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Western Digital WDBHG70000NBK-HESN 1080p WD TV Live Streaming Media Player with Wi-Fi (Black)
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

4 out of 5 eggs Great device with fiddly networking 08/11/2014

This review is from: Western Digital WDBHG70000NBK-HESN 1080p WD TV Live Streaming Media Player with Wi-Fi (Black)

Pros: Very inexpensive, great video quality, efficient gui, works flawlessly with attached USB storage, really nice (free) virtual remote for mobile devices, most of the same services that are available on Roku

Cons: Network shares are very fiddly but free workarounds are available

Other Thoughts: Refurb is as good as new but comes without batteries for (good sized) remote and any documentation whatsoever (available at support.wdc.com). I bought this to access a huge collection of videos on my main desktop machine in another room and for the most part it does this well. Media accessed via one of the two USB ports is cataloged quickly and plays flawlessly. Subtitle and DVD handling are excellent.

However, given that the main reason to buy the WDTV Live over Roku, for example, is the potential to stream all kinds of media wirelessly, networking the device is more challenging than it should be. Setting up network shares requires an intermediate knowledge of Windows networking to begin with and the problem for almost everybody is that the shares don't hold.

This is as much a Windows problem as it is the device's. Windows uses what is called a "master browser" to create the WDTV catalog. If you only have one Windows device turned on in the local network the shares work pretty well. But if you turn on a laptop, for instance, before you turn on the machine with the media, there's a good chance the laptop will become the master browser and your shares will be invisible. Even when network shares "worked" some of my shared volumes were never visible to the WDTV. Frankly, it's just too fiddly to be worth bothering with.

Fortunately there is an easy way around this problem: install the free Plex server on the machine with the media and connect it to the WDTV via DLNA. Plex does a great job of organizing movies, tv shows, photos and music and it's a snap to set up. Most importantly, it doesn't matter what else is going on with the network and your USB attached media is still accessible. The only drawback I've found is that when connected via DLNA, the WDTV cannot access external subtitles. Embedded subtitles work fine. Also DLNA does not support DVD menus which the network shares option does. Videos with external subtitles and DVDs can be put on an attached USB drive. Any services such as Netflix or Spotify are still available when remote media is accessed via Plex.

I suppose one could also use XBMC rather than Plex but I am personally not familiar with XBMC.

Perhaps it shouldn't require a third party solution to work as advertised but for the money, I'm completely happy with the WDTV. If you're considering a purchase, do yourself a favor and skip network shares altogether and go right to Plex. Another plus for Plex is that there are inexpensive mobile apps that let you access your media from anywhere (a browser version for remote access is of course free). Despite its quirks the WDTV makes me think more highly of Western Digital.

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CORSAIR CX series CX430 430W ATX12V v2.3 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Active PFC Power Supply
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: more than 1 year

Pros: Terrific bang for buck for non-gaming systems

Cons: Corsair hasn't cleared up the confusion on Haswell "compatibility"

Other Thoughts: I have used this psu in two different systems for the past three years and have had no problems whatsoever. In the first system I overclocked an unlocked AMD Phenom II by 20% and now I am using it with an Intel Haswell 4670K overclocked by 25%. Both systems had at least five disk drives and a sound card *but* both also used integrated graphics, so 430 watts was more than adequate.

I am commenting on this unit now because I see there is still a lot of confusion about whether or not the cx430 is Haswell "compatible" or not. Corsair has not updated their list from a year ago that indicated that the CX series was still being "further tested."

This is disingenuous of Corsair: they know that in all likelihood none of the CX psu's will reliably work with the C7 deep sleep mode introduced with Haswell. Why? Because by their own admission a compatible power supply needs to use DC to DC topology and the CX series uses group regulation to save on costs. Normally this isn't a problem if the psu is used within spec but C7 has special requirements the cx430 cannot provide.

Of course aside from C7 the psu is completely compatible with Haswell and those reviewers who are not experiencing sleep issues are not wrong. In all likelihood their motherboards came configured to disable the C7 mode and all other sleep modes work fine. Since the sleep modes are controlled by the motherboard bios, anyone with this psu who is experiencing problems with sleep and a Haswell cpu can simply disable C7 with only the most minor hit to power consumption in sleep mode.

Upon enabling C7 auto with an Asrock z87 Extreme6 MB I experienced a lot of inconsistency with sleep mode. Occasionally the system would go into sleep and then shut itself off, requiring me to press the power button on the chassis to restart. Of course this defeated the purpose of sleep since I lost whatever was open when I put the system to sleep.

Having turned off all the C7 options in the bios, everything works as expected and I can recommend this psu if you understand that its design has a limitation with Haswell specifically. I have not researched low power psu's enough to know if there is an inexpensive unit with a DC to DC design available, but if there is it is unlikely to match the cx430's cost after rebate.

Five eggs for price/performance ratio. One egg deducted because Corsair has not publicly explained why the unit may not work with C7 sleep mode.

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TP-LINK TL-WDN4200 N900 Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter, 2.4GHz 450Mbps/5Ghz 450Mbps, One-Button Setup,Windows XP/Vista/7/8
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Faster than built-in WiFi on laptop, easy install on PC with optical drive, top speeds approach that of wired Ethernet connection when close to router

Cons: Installation of driver on laptop without optical drive requires download from Tp-Link website and manual update in device manager, range on both bands is extremely limited depending on environment

Other Thoughts: I first connected the adapter to my desktop machine in the same room as my Linksys EA4200 dual band AC router, replacing its usual wired connection. Tp-Link's driver and utility software on the included CD installed easily and quickly. The adapter maxed out my fast internet connection at over 100Mbps and remained steady over an extended download. So far so good.

Installing the drivers on my Acer Aspire One AO756-2808 laptop without an optical drive was not nearly as convenient. I went to the Tp-Link website hoping to find an application similar to that on the CD. Instead I found a zip file with the drivers and configuration utility which had to be installed manually. I'm experienced enough to have gone into device manager and seen that the adapter was recognized but had an exclamation point next to it because no driver was installed. Updating the driver by navigating to the extracted zip folder was no problem for me but would probably require a call to tech support for someone less knowledgeable.

When the laptop was in the same room as the router performance was very good. Built-in WiFi maxed out at 22Mbps on my internet connection while a transfer of a 1Gb file between machines averaged 32Mbps. By contrast, the adapter got to 45Mbps over the 2.5 GHz band on the internet connection and 85Mbps on the 5GHz band. Transferring the same file, I got 48Mbps on the 2.5GHz band and 76 on the 5GHz band. So the adapter easily bested the built-in WiFi in every respect.

However, when I moved the laptop into the kitchen of my small apartment the adapter was all but useless. On the 2.5GHz band it managed only 4Mbps on the internet compared to 13Mbps for the built-in. It wasn't able to make a connection to the router on the 5GHz band at all. Very disappointing.

Now my old apartment building has very thick walls and all of my devices struggle in the kitchen, although it is less than 30 feet from the router. The Linksys router has range problems of its own on the 5GHz band so the adapter might have performed better with a different router. Still, the adapter should not be required to be in the same room as the router to work adequately.

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Ron R.'s Profile

Display Name: Ron R.

Date Joined: 01/10/02

  • Reviews: 41
  • Helpfulness: 20
  • First Review: 12/06/04
  • Last Review: 09/04/14
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