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This review is from: ORICO 2-Outlet Power Strip with Surge Protector, Built-in 5 Ft. Cord, 4 USB Intelligence Charging Ports (2 x 5V 2 .4A + 2 x 5V 1A) for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge, Nexus and More (TPC-2A4U-BK)
Pros: Eliminates some clutter from my desk -- I had a 3-outlet extension cord with wall warts sticking off it, and now i just power my devices from one convenient box. Two 2.4A USB charging ports are superb (though see cons). Two regular surge-protected outlets... excellent. These also have mirrored orientation, which is great (though see cons).
The operating LED is just plain tiny, and I love it. I don't need the room lit up like an xmas tree by any more power LEDs than I do already. It's about 0.5mm diameter...entertainingly small.
Portability is fine
Cons: Why just two 2.4A USB ports, guys? Why not make all four to this spec? Are there devices that must not be charged above 1.2A? Maybe so...?
The 120V outlets smartly have mirrored orientation but unfortunately they have grounds toward the center of the box, rather than 180 degrees from how they are (grounds out toward the edges of the case). The few polarized chargers I have would cover both outlets, which defeats having two.
I think these cons merit a 1-star dock. If these items were rectified in the next product release cycle, this would be superb.
Other Thoughts: So far so good. I hope this lasts a good long while.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: BYTECC USB3-ESATA SuperSpeed USB 3.0 to eSATA 3Gbs Adapter
Pros: Pretty packaging that you don't have to destroy to open it. Product appears to be solidly built, and the LED goes on.
Cons: Fails to provide drive information to Linux (Ubuntu 14.04.3). Product page unfortunately fails to state compatibility requirements. If you're running Linux, don't waste your time on this. If you're running windoze, it'll probably be pretty darn cool. Went to the Bytecc website after it didn't work, and that clearly states Win only, as does the packaging. Bad me for not doing enough homework, and bad product specs that don't show this.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: Zotac ZBOX-BI320-U Intel HD Graphics Integrated by CPU Black Mini-PC Barebone System
Pros: * Booted right up, no errors
* BIOS is easy to use and not quirky (but see cons)
* Hardware assembly is easy (but see cons)
* Decent speed, enough to handle 1080p movies with no jerkiness or pauses, and handle reasonable processing demands
* Extremely quiet, almost silent; it is significantly quieter than Lenovo Thinkpad W-5xx series laptops (for comparison)
* Runs Ubuntu 14.04.1 just fine with all hardware detected on install (did not test S/PDIF)
* Thoughtful screw-down bracket to hold the internal drive steady
* Power brick is compact and works fine, has decent-length cabling with a 90-degree barrel connector near the rear of the unit
* Decent-quality audio, no interference or static
* Very lightweight and conveniently compact
* Very low power consumption -- off/sleep: 0.0W; on, idle: 8W; under load: 13W. Tested with a Kill-a-Watt, with a 240GB SSD and 16GB RAM installed.
* The brick is overspecified (a good thing) at 3.4A. The computer uses nowhere near that much under normal loads, though I was not able to measure transient load
Cons: * No eSATA port -- this will keep me from using this device more, because the USB3.0 interface from my drive tower is unreliable (but eSATA works perfectly)
* Memory slots are rough and require an unnecessary amount of insertion force, worse than all laptops I have ever owned
* DVI and HDMI ports are directly adjacent and crowd each other, making the dual-monitor capabilities of this device very difficult to put into service without cable mods or purchase of very slim cables
* Apparently no wi-fi yet there's a wi-fi indicator light (??) -- an odd choice that should be investigated further
* The user manual is very sparse. It doesn't need to be a thick book since this unit is so simple to assemble and use, but it should have better diagrams for the internal components and a clear list of what is included (especially clarifying whether wi-fi is or is not supported, and explaining why the indicator light). The manual does not explain the BIOS options at all, though these should mostly be familiar to seasoned builders and tweakers.
* Does not offer a side-mount option (as in, attaching to a panel), but the shape of the case includes a H bevel all around it that would protect against a strap pressing buttons
* Did not boot off a netbootin-created bootable USB stick that was chosen in the BIOS boot list. Booting the Zotac appears to require either an internally connected drive, or an outboard CD or DVD drive. The instructions say use the outboard DVD drive, but failed to state that USB boot is *not* supported. This isn't a big deal, but should stand as warning if you are hoping to perform a live install of Ubuntu straight from a USB stick. A SATA-to-USB 3.0 interface adapter worked fine for installing Ubuntu using a temporarily re-connected internal DVD drive.
* Not especially vehicle-friendly (think semi-permanent use in a camper). Voltage requirement is 19V DC, so it requires either a 120V inverter (to use its brick) or a DC-DC converter to run off 12V DC in a vehicle.
Other Thoughts: Great little desktop computer. I was hoping it would not require an OS reinstall (Ubuntu 14.04.1) onto the SSD, but it did. The previous install was for an x86-based laptop, so it's not surprising that the Atom hardware was very foreign. The reinstall went quickly with an outboard DVD drive, after I gave up on booting the ISO off a USB stick that I had located in the BIOS and specified as the only boot device. All hardware appears to be detected, and both HDMI and DVI work for video output. The HDMI is highly aliased like HDMI outputs all seem to be, but it works without any complaining. DVI is anti-aliased as one would expect, and looks great. I did set the aperture and max video memory to 512MB in the BIOS.READ FULL REVIEW