Date Joined: 03/19/03
Pros: True hardware RAID. Fast, even with write through turned on. Plug it in and it just works. Define an array and it shows up under Linux as /dev/sda. The drivers are built into the kernel. The Linux installer recognizes it and installs right onto it.
Cons: As other people have noted, the UI is pretty clunky. Mind you, once you've set up an array, you'll probably never have to use it again. Also, I could not get the external HD activity light to work no matter what I tried. It just stays on all the time. I wasn't about to flash new firmware into it just for that. 3Ware is now owned by LSI. LSI is now owned by Avago. Who knows how much longer they'll keep selling this line of RAID controllers.
Overall Review: Buy this RAID controller instead of the LSI SAS9240-4i. This one works. The SAS9240-4i is a piece of junk (I know, I've got several of them). Both cards are from LSI but couldn't be more different. Hopefully, when it comes time for the marketing guys at Avago to drop a product line, it won't be the 3Ware RAID controllers because they just work (I've got at least a half dozen of the older ones and they continue to work and work).
Its getting harder and harder to plug stuff like this card into Linux and have it work without rebuilding the system. I just migrated a broken Linux from another array. You used to plug in the 3Ware RAID controller, hook up some disks, define an array, copy the previously-installed OS onto it, boot 'er up and away you go. Not any more. I had to reinstall the OS to get the boot partition to work with that abomination that they call a boot loader these days, and then rsync the root partition over. Heaven help you guys who drank the Koolaide and went for ext4 or reiser or LVM. Or no separate boot partition. If that RAID array ever goes south, you're in for it. Lucky for us the 3Ware RAID controllers seem to run forever.
Wouldn't it be nice if the hardware guys remembered what the concept of hardware RAID means (you plug it in and it looks like a hard disk)? Wouldn't it be nice if the software guys remembered what plug and play really meant? Instead of plug and reinstall the OS.
Pros: All the stuff about the 85 chipset is true. It has six SATA ports, including four that run at 6Gb/s. Accepts the LGA 1150 CPUs.
Cons: The biggest con is the lack of a PS-2 mouse port. You'd think, if you were a hardware designer and you absolutely had to use this trick, you'd put the mouse data on the two extra pins of the single port so that one could plug in a simple splitter cable and use both devices.
Well, that doesn't work for this mobo. I tried a splitter cable and the mouse still does not work. So, minus one egg for the missing mouse port and then minus one more egg for the missing mouse data pins on the single PS-2 port.
Believe it or not, there's still plenty of us who have our 19-inch KVM switches with PS-2 ports and who would like to plug our new mobos into them. On top of that, we don't want to take the performance penalty on mouse movement that occurs with a USB mouse. So, a mobo with both ports is still a plus, or, worst comes to worst, a mobo with a single port that will allow the use of a simple splitter is also a plus to a lesser degree.
Now, if you don't care about the PS-2 port issue, you can rate this board five eggs.
And, if you do want to use this board with a PS-2 KVM switch, I've found that both the Trendnet TU-PS2 and Perixx PERIPRO-401 PS-2 to USB adapters work with my KVM switch (a Hawking CS-168).
Overall Review: Another mobo manufacturer who could be selling a great mobo for Linux use but is too lazy to certify it for any OS except for the one we're all "supposed" to use, and supply a few basic device drivers. Basically, it works in spite of them. The secret to getting it to work (CentOS 6.5 install comes up and says some piece of hardware [its a secret] is incompatible). The secret? Its the Intel Integrated Grafics.
To make it work, under the BIOS Chipset/System Agent Config, make sure to set: RC6 (Render Standby): Disabled; Azalia Internal HDMI Codec: Disabled.
Kudos to CentOS for having learned nothing in 35 years and not telling the user which piece of hardware offends, thereby leaving them to guess what it is and how to fix it.
Pros: Plugs into the USB port of a mobo with only a single keyboard port and UEFI BIOS and then plugs into a PS-2 KVM switch (Hawking CS-168) and away we go. Works without any problems, even when switching back and forth.
