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LINKSYS RE7000 Max-Stream AC1900+ Mu-Mimo W-Fi Range Extender
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

4 out of 5 eggs Powerful little dual-dual 05/31/2016

This review is from: LINKSYS RE7000 Max-Stream AC1900+ Mu-Mimo W-Fi Range Extender

Pros: -Standard form-factor for this type of device
-True dual-band with the added benefit of the 802.11ac tech
-Dual modes: Wireless Extender & Wired Access Point (AP)
-Simple to use web interface
-Gigabit port
-Has a location calibration feature that shows the ideal wireless distance from the source device

Cons: -Runs pretty warm, which shouldn’t be a problem in a well-ventilated wall
-Having high expectations of Wireless Extender mode ;)

Other Thoughts: My review is from the perspective of a power user in a 2-level home with a robust network (20+ active wired nodes, mostly in the basement) and many wireless devices on the main level, which has been covered by a D-Link DIR-868L in the middle and a D-Link DAP-1650 wireless extender at the other with Gigabit wired connectivity throughout. I have upgraded through several different D-Link routers, which have all served me well for almost 10 years (and the oldest one is still running on the network as a switch). I say this so that you understand I am very happy with the current setup, with one exception. Our bedroom is a dead-spot even though it is only 10-15 feet away from the main router.

The RE7000 is a small, boxy device (think giant white wall-wart) that plugs directly into the wall – about the size of 4 decks of cards stacked together. I first tested the wireless range extender functionality. In full wireless mode, it takes an existing wireless signal and extends the range of that network to a new area, but only gives a slight performance increase. I have been playing around with these types of devices for almost 10 years now and they never cease to underwhelm me ;) In the beginning, router manufacturers wouldn’t put the ability to sync to an existing Wi-Fi signal and then propagate that signal in a new area. I would guess that some of the thinking was their worry that people would use that functionality for nefarious purposes i.e. stealing a neighbors Wi-Fi signal and then extending it into your own space. I think the other reason was because they just don’t perform all that well. The solution in early days was to find a router whose firmware could be flashed and flash it with third-party firmware that gave the router far more capability than the manufacturer gave it. In the last few years, I believe the router manufacturers decided to give the people what they want and now make the functionality available. I was testing the RE7000 in our bedroom, which is a dead spot (slowness + latency) for the 2.4GHz band. I positioned it different directions in the upper part of my closet, but running it in wireless mode only brought a slight improvement over the existing signal (50Mbps write & 100Mbps read) and the latency wasn’t much improved. Since I still had one network jack on the main router, I ran a second network cable to the closet, hooked the device to the wired network and switched it over to Wired Access Point mode. At that point, I confirmed one thing and discovered another: I confirmed the superiority of the 5GHz band, whose signal remains strong without the need of extending it. What I discovered was that, because the wired port on the device runs a Gigabit speeds, I could see the full potential of the 2.4GHz band in our room. I was getting 120Mbps write speeds and 200Mbps read speeds, whereas if they hadn’t made it Gigabit, both would have been limited to 100Mbps. In the end, I realized that I needed a wired extender in our room, since the tablets we use in there can only utilize the 2.4GHz network. This device, however, was overkill for our room, since it is dual-band. As it so happened, I recently de-commissioned a D-Link DIR-615 and I installed it right above my closet door and it now allows a much better wireless signal to our bedroom in AP Mode. Of course, I will find a more appropriate use for the RE7000.

I gave it 4 eggs for ease of use and good performance on both wireless bands. I dinged it an egg because, at the current going rate of ~$150 for new, it is not a great value.

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Corsair Force LE 2.5
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

5 out of 5 eggs A long way from my first Corsair Force 30GB SSD 05/22/2016

This review is from: Corsair Force LE 2.5" 480GB SATA III TLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) CSSD-F480GBLEB

Pros: -No-frills design & packaging
-Good value
-Although the 3-year warranty is fairly average, my previous experience with Corsair’s products tells me that it will go well past that.

Cons: Something to be aware of/Minor Con: As with many SSDs these days, there are no extras with this drive, not even a plastic shim to make it thicker if needed. This drive is 7mm thick and in the case I have mine in, it goes in a slot that was designed for a 9mm thick drive. Because some laptop mounting options depend on the thickness of the drive being a certain amount, make sure you plan ahead with this drive.

