Date Joined: 01/10/04
Pros: Loads up to 8x 2.5" SATA or SAS SSDs or HDDs (no more than 7mm tall). Has a pair of HD Mini SAS connectors (SFF-8643) to make cabling easier. The drive trays are all metal and are quite durable for their size and construction.
Cons: The mounting screws for the outer cage seem to interfere with the inner trays such that the trays may not slide cleanly. Use short screws if you can. Due to the form factor, drives are limited to 7mm height.
Overall Review: I use this with an LSI 9300-8i HBA in my rather compact workstation tower so I can fit a bunch of 1TB SSDs in a single 5.25" bay. This unit will require an 8-port (or more) HBA or RAID card with appropriate connectors and cables (or a "reverse breakout" cable to work with onboard SATA connectors) since it doesn't have the usual batch of SATA style connectors.
Pros: Runs at advertised specs using XMP, even on an AMD platform. In computationally-intense applications, it's a benefit to have both higher speeds and lower latency settings. There's a LOT less memory bottleneck and lets the CPU work.
Cons: Cost of RAM is still a bit high but so are all the other brands/models.
Overall Review: I'm using in an ASUS C7H board with an overclocked and water-cooled Ryzen 2700X and it runs perfectly using the XMP settings (after making sure the rest of the CPU/RAM settings like voltage are ready for it).
Pros: The TV-IP314PI is a good "cheap" camera option for a DIY grounds surveillance system. Image quality is good-to-excellent in daylight conditions and adequate in zero-light conditions when the IR emitters are used. Easily powered via any PoE switch or injector (also has a 12v power pigtail if you want to go that route). Feeds are industry standard H.264 (and MJPEG for a substream) and supports RTSP. Once the firmware is up-to-date, the video feed will work directly in modern browsers. All the important parts are metal - the housing, the stem, and the base, in particular. The connections are weather-resistant, too.
Cons: Older firmware relied on a special browser plugin which modern browsers like Chrome don't support. Image quality could be a little better, particularly once the "nighttime mode" kicks in and the IR emitters turn on. There's also a bit of barrel distortion. The claimed 83 degree field-of-view doesn't really seem like 83 degrees (it looks more like 70ish at full resolution but that's still pretty wide for a bullet camera). Lastly, the included recording software is kinda clunky.
Overall Review: I've got a handful of these on the outside of my home and I've only had one fail (my fault on a bad FW update). They're mounted under the eaves out of the rain/snow but are otherwise exposed to winter temps as low as -20F and summer temps pushing 100F. They're fed with Cat6 back to the PoE switch - longest run is about 100 feet. In daylight conditions, they're pulling about 3 watts each. With the IR emitters on, they're pulling about 4.5 watts each. They link up at 100Mb.
Since these output standard H.264 video and support RTSP, you can use just about any recording software package, which I highly recommend doing. I've got a home IT lab setup and a single, small VM with Video Insight is doing all the recording (motion activated in the software, not the camera).
Overall, these are great for a basic setup and allow you to upgrade to better units as your budget allows.
Pros: Easy to install. Provisioned for up to 4 fans (push/pull). LED can be programmed (via LINK software) for a variety of colors, including entirely off. With the right fans, it's VERY quiet.
Cons: Hoses are a bit on the short side. Stock fans should be swapped for better units.
Overall Review: I've been running one of these on an i7 4930k in an Obsidian 350D case for nearly 4 years and it does a stellar job. I've got the CPU clocked to 4.2GHz (up from 3.4GHz stock) and I've only ever seen the CPU package temps get to 60C under the heaviest of loads. I can only run one pair of fans when it's mounted at the top of my case as there's not enough room for a push/pull config up there. But even in just the push OR pull config, it's still more than adequate.
The stock fans are decent, I guess, but there are better options out there. I tried Corsair's SP series fans but they rattle. I highly suggest going with 3rd-party fans that are meant for radiator duty. And be sure to get PWM connectors on them.
Pros: Works as advertised.
Cons: As others noted, runs a bit hot. Build quality is a bit cheap-ish (another plastic tower that doesn't fit well in a small rack).
Overall Review: I've got Comcast/XFINITY and ran this modem through their 250Mbps tier for a year without issue (June 2016 through May 2017). Since then, I've dropped speeds, for price reasons, to the 200Mbps tier. It's been rock-solid the whole time. I only ever needed to reboot it to reset the connection for a replacement gateway router.