Cons: What a feature! Leaving the PS-2 mouse port off the mobo and leaving just a single keyboard port. Pure genius!
Overall Review: If you have a mobo with this latest un-feature, this gizmo will fix the problem. On the other hand, you could just buy a mobo that works....
Pros: Eighty bucks, on sale, for 2TB. Can't beat it. Packaging was much improved over previous shipments (plastic clamshell, bubble wrapped, inside a box, padded with paper, inside a second box). No DOA here. Plugged it in, fired it up, formatted as noted below, started copying files. Easy, peasy. Runs very cool, is quiet and very fast.
Cons: Fdisk took 20 minutes to write 14,000+ inode blocks. Well, whadda ya want? Its a 2TB drive.
Overall Review: Fired up Knoppix on a system with the new disk installed. To partition this advanced format drive, "fdisk /dev/sda", "u", "n", "p", '1", "64", <cr>, "w". This creates a single partition starting at sector 64 and filling the entire disk. Then, to create the file system, "mkfs.ext3 -b 4096 -j -L / -T news /dev/sda1". After I did this, I mounted it with "mount /dev/sda1 /media/sda1" and was away to the races. Copied a boat load of 1.6GB files, using "ncftp -R" from another system over gigabit ethernet. Got consistently 65MB/s and 30s/file which is very, very good. I'd say that this disk is a real performer. Runs extremely cool, even after 20 minutes of this kind of copying. If you're using this drive for video storage, you might want to try "tune2fs -c 0 -i 0 /dev/sda1" to disable fsck on a large file system that never changes (once its loaded). Could be a real time saver on boot.
Pros: Still a fast switch, when it works.
Cons: Seven months on and the replacement switch (see review from Dec, 2009) is not working right. Plugging in certain NICs (e.g. NetGear GA311 or anything with an RTL8111 in it) causes all the lights to blink and no pings on any port. Will only link up to a GS108 at 100 Mbps. Will only link up to some NICs at 10 Mbps. Plugging in a Slug (NSLU2) works for a while and then stops (admittedly, it is a competitor's product). Tired of using an FS108 as well as the GS116 to get everything working.
Overall Review: Called Netgear for a second RMA. This time, got a support person who spoke real English and understood networks. No arguments about there being a problem. He opined that it was probably a bad capacitor. Gave me an RMA and we're in business. Fifteen minutes from start to finish with no discernable hold time. Wow! What an improvement in support.
Incidentally, I have a GS108 that I replaced the capacitors on, the day I got it. Still working like a champ, after 3 years. Maybe that's the way to go. Maybe Netgear should seriously think about using better capacitors from the get go.
Personally, I like Netgear switches but I'm not sure I'd recommend them to someone who wants flawless operation. The lifetime guarantee is still holding, though.
Pros: Following up on my previous review, Netgear sent me a brand new, Green GS116, including the wall wart (i.e. better than what I sent them back), as a replacement for the switch that I RMAed. Plugged it in and back in biz at 1000Mbps. The whole thing took about a week (over the holidays) via post office. Not bad at all.
Cons: Having to deal with tech support to get the RMA number (see my previous review).
Overall Review: Apart from having to deal with tech support when a switch goes dead, Netgear appears to stand behind their products 100% and will ship you a brand new one if it stops working. Its pretty hard to beat that kind of service so I'd recommend this switch to anyone who's looking for a solid gigabit switch.
Pros: Your basic, dumb, gigabit switch. Plug it in. It works. Fast. Does jumbo frames. Runs pretty cool (considering). Quiet (obviously because there's no fan). Solid construction.
Cons: After 2-1/2 years, it died. The switch latched up pounding one of the ports. Couldn't ping anything from anywhere. No connectivity with anything. Turned it off, let it cool down and it came back -- sort of. Wouldn't link up with one NIC at all. Linked up at 10 Mbps on another. Would only do 100 Mbps on the rest. Lots of pings went down the tubes.
