Date Joined: 10/19/05
Pros: Cheap 3.0Gb/s Hardware RAID
Can really do two port multiplier single drives if setup accordingly.
Cons: Documentation sorely lacking
Dated Lowly JMB390 Chipset
So, about those promised answers. If you've read some of the other reviews here, you'll see some complaints about troubles getting non-raid port multiplier mode to work as two single drives. Most people had no trouble with RAID0, RAID1, or JBOD (which is a single large drive). Continued...
Overall Review: In order to do PM with two single drives, set the jumpers to "No Ch" or "No Action" (all switches OFF). The JMB390 chipset will detect either a PM (port multiplier) aware or non-PM aware host controller. It turns out that even for non-RAID PM, you must use the appropriate RAID drivers for your SATA host controller. The way I found this out is that I had my motherboard SATA controller set to AHCI (in BIOS) and PM wasn't working with this Syba card on Windows 7. But it was working with XP. Why? The difference is that XP does ACHI with RAID style drivers, but I was just using ACHI drivers for Windows 7. I forced RAID drivers for my motherboard's SATA controller on Windows 7, and then PM works with this card. I didn't have to change the BIOS from ACHI. It turns out that PM is technically sort of a RAID spec function. So, even if you don't want any RAID anywhere on your system, RAID style drivers will get PM to work with this card - even with BIOS set to AHCI (rather than RAID). Assuming of course that you can install RAID drivers while in ACHI mode on your motherboard, and that your motherboard SATA controller supports PM mode otherwise.
Another sort of neat way to use this Syba card without any RAID drivers is as sort of a poor man's SATA switch. With two drives connected in "No Ch" mode, if you cut power to one of the drives, then the other one will work. For example, you could connect a DVD driver to port 2, and a hard drive to port 1. With both powered up, only the port 1 drive will work (if you are using only AHCI drivers and not RAID drivers for PM as described above). But if you cut power to the drive on port 1, then the port 2 drive will work. I have a HDD rack in one of my bays with a power switch, and I can use it that way and switch off that drive if I want to use the DVD drive (I usually reboot before doing this). Anyway, that is my story, thanks for reading.
Pros: Quiet and good function while on around-the-clock for 14 months. It has the modular style I like; hardwired motherboard, ATX & primary video cables, but modular drive cables and modular secondary video cables
Cons: My unit has some Taiwanese capacitors. 6 to be exact. 4 Taicon 2200uf/16v and 2 Taicon 1000uf/16v. It was the 2200uf ones that failed. The specs for this unit are vague about the number of Japanese capacitors, or whether or not they are all Japanese. Cooler Master previously offered mostly a 5 year warranty on their high-end supplies, now it seems they mostly offer a 2 year warranty.
Overall Review: So, the marketing claim for this power supply is "Japanese-made capacitors". Since that is plural phraseology, I guess that means at least two Japanese capacitors. When I read a review of this power supply, the photos of the innards showed all Japanese electrolytic capacitors. No Taicons were in that review sample. To be fair, Taicon is a joint venture with Nichicon Japan, but they are sill made in Taiwan. Just know that your unit may have some non-Japanese electrolytic capacitors.
Pros: ASMedia ASM1061 chipset, AHCI, Port Multiplier.
Cons: v0.89 of the firmware could cause trouble on some systems with native booting or having the drives connected while booting. v0.90 or v0.93 will often fix this, not currently available from Biostar, have to search for it. Firmware update must be done in native DOS OS.
Overall Review: Biostar, thanks for having the firmware available on your website, but it needs to be updated from v0.89 to the newest version.
Pros: Excellent aesthetics, low-noise fan w/switch, USB-3.0 & eSata, easy assembly (just two screws).
Cons: Some sloppy hand soldering around the filter capacitors near the sata connector, with quite a bit of flux residue. This was present on more than one sample. The three filter capacitors are electrolytic CapXon/Stone brand, 220uF/16v. The remainder of the board's flow soldering is fine.
Overall Review: The fan is 80x80x10mm 12volts and runs at low RPM, it draws air in and pushes it out through some vents at the top of the case. USB 3.0 chipset is ASMedia ASM1051, eSATA chipset is ASMedia ASM1453. The included cables are fairly short, the eSATA cable is not the heavily shielded type that I usually prefer for external eSATA, but rather more similar is structure to an internal SATA cable. Care should be taken when sliding drive onto the enclosure's sata connector, as drive position can shift as drive is being slid onto the connector.
Pros: Sturdy aluminum construction. Compact length (compared to other brands).
