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Vantec NexStar DX 5.25
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

1 out of 5 eggs Works for USB, terrible SATA performance 07/29/2014

This review is from: Vantec NexStar DX 5.25" SATA to USB 2.0 & eSATA External Optical Drive Enclosure - Model NST-530SU

Pros: The case is secured with only 2 screws, making installation easy.

Power/activity light is attractive and informative.

Works great as a USB enclosure.

Cons: Horrendous performance on the eSATA interface.

I tested this with 2 different computers, and both BD and DVD media. Speeds on eSATA are consistently slower than on USB.

This is a 1.5gbps (SATA I) device. However, USB 2.0 has a theoretical speed of 480mbps vs. 1500mbps for SATA. Burning disks when connected to eSATA took roughly 3 times longer when I tested using the same media and the same file set.

The reason this gets a one egg rating from me is because the ONLY benefit to this enclosure over the others available (and there aren't many) is that it has an eSATA interface. If I wanted to go USB, I would have purchased a USB 3.0 enclosure.

Other Thoughts: It looks like this is discontinued. I got mine from a regional computer retailer at a bit of a price premium. I didn't see a choice in the matter, as there don't appear to be any 5.25" eSATA enclosures on the market nowadays.

I only wrote this review in case NE gets more of these in stock. Hopefully they won't, and will spare others the frustration.

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SAMSUNG D3 Station 4TB USB 3.0 3.5
  • Owned For: less than 1 day

5 out of 5 eggs It's a pretty standard basic external HDD 07/18/2014

This review is from: SAMSUNG D3 Station 4TB USB 3.0 3.5" Desktop External Hard Drive STSHX-D401TDB Black

Pros: From a non-technical perspective:

I bought 2 of these and they both work fine. It's an external HDD, and though the marketing materials do promise encryption and backup both are entirely software based. That means you'll have to install Samsung's software on your computer (and every computer to which you'd want to attach this HDD for encryption) as well as meaning that your computer will be responsible for all the encryption (in other words it could slow down your computer).

Regardless, in my professional opinion I'd stay away from software that comes bundled with a HDD from an electronics manufacturer. This is priced like a hard drive (and nothing more) and it's probably best used as such.

This version of the D3 Station, the 4TB model, actually contains a slower hard drive than the 3TB and the 2TB models. So despite the performance of USB 3.0, the drive is actually slower than other USB 3.0 alternatives from the same manufacturer.

To answer a common question: Yes, you can plug this into a USB 2.0 port and it will work just fine.

The drive is powered by an external power supply, not by USB. The power supply is of an average sized "wall wart" style, and comes with adapters for just about every country imaginable (yes, including the US and Canada).

To use the drive just for storage (no encryption, etc.) you do NOT NEED to install any of the bundled software. It should be detected by Windows, OSX, or *nix as a mass storage device (or whatever your OS calls it) without issue.

Note that older operating systems may not support a drive that's over 2TB! That's not a failing of this product specifically, it's simply because the idea of a single 4TB drive was CRAZY when Windows XP came out in 2001 (just as an example). There are ways to get a 4TB hard drive to "work" in older operating systems -- Google it, there's plenty of info out there.

The drive came formatted with a full 4TB (well, less due to file system overhead / byte calculations) partition, and on that partition was all of the Samsung software. I don't recall what filesystem it came with, and I've already wiped the drives.

I was pretty pleased that the software did NOT try to "autoplay" in my Win7 system.

Cons: None so far.

Other Thoughts: Some tasty technical bits:

Mine contained Seagate ST4000DM000 internal drives. That's a standard 3.5" 6Gbps 5900RPM SATA HDD. It does not appear to be crippled in any way. It works when attached to a standard motherboard SATA port, and works attached to a PERC H200 (flashed to an LSI 9211-8i in IT mode).

The case is pretty easy to open. There are 2 screws under two of the footpads, and the side that was screw-ed in pops right off. (NE won't let me use the past participle form of "screw"). I found directions online on how to open the 3TB model (they share the same enclosure), and it worked great. The best tip was to use a credit card (actually use an old gift card or something you don't mind damaging) to pry around the edge. The softer plastic of the card won't damage the harder plastic of the enclosure, so you won't have as much of an issue with RMAs.

