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OCZ Vector 180 2.5
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

4 out of 5 eggs Excellent performance for the money! 01/29/2016

This review is from: OCZ Vector 180 2.5" 120GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) VTR180-25SAT3-120G

Pros: These newer drives from OCZ have transitioned to Toshiba's latest advanced 19nm NAND (or A19 NAND for short), which brings them up to the same level as most of their competitors.

Performance wise, I'm simply blown away by what I'm achieving with the Vector 180. I get the advertised speeds when benching the drive with all the most trusted benchmarks. But what really got me stoked is the performance I'm getting with two of these drives in a RAID 0 config. I'm using a Gigabyte Z97X-UD5H motherboard and I configured two Vector 180's in RAID 0 using the built in RAID controller. I didn't expect to double my performance, considering the overhead involved coupled with the fact that I'm utilizing an integrated RAID controller. However, I was blown away when I benched the RAID array and achieved almost exactly double the performance compared to a single drive! The RAID 0 array achieved a sequential read speed of 1110 MB/s and a sequential write speed of 882 MB/s! Even the random read and random write speeds nearly doubled as well, which was shocking to me. The only anomaly was my 4K random read speed, which didn't improve at all. My guess is that this has to do with the stripe size I chose when building the array (I chose 64K). Perhaps tweaking this value could help to increase the 4K random read performance. Strangely, 4K random write performance was much better, which leads me to think that perhaps the bad 4K random read performance I saw was a fluke with the benchmarking software I was using.

I installed Windows 10 fresh onto the 240GB RAID array and the real-world performance is incredible. Mind you, I was moving from a 2TB WD Black mechanical drive, so the difference is night and day. 120GB is a little light for a system drive IMO, which is why I'm using two of these in RAID 0 for my OS. Two of these drives format to 223GB and it's quite easy to make this work for your OS. I even have room to install one or two of the current games I'm playing on it. I did tweak the size of the page file and also reduced the amount of storage used for system restore, but those are the ONLY tweaks I made and there is more than enough capacity. I have a few 2TB mechanical drives for backups, media, and other games. Steam allows you to install to different drives by default now, so it's easy to backup a game and re-install it onto the main SSD if you want the faster load times. All in all, it works great with Windows 10.

The drive itself is sturdy due to the metal chassis. Build quality is very good. Inside, OCZ uses it's own Barefoot M00 controller featuring an ARM Cortex core with the Aragon co-processor. Their lower tier drives use the slower M10 version of this controller, so it's nice to see OCZ didn't skimp with the Vector 180 series.

OCZ's new feature called PFM+ is definitely noteworthy. It provides a basic level of power loss protection via FW logic and caps on the PCB. It won't protect active data, but is designed to safeguard any data at rest to ensure the drive will not brick during power loss. This is obviously a very useful feature and I'm really glad to see it being utilized here.

I did test OCZ's SSD Guru software (downloaded from their website) and I have to say that it's a nice piece of software. It offers everything from manual Trim functions to overall system info. You can use it to monitor SMART status or leave it running in the background to detect any issues that may occur. Keep in mind Trim should work automatically, but it's nice to have the option to perform it manually in a nice GUI. The tuning and maintenance features are nice to have and this utility will check online for the latest FW updates, so you don't have to bother with searching yourself.

OCZ offers a 5-year warranty for this model, which covers 50GB per day of writes. That's a pretty darn solid rating according to my current research. Seems OCZ is confident with their new design, both in terms of hardware and Firmware.

Cons: In some respects, the Barefoot 3 does lag behind the competition. There is no low power state support and no encryption beyond the standard AES-256, which is less secure than the TGC Opal standards most other drives have moved to. This is important for modern laptops where data security and protection is an absolute priority. Something to take note of for sure.

Obviously 120GB is just not enough space... You can use this as an OS drive but you have to make some serious tweaks to keep the capacity out of the red. In my honest opinion, 120GB just isn't enough for a 64-bit OS installation (hence my using two in RAID 0), however with some tweaking you COULD make it work. But with newer games like GTA V taking up a whopping 65 GB on their own, getting by with only 120GB on your system drive becomes fairly impractical. Assuming you're a gamer of course.

