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Laura C.

Laura C.

Joined on 02/12/10

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 36
Most Favorable Review

In A Class of it's Own

Samsung 256GB SM951 Single Sided 80mm (2280/2280SS) M.2 PCI Express 3.0 x4 (PCIe Gen3 x4) SSD - AHCI Version - MZHPV256HDGL
Samsung 256GB SM951 Single Sided 80mm (2280/2280SS) M.2 PCI Express 3.0 x4 (PCIe Gen3 x4) SSD - AHCI Version - MZHPV256HDGL

Pros: Overall, the highest performance AHCI type SSD available as of 5/2015. Not a RAID 0 array of multiple SSDs as some other PCIe SSDs are. This is a single SSD controller drive, that uses the native AHCI driver of the OS that is loaded automatically. It can be used as an OS drive (see Cons). A glimpse of the future of PC storage devices, while still using what will become a legacy driver (AHCI.)

Cons: Only the latest Intel chipset boards (Z97, X99) can support this SSD. Not every one of them will. This SSD is NOT a simple plug and play product. You MUST understand the requirements of this SSD, and provide them. The majority of existing PC mother boards will not support this product. The SM951 must be used with a PCIe 3.0 x4 M.2 slot, or it will not operate at its full potential. Currently, only certain Intel Z97 and X99 chipset mother boards have this type of interface. Most M.2 slots on mother boards are NOT PCIe 3.0 x4 types. The mother board may require a UEFI update in order to allow booting from a SM951. Check into this, don't assume it will work. For use as an OS drive, ideally a UEFI booting Windows 8 or 8.1 installation media on a USB flash drive should be used. That is, with either Secure Boot enabled, or CSM disabled. Configuring a Windows 7 installation for UEFI booting is more difficult, and likely won't work. Another method of enabling booting is enabling the UEFI storage Option ROM, usually a sub-setting of the CSM option, when CSM is enabled. The SM951 won't be found on Samsung's website. The Samsung Magician software only partially functions with the SM951. It is sold as an OEM product only. Newegg is one of the few retailers that manage to get some in stock. Samsung does not directly support its warranty. If ever a product needed its homework done before using it, this is the one.

Overall Review: If you can meet the needs of the SM951, it will then happily function as other Samsung SSD's do. If the requirements scared you off, get used to them, that's where PC storage is going, and beyond. I'm using an ASRock Z97 Extreme6 board with UEFI version 2.10, and a UEFI booting Windows 8.1 installation on a SM951. That's the PC I'm using now. This SSD in benchmark tests performs beyond three high end SATA III SSDs in RAID 0. Those tests are one's I have run, not just seen in reviews.

Most Critical Review

Not Perfect

Dynatron K987 92mm Ball CPU Cooler for Intel LGA Socket 1151 / 1150 / 1155 / 1156
Dynatron K987 92mm Ball CPU Cooler for Intel LGA Socket 1151 / 1150 / 1155 / 1156

Pros: + Sturdy, quality build + Usable with multiple CPUs/Sockets + Backplate Mounting

Cons: - Extraneous fan noise. I am experiencing the high-pitched squeal that I have seen others mention in reviews of Dynatron products. The unit I have does this at lower RPM, around 1500. The noise disappears when the fan runs wide open, but what is the point of having a PWM controlled fan to reduce fan noise when extra noise occurs at lower RPM. - Non-standard fan mounting. Dynatron has chosen to use a non-standard screw hole placement on the fan and bracket that attaches it to the heatsink. You cannot replace this fan with a standard 92mm fan, the mounting holes will not line up. They are not close, but way off.

Overall Review: Overall I am disappointed with this product, it cools well but the noise problem is annoying. Very surprised that a non-standard fan mounting arrangement is used, not user friendly. Regarding the push-pin vs backplate mounting controversy: I have used both many times and prefer backplate mounting, but really have never had problems with push-pin mounting. Yes I know it is fashionable to hate push-pins, and run down Intel for using them, and doing that indicates how technically savvy the person is. I disagree. Every design has good and bad points, there are compromises. With pushpins, no MoBo removal necessary, with backplates, yes. Most users (non enthusiasts) want things simple and easy, thus pushpins. Those folks would dislike backplate mounting. Intel had to decide which way to go, and chose the average user, thus pushpins. In my experience, they work fine, I've never had a problem with them, or heard of one. It's a compromise, not an evil intention.

