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Kevin B.

Kevin B.

Joined on 07/09/07

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Product Reviews
product reviews
  • 14
Most Favorable Review

Wonderful versatile device!

HP TouchPad Wi-Fi 32GB Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core APQ8060 (1.2GHz) 1GB Memory 9.7" 1024 x 768 Tablet - Black HP webOS 3.0
HP TouchPad Wi-Fi 32GB Qualcomm Snapdragon dual-core APQ8060 (1.2GHz) 1GB Memory 9.7" 1024 x 768 Tablet - Black HP webOS 3.0

Pros: The stock WebOS operating system is an immediate joy to use and the recent updates have dramatically improved performance. The multitasking is unmatched by anything this side of an N9. Coming from Maemo (N900 and prior devices), I struggle to really like Android and am not at all impressed with IOS (my wife has an iPad). That said, installing Android 2.3.7 (Gingerbread) on this is quite easy and results in a dual-boot system so you can switch back and forth with WebOS when you need. Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich) has also been ported, and the early betas are a huge improvement over 2.3.7, with some very talented developers making improvements all the time. The display is beautiful (same part number as used in the iPad). The dual-core CPU is quite powerful and easily overclocked in any of the above mentioned OSes. The battery life is incredible, especially in WebOS. I can watch 1/2 hour of video on the train ride to work and still have 96% remaining when I arrive! Loud speakers

Cons: The extremely glossy shell picks up and shows fingerprints (common critique, however minor). Any of the common cases alleviate that (I have the HP case on mine), and many people put "skins" on theirs. Can develop cracks near the speaker holes (google hp touchpad cracks). One big annoyance for me is the lack of an SD card slot, though the 32GB of internal storage is quite nice, and most of the storage is actually accessible from both WebOS and Android if you install it. No 3G... it's WiFi only (like most tablets). Minor, but someone not experienced with tablets may not expect this. The stock PDF reader is Adobe Reader, which is absolutely horrible. I seriously can't believe the company put their name on it. It doesn't remember what page you were on when you left a book, nor can you jump to a page number, nor can you search, etc. If you have a 1200 page PDF, you're going to be infuriated in minutes with this PDF reader. Put Android on it to solve this problem (ezPDF is free).

Overall Review: Pros continued: I ran out of space in the pros... there's simply too much to love about this device. :) 1GB of RAM is double that of anything in the same price range... it is very difficult to bog it down with the monster CPU and enormous RAM. It comes with Kindle software and I think another ebook reader, but all my books are PDFs. Other: WebOS is being open-sourced by HP (parts already are, more coming soon). There is no concept of "rooting" with this device. This is because the system was never locked down in the first place like IOS or Android devices. The only mobile device OS I've worked with that was more open is Maemo (as mentioned above). WebOS is Linux, just like Android. Unlike Android, apps that run on WebOS are actually native programs (everything you see on Android is running in a Java virtual machine). If you want to put Android on the device, I highly recommend Classic Nerd (google it). I won't go into detail as this is a review of the device for sale, not

Most Critical Review

D2-751G_MZ1 severe disappointment

Digital2 7” PAD Platinum D2-751G_MZ1 with Dual Core 1.5GHz, 1GB DDR3, 8GB Internal Storage, Google Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) with Cameras
Digital2 7” PAD Platinum D2-751G_MZ1 with Dual Core 1.5GHz, 1GB DDR3, 8GB Internal Storage, Google Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) with Cameras

Pros: Lightweight. Great size for my kid. High screen resolution for the price point. Double the RAM of any of its competition (including other 7" models by the same company) DDR3... fast RAM. MicoSD card slot.

