Date Joined: 12/26/03
Pros: Single +12V rail, high efficiency, low noise
Cons: Not modular, only 80 plus white certified
Overall Review: The Corsair VS series is the bottom tier of Corsair’s lineup and is intended for general usage on a budget. The PSU comes in a nice box with useful info on the outside and is well protected from any shipping damage. Inside the box you get the PSU, a power cord, mounting screws, and a warranty document. I would have liked to see a few cable ties for cable management.
The PSU itself is well made and has a good heft to it. The paint job is a superb black powder coat finish but I wish they had included the technical specs of each rail listed somewhere on the PSU itself, it is listed on the box and available on their website but years from now when I work on the PC sometimes that data is useful to determine which hardware I can stick in the PC when it comes to upgrade.
Inside the PSU we have an 80 plus white certified power system, a single dedicated +12V rail, and a thermally controlled sleeve bearing fan. The sleeve bearing fan is fine but I would have liked to see a fluid dynamic bearing fan. This is probably one of the reasons that the warranty only lasts for 3 years. One thing to look for when purchasing a PSU is to check the warranty length, the longer the warranty the less chance of failure. Corsair is usually very good in this regard and 3 years is a long time.
I have used Corsair power supplies for a long time now and they have always served me well. The VS600 is a great value option and would be great in any general use desktop. If you’re building a new PC to use for gaming I would suggest going with one of their other models that are 80 plus silver or higher rated, these usually come with a longer warranty and will deal with the strains a graphics card will put on the system. I mainly recommend this because a few years after the system is built you can upgrade the graphics card and get higher performance while the PSU will still run the new card fine.
Pros: Good capacity, quiet, power efficient, uses solid state cache
Cons: 5400 RPM
Overall Review: The Seagate FireCuda is a normal 2.5” form factor mechanical hard drive that uses 8GB of NAND flash to cache the most accessed data on the drive. This helps speed the drive up over normal mechanical hard drives. This does NOT make it nearly as fast as a full SSD but the price is much lower. It also has 128 MB of cache with multi-tier caching technology (MTC).
MTC technology adds various caching layers to further improve both read and write performances. NAND flash is used to store most-often-read data to increase read performance while media cache is used to merge small block writes. Since the NAND flash size is in the order of gigabytes compared to the hundreds of megabytes found on DRAM, cache hit is higher by order of 100 times. For fragmented write operations, media cache boosts performance as DRAM reaches its limit. Media cache can sustain a near-sequential data rate of up to scores of gigabytes to better handle burst workloads. All user data are protected and moved in and out of the main store storage without host intervention, making the MTC Technology completely transparent to the user.
Installing this in to your PS4 isn’t very hard but you should look for instructions either on playstation’s site or use google to find a walkthrough. Some things you will need are a screwdriver, a USB storage device with enough free space to back-up your current data, a PC to download the PS4 software, and a PS4 controller connected via a USB cable.
After installing the drive I did see marginally better load times than the stock hard drive and it seemed quieter than the stock one as well. The biggest benefit of upgrading the drive is to increase the storage space on your PS4. Before this upgrade I was using the full space of my 500GB drive, now I have 2TB and should be good for a while before I need to upgrade again.
If you need more space on your console then the Seagate FireCuda is a good place to start. The price is relatively cheap and performance is good overall.
Pros: Adjustable position for side buttons, Very High DPI, 12 (Side) buttons, RGB lighting
Cons: No weight adjustment, nowhere to rest your thumb
Overall Review: I have to say that getting used to this mouse was challenging at first. I came from using a normal gaming mouse that just had the 2 side buttons. This one has 12 on the side and no place to rest your thumb. Not having the thumb rest and also not having the default back/forward buttons took time to get used to.
After the adjustment period I was able to use this mouse to great advantage, the side buttons can be mapped and I was able to use them for the MMO I’m currently playing. Having the buttons adjustable was a huge plus, it allowed me to move them forward to adjust to my longer thumb.
I did have some issues with this mouse. Tracking from the sensor had issues on my desk which is a light colored wood, I had to use a mouse pad which I did not have to use on my previous mouse. Also since there isn’t a place to rest your thumb my hand would cramp if I used it for too long.
There’s a lot going on with this mouse. Textured keys, lighting indicators, button position adjustment, RGB lighting, and Corsairs CUE software come together to make a great package.
Pros: Cherry MX Silent switches, backlit keys, USB pass-through
Cons: Media keys require FN key, does not come with wrist rest
Overall Review: This keyboard is based on the Cherry MX switches, I got the red one. They also have a Cherry MX Brown version but not blue. The keys are open and raised but they are not sitting on top of an exposed plate like the K70 keyboard but rather sits within a low profile frame. Cleaning the keyboard is easier than most keyboards but can’t compare to how easy it is to clean the K70.
