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This review is from: Seagate Central STCG2000100 2TB Cloud Storage System
Pros: Easy to setup. No messy menus or network settings. Just plug it in, go to “Network” in explorer, and it is almost immediately available to access without any login or password information required.
There is a link on the network drive which takes you to the browser interface. This takes you through the initial setup process and setting up of accounts.
Interface is VERY easy to navigate and make sense of, and the descriptions for the “Remote Access”, “Seagate Media”, “DLNA”, and “iTunes” services are all very simple to understand.
Setting up multiple user accounts for password protected storage is also very simple.
Average write speed over wifi of 8-14MB/s. I was able to transfer 5-8GB files in about 10-15 minutes. The most important thing? No sudden stops or pauses. It was continuous with no failures.
DLNA feature works fairly well. I have three devices in my home setup with XBMC, and XBMC was able to read my video library from the Seagate Central, run its file scrapers to add metadata for TV shows and movies, and stream to all of my devices successfully.
Device had a total of 1.7TBs of actual storage available on the 2TB drive.
The Dashboard software has its ups and downs, but for the most part it is competent enough for most average users to understand and utilize. Also, 2TB is enough storage for most households to be able to backup multiple computers with enough room to spare.
The software unfortunately takes the WD approach and gives you backup options based on “Categories”. These categories are Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, Personal, or All Files. Fortunately, unlike WD, Seagate gives you the option of backing up specific files. Using this method, I chose to backup my pictures and music folders to the device. The software is also nice enough to give you multiple scheduling options such as Continuous, Daily, Weekly, or Monthly. Overall, most customers will be able to navigate the software with little struggle.
Two other big positives about the software are that it gives you the option of backing up to the public folder, or any of the password-protected folders based on the user accounts you setup. Second, the Dashboard software automatically maps the public and private folders as network drives so that they are easy to access in the future.
Cons: As is usually the case with most consumer devices from HDD companies, the hardware is spot on and yet the companion software falls flat on its face. The Seagate Dashboard software takes a few minutes to detect the Central on the network and make it available for use. Until that time, it keeps asking for you to plug in a compatible drive. I thought it wasn’t going to work at first, then out of nowhere an icon representing the Central popped up and I was able to use it. Fortunately, once it finally detected the NAS, setting things up was fairly simple.
Unfortunately, the apps did not turn out as nicely. From my experience, the software could only log into the NAS from the cloud. I was unable to simply access the drive locally using the app. This is bad for two reasons.
First, if I want to access my files, those files have to stream themselves out of my home, to Seagate’s servers, and then back down to my mobile device back in my home. It is an unnecessary step.
The second problem with this is that large files will not be able to be streamed using this method. Whenever I tried to play videos on my mobile devices using the app, it told me that it couldn’t stream the videos and needed to download them. So the device would then download an entire video in order to play it.
The only saving grace for this unfortunate oversight in the app’s design is that you can use other apps to access your content as long as they support DLNA. In the case of my Android devices, I had XBMC installed and I was able to access all of my content and stream it locally. As a piece of hardware, the Central works great. The companion apps are unfortunately pretty useless.
Other Thoughts: I really like this device. Its physical design is very understated and unassuming. It will sit in an entertainment center or on a shelf without attracting unneeded attention or distracting you with obnoxious blinking lights. I had mine in a cabinet where I have my wireless router and cable modem and it did not generate much heat at all. Also, with only three ports on the back (power, Ethernet, and USB), and no on/off switch, this is one of the most un-intimidating pieces of consumer-level network tech I have ever seen. Almost anyone would be able to buy this in the store and confidently set it up in their home without being afraid. Seagate has designed a NAS that will hold your hand and walk you through the setup without intimidating you with big words or lofty tasks.
While I really don’t like backup software that gives you options based on file “categories”, I at least appreciate Seagate’s foresight in giving its users the option of backing up their computer based on file locations and folders.
My major downside for this product is its apps. This is an option that any hardware manufacturer would be stupid to ignore, but offering limited and ineffectual apps is not the answer. Either go big or go home, especially when people will see that feature on a retail box and possibly make their purchasing decision based on those features alone. As it stands, Seagate’s apps are not worth the time of day. Luckily, because Seagate has included standard services such as DLNA and iTunes, most users will still be able to make great use of this device without needing to rely on broken apps.
My last comment is an important one. This device is what it is. It is a consumer-level device designed to give users a reliable backup solution for their home. The base 2TB model does that by providing plenty of storage for an average household. Just keep in mind, this is not a replacement for a full-on NAS setup such as those that come from Synology and the like.
