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Pros: - Tangible performance gains over 5 GHz 802.11n with possibility for even greater gains with 3x3 adapters.
- Dual radios for isolation of 2.4 GHz clients.
- Same high-end radios as competing 802.11ac routers but for less money.
- 3 year warranty unmatched by any of its competitors.
- USB file or printer sharing.
- Guest network support.
- IPv6 support.
- Static DHCP leases allowed.
- No CD setup, just connect to 192.168.10.1 with admin/admin.
Testing shows that the TRENDnet TWE-812DRU is an extremely fast, well equipped 802.11ac router that provides significant throughput gains over 802.11n 5 GHz (39% faster) and is more than twice as fast as 802.11n 2.4 GHz (135% faster). It offers the same high-end hardware as its competitors for less along with a 3 year warranty (competitors offer 1 or 2 years). So why would you want to upgrade your current wireless router? Three reasons -- faster wireless, less congestion in the 5 GHz spectrum and it’s the cheapest AC1300 router bundling the high-end BCM4360 802.11ac radio.
The management web page is well thought out with high level categories on the left pane and detail settings on the right pane. Wizards are provided for guided setup, or you can configure the router in about 30 seconds by removing it from the packaging, power it up and using the preconfigured SSIDs and randomly generated WPA2 passwords (pretty slick!). Robust QoS settings, VPN passthrough, and the full gamut of port forwarding options are available. Wireless encryption allows WPA, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK, WPA2-PSK Mixed, WPA2 and WPA2 Mixed. Push button WPS is also supported, but thankfully can be globally disabled as security exploits continue to plague the standard. Note if you must use WEP you will be limited to 54 Mbps.
Performance testing was done by transferring a 4.0 GiB file, via FTP, from server to client. FTP provided the highest throughput numbers between Samba, SCP and FTP. A Core i7 PC, connected via CAT6 to the TEW-812DRU provided server duties. A Core i5 laptop with an Intel 802.11a/b/g/n 450 Mbps adapter and a TRENDnet AC1200 802.11ac USB 3.0 adapter provided client duties. The USB test read data from a Corsair Voyager GT attached to the router. All wireless tests were done in the same room with no obstructions, about 6 feet apart. This was done in a town setting with other access points and interference, so channels with the least interference were chosen. The following was tested:
4.0 GiB file copy, from server to client, via 802.11ac - 15,941.09 KB/s (15.57 MiB/s)
4.0 GiB file copy, from server to client, via 5 GHz 802.11n - 11,451.67 KB/s (11.18 MiB/s)
4.0 GiB file copy, from server to client, via 2.4 GHz 802.11n - 6,786.92 KB/s (6.63 MiB/s)
4.0 GiB file copy, from server to client, via wired Gigabit - 27,577.07 KB/s (26.93 MiB/s)
4.0 GiB file copy, from USB flash drive on router to client, via wired Gigabit - 7,477.21 KB/s (7.30 MiB/s)
Cons: - You’re paying to be an early adopter for 802.11ac.
- There’s only 1 wireless adapter, the ASUS PCI-E card, that supports 1.3 Gbps.
- No USB 3.0 port.
- No 3rd party firmware support by DD-WRT or Tomato.
- No easily replaceable antennas.
- No wall mounting or mounting of any kind.
Other Thoughts: This is a big router. I measured 7 1/8” x 6 1/8” x 1 7/8”. Most of the thickness appears to be empty space giving the PCB lots of space to passively exhaust heat into. The TEW-812DRU packs 1 superscalar SoC, 1 gigabit PHY, 2 WiFi radio chips, 3 antennas and all of the associated circuitry to support this. The plastic casing does get warm to the touch, but not hot. There’s no power button on the back of the US model, so if you want to power it off you have to yank the power cord, but the management interface does provide a virtual reboot button.
A single USB 2.0 port is available for storage or printer sharing. Attaching a hard disk turns this router into a centralized backup server with both Samba and FTP access. The USB port also does printer sharing duties, but since there’s only a single port you’ll have to make concessions here.
