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Pros: • Sturdy packaging
• Mounting hardware for all modern consumer sockets
• Price is comparable to similar performing coolers
• Performance is comparable to similar priced coolers
• Installation is “possible” with a preinstalled motherboard
• Fan brackets are surprisingly easy to work with
• Pretty quiet for the level of received performance
• At stock voltages on two different procs – performance is within a couple degrees, using a single fan instead of two
• Mounting system places it about a ½” lower on the motherboard than most coolers this size
Cons: • Large size pretty much demands a full tower case
• Depth of cooler creates some “hang” off the motherboard
• Performance at this price will cost you
• Not very attractive for window builds
• Using both fans limits you to standard height ram – and blocks three RAM slots
Notes will start here:
Outside of physical looks, I was pretty impressed with what the Neptwin had to offer. I feel that just about ALL coolers this size, especially those with dual fans, look ugly in an otherwise attractive PC build. That aside, performance is what counts, and the Neptwin delivers in all of the ways that you would expect, as well as having a couple of nifty design tricks up its sleeve.
Installation was easy with the motherboard outside of the case, taking just 16 minutes from start to finish. Installation inside the case, while doable, was really tough. Part of the issue was the size of the Antec 1900, as I spent part of the install with the case tilted. Either install method will involve a standard Phillips screwdriver to tighten the screws on the holding plate. You have to leave the center fan uninstalled to do this, and thankfully, the included fan brackets are very easy to work with, to a point, I was able to install/uninstall both fans with the motherboard mounted – no issues at all. The mounted cooler also leaves enough space for easy top-mounted fan clearance.
I tested the Neptwin on two processors, using Prime95 (small FFTs) and a few rounds of Linpack. The room temp as about 19* Celsius, and the case used was an Antec 1900. I’m only going to include load temps, because frankly – who cares about idle temps!? Even the extremely lame Intel stock cooler maintains respectable idle temps. I also left the fan(s) on “auto”, allowing the motherboard to ramp them up and down.
Other Thoughts: Intel G3220@3.0 GHZ loaded at 45* Celsius after 22 hours of Prime95 Small FFTs (for maximum heat). No overclocking here, as the G3220 doesn’t allow it. The Neptwin produced identical temps with a single fan, or two (I removed the fan mounted next to the RAM after about 8 hours) with RealTemp logging 46* Celsius as a maximum.
Intel email@example.com GHZ loaded at 43* Celsius with 10 passes of Linpack. Same results with a single fan. Things got a little interesting as I added voltage. Max overclock was 4.46 GHZ@1.24vts. Temps averaged 65 Celsius with 10 more passes of Linpack. When I removed a fan, the Neptwin started to struggle, as temps climbed to 72* Celsius. So good news is that you can get away with running a single fan on the Neptwin, but don’t expect to break any temperature records. I will also say that with higher ambient temps in the summertime, you can be assured that single fan cooling on the Neptwin will get out of control pretty fast.
The Deepcool Neptwin delivers on performance, and gives you the advantage of running with a single fan (at low overclocks), with full access to all four RAM slots – and no restrictions on RAM height. Granted, most people will run the Neptwin with both fans, as these same people will be shooting for higher overclocks.
CPUs run on suck low voltage now, that a cooler this size isn’t really necessary if you are keeping things at stock. But turn up the juice, and the extra heat pipes/fin surface area will deliver enough of a performance boost to justify the extra dollars spent. Just make sure you pay close attention to the mounted height, and choose your case accordingly.
Pros: • Minimalist packaging is sturdy enough
• Extremely easy install via WPS
• Added a solid bar of signal strength to our backyard
• TP-Link stands behind their products, placing their 24/7 technical support information right on the package
• 2-year warranty is respectable for some an item in this price range
Cons: • LED signal strength indicator is very bright – not for use in a bedroom
Other Thoughts: I’ve reviewed quite a few TP-Link networking products, and where I’ve had inconsistent results with their routers, I’ve had great experiences with their wireless range extenders. The TL-WA854RE provides good value, even when not on sale.
We have a network setup that places all of our network gear in the upstairs of our 2400 SF home. We have all of the typical Wi-Fi devices downstairs (Smart TV, phones, laptops, tablets), all pulling bandwidth from a Comcast 105MB plan. Our current router is really solid, but the signal downstairs takes a pretty big hit due to the half-wall along the stairwell, and the distance of our back patio/yard from the gear itself.
