Date Joined: 08/10/04
Pros: - Tempered glass is MUCH nicer than cheaper acrylic panels
- Sturdy case, even when completely empty and no side plates on. No flexing or skewing.
- Includes (2) 120mm quiet, low capacity fans
- (3) Velcro wraps already installed for easier cable management
- Lower 3.5" drive tray is completely removable for extra long power-supplies or additional cable space
- Lower drive trays are tool-free. The trays adjust by sliding apart and then clamping back on to the drive. The trays themselves easily slide in to the tray.
- 1cm (approx .5") top lip makes it easier to access fans mounted in the top of the case
- Plenty of pass-thru openings for cable management. Two of them have the rubber flaps normally seen with water cooling solutions
- Flexible top, bottom, & front dust filters held in place with magnetic trim.
- Lower cage for power supply is open enough to make inserting the p/s and cables relatively hassle-free
- HDD/SSD tray on back of backplane is very easy to get to. One thumbscrew releases it for easy access to your drives.
- Comes with the phillips screw socket to add/remove mobo posts.
- If you have an LED-supported mobo, the front control panel of this case has a toggle switch to connect to your mobo's LED header.
Cons: - Mobo posts are fine-thread! (WHAT?!?!) (More details in next section)
- Expansion slots use knock-out plates instead of individual plates.
- Couldn't top-mount a radiator because there's not enough clearance between the fans and cooling lines.
- No rubber bumpers/grommets/iso pads on the included 120mm fans
Overall Review: Overall, I really like this case. I am uncertain it's going to remain my primary case because there's no front 5.25" slot for my BR burner. I'm not using my burner much anymore, so maaaaybe this case will remain in use.
When transferring my ASRock Z370 Extreme4 mobo to the new chassis, I noticed that I was going to need 4 more mobo posts. So I added the additional posts. With my mobo, there are three screws that pretty much don't easily come out from where they pass-thru the shroud covering the rear components. (It's hard to explain without looking at the board.) When I attempted to screw into the mobo posts, they wouldn't thread in. "Well, this is odd!" So I check some other posts and those aren't taking the usual mobo screws either. "HUH???" Closer inspection reveals that the mobo posts are threaded for fine-thread screws! Yeah, the kind you use in optical drives. I've never seen this in more than 25+ years of building PCs. So I removed three of the posts (for the screws I couldn't remove from my mobo) and replaced them with standard coarse-thread posts. The rest of the posts I just left in place and used fine-thread screws to the secure the rest of the mobo.
The next thing that bothered me was the knock-out plates for the rear slots. Really??? It seems like Montech goes out of their way to put some nice considerations in to the design of this case, and then goes "el cheapo" with plates that you have to snip or wiggle to break their attachment to the case. All this does is lead to sharp edges and/or a warped rear panel. Would it really have been THAT much more costly or time-consuming to add in individual plates?
The rest of this review is just observation. Nothing worth adding/removing an egg.
- One of the included 120mm fans had a 2-pin pass-thru to a Molex connector. Are we rebuilding systems from 2005 and earlier???
- There's an adjustable 'locking plate' (not really) over the rear slots. I'd say it's more cosmetic to cover various brackets that are secured beneath it and to give a uniform look to everything. I'd prefer Montech use the material costs and tooling to create individual plates as opposed to the terrible knock-out plates.
- I couldn't top-mount my Cooler Master MasterLiquid Lite 240 (AIO Cooler) because the location of CPU/cooler head & respective cooling lines didn't allow enough clearance between the fans and hard lines. So I moved the radiator to the front panel. Plenty of space there after I removed the included 120mm fan. Not a big issue...BUT, the 240mm radiator meant that the remaining 120mm fan didn't align with the remaining (4) mounting holes. So it's attached with (2) screws. It's still firm enough and the fan is low CFM, so vibrations are already a non-factor. I do like is down there though as it can use it to push or pull cooler air across my (2) HDDs that I have mounted right behind it. So it does offer "some" additional air-flow underneath where the HDD and P/S are located.
- The side with the glass panel..the lip coming down is only 1cm (approx .5"). This makes it very easy to access items towards the top of the case, whether that is allowing more room for your hands during cable routing or mounting something to the top of the case. For reference, my existing reference case's lip is 4cm (approx 1.5") which actually made a noticeable difference!
For this review, this Montech case is going head-to-head with my existing case, the Cooler Master MasterBox MB600L (item 9SIAD6H6TC9537) or maybe a different MasterBox (9SIA0ZX7T45084), or something like the Antec Performance P82 Flow (N82E16811129258).
I like this Montech case better because the front face is actually perforated versus a solid material of the other cases I just referenced.