However, this device is a solid contender in its product category and one I whole-heartedly recommend. It is decently fast, and most importantly, reliable. Easy setup and easy configuration. I am very happy to have one and plan on using it until it dies.
Pros: Easy setup
Combines 2.5ghz and 5ghz devices into a single LAN
Ability to turn off UPNP. Not susceptible to UPNP flaw, as tested through Steve Gibson’s ShieldsUP test.
Cons: USB drive support is awful. When running the SAMBA server, only one computer can map it as a network drive at once. Every other computer results in an “Access denied” error when I try to map it.
No way to setup a USB drive without a login and password. My old router allowed me to plug it in and just make it available to all. This router REQUIRES you to use a login and password whether you want it or not, thus resulting in all of the connection issues I’ve had.
Writes to the USB attached network storage maxed out at 2mbps ON A GOOD day. The rest of the time it averaged about 2-500kbps and the speed would drop out to 0 kbps entirely every 1-2 minutes. That would last about 45 seconds and then pickup again to its 2-500kbps speed.
It took 1hr 44mnts to transfer a 1.9gb file.
If I had a device trying to write to the USB drive while another device was trying to play video off of it, the transfer drop off affected read speeds as well, my video playback would stall for the entire time that my file transfer speeds were zeroed out, and would start again once the file transfer restarted.
This all happened in the same room as the router with full bars and a strong 300mpbs connection.
The router configuration DOES NOT allow for assigning a static DNS such as Google or OpenDNS.
Other Thoughts: I had a few criteria that I planned to base my review on. Ease of setup, whether or not the LAN would combine the 2.5ghz and 5ghz networks without any issues, and whether I had any connection issues such as random disconnects. On those three criteria this router is excellent. I had no connection issues, all my devices could see each other on the LAN, and I had no problem connecting or staying connected.
I did NOT anticipate having issues with the USB support. This was supposed to replace my Netgear WNDR3800. With that device I was able to map my hard drive to all of the computers in my house with no issues and easily transfer files to it without any issues. Read speeds were almost 10mbps and I could stream video all over the house. The only limitation was write speeds maxed out at 3mbps.
This router only allowed one computer to map it as a network drive, all of my other computers had to navigate to it via Network Explorer. This was very inconvenient for those in my home who are less tech-savvy. The inconsistent read/write speeds were atrocious and intolerable. Also, the drop in readability as I transferred files made the drive unusable for others in the house.
I have two computers running XBMC that play videos off of my network drive and a Google TV that uses a network-capable media player. My Google TV could not connect to the drive at all.
The inability to set a static DNS server is a major flaw that I find hard to look past.
If you don’t plan on using the USB feature and you don’t care about the inability to set a static DNS, then this is a solid router, with good/reliable connection speeds, and easy setup. However, for my purposes, this router falls flat on its face. I’m going back to my Netgear WNDR3800.
Standard single-home neighborhood. Light wifi traffic in area.
My devices: 11 total
Motorola Photon Q (2.5ghz)
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (2.5ghz)
Nexus 7 (2.5ghz)
2x Asus laptops (5ghz)
1x Asus laptop (2.5ghz)
Custom desktop (5ghz)
Sony Google TV (Ethernet)
Vizio 42” internet-enabled TV (2.5ghz)
2x Kindle Fires (2.5ghz)
This review is from: Cooler Master Hyper TX3 - CPU Cooler with 3 Direct Contact Heatpipes
Pros: I'll give you the skinny instead of the numbers details. I have been wanting this thing for a while but was not sure if it would fit in my LIAN LI PC-V354. I decided to bite the bullet and take a chance. This HSF DOES fit inside the LIAN LI PC-V354. It clears the power supply by mere millimeters, but it DOES clear it. My computer is MUCH cooler and quieter with this HSF.
Other Thoughts: I was running a stock cooler on my first gen AMD Phenom 9550. The stock HSF was keeping it adequately cool at about 45-50c, but the fan was screaming between 5-7k RPMs. It was a nightmare. This thing keeps it from the high 20s to mid 30s Celsius and the fan only spins at about 2200RPMs to accomplish that. It is MUCH quieter.
I have used this HSF before for other customers but this is the first time using it for myself. It's cool, it's quiet, MUCH better than stock, and does not require additional retention brackets to install. It was a little hard to install because of the cramped space inside my LIAN LI PC-V354, but other than that I highly recommend this HSF.