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Corsair Force LS CSSD-F960GBLSB 2.5
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

4 out of 5 eggs Solid Drive & Good Value for the Money 07/17/2015

This review is from: Corsair Force LS CSSD-F960GBLSB 2.5" 960GB SATA III MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD)

Pros: At a job a few years back I wrote windows and Linux code to program, calibrate, and troubleshoot SAS and SATA SSDs so I know quite a bit more than an average engineer. During that time I learned quite a bit about what is important and what isn’t – and it’s rarely advertised. I specialized in products that were for enterprise segment, i.e. very large storage companies with three letter names. More than with mechanical drives SSDs are a real commodity business – the controllers (most are Sandforce) and memory (Samsung, Micron, etc) are made by 2-3 companies so most drives contain the same parts. So long as they do a reasonable job manufacturing and testing it really doesn’t make too much difference who made the drive. The small performance gains from a drive from ABC and from XYZ are really not a big deal – SSDs are just FAST and comparing performance numbers of drives that all use the same controllers and memory is really a bit foolish, but hey, the charts are pretty.

So what is a big deal? Manufacturing drive testing, configuration software, and how they setup the drives defaults. Consumer made drives get the minimum testing it takes to insure a statistically good product, enterprise is much more rigorous. One of the best parts of this drive doesn’t even come with it, you have to go out to http://www.corsair.com/en-us/blog/2013/may/the-corsair-ssd-toolbox and download the SSD Toolbox (CSSDT). The toolbox will allow you to update the firmware if needed (the FW on the drive I received was up to date (SAFC01.3 – as of July 17, 2015), Overprovisioning, S.M.A.R.T. drive cloning, Optimization (TRIM), Secure Wipe.

The 3 year warranty is a good indicator that the drive was sufficiently tested during the manufacturing process as warranty periods are calculated to insure that manufacturer make a profit and you can’t do that if you have to replace lots of them. Three years reflects confidence which comes from reasonable testing.

Cons: I upgraded from a 250GB SSD to the Corsair LS 960, I needed to clone the drive. I’ve heard people say this is foolish, which I disagree with if you have a significant investment in SW that will only let you reinstall it 1-2 times. The Corsair utility informed me that it wouldn’t support the cloning operation, no explanation on why – so I ended up downloading EaseUS Todo backup free and ran it. About 2 hours later I saw that my PC had slept itself and there was an error which may have had to do with the PC going to sleep during the backup (don’t know), so I dug up a much older version which was bootable on a DVD while the two drives cloned successfully, then I used Windows 7 to expand the partition to the maximum size.

Complaint: The Disk Clone function (if you want to clone a disk) didn’t work on my Windows 7 machine – normally a one drive machine – I added both the source and destination disks for the clone (3 drives total).

In my opinion the single most important parameter of an SSD (aside from size) is overprovisioning – my heart sank when I read that the default provision on the drive was 0% from the utility, so I signed up to get on the corsair support to talk to someone and found an article that stated their default provisioning was 7% (it didn't mention this specific drive - I am assuming) - the typical provisioning for a consumer drive so the utility was listing *additional* overprovisioning. So this wasn’t bad – but because I had to go digging for it I have a problem with the sparse specifications. I know this is because they don’t what to have to explain to customers the technical aspects as it often raises more questions than it answers, drives are complex and filled with trade-offs and ambiguity – they probably don't want to pay their support people to have to educate the public.

Other Thoughts: There is much more I would like to write to explain about SSDs that isn’t real common knowledge, but I’ve at least covered most of it. S.M.A.R.T prams aren’t worth much – statistically drives usually die without advertising this in advance which is supposedly much of the reason S.M.A.R.T params exist.

One of the main functional differences between consumer and enterprise drives is provisioning, where with enterprise it is typically 28%. This means there is the drive is 28% large than the advertised size, you won't see it when you look at the drive size as the controller only shows the usable NAND. I’ve read many ill-informed writers who say O.P. can be taken care of by TRIM, and GC (Garbage Collection) – they do not understand its main purpose. Its purpose is that as the drive ages (via use) sectors of memory go bad and the O.P. uses the spare memory to replace the working memory – the more O.P. memory, the longer life in the drive (assuming nothing else dies). I suggest maxing it out and though it appears that Corsair limits you to only another ~7% more (total ~14%), that’s much closer to enterprise and the odds that your drive survives years longer is greater. The percentage is how much your drive shrinks – so understand the trade-off. If you want your drive to last, I strongly suggest maximum OP and deal with the lost space rather than the lost drive. I ended up with 835 GB with 60GB eaten by additional overprovisioning (assuming there was a default 7% already built in - now about 14%) - not at all bad for a drive in this size/price range. Many drives you can't change the O.P. and most consumer drives don't list it though it's really important for long life in a drive.

I would also strongly suggest enabling TRIM with the utility – especially on older OS versions.

From everything I can determine from the specs and the use (and assuming there is a default 7% OP), while not perfect, it appears to be a decent product with a reasonable configuration and utilities – I would recommend this drive.

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LINKSYS RE6500HG Dual Band Wireless AC Range Extender
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

4 out of 5 eggs Solid unit -> WIth some setup suggestions 07/09/2015

This review is from: LINKSYS RE6500HG Dual Band Wireless AC Range Extender

Pros: For my background; I’m a FW engineer who has worked on routers, storage, and other products so most of the technology makes sense to me, but I have never used a range extender before. So I did some online reading about this technology and found out there are several different types; (1) Some that are mesh devices usually in enterprise configurations, (2) there are some that you place between your router and your distant devices and configure to have a different SSID and have your distant devices connect to the new extender SSID, which then relays the packets back and forth, and (3) there are other extenders that listen and echo packets back to the router when they are not responded too by the router. There was nothing in the documentation I could find which explains which type this was, so it’s only hints that you can figure it out but it appears to be of type (3).