It would be nice to get a device that isn't concerned about being even remotely stylish and, instead, would focus on best possible functionality, particularly regarding cooling. While I haven't had any issues, electronics don't like heat and I'd rather deal with a little noise from a fan than to have something compromised so that it looks nice on a desk. Mine sits on a shelf in a small rack in my basement utility room where some fan noise or more "industrial" styling isn't going to bother anyone.
Pros: It's power-efficient and more than powerful enough for a small- to medium-sized business router/firewall appliance. Could also make a great low-powered VM node for things that don't need a lot of CPU. Dedicated IPMI network port means you don't need a direct KVM connection nor will you chew up a regular network port for system management duties. The 4x onboard Intel-based NIC ports are nice for router/firewall duty. Those same NIC ports can be trunked/aggregated for VM duty, as well.
Cons: No redundant power supply option - prefer this for mains-only and mains+UPS+Generator legs (also makes moving from one circuit to another a much easier task). Fixed drive bays make changing out failed disks more difficult than it needs to be. There's a PCIe 8x slot, but you'd need to find the right riser kit for it (it's not included with the server). Similarly, rack-mounting rails are not included and need to be purchased separately (though, to be fair, the server is VERY light and can probably survive hanging from the rack ears alone, if needed).
Overall Review: I'm using this to run Untangle at home since about June 2016 (now November 2016). All I needed to add was a disk (1TB SATA) and some RAM (4x 4GB DDR3). Installation was done via virtual mounted ISO on the IPMI port (I pre-configured IPMI in the BIOS via a real KVM - all of about 5 minutes work). So far, after installation and configuration, the CPU has never peaked at more than about 10%. It's been running basically non-stop the entire time and has never locked up or otherwise crashed on me.
The server comes with 2x 3.5" drive brackets and enough cabling to connect 2x SATA disks. If you want to mount 2.5" disks, you'll need to order different brackets: MCP-220-00051-0N is for the single 2.5" mounting (replaces one of the 3.5" brackets) and MCP-220-00044-0N is for a double-2.5" mounting (again, replaces one of the 3.5" brackets). You'll also need to make sure to get additional SATA cabling if you plan to install more then 2 disks.
Overall, I'm very pleased with it.
Pros: 4TB drives are the sweet spot in the capacity-for-dollar equation right now. And Seagate's entire Constellation line are built solidly.
Cons: None, really.
Overall Review: I've used these at work in a bunch of servers, including a custom-built NAS server with 8x of them in the same chassis. Haven't had a single failure, yet. The two I just ordered will be for personal use in an 8-bay NAS appliance to replace some failing 2TB drives from another manufacturer (not entirely unexpected as they're nearly 3 years old desktop-grade disks).
Pros: Image is above average (but not spectacular), uses standard PoE (802.11af) OR outboard DC power - depends on how you want it wired up, value for money is quite good. 3MP at this price?!
Cons: The 3MP image is narrower and taller than the other settings, particularly the 2MP (1080p) setting. Streaming that 3MP image means a reduction in framerate - about 20 fps max - where the 2MP image can stream at 30 fps. The onboard GUI for setup isn't very friendly and the included setup software is only good to get the basics set up. The included recording software isn't all that great, either, as playback isn't intuitive nor speedy. The IR blasters only light up a circle in the center of the image covering about 80% of the frame, likely as an effort at increasing the range which is impressive but unnecessary for my application (I need only about 50 feet and would prefer a more even spread).
Overall Review: I have a pair of these replacing some older, other-branded cameras that had lower resolution, had no night-vision and lacked true PoE capabilities. Both are mounted outdoors under the eaves of my home so they're well protected from rain/snow/etc. These new cameras work great with my 3rd party recording software and give me a better picture than my old units. When in night mode, they pick up even the earliest/latest twilight at dawn/dusk quite well. The IR blasters are really only needed for absolute darkness but do a great job of illuminating a good portion of the scene after the sun fully sets.
I'm using them at the 2MP setting to increase the framerate and to provide a wider horizontal picture of the scene over the 3MP setting. 2MP is still quite sharp. It's my new benchmark for acceptable image quality. I might add some IR floodlights to the areas being monitored to more evenly illuminate the frame and possibly eliminate the use of the built-in IR blasters. Otherwise, they're great units once you get past the clunky setup process.