Cons: Uses drive's own connector each time the tray is docked into the rack, so do it gently. Must use key each time to insert/remove & power-up/power-down (unless you jury-rig the lock system). Rate of fan failure is high after 6 months and almost universal after 1 year. Sometimes, factory new and sealed units are missing the very specialized screws needed to attach the drive from the bottom of the tray.
Overall Review: We use over 60 of these systems at my company. I'm updating my prior review from December 2007 to address the issues of fan failure and the availability of additional trays.
The fans in these units rarely last more than 6-12 months before they start making significant noise. It is a 40x10 mm fan, and it is replaceable. However, getting the wire length right and an appropriate connector fastened does require quite a bit of finesse. I've replaced more than 50 fans on these now.
As pointed out in a recent review, additional Athena Power branded trays are no longer available under newegg item #N82E16817995002. However, a compatible tray (pretty much the same exact OEM tray with different branding) is available under newegg item #N82E16817994078 (as of this date, at least). Overall, I still like these rack systems, although this is partly a comparative evaluation, since so many other systems are of such poor quality.
Pros: I just topped off the DDR to 4gb on my Tyan Server board. Had to adjust bios to get 2 Cas. But it works fine, even with all 4 sticks installed (which sometimes doesn't work on all motherboards).
Cons: No rebates received out of 3 offers over 7 months. Have given up on the rebates.
Overall Review: Also using some OCZ ddr2 on other boards. Also didn't get the rebate for those. Just give up on the rebates. It is only 60 dollars altogether. OCZ will tell you to post on the forums or email about the rebates - but that doesn't work either. Buy this memory for the quality, just put the rebates out of your mind or you will go crazy.
Pros: Hi-power wi-fi, stable, compact size.
Cons: There are two ways to configure this access point. Using a utility on the CD, and using a browser configuration interface connection directly to the device. The browser configuration interface, as of this date, has an flaw in the security module, in that in will not accept all valid ascii characters for the WPA/WPA2 passphrase. However, the utility on the CD will accept all valid ascii characters for the passphrase. So, use the utility on the CD to set the WPA/WPA2 passphrase. If the utility on the CD can't find the device, disable your firewall temporarily.
Overall Review: Good for a simple 'N' upgrade to any router, or even just to improve wi-fi on any router, or otherwise setup an additional wireless access point. It would be nice if it was dual band (2.4 and 5 MHz), but otherwise this device is very impressive.
Pros: Nice finish, all cables are fully sleeved, fairly quiet, single high-amp 12v rail
Cons: Not ATX form factor! This is contrary to Corsair's product information on their website for this model, although the dimensions on the box are correct. It is 5.9" (150mm) long, not 5.5" long as per their website. Corsair's website also has the offical "80 PLUS" logo on the website product page for this model, but such logo is nowhere to be found on the box!
Overall Review: I also had problems with the SATA power connectors. There are two cables with 4 SATA power connectors each. 3 'compact' connectors, and 1 'regular' size connector at the end of each cable. The regular connector fits my drives fine, but I could not get the compact connectors onto my drives, and in my attempt at doing so, the metal contacts inside the SATA power connectors were forced back and out of place. Now the connectors are unusable and possibly a short hazzard. Be careful when attaching the compact SATA power connectors on this power supply.
Cons: Uses drive's own connector each time the tray is docked into the rack, so do it gently. Must use key each time to insert/remove & power-up/power-down (unless you jury-rig the lock system).
Overall Review: Contrary to other reviews, additional trays are available at reduced cost (newegg item# N82E16817995002
Pros: No complaints with the power supply. Great deal currently (Nov'07) with discount/rebate.
Cons: Price dropped thirty clams just hours after I ordered. I couldn't cancel in time. Don't order anything on the day before thanksgiving.
Pros: Aesthetically, this monitor is a piece of artwork. Every element of the design, top-to-bottom and front-to-back, has evidence of artistic thought in the design. The back is as pretty as the front. The scratch-proof glass screen is the perfect compromise between a matte screen and a glossy screen. This screen is only slightly glossy. Great blacks. The viewing angles seem to be wider than the specs indicate. There are five present 'splendid' modes. Great picture.
Cons: The stand has only tilt adjustment, there is no height adjustment. The fixed height seems perfect to me though. The price seemed a little expensive when I ordered, but once I examined the monitor - it seemed like a good value.
Overall Review: This is a 4:3 monitor, not a widescreen. 4:3 20" monitors are pretty rare. I prefer 4:3 to widescreen. I also prefer the native resolution of 1400x1050 on this monitor, it makes text easy to read without adjustments.
Pros: No dead pixels. Includes cables. Bright.
Cons: Not as crisp/sharp as I had hoped it would be, based on the reviews here. This is a 'value line' monitor, and it shows.
