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HighPoint RocketRAID 2640X4 SGL PCI-Express x4 SATA / SAS Controller Card
  • Owned For: more than 1 year

1 out of 5 eggs Current Linux/Windows Users: Seek Comfort Elsewhere! 11/26/2013

This review is from: HighPoint RocketRAID 2640X4 SGL PCI-Express x4 SATA / SAS Controller Card

Pros: Doesn't fuss with setting up RAID at the card's BIOS level. 4 channels of RAID and 4 ports; not a losing game of negotiating more ports than there are channels.

Cons: Drivers are dead ended.
Installation of drivers for Linux still require a floppy drive; anyone lacking prior Linux and command line experience will be hard pressed to parlay this into using a USB drive.

Other Thoughts: I find it curious that Linux can't see the RAID array without the drivers. Especially given that it is a Marvell chipset, and Linux can see my motherboard's on-board array also chipped by Marvell. I'm guessing it's a pre-AHCI design.

If you're still running Windows Vista and older, or Linux from 2011 and older, you should -technically- be fine. But, if you're even reasonably current, there's nothing to see here; move along.

Proof, for those wise enough to wonder: http://www.highpoint-tech.com/USA_new/rr2600_download.htm

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ASUS P9X79-E WS LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 SSI CEB Intel Motherboard
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

4 out of 5 eggs Mostly Good; Very Noteworthy Flaws 11/20/2013

This review is from: ASUS P9X79-E WS LGA 2011 Intel X79 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 SSI CEB Intel Motherboard

Pros: * PCIe slots are independently and collectively 16x. Allows full use of video card gangs.
* E5-1600 and 2600 processors supported along with common desktop chips.
* Above average range of supported RAM.
* RAM capability... Supports quad-channel; up to 64GB; above average range of supported spseeds
* Connectivity... Lots of USB 2 and a fair number of USB 3 ports; Two eSATA ports; Two server grade ethernet ports; PS/2 port as well.

Cons: * RAID... Implementation is only virtualized; incorrectly documented; no RAID 10, despite promising otherwise; Turns all SATA ports to RAID.
* Secure Boot... No deactivation, just "Other OS" mode. Switching from "UEFI Windows" to "Other OS" will break RAID.
* Uncommon form factor... SSICEB; not a lot of computer cases support this.

Other Thoughts: For $500+, this should be a better motherboard. Now, understand, it is good. Just not $500 good; at all. I notice they've revised the description, taking out the part where it had a built-in SSD cache. That was a misnomer. More accurately it has, built into the design of the board, the ability to use an SSD as a cache. RAID is a wasted option on this board. It reads great on the box and on the description page. But, once you have the board in possession, you'll find a single sentence in rather small print that says, "Due to chipset limitation, when set any of SATA ports to RAID mode, all SATA ports run at RAID mode together." This is important, considering there are no PATA or IDE ports on the board. So, set this board to RAID and forget about your optical drives, unless you want to try using USB headers. Experience says you can set up RAID and then go back into the EFI settings and switch the SATA ports back to AHCI mode; but, at that point, you're taking your data into your own hands to gamble with. Furthermore, it's not actual RAID. It's -virtual- RAID. Plus, despite what the owner's manual says, the one little BIOS option for RAID does -not- allow RAID 10. And I bought it specifically for that purpose! That is also strange. The system used UEFI for everything except RAID. There, they still held onto BIOS. But, RAID is the only thing BIOS is there for -- and it's doing a bad job of it!
Now for an odd problem with Secure Boot. I dislike the fact that Secure Boot can't be outright turned off; instead, you can only switch from "Windows UEFI" to "Other OS". Documentation is not clear about this area. Plus, the board defaults to Windwos UEFI. If you happen to change even momentarily to Easy Mode, it will select Windows UEFI. Being a Linux user as much as Windows, this is a real problem. Considering that if you have Windows installed and then change from Windows UEFI to Other OS, it will break the install. In my case switching it somehow caused the second drive in my 4 drive RAID group to drop out, thus rendering the rest of the RAID group offline and all data unreachable. There is no ability to reincorporate the drive back into the RAID group, either. The only option is to delete the RAID and put then all back together in a group again. This escapade may have just destroyed a series of music projects, one of which has been 10 years in the making. There is no logical explanation for how the Secure Boot system should be able to compromise a RAID array. But, that was the only change that happened. This can be just a classic user mistake. But, it's end effect is absurd.

So, beware. The board is good. But, it's flaws are very distinct.

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Mad Catz MCB44026N0B2/04/1 V5 Keyboard
  • Owned For: more than 1 year

4 out of 5 eggs Very Good Bang for the Buck 02/16/2013

This review is from: Mad Catz MCB44026N0B2/04/1 V5 Keyboard

Pros: - Wide foot pads: Parks on flat surface and STAYS there.
- Durable key design: Withstands even 12" starting point angry typing.
- Solid cabling

Cons: - LED lighting somewhat uneven: Not all the same brightness
- Not quiet: But, you shouldn't expect that from a durable unit, anyway

Other Thoughts: This keyboard started production life as the Saitek Eclipse. MadCatz bought the company and has spent the last 3+ years slowly shuffling and rebranding the entire product line. The design, however, has not changed.
I'm typing on my Eclipse keyboard (with blue LED lighting) right now; it has survived 5 years with me. That is significant as I play synthesizers as a hobby, and I'm a heavy/aggressive typist. My original Eclipse survived 3 years at the hands of myself and my fiancee of the time, whom has a habit of rage typing.
The Eclipse is a distinctly solid and conspicuous keyboard; reasonably quick response on the keys; and, it has a couple media keys you'll probably forget about. There is a dimmer switch for the backlighting for 3 modes: off, full, and half bright.
All in all, this has been a great unit for me, rivaled only by a long discontinued Macally keyboard that used Alps keyswitches. As an example, I am keeping it in my list of replacement candidates today, despite the rabid competition.

My only concern is one one of paranoia─I don't know if MadCatz has altered the design at all, since they took over. It appears to be identical, save for branding.

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James C.'s Profile

Display Name: James C.

Date Joined: 11/25/07

  • Reviews: 3
  • Helpfulness: 2
  • First Review: 02/16/13
  • Last Review: 11/26/13
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