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Howard L.

Howard L.

Joined on 10/01/02

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 47
Most Favorable Review

Reasonably priced but not perfect

TP-Link 8 Port Gigabit Ethernet Network Switch | Ethernet Splitter | Sturdy Metal w/ Shielded Ports | Plug-and-Play | Traffic Optimization | Unmanaged (TL-SG108)
TP-Link 8 Port Gigabit Ethernet Network Switch | Ethernet Splitter | Sturdy Metal w/ Shielded Ports | Plug-and-Play | Traffic Optimization | Unmanaged (TL-SG108)

Pros: 1. solid metal construction outer casing. 2. functions every bit as advertised. 3. alleviates the stress from primary router. 4. eight ports, just enough for a small home network. 5. speeds hold up to the expectation. 6. reasonably priced. 7. VERY easy to setup, it's a plug and play. real world performance holds up to steady 115 MB/s down speed (that's Megabyte, not megabit).

Cons: placement of power plug and network connectors are poorly thought out, and creates additional clutter. see below

Overall Review: it baffles me that whoever thought of placing the power plug on the opposite end from the rest of the network connector. if you're like me, placement and neatness is extremely important in a crowded home computing environment. the fact that a network switch will be connected to multiple devices makes organization even more important. but with the way this switch is designed, it is now taking up twice amount of the space as a regular network switch would since not only you'll have multiple cat5 cables sticking out on one end, now you have another power cord sticking out on the other looking like an octopus. i am not sure if i should have this router facing one side or the other, either direction you end up with cables sticking out. this is the only reason i am deducting one egg from the review. i also wish this switch would carry the link aggregation capability, which would make it even more useful for a serious home network environment. although i won't deduct any egg off of it because it is after all reasonably priced basic network switch that does its job really well. still, it would be even better if link aggregation was an included feature. its biggest advantage, for an average home user is the ability to alleviate the stress on primary router. with my current setup of Apple Airport Extreme 5th gen, which is BTW a VERY capable wireless router that supports gigabit and 5ghz 802.11n. however, the airport extreme's wifi transfer speed suffers when the LAN connectors are also being used heavily for file transfers. the TL-SG108 is able to alleviate the stress of APE's LAN processing by doing all the wired transfers at a local level, so now i can transfer large files between two comps with the SG108 at 115MB/s, at the same time also beaming wirelessly to another computer that's 30ft away through two walls at a consistant steady 10MB/s. before it would dip down to 8MB/s and back up constantly if i had the wired network ports running at the same time. i would recommend this network switch for any novice home network users for its convenience and ease of setup. however, for any mid level or advanced users, i would have preferred to see Link Aggregation and a better placement of power connection.

Most Critical Review

not the best product for its price

CORSAIR Voyager Slider 8GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Model CMFSL3-8GB
CORSAIR Voyager Slider 8GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Model CMFSL3-8GB

Pros: well solid construction. blue LED light for read/write activity.

Cons: too expensive for what you get. its read/write performance is no better than other competing USB drives that are well below its current price. even within Corsair's own product line you can get a much bigger drive for only a few dollars more. its bigger brother 16GB model is selling for much less, and with the same performance spec. in real-world, the drive performs within USB2 speed most of the time. only occasionally in some perfect scenarios you'll see speeds up to 50MB, or more. one thing i absolutely cannot get over is its size. for 8GB this drive is a giant in its physical form. it's too big to carry freely on a key chain. it's more fitted for women with purses or inside a backpack. bottom line, it's too expensive for what you get in today's standard and it's too clunky. i cannot honestly recommend this product at its current price.

Overall Review: since the other reviewer already included synthetic test results, i thought i'd do a real-world benchmark. Transferring a 7GB movie file onto the drive i get average of 36MB/s Read and 19~20MB/s Write in USB2. in USB3 it averages 50MB/s Read and 19~20MB/s Write. For small file transfers i tested with a folder full of 1.5~1.8MB of photo jpg consisting up to 2GB of total size transfer. the USB drive achieved 27MB/s Read, and 14MB/s Write. One thing to watch out for. if you plan on transferring large video files consist of 4~7GB in size, and you get an error message saying the drive isn't big enough, you need to reformat the USB drive from the factory default of FAT32 to NTFS in order to transfer files that large.

Better Bang for your buck compare to Intel 660P

Corsair Force MP510 M.2 2280 960GB PCI-Express 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3 3D TLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) CSSD-F960GBMP510
Corsair Force MP510 M.2 2280 960GB PCI-Express 3.0 x4, NVMe 1.3 3D TLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) CSSD-F960GBMP510

Pros: great performance even after SLC cache runs out. sustained write is reasonably decent during heavy copy and 70% filled. good latency.