Overall Review: I purchased this LCD monitor to replace a LCD monitor with a failing backlight. My previous monitor had more crisp/sharp text than this monitor. I'll keep this monitor as a backup, since it would be a hassle to return it - but I'm disappointed. I'm going to try to fix my old monitor.
Pros: Ergonomic design provides for good feel. Extra buttons can be handy. Battery life is reasonably good. Pointing seems accurate to me in my non-precision use.
Cons: The receiver has been flaky for me. Once it powered up, it would be fine, but about half the time it wouldn't power up - especially immediately after a shut down.
Overall Review: I finally traced the receiver problem to an apparent undervalued electrolytic capacitor in the receiver. After changing the capacitor, the receiver now powers up every time.
Pros: Installed easily in a MSI K8NGM2-FID motherboard. Both XP and Vista detected the processor and installed two entries in device manager, one for each core. I didn't need to re-install the OS. My prior CPU was a 3700+. The performance increase is significant, but not overwhelming.
Cons: It's hot. I've juggled around the installation with a bunch of different HSFs, thermal compounds, and case fans, and the bottome line is - this CPU is just hot. The OEM HSF is as good as any other. Get the AMD opteron drivers and the powernow dashboard for this. Remember to set the power scheme to 'minimal power managment' in control panel. With powernow (cool 'n quiet variant) installed, the CPU idles at 1 volt and 1ghz and a temp of about 37. (Assuming, of course, that your motherboard has direct BIOS support for this CPU and the power management function). With both cores used 100%, temps go as high as 54 on my system.
Overall Review: This CPU is obviously for last ditch upgrades to otherwise meaty 939 systems. It is not the fastest, coolest, or most cost effective CPU on the market - but for what it is (the top-end readily available socket 939 dual-core CPU), it is great.
Pros: Has 8MB memory, which is more than most print servers of this variety which mostly have 2MB of memory. Supports lots of protocols. Wireless works well and supports WPA/WPA2. In the end, I'm happy with the WPS-9122 - but only after several hours of research to learn of it's limitations, and it's full and undocumented capabilities (see below).
Cons: The manual is sub-par. The 'PrintServer Network Port' driver only works with Windows XP. Works great on XP with this driver. On Vista, I was unable to get LPR or RAW mode working (only half the page would print). IPP mode works on Vista, but the manual doesn't explain how to use it.
Overall Review: So, Edimax is the OEM for this device. They make two versions, the version like this one that supports lots of extra protocols, and an 'all-in-one' multifunction printer version that emulates a USB port on each Windows client PC connected to the print server. The WPS-9122 is not an 'all-in-one version. However, it can be made to be one by using the appropriate Belkin or Edimax firmware with the WPS-9122. Doing so is not so easy, so I can't explain how here.
Pros: ZyXEL's website now has a revised edition of the User Guide for the NPS-520. The new User Guide makes reference to a browser configuration interface, however the necessary firmware update to make it work is not posted. Perhaps new product shipping now will have the new firmware and not need to use the Edimax firmware in order to enable the browser configuration interface.
Cons: Regarding use of the MFP utility with Vista, it appears only to work with 32-bit Vista. To use with 32-bit Vista, configure the MFP device on an XP machine, then install the Edimax MFP Utility on the 32-bit Vista machine, skipping the 'configure now' process. Then start the MFP client and specifiy the IP address of the MFP device. The appropriate MFP Utility can be found at http://www.edimax.nl/new/images/Image/Driver_Utility/Wire/PrintServer/PS-1206MF/PS-1206MF_MFg_Setup.rar
Overall Review: Shoeless, perhaps consider the WPS-9122 (also on newegg) which uses the same chipset but which has firmware that supports the AppleTalk protocol directly. Keep in mind that the additional protocols provide only printing support, and not true local USB port emulation like is provided by the utility driver and software.
Pros: To use this MFP server with Macintosh, enable LPR on your Mac. For instructions on how to do this, search for PM1115UMF, click on the StarTech link, and download the manual for the PM1115UMF. The Mac instructions are on page 21.
Cons: The utility software is not needed for any OS if you use LPR, TCP/IP, or other protocols listed in the manual.
Overall Review: A browser configuration interface can be enabled for this device by updating the firmware to version 4.6 (available at the Edimax website under PS-1206MF). When using the browser interface for configuration, the configuration software is not needed either. It is true that the manual for this NPS-520 is a little lacking, but the device itself is excellent - if you are familiar with print server setup or research the information.
Pros: Works very well with select multi-function printers (check mfg website for supported printer list). Even the ink level utility for my HP printer works through this server.
