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TP-Link TL-PA8010 KIT AV1200 Gigabit Powerline Starter Kit
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

4 out of 5 eggs Easy to use, great for certain situations 09/19/2016

This review is from: TP-Link TL-PA8010 KIT AV1200 Gigabit Powerline Starter Kit

Pros: - Super easy setup; just press the button then press the receiver button within two minutes and you have an encrypted connection.
- Decent speeds but nowhere near 1.2Gbs; maybe they got that in lab conditions. I averaged around 1/3 of that speed. One egg off for this.
- Great solution where you can't run a long Ethernet cable.
- Comes with a short Ethernet cable, and a utility disk.

I have an xBox in a room around 70' away from my main router, and I spent an afternoon about a year ago painstakingly snaking a cat-5e cable through the house into the game room. I unplugged it and put these paired devices in place, instead. Absolutely no difference detected.

I also tried streaming 4k movies, and did a "torture" test of putting a downstream switch after the receiver, with four computers accessing my central Linux server. Ran several concurrent file transfers and the AV1200 performed flawlessly, with speeds nearly equal to the same config on a wired Ethernet port.

Install the software that comes with this if you want to check the firmware (mine was up-to-date), or if you have more than one of these paired devices that you want to manage.

Cons: It would be nice if they could make this a little smaller, or come up with a version that replaces the electrical outlet in the wall box, itself.

The speed was quite a bit less than advertised but I'm not longer surprised by network devices overstating their nominal speed performance. If they said "this is a 1/3 gigabit speed kit", they would sell exactly zero of I get it.

Not really a 'con' but do NOT try to use this with a power strip or on a surge suppressor. Those things are very unkind to signals injected into the neutral line; you will not have a great user experience if you do this.

Other Thoughts: For the extra few dollars I'd probably get the version of this with the electrical pass-through outlet. Also, these things are pretty large and will look odd hanging on your electrical outlet so keep this in mind if you have an outlet in the middle of your wall.

If you have a neighbor you (really trust and) want to have on your network, without relying on a wifi signal -- as long as your two homes are on the same street or pole power company transformer (and less than around 400' total distance), you should be able to get a "wired" network set up using the AV1200. You could then share things...

I can't really speak to the MIMO or "beam forming" claims made. I have to expect that they are using two channels over the household wiring, to get the speeds they are getting. Remember up until very recently to get speeds like this over wire you had to have decent twisted-pair wiring in place. It is amazing to me that they can get this now out of unshielded, solid-copper, screw-terminal, old, noisy household electrical wiring.

GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming (rev. 1.0) LGA 1151 Intel Z170 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 ATX Motherboards - Intel
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

5 out of 5 eggs Nearly flawless motherboard, at this price point 08/20/2016

This review is from: GIGABYTE GA-Z170X-Ultra Gaming (rev. 1.0) LGA 1151 Intel Z170 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 ATX Motherboards - Intel

Pros: Before rattling off the hardware features and compelling specs for this motherboard, I want to talk about the software that allows us to interact with it. Gigabyte "gets it" when it comes to software and it is clear they've made a sizeable investment in R&D to bring a great set of utilities to us in the form of the App Center (a bland name for a really nice set of tools!).

The App center acts as a wrapper for some BIOS settings, an update tool and a monitoring tool. For example, EasyTune is worth the price of the MB itself. Let's say you are building a gaming system. You are going to overclock, mess around with memory voltage and related settings, fans on high, etc. The EasyTune interface lets you set up all of the key parameters for this and store them under a named profile. Of course, there are also default profiles you can pick from. OK, after you've been playing your favorite game for awhile, you want to watch a movie on the projector in your game room. With EasyTune you can easily set up another profile for lower CPU performance, default memory settings, and put the fans on silent -- so now you have a silent media computer and can enjoy the movie. There are monitors you can set up for temp and current so all of this can be made fail-safe. The profiles can be toggled via hotkey assignment, so to create that silent media PC just hotkey and it's done.