Cons: still some optimization left for Phison/Corsair to tweak the controller. during heavy copy and folder duplicate instances, the speed tends to hover up and down. but the latest 12.2 firmware is already proving to be an improvement over the earlier versions in the early reviews.

Overall Review: i first tried Intel 660P because of the unbelievable price, but ultimately couldn't swallow the performance dip after SLC cache runs out. it was painfully slow once after the initial 20~30GB of file transfer when the drive is 65% full. the speed dipped down to 100MB/s, which for me just wasn't going to cut it. i ended up buying the Corsair MP510 after reading all the reviews. with the Corsair and specifically looked for its performance metric for long sustained sequential writes. low and behold, the sustained write holds up quite well after its SLC cache runs out. obviously this doesn't compete with the Samsung EVO/Pro, WD Black alike. but for the price, which at the moment of this writing, is only slightly more than the intel 660P, you're getting a whole lot of sustained write than the 660P. if you don't transfer a lot of files, the 66P might be the best deal, but if you transfer any files larger than 20~30GB at a time, better go with this. the next thing up with better sustained write would be the TeamGroup or the HP950, but both are a lot more expensive.

Great solution for those who rather not buy the EK block separately

MSI GeForce RTX 2080 8GB GDDR6 PCI Express 3.0 x16 SLI Support Video Card RTX 2080 SEA HAWK EK X
MSI GeForce RTX 2080 8GB GDDR6 PCI Express 3.0 x16 SLI Support Video Card RTX 2080 SEA HAWK EK X

Pros: i was already planning on buying the 2080 and a EK block. this combo solution took care of it for me without having me go through the trouble. it comes out slightly cheaper than buying separate block and back plate. Overclocks well, i am able to run constant 2.1ghz on the core with afterburner extra voltage slider all the way to the max and power limit slider pushed all the way to max. at 2.15ghz is when it starts to crash. so i am perfectly happy to settle at 2.1ghz

Cons: i am not sure if it's EK's block design quality falling or what, but compare to my previous 980TI, which was pushed to the max at 350 watts TPD, that card also had a custome EK full cover block on it and it never went above 46 degrees. with this card, it's hovering at 48~50 degress at only TPD of 250 watts everything pushed to the max. is EK's block design going downhill?

Overall Review: i just wish MSI would be a bit generous and give us more Power limit than the measly 9 extra percent. i a mean come'on, you're dumping this much money into a custom solution, and 9% extra is all the additional power you get? i am also not into the dragon theme. much rather have a plain nickel acrylic look. overall a great performer.

only for casual users

Intel 660p Series M.2 2280 1TB PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4 3D2, QLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) SSDPEKNW010T8X1
Intel 660p Series M.2 2280 1TB PCIe NVMe 3.0 x4 3D2, QLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) SSDPEKNW010T8X1

Pros: fast overall read speed for both sequential and random. decent size, and jezus, the price is unreal cheap, which was actually what got me to give NVME a try for my first time

Cons: once SLC cache fills up. for a 1TB drive that's filled up to 65~70% average, which is typical for me on a 1TB primary drive, transferring anything larger than 20~30 GB at a time becomes painfully slow!, and i am talking HDD speed around 100 MB/s. unless if you constantly keep this drive at 25~30% level, you're going to run out of SLC cache pretty easily.

Overall Review: if your'e only using this drive for mostly read purpose, basically this is the perfect NVME SSD for your wife or your gf who just wants their computer to load up fast and applications to load fast. If you're using this drive as a gaming partition, know that the first time you migrate all your game files over, which i'd imagine would be couple hundred gigs large, will be painfully slow after the initial 50~60GB or so. but you're mostly just playing games off of this drive and don't do much writing to it, it's perfectly fast. and if you're downloading games to this drive through internet connection that's fine too. since most internet tops out at 15~20 MB/s for average user, even gigabit tops out less than 100 MB/s in the real-world. basically this is for casual usage. but now that i've gotten a glimpse into the potential and speed of NVME, i am hooked. there's no going back. i am most likely either going to return this drive, or give this to my wife's laptop. i have another Corsair MP510 ordered on the way, and will likely order another 2TB Corsair to use as secondary. NVME really is powerful. the only reason you would get the 660P intel drive is as mentioned above, if it's for your gf, or wife, who just want their laptop to load and boost up fast, and rarely EVER write anything large at once. OR if you order the 2TB version of 660P and TREAT IT LIKE IT"S A 1.5TB drive, or manually set the over-provisioning for 500GB. that way the internal SLC will never fall below 50 GB at 75% capacity filled, or 200 GB at 25% capacity filled. to me i very often write large ISO and trasnferring them across partitiions, so i am mostly working with 50~70GB files, this is just not cutting it for me. at those environments, the speeds fall below my tried and true cricual MX500. to give you an example, i copied the Ghost Recon folder, which is 63 GB large, it took 6:50 to complete the task, the initial 20 GB was being copied at 1 GB/s throughput, but falls to less than 100 MB after. with the Crucial MX500, it took 5:30 throughout the entire consistant 450 MB/s throughput. this is done with the 1TB 660P 65~70% filled up, which is typical for average users. If you get a 2TB version, and reserve 500GB out of that as over-provisioning, even at its 1.5 TB space filled, you would still have 5GB of SLC cache to work with, but that's worst case scenario. if you have a 1.5TB capacity drive, you likely won't be working with it 100% filled all the time, so your SLC cache is like to be 100~200 GB. keep all this in mind. and decide if it's for you or not. obviously the 1TB version is $200. so even if you get it, and only use it as 1.5TB drive, it might be a competitive option compare to a speedy 1TB NVME like the Corsair or Samsung Evo, or HP 920. all of those other drives will have a much much MUCH higher raw writing speed after their SLC cache run out. if you have to decide what's for you. personally i am going with a speedy 1TB NVME. i do have to give Intel the props for pushing the QLC tech 660P drive forward into the market. because if it weren't for drives like the 660P or the Crucial P1, i would've never have given NVME a try at the first place. So although QLC NVME still leaves a lot to be desired, it did its job in thrusting the technology forward with its price/performance offer. it reminds me of when i first got into espresso machines. my very first was a cheapo $40 one that didn't make any true espresso by got me into the game. the subsequent machines i purchased each got better and better.