They keyboard came in a well-designed, thick cardboard box. Alongside with the keyboard, Corsair supplies a very basic manual, a keycap removal tool and two sets of gaming keycaps. The first set is supposed to be for FPS gamers and the second for MOBA gamers. Both sets are contoured and textured. Two keycaps, the W and the D, exist in both sets but have different contours as a result.
From what I have been able to find out this keyboard uses the Cherry MX Red Silent switches. Corsair has an exclusive on this switch at the moment so if you want this type of switch Corsair is the only place to get it at the moment.
They STRAFE is a regular sized keyboard with a standard layout. The only new keys are two keys at the top right, one controls the lighting and the other locks the windows key. Media functions for volume and track controls have been inserted as secondary commands in the F5-F12 keys, and are accessible by holding down the FN key. There are no dedicated media keys or the much-loved metallic volume control wheel that is found on their higher tier keyboards.
In terms of quality the strafe rates pretty high compared to other keyboards I have used but can’t match that of the K70 and K95 keyboards. The keys are very sturdy and the cross supports reduce wobbliness. The feel of the keys is pretty similar to standard Cherry MX Red switches but to me they feel ever so slightly harder to press.
I feel that the STRAFE is a quality keyboard at a fair price but has some cons compared to the higher priced K70 model. No wrist rest and no dedicated media keys might be a big deal for some people.
Cons: Instructions on how to upgrade are limited
Overall Review: The Seagate GameDrive is a normal 2.5” form factor mechanical hard drive that uses 8GB of NAND flash to cache the most accessed data on the drive. This helps speed the drive up over normal mechanical hard drives. This does NOT make it nearly as fast as a full SSD but the price is much lower.
Installing this in to your PS3 or PS4 isn’t very hard but you should look for instructions either on playstation’s site or use google to find a walkthrough. Some things you will need are a screwdriver, a USB storage device with enough free space to back-up your current data, a PC to download the PS4 software, and a PS4 controller connected via a USB cable.
After installing the drive I did see marginally better load times than the stock hard drive and it seemed quieter than the stock one as well. The biggest benefit of upgrading the drive is to increase the storage space on your PS4. Before this upgrade I was using the full space of my 500GB drive, now I have double the space and should be good for a while before I need to upgrade again. By that time SSDs may be more affordable or Sony may have released a better version of the PS4 altogether.
If you need more space on your console then the Seagate GameDrive is a good place to start. The price is relatively cheap and performance is good overall.
Pros: OpenWRT/DDWRT support, supports non WDS bridging and repeating, OpenVPN
Overall Review: The WRT1900AC supports OpenVPN and setting it up is pretty simple and I was able to get it working with a remote client. Performance over a VPN connection was pretty good.
I have a 1900 sq ft house and the WRT1900AC was setup in the office which is near the corner of the house. I did not have any dead spots in the house and wireless performance was pretty good. Copying large files over WAN I was able to get a sustained 450Mbps and saw bursts of 500-600 Mbps. LAN connections over a gigabit connection were fine, I saw full gigabit speeds when copying files over the wire.
Some of the cool things that the Linksys firmware does. It has a network map that shows you exactly wants connected to your router both wirelessly and via the gigabit ports. You can then click the devices and see their internet bandwidth usage. This allows you to see what may be using up bandwidth and allows you to set parental settings to limit their connection.
The external networked storage features were pretty cool too, plugging in storage to the USB 3.0 or eSATA ports shows the devices and then from there it is very easy to share those over the network via Samba, FTP, or even DLNA. You can create any number of user accounts and then control their access to the shares.
All in all, the Linksys WRT1900AC is a very capable router. It offers high Wi-Fi speeds, a ton of features, and even supports DD-WRT/OpenWRT. Sometimes supporting 3rd party firmware is the biggest selling feature to some people. I never experienced any instability or connection drops. All the features appear to work as intended. If you’re in the market for a jack-of-all-trades router that’s easy to set up, works with every wireless device in your home, and has strong performance to boot, you should buy the Linksys WRT1900AC.
