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Jon W.

Jon W.

Joined on 10/22/05

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Most Favorable Review

No Frills, But Attractive and Performs Well

Buffalo 2TB DriveStation External Hard Drive
Buffalo 2TB DriveStation External Hard Drive

Pros: USB3 (which is very, very fast). USB2 backwards compatibility. No fans and no garishly bright LED's. Attractive, minimal case design. Will only power on when the USB3 cable is connected, which is a cool power saving feature.

Cons: Minimally-ventillated plastic enclosure runs a little warm and has no standoffs to allow for stacking multiple drives. No S.M.A.R.T. status. The included documentation makes no mention of the aforementioned cool power saving feature of the drive only powering up when connected, so make sure you actually connect it before you assume your drive is DOA.

Overall Review: I should preface this review by saying that though I am a ravenous consumer of hard drives, this drive is actually the first USB3 drive I have owned, and the interface standard absolutely lives up to the hype. I get sustained write rates (copying file backups in the form of DMG sparse bundles) in excess of 100mb/s on my Mac Pro, substantially quicker than I ever saw with eSATA. The connector is robust and easy to deal with, also unlike eSATA. Of course, that speaks more to USB3 standard than to this drive, so to turn our attention there: overall, this seems to be a really nice consumer-grade external drive package. The drive enclosure is a very simple, glossy back plastic affair. The drive is cooled passively, meaning no fans, which is great for minimizing noise, not so great if you really hammer on the drives. I tried copying a full 2tb of data to the drive and found that it did get a little hot, but no worse than I have seen with other fanless plastic enclosures. I would definitely caution anyone about stacking these drives on top of each other or placing them vertically right against one another, however-- the only provided ventilation is on the top of the drive, and there are no standoffs to prevent you from blocking these vents entirely. The enclosure is fairly minimal and attractive, and is not garnished with any awful blaring-bright LED's. The "adaptable positioning" is a little silly of Buffalo's marking folks to boast about, but yes, you can definitely orient it two different ways without the need for a stand. Acoustic properties are excellent, the drive is very quiet in all modes of operation. The drive arrives formatted NTFS, but does mount on a Mac right out of the box, and once reformatted works flawlessly with Mac OS (10.9.2). Curiously, the drive does not seem to support SMART-- first time I have seen that in a while, but not really a deal-breaker for an external. The included power supply is generic, and there is no indication as to who makes the drive inside the enclosure. Overall, this drive seems to be a nice, if no-frills, choice for someone seeking a high-speed, low-cost backup solution. In comparison to other external hard drives I have used, I think the most substantial drawback here is the minimal provision for cooling. Those who envision using this drive for long-term sustained data transfer might do better to seek a drive with more robust cooling provisions, but for general storage use this offers an attractive option.

Most Critical Review

Avoid for DCP-7060D

Rosewill RTCG-DR420 Black Drum Replaces Brother DR-420 DR420
Rosewill RTCG-DR420 Black Drum Replaces Brother DR-420 DR420

Pros: Prints fine.

Cons: This product does not seat correctly in a DCP-7060D. It is super-close, 1mm off at most, but the printer door will not close completely. You need to apply a little pressure on the door to trick the printer into thinking the door is correctly closed, and at that point it prints fine. Otherwise it will give a "cover open" error. I have tried reseating this about a hundred times to no avail, it must just not be molded quite right.

Overall Review: Yes, I have duct tape on my printer. No, I am not happy about it.

11/20/2013

Does what it says, very fair price

Rosewill 60W Five-Port Wireless Charger and Data Transfer USB Hub with 1 USB-C Port, 3 USB-A Ports and 1 HDMI Port with 4K Ultra HD, USB-C Power Delivery, Qi-Certified, Black - (RBWH-20016)
Rosewill 60W Five-Port Wireless Charger and Data Transfer USB Hub with 1 USB-C Port, 3 USB-A Ports and 1 HDMI Port with 4K Ultra HD, USB-C Power Delivery, Qi-Certified, Black - (RBWH-20016)

Pros: -HDMI works (tested w/ Macbook Pro) -USB works (tested w/ Macbook Pro) -Wireless charging works (tested w/ iPhone) -Reasonably compact and attractive -Reasonably solid build

Cons: -Short input cable limits placement options and may require an extension for many uses -Plastic top will scratch over time if you are sliding aluminum phones across it -Kind of oddball combination of functionality, but if this is what you need, here it is!