Other Thoughts: Whenever possible, I configure desktop systems that have a SSD for the system and application files and a mechanical drive (or drives in RAID) for the media files (Documents, Music, Video, Games). For that purpose, the 120GB SSD is perfect for my main systems and several of my media systems do great with a 60GB SSD for the same purpose. For my needs, a 480GB drive is best suited for a laptop and I have been extremely impressed with the write speeds on this drive. I decided to clone a comparable SanDisk SSD that I had Windows 10 Pro installed over to this drive and I am always happy when the whole clone only takes about 2 minutes from start to finish. Here are the comparisons using CrystalDiskMark:

SANDISK SDSSDXPS-480G-G25
Sequential Read (Q= 32,T= 1) : 543.197 MB/s
Sequential Write (Q= 32,T= 1) : 486.631 MB/s
Random Read 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 213.224 MB/s [ 52056.6 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 170.705 MB/s [ 41676.0 IOPS]
Sequential Read (T= 1) : 495.964 MB/s
Sequential Write (T= 1) : 462.825 MB/s
Random Read 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 23.408 MB/s [ 5714.8 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 41.204 MB/s [ 10059.6 IOPS]

CORSAIR FORCE LE 480GB
Sequential Read (Q= 32,T= 1) : 556.397 MB/s
Sequential Write (Q= 32,T= 1) : 447.729 MB/s
Random Read 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 197.667 MB/s [ 48258.5 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q= 32,T= 1) : 159.062 MB/s [ 38833.5 IOPS]
Sequential Read (T= 1) : 484.239 MB/s
Sequential Write (T= 1) : 461.185 MB/s
Random Read 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 24.971 MB/s [ 6096.4 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q= 1,T= 1) : 53.928 MB/s [ 13166.0 IOPS]

As you can see, the Corsair keeps up really well with the more expensive SanDisk. Of course, comparing SanDisk’s 10-year warranty to Corsair’s 3-year warranty comes into play, but I happily give this 5 eggs for the value with top-end speeds that is the Corsair Force LE 480GB.

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Corsair Hydro Series H110i GTX 280mm Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

5 out of 5 eggs The BFC for my BFC 05/22/2016

This review is from: Corsair Hydro Series H110i GTX 280mm Extreme Performance Liquid CPU Cooler

Pros: CORSAIR QUALITY = The “little things” that make the experience rich & enjoyable:
-Straightforward/intuitive mounting options with gun-metal/black chrome components, a personal favorite
-Powered by SATA plug rather than putting a strain on the header power
-Monitored via USB + fan header using Corsair Link software
-They went to the effort to give it great styling, even though it may hardly ever be seen
-Not only are their fans very quiet & reliable, but they have given them a unique look as part of their overall styling
-Corsair's customer service, in the rare times I have had to use it, has been consistent over the 10+ years I have been using their products.

Cons: -Not so much a con as something to consider: This thing is BIG and will require a roomy case that either has specific mounting options or it may require some serious “modding.” I don’t personally see either option as a con, but thought I would mention it…
-The Corsair Link software is good, but could benefit from a "status icon" viewing option when running in the system tray, which I could see happening on a future update.

Other Thoughts: Quoting my Newegg review of the Corsair Graphite 730T case, “I was first introduced to the BFG back in late 90’s when Doom II first hit the scene… I have now been introduced to the BFC” I installed the H100i Cooler into the 730T Case, which should make the title for this review more clear. My original title for this review was “Possible overkill, definite performance” and, although it very much applies, it wasn’t much in the way of a “hook.”

I touched on the size element of this cooler in the Cons section, so that should suffice. A cooler this size is made to cool the top-end processors and, if coolers have thoughts, mine probably thought to itself “This job is not worthy of my blade” (fan blades, of course – loosely quoting Goemon from the anime classic Castle of Cagliostro). I say this because it is cooling an AMD FX-6300 moderately overclocked to 4GHz. I ran Prime95 for 5 hours to test stability and the cores never went above 35°. An old audio adage goes something like this… More amplification gives you higher definition at lower volumes. It seems to somewhat apply here, from the aspect of the quality of the experience. Even though it isn’t the best and the fastest processor, it serves its function well, is mission-critical and it is nice to know that my processor “lives in a cool place” all of the time – idling at around 15° and generally staying in the low 20s.

I installed the Corsair Link software, which gives you full monitoring of the pump RPM, the 2 fans and the cooler temp, as well as the motherboard-related temps & fan RPMs. It does its job well and my one critique of the software, albeit minor, is in the cons section.

Overall, I didn’t believe I could be more of a Corsair fanboy than I already was, but they continue up the bar on impressing me! The dual fans remained quiet during the Prime95 testing, but some of that was because they never breached the middle temp range. I give this H110i cooler 5 eggs for its sheer awesomeness.

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Rob H.'s Profile

Display Name: Rob H.

Date Joined: 03/11/03

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  • Reviews: 101
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  • First Review: 07/12/11
  • Last Review: 05/31/16
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