Pros: Great picture quality, 2k resolution, very good contrast, IPS panel, Lots of ports, 99% sRGB color gamut
Cons: Stand could be better, might be too wide for some people
Overall Review: When it comes to ultra-wide monitors you will either really love the expanded viewing area or you’ll just hate that it takes up too much space. If you’re a Photoshop user or just do office work the added space will give you enough room to have two windows side by side without having to have a dual monitor setup and can be a godsend for you. With that in mind, the LG monitor is a wicked 34-inch, display that would make a delightful addition to any desk space. <br><br>This monitor probably won’t win any design awards, it sits on a black stand with a black bezel. You’ll need a wide enough desk to fit the monitor and the stand itself is relatively wide as well and may take up too much space for some people.<br><br>If you want one of the most stunning screens the LG should be on your wish list. This IPS panel produces vibrant and complex colors that pop out and the viewing angels are fantastic. I had no issues with viewing from the side or from the top.<br><br>Gaming on the LG monitor was overall pretty great, most of the games looked crisp and fluid and the colors popped out more than my other monitors. Be aware that if you do use this for gaming then this may not be the monitor for you. For one you need a beefy video card to run at the native 3440x1440 resolution and some games simply don’t support this wide of an aspect ratio. Some games had no problems running at 3440x1440 but I did have a few that would fall back to 2560x1440 and I would be stuck with black bars on the edges.<br><br>Also, I would have expected a better stand for a monitor at this price point. The stand works fine and has height and tilt adjustment but not swivel. Honestly no one should turn this monitor sideways and view it in a portrait mode it’s just too wide for that. Swivel should be on this stand! The cord management isn’t very good, and for a monitor that supports so many ports this is something that will jump out at you.
Pros: RGB LED Lighting, Easy Installation, Top cooling performance
Cons: Not as quiet as air
Overall Review: Corsair is a company that has been around for a while. Over the past decade they have diversified into several segments. Once they were only known for their RAM but now they have power supplies, cases, SSDs, gaming peripherals and finally AIO coolers like the H100i.
Corsair packages their coolers in a very attractive box that is clearly labeled. Inside you’ll find that its protected with cardboard inserts, I don’t expect that you’ll get any bent fins with this packaging.
The H100i comes in the typical configuration of a radiator, two hoses, and one block that combines the CPU plate and pump. Since the radiator is only 30mm thick you won’t get much air impedance thus I don’t think that using this in a push-pull configuration would not help performance, particularly considering the already high pressure fans that are supplied with the H100i.
I’m coming from an air cooler (U12S) so I will be comparing performance to that. When you run the H100i in performance mode it will have a field day with whatever you throw at it. I have it hooked up to an Intel i5 2500K overclocked to 4.7GHz @ 1.3v and load temps were generally stable at 41C compared to 52C on air, average ambient temperature is ~ 23C during my tests. The high performance has a significant downside though as this will definitely be audible to you. I measured an average of 48.3 dB(A) and that is what I would consider above a tolerant noise level and the pump has a perceptible whining noise. This is compared to an average of 30.8 dB(A) coming from the air cooler. If you drop down to the “balanced” mode where the fans do not run at 100% then the noise does get better and the temperature only increased by 1C to 42C, however the noise went down to 39 dB(A) which is much better and a tolerable limit and the whining noise of the pump is barely audible now.
So lets get to the meat of the discussion. Would I recommend this Corsair H100i v2? If your goal is the absolute best performance and you don’t mind hearing some noise coming from the CPU cooler than yes this is one of the best you can buy. But I think I’ll be sticking with my air cooler. Not only do you get something that is inaudible but it performs well and has less points of failure.
Pros: Comfortable ergonomics, works for claw and palm grip, good button layout
Cons: No DPI indicator, no adjustable weight system
Overall Review: The SteelSeries Rival mouse is a perfectly good mouse but I feel it could have been better. First let’s talk about what I did like.
The Ergonomics of the mouse are pretty good for one that can’t be adjusted. I felt like it handled both the claw grip style and palm grip style, whichever one you use would probably be comfortable. The side buttons are huge and in a good position. The wheel and DPI adjustment feel good to use. I got the white version so it feels like a smooth hard plastic, I’ve read that the black version is different and shows fingerprints and smudges.
Now let’s talk about the things I didn’t like. First I believe that this mouse is too light, only 128g which may be fine for some people but I’m used to a much heavier mouse. The fact that this can’t be changed with a weight system like some other mice only exacerbates this. The type of plastic is a smooth plastic with no texture, if you have a sweaty palm this starts to become troublesome and can cause you to lose grip or slip when trying to move it. It also seemed to make my hand hotter since it made a different type of seal around my palm. The DPI switch works well but there is no indicator as to which mode you are in. You just have to figure out if you’re in the fast mode of the slower mode and adjust accordingly. I suppose since there are only two modes that this makes it easier since you don’t have 3 to switch between. It also does not come with a braided cord which means the cord will catch more on your desk or other cords.