I'll run out of room if I go on about App Center; there are other tools like BIOS update, live monitors, LED on/off (this board is only 'red'...hmmm), set security features, RAID config, boot mode, and a few others. I've been building computers since 1980 - first with a wire wrap board ;-) -- and I can say that this chunk of software that Gigabyte provides with their newer boards is by far the best set of utilities I have seen. Very cool.

Of course if you want to go 'old school' you can always bring up BIOS and there are literally dozens of guys know the drill, it is all there to geek-tweak to your heart's content.

Now, as far as the HW specs and performance. Things that impressed me:

- Very solidly built, beautiful clean layout and minimal discrete component count.
- Board weighs just shy of 2 pounds - it's nice and beefy.
- 3 PCI Express ports (x16, x8, x4) -- 8 shares clock cycles with 16, and 4 shares with SATA3 0/1 (turns them off actually).
- 1 USB 3.1-C port, 1 USB 3.1-A and a mix of six other 3.0/2.0 ports.
- HDMI port but you'll likely never use it since you'll be dropping in dual GPU cards...
- Built in audio has S/PDIF out which is nice to have.
- Comes with 4 SATA cables, SLI bridge connector, G Connector and even some nice logo'd velcro cable ties.
- Comes with stickers for labeling your ports and cables.

I ran the board non-stop with a 'mild' overclock and using an Intel i7-6700k @ 4.5GHz, 16GB of G.Skill Ripjaws 3000 in XMP mode. A couple of older Corsair SSDs. Zero issues, Win10 boots in under 20 seconds with no weirdness.

Note that the newer Intel CPUs might not overclock with this board due to some uCode changes Intel has been making...verify this before selecting a CPU for the board. The 'k' series of CPUs will be fine.

Cons: - Hard to complain at this price, but it would have been nice for a 2nd M.2 SSD for a slick on-board RAID solution. Is there a way to stack them? (question for the engineers at Gigabyte) - that would be nifty.

- I'm sure there's a reason for this, but the I/O backplate is padded on the inside, and can make it a little hard to get the board mounting holes to line up.

- More fan headers would have been nice.

- Only 'red' LED mode...c'mon guys...really?

Other Thoughts: This is the fifth Gigabyte board I've personally had in one of my computers. My office desktop system I use every day is built on a Gigabyte board that is around 5 years old, it's an AutoCad workhorse and has never let me down. This is one of the brands I never hesitate to recommend to friends or family - top shelf all the way.

TP-LINK Archer T1U Wireless AC450 Nano USB Adapter Support Windows 10 with New Driver Update
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

5 out of 5 eggs Simple to use, very small - works well 07/26/2016

This review is from: TP-LINK Archer T1U Wireless AC450 Nano USB Adapter Support Windows 10 with New Driver Update

Pros: - Tiny; it is nearly as narrow as the USB 2.0 metal connector - won't block adjacent USB ports
- Gets warm when running but never hot
- Works well with both Win7 and Win10
- Range is very good
- Allows device to be used as a local hotspot

Cons: - 2.4GHz would be nice, I like the added range it provides if the speed of a 5GHz connection is not needed.
- Linux drivers on disk would be a nice touch; wouldn't take much effort to do that.

Other Thoughts: - Remember, you will only get 11ac speed if you have a router that is at that spec, and you will be very close to the limit of a USB 2.0 pipe (which is the interface spec for this device).
- Gold connector and RoHS cert is a nice touch, as well as 2-year warranty. TP-LINK makes good products, I have used tons of them in the past and never needed a warranty claim.
- We are discussing a device that is <$20. You really can't go wrong; it works great and the price is excellent. A burger lunch in NYC will cost you more.


Christopher C.'s Profile

Display Name: Christopher C.

Date Joined: 04/18/05

  • Reviews: 50
  • Helpfulness: 31
  • First Review: 08/31/05
  • Last Review: 09/19/16
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