Joined on 08/04/02
Excellent base router for modding
Pros: Dual radios: one 2.4GHz and the other 5 GHz, USB port, gigabit wired switch and wan port, low profile. DD-WRT supports it well, although at this time it still takes a fair amount of work to get it running as desired, unless you have basic requirements, but then why would you need a dual-radio wireless router with USB and custom firmware? I previously had the ever-popular WRT54-GL with DD-WRT, and do notice much better speeds on this one when backing up my data to a Linux box over SCP (laptop on 802.11n 5GHz wireless WPA2 / server on wired gigabit). Browsing the web and downloads are maybe a tick faster, but obviously my ISP is the bottleneck there. Being on a 5GHz AP when there are no other 5 GHz APs anywhere near is great, considering there are about 50 2.4 GHz APs spread pretty evenly over the whole spectrum.
Cons: Gets hot. I've kept it elevated off the shelf and its doing alright, but I am planning to take another poster's advice and attach some plastic standoffs from a hardware store to give it more space underneath. It is slightly warm above, but hot below. I wouldn't recommend mounting it to a wall. DD-WRT doesn't support overclocking for it yet, but I don't think I'll need the extra performance quite yet. If I did, and might consider this anyway, I might want a netbook cooling pad, cooling stand, or to mod it with case fans, but that would be ugly.
Overall Review: I can't speak to the quality of the base firmware, though I've read many complaints that some config options are only through the host-based software on the CD and others are only through the standard web interface, and they can step on each others' toes. I installed DD-WRT right out of the box, and it was working as a basic WAP within 20-30 minutes (including the resets, reboots, waiting, etc). It took me longer to have it doing dual access points on the separate bands with the security settings and services I wanted, but I'm picky. Cisco's firmware doesn't include printer support, but by using SSH or telnet, you can install extra modules to the custom firmware and get it working as a print server on port 9100 (have to connect to it by defining a raw port on your host...beyond scope of this review). Hopfeully later builds will be a little more stable.
Wouldn't work as repeater
Pros: Slim, includes detachable antennas, firmware based on DD-WRT, supports 802.11n on 2.4GHz channels.
Cons: Not gigabit. I spent several nights trying to configure it as a client bridge to eventually use it as a wireless repeater for my father-in-law, but even after trying various different versions of Buffalo's DD-WRT rebrands, I could not get it to work. It would join my primary 802.11 network, and I could get traffic across the wireless link to this router by nmapping it, but I could not get any traffic through it to the primary network. Someone else in feedback said they did get it to work, but like others, I could not. Possibly due to its Atheros rather than Broadcom chipset and spotty DD-WRT support at best? I followed several different forums/guides on setting up client-bridge network mode, and I have gotten such a setup to work in the past on my old WRT-54GL, but this model just doesn't work.
Overall Review: It may very well be a decent little wireless router, but it couldn't do what I needed it to do. Having tried several different firmware revisions, I doubt Newegg will let me return it, maybe I'll be able to find someone else in my family or at work to take it off my hands, and I'll have to try a different model or more-expensive "wireless extender" :-/ Is it just me, or did DD-WRT used to work, and put factory firmware to shame? I know that its trying to support far more types of hardware now, but I really miss how awesome it was on my old WRT-54GL. Nowadays, I really need gigabit and 802.11n performance, and none of the router's I've tried in the last couple years have had decent support. I thought it was great that Buffalo would choose DD-WRT as their base firmware, but I guess I assumed wrong that they might have actually tested for full compatibility or made fixes in their rebranded release.
Pros: Comes with heat-spreaders attached, works at the advertised speed (matches the bus speed of the i7 in a contemporary gaming laptop). Having 8 GB in dual-channel instead of the stock 4 is nice, but admittedly I haven't "pushed" the system enough to really notice increased performance. In theory, more RAM should cause less swapping/pagefile use when a lot of apps are open, though.
Cons: None with the RAM itself, but see "other thoughts."