DisplayPort to VGA Cable? Works Perfectly.

Rosewill RCDC-14015 - 10-Foot DisplayPort to VGA Cable - 28 AWG
Rosewill RCDC-14015 - 10-Foot DisplayPort to VGA Cable - 28 AWG

Pros: I was a bit skeptical about this cable, but I had no need to worry. I've used it with several EVGA/Nvidia video cards, DisplayPort outputs, into the VGA inputs of two different Dell 1080p monitors. Every combination of video card and monitor had the same result, the monitor was displaying at 1080p without any configuration. I wanted to connect three PCs to (all) three monitors at the same time, so was forced to use the VGA inputs on two monitors. I tried to use a DVI-I to VGA adapter, into a VGA cable, but the results were less than good. The default resolution was very low, with 1080p not even available with the video card driver software. The Windows Display option let me select 1080p, which somehow was then passed on to the video card's software, but the signal to the monitor did not seem solid. This cable simply worked perfectly from the first connection, right to 1080p.

Cons: Nothing at all.

Overall Review: To anyone that wonders if this type of cable will actually work, I can only tell you, yes it does work. I didn't need to adjust the resolution to the monitors, or configure anything. Truly plug and play in my experience.

12/29/2016

Everything It Is Claimed to Be

ASRock Z170 Extreme7+ LGA 1151 Intel Z170 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
ASRock Z170 Extreme7+ LGA 1151 Intel Z170 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Pros: Boots an OS from any type of PCIe SSD, including Samsung SM951s, 950 Pro, and Intel 750. So both PCIe AHCI and NVMe support. I've never had the slightest problem with this board. Started and completed POST the first time I started it. Over clocked an i5-6600K to 4.5GHz with a few mouse clicks. Same result over clocking Crucial DDR4 2133 memory to 2600, and G.SKILL Trident Z from 3200 to 3600. I use three PCIe SSDs in the board at the same time. RAID is possible with PCIe SSDs, even as the OS/boot drive, which I have personally done. PCIe SSDs do not use any of the PCIe 3.0 lanes from the CPU. Dual SLI is supported, and triple Crossfire.

Cons: ASMedia SATA ports may be problematic with SSDs and Windows 10. Intel's RAID driver for PCIe SSDs is not mature yet. It works fine but its performance is not what it should be.

Overall Review: Sigh, if only people would educate themselves about the realities of the Z170 chipset, and not blame the board or manufacture for limitations that ALL Z170 boards will have from ALL manufactures. Haswell/Z97 boards used the PCIe 3.0 lanes from the CPU for a PCIe SSD. That limited the available PCIe 3.0 lanes for video cards. Skylake/Z170 boards have PCIe 3.0 support in the Z170 chipset (called DMI3) so PCIe SSDs use chipset resources for the M.2 x4 ports. There is no difference in performance between using the CPU's PCIe 3.0 lanes, or the DMI3 lanes in the Z170 chipset. This configuration allows all the CPU's PCIe 3.0 lanes to be used by video cards in the PCIe x16 slots. Since the M.2 ports use chipset resources that are shared with the SATA III ports in the Z170 chipset, one Ultra M.2 port in use disables two SATA III ports. That is to be expected. Yet some users complain about this reality of Intel's design that they don't understand. If someone expects every detail from a board's manual to be included in a Newegg product listing, they are dreaming. Even it if was, they would never read all of it. The board's manual clearly lists the trade off of using the Ultra M.2 ports. Users like that then give the board a lower rating, due to their ignorance of the Skylake chipset architecture, and Intel's design. We gained PCIe 3.0 support in the 100 series chipsets, that is a first for Intel. The Z97 chipset uses PCIe 2.0. But Intel only provides so many lanes in the CPU and chipset. They must be divided between various devices. With Z170, we got back all the CPU's PCIe 3.0 lanes, none are used by anything else. So we can run dual SLI, and PCIe SSDs together. But Intel did not give us more PCIe 3.0 lanes in the Z170 chipset, which are now shared between SATA drives, PCIe SSDs, and NVMe SSDs. If you want everything, dual SLI, three PCIe SSDs, and six SATA III ports at the same time, talk to Intel, not to ASRock, etc. Or get a Skylake-E chipset board when they become available. Skylake i7-6700K/Z170 is NOT Intel's High End Desktop (HEDT) platform, it is Mainstream/Performance. If you want more, get an HEDT system. Don't blame this board for the limitations of Intel's hardware. Things like this are why Newegg review rating totals cannot be trusted as indicating the true nature of a product.