Overall Review: I'm fairly impressed with this thing. It does indeed perform all the functions it claims. Wireless charging works with the two Apple iPhone devices I tested it with, an 11 and an XS. Charging was brisk enough to keep a nearly-dead iPhone XS going while livestreaming a two-hour concert, and the device was mostly charged by the end. I tested the HDMI hub function on a Macbook Pro and it worked flawlessly, not messing around with it at all, and it would run my monitor at maximum resolution. The USB ports all functioned as expected under Mac OS 11.1. Physically, the top surface is a hard polycarbonate. It is attractive out of the box but will likely scratch over time, I have a few scuffs in mine already after three weeks. This is cosmetic, of course. The bottom has a rubber grip surface and it does stick fairly well on my stainless desk. There is a single small orange LED, which is not terribly obtrusive or obnoxiously bright. Height is adequate to plug stuff in without lifting it off the desk surface. The grey plastic housing is fairly close the the Apple "space grey" in color. Overall it is a fairly discrete, unobtrusive package. Country of origin is Vietnam. The cable is not adequately long to position this thing anywhere besides right next to your laptop. If your laptop lives in a stand, as mine does, you will need an extension cable if you wish for this to sit flat on the desk surface. But if you keep your laptop right on a desk, and that is where you want to keep your phone, no worries. I teach and I carry a USB-C to HDMI and USB-A adapter as part of my cable kit for presenting off my Apple laptop, allowing me to connect my pathetically port-less laptop to a projector and a wireless presentation remote. While this can handle all those functions, the wireless charging adds a lot of bulk and weight, so it won't be replacing my much smaller dongle. I could see this being ideal for travel, though, providing a way to charge a phone and a convenient USB-C multimedia hub. I could also see this being an ideal accessory to live on your desk if you worked off a laptop. You could connect your monitor, keyboard and mouse to this, and just unplug one thing to grab your laptop. Overall, it's perhaps a somewhat odd combination of features, but if this seems useful to you, don't hesitate. This is fairly priced and reasonably well executed.

Outstanding

GIGABYTE Z490 VISION G LGA 1200 Intel Z490 ATX Motherboard with Dual M.2, SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.2 Gen 2, 2.5 GbE LAN, SLI Support
GIGABYTE Z490 VISION G LGA 1200 Intel Z490 ATX Motherboard with Dual M.2, SATA 6Gb/s, USB 3.2 Gen 2, 2.5 GbE LAN, SLI Support

Pros: -Beautiful. I have been building computers for 25 years and this is the best looking motherboard I have ever owned. -Robust build, great one-piece back panel -Clear, legible marking all around and good documentation -Mainly functional, minimal marketing garbage as a modern board goes (e.g. sharp little heat sinks that do nothing, LED gizmos, decorative markings, etc) -Useful features that are very unusual on modern boards, like diagnostic LEDs and a physical button to kick the board into a BIOS flash mode.

Cons: -QA is not flawless. Mine was delivered with a fastener for one of the M2 heat sinks that was too short to actually affix a M2 device. So far Gigabyte support has been unresponsive.

Overall Review: I am super, super pleased with this board. Physically it is very impressive, easily the best build quality I have ever seen on a PC motherboard. It's attractive too, I am usually not impressed with the "l33t g4m3r" aesthetic most PC hardware manufacturers offer, with tons of pointless heat sinks and LED's and faux-military touches, as though designed for (and perhaps even by) 13 year old dudes. This board is clean and sophisticated in its appearance, with a very nice and very distinctive white and purple palette to it. The board itself is black with clear white markings in white for every i/o. The one LED strip is subtle and minimal. Overall, it has an attractive and professional look. It doesn't quite escape entirely from the usual facepalm-y PC aesthetic, with "MATERIAL: ALUMINUM COLOR: SILVER" screen printed on one of the heat sinks. Nonetheless, to my eye, this sets a new benchmark for a good-lookin' motherboard. My only real qualm is a small but annoying QA issue: one of the screws provided for the M2 heat sink is too short to work. Someone must have just used the wrong fastener. I filed an online support ticket, 5 business days have elapsed and no response. The other oddball thing here is a non-functional M2 slot on the board "reserved for future" as the sticker over it says. This is an obvious rough edge; as a customer I would prefer they implement whatever they are implementing when they go to market fully, or otherwise leave it off. Functionally, this is great. I LOVE the diagnostic LED lights. The documentation is clear and written in decent English. The board itself is what I've come to expect from Gigabyte. Nice quality, thoughtful layout, and with a really solid and intuitive BIOS interface. BIOS setup was a breeze, even in for my admittedly unusual OS environment (Mac OS). The board is just bristling with useful i/o's, it is certainly overkill for most builds, but it was really a delight to choose ports that afforded the best cable routing instead of using the one port provided. TL;DR: this is premium in the best possible way, brimming with useful features, and is easily the nicest motherboard I have ever built on in terms of overall initial quality and visual appeal. It delivers a lot of features in a polished package at a respectable price. 5 eggs all the way. I am running this paired with an Intel i9 10850k under Mac OS 10.15.7 as an After Effects workstation.

