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JERRY S.

JERRY S.

Joined on 11/22/14

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 2
Most Favorable Review

Fitted my needs for an ATX host build with a hot-plug SATA port

Thermaltake Chaser Series Chaser MK-I (VN300M1W2N) Black SECC Extra Big ATX Tower Computer Case Support ATX PS2 Power Supply
Thermaltake Chaser Series Chaser MK-I (VN300M1W2N) Black SECC Extra Big ATX Tower Computer Case Support ATX PS2 Power Supply

Pros: I bought two of these Thermaltake Chaser MK-I ATX full-tower cases - one in 2013, one in 2016. This model has a top-loading bare-drive SATA bay, which is great for making backups on 3.5" or 2.5" drives, if, like me, you're not inclined to go all-cloud for your backups. (Hey, who can upload all that much data even through a broadband connection, much less retrieve it in a timely way, if you don't necessarily want to trust a data-deduped backup product with vendor-defined mystery encryption?) The first (2013-purchased) case's fans have held up pretty well, at least with intermittent daily use and occasional outdoors dusting operations. The screw-less/tool-less removable 3.5" drive mounts are not bad, although the rear-facing SATA data and power access area is a tighter squeeze than I like.

Cons: On on the con side, of modest-to-poor quality is the Thermaltake Chaser case's SATA cable running to the top-load hot-plug port - which of course you should ensure that your motherboard is configured properly to use. It seems to be okay, but it's unclear whether it's really intended to support a SATA 3 (6Gbps) port connection. The Thermaltake case's cardboard box art shows a 2011 copyright, which might point to an answer of "nope, not really". In contrast, SATA cables that came with the Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 motherboard are clearly embossed "6Gbps". Also, the Thermaltake case's SATA connector sits a bit loose in the motherboard's port for my tastes - the case connector doesn't have one of those positive-click clips. In 2016, the case design is showing its age, lacking any sort of future-proofing USB-3.1 ports - but on the other hand, for now, while my aforementioned Z170 chipset motherboard includes two rear-facing USB-3.1 ports, it doesn't have internal connectors for additional USB-3.1 ports anyway. The usual motherboard power/reset/audio/etc. connectors mostly each use an embossed triangle instead of clearer "+" or "-" symbols. All of the case-to-motherboard connectors, along with the SATA data and power connectors, make a mighty pile that might be a bit of a squeeze on the one side of the case when it's closed up. The case fans - particularly the front-facing one - are difficult to clean properly. The clips on the case's removable filters are _very_ fragile. The 2013 case's rotating flange-legs underneath can shed their mounting screws over time, and you might not be sure from where the screws came if the screws drop while you're moving the case. It's hard to find proper hand-gripping points on the case when you need to move the case; grab it in the wrong place, and you might find that the bezels pop off unexpectedly, which might then cause you to lose your grip on the case.

Overall Review: The Thermaltake Chase case is not a bad choice, even in early 2016, but don't man-handle the removable filters. It would be nice if Thermaltake were to provide additional adapters for the drive bays - the case comes with only one, and it is the only thing I've found so far to be perfect for mounting a Gigabyte front-facing USB-3.0 2-port extruder. Tracking down additional adapters, bezels, and filters without part numbers - even assuming that these sorts of case components are available separately - might be a chore. (However, I admit that I haven't put much effort into looking just yet, so your mileage might vary.)

Most Critical Review

Linux driver hunt required

ASUS USB-AC56 AC1200 Dual-band USB 3.0 Wireless Adapter
ASUS USB-AC56 AC1200 Dual-band USB 3.0 Wireless Adapter

Pros: This is about the ASUS USB-AC56 wireless-AC1300 USB 3.0 Wi-Fi adapter as purchased in April, 2016. Well, it can be made to work, with some effort: an 8812au driver (rtl8812AU_8821AU_linux) from github - (link) https://github.com/abperiasamy/rtl8812AU_8821AU_linux - did work for me with DKMS, both on Ubuntu 15.10 and Knoppix 7.6.0; I just followed the instructions from the aforementioned web page to add/build/install using the dkms command. (Using "make" failed for me.) With that 8812au kernel module the ASUS USB-AC56 reception strength was reported as weak relative to that when a Gigabyte GC-W5300D PCIe card was installed in the same host (that PCIe card uses a Qualcomm Atheros AR5B22 / AR9462 chipset / ath9k driver), but at least this ASUS USB-AC56 stick could be made to work with that github-sourced 8812au driver.

Cons: At this writing, this device _won't_ work out-of-the-box in at least a couple of recent (in April, 2016) 64-bit Linux distros: Ubuntu 15.10 and Knoppix 7.6.0. I then tried three different Linux device drivers, including one from the ASUS web site, all of which failed their builds somewhere in "make", possibly because of 32-bit vs. 64-bit architecture issues.

Overall Review: It would be nice if ASUS, or whoever is producing the drivers for Linux that ASUS publishes on its website, would get the drivers and utilities to build on my favored Linux distros when one runs the install script. Eventually _this_ version of this ASUS WiFi stick, as available in April, 2016 with _this_ RTL 88xx chipset, will work out-of-the-box on various future versions of Linux distros, but it's likely to be a moving target - by then ASUS might well be selling a product with this name using an altogether different chipset that no longer works out-of-the-box. Until we have true Linux device driver nirvana, where everything just works, I'll suggest the wikidevi.com site as a resource for hunting down drivers and related installation instructions.