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This review is from: TP-LINK Archer T8E AC1750 Wireless Dual Band PCI Express Adapter IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11b PCI Express Up to 1.3Gbps Wireless Data Rates
Pros: There are a lot of options out there when it comes to your home networking needs, how do you choose what you buy? Some may be loyal to a brand that has always worked for them, others may rely on reviews or their own experiences, some based on their specific needs, then there is price to consider.
So what reasons would make this TP-Link Archer T8E stand out among the crowd?
TP-Link is a trusted name in the business. For me personally, I have come to trust them for both my home networking needs, as well as those of my customers. My entire home network is now 100% TP-Link powered, and it easily meets it's very high demands. I will explain more below in "Other thoughts".
Build quality. This NIC doesn't feel "cheap" or flimsy in any way. It's nice and solid.
Simple install, as you would expect. The drivers and software both appear to be stable. At no time during any of my testing or usage did I have any problems with stability.
What really sets this NIC apart in my opinion is it's performance, and this where you ask a question. Who would be looking at buying a high-end NIC like this?
In my opinion, it would be someone who's looking for the best wireless performance they can get. Someone like me who's home network is under a higher than normal load at most times, gamers, or those who are looking for high reliability. Or, all the above.
In my case, the NIC got put to the test as part of a new gaming HTPC (Home Theater PC) that I had just completed. I decided to go wireless and let this TP-Link Archer T8E handle all the work, and this is where I think it really showed it's capability.
My current router is the TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750, paired with this NIC, I was able to maintain full strength dual-band signal between the two devices. The distance between the router and HTPC is roughly 17 feet. The signal has to pass through a wall, bookshelf, cabinet, and then the TV and HTPC itself. All at about a 45 degree angle.
To put the NIC to the test, I not only used it to quickly install a large portion of my Steam games library, but set out to see how well it would work for both online gaming and Steam In-Home Streaming.
It's online gaming performance was exceptional, playing online FPS with pings on par with my wired systems, no drops, lag spikes, or any other latency issues. So needless to say MMORPG, RTS, MOBA, and LAN gaming posed little challenge for the NIC.
Streaming modern high-end games to my HTPC over this NIC worked like a charm. Steam In-Home Streaming was set to the "beautiful" preset and there was zero noticeable input lag or latency. I was actually quite impressed considering this feature is best ran over a wire.
Streaming 1080P video from our NAS to the HTPC posed no problems. Nor did services like Hulu, Netflix, or YouTube.
Simply put, this NIC easily earns it's price tag in this users humble opinion.
Cons: To be honest, I didn't have any notable issues during any of the setup, testing, or usage of this NIC. It seemed to perform exactly as it was intended.
Other Thoughts: So what exactly do I mean when I say a "demanding" home network? We have several wired and wireless devices that are used on an almost daily basis in our home.
Currently this consists of 3 high-end gaming PC's, the HTPC mentioned above, a dedicated streaming and video capture PC, a file/media/game server, our NAS, a PS3, 3 android tablets, Roku, and various guest devices.
We do a lot of online and LAN gaming, streaming, and media. So this network is under a pretty heavy load during large portions of the day. As mentioned above, it's now all powered by TP-Link products. From the router at the heart of it all, 2 switches, a second smaller router, and a powerline kit. Then of course this new Archer T8E.
Dropping this NIC into the mix was simple, and it performed wonderfully, and actually exceeded my initial expectations.
Lastly, the HTPC this NIC got tested in, and is now staying, also got reviewed. So a large number of games were tested via Steam In-Home streaming, as well as online and LAN, as part of that review. At no time did the Archer T8E give me any trouble with slow downloads, weak signals, dropped connections, or anything of the sort. The short of it is, this NIC will NOT be a "bottleneck" for any form of gaming or media streaming. It seems to be able to handle it easily.
So,if you're looking for a high-end quality wireless adapter to meet your home networks needs, then you should be looking really hard at this Archer T8E. TP-Link has done a good job on this NIC and it's a credit to their name.
This review is from: Corsair Gaming H2100 Wireless Dolby 7.1 Gaming Headset - Greyhawk
Pros: The Corsair Gaming H2100 Wireless “Greyhawk” headset is a credit to the Corsair product line. I have been using and comparing it to my other headsets a lot over the past week. Gaming, movies, music, VOIP, etc. It performed wonderfully.