Cons: Died after only a few hours of light use. HORRID battery life. Runs HOT! 802.11n @ 2.4GHz only - no 5GHz NO Bluetooth! (it was an advertized feature, now removed) To expand on the above, I bought this for my kid for Christmas and immediately upon receipt, I charged it up fully then started installing apps and games for him. I noticed at the time that the battery seemed to be draining quickly, but I chalked that up to the fact that I was installing apps at the time (writing to flash requires considerably more current than simply loading and running apps). I charged it up fully and shut it down and wrapped it up for Christmas. Christmas morning came and my kid was playing some games on it (thrilled to have his very own tablet). After a little over an hour (playing really lightweight games like "Cut the Rope"), I checked the battery level and noticed it was well below 50%. He stopped playing (for other reasons) so we put it back on the charger. After a while (seemed slow to take a charge) I checked and it was nearly full... so I left it to finish charging. A short while later I checked on it, and it was off. I powered it back on and it would only light the backlight - the screen was totally black. I checked on their website and they have some known issues with older firmwares, but this was freezing at an earlier point than those FAQs indicated (before even getting to the boot-screen or battery charging symbol).

Overall Review: Newegg, please add a "zero egg" option. 1 is too high a rating for a device that only works for a few hours... looking through other reviews that have been posted since I bought this device, it appears my experience is not out of the ordinary with this product. Unfortunately, I'm 2 days too late to return it to Newegg... I bought it on a shellshocker deal as a Christmas gift (oddly enough, it's cheaper now). I'll post a followup with the results of the case I opened with the manufacturer... they're closed until the 28th (I'm writing this on Christmas day). They have downloadable firmware on their website, but it's 6 months *older* than what came on the device... so even if I could reflash it, it would be a downgrade. You can imagine my kid's reaction when I told him the present he was the most excited about no longer worked. Actually, you might not - he's a fantastic kid and tried to hide how heartbroken he is. -Sad Dad

12/25/2014

Great Solaris board

GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-SLI LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-SLI LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard

Pros: GIGABYTE GA-Z97X-SLI LGA 1150 Intel Z97 HDMI SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard Solaris 11 (11.2 & 11.3) runs great on this board. 2x PCIe x16 slots work with SAS HBAs. 1 CPU fan + 3 system fan headers

Cons: Has only one ethernet NIC (not much of a con, really). 1 CPU fan + only 3 system fan headers (since I'm using it for a server, I'd like a few more system monitored fans). 32GB RAM max (this is a chipset limitation, so not really a con of this board, but one of all boards with this socket/chipset).

Overall Review: I've had this board for just shy of 6 months, using it as my primary/main (Solaris 11) server, hosting ZFS backed NFS for all home directories, VirtualBox VMs for Linux (game) servers, zones for security isolation, etc. and the stability and performance have been great. I've a pair of PCIe-x8 8-port SAS HBAs reflashed to IT (Initiator/Target) mode (to disable hardware RAID and provide better performance and consistency for ZFS) in the PCIe x16 slots, and am using the onboard SATA ports for (ZIL & L2ARC) SSDs. For networking, I'm using the onboard gigabit NIC and the performance to the NFS clients (Linux mediacenter and gaming PCs) has been fantastic. My setup includes 32GB of DDR3-1600 RAM and an i3-4170 (single-thread performance very close to CPUs 3x the price while drawing very little wattage). It hosts 6 SSDs and 6 HDDs (WD Black and HGST NAS 7200RPM drives). This replaces an older HP server with a pair of dual-core Xeons, and the performance is just as good, if not better... the machine will pay for itself within about a year with the electricity I'm saving (not even counting cooling costs). Metered with the Rosewill version of a Kill-A-Watt, the entire setup draws <100W during normal duty, peaking at ~140W when loading up an ARK: Survival Evolved server in a VirtualBox VM (while under the additional load of NFS clients). Notes to consider if building a ZFS server: Some are adamant that you should never use ZFS in a board without ECC RAM. This board does not support ECC, as that requires a different chipset, cpu and socket which sends the (purchase and power) costs skyward for anything approaching the single-thread performance of my setup. ZFS provides dramatically more protection than any other filesystem whether or not you use ECC RAM and none of my NFS clients have ECC, so the chances of memory errors causing corruption within individual files is there whether or not the server uses ECC. That said, ZFS is worth it for the snapshots alone, the rest of its long list of features are icing. :)

3.5 months in, still silent :)

Enermax Marathon 80mm Silent PC Case Fan UC-8EB
Enermax Marathon 80mm Silent PC Case Fan UC-8EB

Pros: Incredibly quiet for the amount of airflow they produce. A very nice upgrade for my HTPC.

