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Seagate Expansion 8TB USB 3.0 3.5
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

3 out of 5 eggs It does what it's supposed to, but that doesn't mean it's perfect 09/03/2016

This review is from: Seagate Expansion 8TB USB 3.0 3.5" Desktop External Hard Drive STEB8000100 Black

Pros: First, the basics. This is an "archive" grade disk in a plastic, fanless enclosure. It is not intended for gaming, video editing, high-demand NAS applications, etc. If that's what you need, just go right now and search for something else. (Hint: It's going to cost you more -- that's just how it is, you'll have to deal with that or blame yourself when you set this drive on fire because you didn't listen to me.)

This drive is a good place to put weekly backups, old DVD images that you just want to archive, maybe video editing projects AFTER they're done that you just need to store. If your application sounds as demanding as this sort of thing, then this is a drive you might consider.

The pros here are easy: speed and size. I'm listing speed as a pro because this is not an SSD or even an internal drive. This is a USB 3.0 external drive, and for my tests, under ideal circumstances, it makes good use of that bandwidth and performs as well as you could expect. The size is, of course, 8TB which is as big as these things really get right now.

Here are the test results. Parts of what is listed might be considered negative; I'll discuss those parts in the cons section below. This was all using Crystal Disk Mark.

9 rounds 100MB test:

Sequential Read: 190.1 MB/s
Sequential Write: 142.4 MB/s
Random Read 512KB: 83.6 MB/s
Random Write 512KB: 20.5 MB/s
Random Read 4KB: 1.7 MB/s
Random Write 4KB: 7.4 MB/s

This first test seemed to go haywire on the 4KB read, so I tried again:

5 round 50MB retest:
Random Read 4KB: 16.5 MB/s
Random Write 4KB: 7.3 MB/s

It was clearly a fluke, something made the drive hang on one of the nine passes bad enough to throw the average way off. It is clear that this drive struggles to do things like random R/W, especially smaller chunks. It's not designed to do that. It's a massive, inexpensive hard drive. What did you expect? Even when it struggled through the tougher tests, it didn't get too hot (36 C).

I did a few more tests just putting some stress on it.

A file transfer of about 85GB of mixed media files (music and movies) ranging from 2MB to 4GB each. This test was constrained by speed of the older external HDD source, maxing out at about 35-40 MB/s steady ideally. The transfer ran at about 25-35 MB/s for larger files, about 15-20 MB/s for smaller, with regular peaking at 50ish and 8ish.

It hit about 40 C about 5-10 minutes in, then slowly climbed to 50 C for the rest of the transfer. That's where I got a warning from disk monitoring utilities that the drive is getting close to serious heat, but not into critical levels.

The 85 GB transfer took about an hour, but as I said, this Seagate was not the bottleneck. Verification took about 25 minutes at 2.7 MB/s (that's just a read through for checksum match).

Even after an hour, sitting still and powered off, it was still at 46 C -- there is no fan, and even the passive cooling on this thing is awful.

Another file transfer, 6.6GB file copied from an internal SSD took 2 minutes, pretty steady at 100+ MB/s. This is what you expect from a USB 3.0 HDD like this.

I then formatted with encryption, the whole drive manually (including empty space). It took about 24 hours (which is typical and reasonable), and the temp plateaued at about 54 C.

Then I reformatted back to nonencrypted and loaded it up with a huge volume of mixed file types / sizes.

From a slower external USB drive, it managed 19 MB/s average (200 GB transferred).

From an internal drive, it got up to 103 MB/s average (500 GB transferred).

So it's doing fine on transfer speed, although during both of these tests, when the drive is really going for a couple hours, it will hit 55 C or even a bit higher.

Cons: So first, I'll point out that Seagate itself says its drives should not operate higher than 50 C. I think running at 55 C is probably not a death sentence or even a big worry, but it is an issue. Keep in mind, this was a brand new drive with more than adequate ventilation. Stack up a few of these, or accidentally drop a hand towel on top of it, the heat will become a serious issue.

