool-less
- The interior is free of sharp edges and painted black
- Rubber standoffs for the power supply
- Accepts both mATX and mITX motherboards
- Includes two case fans
- Interesting and creative design with plenty of space for accessories (relative to other mATX cases).
- Unique lighting effects which are variable via a selection button on the side of the case.
- Sturdy design
- Mounts for liquid cooling solutions
- Reasonably quite fans
- Low-gloss, fingerprint resistant coating
- Air filter for the power supply
Cons: - One side of case includes rotary control; power button; audio; and USB (2x2.0, 2x 3.0) ports.
- The Motherboard tray is riveted and non-removable
- Cabling is not sleeved
- No fans in the top vents only lights
- Non-removable motherboard tray
- No tie downs for internal cabling
- Plastic window is not easily removable
The primary complaint with this case is the accessory ports (audio, USB, etc) located on the right side of the case. That means for right-handed people, if you typically keep your computer on the right side of you, you need to reach around even further to utilize the ports. As well, it limits the space in which you can place the case on your right side because you need to have the additional clearance in order to insert & remove things. And a minor complaint is that when you are working in the confines of an mATX/ITX case, it's nice to be able to remove the motherboard tray for easier installation.
Other Thoughts: - Vents are grey painted plastic
- There are (3) separate storage bays.
- There's the front 5.25" for an ODD and a 3.5"
- Two removable trays that accept 2.5" - 3.5" drives
- Two rear mounted trays for 2.5" drives
- Overall width is a bit more than what you might anticipate, so allowing a bit more space for that + the side mounted ports make the required space even greater.
This case visually stands out from the pack with its unique, SteamPunk-ish styling with a great fingerprint resistant rubberized coating to protect much of the finish. Overall, the case is strongly built with a spacious interior compared with other mATX designed cases, but the non-removable MB tray may complicate some MB installations. ODD installation is complicated by the need to remove an old-school twist off metal drive bay cover. Front and top covers are tool less to remove but are not mentioned in the manual. The manual is clear but brief. The 3.5 inch drive bay under the ODD bay may block some taller video cards if used. There are five screws to remove the mount which complicates the removal of the ODD and 3.5 inch bay. The overall impression is the case is modern on the outside but a bit dated in the inside due to the un-sleeved cables and non-removable MB tray. There is only one filter in the case. Other manufactures include additional filtering. There is a significant lack of tie-downs for cable management although there are pass-thru’s for cables. The fans are quiet and provide good air flow. And the cutouts for water cooling is a nice consideration.
All in all, I like this case. I know some people have been waiting for it to arrive Stateside. Now it's here (securely packed & shipped directly from Asia) and it's overall worth it if the styling cues are your thing. It would've been nice if the top fan-looking ports were actually that- instead they are for lighting effect only. Neat, but an option to mount low velocity fans would be nice.
TomsHardware is friendly with NewEgg and- coincidentally or not- also just used this case for their article "Building An Intel-Based MicroATX Gaming PC On A Budget". You can also check out what they had to say about it.
Pros: * Initial wireless setup wasn't exceptionally difficult. I just used the quickstart sheet and followed the directions.
* 2 ways to view your video feed: web browser or free mobile app
* 2-way communication option (Also see CONS section)
* Video recording, ability to set triggers and to choose where it is stored
* Event notification based on various triggers (motion, sound, times)
* Excellent color reproduction in regularly lit areas. (Indoor lighting, outside, etc.)
* Decent low light performance with & without IR assistance. In my two-car garage, I placed the camera in one corner and walked to the opposite corner. I then shut the garage door. I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. I flicked on my phone and checked out the streaming video. There's enough detail to be able to note my skin color and that I was wearing shorts and a tank top. I figure the viewing angle is just about 90° from center.
* Can automatically switch between Day Mode(color) & Night Mode (B&W infrared)
* Can switch to a lower res (240p) if you are recording close up areas and/or don't want to use up as much storage space on your microSD card. Surprisingly, the 240p resolution still isn't all that bad.
* With each camera being self-contained and thus no master control box required, adding additional cameras is as easy as setting them up and registering them with your MyDLink account
* I ended up using this as a baby monitoring system. It's WAY WAY less expensive and just as effective than what you'll find at the big-box baby & toy stores.
* Nicely weighted base allows the camera to be set in almost any position and not have it tip over when not bolted down.
Cons: * Could be a little tricky for novices to setup & configure, but that's almost "par for the course" when it comes to WiFi/Cloud devices.
* 2-way communication is kind of a gimmick in this price range since it requires hookup to an external speaker, which in of itself will require its own accessories and mounting solution.
* Since this is a fixed lens, zoom functionality is digital...similar to functionality you might find on a phone. Thus, zooming just makes on-screen detail larger, not necessarily clearer.
* "Cloud enabled" devices seem to all share a certain amount of head-scratching because they have their internet-based interface and then a separate interface on your local network. Each interface has different functions, some overlapping and some only in one interface or the other.
* Effectively for indoor use only
* Couldn't figure out how to change the video recording profile. I found where you set the details of each profile, but how to actually implement a specific profile eluded me. (I didn't attempt to contact Tech Support...at least not yet.)
Other Thoughts: One of things I try to take into consideration when reviewing things is to keep in mind that I'm reviewing the item based on the noted specifications of the device. Since this is listed as a 640x480 camera, I'm not going to knock it for not being 720p or 1080p. I believe people should understand the technical specs and limitations of what they are buying. If the product doesn't live up to the specs or it's just difficult to use, then yes, that's certainly worth noting.
For being a standalone IP-based camera, I think it's pretty nice for this price range. As of this writing, it's $80.
I feel this camera is best served as an easy solution to monitoring a specific inside section of your home. I first used the camera to record stuff going on outside by setting it on a window sill. At about 50ft+ out to the street, you're not going to pick up the text of any license plates, but you can easily tell a make & model of a vehicle as it goes by. If you leave it in "day mode" during the night, it's not overly shabby at picking up detail under street lights, but beyond that, you're not gonna get much else. Using "night mode" while in front of a window to record activities results in reflection from the IR, so unless you're flush against a window pane, don't expect a lot out of night mode when trying to view from window sill.
I've decided to use the camera as the primary camera to monitor my infant's crib. I think it works great for that! It's great to be able to know how he's doing when the babysitter puts him down for the night and mommy & daddy want to check in on him from their phone!
Assuming you don't bolt it down, it's easily moved and repositioned. As long as I'm within 10ft of a power outlet, I can easily move the camera to a new location. Since it's already been configured on the WiFi, it only takes a couple of minutes to re-establish it's connection to the network.
I put an 8GB microSD card in the device and formatted it via the local interface reached via its internal IP address. Then I went about configuring the video resolution and it's triggers. It took me a bit to figure out how playback video from the microSD still in the device. You can do it from the internet-based interface or it's local network interface, but the "how to" is mildly different. My browser also wanted to throw up a flag about the web certificate not being trusted, but bypassing that was easy and caused no unexpected problems. One nice feature is the ability to have the recorded video include the prior & post 10 seconds of video before the trigger actually occurs. You can also set it to automatically overwrite the oldest videos if your microSD card runs out of space. I can't really tell you how much video you can get on a given capacity card since your choice of video compression/quality will make a difference. With the "night mode" video, I'm averaging about 2MB per 30sec of "Excellent Quality" video @ 640x480.