Pros: Understated styling. Comfortably fits full-size GPUs - I've got a GTX 580 in the top slot of my ASUS Maximus IV Gene and there's still about 4 inches from the front edge of the card to the front-mounted fans. Takes the Corsair H100, H105, and H110, though realistically only when fans are mounted on one side of the radiator due to interference with motherboard components.
Cons: If it weren't for certain top-mounted components on most motherboards - like the 8-pin CPU power connector and some VRM heatsinks - you could fit fans on both sides of the H100-series coolers (or anything of that same size). Using a 2x 120mm or 2x 140mm radiator at the top also means the top 5.25" bay won't fit an optical drive though a fan controller or similar panel would probably be fine.
Overall Review: I'm running the H100i and have the fans mounted between the top panel and the radiator in a pull configuration out the top and every other fan is pulling cool air in (yes, even the rear fan is pulling air in). It's also possible to mount the H100 on the front panel and use two sets of fans for a push-pull config, but I didn't want warm air coming into the case. If I did that, my GTX 580 would still fit. Any video card longer than that would probably interfere with a front-mounted push-pull config on any 2x 120mm radiator.
I've seen it mentioned somewhere in some professional review of this same case that a 2x 120mm radiator might fit with push-pull fans if mounted offset a little bit by using a 2x 140mm fan hole at one corner and using holes in the grill at the top for other mounting points. Not sure I'm willing to try that, though...
I had to put my optical drive in the 2nd bay (of 2) since the radiator and fans occupy about half the vertical space about 4 inches back from the front panel. Not a big deal for me since I have only one 5.25 inch device for this system. Fans are controlled by the motherboard and I have no need for flashy LCDs or switches.
Pros: Novel 3D NAND construction should make it last longer than typical SSDs. VERY fast, even amongst SSD peers. Included software/driver package is actually useful (but still download the latest version from the website).
Cons: It's among the most expensive SSD on the market for a given capacity point and you won't really see a huge difference in speed for day-to-day use so a less expensive model will likely suffice.
Overall Review: I picked the Samsung 850 Pro for my build because of the durability and warranty. My systems are upgraded periodically - new CPUs, GPUs, RAM, etc. - but I rarely buy new primary storage so a large, durable SSD was what I wanted. The speed (that I barely notice as compared to some other SSDs I've tried for my office) is just a bonus.
Pros: Tactile response similar to a buckling spring unit (Model M, etc.). The chassis is solid and feels like it's meant to last - we'll see.
Cons: It's close to feeling like a buckling spring keyboard but not quite. The Cherry MX blue switches are a closer match but they're also noisy like the buckling spring units.
Overall Review: I'm currently borrowing this exact unit from a coworker so I can try it out while mine is on the way. I, too, am coming from a bunch of Unicomp units and a real IBM Model M keyboard - all buckling spring. I'm needing something a little quieter so I can type while I'm hosting conference calls with our customers and not drowning everyone out. I haven't had a chance to test it in that exact scenario but it's a LOT quieter than my Unicomp in day-to-day use. My co-workers were never really bothered by the noise but they are definitely happier.
Pros: Compact, so it works well sitting under the monitors at my desk. It's a smart switch so I can assign VLAN on a per-port basis right at my desk.
Cons: Not a fan of the external power supply but I understand what having an internal power supply would do to the overall size of the unit. Also, the 8-port model is limited to handling 16 VLANs while the other SG200 units are able to handle up to 256 VLANs.
Overall Review: As I work both internal and external IT support for my employer, having access to all of our VLANs at my desk can be a real time-saver. I'm feeding a VLAN trunk to my local port and carving off from there so I can have multiple devices on multiple VLANs right at my desk for troubleshooting or setup purposes.
Pros: It's fanless and performs exceptionally well for general office purposes.
Cons: It's a little chunkier than it probably needs to be, but most of that bulk is the passive heatsink and we have plenty of room in our office desktop computers, so it's excusable for us.
Overall Review: We have these added to our (self-assembled) desktop systems at the office to drive a 3rd monitor. The on-board video supports only two video outputs so we wanted to get a solution that would stand up to 24/7 usage (mostly worried about dust collecting in the fan and more general fan failures). This is one of the least expensive fanless video cards that fits a modern PCIe x16 slot.
