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TRAVIS E.

TRAVIS E.

Joined on 07/20/06

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Product Reviews
product reviews
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Most Favorable Review

IT Preferred over IR Firmware

LSI Internal SATA / SAS 9211-4i 6Gb/s PCI-Express 2.0  RAID Controller Card, Single)--Avago Technologies
LSI Internal SATA / SAS 9211-4i 6Gb/s PCI-Express 2.0 RAID Controller Card, Single)--Avago Technologies

Pros: Using for HDDs, and when flashed to IT mode (which took time on an ASUS P8Z68-V/GEN3 mobo), the spindle disks are as "fast" as they'd be on the native Intel Z68 SATA ports from the chipset. I'm just using this for additional (SAS-to-)SATA connections for my mainboard, so RAID functionality was not needed or desired -- consequently, I cannot speak to its RAID performance. Works in Windows 8/Server 2012 natively, but installed updated drivers anyway.

Cons: Does not come with a SAS cable, but I can't knock an egg off for that, as LSI would have to bundle every kind of SAS-to-<insert interface> cable of multiple lengths to please EVERYone, and clearly that's not possible. Had to force my motherboard to boot using legacy BIOS mode instead of UEFI for additional OptionROMs, as it would not boot from the Intel chipset ports when connected (it would POST successfully, but not boot, even when chosen directly from the boot menu) -- possibly could be the limitation from my motherboard, but that was even after flashing the UEFI firmware onto the card. Not a complete deal-breaker, however. Using this card on a regular desktop board was on me -- I knew full well I'd be taking a risk buying it and it possibly not working or not working as expected. The egg taken is because the firmware/BIOS update process is a bit....involved. Once all the prerequisites are met, it's actually fairly straightforward, but getting there is the involved part. The readme's also have slightly inaccurate directions regarding reboots during the flash process which could cause you to brick the card and require an RMA (see Other Thoughts).

Overall Review: Firmware upgrades can be done from within Windows using the MegaRAID Java applet as long as it's -IR to -IR or -IT to -IT, but depending on how current the firmware is, the MegaRAID software will no longer detect the card -- the best bet, is as is suggested by LSI and by other Internet searches: use the DOS/FreeDOS/UEFI shell method of firmware flashing/upgrading; you'll save yourself the headache later. If your motherboard lacks the ROM space for its own internal or built-in UEFI shell, find one online then copy the Installer for UEFI files to the root of a 2GB or larger flash drive (rename the *.efi file to "Shellx64.efi") you're creating for it, then "Boot to UEFI shell from filesystem device" from your BIOS/UEFI advanced/boot menu. The commands are listed in the readme's. As far as regular non-RAID HBAs go, this card was a good buy after flashing the appropriate firmware onto the card.

Most Critical Review

7200? More like 10K

Western Digital Scorpio Black WD3200BJKT-00F4T0 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 2.5" Notebook Hard Drive Bare Drive
Western Digital Scorpio Black WD3200BJKT-00F4T0 320GB 7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 2.5" Notebook Hard Drive Bare Drive

Pros: Quiet, fast, and relatively low power. Did not see a serious drop in battery life after swapping out stock 7200rpm drive.

Cons: This thing tripped SMART on its own. I don't know if I have a defective unit or what, but this thing has tripped SMART's temp threshold from normal use.

Overall Review: To answer (603)'s question about "missing" GBs: the discrepancy comes from the difference between SI units and binary, which is the difference between how HDD manufacturers measure capacity and how Winodws (and other OSes) do. 1GB is 1,000MBs to WD, but 1024MBs in Windows -- 1,000,000KBs to WD, but 1, 048,576KBs in Windows...multiply that difference by 300 and you'll see the "disparity" increase. 320GBs (320,000,000,000 bytes) is actually 298-299GBs in Windows (using binary).

Nifty Little Sleeper

Shuttle DQ170 Intel Q170 Black Barebone Systems - Mini / Booksize
Shuttle DQ170 Intel Q170 Black Barebone Systems - Mini / Booksize