The sound quality is actually very good, easily on par and better that other headsets in and above it's price range. While gaming, you get deep clear explosions/bass, no noticeable distortions, no “tinny” sounds, just an overall great gaming experience. With TV, movies, and music, the experience is the same.
The closed design also allows for great “noise canceling” and easy immersion into whatever you're playing or watching. Just be aware that this headset easily blocks out most environmental noise, something that I like, but others may not.
The mic is fixed (not removable), but partially bendable to position closer to your mouth. It's audio quality is what you expect from a gaming headset mic. Not as good as a quality independent microphone on a boom of course, but perfectly fine for VOIP. Clear and undistorted, easily understandable.
The microfiber-wrapped memory foam earpads are very comfortable when worn for long periods of time. At no time did I ever experience any discomfort around my ears when wearing the headset for long periods of time. The headband is also padded and comfortable.
The overall build quality of the headset also seems quite nice. Easily adjustable to fit most heads and none if it feels “cheap” in any way. The only possible failure point one may worry about would be the pivot point where the headband meets the headphones, but this can be said for any headset that has them. However, even on my big head, they don't seem to “creak or pop” at all. So I don't foresee any problems.
As far as battery life is concerned, they last about 6 hours at the very minimum, and closer to 9 or so hours at the maximum. The battery life is going to be highly dependent on what you're doing of course. Using the USB charging cable while using the headset poses no problems, at that point, it just feels like a regular wired headset while charging.
The headset itself is very simple to control. One giant on/off button and a single large volume roller on the left ear.
The transceiver dongle can easily be placed anywhere around your PC via the included 1.5m USB extension cable and stand. Placing it up and away from your PC does get you better range.
Lastly, the “Corsair Gaming Headset Control Panel” software is nothing special or fancy, but it's easy to configure and seems to be perfectly stable. Never crashing or causing any issues what so ever. A lot can be said for stable software.
Cons: There are only two real cons I experienced so far, and neither is really much to do with the headset, but the environment it's being used in and how I use my headphones.
Like any wireless device, the signals don't travel well through some objects, such as mirrors for example. When I would walk from my PC to the kitchen, still well within the headsets 40' advertized range, I would get drops.
However it was simply because of where I had the dongle placed and the fact the signal had to go through a mirror to reach me. Coupled with the fact the headset is running on 2.4GHz, which it highly saturated in many areas since most wireless devices operate on that frequency.
Just remember, placement of the dongle can have a huge impact any wireless headsets performance. Moving the dongle to avoid the mirror eliminated the drops.
Secondly, I often find myself wearing my headsets only on one ear, meaning I have only one cup on one ear. The other is behind my other ear so I can still hear what's going on in my home, often when watching TV or movies I will do this.
While I can still do this with the Greyhawk, it does tend to “slide” forward or back on my head at times, forcing me to readjust it. However, like I mentioned above, I have a big head, so take from that what you will.
Again, not the fault of the headset, but how I use them. I just wanted to mention it just in case others do this as well.
Beyond that, I have no complaints about the headset, it has been performing wonderfully!
Other Thoughts: In closing, I just have to say that I was very pleased and happy with the quality and performance of the H2100 Greyhawk, for it's price point it easily met and exceeded my expectations.
If you're looking for a quality gaming headset, but don't want to break the bank in the process, then this headset should be on your list.
The headsets I used to compare the Greyhawk with were the SteelSeries 9H (wired), Sennheiser PC 323D, Turtle Beach Z300, and the Creative Sound Blaster Tactic3D Rage V2.0. The Greyhawk H2100 was easily on par with all of them, and better in some cases.
This review is from: SAMSUNG 1TB USB 3.0 Portable SSD T1
External storage is something I have a lot of, every system in my home has one or two USB 3 external HDD's connected to it, some connected 24/7, some not. That's in addition to the home NAS. Most of this drive space is used for backups and redundant data storage.
However there are two 1TB HDD's that I use when I want to travel with data, both have always been reliable and have done their jobs as expected. Both are USB 3 and are basically 2.5 inch laptop HDDs in portable enclosures. So they are relativity small and "fast enough" for most tasks.