It would also make an excellent video card for a home-theater PC, assuming you have room for the heatsink since it does exceed the top edge of a full-height slot.
Pros: It's a 1080p display in a fairly compact unit. The swivel to portrait orientation was a selling point for us. Price wasn't too bad, either.
Cons: The only complaints I have are based on its intrinsic qualities - I'd like it to be bigger, cheaper, and better looking than it already is. However, I could just as easily purchase a different display.
Overall Review: We're in the process of adding a 3rd display for a server status dashboard where portrait orientation is ideal. We wanted a display that matched pretty closely to our existing units (that do not swivel to portrait) and this fit the specs and budget perfectly.
Don't worry about the TN panel. Yes, IPS would be better, but Samsung seems to know how to make a TN panel with a slightly wider viewing range so a vertical orientation doesn't look washed out as you move from side-to-side.
Pros: Supports GbE networking as well as PoE+ (802.3at specs). Takes a standard PC power cable (IEC C14)
Cons: On the bulky side, though the build quality kind of makes up for it.
Overall Review: We have a handful of these for some outlying areas where we need only one or two PoE ports (usually for one or two wireless AP at each site) and a full PoE switch for that purpose just costs too much (we haven't moved to hosting our own VoIP phones, either where a PoE switch makes a lot more sense). These injectors were put in about 2 years ago and are still running without any problems. We simply mount them to the 2-post rack using 2-inch wide velcro strips. I just purchased one for personal use at my home for similar purpose - a single PoE port for a wireless AP.
Pros: 4-pin PWM connector (compatible with 3-pin motherboard connectors), quiet.
Cons: They don't move a LOT of air, but simply enough. They're advertised as a "quiet" fan over everything else, so it shouldn't come as a surprise. I guess the bundled color rings are available in only 3 colors (blue, red, and white) and only attach to one side of the fan - it would be nice to have other color choices and, possibly, to either (or both) side(s) of the fan.
I mention it only because I have to put *something* in the "cons" box.
Overall Review: I like to use these on the radiators of the Corsair H-series closed-loop coolers for a very quiet cooling solution. Usually, I'll use the H80i or the H100i and these fans in push-pull when I can. The bundled fans in the coolers do a decent job on their own but I much prefer the PWM control and the lower RPM of these fans.
If you let the motherboard or the H-series coolers manage the speed of these fans, you're probably going to have noise from other, louder fans from other hot components (video card, probably) drown out the tiny amount of noise these will make.
Pros: Excellent build quality and is factory-configured to run silently (no fan) while under moderate loads. Has the Corsair LINK interface built-in.
Cons: I'm not convinced the cables are built to the same quality standards as the main unit but they seem to be holding up fine so far. Also, cost is a bit high (like most good things). Does not include a copy of the Corsair LINK software. And the LINK software (once downloaded) seems to interfere with other motherboard monitoring utilities.
Overall Review: So, it's a good PSU. I'm sure it will stand up to loads I'll probably never put on it, so it'll last a good long time. But I can find similar wattage PSUs for less money that will give me similar power capacity. The LINK ecosystem is a neat novelty but I'm not sure it's really worth investing in. I've got a AIO water cooler with it built-in, too, but I had to jump through a few hoops with the Windows driver to get it to run properly. Also, it seems to interfere with the fan monitoring/management software bundled with my motherboard. And I'd MUCH prefer the motherboard solution since it's a lot more robust and refined.
If you're invested in the LINK software/hardware ecosystem and need a high-wattage PSU, you really can't go wrong with this unit. Otherwise, I'd recommend picking a similarly-rated PSU from another brand and saving a few bucks. You'll get similar, if not identical, power performance without any of the cost overhead for LINK.
Pros: 32GB of low-latency RAM at 1.35v - the best of all worlds!
Cons: Like most really good things, cost.
Overall Review: Make sure to use the XMP setting if your motherboard can recognize it. The standard JDEC settings won't give you the right timings and/or voltage and doing it all manually isn't very fun. You can verify the timings and voltage with a tool like CPUz.
Pros: It's a sturdy, simple 12u rack. Comes with basic casters.