Another comparison to my MasterBox MB600L is the depth of the case. The MB600L is just over 15" from the front inner wall to the rear wall. This Montech case is just under 15".
With my current setup, I have the 240mm radiator with fans mounted to the front face. And I have an EVGA RTX 2070 Super in there as well. There is still 6cm (approx 2.25") between the radiator fan and the card. So the slightly less-deep Montech makes no difference in this comparison. If anything, the shorter top lip as noted earlier actually makes the case seem more spacious inside and easier to work on.
And yes, as others have noted, the supplied instruction manual is...lacking...in detail. But maybe it's just because I've been doing this for so long, I don't look at the case manuals too often. And No, the manual doesn't mention fine-thread mobo mounts! :-p
Also, about removing the face, pull out from the bottom first. It's compression fit.
If I was shopping for a new case, this one would definitely have a checkmark in the "Compare" box, going up against well-established brands like Cooler Master, Antec, Corsair, NZXT, and others. If the price is inline with the competition, Montech definitely deserves your consideration!
Pros: - They're as whisper quiet as my other 140mm fans
- 18" power cable is definitely a bonus for use in full tower cases or for simply running it around & behind things so it's not strung across your motherboard and components.
Cons: - No cushions, such as rubber or foam, on the mounting/mating surface.
- RPM reporting fluctuated to impossibly high numbers.
- Priced a wee bit higher than competitors
Overall Review: - I've read a few other reviews of this fan by other EggXperts and they say they can hear the fans. I too can hear the fan at 900-1000 rpm, but to me it's essentially silent. If I hold the fan outside the case and simply point it at my or me ears, it's BARELY audible at 18". If you are actually doing anything on your computer that creates ANY noise, even typing on your keyboard, your typing is going to be louder than the fan(s).
- The amount of air I felt is consistent with other 140mm fans at the same RPM.
- The blue is definitely more of the cyan (light blue) flavor. If you're looking for a deep blue LED, this isn't it.
- Note that this is listed as "CASE" fan, not a "CPU" fan. Case fans are traditionally 3-pin. CPU fans are more often 4-pin.
- I hooked these fans up to my ASRock Z370 Extreme4 mobo on the Chassis Fan headers (they are 4-pin). I recorded results in both the UEFI and using HWMonitor v1.39. I'm not sure if it's the mobo or the fans, but for the most part, they report their speed correctly, usually around 990 rpm. However, there were random but frequent times when the rpm would report as 2000 rpm, 19640 rpm, or all the way up to 56784 rpm(!!!)...but the fan never actually changed its speed (obviously).
I manually slowed the fan down simply by pushing my finger on the hub. The lower rpm reported correctly.
I compared this to a 3-pin CoolerMaster fan (run of the mill, no frills model). It showed no fluctuations.
I then tested two different 4-pin fans as a comparison. A Corsair 120mm CPU fan (CO-9050012-WW) and a GamerStorm GF140. Both of these fans reported correctly and did not have any outrageously high fluctuations in reported rpm.
So my takeaway is that there's something flaky between this fan and my motherboard.
- Overall, this fan [combo] gets 3 eggs. I really like the 18" power lead, but I miss having some type on isolation material on my fans, such as the rubber compound on the Corsair 120mm model noted above, or at minimum a thin slice of adhesive foam. I'd also like it to report correctly -all the time- with motherboard. Those things plus a slightly higher-than-average price ($17/fan) is why this fan combo gets knocked down a bit.
Pros: - Solid build
- The hex tool for assembly is actually well engineered. It's not just a generic wrench. This has a molded handled that is very comfortable.
- Fairly well balanced
- Head and lumbar pads supplied
- Seat back reclines 160°
- The synthetic materials have been holding up better than expected.
- Arm rests have good amount of adjustability across all axis
- Non-gamers and non-techie people are impressed
- The Hera software allows some tweaking of the lighting scheme
Cons: - The LED lighting is barely bright enough to show through the frosted plastic cover. GAMDIAS' promotional video for the chair shows the lighting vert much enhanced, pretty much to the point of being simulated.
- The LED lighting requires your own battery pack or your need to be connected to your computer's USB port. And definitely need to be connected to the computer to control the lights. Obviously this limits your movement for turning around in your chair or simply getting out of it.
- None of the pictures online nor included documentation show how to properly mount the lumbar pad. What I figured out given the strap length is that you have to run them between the seat & backrest, and then up & through the lighted area. Of course, this takes away from the aesthetic of the chair and is probably the reason it's not shown in any demo pictures.
- The side bolsters don't offer real ergonomic support. All they really do much except keep you from sitting with one leg up in the chair.