Pros: Small - This this is shorter than a NUC, but wider and deeper, but is still small enough to be easily VESA-mountable. Stock "Smart Fan" settings are almost inaudible -- talking just under 1300RPM (according to the BIOS) with a low-power CPU (dual core Pentium/Celeron) and can spin up with a higher-TDP chip. I have an i7 7700T in there and on the Smart Fan setting, the fan doesn't go above 2500 RPM in a moderately cool room. Your ambient temp will factor in (as it does for all air-cooled systems) on how high the fans spin up unless set to one of the manual settings. The two fans in the chassis cool off the heat pipe block that covers the CPU and chipset and pull air from the top two grilles and blow out the rear and sides of the case. Has x4 PCIe M-keyed M.2**, mini PCIe¹ and SATA 6Gbps interfaces. The 2.5" drive caddy supports up to 9.5mm drives. I have a 2TB 7mm drive in there no problem. Dual Intel NICs -- One is the Intel i219-LM and the other is the Intel i211; only the i219-LM supports WoL (in the BIOS), Intel vPro AMT/KVM and is supported by ESXi 6.0U3 out of the box. They support teaming. Has 4x USB 2.0 ports, so if you're trying to install Windows 7/8.1 on it (with a KabyLake CPU installed and found the workaround for the KabyLake Intel HD GPU drivers), I don't believe injecting (slipstream) USB 3.0 drivers into the install media would be necessary, especially if a USB DVD-ROM drive is used to install it on the 2.0 ports. Has three full-sized display outputs (2x DP and 1x HDMI) -- no miniport adapters or "asymmetric" cables required. Intel Q-series chipset vPro AMT KVM access is a godsend. I have ESXi 6.0 running on this thing with the i7 and it's pretty convenient; when testing the limits of AMT with RealVNC Viewer Plus (trial), I was able to remotely install ESXi from ISO (mounted as a "virtual CD" in the BIOS) like a budget version of iLO/iDRAC Enterprise². As long as it's plugged into AC power and connected to the network, it can be powered off, powered on, reset, cold-booted and booted into the BIOS remotely, again, like a budget iLO/iDRAC Enterprise shared NIC connection². With well-picked parts³, this this is a quiet sleeper agent ready to punch above its weight class. Even with the little nagging things that irk me, this little box has been doing its thing fully maxed out with 32GBs DDR3L without so much as a peep.

Cons: **M.2 slot is MAX 2260 standoff length (I knew that from the DQ170 manual, but it's still an odd place to draw a line), not the more common 2280 -- there aren't a lot of PCIe M.2 SSDs (or a lot of mainstream M.2 SSDs in general, PCIe or SATA) at that length. Adjusting the slot placement on the PCB board layout probably could have accomodated a 2280 slot standoff. Toshiba RC100 at 2242 is the only PCIe M.2 SSD I could find that wasn't some weird "off"-brand, and that's only a x2 drive. Taking half an egg off for that. Fan noise when set to max fan speed is very loud, which is actually kind of expected for two 60mm (60x60x15) fans in a small space. Both fans connect to the same 4-pin PWM jumper harness and appear to be completely custom, so no after market (Noctua) replacements as far as I can tell...which means having to ship it to Shuttle in the event the fan(s) need replacement. Only one of the two fans is actually using the PWM pin, however. Taking the other half an egg off for that. BIOS update, as stated in the other review, is a pain, but when the USB drive is configured correctly, it's relatively painless from there. (This is a SkyLake chipset, so in order to use a KabyLake CPU, you may have to flash the BIOS with a SkyLake CPU to ver DQ170000.203 to support KabyLake CPUs -- I bought a cheap SkyLake Celeron with this to accomplish facilitate that, but didn't need it as mine shipped with a newer BIOS that already supported KBL. Just an FYI, YMMV).

Overall Review: ¹ My guess is it's a x1 PCIe connector in mPCIe format. None of Shuttle's documentation go into any detail that I've seen. It's meant primarily for half-height WLAN adapters, but the system does not come with any antenna. The DH170 and above might. ² This WILL run and boot an OS while completely headless, but in order to use Intel vPro AMT's KVM remote IPMI connection, it needs an active display for the mini VNC server to hook to, in order to display an output on the remote viewer. I used a DisplayPort display emulator EDID emulator Plug connected to one of the DP ports in order to fool it into thinking a display was attached, and it's now completely headless while still being remotely vPro KVM-able. That's not a Shuttle issue, it's an Intel platform issue with vPro and AMT, so I can't knock an egg off for it. If it's going to be mounted near a TV that has a spare HDMI port, it can be connected -- it doesn't even have to be on that input to work, the CPU/GPU just needs to detect a display EDID in order for IPMI to work. ³ The cooling system supports "up to" 65W TDP CPUs, so no K-series i5s or i7s, and since the adapter brick is "only" 90W, it probably wouldn't sufficiently power an i5 or i7-K chip when under load, to begin with. This also being the Q170 chipset rather than the K170 chipset, the BIOS has no overclocking settings, anyway.