Cons: As noted, it does not include the covers or handles from the pictures.
Overall Review: To be completely fair, the pictures on the manufacturer's website show this unit the exact same way - with the covers and handles installed, even though they are separate add-ons.
The company I work for has ordered a handful of these (direct from the manufacturer) for some smaller customers that don't need a full 42u rack. For some of them, we did order the doors and, while the do the job of keeping stray hands from getting to the equipment, they're not the easiest things to operate. Both the front and rear doors slot into the top panel and swing down. They're then secured with a thumbscrew at the bottom which can get a little awkward to reach since the front panel is quite deep. There's options for locking mechanisms, should you want them, too.
If you just need a small amount of rack space for a server or two, and/or maybe be a little mobile, this fits the bill.
Pros: I've got a handful of these in various sizes in almost all of my systems - both as case intake/exhaust as well as CPU cooling in push/pull - and they're ALL running 24x7. In the almost year I've had them installed, I have never had one of them fail (yet). These fans are designed more for airflow than static pressure but they do work fine pushing/pulling air through a radiator. They excel at getting air into and out of a case with a minimum of noise.
The connectors make installing these in systems with limited fan headers pretty easy. There are some diagrams included that show how to connect multiple fans to a single motherboard fan header.
Cons: Those very same fan headers makes installing on a more modern system more complicated than it needs to be. Instead of daisy-chaining the connectors (as the included diagrams show), I simply pull the yellow wire from both connectors, snip the wires leading to the daisy-chain connector, and insert the remaining yellow wire (from the 3-pin connector) into the PWM connector. It's not elegant and will DEFINITELY void whatever warranty these things come with, but it's a lot cleaner installation for modern systems with lots of fan headers.
Did I mention the wires were thin? They're almost like hair. They don't need to move much current but they could be a concern if you move your fans around a lot or don't keep them out of the way if you need to mess around inside your case. At a minimum, use a tie wrap or zip tie to bundle them together and route them out of the way.
Overall Review: I MUCH prefer a BB fan over the cheaper sleeve bearings or more exotic FDBs (and their variants). They have a generally strong record for reliability and seem to wear better over time than the others. The other bearing designs have their benefits but I feel this is the best overall compromise (good, cheap, fast - pick two).
If I had to make a suggestion for improvement, I'd make the wires a little thicker for durability and possibly sleeve them out of the box. As-is, however, they're good fans for many different applications. They move a good amount of air, can be PWM controlled, and are quiet. It's exactly what I'm looking for in a good, modern fan.
Pros: Lots of high-end features for a microATX board, particularly for LGA2011, just like the rest of ASUS's full-sized ROG boards for X79 chipsets.
Cons: Reliability issues.
Overall Review: Nobody is really going to be buying too many of these anymore with the release of the Haswell-E CPUs and the X99 chipset. However, if you've got a Sandy Bridge-E or Ivy Bridge-E CPU and want a compact system, this is really your only choice.
Yes, the board has had reliability issues. The one I acquired (as payment from a family member for IT work I did for them) was already an RMA replacement for one that failed to actually boot at all. Thankfully, this replacement seems to be working just fine and was shipped out with a BIOS new enough to support the 4930k out of the box. Even if it didn't, ASUS thoughtfully provides the BIOS Flashback functionality to update the BIOS without needing a CPU or a single stick of RAM installed.
Now I've got a microATX powerhouse to replace a mid-tower, full ATX, LGA1155, Z77 system that I built about two years ago.
Pros: Robust feature set. Long-term maintenance appears to be easy. The Synology Hybrid RAID setup makes volume expansion a no-brainer. Synology support is responsive. The underlying OS is updated regularly.
Cons: Trays are plastic. Disk retainers on the trays are also plastic snap-in inserts. There's very little actual metal in the parts a user would operate. No option for dual power supply. 4x LAN ports but no native link aggregation.
Overall Review: Make no mistake - this unit is expensive. If all you need is a NAS repository, you can find less expensive options. But if you're going to customize a small PC as a NAS with additional services (*nix/Mac/Win shares, DLNA media server, etc.) you'd be wise to consider this unit. A small PC might be cheaper up-front, but the long-term power costs will eventually make that option more expensive. This thing sips power - barely more than the disks it hosts. Much of that is due to the elegant design utilizing a dual-core Atom CPU. There's 2GB of RAM soldered to the board with the option of adding a 2GB SODIMM module. It's a DDR2-1066 module, but the requirements are quite specific. Be sure to check Synology's website for the exact requirements.
