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This review is from: FREMO P130 13000mAh Power Bank External Battery Charger for iPhone, iPad Air, mini, Galaxy S5, Note, Galaxy Tab, Nexus, HTC One, One 2 (M8), PS Vita and other Smartphones and Tablets (made by SCUD)
Pros: I had the opportunity to put the P130 charger through its paces on a recent business trip. The longest leg was the 15 hour flight from LAX to Hong Kong - longer than the battery on my iPad Air would last by itself. The P130 did indeed provide the necessary extra juice to keep the iPad going not only to Hong Kong but on the second hop to Singapore. An excellent first impression.
Over the course of my trip, I used the P130 to charge the iPad, a Nexus 5 phone, and a Nexus 10 tablet. The high current port on the P130 charged the tablets rapidly and only became slightly warm in the process. Other external power blocks I have used charged slower and became uncomfortably warm in the process. The low current port charged the phone without drama - the case remained at room temperature throughout.
The usable battery capacity for the P130 is fairly good. It could charge either the Nexus 10 or iPad Air from dead-empty to 80-90% before running dry. I don't know how many phone charges the P130 is capable of - three charges of a Nexus 5 did not exhaust its battery.
The P130 is compact and takes its styling queues from Apple. Silver aluminum case, white plastic, blue lights, stylized power button - all that is missing is the Apple logo. Looks aside, it easily fits in a pocket or bag. The included USB cable is ideal for charging an external device. The cable itself is short, measuring just over nine inches in length. In a nod to real-world usage, it is also a flat cable, making it very resistant to tangling.
If you use a cover for you tablet that doubles as a stand, the P130 easily tucks behind the screen. The overall package is tidy and compact, perfect for its intended use on the road. Including both standard and high power charging ports lets you charge power-hungry tablets quickly while not frying the smaller batteries in your phone.
Cons: Overall, the P130 is good at what it does. There are, however, enough minor quibbles with the design and functionality to knock off an egg.
The edges of the aluminum case are sharp enough to scratch and gouge gear stored in the same compartment as the P130. Were the corners chamfered or rounded, there would be no such problems.
The battery gauge is inaccurate. Four lights illuminate showing the amount of charge remaining in the battery pack. When charging a tablet, the gauge on the P130 drops from four lights to one after the tablet reaches less than 30% charge. Charging continues, however, up to 80-90% before the P130 signals that it is emptied by slowly flashing the remaining LED. This makes accurately judging how much capacity remains in the P130 impossible.
For phone charging, the P130 appears to shut off - no LEDs remain illuminated - before the phone reaches full charge. Charging does actually continue, as can be seen from the phone's battery indicator.
The P130 weighs about 70% as much as an iPad Air and charges the iPad to about 85% capacity. The P130 lacks the fancy Retina display and assorted electronic guts that make the iPad useful. The batteries may be less efficient for their weight than those used by Apple and Google, but the price is certainly less as well.
Other Thoughts: Other reviewers noted the P130 comes without a wall adapter or long USB cord for charging it back up. I can't count this as a con. Chances are that if you are looking for an external power bank, you already have a drawer full of wall adapters and cables. Not including redundant accessories allows the price of the P130 to be lower.
You definitely want to use a high-power wall adapter to recharge the P130. If you use a standard USB hub or computer port, charging takes over a day.
This review is from: ASRock Fatal1ty H97 Killer LGA 1150 Intel H97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s Intel Motherboard
Pros: I started evaluating the ASRock H97 Killer motherboard thinking it would be a straightforward process. It turned into much more than I anticipated. This motherboard promises more than could be expected at this price point. To determine what features provided real benefits and which were marketing fluff required a couple late nights of work.
The H97 Killer needs to be viewed in the context of attempting to provide the most useful Z97 chipset features at an H97 price point. Depending on the fullness of your wallet, the extra 30 bucks or so an equivalent Z97 board may or may not be a factor. Assuming you are a gamer on a budget, let's see how well the ASRock H97 Killer works.
The main performance differences between Intel's Z97 chipset and the H97 are (1) The Z97 supports multiple graphics cards (e.g. CrossFire), the H97 does not and (2) CPU overclocking is only supported on Z97 boards. ASRock addresses both issues. They added a second PCIe x4 slot for CrossFire graphics support and, wonder of wonder, they bypass Intel's prohibition on overclocking with the H97. The "Killer" in the motherboard's name refers to the Qualcomm Atheros Killer network port. This feature gets the most advertising space on the product box and in the manual. In theory, it allows prioritizing game traffic over other network communications. Or, in ASRock's breathless marketing, "No lag, just frag!" OK. Alright then. See the "Other thoughts" section below for more on this.
To compare overclocking, I used an i7-4770K processor on the ASRock H97 Killer board and on an Asus Z97-WS. The systems were air cooled using a Noctua D14. On the Asus board, the 4770K runs happily - Prime95 for days at a time - at 4.5GHz using a relatively sane VCC of 1.136 V. The first problem I encountered on the ASRock board was that the Noctua heatsink would not clear the memory I used (see cons, below). Switching to different memory sticks with low-profile heat spreaders produced 4.4GHz on the Asus Z97 board and a maximum stable (Prime95 running error free for 3 hours) clock of 4.3GHz on the ASRock board. This was at the same 1.136V core I have been running the processor at. In other words, the ASRock H97 Killer board overclocked to within 0.1GHz of as Asus Z97 board costing twice as much. Not too shabby!