- At its lowest combined settings, the armrests are 27" off the floor. This is taller than many desks. So there are going to be people that can't fully sit directly up to their desk.
- Minus the LED lighting, this exact same chair is available from other vendors here on NewEgg (Flash) for significantly less.
Overall Review: - When this chair arrives in it's box, it's deceptively heavy!
- I had issues attaching the back of the seat to the frame. You have to slide the backrest over the metal shafts that allow it to recline back. Alignment was somewhat difficult, but the real difficulty was in working through the padding that was in the way of the bolt. Had I written the review the day I received the chair, I probably would've been much more vocal about how frustrating that was.
- I don't game much, but I do sit in an office for 8-9 hours per day. Therefore I thought I'd be a perfect candidate to review this chair. And who doesn't like a fancy chair at their job? I'm in IT, so 'fancy things' gets "ohhs and ahhs" from my peers and people that visit my desk. For the first first week or two of sitting in this chair, it didn't take long for significant back pain to set it. However, by about the second-third week- figure 80-120 hours of actual use- it finally started to break in. Months later, it's quite comfortable when I'm seated back in it. That being said...
- The seat itself seems rather long/deep. If I sit all the way back in the seat, it's almost to far for my legs to comfortably hang over. I often find myself scooched up a bit just to accommodate that.
- Continuing with the ergonomics...The side bolsters. "Why???" I get it, it looks cool. But they serve no function if I'm not experiencing lateral g-forces. If anything, they are actually a detriment as many other people have commented here. I'm average build (5'10, 175lb) so they don't bother me from a body size perspective. My biggest complaint about the bolsters is that they keep me from sitting half-indian style, where I have one leg up and kinda tucked in where my ankle is under my opposite thigh and the top of my foot resting against the side of my other calf. I absolutely can't sit like that due to the bolsters :-(
I do have an actual branded "Playseat", steering wheel and pedals at home for my driving sims. In that capacity, I "get it" when it comes to design. But for a chair that's really just a glorified office chair... meh. If I'm going to spend long hours in a chair in front my computer and spend this kind of money on it, it needs to be more function over fashion. For some people, if this is their first foray into something more than a folding chair for a computer chair, then yeah, it's definitely an upgrade.
Other than that, the other reviews here have pretty much captured everything else notable in both the PROS and CONS section.
Unless you have a significant need for bragging rights, if you are going to be the only person that really sees this chair, then the LED function becomes a fairly moot point. And in that scenario, you can find the exact same chair for a few bucks less. Or a different chair altogether.
As I wrap this up and think of analogies, the comparison to video cards comes to mind. Many vendors work from the same OEM reference design and then add their own subtle tweaks like accessories and branding. Others ditch the vendor design and forge their own unique path. GAMDIAS falls into the former. This is a pretty standard OEM chair that GAMDIAS has tweaked a bit. They put their own embroidered name on the back along with LEDs, the head & lumbar bolsters, and the better-than-average hex tool. What this means is that if you don't need the GAMDIAS extras, you can find the OEM offering for significantly less, like in the $110 range.
2 eggs for this chair. It's not uncomfortable once you've got some hours logged in it, but it's nothing standout, even with the somewhat-poorly engineered LED setup. What really hurts and why it only gets 2 eggs is that if you exclude the LED lighting, this same chair without the GAMDIAS logo stitching is currently selling on Newegg for under $125. That's ~$225 difference by my math. And that's not chump change for most of us.
Pros: - 18" USB cable
18" should be just about long enough to reach from the back of a tower case to the top of it. And it's just short enough if you want to bundle it up with a simple wire-tie.
- Usable backup software
The backup software is pretty much straight forward and basic. It allows you to create one scheduled backup of any/all folders on your system. If you're computer is powered off during a scheduled backup, the software will alert you next time you turn on your computer
- Nearly as light as an external SSD
- Non-intrusive blue LED power/activity light
- Runs cool
- 2 year warranty
Cons: - Top of unit is a glossy fingerprint magnet
- Backup software is minimal at best. Creating on-demand and scheduled backups is easy enough, but there's no user manual for the complete novices. "Would you grandparents be able to figure it out? Probably not. Your 14yr old computer geek? Probably."
Overall Review: I've been using this drive for about a month now. There's nothing that really sets this drive apart from the competition in this segment. The internal drive is a Toshiba MQ04UBB200, which is a basic 5400RPM drive. And that's fine. You wouldn't likely get a whole lot more performance from a faster drive on the USB3 bus, but you would get a lot more heat, which is generally considered "bad".
The 2yr warranty seems about average for this market segment.
