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This review is from: Netgear A6210-100PAS AC1200 Wi-Fi USB Adapter High Gain Dual Band USB 3.0
Pros: I tested the Netgear model A6210-100PAS, AC1200 WIFI, USB 3.0, high-gain, dual-band adapter. This external WIFI adapter is intended to upgrade your existing laptop or desktop to use the latest and fastest WIFI-AC standards. The new WIFI-AC standard supersedes WIFI-N. The higher data speeds offered by WIFI 1200AC will help in many ways including: reducing the time needed to download files from the Internet cloud, reduce the time needed to backup your hard drive, web pages will load faster, you will be able to connect to a wider variety of hotspots, Etc.
I have owned a WD AC1300 router for about year now and have not had any WIFI device that could connect anywhere near as fast as the Netgear A6210 (A6210) and maintain that connect speed. The included Netgear Genie software consistently indicated a connect speed of 867 Mbit/s when working in the same room as the router. That is the theoretical maximum speed limit of the IEEE 802.11ac standard. Moving the laptop to my kitchen, which is usually a weaker area in the house, yielded a 4 out of 5 bars signal on the high-band. The garage had 3 bars on the high-band and 4 bars on the low band. I switched to the low-band in the garage and was able to watch YouTube videos without any buffering. I would rate the A6210's reception as excellent.
For all testing purposes I connected the A6210 to the USB 3.0 port on my Lenovo ThinkPad T410 laptop. The laptop's internal Realtek WIFI adapter was switched off during all benchmark testing. To measure the actual real-life data transfer speeds, I used LAN Speed Test v3.4, (LAN-ST) with the default 1.0 MB test file. The test file was first copied to a BSD Unix based NAS4Free file server located in my basement, via my home's gigabit LAN network. Next the same file was read back and then deleted and the time required to complete these tasks was measured in milliseconds.
LAN-ST measured average data transfer rates of 66.8 Mb/s writing and 74.5 Mb/s reading, when connected to my router's high-band. Please keep in mind these are mega-bits, not mega-bytes per second. The Genie software sometimes seemed to have difficulty connecting to my router's low-band (WIFI-N) signal. It seemed to prefer the faster 5.0 GHz WIFI-A connection. One low-band connection attempt caused the Genie software to crash. After restarting, it was able to connect on the second try. Low-band WIFI-N connect speeds were limited to 144Mb/s.
LAN-ST measured 67.8 Mb/s writing and 73.6 Mb/s reading on the low-band. So there was no real difference between the high-band and the low-band data rates. I am not sure why that is, or what the limiting factor is. The server I used is capable of much faster transfer rates when the laptop is connected via a CAT-6 Ethernet patch cable to one of my gigabit switch ports. I have measured Ethernet backup speeds in excess of 865 Mb/s on my gigabit network. All testing was done during off-hours to avoid network congestion issues.
Cons: I would occasionally receive warning messages that no Internet connection was available. If I hit the reload icon in my browser, the requested page would then load correctly. Perhaps the AC6210 goes into sleep mode, when idle, to conserve the laptop's battery? I found this behavior to be somewhat disconcerting though. It could also indicate the need for a firmware update, or the need to patch the Genie's WIFI/USB 3.0 driver. It could also be an issue with my laptop's USB system. I just won't know until I do more testing.
Plugging my Lenovo T410 ThinkPad into its AC adapter also caused the WIFI connection to crash one time. The Genie software seems to be a little bit unstable yet under Windows 7 Pro. I have never experienced this issue when using my laptop's built-in Realtek 802.11n adapter.
One other con, if you can call it that, is the device's large physical form factor for a USB adapter. I always used it with the weighted base unit and the included USB 3.0 extension cord attached. My experience with bulky USB adapters and flash drives is that they are very prone to either being damaged, or the USB socket they are plugged into. Damage can occur if the user forgets and lifts up the front of the laptop for rear mounted USB devices, or of it gets bumped when sliding other heavy objects like books around on my desk. I am in the PC repair business and see a lot of broken USB sockets come in due to these types of accidents. I would recommend to always use the included base unit and USB extension cord to prevent damage to your laptop or the A6210.
Other Thoughts: The A6210 did an amazing job at locating other nearby WIFI access points. It's high sensitivity and ability to pull-in weak WIFI signals was excellent. The unit did not seem to deplete my laptop's battery any faster than the built-in WIFI does.
I also tested the A6210 on an older HP-NC6400 business laptop running Windows XP Pro. I had no problem installing the A6210's WIFI drivers under either Windows XP, or the Windows 7 operating systems. The driver setup program seemed to be very reliable. While the HP-NC6400 only supports USB 2.0, I did measure a difference in the transfer speeds between the two notebooks. With an 857 Mb/s connection the older notebook, with USB 2.0, measured 38.8 Mb/s writing and 51.5 Mb/s when reading the test file.
I checked Netgear's website, but could not find any firmware, or Genie software updates at this time.
I liked the technical information the Genie software presented on its "Other" menu screen. It would show: the name of the network it was connected to and the MAC address, both the IPv4 and the IPv6 IP addresses, a lock icon indicated an encrypted connection, the security type (WPA2) in use, the WIFI channel in use, the actual connect speed, and a signal bar graph indicated the current signal strength. A "Get Info" button on the same screen collected a wealth of technical support information about my laptop and my network. It has the ability to save this data to a text file, which can then be emailed to Netgear to aid their technical support team.