There were times where it felt like the mouse stopped tracking when I picked it up to move the mouse back to a different position. Not sure if this is because of my desk but I have never had to use a mouse pad before. I have a light brown desk that is a smooth texture with wood grain, shouldn’t have problems tracking. It also quit working on me once and I had to unplug and re-plug the mouse to get it working again. This may have been because I had it plugged in to the USB input on my keyboard but I never had this problem with my previous mouse.
Overall I think that SteelSeries did a good job but I feel that without the weight system the price should be $10 lower.
Pros: Easy setup, Good wireless speed and range, auto updates
Cons: Missing advanced features, single LAN port, a bit pricey
Overall Review: Google is attempting something new with this router, some of it works and some of it doesn’t. First let’s go over the setup.
Open the box and you’ll be greeted by a cylindrical device with little instructions other than to go download the OnHub app. The app does a good job of walking your through the setup except for one very important thing. I couldn’t find anything that actually showed or explained how to remove the cover to connect the wires. You have to twist the cover counter clockwise from the locked position to the unlocked position. You’ll see some symbols on the shell that will show this. I had to use google to find out how to do this!
With that out of the way I was able to hook up the cables and use the app to setup, total time was less than 15 minutes. I was impressed that it did all the hard work for me. It was able to setup itself up even though I already have a modem/router combo from Verizon FiOS and tells you how to set it up in a bridge mode to allow the OnHub to handle all traffic instead of just the wifi connected devices.
All management if done through the OnHub app, in fact if you go to the IP address in a web browser it will tell you to go download the app. The app is very well designed and has some extras that I was not expecting. It allows you to view each device and see current and past network usage. It will give you a daily breakdown of how much data has been used for downloading and uploading. I can see how this will be helpful if you have an ISP that has a data cap. You can then see who the offender is when you go over your limit. It also allows you to select devices and give them a higher priority. Roommate using all of the bandwidth for something? Well you can give your device priority so your streaming doesn’t suffer.
Even though it has some features I wasn’t expecting like bandwidth monitoring it is missing even more features that you would expect from a router.
First there is only one LAN port, which means you’ll need to buy an additional switch if you want to hook any PCs up to the network which adds to the already high cost of the device. Second, there doesn’t appear to be a way to setup a guest network so anyone you give access to will be able to access your machines. It does however give you a very easy way to share the password with people via text, airdrop, or email. Or you can just show them the password on your phone while they type it in. The OnHub supports static IP addresses and port forwarding but possibly the weirdest thing is that port forwarding can only be used by devices with a static IP address. Most routers now will allow you to setup forwarding based on the machine/device name which helps if you don’t want to bother with setting up static IP addresses across devices that need this feature. I would also like to point out that if you don’t set your modem/router up in bridge mode that your LAN connected network will be separate from your wireless network. That means your laptops won’t be able to access your NAS or any machines.
Performance is good, I was able to get signal everywhere in my house and the strength was always good. I didn’t have any issues connecting devices and the speeds were always fantastic. Streaming never had any issues.
I think that this router is great for the house that needs something to get the job done without much fuss, like my grandparents or parents house. I can set this up for them and then manage it remotely if they need help. However for the power user I think this is too limited in its current state.
Pros: Cherry MX Brown switches, very well made, backlit keys
Cons: A little wide
Overall Review: I was pleasantly surprised with this keyboard, can stand up to anything from other manufactures! It came in a well styled box with everything packed away and protected well. It comes with a plastic case to hold the extra keycaps and comes with a keycap puller.
The keyboard seems to sit on a metal rod that comes around the entire edge of the keyboard. This gives is some extra rigidity and even allows you to clip the keycap case to the top! One cool feature is that it also comes with a clip to keep the mouse cord out of the way. I don’t remember seeing this from other keyboard makers so kudos to the innovation GSkill! The entire keyboard is made of a single sheet of metal on which the keycaps sit. Since these float on top and aren’t surrounded by any plastic this makes it very easy to clean. Just stand it straight up and anything hiding under the keys falls out.
The standard keycaps are all black and have a smooth finish. The letters are larger than normal and make them very easy to read. Since they seem to be bigger than normal they also let a lot of light through. One thing I can say is that this thing is definitely bright! The back light comes with 4 levels, high, medium, low, and off. There is a physical key to toggle the backlight. It also comes with keys to disable the windows key.