Great components, unfortunately plagued with erratic bios

MSI PERFORMANCE GAMING X470 GAMING PRO CARBON AM4 AMD X470 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard
MSI PERFORMANCE GAMING X470 GAMING PRO CARBON AM4 AMD X470 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.1 HDMI ATX AMD Motherboard

Pros: the components onboard are actually quite good quality. despite the marketing would have you believe, this is actually a 5+2 phase mobo, with double inductors and double high/low MOSFET in parallel for the 5 phase VCore and 2 phase SoC. but at least the MOSFET and controller chips are quality and efficient. based on online testers' reviews, it seems the VRM switching are in the 300Khz range, which is quite efficient. Setup was easy, you do need to go into bios and manually enable XMP profile. but be sure the memory is part of the QVL list. my Gskill Trident Z DDR4 3200 works with the XMP profile within. i personally think they should just forego the initial dummy BIOS UI and give you the Advanced/Expert UI straight up front. the VRM heatsink also seems to work pretty well compare to some of the poor reviews out there on the Asus Prime X470 Pro. When pushing 1.4v into 2700X at 4.1ghz the VRM hovers around 85c consistently in an warm weather of 30c ambient. The RGB lighting is a good surprise. i didn't get the board for the lighting but it's quite a nice add. the Fan profile in bios is some of the best i've seen. however, bios can sometimes seem a bit inconsistent, read below under Con.

Cons: i noticed sometimes the BIOS upon changing setting and saving can behave erratically. a few times after change a few settings, and reboot, it refuses to get into windows. one time i had to manually shut it down and cold boot it again to get back into windows. i also noticed that the Cool N Quiet setting sometimes doesn't stick. regardless of setting CNQ to ON in bios, sometimes upon reboot, it doesn't work. it requires you changing CNQ to OFF save bios setting, reboot, enter bios, and change the CNQ back to ON again for it to work properly. VERY annoying. the Lack of off-set feature is quite a disappointing one, although would not be so bad if the BIOS come with proper setting to counter it. it makes no sense that they give you "Global C-State Control" setting,"Power Supply Idle Control", and "C-State" setting, but no where to define or input the C-state P0 setting for "Upper CPU voltage", and "Max CPU Clock". the P0 is there, but no Max CPU Clock.!!??? then why is it even there? it makes no sense. with proper settings, you can actually throttle the voltage at idle when Cool N Quiet clocks down. instead, all you can change is the default CPU Multiplier and Standard VCore voltage. to top it off, it doesn't allow you to change the BCLK frequency either. so you can't overclock through BCKL to push the clock speeds higher. it just seems that this board is build for dummies with decent components but falls short of taking it a step farther for enthusiasts. i mean all the components are good, but poor settings and inconsistent bios. speaking of inconsistent bios, one time i actually ran into an instance where it didn't matter what Vcore voltage i gave it, it would default to 1.368 volt. it wasn't until i loaded another profile, which made the subsequent vcore setting stick. BIOS feature/UI wise, it's top notch 5 stars. but in terms of bios setting and consistency, it's below average. i've run into some weird bios troubles before with other boards from other manufacturer for the past 20 years, but was as strange as this. the Vcore fluctuation also is inconsistent. at at 1.35~1.385 it would fluctuate by as much as 0.016v. the supplied MSI software updater is junk. did not work the way it was intended. was able to download the software but failed registration due to some obscure error code that no one could decode. the software also didn' t look up BIOS or provide option for bios update in contrary to its marketing advertising. i had to hunt down the bios on the convoluted website and manually flash it through a USB Thumbdrive. also this board has no backup bios, nor a socket for bios chip, so this is also another major let down. i can't recall the last time i bought a decent mob that didn't have these features.

