Showing Results: Most Recent
This review is from: TP-LINK Archer C9 Wireless AC1900 Dual Band Gigabit Router
Pros: This router is a very nice upgrade to my slightly older dual-band wireless router. It has all the latest technology features, and some useful "extra" features that ensure it will remain active in my home network for a long time. The best features in my opinion are:
Dual band WiFi up to 802.11ac
All Ethernet ports are gigabit Ethernet
Dual USB ports, one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0
Parental Control features with whitelisting, blacklisting, and the ability to control when the internet is available to network users
Web administration app has reasonably good help documentation built right in to the administration interface
Cons: I had some difficulty getting the wifi bridging to work, however I think I was doing something wrong. Some additional documentation on how to set up wifi bridging would have helped quite a bit.
The security settings to change the router's administration password was buried waaaay down at the bottom of the admin pages, instead of prominently up top where it belongs. Changing the admin and wifi passwords IMMEDIATELY is very important when setting up a new router, and I had to dig around a bit to find the three menus to change all of the required passwords. Also, I could not find a way to disable administrative access through wifi, a nice feature to help keep drive-by hackers from even attempting to change router settings.
Parental controls doesn't have a feature to use any of the various "free" automatic whitelist/blacklist web site services out there. There are a few free services that offer no-charge parental control lists for child safe websites, and a parental control feature using one of these free service would have been nice.
Other Thoughts: My home/home office network consists of an extensive wired gigabit Ethernet network, powerline networking with 4 nodes, and dual-band wifi. When I received this new TP-Link dual band gigabit router and saw its feature list, I immediately thought that I would set it up as a virtual sandbox for my young son's network use. He is in elementary school, and needs a safe computing environment. Key features for this include USB storage with configurable access restrictions and sharing, USB print server, and the ability to use parental controls to whitelist or blacklist various websites and also to set specific times for when the internet would be available for his use.
Setup for all of this was very easy due to the nice administrative user interface. The only thing that would have been better about the admin interface would have been more explanation about WHY certain features would be enabled or configured, instead of just how to turn them on and off. Still, in less than 30 minutes, I had configured this router to provide internet access for my son from after school to bedtime, had enabled USB networking storage for him to store files and backups, blacklisted several known bad sites, and specifically allowed access to sites he needs for school.
As a final bonus, I walked my laptop around my house and was pleased to find that wifi signal strength, both 2.4 and 5 ghz, was pretty much as expected with no surprise dropouts and decent signal strength. The included 3 antennas can be turned in different directions, which may help if you find that certain parts of your house get a weak signal for some reason.
Overall I think this is a very nice wireless router, and certainly features like USB 3.0 and gigabit Ethernet ports make it a very current and up to date product. I highly recommend this router for anyone looking for a feature-rich wireless router. It doesn't offer gimmicky "cloud" sharing services like some of the other major brands, but I don't trust those anyhow so I'm actually glad those features were not included since I didn't have to turn them off. This router offered exactly what I needed to extend internet and network storage on my LAN, and it has proven itself reliable and more than fast enough for the job.
Pros: Easy installation with push-pins just like the stock intel heatsink.
4 pin fan letting OS or mobo set fan speed
Tower design blows hot air straight out the back of the case instead of spreading it around inside.
Better performance than stock Intel heatsink
Cons: Probably not ideal for high-end or overclocked cpus.
Push-pin mounting isn't ideal for tower HSFs, even ones as light as this one is. Any bumping of the case will put a huge amount of pressure on the pins, possibly enough to break them or pull them out. This could lead to cooking the cpu with no warning, or even let the HSF fall and damage other components.
There are no rubber strips between the fan and HSF, so any fan vibration will be transmitted to the HSF which usually makes it louder.
The fins are press-fit onto the heatpipes instead of being soldered.
Baseplate is not flat so you'll need to use a thicker layer of thermal transfer paste between the cpu and HSF base.
Fan may interfere with RAM slots, and base touches some capacitors near the cpu socket.
The only instructions are printed on the back of the box with only pictures. A larger fold-out sheet of paper with the same pictures would have been a lot easier to follow. Also, I don't think the instructions show applying the thermal paste (its hard to tell, there is a step showing a square that might be the cpu, but no words at all?) so people who haven't done this before might skip that crucial step. Some words and better instructions would be a BIG improvement.