The media keys on the top right of the board are of good quality and the volume roller is made of metal. There is a light bar right below the volume knob that shows you the volume level, very nice touch.It comes with 6 dedicated macro keys and keys to record macros and switch between three different profiles. If you install the software you can customize this further and assign profiles to games so they are selected automatically. It comes with full N Key roll over with a toggle switch to roll back in case your system has issues with it (which mine did). I had to switch N key roll over off as my system went crazy if I pressed too many different keys at once.
The only con I can find with this keyboard is that the design has the sides wider than they need to be to allow for the metal rod around the outside. This makes it about an inch wider on each side than normal full size keyboards.
I’m very happy with this keyboard and recommend it to anyone looking for a high quality keyboard that uses cherry MX switches.
Cons: Screen, bloat ware, runs outdated android version, relatively unknown company
Overall Review: Let’s see, where to begin with this tablet. At first glance you read through the list of hardware specs and it really seems too good to be true. Octa core processor with PowerVR GPU, 10.1” IPS screen, dual camera front and rear all for around $100. I was sold just reading the specs and couldn’t wait to get my hands on it!
When I opened the box I noted how heavy the tablet was and that it looked well packaged with a good amount of included extras. However all of that died the minute I turned it on and looked at the screen.
Right away I noted how washed out, pixelated, and really bad viewing angles the screen had. I thought this was an S-IPS screen? I have to assume that this isn’t an IPS screen and that was misleading marketing. The android lock screen has a circle that you move up to unlock the device, on this screen it doesn’t look like a circle as the lines are pixelated and slightly stretched.
After getting past the screen I started the setup process, I’ve setup android devices before and was taken aback that I had to sign in with an email address and accept a EULA before I could even get to signing in to google. You have the option to skip but I realized too late that this wasn’t the google signin process but something custom from IRULU. This and the included bloatware apps that have WAY too much access to different parts of your phone make me extremely scared to use this device or trust it with my google info.
I couldn’t stop there though, I had to keep digging to see if there were any redeeming qualities of this device. The octa core processor seems fast enough as does the GPU, the cameras are terrible and seem like devices that were used 7 years ago in the first G1. Build quality also seems a little suspect, it feels heavy in your hand which would make you think it was a solid device but the top of the tablet where the screen is connected to the rest is a really big lip which creaks when you hold it with one hand. I think if you knocked this off of a table on accident you would be left with something that opened up along this seam.
Android KitKat 4.4, this was release nearly 2 years ago, 5.0 has come and gone and now Android 6.0 marshmello is out. Having a new tablet with something this old is unacceptable.
Given that you can now get tablets from well known companies for $50 I see no reason to spend the extra $60 for this device. You could buy two tablets for the same price and get a much much better tablet for your money.
Pros: LED Bulbs, good package price
Cons: Does not work with dimmable lamps, hard to setup, virtually no documentation
Overall Review: When I opened the box it came in the WeMo box got me excited to try these out but my excitement soon died.
First issue is that there were barely any instructions or feature list. The outside of the packaged eluded to the fact that they are dimmable (not really) and there was no manual in case you ran in to issues. They expect you to use the app for that. If the app was better this may have been ok but alas I got frustrated with it.
After I downloaded the app I turned off my lamp and took out my existing dimmable LED bulbs that have no issue with it. I put the Belkin bulbs in and turned it on, the lights immediately started flashing rapidly and then turned off. Nothing with the app could get them to work. I eventually had to take them out and replace them with my existing bulbs.
I tried these in a different non dimmable lamp and that got rid of the issue. You can use the app to dim them but it’s really a shame it doesn’t work with a lamp that is already dimmable. To use them in the room I wanted to use them in I’ll have to purchase a new lamp. Again they state that they are dimmable so this was a killer in my opinion.
I ran in to a few issues with the app. I have an iPhone 5 and never got the dimmable control to control well, it seemed to want to coast past where I wanted to stop. On a few occasions the app crashed as well.
The color temperature of the bulbs is too “cool” for my tastes, they are whiter than a normal “warm” looking bulb. The Belkin bulb is listed as 3000k and I normally use 2700k bulbs. Overall if you need the functionality that these give you then they are probably your best bet but for me I’ll be staying with my normal LED bulbs.
Pros: Quiet, fast, good price
Overall Review: I was able to use this drive as both a stand-alone backup and connected to my NAS to use as a backup target. Connecting the drive to the machine and using Seagate’s software was probably one of the easiest things I have done. You basically click PC Backup and then you can just choose protect now, after that it creates a continuous backup of all your user files. You can also create a custom backup plan and choose your own folders, I know that I don’t always save everything to “My Documents”.
Copy performance was very good, average file copy was around 135 MB/s for reading and 123 MB/s for writing. This drive was also fairly quiet and didn't appear to get hot to the touch.