My router I am using it with is a Netgear N600 (WNDR3700). After being configured it successfully connected to both G and N channels of my router.

Works fairly well (once you figure it out). There are 4 GB Ethernet ports, two antennas and a tiny solid box and small “wall wart” power supply that is thin enough not to block other connectors on my power strip. There is also an option to stream music and an audio output on the extender, I didn’t test this.

Cons: The documentation needs improvement. Most of my complaints comes from the fact that they tried to dumb down the setup to such an extent that if could cause people with some knowledge (most anyone who has setup a router before) confusion. It did me, and I had to press the red “factory reset button” once during the process.

All of my problems could have been avoided if they would have had a page or two “theory of operation”, given a few bad reviews I’ve seen it appears it’s because other users had problems figuring out how to set this up correctly.

The box says “Linksys AC1200 MAX” but the unit itself says “RE6500”, it would be nice to have just one model number.

Before anything, I download on my laptop the latest firmware which at the time of writing was 1.0.03.006 on 06/10/2015 – if it’s newer, I suggest getting it.

http://www.linksys.com/us/support-article?articleNum=148460

With Laptop and AC1200 MAX turned off, I plugged in my laptop Ethernet to the AC1200 MAX and turned off the Wi-Fi switch on my laptop, then powered both laptop and AC1200 MAX on. This was necessary as the default of the AC1200 MAX is 192.168.1.1 and that was the default of my home router so a wireless setup wasn’t possible.

From my W7 laptop I opened chrome and entered 192.168.1.1 and came to the initial setup screens, it immediately asked for 3 things IP number, Mask, and Gateway IP. Here’s were my confusion set in.. if you don’t know *which* type of extender you have, you aren’t sure what the IP is for as there is/was no clear explanation of WHAT it’s for.. is it for the Router you want to extend? Is it for the device itself such as is (2) above or what is the purpose. The answer is that it needs a UNIQUE IP for itself, so pick something like 192.168.1.73 or something unlikely to be taken.. Better yet ping first and make sure it’s not taken. Then typically the mask is 225.225.225.0 and then your router address (most routers default to 192.168.1.1)

Once this is done, reboot the extender and then connect a browser window to the IP you set it to (in my example 192.168.1.73). I suggest strongly updating the FW of the unit NOW which can be found under Administration-> Firmware Upgrade.

Once updated, I also suggest changing your password Administration->Management. My password for the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz SSIDs were different and the automatic setup only configured ONE password, so you may manually have to go in and configure the other.

Now go through the menus and pick and choose what you want and don’t want as options. There is a “Cross bar” feature used to more effectively communicate via 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz – the descriptions are scant so at the risk of guessing wrong I’m going to tell you to look for yourself.

Other Thoughts: I have since setup the extender closer in the proximity of my farther away devices and seem to get a better lock with fewer losses while running.. I didn’t run any traffic tests but I can tell you that because of the technology if you want solid service this should work fine, but if you want the fastest service then you might want to run a cable as there will be overhead with this technology. For me, even streaming HD movies off Netflix, it does the job just fine. I would recommend it and hope that the notes here help overcome Linksys’s shortcomings in documentation.

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TP-LINK UH700 USB 3.0 7 port Desktop Hub, with Power Adapter
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

5 out of 5 eggs Powerful, Solid, Well Designed 02/09/2015

This review is from: TP-LINK UH700 USB 3.0 7 port Desktop Hub, with Power Adapter

Pros: Dual input 100-240VAC 12VDC 2.5A power supply or (12 x 2.5 = 30 Watts). That’s one beefy power supply for a USB hub, USB 3.0 is capable of 150ma and 900ma at 5 V so technically it’s capable of delivering _almost_ enough power to power every USB device up to 900ma. Realistically, there are few devices that use this much, but it is really unlikely this hub is going to have problems delivering what you need.

LEDs! Yes there is a power LED, this is something that isn't done much in my experience, but really useful as I do have this thing plugged into a power strip which sometimes gets shut off by wandering feet or small children. This can help you answer the question in a glance; is it plugged in? Also when you plug in a device, a LED illuminates over the port to tell you it’s active.
It comes with a USB 3 Micro-B to Type A connector (standard USB) cable which is good because the 3.0 standard hasn't been around that long that many people don’t have a bunch of these cables hanging around.

It successfully detected everything I plugged in.

Cons: The power brick while not huge is bigger than most typical bricks, you can’t have high power without a bigger supply, there is still that relationship. But if you are planning on plugging it into a power strip it is likely that it is going to cover some of the adjacent plugs. For me I’ll take the inconvenience of the larger brick size over the lack of power of a smaller brick.

Other Thoughts: Out of the box experience; the box is significantly bigger than the hub itself, I really expected it to be much bigger, but _fortunately_ it’s not.. I really didn't want a hub contending for a valuable piece of desk space. It’s very solid and very well made and really appears much more cosmetically appealing than some of the cheap junky hubs you can get.

It plugged in and came up without a problem. The whole thing is small enough to leave on top of my PC so I’m planning on leaving it there for badly needed USB 3.0 expansion.

This little box appears to have done almost everything competently so I really strongly recommend it even though you might have to drop a few dollars more, likely it will save you from other future aggravation.

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Brian F.'s Profile

Display Name: Brian F.

Date Joined: 10/14/04

  • Reviews: 45
  • Helpfulness: 27
  • First Review: 08/17/05
  • Last Review: 07/17/15
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