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CORSAIR  64GB  Flash Voyager GS USB 3.0 Flash DriveModel CMFVYGS3B-64GB
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

4 out of 5 eggs Chunky, but fast! 04/18/2015

This review is from: CORSAIR 64GB Flash Voyager GS USB 3.0 Flash DriveModel CMFVYGS3B-64GB

Pros: The sneakernet lives again. Years ago we used to refer to copying data onto a floppy disk, running it across the room/across the building/across town/across the globe as using the "sneakernet" if it were a simpler solution than finding a way to move a small piece of data over the network. The sneakernet died with floppy drives (burning CD's, and later, DVD's just wasn't as quick and convenient) but has steadily risen like the proverbial Phoenix from the ashes with the proliferation of increasingly cheaper and larger flash drives. Now I, like many IT professionals, have a plethora of cheap pen drives with varying brand logos on them that I have collected over the years, booty from various trade shows and industry seminars I have attended. Most of them used to have software product samples on them. In fact, I have so many that I keep a Manhattan Mondohub (newegg SKU N82E16817474012) stuck to the side of my case just to keep them organized. The only time I actually PAY for a flash drive is when I feel the need for extra speed or space (or both).

The Corsair Voyager GS has speed and space aplomb. Available in sizes up to 512GB, my review sample was the 64GB model, the smallest in the Voyager GS lineup, yet it lands squarely on the throne as the largest flash drive that I now own (it almost boggles the mind that the first computer I owned with internal storage back in the early 90's had a 5.25" 80 MEGAbyte hard drive. almost).

While predictably not living up to the hype on the packaging, the performance beats every USB3 drive I have ever used. ATTO tested a max read of 261MB/s and max write of 74MB/s, versus the advertised 295/170. The "mainstream USB 3.0 drive" numbers used on the packaging for comparison did my next best flash drive more justice than it deserved; they used 100/20 and my "baseline/control" drive performed at 89/12!

I would not ever worry about damaging this drive. The metal case (zinc alloy, as described on the package) feels solid and rugged in the hand. You could probably hit it with a hammer without doing much damage. In fact, I would worry about dropping it on ceramic tile or hardwood. It may chip or dent the floor (I'm not kidding).

Cons: It's TOO big! The shoulder surrounding the USB connector will certainly block adjacent ports in a motherboard I/O template, and it could not be plugged into the recessed USB ports on the front of my Obsidian 600D case. That's right. A Corsair flash drive could not be plugged in to a Corsair case. Flash drives/pen drives are often called "thumb" drives because they are very similar in size to a person's thumb (obviously). If your thumb is the same size as this thing, you could be the all-time thumb-wrestling champion. Check the dimensions on the specifications tab above. They are correct: >3"x>1"x almost 1/2"!!! It's big, and heavy. It has a loop for keeping it on your key chain, but that really isn't practical unless you are one of those people whose keys are already suitable for use as a weapon.

The dust cap fits very snugly with a neoprene boot, but I bet it will work its way loose over time. More importantly, there is no retainer to keep it attached after it is removed. Disorganized types are sure to lose it in short order. This may not be a bad thing, as the cap alone weighs more than the other USB3 drive I was comparing this one to with ATTO.

Most importantly: The amazing speed is not CONSISTENT. Even though ATTO reported MAX throughput of 261MB/s read and 74MB/s write, it actually AVERAGED 131MB/s read and 37MB/s write, about half of it's maximum performance. The drive I was comparing it to, on the other hand, maxed at 89/12 and averaged 65/7, almost 75% of its maximum read speed and more than half of its write speed. When looking at average throughput, the Voyager GS doesn't have quite the performance advantage over its lower-priced brethren than it did at first blush, although it is still substantial.

Other Thoughts: So, with all of the numbers crunched, is the size, weight, and price worth it in the real world? Yes. Marginally, but yes. I dragged and dropped a heavily compressed 4GB movie file between a blank (non-OS) Samsung EVO 850 SSD and each drive. The speed difference was not phenomenal, but it was noticeable. The same goes for several thousand small, uncompressed files totaling almost 4GB. The speed difference was not only measurable, but noticeable. Installing Win7 from USB3 (with USB3 drivers rolled into the boot.wim) took 4 minutes on a test system vs. the "control" drive's 6-8 minutes. If you move dozens of gigabytes of data back and forth on a daily basis, you will save time with this drive.

Not so long ago one was lucky to catch this price for a 4GB USB2.0 flash drive on black Friday at the big box store, so I don't consider the price all that high, even if it is higher than competing models. The speed gain is worth it. Other opinions may vary.