Great Alternative to AIC 750

Intel 750 Series 2.5" 400GB PCI-Express 3.0 x4 MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) SSDPE2MW400G4X1
Intel 750 Series 2.5" 400GB PCI-Express 3.0 x4 MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) SSDPE2MW400G4X1

Pros: Standard 2.5" form factor (except 15mm thick), so no competition for space with video cards. When used with an Intel 100 series chipset, the PCIe 3.0 lanes from the CPU are NOT used. Dual card SLI at x8 each possible plus this SSD at the same time. Operates cooler than the PCIe AIC 750.

Cons: Must be used with a mother board with an M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 port. Must be used with the M.2 to U.2-Mini-SAS adapter card. A minor con,use the Intel NVMe driver for best performance. No native NVMe driver in Windows 7, (which is becoming out of date quickly.) Use as an OS drive not quite the same as a SATA SSD, must install Windows to use the EFI bootloader (simple but different.) Routing of the special cable will ruin the looks of a showcase build.

Overall Review: Nothing defective about this SSD, worked great from the start for me. Performance was right on the specifications. Firmware update via the Intel SSD Toolbox was painless and simple. If other NVMe SSDs run warm, this is the coolest of them all, mine is at 22C, after starting below 20C on cold mornings. I have no regrets purchasing this version of the 750 over the AIC card. The cons are simply the reality of using cutting edge hardware. Plus we are in a transition phase, away from SATA, which will become "legacy" in a decade or less.

One of the Best SSDs Available

SanDisk Extreme II 2.5" 480GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) SDSSDXP-480G-G25
SanDisk Extreme II 2.5" 480GB SATA III Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) SDSSDXP-480G-G25

Pros: SanDisk's own NAND and custom in-house firmware for the Marvell 9187 controller. Firmware design for better low queue depth performance, typical for the PC environment. Excellent performance consistency. No need for user over provisioning. No performance loss when it is filled to near its capacity. Five year warranty. Price.

Cons: Seems to have an issue waking from Sleep in Windows 8.1. Fortunately this is a firmware issue that can be fixed, if it is found to be a common problem

Overall Review: No RAID support? That is false. Check the recent TweakTown review of two to six SanDisk Extreme II's in RAID 0 on a Z87 mother board with six SATA III ports. The performance surpasses that of an SSD considered to be the best by many users and in reviews. The somewhat unusual capacities of 120, 240, and 480GB are due to factory over provisioning. That is, more NAND is set aside for use by the SSD to maintain performance. These SSDs still contain 128, 256, and 512GB of NAND respectively, plus the usual amount of factory over provisioning space. All SSDs require extra NAND for optimal operation, a basic trait of NAND storage. The more over provisioned space, the better for SSD performance. Enterprise SSDs commonly have 50% of the stated user capacity added as over provisioning space. Due to the high price of NAND storage, manufactures kept the over provisioning space on consumer SSDs as small as possible, which really does not benefit the user in the long run. Testing has shown that extra user over provisioning is not needed to maintain performance consistency, something most of the other few top SSDs cannot match. TRIM support in Apple/OSX products is intentionally difficult to enable for non-Apple SSDs, not the SSD's fault. The SanDisk Extreme II and the earlier Extreme model use very different SSD controllers, and mixing them in a RAID array is not a good idea. The original SanDisk Extreme is one of the best SSDs using the SandForce 2281 controller, but these two SSDs are only related by being made by SanDisk. One of the very best SSDs available today.