After benchmarking (see "Other thoughts") I decided to use this Samsung T1 as a replacement for one of those two HDDs. I wanted to really see where that extra speed paid off.
The first and most obvious is the saved time coping/moving files to and from the T1. Especially large files, or large groups of files, that normally take quite a long time when using an HDD.
These speeds also make it possible to stream media and other content from the drive. You can use it to stream HD+ videos or to run a presentation without having to copy the data to a local drive. No slowdowns, no hiccups.
Secondly, you can easily install software and games to the drive and have them run just as good or better than if they were installed on an internal HDD.
I installed a couple DRM free games on the drive, took it to a friends, and was able to load them up on his PC with ease. On my own system I copied over my Battlefield Hardline installation ran the game from the T1, and it ran wonderfully. Much faster load times than via HDD, nearly as fast as the internal SSD the game sits on normally.
So while the speed benefits of using a portable SSD like the T1 are pretty obvious, what makes this drive any different than other options?
For me this comes down to two points. One being the fact it's a Samsung drive, a tried, true, and trusted world leader in SSD technology.
The other being the AES 256 bit encryption, no software installation is required. I really like having this amazing feature available to you right out of the box, taking only a few moments to setup.
Connecting the drive to your PC will prompt you to name the drive, and choose if you wish to enable the encryption or not. Once done, your data is password protected and secure.
The level of protection is such that forgetting your password will make the T1 unusable, requiring you to use a factory reset tool to reset the T1 back to it's out-of-box state. This will allow you to use the drive again, but data recovery is not possible. I really like this feature, just be sure you don't forget your password.
Overall I am impressed with the Samsung T1. It's fast, secure, and so easily used. It's much more portable than most other options. I really like this drive.
Cons: Short USB3 cable, about 4.5 inches.
Other than that, I didn't find any other cons with the T1.
Other Thoughts: Benchmarking the T1 consisted of two different main systems, one AMD 990FX based, the other Intel Z97, both running Windows 7 Ultimate 64. The software tools used were the latest versions of CrystalDiskMark 64 and ATTO, with queue depth of 10. 1000MB file size on CDM 64 and all default settings on ATTO.
The AMD 990FX based system was running an FX-8350 on the ASUS Sabertooth R2.0 motherboard.
Both CDM 64 and ATTO gave nearly identical numbers, these are the averages.
Sequential Read: 351.5 MB/s
Sequential Write: 335.3 MB/s
512K Read: 315.6 MB/s
512K Write: 313.4 MB/s
If you're experiencing slower than average speeds, about a max of 250 MB/s, on the ASUS Sabertooth (or any other supported ASUS board), you should install the included USB 3 driver, as well as the AI Suite "USB 3.0 Boost" software and enable UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol). Once UASP is enabled, you do not have to leave the software installed, but you're speed boost will remain.
The Z97 based system was tested running the i5-4690K. The motherboard was the ASRock Fatal1ty Killer. Again, average speeds between CDM 64 and ATTO since they got nearly identical results.
Sequential Read: 421.1 MB/s
Sequential Write: 403.5 MB/s
512K Read: 374.2 MB/s
512K Write: 378.5 MB/s
Note that using encryption seems to have little to no noticable impact on performance, at least it didn't in my testing, less than 2 MB/s on average between the two.
You may have also noticed that the there is a performance gap between the AMD FX and Intel Z97 systems, up to 70 MB/s on the high end. This actually happens a lot on FX based AMD systems. The older chipset, hardware, and even the drivers can cause this to happen.
I ran CDM 64 on a friends brand new 7850K and MSI A88X-G45 GAMING based build, running Windows 8.1. On that system the numbers much more closely matched the Z97 system.
In closing, this drive is fast, pure and simple. No matter what hardware you're using it with, it's going to be much faster than portable HDD options. The data encryption feature is simple to setup, very effective, and something I really enjoy.
If you're looking for a sleek, stylish portable SSD, that's also blazing fast and secure to store your data on the go, or to just add external storage to your system, then these Samsung T1 drives should really be at the top of your list.
Display Name: Robert H.
Date Joined: 05/20/09
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