The backup software is, as noted, usable but exceptionally basic. You can only schedule one type of backup based on frequency: Hourly, Daily, Weekly, Monthly.
There's no option for encryption, but that's not really critical at this price point.
Based on my testing, it looks like the software does differential backups, so you don't need to worry about each backup size ballooning up. There isn't any way to add notes to your backup, so if you are looking for a particular version of a file, your only restore options are by date. After that, you are at least given the option to choose a different restore folder, so if you want to compare contents, you can. If you choose to restore to the same folder where content already exists, it will prompt you with the the option to "overwrite the existing file" or "skip it". It does create a fairly basic text file of it's operations, so if you were so inclined to dig a little deeper, you can. But again..."Very basic" are the keywords with this software.
The software backs up the data to a proprietary file format, so there's no way to access the data in the backups without the software. Depending on your sense of security, that may or may not be a good thing. Realistically though, if you are that concerned with the backup/restore functionality, you probably already have a dedicated backup software solution.
For me, this drive will simply be used as additional offline storage for non-critical data- much like my CD-RWs that have been collecting dust for the past 15 years.
4 eggs for this unit. It does what it says with the smallest pinch extra. But nothing to make it really stand out in a crowded space.
Pros: - Virtually silent and vibration free when idle or doing sequential read/writes
Cons: - Runs warm in cases with little to no airflow. Saw temps as high as 104°F (40°C)
- 2yr warranty is a bit frugal compared to other mfgs in this segment. If you equate "warranty period" with the mfgs expectation of the devices lifetime, this doesn't bode well. That notwithstanding, plenty of HDD with 3yr warranties are still functional after 15 years, and some with 5yr warranty failed after 2 years. But mfg warranty period is still a worthy measuring stick and should be taken into consideration....if you want to replace terabytes of data on the same or refurb drive that just failed...
Overall Review: First off, I need to disclose that I seem to have the most recent version of this HDD. The part number shipped to me is HDWE160UZSVA. Firmware FS2A, Rev A3. Mfg date is 2017-AUG-26, so this one is pretty fresh from the factory in the Philippines. Toshiba lists this model as the "Bulk" drive. The "Retail" drive ends with *EZSTA. Not certain what the difference is since mine came in the full retail package. Maybe the "retail" version has drive rails or a SATA cable. *Shrugging*
I'm putting the stats down here in this section because I don't have a large enough data set to compare this to any other 6TB HDD. I supply the stats and you can make your own comparisons, hahaha.
Tested with HD Tune Pro 5.70. (All stats are noted as READ / WRITE and in MB/s.)
Min: 102.5 / 102.6
Max: 202.7 / 201.1
Avg: 165.8 / 165.6
Burst: 311.7 / 319.0
Random Access Performance
File size 4K: 0.324 / 0.311
File Size 64K: 5.050 / 4.412
File Size 1MB: 53.653 / 37.886
Using CrystalDiskMark 5.2.2 (x64)
Seq 32T1: 210.6 / 209.3
4K Q32T1: 0.818 / 2.021
Seq: 210.4 / 209.7
4K: 0.820 / 1.984
PCMark v9: 202 / 197
Based upon those kinds of results, I'd still have a difficult time recommending this drive or ANY HDD nowadays for anything more than data storage. Toshiba says this can be used for "Performance Desktop & Gaming". I'd buy into that as long as they don't mean "Put your OS and everything else on the HDD." With the cost of capable 256GB SSDs coming in at under $100, it's exceptionally difficult to put all your eggs ("OS & Data") into this 6TB basket. With the OS, it'll be fast for a bit, but eventually you're going to end up fragmenting of many of your core OS files, most of which are <128K in size. This is the Achilles Heel of any HDD and this one is no exception. To me, using it for "Performance Desktop & Gaming" would mean keeping all your data (pictures, music, videos, etc that are multiple MB in size) and your game installs (few files, but most are very large files) on this drive. And for that, it should be fine. As long as this drive doesn't have to deal with constantly changing file locations or updates of small files, it'll be just fine. Write it all once, read it many times..."Happy HDD".
If you MUST have your OS and data on the same high capacity drive, consider a hybrid / SSHD. It's still not as good as a dedicated SSD for your OS, but it'll be a decent compromise of speed & total storage.
On a technical side note: For people that have been complaining about the drive failing when used in a RAID or JBOD array...
