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Pros: bright consistent colors across display
LED backlight allows for very neutral greys and 'white whites'
No dead/stuck pixels
Very even backlighting
1 VGA and 2 HDMI inputs
Works just fine at non-native resolutions as found in BIOS, or setting at 720p for gaming on budget GPUs
Cons: Pixels are ridiculously large and bulky (see 'other thoughts')
Cheap parts make for lots of noise in the image. The VGA is so bad that I had to hunt down a HDMI cable, and even the HDMI has a fair amount of noise (but passable).
Text and static images look rough and boxy with no amount of ClearType or AA that can really smooth the picture out. Certain color patterns, or putting text over some grey backgrounds produce illegible results and strange colors.
Color range and contrast is very limited (though greyscale is surprisingly good... not sure how that happens)
Color accuracy does not exist and is all over the map, decent OSD controls help reign it in, but it is never going to be 'good'
Chroma is just bad.
Other Thoughts: I bought this as a stop-gap replacement for my wife's 27" monitor that died recently. The old display was a 27" 1920x1200 16:10 display. The main thing it suffered from was a bad backlight setup which caused extremely limited contrast, poor black levels, backlight bleeding that got much worse over time, and the white and greys were always a little on the warm/yellow side.
This new display does not suffer from any of those issues. It has a far superior backlight which gives good black level (for a monitor), no bleed, nice even lighting, and very neutral grey scale with white whites.
Sadly, the panel and processing end of this display are trash. While the old display had issues with things like dark movies, every other use-case was passable and usable.
The big issue is with text. A computer is often used for games and videos which this monitor does an OK job at, but even the most avid gamer spends a ton of time looking at text, and that is where this display falls apart.
The pixels are large and poorly defined. Part of this is the nature of such a large display, but our older display had only a slightly higher ppi (83.86 vs 81.59) but the pixels were well defined and things like text and static images were clear and not too blocky. Text over a white background is rough but passable, but when you put text over a grey background, or a color picture, it can quickly become illegible. It is almost like the pixels around the text bleed into it, producing deformations in the shape, or even producing rainbow-like boarders between black text/lines and color images.
The other big issue is noise on the processing end. As stated above, the VGA has a fair amount of noise. Still usable, but not something you want to look at all day. Moving to HDMI cleaned up most of it (no more interference patterns crawling up the screen), but there is still that speckled analog looking noise in the screen that I am not accustomed to on a digital input.
Lastly, static images look horrible. Lots of stair-stepping between colors. I mean, it is bound to happen on any low ppi display; but again our old display was not that different but cleartype and AA were enough to make it a non-issue, where there is no compensating for it here.
At the end of the day I could not recommend this to anyone. This is a junk TV mascaraing as a computer monitor with all of the normal issues that can be expected with such a setup. Thankfully it has an OSD with a lot of controls to vastly improve the stock settings... but even after calibration and running ClearType it is just bad for desktop computer use. I would highly suggest buying a smaller but better quality 1080p display, or else spending a little more money for even a cheap 1440p display at this size which is simply going to have less of these issues.
When we do replace this I will use it on my test bench to troubleshoot PCs and watch TV, but we will not use this as a main display any longer than needed.
Pros: 1) Big... but I still wish they were bigger (See other thoughts #4)
2) Fast... I have 2 of these in RAID1 for storage and backups, and 2 SSDs in RAID0 for system drive. Transferring files between them I am getting a consistent sequential read/write speed up near 250+MB/s. When I had a bare drive I was getting 220MB/s, so if you RAID1 them with an actual RAID controller rather than the Intel RAID that I am using you ought to be able to hit reads up near 400MB/s and writes at ~200MB/s. Considering the RAID1 it replaced only ever got 80MB/s on a good day before they started having issues I am blown away!
3) Quiet... And I am a stickler for sound. I have nice 800RPM 140mm case fans and I cannot hear the HDDs above them with the exception of some light read/write head noise which is no big deal. I have bought a ton of drives over the years, but over the last 5 years they have been drives for other people, and as I did not live with them I did not appreciate just how nice and quiet they have gotten the last few years.
4) Cool... Not that it matters that much, but these drives run just barely warm to the touch. Being in RAID I cannot get an actual temp, but these are by far some of the coolest mechanical drives I have ever owned.
Cons: 1) Not a big deal, but you only get 2.7TB of space out of these. Completely understandable when you are converting between Mib to MB, but that is 300GB I wish I had.
2) 1 came DOA. These drives (like most large drives) suffer from a fairly high failure rate. I always borrow PC Check from work to give new drives a good workout to ensure they are working properly. One passed with flying colors, while the other had the click of death. It was half expected which is why I ordered them when I did (well ahead of a major project), but the RMA process from the place I purchased these drives (not Newegg) took nearly 2.5 months! I guess that's what I get for trying to save a buck...
3) Warranty... When I purchased them there was only a 2 year warranty. I understand that there is now a 3 year warranty, but that is still disconcertingly low. I miss the days a few years ago when 5-7 year warranties were the norm. For what I do it is not worth paying the extra $$ for the longer warranty, but at the same time I don't want to go too long out of warranty, so I will have to replace these drives near the 3-4 year mark which is sooner than I would like, but it hopefully will not be a big deal.