The setup for the TL-WA854RE was as easy as I’ve ever experienced. We were in business in about four minutes using WPS, and the included disc (as well as the DL package from TP-Link’s site) gave the same easy install. The UI is similar to a Spartan router setup, without a lot to play with. Regardless, this device is designed for easy plug ‘n play – and it definitely delivers on an easy setup experience.
Using Ookla, a simple mobile bandwidth tester, I pulled downstairs speeds in line with far more expensive range extenders, with 100 tests taken over a 12-day period. Download speeds averaged a pinned 50MB p/s -- exactly what you should see with your signal being cut in half from the added range extender. I was able to plug it in alongside the downstairs wall that separates the living room from the patio, and all wireless devices saw a steady 3-4 bars of signal strength, as opposed to the usual 2-3. This was consistent over the entire testing period/multiple installs.
We already have a great connection in our home, but when summertime comes, and we have lots of people over – all armed with their phones, connected to our guest network, I’m confident that the TL-WA854RE will make their browsing experience a little snappier. I don’t see how you can go wrong for the price, and unlike a couple of other range extenders I’ve tested (other brands) there was no network wonkiness, or dropped signals. Highly recommended.
Pros: • Simplistic design and ease of setup with Android app
• Fun project for the DIY person
• Comes from a reputable company with a long history of quality products
• Informative community forum
Cons: • Expensive for what it offers
• Included instructions are worthless
• Needed to do some internet research to really understand how to setup the hardware
• Doesn't come with any screws for a wall mount
• Challenging to make the install look “neat” (thick USB power cable)
• If you are not a DIY person, then I don’t see the value here
My notes will start here:
The Wemo Maker is a tough sell for me. I think you need to really be excited about DIY projects to enjoy the “benefits” that a product/project like this can deliver. From a hardware standpoint, it has a clean design that loses its tidiness once you start installing the thing. This is not something that will look neat on a wall in your house. It’s meant to be hidden, as you’ll have exposed electrical leads, and a thick USB cable to deal with.
I honestly didn't know what to “control” with the device. We already have garage door openers in our cars. We have a nice coffee pot with a timer that we set for each morning to brew. And the Wemo devices that you can buy (lights, crock pots, etc.) are all pretty expensive, and added to the $80 cost of the Maker itself, just doesn't seem sensible from a spending standpoint.
Once I figured out that the install wouldn't be very attractive, I went for the garage door opener option. After taking apart our perfectly working existing controller, I immediately saw what Belkin meant when they said that the installer should have a decent understanding of electrical wiring. I was pretty lost, as I had more wires to work with than ports on the Maker. We have two garage doors (explains the extra wiring) and I wasn't able to figure out how to make both doors work for this. I chose the main door that we park both of our cars in…which left me with a situation that had me using my phone to open one door…and the existing remote for the other…so less than ideal here. I’m guessing that if I had a better understanding of wiring and electrical current amounts, I could have tried to wire both doors in, but I didn't want to fry anything – and I didn't want to spend more money on another unit for the other garage door.
Other Thoughts: Once installed, setup with the phone app was pretty easy. I was having issues finding our home network, but some reading in the Wemo forum pointed at SSIDs with underscores in them sometimes being problematic. I went in and changed our SSID (which had an underscore), rebooted the router – app found our home network just fine. I went ahead and kept this setup for a few days, and outside of a couple of app crashes, everything worked as it should. Garage door opens/closes when you want it to, and while I was semi-interested in an article I read that added a magnetic strip into the equation to send a signal to your phone when you left the door open, it just seemed like more expense and ugly wiring to me.
So you’re probably guessing I wasn't too terribly impressed with the Wemo Maker – and you would be right. For what it does, I think this is an extreme niche product for a pretty specific user, and that user wasn't me. While I was happy enough that I could figure out how to make it all work, I just didn't “get” the excitement out of what it does. Not to be condescending, but “wow, I can open the garage door with my phone”…just doesn't do it for me. And looking at the mess of the install, it would take a lot of creativity and patience to make it all look neat and tidy.
The Wemo Maker is probably great for somebody that grooves on home projects, or likes to do things “their” way (as opposed to the status quo). It just wasn't great for me.
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