Most manufacturers are very clear about the intended purpose of their hardware. Seagate is no exception. This HDD is the X300 series. Seagate recommends their N300 for using in drive arrays. I don't know if it's still the case, but "back in the day", mfgs actually had different controllers/chipsets/firmware/logic/etc that would be used specifically for a intended function, but that was primarily in the Enterprise space. Consumer RAID wasn't really a thing...until it was. When that happened, people were were building arrays with matching consumer-level HDDs based solely on single-drive performance numbers. Now you have these super-duper consumer HDDs that were issuing certain commands to the RAID controller, or they weren't responding as expected to commands from the RAID controller. Next thing ya know, the RAID controller dumps the drive and marks it as failed. The drive itself wasn't failing, but because of incompatible command recognition, it seemed like it was. Hence, today most mfgs specify the intended application for their drives, such as "Gaming", "RAID/NAS", "Surveillance/DVR", etc.
Now, does this mean that this particular drive WON'T function in a RAID array? No. In fact I looked up this X300 drive and it is noted as "Compatible" with a particular RAID mfgs line of storage systems.
The point here is that if you intend to put this or --ANY!-- HDD/SSD in an array, you should first check with the mfg of your array to see if there are any known issues.
Pros: - Solid performance across both USB-3 and USB-C protocols.
- Solid, lightweight aluminum housing. (I etched it to be sure it wasn't a particular plastic polymer that mimics aluminum)
- Comes with both USB-3 and USB-C cables
- 15" of cable (not including plugs)
- Activity light is a pleasantly non-intrusive, dark blue light next to the plug. I think Samsung has listened to people that have complained about vendors getting trying to get the brightest LED possible into their product which ended up being more distracting than informational.
Cons: - It takes a significant performance hit at 4K Random Reads & Writes, but this isn't all that uncommon with any single storage medium
- A bit pricey, but you're getting Samsung quality, which is the standard by which all others are measured.
Overall Review: First off, I'm really impressed with the quality of my fellow EggXpert Reviewers. Really nice job, everyone! Almost makes my review not worthwhile since you all have covered it so thoroughly!
I used CrystalDiskMark 5.2.2 (x64) for all my testing on five different systems. Some are Win10 and some are Win7. Where applicable, I tested both USB-C and USB-3 on same the system or just USB-3 where it was the only option.
Surprisingly, the results didn't really vary that much between USB-3 and USB-C. When I looked at the highest score for each test, 6 of the 8 tests in CrystalDiskMark favored the USB-3 interface, but only by margins that are apparent in benchmarking; In real-world use, no one is going to notice unless they have a stopwatch on it (in which case, they're effectively benchmarking it :-)
For determining the average result of the eight tests, I removed the lowest score. For whatever reason, on various systems and regardless of interface, the Random 4K Write was dropping down into the 2MB/s range. Last time I saw results like this, the developer was contacted and it was resolved for that particular tested I was doing. I suspect this is a similar coding issue with CrystalDiskMark. Therefore, any result in the 2MB/s range was removed from the average.
Averaged Results are listed as READ : WRITE (in MB/s)
Seq Q32T1... 457.40 : 351.31
4K Q32T1... 138.30 : 104.81
SEQ... 422.96 : 308.49
4K... 23.29 : 47.41
Looking at these numbers, it didn't occur to me until just now and after reading some of the other EggXpert reviews that this could just be a SATA/M.2 hooked up to a USB-C interface. I have a Samsung 840 EVO sitting here along with a Sabrent USB-3 to SATA interface (I believe it's this one: N82E16812156064). I'm not going to go back and redo all my testing right now, but I suspect that I might get similar results if I plugged in my SATA SSD to that interface. IF I WERE TO GET SIMILAR RESULTS, which I believe I would, that's why I gave this unit a 4 out of 5 eggs. Subtract that price of that cable from a Samsung 850 EVO 500GB, and you're going to have money left over. So I think it's definitely worth considering which route you want to go, especially if you consider that there's a 1TB SSD here (N82E16820173354) that doesn't cost all that much more and should give you comparable if not better performance AND the same 3yr warranty.
Lastly, a particular shout out to EggXpert "Andrew M."
Good thought to call out the windows caching for the SSD. I had forgotten about that and went back and did some re-testing on my systems. Surprisingly, the benchmarks didn't result in any noticeable differences that would be outside the normal result deviations.
Pros: - Really easy setup. You certainly don't need any technical knowledge to use this.
- After 40 games installed, used capacity was showing only 12% (~96GB used)
- Games now automatically update; No need to acknowledge updates from within the game
- All existing games and data on the Xbox automatically moved over to this external drive
- Load time for games is about the same as the internal drive, i.e. no performance bottleneck due to USB connection versus an internal connection
- Since it's exceptionally difficult (technically) to get a larger HDD to work in the Xbox, this is the best solution!
Cons: None really...but if I had to find something...
- It has its own bulky power supply; it's not powered by the Xbox itself.