No problem-oh, its guaranteed for life. Now the fun begins. Tech support (to get the RMA) is horrible. The first guy didn't even know how networks work (seriously, I'm not kidding). After 20 minutes, I hung up after asking for a supervisor to call. Nothing, so I called back. No mention of the first guy in the ticket (so he obviously just deleted himself so as not to get into trouble). The second guy spent over an hour on the phone with me trying to convince me that connecting at 10Mbps was OK. No dice with that so finally issued an RMA. We'll see how that goes.
Overall Review: The switch worked like a champ for 2-1/2 years. All the NICs plugged into the switch (10-12) were gigabit except 1. Lots of video traffic on the switch so it got quite a workout. Never a problem until it died (at least, once I got rid of the one Marvell NIC). So, I'd say its a great switch and since its guaranteed for life I'd have no qualms about buying a second one. Just be prepared to spend lots of frustrating time on the phone with the tech support people if you ever have to replace it. Too bad its not like some of the disk drive manufacturers where, if you have to get an RMA, you just fill out a form on the Web page and send it in.
Incidentally, tech support knows nothing about any OS but Windows (not that that should matter). Be prepared, if you have to call them, to plug a Windows box into the switch to help them debug it.
Pros: Good processor for the price. Used in an HTPC, it will handle recording from multiple HDTV streams as well as simultaneous playback. Works good in a database server too.
Cons: Beware the stock fan. The latest open-bladed design makes it very easy for the wires in your case to jam the fan's blades and stall it, thereby causing the processor to overheat and destroy itself. If you must use the stock fan, be very careful when assembling your system to ensure that no wires come close to the fan blade. Always use the overtemperature monitor on the motherboard, if there is one. Or, better yet, replace the fan/heatsink with another one of better quality.
Overall Review: Nice processor. Too you can't buy it without the heatsink/fan.
Pros: Nice motherboard. I own two. Seems to be reliable and fast (I have two HDTV cards in one and use it to record HDVideo and serve it to other machines on the network; the other is a video server with multiple 1TB drives).
Cons: You can make it work on Linux (I'm using both Ubuntu 8.04LTS and CentOS 5.1) but it is a total pain in the neck getting the NIC working. Replacing it with another card defeats the purpose of direct connection to the PCIE bus so it is best to make the internal NIC work. You need the r8168 driver from Realtek (the .005 version works best). You can download source from the Realtek Web site. For CentOS 4.0/5.0/5.1, there is a driver disk image available that can be installed without compiling by booting with "linux dd" (you can upgrade an existing install, if you forgot to install it the first time). I'm seeing good transfer speeds and jumbo frames on GigE, now that everything is working. But, none of this (compiling kernels, installing drivers by hand) is for the faint of heart and, unless you're a real Linux guru, its probably way more trouble than its worth. Eventually, there's supposed to be support for the RTL8111 in Fedora and CentOS but, so far its claimed to be flakey.
Overall Review: It probably works like a champ on the other OS.
Pros: Looks like an OK product. Your basic Conexant chipset. Easy setup via Web UI. Lots of options. ADSL status page shows everything you'd ever want to know about link status. Small. Unobtrusive.
Cons: After having read the user's manual online, I bought this modem specifically to use as a dumb modem in bridge mode (the docs would appear to imply that this is possible). Despite the fact that there is a "Bridge" setting on the WAN setup menu, and a chart in the docs indicating "Bridge Mode", this modem, per Encore tech support, "was never designed to be setup in bridge mode." So, for me it is a brick.
Overall Review: Docs are, obviously, pretty unhelpful. Long on screen shots but short on explanation.
Pros: Pretty fast.
Cons: Consistently makes video coasters of RiData R+ DVDs. Always, around about the 3.9-4.0 GB mark, the DVD cannot be read by a Philips DVP-642 (the one that reads anything you can throw at it).
Overall Review: Seems to record RiDate R- DVDs OK.