Usual Intel Quality

Intel Centrino 6235 IEEE 802.11 Dual Band N600 Mini PCI Express Wi-Fi plus Bluetooth 4.0 Combo Adapter, 2.4GHz 300Mbps/5GHz 300Mbps-OEM
Intel Centrino 6235 IEEE 802.11 Dual Band N600 Mini PCI Express Wi-Fi plus Bluetooth 4.0 Combo Adapter, 2.4GHz 300Mbps/5GHz 300Mbps-OEM

Pros: Works and works well. Dual-band, and fairly solid BT stack included. Fully IPv6 compliant. A worthwhile upgrade for supported laptops . . . or desktops, if using a mPCIe-to-PCIe adapter, or desktop PCs with builtin wireless. WIn 8 compatible.

Cons: Not really a con, but since I see this listed as a con from many people over many other OEM-packaged networking devices, make sure you have the drivers downloaded before installing.

Overall Review: I bought this as an upgrade for an Asus N586DP, which is an AMD APU laptop that ships with a packet-dropping Qualcomm Atheros AR985-or something or other that's only single-band (2.4), would never receive an IPv6 address, and comes with somewhat flaky Bluetooth stack under Windows 8. Not only does it work with Windows 8 in Secure Boot mode, it also supports the Airplane mode Fn+hotkey switch without any issues, but as always, compatibility with any system is never guaranteed. Do your research before purchasing.

WHS Power Pack 1

Microsoft Windows Home Server 32 Bit 1 Pack (Power pack 1)
Microsoft Windows Home Server 32 Bit 1 Pack (Power pack 1)

Pros: Based on Server 2k3, stable and I only reboot once every week, just to make sure everything's running as smoothly as it can. Computer backup system is, simply, the best thing out there for Microsoft OSes (as I tend to test my laptop with new programs and such when VirPC isn't enough, it's great to be able to pretty much start over on a fresh slate). With 2GBs of RAM, my Home Server box serves up files, streams music to the XBox and PS3 (with some add-ins), is my L2TP and SSH server, is a testing ground for server software (after I installed Microsoft Virtual Server) and is just an all-around great piece of software that, after updates and PP1 (that fixed the data corruption glitch and added the ability to back up the server), is pretty much the best way to reliably backup files and Microsoft systems natively (next to Vista Ultimate's feature, I suppose). Even reinstalling the server software on my box is painless. Add-in support (install/uninstall) and functionality is a breeze.

Cons: The only con I found is when I reinstalled Windows on my laptop from scratch (with updated drivers and software) and reinstalled the WHS connector software on the same laptop (with the same host/computer name) WHS created a duplicate system of sorts so that when I try to recover the laptop NOW, it has the same computer name listed twice -- one WITH the new backups and one without any (as I removed the laptop from WHS prior to reinstalling the laptop software from scratch). It's really a minor bug, but it's the only "Con" I can find with the software.

Overall Review: A great piece of software. Supports SATA hotswap (as long as you have the required hardware support).

Storage capacity

Hitachi GST Travelstar 5K250 HTS542520K9SA00 (0A52123) 200GB 5400 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 1.5Gb/s 2.5" Internal Notebook Hard Drive Bare Drive
Hitachi GST Travelstar 5K250 HTS542520K9SA00 (0A52123) 200GB 5400 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 1.5Gb/s 2.5" Internal Notebook Hard Drive Bare Drive

Pros: This laptop came with my notebook. Fairly quick for a "SATA I" bus and its spindle rotation speed, runs cool.

Cons: None thus far.

Overall Review: thanatos2k's explanation, while in the right direction, is not complete. Storage manufacturers DO use the SI prefix for measurements. 1 Kilobyte is 1000 bytes; 1 Megabyte is 1000 Kilobytes; 1 Gigabyte is 1000 Megabytes --- 1 Gigabyte is 10³ Megabytes...base 10. KB, MB, GB. Operating systems and RAM manufacturers/JEDEC use the binary system for memory (both volatile and non-volatile). They also changed the prefix convention for units in order to mitigate confusion. Rather than Kilobyte and Megabyte, it's Kibibyte and Mebibyte -- "Binary Byte". 1 Kibibyte is 1,024 bytes; 1 Mebibyte is 1,024 Kibibytes and 1,048,576 bytes. 1 Gibibyte is 2^10 (2 to the 10th power) Mebibytes...base 2. KiB, MiB, GiB. Like thanatos2k said, a 200GB Hard drive is 200,000,000,000 bytes and if you convert it to GIBIbytes (which is what Windows measures it in), it comes out to around 186.26 GIBIbytes (200,000,000,000 bytes ÷ 1,024 bytes/Kibibyte ÷ 1,024 Kibibytes/Mebibyte ÷ 1,024 Mebibytes/Gibibyte.

12/13/2008