Overall Review: - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered took nearly 8 hours to install. However, that may have been due to DLCs downloading and not the actual disc-transfer itself.
- Hitman only took 5 minutes to install
- Average install time for a variety of games is around 1 hour
Pros: - Super quiet
- 2 modes of use: 4 hours or 7 hours (mfg rating)
- different color modes utilizing an array of LEDs around the inner frame
Cons: - 2 bright blue LEDs on front of unit significantly detract from the unit's intended function of providing soothing light from the dome.
Overall Review: This is my first experience using what is essentially a low volume humidifier + an essential oil diffuser. After the first day & night of using it, the wife decided she wanted a second one. One for upstairs and one for downstairs. I originally agreed to review this unit as I thought it might help my infant son sleep better through the night. Subtle colors and certain essentials oils are often used in spas and other holistic professions as a way to induce certain responses, such as the scents of lavender and peppermint to induce a sense of calm and tranquility. As I write this, the fall season is approaching so other typical scents such as pumpkin spice are popular. In the winter months, maybe pine or eucalyptus. I digress...
My family really finds this unit very pleasing. It's exceptionally quiet, nearly imperceptible. It's certainly not going to keep anyone awake at night with any noise. It's also quieter than my standalone ultrasonic humidifer, but that unit is intended for much larger area and output. Also, I wouldn't buy this unit only for it's humidifying abilities as it's really only meant to act as an agent for diffusing the essential oils. It did a good job of diffusing the scent of the oil throughout the first floor of our house (approx 700 sq.ft.)
The colors available on the unit can be selected to be off entirely, just one color, or it can subtlety cycle through the color palette. Since the colors are inside the unit, they are naturally diffused and not overly bright. That being said, there are two BRIGHT blue LEDs on the front. These are used to denote the run time. No Light = Power Off, 1 Light = 4 hour operation, 2 Lights = 7 hour operation.
The 'hours of operation' determine if the unit is constantly running (4 hours of use) or cycling the diffuser every 10 seconds (7 hours of use). One thing I have not done is compare the actual run time versus the manufacture's claim.
As noted in the CONS section, those lights are very bright and detract from the color produced by the unit. Since the unit needs to be plugged in, you probably will have it near a wall. And that means the power cord is usually in the back and the bright LEDs are up front illuminating the area. If you turn it around, the end of the power cord is sticking out and the bright blue LEDs now act as uplighting on the wall. About the only solution is to cover the LEDs either with tape or a dab of paint. Tape isn't aesthetically pleasing and paint is kind of permanent. You'll determine for yourself what is suitable to you. It's worth nothing that if you are using this in the day, then those front LEDs aren't much concern.
In all, I've been very happy with my first week of use with this unit and as stated earlier, I am going to buy a second one. My only gripe is the bright blue LEDs that really detract from the nightime user experience. It's a big enough detractor for me to knock off one egg.
One last tip for using any device that has water flow though it, like this humidifier or a K-cup coffee maker. It is recommended to always use distilled water. (Get gallon jugs from your local superstore for less than $1.) Distilled water doesn't have any minerals or additives will eventually cause the water system to develop scale and mineral deposits. This is especially critical for ultrasonic humidifiers like this one that depend on being able to atomize the water. Regular tap water will quickly cause buildup in these units and their performance will drop off drastically. In a unit of this size, I wouldn't expect a long life using tap water.
Pros: - Tested successfully in the following laptops
-- HP ProBook 6455 **
-- HP ProBook 6475b
-- HP Elitebook 8560w
-- Lenovo ThinkPad L440
Cons: "At the time of this review..." This memory is not the fastest nor least expensive. There is another reputable brand available here that is $2 less and has tighter timings @ 9-9-9-24.
Overall Review: I tested this memory in the laptop noted above using the latest version of Prime95. I used custom settings to set the pool at 6GB, which effectively uses the entire 8GB because of the overhead incurred by Windows and background apps.
I let the test run for at least 8 hours. All systems passed using this memory. I also ran daily tasks on each system. All of them were stable. I used CPU-Z to verify the memory timings as advertised, the JEDEC standard of 11-11-11-28.
** The older HP 6455 had 2GB of older RAM already on board, so I only ran one of the two chips included in this package. As expected, the Silicon Power chip slowed down to match the timing of the slower, existing RAM @ 8-8-8-22
Also worth noting that this memory says that it can run at 1.5v as well. So for people with higher voltage systems, this should still work.