Thankfully, this unit handles problematic disks that normally don't like RAID, like WD's green line. If you've got a pile of them sitting around, the Synology unit can put them to good use as a group.
Another thing to remember - when expanding a volume configured for Synology Hybrid RAID, you'll need to supply a disk as big (or bigger) than the largest disk already joined to that volume. So start with your smallest disks and expand up from there.
Lastly, I tried connecting some 4-port eSATA enclosures to the Synology eSATA ports since they use a common Silicon Image chipset. However, it recognized only the first disk. There must be some "secret sauce" in either the base unit or the DX513 units to allow the port multipliers to work properly.
Pros: Nylon construction appears to be VERY durable. Laptop compartment is lined with a (thinly) quilted fabric and does a decent job of protecting a laptop - not as well as a hard case, though. Lots of pockets for just about everything you'd ever want to carry with you. Dual-purpose messenger/backpack configuration actually works quite well.
Cons: The messenger shoulder strap could be a bit longer for us taller people. I'm just over 6' and, at its longest, the bag rests at the upper-limit of my comfort zone. (with the strap being removable, this can easily be corrected with a different strap sourced elsewhere.)
Overall Review: While there are lots of pockets, you're not going to be able to load something into every one of them and expect the thing to close up. Space can get tight if you don't pack well.
I'm able to pack a 15" laptop (with a little room to spare, but not enough to be comfortable for a 17"), the large-ish power brick to match, a 7" tablet, a 2.5" USB disk with a few USB cables (mini- and micro-), a multi-port USB charger, and a handful of USB flash sticks. With all that, I'm able to close every compartment and have a little spare space. Just not very much.
It's a good, durable laptop bag for those that expect to travel fairly lightly or can pack in a way to maximize the available space.
Pros: High-capacity storage in a slim (9.5mm) 2.5" drive. For a mechanical disk, it sips power and delivers above-average transfer speeds.
Cons: It's not as fast as an SSD and it's more expensive than a non-hybrid disk of the same size.
Overall Review: If you've got room for a single drive in your system - be it PS3/PS4, laptop, SFF desktop, etc., this drive is worth a serious look. The 8GB of SSD-style flash is transparent to the host system and is managed by the controller on the drive. As a result, it will cache the most frequently requested blocks from the platters, no matter what kind of data it is. Once you've rebooted your system a few times, boot speeds will increase as you'd be pulling that information from the flash area almost exclusively.
If you're using this for general purpose storage, you're not likely to see the same sort of benefits unless you open the same files over and over again. Everything else will be much slower. And, at that point, you're probably better off with a faster non-hybrid drive.
Pros: Easy to sync, batteries (2x AA) last a LONG time, feels like a full-size mouse (almost).
Cons: Definitely some lag when moving the mouse or spinning the scroll wheel after a short rest, so not for twitch gamers. A bit large for a "travel" mouse.
Overall Review: The top surface is a shiny plastic and seems to keep itself relatively clean, though you'd probably want to wipe it off every few months. The thumb area on either side of the mouse has a rubber patch that helps with grip. The click-wheel is rather firm but not overly so, as are the thumb-activated back/forward buttons - you're not going to have any accidental scrolling nor back/forward button clicking. The back/forward buttons are positioned for right-handed mouse users, obviously.
It has the footprint of a full-size mouse and it's almost the same height. However, if you've used a full-size wired mouse, you'll feel the lack of height immediately. It's not something you'd immediately give up on because of it, but it's noticeable.
I can't stand compact "travel" mice and prefer more of a full-size model, even if I'm out with my laptop. I much prefer this unit over the M310 or the M525.
There's a slight lag when resuming use after a short rest. The delay isn't consistent and, for general office use, it's hardly noticeable. Just don't expect great results if you're doing any sort of twitch FPS gaming.
I've had the M510 for at least a year and love using it at my desk in the office. I've paired it with the K520 keyboard (which, itself, came paired with the M310 that I can't stand - I gave it to my wife for her laptop). It makes for a great office desk combo. I've had both for over a year now and I have yet to replace the batteries in any of them.