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DEEPCOOL Multi Core X8 Laptop Cooling Pad 17
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: The aluminum grill on top provides excellent heat dissipation and looks great. The base of the unit is plastic but this keeps it light weight. I think the right materials are used in the right places for this cooler.

The fans are very quiet, although not totally silent. I can hear a barely audible fast ticking sound when any of the fans are on. The acoustic benefit for me is the fact that my laptop no longer feels the need to blast its own fan which is much louder than all four of these combined.

The fans are effective. I noted temperatures around 3ºC cooler at idle and up to 8ºC cooler at full load with all 4 fans running.

It provides a cooling benefit even when the fans are off. The fact that the cooler is well ventilated and has a built in aluminum grill will allow a laptop to breath continuous cool air regardless of whether or not the fans are on. I noted temperatures 2-4ºC lower with the fans switched off than with the laptop sitting directly on a desk without the cooler.

Rubber pads on the base keep things from vibrating or sliding around. They are recessed into the plastic and seem durable so I don't suspect they will be peeling or falling off easily.

Flip-out (keyboard style) feet allow for two different viewing angles and improved airflow on the bottom when they are used.

Pass-through USB functionality. The cooler is powered using one of your laptops USB ports so the cooler provides you with a port so you can still use it for other things.

4 fan settings accommodate for a variety of laptop layouts: Off - back 2 fans on - front 2 fans on - all 4 fans on.

Detachable USB power cord. The primary benefit I see here is you won't be dead in the water if your cable breaks. Also, the cooler can be powered by either of the two USB ports so if a port breaks you have additional options there as well.

Cons: The keyboard style flip out feet are plastic and will undoubtedly be the first items to break. The plastic seems sturdy-ish so as long as they are handled with care they should be durable enough to last.

The fan intakes on the bottom can easily be blocked if sitting on a lap, carpet, or soft furniture. It would be nice to have a partial side intake design to keep the fans from being so easily blocked. Even if they are completely blocked (rendering the fans useless) a laptop will still cool better sitting on this ventilated aluminum grill than directly on whatever surface you're using so I don't foresee this being a major concern in most situations.

No USB cable management features. The roughly 2 foot USB cable which is packaged with the cooler will simply dangle from the side of your laptop and cooler.

This is nearing the expensive side of what you can expect to pay for a laptop cooler. Certainly there are more expensive models but there are plenty that are less expensive from arguably more reputable brands, some of which improve on the cons I listed above.

Other Thoughts: The main thing you are paying for with this model is the pure aluminum grill. Most laptop coolers use a simple metal mesh which will not dissipate heat nearly as well as aluminum. It seems to be effective enough that the fans don't even have to be on for your laptop to benefit from it.

Before, my laptop would get uncomfortably hot and the little cooling fan would scream to keep up while under heavy load. Now it is barely warm to the touch and the fan barely audible.

I haven't used any other laptop coolers to adequately compare it to the rest but I am satisfied with this one. If DEEPCOOL tweaks the design slightly to resolve the few minor cons I listed above I would be completely satisfied with this. I debated with myself about whether to give this a 4/5 or 5/5 rating as it falls right on the line for me between those two. If 4.5 was an option, that's what I would give.

Seagate STDE20000100 20TB NAS Pro 4-Bay Network Storage
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

4 out of 5 eggs Huge capacity NAS with room to improve 08/18/2014

This review is from: Seagate STDE20000100 20TB NAS Pro 4-Bay Network Storage

Pros: -Speed. I tested with the drives configured for SimplyRAID, RAID5, and RAID10 and all configurations were able to perform read and write operations consistently over 100MB/s, clearly being bottlenecked by Gbit Ethernet.

-The NAS looks very streamlined and professional. It would almost be a shame to be hidden away in some IT closet.

-The web interface is beautiful and intuitive. Advanced options are made available while keeping an easy-going simplistic appearance.

-Hardware monitoring includes temps for CPU, casing, and HDD's, in addition to CPU, RAM, and network utilization. There are even some simplistic looking graphs showing utilization over time.

-The external PSU has a dedicated ground and a power LED to let you know the PSU is receiving power and functioning.

-The fan is plenty quiet and effective. During heavy I/O traffic from multiple users for hours I saw CPU, Casing, and HDD temps peak around 50C.