I’m currently using this drive as a backup destination attached to my NAS, so far everything has been running well. If I have any issues I’ll make sure to update my review.
Pros: Fast, very good range
Cons: Can’t stand up on its side, poor UI
Overall Review: The C7 has performance and range of the routers that cost $200 or more and can usually be had for half the price. I got a working signal all across my 1900 square foot house. The C7 comes with some decent extra features but it can be a little hard to set them up using the UI. It has a physical switch to turn the WIFI on/off and two USB 2.0 ports to share storage devices and printers with PCs on the network and it also comes with a built in DLNA media server. You can also setup guest networks for each band and limit their bandwidth and set a schedule that it can be accessed.
The only drawbacks I could come up with for the C7 were the inability to stand up so it takes more room and the UI really needs some work but other than that this really can’t be beat for the money.
Pros: Small, lightweight, good build quality, battery gage is fantastic
Cons: Does not support in-line charging or pass through, picks up scratches easily
Overall Review: Let’s be honest, phone and tablet batteries don’t last though a busy day and if you travel at all you know what it’s like searching for an outlet at the airport. A portable USB power pack can usually charge a phone to full at least twice a day or a phone and tablet once. A battery pack like this APC device can really save the day when you need it most.
The APC pack has great build quality and is about the size of a normal smartphone although it is thicker and heavier, got to put that extra juice somewhere! It also comes with a USB cable to charge it with. You can tell that thought went in to the design of the device. If feels sturdy like you could drop it and it wouldn’t phase it and the port placement and battery gage are top notch. It has one 2.4A port to charge tablets and a 1A port to charge phones and can charge one of each at the same time.
I was able to get ~ 2.5 full charges for my iPhone 5 from one charge of the APC battery which was more than enough on a busy day, at night I can always fully charge both up to get ready for the next day. Charging my phone and my kindle at the same time also worked well and having something like this can make you friends when on a plane or at the airport!
As good as this device is there are a few issues with it. First it doesn’t support in-line charging meaning you can’t charge a device and the APC battery at the same time, it also doesn’t support pass-through. While the build quality is excellent they decided to go with a glossy finish and this causes it to pick up scratches pretty easily.
Pros: Good Price, Great Performance, 5 year warranty
Overall Review: The WD Red Pro is meant for 8-16 bay NAS systems, I tested them using a Synology DS214play NAS. These drives have better performance than the WD Red drives thanks to their 7200 RPM speed vs 5400 RPM of the non pro version.
Performance on these drives are very good, I tested multiple aspects like HD video playback, file copy, computer backups, and content creation like photo editing using Lightroom. The DS214play supports both CIFS and iSCSI and I tested both. It should be noted that both drives were setup in a RAID-1 volume and any file copying was done from an SSD to eliminate any bottlenecks on the host PC side.
HD Video Playback, I streamed H.264 content from a shared folder over a gigabit connection to a PLEX server. I was able to get an average of 84.6 MBps during playback
File Copy to NAS, copying files to the share was extremely fast. Using a 4.2 GB ISO file I was able to average 101 MBps copying from an SSD to a share on the volume using CIFS. File copying from the NAS was excellent as well and I was able to achieve 66.3 MBps copying to a SSD drive
Computer backups, copying to the drives it was able to average 97.6 MBps while restoring files was able to average 92.47 MBps
For iSCSI testing I created a 200 GB iSCSI target and mapped it on a Windows VM, the VM itself was running off of an SSD to minimize any performance issues. File copying to the iSCSI drive averaged 85.32 MBps and copying from the drive averaged 53.21 MBps
Setting up the NAS was relatively fast, 2TB single disk initialization took 1h 33m and expanding to two drives and RAID-1 finished in 9h 45m
I was impressed with the WD Red Pro, it has a great balance of performance, power consumption, and acoustics. The price may seem high but given the 5 year warranty is actually very good.
Pros: Compact, Portable, Lightweight, Fast Read Speeds, Metal Casing
Cons: Slow read speeds
Overall Review: When I got this drive I was amazed at how small it was. I was never one to put anything but keys and my key fob on my key ring but this thing is so tiny it has a new home there. It’s so light and small that you won’t even notice it’s there. I loaded it up with some portable apps and ISOs that I might need when troubleshooting a PC at work. It has very good read speeds and average write speeds, if you use it like I do where I load it up once and access it when I need something then it won’t be an issue. It comes in a small grey aluminum housing with an attached rubber key ring, it seems pretty sturdy as the rubber is much thicker where it connects to the drive and key ring.