Overall I was very impressed with the Netgear A6210 WIFI USB adapter. I liked the fact that it could be folded to fit into a laptop case for storage. Other than a few minor glitches, it performed very well during the brief time I had to test it. I think any rough edges could easily be corrected with future firmware or driver updates. I would not hesitate to recommend the Netgear A6210 to a friend.
This review is from: WD Red Pro 2 TB NAS Hard Drive WD2001FFSX up to 16 bay: 3.5-inch SATA 6, 64MB Cache
Pros: I reviewed two Western Digital Red Pro series, 2 TB NAS hard drives, with the model number WD2001FFSX. Many people are probably familiar with WD’s standard red NAS drives that have been available for several years now. The original red drives appeared to be a variation on the power conserving green drive series, but with modified firmware to optimize them for use in NAS systems. I am going to go out on a limb and guess that the new WD Pro series red drives appear to be based on the well established black line of performance desktop hard drives. If you compare the specs, both the black and red pro series are rated at 7,200 RPMs, both have dual controllers, dual bearings, both are rated for 24 x 7 operation and both models have a five year manufacturer’s warranty. The red Pro drives also have modified firmware to provide for better performance in NAS systems.
Standard desktop drives will take themselves offline periodically for up to a minute to perform internal house keeping maintenance. This typically includes scanning for weak data sectors and moving the data to spare good sectors, before it’s lost or degraded. Most RAID controllers will not tolerate a drive going offline for more than eight seconds. Many desktop rated drives will exceed this 8 second time limit and drop out of the array. What differentiates WD red drives from other drive models is their Time Limited Error Recover (TLER) spec. This WD firmware spec limits drive timeouts to less than 8 seconds.
Other Pro series drive improvements include: Improved 3D balancing, dual spindle bearings, reduced vibration, and reduced operating temperatures, to improve their reliability in cramped NAS cases. The internal WD NASware firmware has been upgraded from v2.0 to v3.0. This new firmware increases the maximum number of hard drives that can be used in a NAS array from 8 standard red, to 16 Pro series red drives. The Pro series are also rated for 24 x 7 business use, where reliability is critical. The Pro red series warranty has been extended from 3 to 5 years.
Cons: Cost. I thought the cost of the Pro series red drives was a little on the high side. Especially when you consider you may need to purchase 4-16 of these drives just to fill a single NAS or RAID system. A typical RAID-5 setup requires a minimum of four hard drives. These are clearly aimed more at business users who are less likely to balk at the added per disk cost.
Other Thoughts: I installed the two WD Pro red test drives into a freshly loaded Intel Atom dual-core, 64-bit, HP Proliant Micro-Server, which was running Windows Home Server 2011, 64-bit. With its 1-Gbit/Sec network interface, a full 65 GB Windows 7 client backup was completed in only 8 minutes and 35 seconds, at an average transfer rate of 856 Mb/Sec. So allowing for network overhead I thought that was pretty impressive! Other client backups went at similarly rapid speeds.
Both of the WD red Pro drives installed and formatted without any issues. I always do full formats, versus quick formats. In my experience this will provide a more reliable storage experience for my clients. The two red drives consistently operated 6-8°F cooler than the HP Proliant’s stock 250 GB HGST boot disk.
Both red drives were quiet and very responsive. Even with a low power Atom processor, directory queries jumped on to the screen, whenever accessed by Windows File Explorer.
I have been in the PC business since the late eighties and I can tell you that WD is one of the better hard disk manufacturers that you will ever deal with, both from a product quality and a customer support standpoint. They also have one of the best return policies in the hard drive business. WD has a quality control policy of always testing every single hard drive before it leaves their manufacturing facilities.
I have to applaud WD's marketing, at whomever came up with the idea of color-coding their various drive lines. This make it easier for custom builders like myself to recommend the correct drive for a customer's application.
Since NewEgg has switched to shipping their bulk OEM hard drives in the little brown boxes, with the custom air cushion inserts, I have not received a single DOA hard drive. I have received DOA drives from other Internet suppliers that used inferior packaging. Shippers are probably the number one point of DOA failure in my experience for mechanical hard drives.
You can feel the quality of these drives just by picking one up. They must weigh about twice as much as a standard desktop-rated blue drive. These appear to be nice solid hard drives and I have no qualms about recommending them for their intended purpose in business grade NAS systems.
This review is from: Corsair CH-9000066-NA Vengeance K70 Mechanical Keyboard with Cherry MX Blue Switch
Pros: I have used IBM keyboards, Northgate Omni-Key keyboards, but this beats them all hands down. Smooth operating keys, with no binding. Great tactual feedback for touch typist. The keys work correctly the first time when you press them, no fading or skipping.
I like the open design, easy to blow-out cat fuzz. with a can of air. I have the model with the blue click style switches. I am used to using IBM and other similar mechanical keyboards, so noise is not an issue with me. In an office environment you may want to the the quieter versions instead.
Cons: Takes up two USB ports. Poor too brief quick guide. What does the BIOS switch do? No full version online user manual. Come on Corsair you can offer better documentation than this for such a costly keyboard!
Other Thoughts: The red LED's are a nice addition when working at night. They are adjustable as far as what group is lit and how bright they shine. I have had no problems with my LED's working correctly. I could see where a weak USB port could cause issues. Did not work good on my KVM switch.READ FULL REVIEW