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Pros: + Big battery
+ Easy configuration
+ Built-in SD reader with SDXC support
+ App that works, unlike competition
Cons: - Can't access NTFS disks
- No Ethernet
- No WPS
- One storage device at a time
Other Thoughts: The ADATA AE400 is the fifth wireless hotspot device I have owned. The others are the D-Link DIR-505 and DIR-506L and the TP-Link TL-MR3020 and TL-MR3040. Like all of these, the AE400 can wirelessly share a USB storage device and can turn a wireless access point, such as at a hotel or coffee shop, into its own wireless hotspot with multiple clients (10 in the case of the AE400.) Like the D-Link DIR-506L and TP-Link TL-MR3040, the AE400 contains an internal rechargeable battery that can not only power the device independently but can also charge phones.
Unlike the D-Link and TP-Link devices, the ADATA AE400 did not begin life as a router and then have the other functions grafted on - while the AE400 does serve a router function, it can't be set up as a wireless repeater nor does it have an Ethernet jack to turn a wired connection into wireless. It also lacks nearly all of the multitudinous settings the typical router has - all you can configure is the SSID name and the wireless password. You don't even get a choice of encryption type - WPA2 is it (not that there's anything wrong with that.) If you need QOS settings, IP reservations, built-in firewall, etc., the ADATA doesn't have them.
What it does have that the others do not is a much larger internal battery, that I found could power not only an iPhone but also an iPad (though I expect an iPad would not get a lot of charge out of the AE400.) It also has a built-in SD card reader capable of reading SDHC and SDXC cards. This can be used independently of the other functions by connecting a USB cable to a computer. If you want to wirelessly serve storage, you have to choose between the SD slot and the USB connection, you can't use both at the same time. Neither will the AE400 work with a USB hub. While I did find that the AE400 would power a Seagate 1TB disk drive I had, it supports FAT and exFAT drives only, not NTFS.
When serving storage, the AE400 uses SMB/CIFS, not DLNA. Many video player apps will support SMB, but some I have run into make you pay extra for the feature. I used Goodplayer on iOS and it worked well. ADATA claims that it will serve 720p video simultaneously to 10 devices, 1080p video to 5. It certainly performed well when I tried it with two devices.
Like the D-Link devices, ADATA provides an app (iOS and Android) which can be used to upload, download and play files, as well as adjust settings on the AE400. The iOS app also allowed renaming, creation of new folders and deletion. It has a "move" function but I could not figure out how to use that. Unlike D-Link's app, the ADATA app works and doesn't crash if you look sideways at it.
If what you want is the ability to create your own WiFi hotspot, wirelessly serve media without requiring external power, and something that can double as a USB power source and SD reader, the AE400 is a great choice.
Pros: + Quiet, can't hear the fan at all (and I have a very quiet system)
+ Compact board fits in many cases
+ Applications that can use OpenCL or CUDA see a good performance boost
Cons: - Overall graphics performance not what I thought it would be
- No description of what software is on the accompanying CD
Not an issue with the card, but expect to have lots of trouble with MSI's rebate site. I never managed to get it to give me a form to print.
Other Thoughts: First of all, I am not a gamer. So don't ask me if this card will let you play game X at frame rate Y. I primarily bought this to take advantage of the OpenCL and CUDA acceleration for software I use, including Adobe Photoshop and DxO Optics Pro.
Like user Hank, I was disappointed to see that the Windows Experience Index for graphics went DOWN for me, from 7.1 (a two+ year old ATI Radeon HD3780) to 6.9. I had expected it to do a bit better. But the graphics performance is adequate for me, so that's not a big deal. I did install the latest drivers from Nvidia rather than the older ones on the software CD.
On the other hand, I was blown away by the performance improvement in DxO Optics Pro. An image that normally took a minute and a half to process was done in 15 seconds! My CPU is quite ancient by this time, the original Intel Core 2 Duo E6700, so it was no surprise that when I ran the Futuremark tests it did so poorly. I don't blame the MSI card for that. Ivy Bridge is com
Other Thoughts: I used this 2-pack to upgrade an Intel DX58SO/Core i7-965 system that had three 1GB "noname" RAM sticks. Though this CPU has three memory channels, it can work with two (or even one), so putting the two Patriot sticks in the appropriate B and C channel slots (per the Intel motherboard manual) worked fine.
When I reran the Windows Experience Index, the Memory score increased from 5.9 to 7.6! The system feels faster and I can see that Windows 7 is taking advantage of the increase from 3GB to 8GB.
As someone who remembers paying over $200 for 4MB (yes, MB) of RAM for his first PC, the fact that I can buy 8GB of fast RAM for under $30 (after MIR) is just mind-boggling.