It came formatted as FAT so I had to reformat to exFAT to store files larger than 2 GB. I suggest you do the same as exFAT is compatible across Windows, OSx, and some Linux distros.
Connected to USB 3.0 I got 143MB/s sequential read and 34 MB/s sequential write. While the write isn’t the fastest the read is more than fast enough for anything you would need to do. If you need to copy a lot of large files to a USB device than I suggest you step up to a normal size drive.
Pros: Attractive, good build quality, LED lights give you plenty of info
Cons: Reset button is in a hard spot to reach and the LEDs can be distracting if you’re in a dark room watching a movie
Overall Review: When I opened this all I couldn’t think about was apple and their iPhone packaging. TPLink took a page from their book and it is exactly like opening the box to an iPhone. That said the box is nice and it comes packaged well. It was easy to open and the quickstart guide was easy to read with plenty of pictures.
First they tell you to get it setup in the same room as your router and then you can move it to the area where you need the wifi signal. This is where I ran in to trouble. I had first tried using the WPS setup method which seemed to let it connect but nothing would work when I tried to use it. I had to use the reset button to reset and try again and this time I used the website method. The only complaint I have with the design is that the reset button is on the bottom of the device and to reset you must have it plugged in to a wall socket. So imagine trying to use something to stick in a hole and hold down the reset button when you can’t see the hole and it is about 3 inches above your carpet. They should have put the reset button on the side or on top.
After I finally got it setup I moved it to the bedroom to connect an AppleTV and do some testing. Netflix, HBOGO, and content from iTunes generally worked fine. There was one time where I was watching a movie and about halfway through playback stopped and had to buffer for about 15 or 30 seconds. I think the device got disconnected for some reason but it must have reconnected and started working after that.
If you have a dead zone or area where signal isn’t that great then the TPLink can fix that for you and does it without much fuss.
Pros: Extremely Fast, Very good build quality, Lifetime Warranty, Retractable USB plug, Aluminum casing, Attractive
Cons: High price, worth it if you use it regularly for lots of file transfers but may be too high for some people
Overall Review: This thing is a godsend for the things I use it for. I work in the IT department and used to carry around a portable hard drive to store the files I needed and now I just carry this little guy with me everywhere I go. I carry everything from ISOs for Office, Windows, and Dev tools to portable apps for Email, IM, and other utilities. Whenever I need to install something I just plug this in and mount the ISO and it installs way faster than using a CD or installing over the network. I did have to reformat the drive using exFAT so that I could store ISOs larger than 2GB but using FAT is the norm so it can work with OSx as well as Windows.
SanDisk lists this drive as having a lifetime limited warranty on their website while Newegg only says 2 years. This means that if it quits working for any reason they will replace it with a refurbished or new drive, unless the reason it stops working is because of physical damage. Nice peace of mind knowing this when you’re going to spend $150.
As far as design goes, the SanDisk Extreme comes in a metal case with a retractable USB plug. It is notably longer than the other drives I have used but not so much that becomes bothersome. The retraction mechanism works really well and is perfectly smooth and seems to be spring assisted and I much prefer this over using a cap to protect the USB connector as eventually you will lose that thing.
The speeds on this thing are amazing, reading and writing files were on average around 200 MB/s when copying to and from a Samsung 840 EVO SSD which is plenty fast for anything you need to do, installing programs from an ISO on the device finished within minutes. I could install Office 2013 from this in under 5 minutes.
On ear instead of over ear
Overall Review: I'm one of those guys that is very picky about my headsets, I went on a headset quest and bought 6 different headsets until I found the one I liked. For the money these are pretty good and if you don't mind the on ear style of headset then these may be good for you but here is why I didn't like them.
First they sit on top of your ears instead of going over them. If they didn't press down on your ears so much then it may not be a problem but after an hour your ears will star to hurt.
Second they block out (isolate) sound which some people probably like but for me I like to hear when my girlfriend talks to me. And there's no clip on the volume/mic control so it just kind of dangles there.
The last thing I didnt like was the actual sound, the bass was a little overstated and highs/mids were muted, granted I'm comparing them to my $150 Sennheiser headphones but when listening to music it all gets muddled together.
The mic worked fine for voice chat, friends in mumble could hear me clearly.
Take my review for what it's worth, I ended up going with a high end pair of headphones and a separate USB microphone for chat
Pros: Easy Setup
Comes with everything you need
Cons: None so far
Overall Review: Setup was a breeze, they are hooked up in different rooms about 40 feet apart from each other. This may seem weird but when I opened the box I was expecting them to be much bigger, these things are tiny!