But, frankly, this drive runs hot. If you are writing out a big set of data, doing large backups, etc. -- even tasks this drive is meant for and in idea conditions -- this drive will get quite hot. Hot enough to have a meltdown and die? Probably not. But hot enough to shorten the lifespan of the product and/or increase the risk of data loss or other issues in the future? Maybe. I guess Seagate didn't want to raise the price of drives by $5 each by putting in just a little fan or anything. That brings me to problem number 2...

This drive has a one year warranty. An external drive, put together in a nice little package, something that Seagate should be entirely responsible for. They can't back it up for more than one year? Maybe they are going to fail too often, or maybe somebody doing the actuarial tables over there thought they'd save enough money denying RMAs in month 13 to lower the price on this thing. But as a consumer, I don't care about statistics or bottom lines, I care about the quality of the goods. This warranty is just plain not good enough. The fact that the item doesn't even appear to exist anywhere except a couple online retailers. If Seagate doesn't list this product and doesn't offer much of a warranty on it, that makes me worry. I've been on the wrong end of RMAs and I think Seagate has a mediocre track record, at best. (Not that there aren't WAY worse ones out there, but I won't name names.)

The speed (see above) is not great for random R/W, particularly in small chunks. This disk is what it is -- good for archival uses. However, higher quality 8TB drives exist, and external enclosures for such drives exist. I find it hard to argue that this drive has a special purpose that justifies its less-than-average performance if the value isn't there. The price on 8TB drives is coming down, and I'm not seeing much value here, especially considering the other two points I've made (heat/bad enclosure and warranty length).

So I've listed speed as a pro and a con. It's up to you to decide how you want to split that hair. Again, it's a matter of value vs. quality, or maybe it's a bit of luck -- choosing a brand, model, size, speed, etc. for a drive is tricky but sometimes it comes down to luck when it comes to DOAs or early drive failures. If this product is the right product for you, that's good, but it might also be that some other product can do the job (or even better jobs) at a similar price. That's the "shopping" aspect of this that a single-item review like this can't help you too much with...

Other Thoughts: I had a tough time deciding between 3 and 4 stars, but I eventually made my decision because this drive is new and already seems like it's going to get made obsolete before it's even useful to somebody. Wait a month and buy something better, or put together something better yourself for an extra $20. I don't see this drive becoming a staple of people's desktop PC tech before it's already too slow, unreliable, or unnecessary compared to better options, which are already creeping down into the same tier of affordability. That's -1 egg.

The other -1 is for the warranty, not just because such a warranty automatically gets you -1 egg. Really, it's how that 1-year warranty appears in this situation. The "optics" if you know that new use of the term. This is a value-priced item that has nearly cutting-edge size. It comes in an enclosure that has poor passive cooling and no active cooling (and as we see, a heat issue). Replacing (or even opening) the case voids the warranty. Operating the drive above 50 C doesn't void the warranty, but it's not what Seagate recommends. So it's a little box of contradictions, and that worries me, especially given that we know it isn't the most mechanically adept device (hence the low speeds on the random R/W 4KB chunk tests). And, to be honest, the DOA reports I see when I look at reviews in aggregate make me think that the -1 for insultingly short warranty period says something about how little Seagate expects you to get out of these drives. For a drive that might serve as a backup, keep that in mind. Back up your cat photos here, and when it dies, your PC will survive long enough to get a replacement external HDD. Don't back up critical stuff. And let's be real. We all have 8TB of cat photos, right? Maybe that's just me.

If I could, I'd give it 3.5 eggs, because together, I don't think these two issues are worth a full egg each for -2. There's enough good going on here that it's better than the average 3-egg review I might give. But I can't say it earned a full 4 eggs. (Shouldn't egg-based reviews be out of 6 or 12? That's how I buy my eggs.)