Cons: The price went up since I bought them. (sorry, I can't think of a real con)

Overall Review: I bought two of these to replace some aging fans in my HTPC, and was (and still am) pleasantly surprised by just how amazingly quiet they are. They're quieter than the stock fans in my Athenatech HTPC case (even when they were new), and they blow more air!

Utter garbage. Don't buy at any price.

SYBA SY-PEX40039 2 Port SATA III PCI-e 2.0 x1 Card
SYBA SY-PEX40039 2 Port SATA III PCI-e 2.0 x1 Card

Pros: Very compact. Comes with a low-profile bracket if you need it. Comes with a SATA cable.

Cons: Exactly the same results as Michael's post on 11/17/2014. I was hoping that was a fluke. I tried this card with a SanDisk Z400s (SSD) and the read throughput (via hdparm) maxed out at 196MB/s. I tried the same drive on the SATA II onboard ports (780G chipset) and got a read throughput of 260MB/s. I retested using "dd if=1048576 count=1000 of=/dev/null" (sequentially read 1GB from the beginning of the drive using 1MiB transfers) with essentially the same results (200MB/s on this card vs 269MB/s on the onboard ports). I reran all of the above tests using a SanDisk Ultra II SSD with the exact same results. In short, this card is only 3/4 of the performance of an onboard SATA2 port! My (cheap ECS a780gm-a test rig) motherboard has PCIe2.0 slots, so their max throughput (for an x1 slot) is 500MB/s. This card is supposed to support PCIe2.0, so this is not a limiting factor. Even if it were PCIe1.0, the x1 throughput would be maxed out at 250MB/s while this card can't make it past 200MB/s. About 1/3 of the times when moving a drive to or from this card, I have to pull the power for at least 5 seconds just to get it to POST. After removing the card, the system is back to normal (POSTs and boots every time).

Overall Review: I got 2 of these on a shellshocker deal cheaply enough that they're not worth returning if I have to pay for shipping. Ubuntu 15.04 Linux properly recognized this as a SATA 6gb/s card, so it wasn't configuring it in SATA2 mode. I was planning to use these in a Solaris 11 ZFS server (in another machine), but they're not worth bothering with.

Fantastic router for OpenWRT or DD-WRT!

NETGEAR WNDRMAC-100NAS Wireless Gigabit Open Source Router/ USB port Rangemax 2.4/5GHz Simultaneous N600 Dual Band IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, IEEE 802.3/3u/3ab
NETGEAR WNDRMAC-100NAS Wireless Gigabit Open Source Router/ USB port Rangemax 2.4/5GHz Simultaneous N600 Dual Band IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, IEEE 802.3/3u/3ab

Pros: This is essentially a WNDR3800 in a white case. It has 16MB of flash and 128MB of RAM, much more than most versions of the very closely related WNDR3700. This makes it extremely versatile for OpenWRT or DD-WRT installations, which give this router phenomenal capabilities. Having 5GHz wireless N means no interference in a crowded neighborhood full of 2.4GHz signals (from countless access points to microwaves and cordless phones). Gigabit networking for the wired lines is great.

Cons: None. I've had it a year and a half - it's rock solid.

Overall Review: This is my main router and firewall (I've disabled the firewall on my cable-modem and set it to pass-through). I have numerous systems internally on the gigabit network connections and wirelessly on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios (18 devices currently active) and this device is dead idle with a 0.03 load-average with 107MB of the 128MB of RAM free. I have an older WNDR3700 with a failed WAN port acting as a bridge to my media-center (PS3, media-center computer, son's computer and a Roku all connected) via 5GHz wireless N (40MHz wide channel) which maintains a consistent 240Mbit/s-300Mbit/s connection to this device, so it's faster than the 100Mbit connection I used to have when I had a wire-feed from a WRT54GL (even taking the half-duplex nature of WiFi into account), with the bonus of no wires.