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TP-LINK TL-SG108E 8-Port Gigabit Easy Smart Switch, 8 10/100/1000 Mbps RJ45 Ports, MTU/Port/Tag-Based VLAN, QoS and IGMP
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: While I don't actually see a lot of uses for a managed switch with only 8 ports, if you are an IT pro like me or just a die-hard hobbyist and want more control over a small network (or network segment) than a workgroup switch can give you without the price of a beefier full-blown managed switch, this is your winner. All of the greatest hits are on this album: port-based and tagged VLAN's (up to 32), per-port QoS, storm control, port mirroring, cable diagnostics, and a few other goodies.

The case is metal and nicely rigid. It should hold up to most types of abuse and drops. It includes rubber feet for setting up on a desk or shelf (a glaring omission on so many components these days) and also has slots for wall mounting that is the preferred option. It is far too small for adding ears to mount in a rack, so don't even look for any. There is also a k-lock hole for environments where physical security is a concern. The Easy Smart Configuration Utility is neat, well organized, and easy to use.

Cons: The Easy Smart Configuration Utility is absurdly necessary, because there is no web interface or telnet or SSH access. You MUST have at least one Windows PC on the network and you MUST clutter it up with TP-Link's utility, whether you want to or not.

More granular traffic monitoring and traffic regulating would have been nice, but are marginally forgivable omissions at this price point, and also considering that this is an "Easy Smart" switch, not a Managed one.

The total arbitrary IP address upon initial power up was kind of silly also. I guess it doesn't matter because the Easy Smart Configuration Utility was able to find it and there was no other way to configure it, but DHCP would have at least landed it on the same subnet and a quick check of the DHCP logs and a ping would have showed that it was working without having to install the utility.

So one flaw was major, the other two pretty minor. All together I consider them enough to take away an egg, even though I have very high respect for TP-Link. Sorry guys. Eggxperts giveth and eggxperts taketh away.

Other Thoughts: This clever little unit actually landed in my lap at the perfect time. Our IT firm is based out of an executive suite along with 7 other tenants in offices that average about 300-400 square feet. Each of us pays rent that is the same as the local cable company wants for a month of business-class internet. Comcast=crazy.

We made a deal with the landlord to homerun a Cat5 from each suite to ours and offer bargain-priced broadband internet to the other tenants. By flashing a cheap wireless router with Tomato for each of them and configuring a VLAN in the TL-SG108E for each of them, we are able to monitor/regulate everyone's usage and bandwidth and keep everyone's network independent of each other and us using this little beauty.

With such a rich feature set and such a low price, that setup or anything like it is VERY well worth the price.

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ZALMAN MS800 Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

5 out of 5 eggs Wow, is this thing COOL! 04/14/2014

This review is from: ZALMAN MS800 Black Steel / Plastic ATX Mid Tower Computer Case

Pros: Our customer needed a high-end video editing workstation, which meant lots of front-mounted ports and lots of expansion cards. He was also using an FX-9590 CPU, which requires water-cooling.

We were able to install two optical drives, two 3.5" card readers, two 3.5" USB3/1394/eSATA interfaces, an SSD, and a hard drive in the front bays with room to spare.

A fat Corsair H80i 12cm x 12cm radiator/fans fit nicely in the rear grille without interfering with other motherboard components or blocking airflow to the VRM. There is also ample room in the top for a 12x24 or 14x28 if you want an even bigger closed loop, such as the H100i or H110. Be warned; the top panel is a bear to get off, though.

The steel construction was very beefy and rugged, and the fit/finish of the whole thing was as good or better than anything I have ever seen.

The built-in fan controller will comfortably power six fans and adjust them all uniformly, so a user only has one knob that is infinitely variable (not just a two or three way selector) to twiddle and find the right compromise between noise and cooling. We used the three included fans on top of the two on the CPU cooler and they were inaudible even with the control turned all the way up. YMMV depending on how many and what fans you use.

HIGHLY recommended for high-end or complex builds.

Cons: It's a HEAVY booger, but that is to be expected with steel construction. That's the price of quality materials and sturdy construction, so no eggs off.

The box arrived looking like the shipper dragged it behind the truck all the way from California to Texas, and three of the four screws on the bottom panel had their heads broken off. That's a testament to the durability of the case components, since the screws broke and not the case parts themselves. We only had to replace the screws instead of RMA it for a new case. This was the fault of the shipper and not Zalman, so also no eggs off for that.

Other Thoughts: Like my title says: Wow this thing is cool.

This is an outstanding high-end case for the money and should be on the short list for any big build.

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BYTECC UFE-421 3.5
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

3 out of 5 eggs Good all-in-one on the front panel, but a little flaky 04/14/2014

This review is from: BYTECC UFE-421 3.5" USB3.0/Firewire 400/POWER e-SATA Combo Internal HUB

Pros: LOTS of ports in a small space for the front of your PC, without the unnecessary ones (why do so many of these types of gadgets include audio ports, anyway? When was the last time you saw a case without audio ports?)

This is the PERFECT device for a professional or hobbyist who frequently needs to connect varying types of external media to their computer. It's a one-stop-shop for connecting external hard drives, no matter what interface they use; USB, 4-pin or 6-pin firewire, or eSATA, and having the eSATA powered simplifies things greatly.

Cons: Although having a USB 3.0 hub instead of a single pass-through port is clever and useful for multiple devices (think copying large files from one external USB 3.0 hard drive to another), it's actually not a very good hub. The hub frequently refuses to acknowledge a device plugged into it without any type of feedback from the OS. In most cases, only a reboot will remedy the mystery.

A Gigabyte 990FXA-UD7 was utterly unable to boot to USB through the hub as well, which is rarely a problem with other hubs.

Truthfully, only two USB 3.0 ports connected directly to an internal header would have made more sense than a hub requiring a pass-through cable to a type-A port. It would function more reliably and made good use of the header, whereas using a header the way it is engineered now would waste 50% of a header's capacity (hence the use of a pass-through cable instead of a header). Using a pass-through cable to the back of the computer is also really hokey.

Benefit of the doubt/full disclosure: Maybe reliability and booting was only a problem because we used two of them in this customer's machine. I don't see why, but anything is possible.

It makes one heck of a darn squid inside of the case, especially if you install two of them, but all of the cables are there for a reason: USB3, 1394, SATA, and power need to be connected. What's the USB2 header for, though?

Other Thoughts: What's with all of the complaining by other users about the 1394 pinout? The header is split up, yes, but every motherboard I have ever encountered with a 1394 header included a pinout diagram in the manual, and the manual was downloadable from the board maker's web site if it wasn't in easy reach. Heck, every 1394 pinout I have ever seen was identical. Google it or look it up in ANY motherboard manual that has firewire on board.

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Jason H.'s Profile

Display Name: Jason H.

Date Joined: 02/04/03

Achievements:

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  • Reviews: 61
  • Helpfulness: 41
  • First Review: 08/18/11
  • Last Review: 11/21/14
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