Newegg EggXpert reviewers like me receive this item for free, so keep that in mind. We try to keep our reviews honest, and I hope this one has been honest. This is an item that's trying to split the difference between low-budget consumer needs and hitting that nearly-cutting-edge mark of 8TB. That's tough, and you can't blame Seagate if this isn't a perfect product -- if you buy this, you aren't willing to pay for the most perfect item out there (which would be some sweet $600 8TB drive that has stellar support, great QC, 5 year warranty, and an extra $90 for the most awesome external enclosure that exists). There are other options, with Seagate or otherwise: You can always try Seagate's other lines (e.g. "Backup Plus") which now also come in 8TB. Or buy a Seagate internal drive ("archive" grade or regular) and throw it in an enclosure.

But for the price, if you think this works for you, and you've read my review (and others) and think you want to go for it, I wouldn't recommend against it. This drive could very well be what you need. Just be sure you've thought it over, because it's not general purpose and it may not be up to the task (or might be too much of a rolling-the-dice situation in terms of quality). That's for you to decide.

Keep in mind we EggXperts also can't wait too long to review. I'd love to run this product hard for a year and let you guys know that it lasts long, but I've only had it for about 20 days. For all I know, every single one of these lasts 100 years ... or maybe every single one dies on day 21. Longevity is very unpredictable for products that are new to the market or are hitting new high marks in size, speed, etc. (or low points in price).

And if you're wondering about this "line" of drives, you can always uncheck the box that says "Item Specific Reviews" and you'll see all the ratings for this drive in every variation (in this case, in every size). For some things (e.g. headphones that come in different colors), this is a MUST when you want to read reviews right. For these drives, it gives you a good idea of how reliable or good the NON-drive parts of this product are. It won't tell you about this 8TB drive though, which itself is VERY different from its 2-5TB cousins.

Oh and one final thought -- the software that comes with drives is, and has been for 20 years, totally irrelevant. Don't even bother. Some of the diagnostics are mildly useful, but the backup software etc. are not worth your time. If you are serious about backups, you need to pay for the software separately. Don't make your decision based on what comes with the drive.


1 out of 5 eggs Faulty board, unacceptable customer service 08/19/2016

This review is from: ASUS KGPE-D16 SSI EEB Server Motherboard Dual Socket G34 AMD SR5690 DDR3 1600/1333/1066/800

Pros: All of the features of this board are good, and the price is reasonable. Dual CPU for high workload, plenty of space for RAM. The PIKE slot is probably not useful, but it's there. For the price, it delivers exactly what it should, assuming the board functions properly.

Cons: Fan ports are a bit tough to deal with, motherboard power is not in a smart place if your case has the PSU on the bottom. Minor nuisance, not even worth -1 egg. All the eggs I subtracted have to do with the fact that my board is faulty and I can't get a replacement or warranty service of any acceptable type from ASUS. For five bennies, this board should not have problems, and when it does, ASUS should be busting their rumps to fix it.

What's the problem? Put any load on CPU2 and the system crashes. No kernel panic, no reboot, nothing in any system log. We're talking serious low-level problems here. All other components removed, rotated, replaced, and the crash is still perfectly reproducible with CPU2 enabled (and never happens with CPU2 disabled).

I put in an RMA, was approved, gave all my details, address, etc. and waited patiently for weeks. I emailed to ask why six weeks had passed and I hadn't even received a tracking number, let alone a motherboard. I was told they were out of stock! WHY DID NO ONE SAY SO WHEN THE RMA WAS INITIATED?? You have a customer waiting for a product you said you'd ship to him, and you didn't bother to tell him -- for SIX WEEKS and not until he contacts you -- that nothing is going to be coming in the foreseeable future. Two weeks later, I'm still getting stonewalled. They can't do an RMA because they don't have it in stock, although they'd be happy to take mine away from me while I wait -- that's their solution. Send in my board. That won't get a replacement in stock any faster guys, use your brains.