Very Strong Showing from WD

WD Blue 3D NAND 2TB Internal SSD - SATA III 6Gb/s 2.5"/7mm Solid State Drive - WDS200T2B0A
WD Blue 3D NAND 2TB Internal SSD - SATA III 6Gb/s 2.5"/7mm Solid State Drive - WDS200T2B0A

Pros: -Fast, for a SATA SSD (423MB/s read 523MB/s write, measured) -Big storage capacity -Good warranty and endurance numbers

Cons: -3D NAND does limit ultimate write cycles -Build quality is adequate but unimpressive -SATA SSD performance overall is now way, way behind NVMe performance, and the price is getting closer and closer to parity -Silly binding arbitration clause in the warranty fine print

Overall Review: To my surprise, this tested faster in my system than the Samsung 860 EVO product in the 2tb size. The advantage is measurable but not noticeable (less than 5%), but still, this is a strong showing for WD. This was actually the cheaper of the two products at the time of purchase. The Samsung product is noticeably better built, holding the two in your hand this feels and looks chintzier, but these differences are ultimately inconsequential. If you have an open NVMe slot, stop reading this and just buy the NVMe. SSD's like this are staggeringly fast compared to their spinning-disk predecessors, but the speed is bottlenecked by SATA. Today you can buy a NVMe that is literally six times as fast as this (WD's SN750 reads at 2895MB/s in my system) for about 150% of the cost per gigabyte. If you care at all about performance, 6x speed for 1.5x cost should be a no-brainer. If you need the SATA i/o, 2.5" form factor, or extremely high capacity in a single drive, this is a fine choice, and it is a good value compared to other SATA SSD's. But looking at the storage market broadly and factoring speed against cost against capacity, this product is not a very good value. In my case my two NVMe slots are used and I needed big bulk storage for project files, so this does the job nicely. Two cons to know about this product: first, this 3D NAND storage does have a finite write/overwrite endurance. In most applications you will never run into it, but if your intention is to use this for something where it is getting written and overwritten constantly, e.g. a scratch disk for media creation applications, this might limit the lifespan of this product– though for all but the most extreme applications, it is probably still within tolerances for reasonable drive life. The other con is that WD hides a binding arbitration clause in the fine print of their manual. Unless you notice it and waste time and a stamp to opt out, you are deprived consumer protection that are considered normal in America (i.e. getting in on a class action suit were the product to prove defective). Lots of companies do this now, but it is a shady move suggesting low confidence in the product and low commitment to consumer satisfaction long-term. Par for the course today, I guess. TL;DR: Good showing as SATA SSD's go, but skip these entirely and go to NVMe if you can, at current prices they are a much more attractive option. Environment: MacOS 10.15.7 (Catalina), Gigabyte Z490 Vision-G, Intel i9 10850k. Application: Workstation, motion graphics (After Effects)

Excellent

TP-Link Omada Hardware Controller | SDN Integrated | PoE Powered | Manage Up to 100 Devices | Easy & Intelligent Network Monitor & Maintenance | Cloud Access & Omada App (OC200)
TP-Link Omada Hardware Controller | SDN Integrated | PoE Powered | Manage Up to 100 Devices | Easy & Intelligent Network Monitor & Maintenance | Cloud Access & Omada App (OC200)

Pros: Well-designed hardware/software combo that does exactly what it claims to, for a reasonable cost.

Cons: Wildly overkill for my application, but that is also kinda fun.

Overall Review: I am using this device to manage a small mesh network of TP-Link Omada WAPs in a home network environment. I don't have a full-time server to run the Omada Cloud Controller software, and didn't want to run it off my workstation. I considered building a Raspberry Pi to run it but this device was cheaper. Physically the device is small and metal, with rubber feet and screw holes for wall mounting. Install was a breeze, PoE means minimal cable mess. A rackmount would be a nice touch if you wanted to nitpick, but otherwise this is great. Setup was also a breeze, the browser interface is refined, intuitive, and polished. The device needed to update firmware on both AP's to adopt them but the through-network firmware upgrade system is slick as could be. Since then it has been chooching right along, consuming almost no power, and doing its job flawlessly. Yes, this is wildly overkill in a home network application– clearly this is built to manage dozens and dozens of AP's. But I enjoy that aspect of this product, this thing is commercial-grade and it shows. TP-Link has really done a nice job of step[ping up to Ubiquiti's level, offering similar if perhaps lighter-duty products at a much more reasonable price-point. Two thumbs up for sure.