I would have no problems recommending this memory. I'm already a fan of Silicon Power's SSDs when looking for cost effective solutions. I wasn't expecting any less from their competitively priced memory. As I noted above, there is one single brand of memory that is $2 cheaper and has slightly tighter timings, but I'm not going to knock an egg off for that. No one but people benchmarking their system would notice a difference of -2 in timings. In fact, at this point, DDR4 is already out, so enthusiasts that want ultra fast memory are already going to be looking at an entirely different segment of memory.
Pros: - Heats up faster than my deep fryer of comparable size
- Very easy to clean up
- No oils required
- Very simple to use... Set the temp & timer. Done!
- It made me a PERFECT medium-rare 16oz NY Strip!
- Cleanup is a breeze due to the teflon-like non-stick coating.
Cons: - The outer metal basket is exposed when not in the unit. Definite burn hazard!
- Plastic is mildly brittle
Overall Review: I took the offer to review this while thinking, "Eh, I'll take a break from reviewing all the techie stuff.
Plus, I like kitchen gadgets. I've been curious about these for a while. Let's give it a shot."
My first test was to try things I typically put in the oven like frozen fries. Inevitably, putting 'em in the oven is very time consuming. And I always seem to get them over-done or still mildly soggy. And flipping them in a pain.
With this unit, I just tossed in just a bit more than enough to cover the bottom. Maybe two layers worth. (I think the instructions suggest 17oz, whatever that equals in frozen fries!) I set the temp & timer according to the (minimal) instructions and waited a few minutes. Fries came out great!
Next up came the stuff I usually deep fry in peanut oil like breaded green beans, breaded pickles, cheese sticks...your typical bar food / appetizers. Again, impressed! The only thing to note is that in this unit, if you go too long, the breading and vegetable inside will start to dry out as well taking away from the taste.
The overall time from freezer to plate is about the same. Whereas the deep fryer may take 7-10 minutes to get up to temp, the air fryer gets up to temp much quicker. However, that is offset by the deep fryer only needing 1.5 minutes and the air fryer needing about 4-6 minutes. I think once you get the temp and time dialed in, all things being equal from start up to completion, this air fryer may be overall quicker than the deep dryer.
Lastly, and this is what I was waiting for before I posted this review... The instructions said that this unit can cook a steak. "Say what??? This can't possibly replace grilling a steak! I've GOT to see this for myself!"
So yesterday I bought a 16oz (1 lb) NY strip steak. I was about 1.5-1.75" thick. A nice cut!
I won't bother getting into the 'proper' way to prep a steak for grilling. I'll just say that this steak went from the fridge to a plate where I rubbed some sea salt and general steak spices on both sides. It was out for about 5 minutes or so while the air fryer got up to ~360° (as noted in the instructions). I then laid it in the basket and set the timer for about 12 minutes.
*DING!* timer goes off. I check the steak. It's definitely hot on the outside and still rather juicy. Not charred or anything, just grayish and hot! I take it out and place it on my plate. I cut into it. Whoa! This is the textbook version of medium-rare. Hot, gray outside and cool pinkish-red center. Then I take a bite. "WOW!!!" Short of having grill marks and maybe some char from the grill, I've never prepared a steak this precise of medium rare! I AM SOLD!
Now, all that being said, there was only enough room in the basket for one of these steaks, so unless you plan on splitting a steak of this size, you're not going to get two in there. However!!! Two or three 8oz filet mignon would likely fit in quite nicely. "Filet Mignon in an air fryer! That's blasphemy! How dare you!!" Yeah, ya know what? I might just take that dare!
- I don't know the accuracy of the temp dial. The spacing of the numbers is kind of strange. For example, the last temp settings printed on the dial are "330 ¤ 400". So the dot represents ~365° ...OK? Kinda strange, but whatever.
- There is no heat shield on the basket when you remove it from the fryer. So you should NOT set it on a counter top. It's as hot as the temp you set, so BE CAREFUL. Fortunately, my gas stove burner grates are raised just enough that I can set the metal basket on there and the plastic part of the outer assm rests on the countertop.
- There is a thumb button to release the inner-basket from the outer basket. Be sure that you don't inadvertently depress the button. Otherwise, literally, the bottom ('outer basket') drops out. That's how I determined the plastic is mildly brittle. Mine dropped about 36" and a small piece of the plastic housing chipped. Nothing significant though. It's a bottom-corner that you never really see.
That's also what makes it mildly awkward since the outer basket is just as hot and unshielded: After taking it out of the fryer, you need to figure out where you can place the entire HOT basket assm so you can release the inner basket for dumping out the contents (if it's that type of food, like fries or veggies)
- The unit is fairly straightforward as being a small convection oven. The fresh air is drawn in from the top by a fan. That fan blows the air over a standard electric stovetop coil. The same fan keeps the hot air cycling around inside. Standard convection oven science.