-The front panel indicators are attractive and effective. They are all white, not overly bright, and each indicator has a distinct shape so it's easy to see what is being indicated from across the room.

-The file system is incredibly responsive. I have a media folder containing around 600 HD video files and when I change sort options it updates the order instantly.

-Dual gigabit Ethernet can be used for network redundancy or increased performance.

-I don't have any cameras to network with this yet, but I am very excited to try out the Surveillance Manager app. This has the potential to bring home/small business surveillance to a whole new level of simplicity.

-The sdrive app for android is an extremely easy method of backing up photos and video. It has integrated into my gallery app so that if I select photos or folders I am now given the option of sending the selection to the NAS via local network or internet.

-Time Machine Support for MAC users out there.

-2x USB3.0 and 1x USB2.0. You know.. just in case 20TB isn't enough.

Cons: -There seems to be no dedicated PC backup software designed for this. I enjoy using Seagate Dashboard backup features with some of their other products but this NAS doesn't seem to be compatible with it. Seagate SDrive for windows connects to the NAS just fine, but there are no features for scheduling backups. For any scheduled backups to the NAS you will rely on third party software.

-At the time of writing, the App Manager has very limited support with only 5 apps available. The platform is brand new so I'm hoping more will become available soon.

-Included documentation is next to useless. It consists of a single sheet with 4 steps to setting up your NAS. Step 1: plug it in. Step 2: Install hard drives (skip unless you have the diskless model). Step 3: wait for power LED to turn solid. Step 4: connect to the NAS via web interface. Basically, if you don't have to install disks this whole setup is only 2 steps which seems easy enough. However, step 3 left me with questions while I was waiting. How long is it supposed to take? Is it normal for some of these lights to be blinking red? Is it supposed to turn on automatically? Mine did NOT turn on automatically, I had to manually press the power button (after waiting a few minutes wondering). At one point all of the HDD LED's blinked red for a while. The entire initial startup took about 10 minutes. It would be nice if the documentation informed the user of what to expect for step 3. As soon as you get to step 4 you can access the full user manual via the NAS web interface.

-Indication of specific drive activity in the browser interface would be nice. I use a 3Ware 9650SE RAID controller and it indicates if the drives are rebuilding or verifying and gives percentages along with that information. That information would be nice, in addition to indexing operations. As it stands, the only way I have to see drive activity is the blinking LED's on the unit itself which don't tell you much.

-The drive 1 LED never shows any indication of activity, regardless of RAID mode. Not sure if this is a limitation by design or a problem with my specific unit.

-The drives are noisy under heavy activity. Any drive activity is clearly audible if you share a room with the NAS.

-Basically the whole unit is plastic, including the drive trays. It LOOKS great, but feels a little flimsy.

-I noticed that after linking the two Ethernet connections the LCD no longer displays the network connection properly. It simply says 'Network 3' 'down'. There are clearly only 2 Ethernet ports available and they are both working fine. Perhaps a software update will allow this to display properly for linked ports.

-No eSATA, which seems to be a common inclusion with other NAS solutions.

Other Thoughts: For RAID options Seagate's SimplyRAID seems like the best choice here. While on paper it isn't quite as fast as RAID 5 and not nearly as fast as RAID 10, gigabit Ethernet don't allow either of those options to perform to their potential. In reality, Ethernet will bottleneck any RAID option you use here so performance differences between them are a moot point. SimplyRAID features better scalability (in the off chance you move these 4 drives into a larger Seagate NAS) and is preconfigured so no work is required for you to set anything up. RAID 5 on the other hand took the NAS about 14 hours to perform the initial synchronization and RAID 10 only gives you 2 drives worth of storage instead of 3.

The front panel LCD is read only. There is also no information in the documentation about how to use it, although it's simple enough to figure out. Use the arrows to navigate and long press either of the arrows to enter/exit sub menus. Information provided includes whether or not the network is connected, percentage of used storage, alerts, temps, fan speed, date and time (including up-time), and software version.

For the price of this NAS, you could obtain 4x 5TB HDD's and build a small PC around them to create your own DIY NAS. However, you would be hard pressed to create an experience as streamlined, feature rich, easy to use, power efficient, and compact as this. Those aspects, on top of the great hardware, make this NAS a bargain in my mind.