The Broadcom BCM4706 SoC is the heart of the router, a superscalar 600 MHz MIPS processor with DDR2 support and integrated USB 2.0 and 2x PCI-E busses for connectivity to the WiFi radios. The Broadcom BCM4360 802.11ac is a 40nm WiFi transceiver that communicates over 1x PCI-E 2.0 and sits at the top of the Broadcom 802.11ac lineup. Nearly all of the top tier 802.11ac routers bundle this chip and all of those devices are pricier. A single 802.11ac 80 MHz spatial stream can reach 433 Mbps. So by supporting 3x3 streams (3 output, 3 input) you get peak bandwidth of 1.3 Gbps (half duplex, 3x433Mbps) . As for the advertised 1750 Mbps that’s really 1.3 GHz + 450 Mbps. That logic is a little misleading, so it’s best to think of this router as a AC1300 device.
The BCM4360 is a pricey, high-end chip. The Asus PCIE-AC66 802.11ac dual-band Wireless-AC1750 PCI-E Adapter appears to be the only WiFi adapter sporting this chip and likewise it’s the only adapter currently available that will get you 1.3 Gbps. Aside from bridging another AC1300 router this is the ideal connectivity option. The fastest USB adapters support 2 spatial streams for 867 Mbps of bandwidth. Opt for the USB 3.0 adapters because even a single stream is 90% of USB 2.0 bandwidth. Smartphones and other low power 802.11ac devices are shipping with chips like the BCM4335 which offer single spatial streams for 433 Mbps.
The Broadcom BCM4331 is an older, 65nm, WiFi chip with both 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz capabilities and appears to be used for exclusive support of the 2.4 GHz clients.
The 4th chip, the BCM53125, is a low-power 65nm Gigabit 7-port Ethernet switch controller, with 5 of those ports plumbed out (4x LAN, 1x WAN). Power usage can scale at the port level for short cable runs.
Pros: Pretty good value, I think this was the cheapest 5750 at the time that I purchased it. It's pretty crazy that for a little over 100 bucks you can get a card that you let you play most games at 1920x1200 with mid level detail settings.
Card is fairly slim (maybe 1.5 standard card thickness) and short enough that it will fit in all but the smallest cases. The large fan, despite it's primitive 2 wire design, is very quiet.
Cons: Fan cable could be shorter, there is a couple inches of slack that just get in the way. A DisplayPort connection would be nice.
Other Thoughts: Great card for the price, but make sure you download or print the rebate as soon as you buy your card. If you wait a few days, it may be replaced by a similar, but different rebate that you don't qualify for.READ FULL REVIEW
This review is from: GIGABYTE GA-H55M-UD2H LGA 1156 Intel H55 HDMI Micro ATX Intel Motherboard
Pros: I wanted to do a Core i7 upgrade but since I was already on a Core 2 Quad (Q9450) I didn't want to invest too much. This board allowed me to do an upgrade with quality parts, get a decent speed boost and spend the least amount of money I've ever put into an upgrade.
I like the H55/H57 chipset over the P55 because if I ever re-purpose the board I can pop in a cheap Clarksdale CPU and omit the video card.
- Great I/O backplane for a budget board -- you get 6 USB as well as DisplayPort and eSATA, both of which can be hard to come by.
- Thank goodness Gigabyte is started to put the ALC889 on their budget boards instead of the hideous ALC888 codec.
- Gigabyte has a nice BIOS with a "hit F12 to select boot device" that pops up on ever reboot, which is a very handy and an often overlooked feature. Most brands do not offer this.
Cons: - Peripheral slot configuration is not to my liking, but to each his own. I would have preferred 1 PEG slot, 1 legacy PCI slot and 2 PCI-E 1x slots since a lot of add on cards seem to come in PCI-E these days.
- I'd love to see an Intel NIC controller instead of the Realtek one that they always bundle. But alas it seems you have to get an Intel board (or some DFI boards) for that.
- bundle is a little sparse but then again that's what the bundle for a budget board should be like. You just get 2 SATA cables, 1 IDE cable and the I/O back plate. That's it; I don't even think I got a Gigabyte sticker.
Other Thoughts: I'm not much of an overclocked so I can't offer any review information on that subject, but here is my build:
Core i7 860
4GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3-1333
All remaining parts (video card, HDDs, ODDs, PSU, etc.) were recycled. This was a cheap way to get myself on an 8-thread Core i7.
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