What is much more debatable is whether the bulk is worthwhile. Is the speed gain worth having a hunk of metal in your pocket the size of a butane lighter so heavy that it is pulling down your britches?

I had to think very long and hard about whether to give this unit 5 eggs, but couldn't bring myself to do it. The max throughput is nice, but I would be more impressed if it could sustain 200+/70+ on the read/write speeds, let alone live up to the marketing on the package. The nail in that fifth egg's coffin is the unruly bulk and weight. It makes the drive unusable in a lot of ports and reduces portability. The cap is also too easy to lose. They should not be necessary trade-offs for the speed increase over drives that cost half as much, so I had to let one egg go.

I do still strongly recommend this drive to users who need speed and space and don't mind paying for it, especially if you have a tool bag/briefcase/purse to put it in instead of a pocket.

Seagate  STDF30000100  30TB  NAS Pro 6-Bay Network Storage
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

5 out of 5 eggs Robust Enough For the Enterprise, Easy Enough For the Home 04/13/2015

This review is from: Seagate STDF30000100 30TB NAS Pro 6-Bay Network Storage

Pros: My wife and I own an IT business, and though we rent a storefront executive suite, most of our infrastructure is in my home office. We suffered a devastating server catastrophe in October of 2014 in which the (admittedly) inadequate backups went down with the ship. Nearly 20 years of family memories, business records, and financial data vanished in a puff of despair. This is what happens when the cobbler's children have no shoes. We have since invested unholy amounts of money into mountains of new hardware that includes redundant EVERYTHING and a PILE of BackupExec licenses. Anyone familiar with it knows that BackupExec is not for the faint of heart, unless they are faint of heart about losing data. We have been struggling to find space to back up 2 servers, 5 workstations, a laptop, an NVR, 2 VM's, 2 smartphones, and 5 tablets. I almost cried when the eggs parted and I was presented with a 30TB NAS to test!

The biggest "Pro" of all? SPACE. LOTS of it! The factory configured 25TB "SmartRAID" is essentially RAID5 with more flexibility for dissimilar drives. Since I am using the included enterprise-grade Terascale drives it IS a RAID5 for my use, and I don't expect a drive failure soon unless I'm hit with a fluke defect. The unit is also flexible enough to create multiple volumes if that would suit your purposes better, such as two 10TB RAID5 arrays, or a 15TB RAID5 and a 5TB RAID1, or three 5TB RAID1's. Whatever you like can be done. RAID6 is even available for the super-paranoid (which I should probably be) and RAID10 can be configured for speed freaks. It's all very easy in the NAS OS.

Speaking of NAS OS, I have never seen any NAS UI so intuitive AND powerful in any unit, be it a little toy home NAS or a mega-enterprise unit. You have to do a little digging to get to the more enterprise-related features or even add an app to make it do what you want, but it's all there and extremely easy. Even if you aren't in the UI, an LCD on the front of the case keeps you in the know if there is anything important to tell. It goes dark when all is well.

I like another reviewer's comparison of it to a toaster, as long as you qualify it as a 4-slice toaster. It's only a little bit bigger than the subwoofer with my Logitech speakers. I've also never heard a sound from it, but it lives right next to a VERY loud rackmount server.

Bonding the 2 NIC's for load balancing ensured that throughput was always stellar no matter how much demand was placed on it simultaneously, even a Plex Media Server VM streaming multiple files off of it to several users at once WHILE workstations were being backed up to it AT THE SAME TIME.

Share, user, and group permission management was a breeze, especially after I joined it to our domain and began importing objects from our active directory.

Finally, BackupExec can NOT deduplicate to a network share, but it can to an iSCSI target. iSCSI configuration and performance was painles

Cons: The price is high, but if you can build ANY NAS with 30TB of drives (let alone drives of this caliber) and this performance for less money, you stole your hardware. FreeNAS may match it in features and maybe in performance, but not in ease of use and you won't be able to get the hardware for this price. No eggs off for the high price, because I feel that you get your money's worth.

I did remove all of the factory configured shares and create my own share structure. They appear and work perfectly when browsing the network. Strangely, one of the factory shares, "Public," refuses to disappear from the UI. Trying to remove it again results in an error, and it does not appear when browsing the device from a workstation by IP or hostname. I see another reviewer resolved a similar problem from the 12TB model via SSH, so I may try that but I don't like having to. Again, not enough to pull an egg.

As I am writing this, the UI has reported that there is a firmware update, but (as is to be expected) it admonishes to copy all of your data to an external hard drive before running the update. Right. Hey, let me grab this 25TB hard drive out of my inventory cabinet to copy my iSCSI volume and multiple terabytes of data onto real quick like before I upgrade the firmware!

