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Ken B.

Ken B.

Joined on 09/18/06

Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 7
Most Favorable Review

Great for XBMC

Zotac ZBOX Blu-ray Series ZBOXHD-ID33BR-U Intel NM10 Mini / Booksize Barebone System
Zotac ZBOX Blu-ray Series ZBOXHD-ID33BR-U Intel NM10 Mini / Booksize Barebone System

Pros: Price - $149 after rebate Works well with XBMC on OpenElec. Boot time into XBMC is 35 seconds, much faster than my Windows or Ubuntu builds of XBMC.

Cons: Slow wired and wireless speeds. Wireless is slower than G and wired speeds do not even approach older 100Mb cards. Uses DDR2 instead of DDR3 so the memory is more expensive. Build quality is questionable... one of the screws for the drive bracket was not machined properly and it took .5 hours to remove the screw. Will not work with 12.5mm drives. Does not include IR. No bluetooth.

Overall Review: This machine is working great as an HTPC with XBMC and OpenElec/nightly Eden builds. Menu response is quick and it has handled every 720p and 1080p video I have thrown at it. If you are looking for a simple HTPC this is a good buy if you do not depend on the included wireless. If wired/wireless was not so anemic, I would give this 5 eggs at the $149 price.

Most Critical Review

Died within 60 days

Seagate Momentus 5400.6 ST9500325AS 500GB 5400 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 2.5" Internal Notebook Hard Drive Bare Drive
Seagate Momentus 5400.6 ST9500325AS 500GB 5400 RPM 8MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 2.5" Internal Notebook Hard Drive Bare Drive

Pros: Large capacity, price.

Cons: Slow. Died within 60 days. SeaTools reports drive has been repaired after the initial run, but running SeaTools again reports the same problem.

Overall Review: I have normally had great success with Seagate hard drives, but this one failed within 60 days. No Smart warnings prior to failure.

Fast but deadly

Transcend JetFlash 700 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Model TS32GJF700
Transcend JetFlash 700 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Model TS32GJF700

Pros: Fast transfer on USB 3.0 equipped machines

Cons: Died within six weeks. The light does not even illuminate.

Dead after one month

Transcend JetFlash 700 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Model TS32GJF700
Transcend JetFlash 700 32GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive Model TS32GJF700

Pros: Fast Cheap

Cons: Died after one month

Overall Review: Worked fine until it didn't. No warning that it was going bad.

Great for the price

Giada CUBE-N3-D2OB Intel Atom 330 CPU NVIDIA ION graphics eSATA Black Mini / Booksize Barebone System
Giada CUBE-N3-D2OB Intel Atom 330 CPU NVIDIA ION graphics eSATA Black Mini / Booksize Barebone System

Pros: Small and good performance for the price. Plenty of USB Ports (5). The side port is not powered while the unit is off (the others are powered) which works great for me. I have the Cube in an armoire with a notebook cooling fan underneath. The fan only kicks on when the computer is on. Using the notebook cooler lowers the temperature significantly. I am using the Cube with Win7 and XBMC. 720p playback is great, some 1080p playback stutters for the first few seconds then levels out. A lot of stuttering on YouTube HD content over LAN or wireless.

Cons: Routing the SATA cable is tedious and the HD bracket only uses three of the screws. The E-SATA port on the back of my unit is misaligned.

Overall Review: The manual states “Press F1 to Run Setup”, but you actually press the delete key. Nit-Pick: If the Cube was out in the open I would prefer black flat head screws for the top of the case versus the silver screws.

Avoid – high failure and terrible support

Hitachi GST Deskstar HD32000 IDK/7K (0S00164) 2TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Retail
Hitachi GST Deskstar HD32000 IDK/7K (0S00164) 2TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive Retail

Pros: Lots of storage, price, fairly quiet

Cons: My failure rates for Seagate have been high, so I thought I would try Hitachi, what a mistake. 2 out of 3 drives failed within 35 days. Hitachi support is terrible. When I have had to RMA Seagate in the past, Seagate typically shipped the replacement drive within 24 hours of receiving the bad drive. Hitachi has had my drives for 12 days and still not shipped replacements. I thought the Deathstar moniker was gone, but apparently Hitachi is still trying to live up to the infamous title.

Overall Review: Does anyone make a reliable drive anymore?