OCZ's SSD Guru software will not work with these drives when they are in a RAID 0 config. I was let down when I found this out. The software simply does not detect the drives at all. Now, OCZ's drives have their own form of garbage collection so any performance degradation over times shouldn't be noticeable. Worse case scenario, you could just image the RAID array over to another drive, delete it, then wipe each drive to restore factory level performance. Then it's just a matter of rebuilding the array and copying your image back over. It's unclear whether TRIM is working automatically in the RAID 0 config. All I know is that SSD Guru cannot manually perform it in this case, but technically it should be working automatically. That said, OCZ's built in garbage collection is always working and as I said above, you can restore performance manually if you ever need to.

Other Thoughts: So to summarize, this is a great drive overall and the Vector series is very impressive with all the offerings OCZ is providing. Speed is excellent as is the reliability. The build quality is also exceptional and so is the warranty. OCZ does include a key for a version of Acronis to clone your old hard drive over to the new drive. OCZ values this Acronis software at $50, but I can't comment on it as I already have Acronis True Image 2015 installed. Either way this drive is a win. The only reason I didn't give it a 5 egg rating is for the lack of newer encryption support and the ultra-low capacity. It's also a bit pricey considering it's size. But I still recommend any of the models as they are a great buy. The 960GB model looks to be amazing and I would love to test it out as well. But after using two of these in RAID 0, I really would recommend that route as you're going to get phenomenal performance at a rock bottom price. It's a really good bang for your buck!!

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LINKSYS RE6400 AC1200 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Range Extender
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • neweggOwned For: 1 week to 1 month

4 out of 5 eggs Reliable, fast, but... 11/20/2015

This review is from: LINKSYS RE6400 AC1200 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Range Extender

Pros: I love how sleek and simple the device is. It's all one piece that you easily plug into the wall and you're ready to set-it up.

Speaking of set-up, the instructions are clear and easy to follow for newbies, whether you're using WPS method or configuring it manually. Power users will find it very easy to get working and access the more obscure settings.

Supports both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands! This is the first extender I've tested that supported the 5Ghz band and considering that range can be an issue when connected to a 5Ghz network, this is most welcomed. I found that speeds over the 5Ghz band were definitely fast enough for anything you may be doing, including streaming HD video to multiple devices.

The UI interface on the HTML configuration page is set-up in a way that makes it easy to find the setting you're looking for. It also has a standard page for scanning local wi-fi networks so you can see all the SSID's near you.

I like how it automatically names both extended networks (on a dual band router) differently from your main SSID names. It adds an "EXT" to whatever name you chose. This way, you can easily tell if you're connected to the extender or your main network. If you do want to make it the same as your router's SSID, that feature is available.

I tested this with 3 tablets and two smartphones all streaming HD video and not one of them had issues. Not surprising considering the speedtest scores and the fact that I didn't have any dropped connections while connected to the extender.

I definitely should mention that I got great range out of this sucker. It improved my 5Ghz range dramatically and my 2.4Ghz range had a nice substantial improvement as well.

Cons: The built in "spot finder" is useless in it's current state. It's just very basic and shoddy and seems to give you a green light no matter where you place the extender. It was no help to me whatsoever.

The LED gave me fits. It's supposed to turn green when everything is operating normally. Blinking amber would be it needs set-up, while solid amber means the connection to your router isn't strong enough. For whatever strange reason, I got an amber light (even though it was greenish amber) no matter where I put the extender. I even tried it right next to my router just to see if I'd get the full green LED, but I still didn't. However, if I would go onto the configuration page and check the status, it showed that I had a full bar connection to both my 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz networks. Obviously, testing the connection proved that it worked fine too. So the LED on my unit may have been faulty, I'm not sure. I really didn't care much being that it worked as advertised, but seeing the full green LED would make me feel a lot better, especially considering some less tech savvy folks may think the device isn't working properly because of the LED, when in fact it is.

