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Paul K.

Paul K.

Joined on 04/24/12

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 4
Most Favorable Review

If speed is what you need...

NETGEAR ProSAFE 8-Port 10-Gigabit Plus Switch (XS708E) - Lifetime Warranty
NETGEAR ProSAFE 8-Port 10-Gigabit Plus Switch (XS708E) - Lifetime Warranty

Pros: FAST FAST FAST and did I mention how FAST it is?

Cons: Only 8 ports

Overall Review: These are awesome as SAN switches. We are using two (for redundancy) in a VMware vSphere Cluster with Virtual SAN Also, this is a high performance switch designed for Data Center use: cool, clean air and a LOT of it. If you are planning on using this as an "office" switch, you can expect a lot of fan noise and a significantly shortened life span.

Most Critical Review

What's the point? UPDATED

SYBA SD-PEX40054 PCI-Express 2.0 x2 SATA III (6.0Gb/s) HyperDuo 4-port RAID Controller Card
SYBA SD-PEX40054 PCI-Express 2.0 x2 SATA III (6.0Gb/s) HyperDuo 4-port RAID Controller Card

Pros: Sorry for the repeat - NEWEGG makes it impossible to edit your reviews! Can't beat the price. With the proper BIOS, chipset, and driver updates, you should be able to get OK utilization of the 2 PCI lanes this card provides. More than enough speed for any spinning disk drives. However, we maxed out at a disappointing 700MB/s write and (interestingly enough) 620GB/s read using 4 Samsung 850 PRO SSDs in RAID0.

Cons: This is an exceedingly poor physical board design: SYBA used jumpers to redirect SATA data streams between internal and external ports. This essentially adds 16 more potential points of failure and encourages the consumer to rub their grubby fingers all over them. Ideally, these signals should be switch in silicon. But at the very least, SYBA should have used 4 pole switches to preclude contamination and just make it easier on their customer. The two fixed internal SATA connectors are mounted edge-wise so connecting cables is easy but they do not support locking cables and it is very easy to dislodge one. We resorted to hot glue, I'm ashamed to say, to secure these. The two internal connectors associated with the jumpered ports DO support locking SATA cables but come straight out of the PCB so regular SATA cables will interfere with an adjacent PCIe slot - you'll need to use cables with a 90 degree connector. Make sure you get ones that bend in the right direction. Our application is for all internal SATA ports only so the jumpers were pretty annoying to me. The paper documentation that comes in the box is pretty bad in my opinion. Marketing this kind of product to consumers, there should have been very clear diagrams (ie. pictures) of all jumpers and connectors. You can take a microscope to the board and figure out what they meant but your basic tech consumer shouldn't have to. Also, at the very end of this document, they direct you to a third party driver download site for drivers. This I find unconscionable. The drivers are available on the SYBA site but it takes a little exploring to find them. And by the way, you will need these - don't run this board on the default Microsoft drivers. SYBA (or possibly Marvell) did something funny with the drive activity signals at J9 and J10. In all other controllers I have dealt with and with the motherboards that support injection from a PCI controller, this signal is an open collector transistor that pulls low on disk activity and can be used in a "wired-OR" configuration with other disk controllers. The two boards we are evaluating are either both broken or simply don't work that way. In any case we were unsuccessful getting the disk activity signal to work with our ASUS motherboard. Finally, one of the two boards we were evaluating started locking up the disk subsystems after a few days testing. This is a lab environment and it is entirely possible we blew this up ourselves - that's why we buy two for evaluation :)

Overall Review: It should be noted that our target system is an aging ASUS Z8NA-D6 running Windows Server 2012 R2 (which is not officially supported by SYBA). We are testing with Samsung 850 PRO SSDs and Western Digital Black spinning media drives. The Z8NA-D6 is only PCI express 2.0 but if we can max out the PCI lanes it should have a successful second life as a file server and VM host. We were disappointed in our initial results using Storage Spaces (OS level striping/tiering) and so we went back and tested the card using the HyperDuo with RAID0 across four Samsung 850 PRO SSDs. Surprisingly, this made less than 2% difference. We still got 700/620GB/s write/read throughput. We are still not sure why read speeds are slower. UPDATED SUMMARY: If 600-700GB/s is an acceptable ceiling, you gotta have cheap, and you don't mind working for it, this might be your card. Next up on our evaluation: SUPERMICRO AOC-SAS2LP-MV8 - still pending.

Excellant

Plantronics Backbeat Pro Wireless Active Noise Cancelling Headphones with Mic – Black
Plantronics Backbeat Pro Wireless Active Noise Cancelling Headphones with Mic – Black

Pros: - Good sound quality - Mic squelches background noise - Noise cancelling is very good - Controls are easy to understand and use - Comfortable to wear - Works well in noisy environments

Cons: Expensive but the best usually is

Overall Review: I drive a Mercedes SLK convertible with the top down as often as weather permits and these sound great driving, cancelling the low frequencies effectively (higher band get through but this is normal). I can take phone calls and be understood. The "open mic" is an interesting feature - the volume control switches from controlling music/conversation to controlling how much "outside" sound gets in. This would have been more useful if it was a "pan" between the outside ambient sound and music (which keeps playing a fixed low level as it is). NOTE: it is illegal in some states (notably Washington) to wear a headset like this while driving - it's a stupid law as it is perfectly legal for deaf people to drive and to drive with your stereo at ear splitting levels but there you are...

If you are not a pro you will need a service agreement

Cisco ASA 5505 10 User Bundle Firewall
Cisco ASA 5505 10 User Bundle Firewall

Pros: Good quality hardware Expandable Knowledgeable user community - trust me, you are going to need them.

Cons: -Complicated setup for anything but basic edge routing - you can get that for a lot cheaper -ASDM (remote management tool) will likely not work out of the box due to a known but unacknowledged configuration/licensing issue. No support, at all, without an additional service agreement - can't even download the latest firmware without one - that's right, you will get two year old firmware unless you pay them more!

Overall Review: I like most Cisco products and will even probably like this one once I get it's issues hammered out. But it arrived with a configuration/firmware combination that did not allow its management software (ASDM) to work and now they are holding me up for a service contract to fix something that was broken out of the box. I am sure I will get this working and once I do, I'll be happy with it (I have one already working at one of our colo sites and it has been solid). But it is sad to see Cisco sell a broken product and then demand more money to fix it. Forces me to view them in the same light as a certain Redmond software giant.....