Other Thoughts: On unboxing, I was surprised at how light this HSF is. The HSF is mostly aluminum except for the heatpipes, so it weighs a lot less than other tower HSFs I've used. While this makes the pushpin mounting system workable, it's a minimalist approach to heatsink design that could affect performance. Some fins were slightly bent during shipping. The heatsink isn't secured very carefully in the box and the accessories are loose inside a smaller box inside the large retail box. The baseplate comes covered with a protective sticker, but the baseplate isn't even close to flat due to the direct heatpipe contact design of the HSF. The package includes sufficient hardware for installation and also a small packet of thermal transfer past. I used my own paste, artic ceramique 2, which I've had good luck with in the past.
During installation, I had to remove the fan and my RAM to get enough clearance to push in all the push-pins. Once I did that, I saw that the fan's mounting position can be adjusted up and down a little bit based on where the clips fit in between the heatsink fins. This helped a lot because the fan overlaps my ram slots and the ram would have prevented installation if I hadn't been able to raise the fan up about a centimeter. Also, on my mobo the baseplate of the HSF touches a row of capacitors near the cpu, so the design and production tolerances of this are perfect, from the perspective of if it was even 1mm larger, it wouldn't have fit.
I compared this heatsink to the stock intel heatsink on my core i5-2500 cpu. The cpu is running stock inside a mini-tower case. Ambient temps in the room were about 76F. I measured cpu temps with speedfan, and used prime95 to load the cpu.
Stock intel HSF:
Idle: 33C, Load 82C
Idle 32C, Load 64C
So this HSF gave significantly better performance than the stock HSF. During testing, this HSF was essentially silent at idle and very very quiet at full load, a good sign.
I also noticed that mobo/ram/hd temps were much lower with the Gammaxx HSF, with mobo temps dropping from 61C with the stock HSF to 51C using the Gammaxx HSF. This is most likely due to the tower design which exhausts the hot air directly out the back of the case.
The Gammaxx 400 is a good HSF for mid-range cpus, but I would be very hesitant to recommend it for high-end or overclocked cpus. Design choices like the push-pin mounts, the press-fit fins, and the non-flat base, all reduce the product's performance. Considering the price, I would say that this is at best an "ok" choice. There are other similar HSFs for the same price that have different construction features that would make them more effective. The push-pin mounting also gives me pause. So, I recommend it and plan on continuing to use it in my computer, but I have some reservations regarding design quality and will need to keep checking to ensure it doesn't fall off each time I move the computer.
Pros: I have the 32GB version of this tablet and it has FAR exceeded my expectations. The quad core atom cpu is "fast enough", and running one or two things at once like office one note plus email, or email plus word, or email and a web browser, works great within the 2GB ram that this tablet has. The 32GB storage isn't really large enough, but a 64GB microSD card is really cheap so that should probably be the first accessory you get for this tablet. With a Bluetooth or USB keyboard/mouse, this could easily be a go-anywhere laptop replacement. And for a student or someone who doesn't do anything too demanding on their computer, this could even be hooked up to a monitor and desktop-style USB keyboard/mouse (through a powered USB hub ideally) and turn into a complete desktop replacement.
The IPS screen is bright and I haven't had ANY issues with it, mostly since I don't expect to be doing any hardcore image editing with it. If I need accurate colors I'll use a good IPS desktop monitor.
Battery life is really good. This thing is a bit thicker than some other competing tablets but I think they used the extra space for more battery. Plenty of runtime, I haven't run out yet in just a couple of weeks using this tablet.
Cons: I still don't like windows 8 after setting up this tablet for my own use. It's clunky and obscures features without making anything easier to use, and Microsoft STILL hasn't figured out how to make windows work on a small screen. But that's a mark against windows 8, not this tablet. As far as I can tell win8 works the same on this and any other similarly sized small tablet.
Other Thoughts: The back is plastic and doesn't feel very solid, but most people will probably put this into a case or cover so the thin plastic back is actually a reasonable design choice I think.
I got this device just to see if I liked and would be happy using win8 on a tablet before paying the big bucks for a Microsoft surface pro 3, but after seeing how useable this little tablet is, I may not get the surface pro after all. Don't really need it, this tablet is "good enough" for when I'm away from my desktop and don't want to lug around my full size laptop.
Some manufacturers place restrictions on how details of their products may be communicated.