Other Thoughts: Food For Thought:
1) You need to format large drives like this in GPT (google it, easy process). GPT does not support OS installs, and requires a UEFI style BIOS in order to work, so if you are on an older system, or are looking for an over-sized system drive, then do yourself a favor stick with 2TB drives, anything bigger is for storage only.
2) Large drives have a major issue; what on earth do you back them up with? If you have enough files to require this much space, then most likely it is fairly important stuff that would hurt pretty badly to loose. The only real way to do it is to have 2+ large drives, either one as an external backup, or multiple internal drives as a RAID1 or 5 array. Thankfully all major Intel boards, and just about every AMD board has decent software RAID now, so it is not hard to find like it was a few years ago, but enabling RAID can cause issues with your system drive, so plan accordingly!
3) Move to new drives BEFORE you need to. I moved up to these drives from a RAID1 of 1st gen 1TB drives. One of them failed right after the 5 year mark, so I have been running off of one drive for a loooong time now (scary!). I would have upgraded sooner, but.. well... house, cars, babies, life, and other more urgent things kept taking my money every time I scrapped together enough money to pull the trigger on new drives. By the time I finally got around to replacing the drives the remaining functional one was having issues of it's own. So I ended up with a trudgingly slow file transfer of 5-10MB/s. 800GB of data at an average of 7MB/s literally does take DAYS! Plus it was having stability issues when doing long file transfers, so I had to sit and watch it so that I could pick up where it left off before the system would reset. Very annoying process that ate most of my free time for the better part of a week! Thankfully, everything seems to have transferred just fine, and my old (very) dead drives are all ready to be destroyed. Point is, if you can help it, get your information off of your drives at the first sign of trouble and you will save a few headaches!
4) After organizing and removing redundant files (or at least most of them) I got down to 600GB of data (mostly old projects). Then I backed up my system and enabled file history in win8, and that ate another 600GB. Then I did my wife's backup and enabled her file history settings which ate yet another 400GB. So here I bought what I thought was a HUGE amount of space, only to find that it is already more than 1/2 full, and I have not even started ripping my movie collection to it yet! When all is said and done I will probably buy a pair of 2TB drives strictly for system backups (2TB drives are more reliable anyways), which will free up a huge portion of the big drives for documents. Just keep in mind that file backups are nice to have... but they come at a HUGE space expense. Totally worth it, but I had no idea it would eat that much space.
Hope that helps
Pros: Still kicking strong!
Still getting consistent performance
Firmware update got a little more consistent speed out of the drives
Work fine in RAID if you have the right chipset (see 'other thoughts')
Cons: I am ruined on HDDs. I cannot stand them anymore. Using my PC at work with a HDD is simply painful. The HDDs in my home system seem really loud now that I have nearly silent fans, and I cannot wait for mainstream 2TB SSDs to become available (and affordable), though it may be a while.
No Intel RAID 1 or 5 support for TRIM, and no RAID0 support on z68 or older systems. Not a problem with this drive, but still a major concern, and my next SSDs I will look for drives that are not so dependent on TRIM to work properly.
The premium you use to have to pay for faster drives is not nearly as high, making the Agility series much slower but only slightly cheaper than it's bigger faster brothers. That is the only reason for the 1 egg drop.
Other Thoughts: Some notes on RAID:
So over the summer I ended up getting a 2nd Agility 3, and so I put it in RAID0 just to see how quick it would run. And boy-oh-boy is it FAST!
It is fast enough where I can push my big 4.2GHz i7 to 100% load when doing work with ease, which is exactly where the bottleneck should be!
That being said, it has not all been sunshine and lollipops with RAID and SSDs. People like me with a slightly older high end system running on a z68 chipset and using the onboard RAID controller need to be aware that TRIM commands are not passed through to the SSDs. TRIM is important to maintaining the drive, and if TRIM is not active then speed will degrade over time by a rather large margin, and wear leveling will not be done properly which will shorten the life of your drive! It is perfectly fine to run an SSD via RAID as a single drive, but when you add it to an array then you will experience problems within a month or two.
The solution? Move up to a z77 based motherboard. z77 based RAID controllers will allow TRIM commands to pass through on RAID0 (not RAID1 or 5), which fixes the slowdown that sandforce drives are hit with when trim is not utilized properly.
So in short, to add 1 feature, I had to pay $140 extra for a new motherboard. Thankfully I was able to sell my old board to subsidize the cost, and the new mobo does have some neat extra features that I also wanted. But that is a high price to pay for the sake of a single feature, so if you are on a last gen platform it would probably be best to get a single larger drive rather than dealing with RIAD to get your storage needs.
Lastly, just for fun, I found some old failed Raptor HDDs, and put my SSDs inside of their enclosures. It makes them look really awesome, and now they just run 2*c over the ambient temp of the room. By far the best 2.5->3.5 converter I have ever seen!
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