This unit being brand new, I can't criticize the limited apps selection too much. The hardware platform and software interface are solid. As long as Seagate gives this unit the attention it deserves it will be very exciting to see what it will be capable of in the future.

Linksys WRT1900AC Wireless AC Dual Band Router AC1900, Open Source ready, eSATA/ USB 3.0 Ports
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: I have never used a router that transmits a stronger signal than this. In addition to this router I own a Netgear WNDR4500 and they trade blows on the 2.4Ghz band, neither really showing clear evidence of being stronger than the other. On the 5Ghz band, however, there was no contest. This WRT1900AC was clearly 5-10 dBa stronger than the WNDR4500, regardless of range.

The 4 adjustable antennas seem to be doing their job nicely. I haven't experimented much with using alternate antenna positions but I like that the option is available to do so. They are also detacheable, allowing for them to be switched out for different antennas.

Soft white LED's don't look like Christmas lights or lasers. They are probably the most attractive and effective LED indicators that I have seen in a router. The brightness is a good balance of being effective and not distracting. Each indicator has a unique appearance which allows someone to recognize what is being indicated without having to get up close and read the labels.

Ethernet port LED's differentiate between 10/100 and 1000Mbps. This is great for devices like gaming consoles, which do not readily make connection details apparent.

Effective heat management includes a built in fan and plenty of ventilated surface area. Heat should not be a problem at all as long as the router is allowed to breath. My house stays at an ambient temperature of around 73 degrees Fahrenheit and the router remains just warm to the touch. In the past 3 weeks I have never noticed the fan turn on.

Not JUST USB ports for file sharing, but USB 3.0 AND eSATA. Personally, I don't have a great need for file sharing through a router but I ran some tests anyway to compare it with others. USB 3.0 makes a tangible difference in access times and transfer rates. It has proven to be very responsive and even allows scanning through high bitrate video files while playing with barely any noticeable buffering. That's the best performance I've experienced on a router media server so far.

The router menu and interface are fantastic. Everything I have come to expect in a high end router is there, in addition to the best looking interface I have come across to date.

Cons: No option to set up vertically without wall mounting. I used a Netgear WNDR3700 for a couple years and I loved having the option to set up either vertically or horizontally. Granted, the WNDR4500 I upgraded to can only be used vertically and if I had to choose just one of the two configuration options it would be horizontal, like this router. Not a big deal really.

The power supply does not have a dedicated ground. I have experienced multiple network devices fail as the result of a lightning storm or power surge so I would like to see this feature be more common (especially as high end as this router is). It IS a feature of my Netgear WNDR4500 power supply.

The Twonky media server interface seems a little 'twonky'. Some of the features don't seem to work properly. I have tried multiple times to use the 'upload' function and every time results in a connection reset. Attempting to load the "Flash Media Browser" results in a "service not available" error. Nearly every setup tab has the same three buttons, "Save Changes", "Cancel", and "Restart Server". Save what settings? There don't seem to be any settings to change. In addition to those limitations there seems to be some limitation on file formats. A couple videos played without audio and a couple didn't play at all. All that being said, the files that play seem to play seamlessly.

While the router may in fact be "Open Source Ready", Open Source does not yet seem to be ready for the router. I have checked for updates on the openwrt forum and the driver does in fact seem to be on the way, it's just unfortunate that it has taken as long as it has.

This thing is gigantic. In actual dimensions it's not much bigger than my WNDR4500, but laying horizontally, in addition to the 4 antennas gives this thing some serious size. It demands desk space as a sacrifice.

Price. This is one of the best routers on the market right now. You just need to ask yourself if that's what you need/want and whether or not you're willing to pay for it.

Other Thoughts: When I was asked to review this router I was already set on using my WNDR4500 for the foreseeable future and I didn't see this Linksys changing any of those plans. Why not keep what has been working for me and sell this for a pretty penny? That was my thought process but I find myself rethinking that strategy. I think my Netgear WNDR4500 will have to find a new home because this thing is pretty awesome.


Matthew H.'s Profile

Display Name: Matthew H.

Date Joined: 04/13/05

  • Reviews: 46
  • Helpfulness: 23
  • First Review: 06/21/05
  • Last Review: 09/06/14
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