Cons: The supplied client utility is nice to auto-connect (and release) the connection to the printer by any PC on the network, but there is a problem with Vista - fortunately there is a workaround (see below)
Overall Review: The OEM for this device appears to be "ServCon". Identical models are the Edimax PS-1206MF and the Level One FPS-9022. But each mfg has customized utility software. I couldn't get Vista to see the device with the supplied ZyXEL software (to be fair, ZyXEL does not claim Vista support). The Edimax software does work with Vista, but not when scanning for the device - just when the device IP is specified. I also have one PC running Linux for which I just use TCP/IP to print to the the IP address of the device. Overall I like the Edimax utility much better than the ZyXEL utility anyway.
Pros: Video output quality is decent, given that it is all in SD. I use this device to output down converted 16x9 HD content to my DVD/HDD recorder, and it works OK for that. The interface/menu is the typical minimally-engineered (but functional) style found on off-brand generic equipment such as this.
Cons: All output is in SD. This thing gets hot! Not just a little hot, but baking-cookies oven hot. Over the first few days it locked up twice, requiring a reboot.
Overall Review: The tuner inside is an LG modular tuner, and this tuner module is what gets the hottest. The main CPU gets plenty hot too. This device should be installed such that it has plenty of air flow. It really should have an internal fan.
Pros: It's certainly different. It's certainly huge - at least on the outside. Quality is high, even considering the high price.
Cons: Did I mention that it's really huge and different? Oh, and huge! Cable length is an issue unless you get long cables and a power supply with long power wires.
Overall Review: A number '6' is bigger on the oustide than on the inside. This case shares that attribute. I still like the case. If you're into 'big' and 'unusual', this is your case.
Pros: Very stable so far for the first week. Very clean design. It's even smaller than most MicroATX motherboards, so it's an easy fit in small cases. The onboard 6100 DVI video is decent for most applications and video playback, but games will likely need a video upgrade (I added the 7600GS).
Cons: nForce4 410 chipset only supports two SATA drives.
Overall Review: Overall very decent, but reliability will be the question for this off-brand motherboard. If it continues to run like it has during the first week, then it is a great choice!
Pros: Above average consruction. I like the mounting system for the drives and the side-mount cage for the hard drives. This case is among the better designed cases available on the market today.
Cons: Do yourself a favor and replace the power supply the same day you receive this case. The PSU that comes with this case is not up to the quality standards of the PSUs that Antec markets as stand-alone power supplies. Save this power supply as a spare and put in a quality power supply such as the Cooler Master RS-600-ASAA (available at newegg).
Overall Review: This is a quality case, but it is not the best case I have ever used. My favorite cases are some of the Axxion cases that are no longer in production or are OEM only. The paint job on this case is too glossy for my taste. I don't like having the on/off switch behind the hinged door. I don't care for the CPU vent system. A decent case overall, but mostly because the competition is much worse.
Pros: 476 continuous watts and 36 countinuous amps just on the 12 volt rails!! Great for SLI! Plenty of connectors (almost too many). Super sexy finish. Dual ball bearing 120mm fan is the quietest I've seen in a power supply of this class!
Cons: There are a lot of wires! I have a pretty loaded system and I'm not even using half of the wires. I took some black wire ties and bundled all of the unused wires into a neat slender bundle and routed them down to the bottom of the case.
Overall Review: I've tried some other power supplies in the 600W-700W range, and this one is my new favorite. It is right up there with the best by PC Power & Cooling and other premium PSUs, but much less noisy and so very stable. I've only been using it for about two weeks, but it stays this reliable for the long term, I can't imagine a better PSU!
Pros: Amazing performance from a GS card! I'm not quite sure how it does it! Plus, it is 100 times more quiet than a GT card. Idle temp. isaround 42C, max. temp. around 52C under load.
Cons: The card slot backplate didn't fully seat in my case - other PCIE video cards seat properly. I made some adjustments and now it fits pretty well.
Overall Review: I haven't tried any overclocking yet, the performace is high enough in relation to how cool it runs - so I think I will leave it at the default settings
Pros: Very good reception. Reasonably priced. Atheros chipset works well with XP, Vista, SUSE Linux. XP and Vista will update the driver through windows update if selected. SUSE 10.0 supports directly and works fine with wpa_supplicant. (10.1 needs a download).
Cons: The driver software for windows XP was difficult and very slow to install. There is a 22.214.171.124 version (not at mfg's website) which installs much more easily (get it at softpedia or elsewhere).
Overall Review: The external wired antenna gave worse reception that a standard 2db screw-on antenna, so I used the latter. Sometimes when booting XP from an off condition (cold boot) the hardware wizard will come up as if the drivers aren't installed - but if I soft reboot, they load on the next boot.