Other Thoughts: This board is in service in a major research lab at a scientific research institution,* shared among a working group but mostly mine. I don't appreciate that after putting together a complex custom build and working very hard to ensure functionality and compatibility that the faulty mainboard can't get replaced immediately, as it ought to be. I can't justify the state of affairs, all research crawling at 50% capacity for months with not a single iota of help from ASUS -- and none coming. This is absolutely, completely, entirely unacceptable. This board may be a dud, this may be a systemic problem in manufacturing, YMMV, but nobody buys this board with the intention of not using both CPUs. They'd buy a cheaper board instead. There is no way this doesn't get a one egg review -- and I'll be reproducing this review everywhere else I can until I get some satisfaction.

*I'm not listed by Newegg as a "verified owner" because my institution put in the PO for this item, but it was purchased right here at the ol' Egg. This Byzantine arrangement also resulted in lengthy delays that resulted in a slow deployment of the system. Unlucky for us that we noticed this issue outside of Newegg's return / replace period, although to be honest, I'm considering looking for help from Newegg at this point...

TP-Link Archer CR700 AC1750 Wireless Dual Band DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Router
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert

2 out of 5 eggs Too much is missing 08/14/2016

This review is from: TP-Link Archer CR700 AC1750 Wireless Dual Band DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem Router

Pros: This is a pretty useful unit out-of-the-box. If you want to plug it into the wall and immediately start using the internet, this is more or less what you get (just a little bit of necessary set-up for the wifi).

Here are the features I think are really pros for this unit. However, for most of these, I have a caveat, a reason why I'm not really swayed by the feature. A few features really do shine, and for those, there is no caveat.

Actual Pros:

* Simple, easy basic setup. [A true feature, some routers even in 2016 are hard to set up for non-techies.]

* Wifi randomized password, if you want to do it that way. [A nice bonus feature, although hardly essential.]

* Good wireless range (internal antennas are good quality) and signal strength / speed. [A true plus.]

Not Really Pros:

* Gigabit LAN. [It's 2016. This is not really a plus.]

* USB port. [Not a plus -- this is USB 2.0. It's a great feature, but USB 3.0 came out a long time ago.]

* Bridge mode available. [Bridge mode is silly. If you don't need the cable modem functionality, don't buy this product.]

* Dual band with guest network. [Routers in this price range better have dual band. The dual guest is a plus, not all have that, but it's not really that important.]

* Compatible with cable most cable providers. [Not really a plus -- if it wasn't compatible, no one would buy it anyway.]

* On/off button. [This is only a useful feature because this router actually requires frequent, infuriating hard-reboots. This saves you the trouble of yanking the power supply out of the wall.]

Cons: While getting online isn't too hard for beginners, this cable modem / router combo is really only going to be good for beginners. If you are the sort of person reading reviews and specs .. you might already disqualify yourself from being the target audience for this thing. Three major cons stick out and form a background for the rest of the issues:

* The device really lacks a number of features. While each one individually might not exclude a large number of potential users / buyers, in total, this Cons list should turn off a large number of consumers (myself included). And to top it off, the firmware on this device is poor and cannot be upgraded. (You read that right: You cannot upgrade the firmware.) That means many of these problems are permanent when they shouldn't be. The missing features are itemized below.

* The device has a very long reboot time. Like the lack of firmware upgrades, this is especially frustrating due to the other problems. If you try to adjust the settings on the router, or if you just have a router that's a bit dysfunctional, this long reboot time will add insult to injury.

* It also has a poor interface for advanced settings adjustment. Other users report crashing or missing features, so I can say that this isn't an isolated issue. This is really disappointing and the quality control people at TP-Link really messed up here. Trying to set up advanced features will, for some users at least, cause glitches, bugs, and locking-up, requiring a hard reboot. Others report frequent locking-up of the unit when not being reconfigured -- I had only two such incidents, one of which was during an attempt to stress-test the unit. Then again, I only used it for a few days before I decided I needed my old router back.

Here are some other features that the device is either entirely lacking or has an insufficient amount of, in no particular order:

* No Dynamic DNS (DDNS)

* No Quality of Service (QoS)

* No help for the settings interface.

