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Pros: 1. Cost - For $129, I secured a SFF pc capable of pushing 650Mbps through pfSense (SPI, no Squid/Snort/IPSec/OpenVPN).
2. Small form factor - Very small footprint compared to photos.
3. Four thread CPU - Atom D2550 has two CPU cores with hyperthreading to provide surprisingly robust performance (at least for pfSense).
4. Optional RS-232 - If I want to install the appropriate header, I can add a true serial port later, to eliminate the need for any KVM connections.
Cons: 1. PC Height - The unit is rather tall for a small form factor (compared to PC Engines APU1D or similar). Given that this cost half of the alternative, I'll pocket the difference and enjoy the increased capacity (APU1D @ 400Mbps max tput).
2. Barebones - I would have preferred to find a model that included memory and storage, but even then the costs were far below the alternatives.
Other Thoughts: The performance of the system is certainly surprising, though a thorough search of forums confirmed my expectations before I purchased it.
The more surprising aspect of the unit was the build quality. I must say that the system was fully prepared from the moment I opened the case and installed memory/storage. One USB boot and 10 minutes later, I had a fully functional pfSense firewall capable of 650Mbps and loads of features that don't require me to purchase licensing (aka. Cisco, Juniper, Fortigate, etc.) to enable them.
This review is from: Mediasonic HFR2-SU3S2FW Raid 0 (Spanning) JBOD Raid 0 (Stripping) Raid 1 (Mirroring) Raid 3 (Stripped set with dedicated parity) Raid 5 (Striped set with distributed parity) Raid 10 (Mirroring + Striping) 4 3.5" Drive Bays USB 3.0 eSA
Pros: 1. Hardware RAID built-in
2. Multiple RAID modes, including 5 & 10
3. Support of 6Gbps SATA
4. Excellent price compared to "Enclosure + HW RAID" solutions.
5. Simple controls for setup and operation
6. Wide number of connectivity options
Cons: 1. Power connector on the side, not back
2. Simple controls = Less functionality for some
3. Excellent price = Extensive use of plastic
4. During heavy file copy operations, I have noted some high pitched beeps from time to time.
5. Included paper manual and PDF manual from website offer limit useful, let alone relavent, information (use the CD instead).
Other Thoughts: First, let me say that I had many doubts about this unit and whether it would match the requirements for a home media/file server that I was building. Without a doubt, the unit has met all of my expectations and even exceeded them a bit (let's just say that the manuals in the box and website isn't nearly as good as the one on the included CD).
Second, anyone using a MAC needs to download the MAC-specific firmware upgrade to resolve the issues noted previously.
Third, the unit wasn't ready to use from the get-go when connected to a server as the only storage option. I had to connect it to an existing workstation to initialize the drives and build the RAID5 array before it was usable with my server.
Fourth, despite the claims of some reviewers about no JBOD and a default to RAID0 (and the manual states RAID5 default), all of my drives appeared as JBOD when first attached, so YMMV.
Finally, know the tool you intend to use for a job. This unit has limitations, so it's not a one-size-fits-all RAID enclosure. However, it's an excellent and inexpensive replacement for pseudo-RAID solutions on motherboards and an good-enough alternative to much more expensive RAID cards (I replaced a much more expensive 3ware 9650SE-4LPML). Unless you need RAID 6/50/60, etc, this unit is a very, very good value.
Pros: 1. Single, 6-pin 12V power connection (like all HD6850s)!
2. Sips power in idle!
4. Fantastic performance at 1600x1200, 8xAA, 16AF for under $200.
Cons: The build quality isn't Gigabyte, but in general it's fine. I'm slightly concerned about the quality of the heatsink, but this isn't a HD5970, so it should be good enough.
Other Thoughts: I bought two of these for a brand new CrossfireX rig:
Phenom II X6 1090T
ASRock 890FX Deluxe3
HIS Radeon HD6850 x 2
OCZ Agility 2 120G
Rosewill Destroyer case
Only question remaining is "But will it run Crysis?" Hells yeah!
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