The NVR app is goofy and crude (and expensive if you want to use more than one camera). Grab an old PC, install BridgeVMS/Video Insight, and map a drive letter to the NAS Pro for its footage. Use BridgeVMS cameras (they're great) and it won't cost you a penny.

The Bittorrent client is silly. It can handle exactly one download at a time and gives you zilch for information as it downloads or seeds. You are flying blind on your trackers, peers, ratio, etc. Worse, there is no provision to use a VPN if you are one of THOSE Bittorrent users (ahem). Just build yourself a seedbox and shove it in the closet (even better: build a VM). Have it store its data on the NAS Pro alongside the NVR footage. It has the room.

I could rant on about the apps, but I didn't really try many and very few (if any) are actually developed by Seagate. They are all third-party add-ons written by developers using an SDK provided by Seagate, so some will be better than others. Find the ones that you need, try them, and see how well they work. I can't honestly punish Seagate for someone else's lousy work or poor implementation of their code.

Other Thoughts: So now everything in my house and my office is on a RAID5 or a RAID1 AND it is safely backing up to a positively CAVERNOUS iSCSI volume on this NAS Pro. Easy, right? Not so much.

As I said, space had constantly been a premium, so we ordered the deduplication option. I'm not about to let that pile of money go to waste, so I want BackupExec to continue to dedupe when backing up to the iSCSI target on the NAS Pro. As I also mentioned BE is not for the faint of heart, and deduplicating requires ~1.5GB of RAM for every terabyte of backup space. With a 12TB iSCSI volume, we had to dedicate an old Dell Precision workstation with Windows Server, dual Xeons, and 32GB of ECC just so BackupExec could deduplicate to the NAS Pro. We've gone broke getting complete overkill backup system, but the NAS Pro was an amazing final slice of the pie, especially with such awesome iSCSI performance.

Network shares are a breeze to set up an use, especially on a domain. There is no user/password juggling to do beyond what has already been done before you bought it (nor are there any updating headaches when they change). Just import your users and groups, assign them to shares, and map/mount shares on the workstations. It couldn't be easier.

Performance was off the charts. It used to be that getting 100MB/s over gigabit with NFS or SMB/CIFS was understood to be impossible. With the NAS pro, transfer speeds never drop below 160MB/s, and often run 180-200MB/s, even with multiple devices accessing the unit simultaneously. That's incredible.

This is a high-dollar, high-performing, high-value unit that is worth every penny to those who have the need and the budget.

ASRock X99 Extreme6 LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

5 out of 5 eggs This board does not disappoint! 04/13/2015

This review is from: ASRock X99 Extreme6 LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Pros: Considering the price of competing and comparable X99 boards, this is a great board at a great price.

The layout is tidy (be sure to read my cons), symmetrical, and sleek. It will look great in snazzy builds, although fancy builders may opt for flashier boards like the Fatal1ty.

With a Core i7-5930K (@ 4.6Ghz with a Corsair H100i), 16GB of DDR4-2600 (4 x 4GB sticks), and a Samsung 250GB M.2 PCIe 12Gb/s SSD this is bar none the fastest PC I have ever sat in front of. Of course, much of that is testament to the performance of my CPU, RAM, and SSD, not so much the motherboard, but I was able to achieve that stable overclock with very little effort, which IS a testament to the motherboard, especially the stability of the VRM and the cooling on the NB.

When things did go south while dialing in the overclock, the mechanically switchable dual BIOS, "Dr. Debug" LED, and easy CMOS clear buttons came in quite handy. Each was a nice addition and together were definitely greater than the sum of their parts: Overclock->crash->glimpse Dr. Debug to see what failed->power down->switch to BIOS B->boot back up->reset->lather->rinse->repeat. Steady as she goes and we made 4.6. With a really robust custom loop instead of a mass-produced closed loop I can imagine a 5930K (or even a 5960) hitting 5GHz, but custom cooling on the VRM, NB, and RAM may be in order to pull that off.

I found the dual USB3 headers on the board useful as well. Only one, as most boards still have, could only have served my front USB3 ports OR my 3.5" USB3 card reader, but not both. I would have needed a cable adapter looped to the back or a PCIe card. A card was out because of my SLI config and looping cables to the back with an adapter is kind of hokey unless it can't be avoided (it certainly cuts reliability). The board does have plenty of USB3 ports on the back to spare if it ever comes to that, though.

The HDD Saver port is a cool idea. It can cut cable routing issues, reduce PSU load (sort of; it goes from one leg to another), and extend the life of your hard drive/SSD. It comes at the cost of software installation and configuration that doesn't gain you much over what your OS probably already has, so I opted not to use it, but I still like it.