I was excited to try these out since I recently moved in to a new house and needed something to get Ethernet to the living room. I used this to hook my AppleTV up to ethernet for Netflix and HBOGO streaming. I had been using wireless to connect and stream and most of the time it was fine but every once and awhile the quality on the stream would drop down and the picture would get all blurry. I have a 50MB download connection so I don't think it's my ISP but rather interference with the wireless.
I've only been using this for over week now and so far so good, I need more time to test this out and see if my issue has gone away.
My house was built in 1993 so I didnt have any issues with setup, after I plugged them in I waited a couple of minutes to make sure they paired up and connected. Once I saw all the green lights were on I was good to go. I've heard that people with older houses have issues with these because of old wires but I can't confirm that in my case.
If you need something like this to get ethernet where your wireless sucks definitely give these a try! You could also use these to hookup a wireless access point to a more central location in your house. They are pretty cheap and have worked well so far.
Gets power through USB
3 year warranty
Comes with carrying sleeve
Overall Review: This thing has everything you need in a portable hard drive. It’s fast, connects to USB 3.0, backwards compatible with USB 2.0, it’s powered over USB so no need for a separate power cord, and did I mention that it’s fast? This thing writes and reads at 119MB/s over USB 3.0, I use this thing daily to store ISO files that I carry with me to mount and install software when I’m out in the field.
It’s small and well-built with plastic that feels great in your hand. It has 4 rubber feet on the bottom to prevent any slipping and also helps with vibration to keep any rattle noise down while it’s on your desk. It comes with software on-board to back-up your computers if that is something you’re looking for. I use a paid cloud back-up service so that wasn't something that I needed or used.
Overall I love this little guy, it has everything I need and if you need more space he has bigger brothers in the 1TB and 2TB sizes.
Pros: Very Small
Dual Band Wireless
Very Easy setup, comes with a card on the button with wifi info (helps with parents)
Easy setup switch on the back, more below
Cons: Stand is un-removable
No DD-WRT support
Overall Review: I have Verizon FiOS for my ISP which requires me to use their router that they supply. One feature that I loved with the N600 is the setup switch on the back. You can leave it on auto or set it to router/bridge mode. In Bridge mode it acts just like a wireless access point which is what I needed since the wireless setup on my router is not very good and doesn't support dual band or wireless N. I set the router to bridge mode and plugged it in to my router, after 60 seconds or so I could see the SSIDs on my iPad and was able to connect with the supplied password. After that you’ll probably need to login to your router and check which IP it was assigned by DHCP. In the documentation it tells you certain IPs to use but those won’t work since it grabbed an IP from your router. After I found the IP and logged in I configured the wireless settings to my liking.
So far speed and range are great but I only live in a 950 sq ft apartment right now. I’m moving to a single story 1820 sq ft house soon, if the range doesn't work in the bigger space I’ll update my review.
So far web browsing and streaming Netflix, HBO Go, and Spotify have worked just as expected and the speed tests are the same as I was getting on my wired connection from my computer.
Overall I like the N600, the styling is attractive/subtle, the setup was one of the easiest I've ever used and the price is good for a dual band router. I think the web interface could use some work but it was at least easy to navigate. If you prefer Buffalo sells another N600 that supports DD-WRT.
Pros: - Good peak read/write performance
- Better than average performance consistency
- Attractive casing
Cons: - Price
- Idle power consumption
- No hardware encryption support
- Seagate and the Link A Media controller they use are both relatively new, I’d like to give Seagate the benefit of the doubt that they have gone through intensive validation testing.
Overall Review: It’s good to finally see an SSD from Seagate enter the market. When SSDs were first introduced I thought that Inte, Western Digital, and Seagate would be the top dogs by now but WD and Seagate pretty much stayed out of the market which allowed OCZ, Corsair, Samsung, and others come out with their own products which really helps competition and drive prices down.
I really liked this drive, installing windows 8 from a USB to this took less than 10 minutes. Peak performance and performance consistency are both pretty good, particularly when the drive is near full capacity. I could list performance numbers but I would just recommend you read the review of this drive on Anandtech if you really want to know how this drive performs. All I can tell you is that this drive is just as fast as everything else out there and while it isn’t THE fastest you won’t be able to tell a difference in real world use.
Really the only drawbacks to this drive are the idle power consumption and the no hardware encryption support which may not matter to you if you’re using this for home use in a desktop. If you’re wanting an SSD in a laptop I’d recommend the Samsung 840 series instead. While this SSD has great load performance you don’t usually use load power much on a laptop and the idle power is more important if you want to get the absolute longest battery time.