There is no "warranty void if this sticker is removed" sticker. Just in case you were curious. I do not recommend voiding your warranty, and I do not recommend opening the case. But really it's pretty easy.

There are 2 ports in the back (well, 3ish): Power (12V / 1.5A / center +) and micro USB 3.0, which is of course a regular micro USB port with the USB 3.0 side port.

Yes, you can use a standard micro USB cable with no problem. The included cable is short, and if your computer doesn't support USB 3.0 there's no need to use it.

I've owned these drives for a grand total of a day, so I can't speak to reliability. If I experience failure(s) then you can rest assured that I'll update this review. If it's not updated then assume they're still working fine from the date that this was posted.

Last thoughts: If you do get a deal on this D3 Station and want to use the drive internally (as did I), make sure you check recent reviews. Sometimes manufacturers do change internal disk interfaces and/or cripple drives and/or change drives completely without changing the model number of the external product nor doing anything noticeable to the consumer.

Just because I got a plain old ST4000DM000 doesn't mean that you will. That's always the risk with these external drives: You don't know for sure what's going to be inside when you get it.

Just as an aside: Whenever you buy a hard drive and it's sold as "4TB" or "2TB" or "500MB" or whatever, you're going to "see" less space than that available on the disk once it's formatted. That's true of all drives. The actual usable amount will depend upon your file system, operating system, and file system options. I hate when I see people rate a drive poorly because it "wasn't as big as they promised". There are various technical and marketing reasons why that happens, and though it's not always fair it's at least pretty consistent within the industry. Maybe they should have to say "4TB class drive" like they do with "55 inch class" TVs.

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Acer G6 Series G236HLBbd  Black 23
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: It does display things.

It's very thin, and fairly attractive.

Cons: Let me start out by saying that I'm not going to compare this monitor to far more expensive and fancier monitors, and give it a bad review for that reason.

Rather, I'm comparing this monitor to the numerous Acer G226HQLs that we have in our office. The G226 is a smaller version of the same monitor. They're in the same category as far as quality goes, and fall into the same price range.

We recently got a few of these G236es, and on all of them there is an absurdly bright bleed-through on the bottom of the screen. With some brightness adjustment, the top of the monitor can be made to appear black while the bottom matches the #6a6d7d which I'm displaying on the good quality IPS panel on my laptop. For those of you that don't know what I'm talking about, #6a6d7d is a surprisingly light shade of grey, as represented in hexadecimal color notation, as used in web development.

That's a VERY light shade of grey.

Also, no matter what combination of brightness/contrast I've tried (and between all the factory presets), images displayed on the screen are washed out and "overexposed" even at best.

Compare that to the cheaper and comparable G236HL sitting on the other side of my laptop and it's night and day. The smaller, cheaper Acer has a nearly imperceptible backlight gradient when displaying black, and images are quite crisp and show great contrast for a monitor of its class.

The vertical viewing angle on the G236 is also reprehensible. When viewed head-on, with my eye level at the middle/center of the screen about 24 inches away, the top of the screen shows noticeable luma inversion. When viewed head-on with my eye level about 4 inches above the top of the monitor (standard sitting-at-desk posture), the bottom becomes even MORE "overexposed" and washed out, while the top of the screen looks normal.

If I hunch over just right (or tilt the monitor back just right), there's a 2 degree [estimated] sweet spot. So if I never move my head, it looks somewhat OK. Except for the backlight bleed, of course.

Movies look horrible. Bright sitcom-y video looks passable, I guess. Pictures all look overexposed, particularly the farther down on the image you look.

I know it's possible that we just got a few bad units from the same lot, and that there are good versions of this monitor floating around. But as far as I'm concerned, consider the G226HQL. It's veritably the same display, just a couple of inches smaller, and it actually does look great for its price.

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Scott R.'s Profile

Display Name: Scott R.

Date Joined: 04/21/04

  • Reviews: 27
  • Helpfulness: 19
  • First Review: 10/12/05
  • Last Review: 06/13/14
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