Sadly, my speeds on the 5Ghz band were around 40-50 Mb/s slower than when I'm connected to my router directly. This is just a limitation of the extender. In real world tests, it's simply not as fast as my TP-Link Archer C8 router. That said, I was still hitting 120Mb/s download speeds with this extender, which is impressive as is.

Whenever you change certain settings via the HTML configuration page, it hangs and causes you to have to reconnect to the device. This is very annoying and hopefully will be fixed with a FW update.

Other Thoughts: Right now I can fully recommend this extender considering the cost of it. It's fast, reliable, and easy to set-up. My only concerns are the problems I had with the front LED and the fact the HTML configuration page can hang when saving certain settings. Other than those issues, this product works excellently and will please just about anyone.

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iRULU eXpro X1 7
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • neweggOwned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Cheap. This is the most obvious draw to a tablet in this class. Anyone buying this isn't looking for the latest and greatest tech. They just want something to browse the web and for social networking

Runs a vanilla version of Android 4.4 Kit Kat with a pretty slick UI. Everything is laid out nice and is easy to find. It even has a handy screen recording feature built right in, which is a nice touch as I haven't seen this on even some higher end tablets.

Touch screen sensitivity seems good considering this is a budget screen. Didn't have any issues with it. Typing seems natural, whether you're in portrait or landscape mode.

Supports removable storage and the SD card slot is easy to access. This is becoming a thing of the past these days, so it's nice to see it included here.

Web browsing seemed tolerable using Chrome. It wasn't what I'd call snappy, but definitely usable. YouTube ran decently as well, even when viewing 720p video.

The specs seem decent on paper for the price.

Cons: Very laggy experience when you first load up apps. A good example is Facebook. Just loading up Facebook can take a minute or longer, and trying to scroll results in a frozen screen. Once you give it some time, you'll be able to scroll your news feed normally, but sometimes clicking on a link or notification tab will cause it to lag again. Same deal with messenger.

I found that even though I already received all my messages in messenger on my PC or smartphone, whenever I turn on this tablet it still shows me all the messages I received again. For some reason the app doesn't detect that you already viewed them, so you have to sit there and wait for each message to come through again, which takes an abnormal amount of time as this tablet lags really bad with Facebook and Messenger in general.

The screen is of a very low quality. Most definitely a TN panel, which is evident by the extremely poor viewing angles, especially vertical viewing angles. This is a shame because if the screen was halfway decent, this tablet would be much more desirable. But they had to cut corners somewhere to achieve this price point. I saw ads out there claiming this tablet uses an IPS screen but that is bogus. I know a TN panel when I see one and that's definitely what we have here. It's fine when viewed strait on but even the slightest angle shows degradation. It's just a very poor screen in general.

There's no task manager to clear the ram or view performance diagnostics. All you have is a button to pull up recently used apps, which you can swipe away.

No 5 Ghz Wi-Fi support. Again, at this price I'm not surprised, but the 2.4 Ghz chip is slow as it is. Would have been nice for some 5 Ghz support, seeing as most smartphones support it now.

It's pink. Not very many people, besides young girls, will like this particular color.

Other Thoughts: This tablet would make a good gift for a young girl. It is cheap, handles web browsing, email, and Facebook (although the FB app lags) easily and can run most of the less demanding games. It's also a good choice if you're worried about your kid being rough with it, because it's cheap to replace.

That said, the screen is just terrible in quality and the lagging in FB and Messenger concerns me. FB isn't all that demanding but for whatever reason it really kills the performance on this tablet. I was surprised at this as I thought this would be a perfect tablet for browsing and Facebooking. Turns out it's tolerable for it, but not ideal in the least.

Overall this is a decent buy but I would suggest spending a little more for a Nexus 7 or something with a little more processing power and a better design. To me, it's worth the extra cost. However, if you're worried about your kid breaking a more expensive tablet, this would be a good route to go. It's not a terrible tablet, but it's also not exceptional, even considering the price.

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Matthew M.'s Profile

Display Name: Matthew M.

Date Joined: 06/08/06

  • Reviews: 46
  • Helpfulness: 35
  • First Review: 09/19/06
  • Last Review: 01/29/16
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