cover
Daniel M.

Daniel M.

Joined on 01/14/06

0
0

Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 4
Most Favorable Review

6 years later and still going.

StarTech.com SAT3540U2E 4 Drive eSATA USB Multi Bay External Hard Drive Enclosure
StarTech.com SAT3540U2E 4 Drive eSATA USB Multi Bay External Hard Drive Enclosure

Pros: Got This unit a while back, half expected it to fail as I had never heard of startech. 6 years later, still using the unit with my HTPC, had ZERO issues. Fan still spinning, drives still reporting. Not the fastest (using it USB only) Maxed it out to just under 4T. Every time I go in to manage the files I am still expecting a fail.

Cons: Only a few minor cons. The placement of the power cord is... no smart. Uses this wonky 90 degree connecter to the side, meaning you can set that side flush against anything. I also question the durability of the plug its self. As it is not protected in any way, it feels like if its bumped at all it might just snap right off. The power plug uses a strange 4 pin connecter, so if you loose it your never going to be able to replace it. Not sure why they didn't use a more normal connecter type. When turning off the computer connected to the enclosure the enclosure turns off (which is fine) but it will not come back on with the computer. you have to turn the enclosure back on separately (not a big deal but a annoying, and if you set up your HTPC to be turned on remotely via IR or other means its kinda mote if you still have to walk over to the enclosure and hit a button)

Overall Review: I have had 4 of these 4 bay enclosures hooked up to a HTPC. the other 3 are from different manufactures. This one has been the best in terms or reliability. Its not fancy, has few features (and is now out of date) but it just plain works. I have thought about getting the newer one with usb3.0 but it seems to be having all kinds of issues...

Most Critical Review

Great case but a few downsides

Antec Black Aluminum / Steel Fusion Remote Black Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case
Antec Black Aluminum / Steel Fusion Remote Black Micro ATX Media Center / HTPC Case

Pros: Lots of cooling with good sound dampening for the hard drives, the whole case infact takes steps to reduce vibration/noise. There’s more room inside then some HTPC cases, This one lets you fit a full size video. Looks great. The LCD/IR port works well (once you get it working). You can totally control the thing with the remote because the software lets you emulate a mouse and has a on screen keyboard. The remote software lets you assign any key on the remote to a keyboard key (or key combination such as Alt + Tab). It also lets you make profiles for any program, and will auto switch the profile when that program has the active focus of the OS. Example: In power DVD pressing the 4 button takes me to chapter 4 of the dvd, but when watching TV pressing the 4 button changes to channel 4, and when in Firefox it maximizes the window. Its very much like the Logitech game pad/game keyboard software. The DVD door flap works great

Cons: The media center software it comes with is horrible,. The Remote it comes with is crappie. Short range (5ft), and it has no backlight, I recommend getting a Logitech Harmony. The inside of the case has some issues. I 100% recommend getting a modular PSU with this case. LED is a molex and not a normal pin connecter. It was not marked as the power LED, and the manual did not say it was, the manual didn’t even have this connecter listed. The power on is either remote or the push button on the case, not both. The documentation it comes with is a joke, badly written, hard to understand, and with no photos to help explain anything. Support at antec website is ok, But the support at the Imon site was possibly the worse I have ever seen. I assume they are a Chinese company or something because the answers are in broken english, and they often don’t answer all the questions, or in one case they simply said “yes” to a question that was not a yes or no question.

Overall Review: Summary: Great case that looks good, but has a few downsides. Not for someone who hasn’t put together a few comps before, and if you run into a issue you are on your own (manual is useless and there is basically no support) The LCD disappoints, but the Imon remote software delivers. Note:look at the dimensions and think ahead about where you are going to put it. I thought I knew where mine was going but after putting it in my TV cab, it sticks out just far enough to stop the doors from closing. I didn’t account for the wires sticking out the back. Duh!

wroks great, very pleased.

IOGEAR GKM561R Black 2.4GHz Wireless HTPC Multimedia Keyboard with Laser Trackball and Scroll Wheel
IOGEAR GKM561R Black 2.4GHz Wireless HTPC Multimedia Keyboard with Laser Trackball and Scroll Wheel

Pros: Compact, light weight, doesn’t feel flimsy or cheaply made. Off / on Button on the back of the keyboard to save battery life. Also has a “low battery” LED on the keyboard. Surprisingly you can wake a comp from sleep/hibernation with this keyboard, not something my other wireless devices would do (because sleep turned them off). The mouse scroll wheel is clickable (middle button)

Cons: As others have said the track ball uses a plastic ball, so it does feel a little cheep. Also I don’t see anyway to take the track ball out to clean it without taking the whole keyboard apart. The track ball does work well for the most part, however it can be hard to be highly precise with it. For example clicking very small icons or small text links can be annoying. Lastly, This is not really a con but you should under stand that mouse + key combinations are not easy to use (such as Ctrl +click, shift +click, etc…).

Overall Review: I use this for my HTPC, I use a harmony remote to control MCE, so I basically just use this for maintenance and file management. Selecting multiple files using the trackball takes some getting used too, as does using keyboard short cuts because you don’t really have 2 free hands. For the situation I couldn’t ask for a better solution, at lest not in this price range. If you have money to spend and want something a little nicer you might consider some of the logitech options

Great deal, some drawbacks.

ONKYO HT-RC160 7.2-Channel Home Theater Receiver
ONKYO HT-RC160 7.2-Channel Home Theater Receiver

Pros: Sounds great, easy to configure with the on screen set-up (HDMI only), a lot of options and customizing. All and all it gets the job done. The zone 2 (AKA multi Room) audio is awesome. You can watch a movie in one room using 7.1 surround sound, and be listing to music in another room at the same time all from one receiver. I think its wife approved as well as my better half seems to understand it alot better then switching inputs on the TV.

Cons: As others have said it gets hot. Not warm, but hot. You do not want to put anything on top of it at all and in some situations could be a fire hazard. But the biggest disappointment to me is that it cannot take a 1080p component single and pass-thru to HDMI as 1080p. Instead it gets downscaled to 1080i. My older X-box 360 has no HDMI, but uses component 1080p (that I can connect straight to the TV just fine). But when I plug it into the receiver I get a scrambled signal until I reset the Xbox to 1080i or 720p (-1 egg). Another issue I seem to have is with “on-demand” movies. When I start up the movie there is a brief moment where there is no video single sent, this seems to make the receiver go blank, and only by switching inputs can I get the single back (-1 egg) Example: cable goes blank, switch to DVD then switch back to cable and it works. A similar thing happens with my HTPC. If anyone knows of any simple fixes to these issues then please let me know

Overall Review: It stinks havening to switch inputs on both my receiver and tv to play Xbox since I cant just plug the component straight into the receiver and still get 1080p out. On newer Xbox’s that have built in HDMI this wouldn’t not be an issue at all. But it would be an issue for any device that out puts 1080p though component. I might could run component out and get the 1080p though that rather then using the HDMI pass though. I don’t want to scare anyone off of this device because it really does do a great job with the audio (the main point of using a receiver). For all my inputs, and my zone 2 (all weather speakers out on the deck) audio plays perfectly and was very easy to set up. I would give it 3 1/2 eggs if I could. Its still a great buy under $300 (or in a combo)