The internal USB port was handy for me to add a Bluetooth adapter and keep it out of sight. Many front panel widgets require the aforementioned hokey cable looped to the back of the case, and this port would eliminate that as well.

The mini PCIe is also a convenient way to add wi-fi or an SSD or a few other types of peripherals if the PCIe slots are consumed by your video setup. I installed an Intel 7260HMW 802.11AC adapter long enough to see that it worked without a hitch, but did not leave it there for long-term use, as the dual-gigabit ports in a load-balancing configuration are awesome (I suggest a third party app for this).

Cons: My complaints are minor to negligible, but to be a good eggxpert I have to include them.

The reset and power buttons are standard fare on high-end motherboards these days and were obviously included obligatorily, but the placement should have been thought through a little better. Reaching them is no problem on the bench, but they are as good as useless in the case if you have a 2 or 3 way SLI set up.

The molex power DEFINITELY should have been closer to an edge of the board. There's no way to keep the install clean if you want to use it. Then again, you don't need it unless you are really burdening the PCIe bus with multiple rowdy video cards.

Speaking of video cards, since this isn't a TOP binned X99 board, you can only go 3-way with your SLI if you are one of those truly loony graphics types. The 40 PCIe lanes of newer Intel CPU's may get you more peripherals and more lanes to play with, but you're still only getting 3 video cards in this board. Still I was fine with 2 Quadros, but I'm an engineering IT guy, not a gaming IT guy.

I have always hated cheap motherboards only having one moveable retainer on the RAM slots, with the other side being fixed. Latches on both sides make me more confident. Why oh why on Earth does a high-end X99 board only have retainers on one side of the RAM slots? I am admittedly coming from an AMD world, so maybe this is common on Intel platforms, but that would be crazy in my book.

Like a said, no major cons. Certainly nothing big enough to remove an egg, even if you add them all up.

Other Thoughts: I don't know where my December review went, so I am submitting again. I have since acquired memory and SSD upgrades, so I am revising my review accordingly :-)

As an IT professional, I have been an AMD loyalist for some years. I am not an elitist Win/Mac/Linux (Linux!), GM/Ford/Mopar (Mopar!), Marvel/DC (who cares?), Kirk/Picard (Kirk!), Tastes Great/Less Filling (Shiner!) fanboy type when it comes to AMD/Intel. It's a business case I have developed in dealing with hundreds of consumer and corporate customers and thousands of PC's and servers in my company since '06, let alone my IT career since '93: Dollar-for-dollar, AMD platforms give more performance for the money. The price of Intel is only justified when top performance is called for at any cost.

I had a liquid-cooled 8-core AMD rig that ran at 5.2Ghz sitting on my desk for 15 months and anyone who saw it in action had their mind blown like a Mustang flunky who just got wasted by a '69 Charger, especially Intel loyalists who swore that AMD can't cut it. Now that I've had my hands on an X99 board, this has been a good chance for me to truly test the notion that extra coin for a high-end Intel setup is worth it.

X99 has quickly established itself as the platform for uncompromising performance, to say the least. Asrock has a well-earned reputation for making motherboards that are every bit as good as the offerings by Asus and Gigabyte, but with friendlier prices.

Even though it was newer-generation equipment, I tried very hard to build the system with this motherboard as "apples-to-apples" as I could to the above FX-9370 machine by using equipment just a hair short of top-bin, just as it was when I built it (i.e. I used an Asus M5A99FX PRO R2.0 instead of a Crosshair or Sabertooth). I gave up 2 cores and gained 12 PCIe lanes (we'll argue core construction semantics another day).

Besides adding a Samsung M.2 PCIe 12Gb/s SSD and replaceing the RAM with 16GB of faster DDR4-2666, the 2 antique Quadros in SLI, the SATA DVD, and the Coolmax PSU remain. With those changes my review can't make an apples-to-apples comparison to my AMD counterpart anymore, but I can draw some useful conclusions.

The X99 chipset/platform and its LGA2011-3 counterpart processors are world-beaters. Nothing compares, not even my souped-up FX-9370, especially with a 12Gb/s SSD and quad-channel DDR4-2666. Every metric was better, even the graphics when using the same cards, although some were marginal enough to be negligible.

The cost difference between the AM3+ and X99 platforms is astronomical. There is no debate.

There is also no debate that the performance difference is significant, but not astronomical.

Whether the significant performance difference justifies the astronomical price difference is a debate that will probably never be resolved.

This excellent board and its accompanying excellent price at least tips that debate in favor of Intel and should be a strong consideration for users sho


Jason H.'s Profile

Display Name: Jason H.

Date Joined: 02/04/03


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  • Last Review: 04/18/15
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