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This review is from: Vantec 2.5" / 3.5" / 5.25" SATA / IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter - Model CB-ISATAU2
Pros: The SATA cable, while short, does work and it didn't cause a fire. And it was cheap with free shipping.
Cons: The external power supply worked occasionally for the first month, maybe, then died. The output from the power supply is an older IDE 4 pin Molex connector. The product comes with a Molex to SATA adapted so you can power up a SATA drive as well. One of the 4 connector pins in the Molex adapter is pushed into the housing and likely isn't connecting, although it's the #3 pin which should be a ground.
In any event, the power supply never worked reliably so I stopped using it.
I do still use the SATA adapter and just pull a SATA power connector out of an older Dell box that has a toolless side panel so it's easy to open. It's a poor compromise as it does force me to open the computer to get a power source and this adapter from Vantec was supposed to eliminate that, on top of which I get USB 2.0 transfer rates for my trouble. I use it for things like cloning drives where I'm just going to let it crank until it's done anyway.
Other Thoughts: I did communicate briefly with Vantec support who sent me an email explaining how to connect a HDD and just for closure, I followed their directions to a "T" but still didn't get it to work. As it was cheap to begin with I just dropped it and wrote it off as a loss.
I definitely would NOT buy another of these or recommend it to anyone I actually like.
This review is from: TRENDnet TEG-S5G, 5-Port Unmanaged Gigabit GREENnet Desktop Plastic Housing Switch
Pros: I have bought 2 of these: one 8 port and a second 5 port. Both work beautifully so far. Reliable, no setup required. I do reboot my entire network infrastructure maybe once/month for preventive maintenance, but so far the switches haven't required a reboot for failure.
All that said I'm not running a media server - yet - so the load is probably relatively moderate compared to some home networks.
The 8 port switch has 5 PCs, an HP 8600 printer and a bridge to the 5 port switch. One of the 5 PCs is my son's gaming PC and is always on connected to gaming sites/his friends. Subject of a separate rant, but I digress. Another PC is running Windows Home Server, newly installed, and is functioning as a file and backup server. I'm loading it up with music, our family photos, collected videos, etc., so that will add some significant load soon. Also has a Mediasonic RAID array with 3x1GB HDDs in a RAID-5 config (1.8TB usable) attached to the WHS PC, with about 1TB of various content.
The 5 port switch has the bridge to the 8 port switch, a connection to a TP-LINK powerline adapter that is connected via 2 other powerline adapters to a TP-LINK wireless router functioning as an access point and a PC at the other end of the house. It's also connected to a Comcast modem/wireless router.
The wireless router and access point support 3 laptops, an iPad 3, 2 iPhone 5s and a Samsung Galaxy S3 at various times. Sometimes my wife's laptop is plugged in at the other end of the house via the powerline adapter.
So there is a fair amount of data running around at peak times.
Other Thoughts: Got it on sale - even better!READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: TP-LINK TL-PA2010KIT AV200 Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit, up to 200Mbps
Pros: Does what it says it will. So far they've been very reliable. Way better than crawling around in the crawlspace or attic pulling wire! Setup was a breeze and so far it hasn't dropped a signal.
I bought 2 sets, both TP-LINK but slightly different models, depending what was on sale that week. The two work together just fine, using one as the "base" unit by the switch in the office and the 2 others in different rooms. Interestingly, I'm using one of them with a TP-LINK TL-WR720N Wireless N150 Router plugged into it as an access point (see my review under that product). Working like a charm so far.
Other Thoughts: Got it on sale - even sweeter! I'd recommend these if you want to extend your network with minimal work.READ FULL REVIEW