Overall Review: it's hard to say if it's a winner or not. consider none of the manufacturers are perfect unless you go with the top tier boards in the $250+ range. anything in the mid tier or upper mid tier like the Gaming Pro Carbon, you're sacrificing something. what i am happy about is the OK heatsink on the VRM compare to countless of the filmsy ones that the industry is flooded with these days. i miss the good old days when heatsinks on mobos were actually heatsinks, not those ionized blocks with barely any fins or surface area. but compare to some of the others, the X470 gaming pro carbon's VRM heatsink does keep up provided if you have enough airflow inside the case. specs: (Bios version latest V2.3 as of this writing) R7 2700X @4.1ghz 1.4v (did not win the CPU lottery this time, my last i7 however was a different story) Gskill Trident Z 3200 14-14-14-34-1T through A-XMP profile 2 Gigabyte Gaming 980Ti fully custom EK open loop watercooling for CPU and GPU. for what it's worth. here are the highlights Bios UI design - 5 stars Bios feature/stability - 2 stars components quality - 5 stars for its price range aesthetics (subjective) - 4 stars designed layout - 5 stars bells and whistles (RGB, Accessories etc) - 3 stars if you're wondering why the default AUTO vcore voltage is so outrageously high at 1.45v, that's not exclusive to MSI alone. it's a AMD ryzen thing. AMD default has it set that way so that XFR can clock up to 4.3ghz for single core workload for 2700X, and down volt itself to 1.3v when all cores are loaded at 3.95ghz or 4ghz depending on the weather that day :D. once you find your max OC, you should manually dial down the vcore yourself. EDIT: 9/23/18 changing this review from 4 stars to 2. Let me just say that the only way MSI is going to make me remove this review is if they somehow able to salvage all this by taking this motherboard back and offer me a full refund. remember that erratic BIOS behavior i mentioned earlier? it's gotten worse. after changing a few more settings, now all the voltages are all over the places. before sometimes Vcore voltage would not stick to what you give it, now when i give it 1.4v, it becomes 1.47v. NBSoc 1.1 is now 1.2v (which mind you for Soc is HUGE difference). Dram voltage before setting 1.35v was 1.344. now setting Dram to 1.35 you get 1.406!!??? tried clearing the CMOS, loading different profiles, loading default settings, changing Load Line Calibration, which doesn't seem to do anything despite what level i set it to. Cool N Quiet still takes a few toggles inside bios from disable to enable to work. i now have to off-set all the voltage settings to get the correct amount. i now have to input 1.32 Vcore just to get 1.416 Vcore, and 1.31 dram just to get 1.36 dram. this BIOS completely doesn't make sense and got the mind of its own. i've had BIOS in the past from ASUS and Asrock that would sometimes stuck in boot screen but this is the first time in 18 years of overclocking that i've seen a BIOS this screwy in my life. MSI, if you're listening, the only way you are going to salvage this mess is through some miracle customer service by taking this mobo back and refund my money. because this is the WORST BIOS i've ever seen. didn't even know BIOS could be this BAD. you have surpassed my expectation in the wrong kind of way. EDIT: 9/25/18 just yesterday the voltage reading all of sudden dropped to 0.840 for Vcore and stuck there at 100% full-load at 4ghz. and dram voltage reading dropped to 1.3 this obviously can't be right. the System is still chugging along doing Vue Xtreme 2016 rendering just fine despite those wacky read-out. Avoid this product at all cost. Lowering it to 2 star. EDIT:10/8/2018 the Voltage readings for Vcore tend to get stuck. every now and then, it'll get stuck in one place and won't move regardless giving the CPU full-load or idle. this explains why previously i was able to do Vue render at 4ghz full load while the vcore reading was stuck at 0.840. The Dram and SOCNB voltage also has the tendancy to overvolt by A LOT every now and then. i set the Dram voltage to 1.35v to get 1.344, but sometimes Dram voltage will jump to 1.406 v and then take a day or two to come back down to 1.344. SocNB usually sits at 1.2v, but sometimes when the Dram voltage shoots up, so goes the SocNB, which shoots up to 1.25, which is quite A LOT. if you don't overclock your ram, this might be ok, consider 1.4v is still "relatively" ok if your dram die is quality. but if you already overclock your ram to 1.4v, i can see this thing sometimes jump to 1.45v, which might kill your ram fast.