On the assumption that you are not considering a gaming board and planning to use the on-board graphics, I next checked dual graphics card performance. The Asus board sports dual PCIe 3 x16 slots while the ASRock board has a single x16 and one PCIe 2 x4. Graphics performance did improve when adding a second card to the ASRock board, but the lower bandwidth was evident in framerate and resolution compared to what I got from the Asus board. Overall, I saw ASRock's dual card graphics performance about in the middle between single card and dual CrossFire on the Asus. Considering that even entry level graphics cards cost more than ASRock's motherboard, I can't recommend it for CrossFire use.
Cons: As mentioned above, the memory slots are too close to the CPU. DIMMs having tall heatspreaders could not be used with a large tower heatsink. This probably is not too serious of a concern in the lower-cost gaming market segment ASRock targets.
Dual graphics are indeed supported, bypassing a limitation of the H97 chipset. Unfortunately, Crossfire performance is hampered by the slow bandwidth of the second slot. You do see an improvement in maximum playable resolution and possible effects, but not as much as a Z97-equipped card provides. You really should only consider this motherboard if you plan on using a single graphics card. For that, it works well.
The bundled software is more of a disaster and resource hog than that of other vendors. You need it if you plan on utilizing the "Killer" LAN capability. Otherwise, it is bloatware that prompts one to purchase ASRock apps. I ended up having multiple application hangs after installing the full ASRock suite. Thankfully, I was using a test system where reverting to a new Windows install state only required rebooting and a few minutes of backup. I couldn't find any truly useful features to recommend ASRock's software.
The SATA connector placement is such that some ports are blocked by long graphics cards.
The motherboard also has two PCIe x1 slots. If either is occupied, the bandwidth of the x4 slot drops to x2. This is not a board to choose if you require add-in cards.
Other Thoughts: Other reviewers noted the presence of the PCI slots. I assume ASRock's hack to allow dual graphics cards cut into the available PCIe lanes. They were left with additional space on the board and no more PCIe lanes. Ergo, the old-fashioned PCI slots.
The unanswered question is whether the "Killer 2200 Intelligent Networking Platform" is either killer or intelligent. The Qualcomm network port provides basic Quality of Service (QoS) support. Essentially, this is a fancy way of saying that certain network traffic (e.g. games) can be prioritized over other traffic. This is a standard feature of even mid-range enterprise network switches and routers, and something we use in a work environment daily.
Enabling QoS on the ASRock board's LAN port requires installing their "Killer Network Manager" application. To its credit, the app has an readily readable display of all processes and their network use. Prioritizing one over the other is simple, detailed logs are available, and the app can even act as a basic outgoing firewall to block a process entirely. A drawback is that Killer Network Manager, like all the ASRock applications, is a total CPU hog. More on this below.
I started testing by playing several online games while monitoring ping times and looking for signs of lag. To provide additional network load, I also streamed a HD movie through the same network port. There was no effect on gameplay when video streaming started. I then added a file copy to the mix, repeatedly copying a series of 2GB files to a second computer. Again, no change in game network performance.
Finally, hauled the computer into our office. I started a multithreaded copy of 200GB worth of 10 - 100MB files, 16 in parallel, to a server on our fast network. The initial hop from ASRock LAN port to the switch was 1Gbps, but from there on it used our 10Gbps fiber network and dumped the files into a massive RAID array capable of over 15Gbps throughput. Finally - ping times went up by 10% or so, and I saw occasional lag spikes when comparing no QoS to prioritizing game traffic.
So, we can safely conclude that the "Killer NIC" does do something. What that something is, however, may not be to your liking. CPU usage by the Killer Network Manager application soared to 50% during my torture testing. This resulted in lower frame rates and stuttering during gameplay. I found this more objectionable than the occasional lag.
In summary, my tests indicate that while the Qualcomm NIC can reduce gaming lag, it required a highly artificial environment for any difference to be apparent. In the process, the ASRock software stole enough CPU cycles to adversely affect game play.
Interestingly, I did find one (semi) real-world benefit to the Qualcomm Killer LAN and software. HD video streaming while copying a substantial amount of files to another machine (not my insane test, just standard copying 10+GB of files) stuttered and stopped. Using the ASRock QoS, I could prioritize video. Pe
This review is from: HP J9559A#ABA Unmanaged V1410-8G Ethernet Switch
Pros: We bought this switch almost four years ago as a temporary stopgap replacement. It wasn't until we started remodeling a section of the office that I remembered it existed. The other GigE switches we have are all managed HP Procurve, Dell, and Cisco models. For standard network traffic, this little HP box keeps up with the big boys. Full 9K Jumbo Frame support, built-in QoS and DSCP prioritization - features not typically found anywhere near this price point. Add to that HP's lifetime warranty, and you have a winner.
I recall that we had a different consumer-grade, jumbo frame capable switch that we used when a failure occurrence. The hit to network throughput was not minor. This HP switch brought the connections back to full speed.
The power brick has, wonders of wonders, a standard cabled plug rather than a wall wart. The brick sits midway in the cable - think your laptop power supply. This makes for a UPS or surge protector-friendly connection. At the switch end, there is a locking loop to ensure the power cable is not accidentally unplugged.
Cons: Well, one could ask for link aggregation, etc. And you can get it - for 5x the cost.
Other Thoughts: HP designed this switch with the desktop in mind. Ports are on the back, status LEDs on the front. If you do not require a rack mounted, managed switch, it is hard to go wrong with the HP J9559A.READ FULL REVIEW