Overall Review: The only issue I've noticed so far is that resuming from hibernate with this much RAM, pulling from a 7200 RPM HDD does take significantly longer compared than when less RAM is installed. This is unfortunately just a consequence of total RAM capacity, and the speed of the RAM makes no difference - even with an SSD, whatever drive hiberfile.sys is on will be the bottleneck. If power can be kept or battery life is sufficient, then just using sleep would be better so that RAM doesn't have to be repopulated; depending on startup applications, resuming from hibernate may actually be slower than a clean boot. Ultimately, YMMV, depending on software and your HDD or SSD, and other variables. (Note these comments presume Win7 or XP, but the same principles would apply in *nix, including Mac OS, Linux, etc.)
Pros: Fast, same latency as the rest of the market for 4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 SO-DIMMs, work great so far. Windows performance index (memory operations) went up (compared to a single 4 GB stick that came with it). Admittedly, I don't really notice the performance gain, but I bought them for a laptop I'd had less than a week. I'm hoping that by allowing more memory pages to live in RAM, the system won't have to swap to the pagefile less and thus get better performance / battery life when running multiple programs.
Cons: None that I am aware of.
Overall Review: Got it when it was a shell shocker, so price was cheap.
Great small laptop, but take note
Pros: Small, quiet, light, fast, well spec'd. Bottom is one piece, although sticky the first time. Fingerprint reader off to the side is nice. Touchpad is better than average, but not the best. You can toggle it on/off in the upper-left corner (LED on when touchpad off). Keyboard has good tactile feel, if you don't mind the chiclet shaped keys (I don't like keys that shape). 7200 RPM drive is great! RAM it comes with is a single 4 GB DIMM for easy upgrading. Screen is bright and very sharp when you set the software not to dim automatically too much. Depending on your uses, it comes with a ton of software that may be useful for making it easy to do facial/fingerprint recognition, monitoring power consumption (power assistant tool shows watts in-use), and other software (if you like having all that stuff running...otherwise, bloatware).
Cons: The atheros AR9285 wifi + bluetooth card does NOT have a 5 GHz radio as anything "802.11n" is supposed to have. If you want to connect to newer 802.11n routers on 5 GHz bands, it can't do it. I have an E3000 with two access points; I can only connect to the 2.4 GHz one. I'm buying an Intel card to swap in myself (has 2 antennas, not 3, though). Hard drive has 3 partitions; primary, another 16.8 GB "HP_RECOVERY" and last 5 GB "HP_TOOLS". I wish they'd include this stuff on disc in the first place so I can get rid of the extra partitions and use the whole disk how I see fit. You can request OS & driver discs be shipped separately from HP, at least. 16 gigs for "recovery" one is No volume knob (rare outside toshiba, though), just fn-keys.
Overall Review: I just got it today, so this is all "first take" and I haven't used it long to have a more informed opinion, but hopefully these points will help you make an informed decision. I'm doing like another poster said; I called HP to have install-media (OS disc + drivers disc) without the bloatware sent for free so I can reinstall from scratch (HP business-class laptop perk). Some of the software it came with looks like I might actually use, but most of it can go away and won't be missed. There really is TONS of stuff already installed...HP this and that, skype, winzip (seriously?!), some PDF tool, evernote, windows essentials, office 2010 trial, some norton thing...uninstalled most of it just to play around with the actual laptop and have that garbage out of my way. Hopefully, after the new wireless card and install media comes I can better evaluate it. I think I will like this laptop when I travel and as a secondary desk system, but as a finicky user, it'll take a lot of setup for me.
Great drive, quiet and fast
Pros: Very quiet, even on large data transfers, definitely quieter than the stock samsung drive that came with my laptop. (This is with the laptop's bottom cover removed and resting on a cooling stand, so whatever I hear is direct). Its noticeably faster than 5400 RPM, but not a night-and-day difference, just a bit better overall performance. It seemed to be the exact same thickness as my old drive, I had no trouble fitting it into the bracket my old drive was in, so laptop installation is easy. Haven't run it through any benchmarks serious benchmarks, but it scored 6.2 on Win7x64 performance for disk.
Cons: Can hear it when its writing, but not bad.
Overall Review: None at this time.