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CORSAIR Voyager Mini 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Model CMFMINI3-32GB
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

4 out of 5 eggs A Good USB 3.0 Drive... For Reading 07/25/2014

This review is from: CORSAIR Voyager Mini 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Model CMFMINI3-32GB

Pros: It's mind-blowing how much data can be crammed into such small devices these days. This USB drive is smaller than it appears in the photos and it feels so light you would think it could just blow away.

That said, let's get into the nitty gritty of what this drive is really about. It's a USB 3.0 thumb drive with a lot of space. One expects USB 3.0 speed and the storage space as advertised.

On the storage side, most of it is there. The drive is advertised as 32 GB which translates to approximately 29.8 GiB in a perfect world. The drive arrives formatted FAT32 with 28.8 GiB available so it's a little bit off from the theoretical space. I'm happy to report that the drive does NOT come pre-loaded with icon files, encryption programs, pdf instructions, etc, etc. taking up room. It's just an empty drive and that's the way I like it.

On the performance side, I found this drive to perform quite well in both USB 2.0 and 3.0. Reminder: the theoretical maximum speed of USB 2.0 and 3.0 are 60 MB/s and 600 MB/s, respectively. I ran the ATTO synthetic benchmark on the drive and here are the results:

USB 2.0
Read = 45 MB/s
Write = 16 MB/s

USB 3.0
Read = 149 MB/s
Write = 20 MB/s

I also transferred a 1.4 GB folder containing different sizes of files to and from this drive using both USB 2.0 and 3.0 for a 'real world' test. Results:

USB 2.0
Read = 42 MB/s
Write = 17 MB/s

USB 3.0
Read = 146 MB/s
Write = 22 MB/s

As you can see above, the read speed using USB 3.0 is worth the upgrade from USB 2.0 (nearly 3.5x faster), however there is little to gain in write speed.

Cons: Its brushed aluminum casing is sexy and light. However, just inserting the drive into USB ports introduced dents and scratches in the aluminum casing.

The drive comes with a key ring and it seems counter intuitive that a device that may share time with metal pointy objects in your pocket is not rugged enough to handle it.

I realize that it's currently trendy to make our cool little electronic gadgets pretty to look at, but I dislike sacrificing function for looks. This USB drive is a looker, but in a short time it's going to be like that cute girl you knew in high school who's a bit ragged now.

Other Thoughts: Long story short: this is a very nice looking drive that has good read speed but so-so write speed. Don't expect to insert this drive in your computer, load up a 20 GB queue of music to for your road trip, and expect it to be done transferring if you are in a hurry.

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GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-SLI LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: You just can’t go wrong with a Gigabyte board. This motherboard follows suit and is pretty much par for the course as far as Gigabyte boards go. Everything works and everything works well. It’s an average Gigabyte board, which is to say it is above average when compared to lower tier brands of motherboards.

Like most new Z97 chipset boards, this motherboard comes with the new M2 and SATA express expansion ports. Hardware for these new interfaces is rather scarce at this time so I am unable to report how well they work at this time, but it’s nice to have the option for future upgrades. In contrast, this motherboard is holding on to some legacy connections such as PS/2 for mice and keyboards, PCI slots for older expansion cards, and D-Sub for older monitors. At least there are no IDE or serial ports.

The audio on this board is outstanding. It uses the best that Realtek offers in the ALC1150 sound chip and includes an amplifier able to drive 600Ω impedance audio such as high end professional headphones. Additionally, if you look closely at the motherboard PCB you can see the audio has a dedicated trace. If you aren’t aware, this really cleans up the audio signal and prevents unwanted EMI interference coming through.

Cons: There are no cons for this motherboard. In this price range you get a quality part that has a good mix of old and new connectivity.

Other Thoughts: One point to make with this board is that it is one of the “skinny” ATX motherboards. Look closely and you’ll see that unlike standard width ATX motherboards, it does not use as many screws to secure the board. Boards with this design require extra care when securing power connections or DIMMs because the PCB can flex under the force.

This board is an excellent buy for the price. Kudos to Gigabyte.

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GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-SOC Force LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

5 out of 5 eggs Super Overclock - Super Motherboard 05/29/2014

This review is from: GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-SOC Force LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Pros: This is a Gigabyte board. Everyone reading this already knows this is a quality item so I won’t go into this works and that works, etc. It all works and it all works well.

What I will do is comment on things about this motherboard that are unique, even for a high-quality Gigabyte board.

This motherboard is obviously designed to be used on an overclocking test bench. I would hazard a guess that Gigabyte actually consulted with extreme overclockers when designing this board. The upper left corner of this board has buttons to set overclock settings, and do even more, on-the-fly.

They've also added convenient nodes to measure all critical voltages. I have seen this before on other boards, however Gigabyte is the first I’ve seen that has gone the extra step to include two-pin headers to connect monitoring hardware semi-permanently for extreme overclocking.

DIP switches? Old salts will remember overclocking using DIP switches. These switches aren't used in the actual overclocking on this board, but they are an easy way to disable DIMM and PCIe slots rather than pulling parts. I've never seen that before.

Another test bench exclusive item included is the bracket to secure video cards. Anyone who’s fired up a motherboard laying on a flat surface with a video card installed knows to look out for that video card popping out because the video card bracket hangs lower than the motherboard PCB. Again, I've never seen this before.

And finally, two USB type A ports facing the overclocker. Brilliant. Why is this desirable? Well, how many times have you fumbled around to get a USB drive plugged in on the back? First you try it, it doesn't go in, you flip it around, it doesn't fit, so you look closely at the port and realize you were right the first time… You don’t want to be fiddling around like this when you’re working with liquid nitrogen. Plus, when the motherboard is installed in a case, these ports are an excellent way to hide USB dongles for Bluetooth or WiFi internally.

This thing was made for breaking OC records. Gigabyte has really done some outside-the-box thinking when designing this motherboard.

Cons: The only true con I can think of is that since this motherboard is so well though-out for a test bench setup, it’s really a shame to put it into a case. Once mounted in a case, many of the manual overclocking controls located on the board are not easily accessible anymore.

There is also some amount of overkill with this board. I don’t know if it’s fat that could be trimmed, or Gigabyte is just showing off. For example, there’s a turbo button next to the manual overclock controls. What extreme overclocker is going to use an automatic pre-programmed OC with a board like this? Auto overclocking always uses too much voltage and overclocks are always lower than manual tuning. I did try out the turbo button with my i7-4770K. It automatically put me at 4.3GHz, but my multimeter says it was giving 1.416V VCore, thus proving my point above. The BIOS has auto overclocking too, stepping up from 4.3GHz up to 4.8GHz.

Other Thoughts: One thing to note for potential buyers, this board has four PCIe slots, but it only supports 4x Crossfire with AMD cards. SLI is limited to only two cards on this board.

Now here is what really knocks it out of the park. Gigabyte has actually dropped the MSRP for this board compared to the previous gen model… by A LOT. The Gigabyte Z87X OC Force motherboard was asking three Franklins for all of these features. The GA-Z97X-SOC Force is a steal. For this price, I would give this motherboard 6 eggs if I could.

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Robert P.'s Profile

Display Name: Robert P.

Date Joined: 02/08/05

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  • First Review: 05/26/06
  • Last Review: 07/25/14
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