* No DD-WRT compatibility (see also: no firmware upgrades at all!)

* No DHCP (IP address) reservations (which also may cripple port forwarding / NAT / etc.)

* No bandwidth monitoring / usage / logs / etc.

* No VOIP interface for cable subscribers -- so if this is for Grandma so she can ditch the modem and router, keep in mind her landline migiht be unavailable now...

* No wall mounting.

* No antenna port (even with a good antenna, some people need a special / custom antenna to get what they need).

* Poor USB storage (with a 2.0 port and 2TB limit at this price, it'd be a joke for 2012, let alone 2016)

* No custom options for admin login for settings page -- and no timeout on admin login. This is a huge security hole, even if in the end it's not likely to be exploited. Not smart.

* No guest network MAC filtering.

I could probably go on...

Other Thoughts: Here's one that could be a Pro or a Con: The device is fairly compact. Great, but results in increased heat. I'd say it makes the device unstable, but I think other issues already make it unstable enough that it wouldn't get too hot anyway before a few reboots for other reasons...

This is a nice little device if you expect nothing from this thing except to serve as a basic, out-of-the-box replacement for whatever cable modem and router your ISP is making you pay for every month. Plug it in, make up your wifi SSID and password, and go. But if you want ANYTHING more at all, I think this device will let you down, and not just in ways that are annoying or suboptimal. This device misses the mark almost entirely, across the board.

In 2016, that's just not acceptable. Most users want at least a few of the features that this product fails to deliver. I can't say "it's 5/5 for Grandma who only uses her AOL browser and Facetime but 2/5 for everyone else." The honest review here, in my opinion, is 2/5. Maybe 3/5 if I was willing to round up, but with the inability to fix the firmware, I'm not willing to round up. These problems will not be fixed even in "extended, paid beta testing" a.k.a. "you bought a device that should have never hit the shelves."

There are great cable modems out there for much less. There are great routers out there for much less (or comparable). You could get a decent cable modem and a very good router for the same price as this thing, or for a bit more money, a fantastic set of two individual devices. All-in-one hardware isn't always better (in fact, it usually isn't). I advise anyone serious about this to go for something else. My current setup has a TP-Link cable modem ($50) and a TP-Link router ($95), both of which are fantastic and have all the features that I want (and more), most of which are missing in this unit for reasons that defy all comprehension. That's less than even this extra-low sale price for the combo unit. TP-Link could have just duct-taped together the two products I have and sold them for $150 or more and done much better.

I like TP-Link products I've had in the past (see above: I am currently running most of my network with TP-Link on the backbone -- just a few auxiliary switches etc. from other brands). I have had plenty of products from various manufacturers over the years, and I always thought TP-Link products were generally pretty good. The bar for TP-Link in my mind was pretty high, and I expected good things from this product. I was woefully disappointed. To be honest, I almost think this was a product designed and manufactured by someone else that TP-Link somehow acquired or absorbed and needed to sell their stuff off. I have no idea, this is pure speculation, but I'm just trying to say how out-of-character this product is for TP-Link. It would be like if you got a really horrible steak at a fancy steakhouse that you'd enjoyed going to for years. You would be disappointed, but you know that one bad product out of so many in the past means this is (let's hope!) a one-time failure of quality control / design.

I review items as a Newegg EggXpert. This device was provided for free for my review. Let this be an example that shows that even when most devices get high ratings from me (I'm easy to please?), this is not guaranteed -- even when the item is free, my review will always be honest. This thing is so bad, I cannot in good conscience give it away to a friend or sell it. Off to the charity bin it goes (even then, can we consider receiving this device an act of charity?)

Speaking of which, as a Newegg EggXpert, I have to write the review within 30 days of receiving the item. Some people report that this modem/router has issues where it simply dies after 2-3 months (or more) of use. I can't comment on that, but I will say that you should always go beyond "EggXpert" reviews, in case you need to hear about things like longevity -- we can't tell you about that, except to point out that others are reporting such issues.


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