5 eggs! I'll miss my deep fryer, but only kind of. Speaking of eggs, that reminds me! Tomorrow morning I'm going to try frying an egg in a baking cup and see what happens!
Pros: All benchmark numbers are shown in MB/s unless otherwise noted
ATTO 2.47 (Bench32.exe) top speeds
Seq Read: 511.69 ... Write: 270.70
4K Read: 23.67 ... Write: 52.71
4K-64Thrd Read: 145.16 ... Write: 187.90
Acc.time Read: 0.078ms ... Write: 0.067ms
Total Score: 597
AS-SSD iops results
16MB Read: 31.98 ... Write: 16.92
4K Read: 6058 ... Write:13493
4K-64Thrd Read: 37161 ... Write:48102
512B Read: 12754 ... Write:15005
CrystalDiskMark 5.0.2 x64
Sequential Read (Q=32,T=1): 526.222 MB/s
Sequential Write (Q=32,T=1): 300.643 MB/s
Random Read 4KiB (Q=32,T=1): 130.585 MB/s [31881.1 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q=32,T=1): 215.807 MB/s [52687.3 IOPS]
Sequential Read (T=1): 522.470 MB/s
Sequential Write (T=1): 302.445 MB/s
Random Read 4KiB (Q=1,T=1): 19.956 MB/s [4872.1 IOPS]
Random Write 4KiB (Q=1,T=1): 62.885 MB/s [15352.8 IOPS]
Test : 1024 MiB [F: 0.0% (0.1/223.6 GiB)] (x5) [Interval=5 sec]
Date : 2015/09/17 21:39:05
OS : Windows 7 Professional SP1 [6.1 Build 7601] (x64)
Overall Review: I got this drive during a Shell Shocker deal for $68 delivered. I have no complaints about a drive that does this well for $0.28/GB.
It's serving as a secondary SSD to handle all of Windows temp files, applications' temp files (Java, browsers, Adobe, etc), and the Windows swap file. As well as any overflow when my primary C:\ (SSD) gets below 10% free space.
I certainly have no complaints about this drive. The box lists the top speeds as 500MB/s Writes and 550MB/s Reads when benchmarking with ATTO. My tests exceeded those specs.
Test system is an Intel Core i7-3930K @ 3.20GHz, 32GB RAM, Win7x64
Pros: - Nicely weighted / balanced. Almost an even 50/50 weight distribution
- Comes with an adjustable wriststrap
- 5 modes of operation. Half-press the button to cycle through modes.
- Comfortable grip. The grip pattern is not overly aggressive, so it doesn't leave an imprint in your hand if you hold it too tight or for long periods of time
- Notched ends to prevent it from rolling after setting it down
- Flat bottom cap if you want to stand it on its end and have it act as uplighting
Cons: - The "Waterproof" claim is misleading. If you look up the IP65 spec, you'll understand that this isn't something where you'll drop it in a pool and forget about it. It's more like "water resistant", so if you need to be out in the rain with it for a little bit, you should be OK, but expect that you're going to need to remove the battery cap and dry off everything.
I did my own test by removing the batteries and filling the battery chamber with paper towels. I then made sure the cap was tight and submerged the bottom of the flashlight in a mason jar of water. The water reached halfway up the body of the flashlight. 8 hours later I took it out, dried off the outside and then checked the battery compartment. There was wetness in there, but nothing that would really pour out. Maybe the total of a teaspoon based on the absorption of the papertowel. That being said, if the light was actually powered on and that same water ran to the head of the camera and dripped on the LED circuitry, the reliability of the flashlight may definitely be compromised. I suspect that either some teflon tape or a better rubber o-ring could alleviate this issue.
- The beam is absolutely NOT able to be focused. It is fixed. Or the assembly people torqued it so tight that it would require vicegrips to break it free.
- LED flashlights / torches have come way down in price in the past few years. That is not reflected in this unit. It's current price as of this writing ($30) can get you into a very nice tactical-based light with an adjustable focus and better light output.
Overall Review: I tested this against another Rosewill light, the RLFL-11003 (N82E16882021225) which is effectively the 3W, 220 Lumen model of this flashlight. I bought that light in June 2013 for $18. It's now listing at $30, the same as the current price on this 14003 model.
Most people don't have the gear to actually test lumen output, including myself. So unless you are reading a review from a lab, just about every review/reviewer will be subjective as to 'brightness'. What also makes subjective brightness difficult to compare between LEDs is the shape of the reflector and the color temp of the LED.
The 3-watt 11003 model seems just as bright in a completely darkened room. But I can only subjectively say that because 1) the color temp of the LED favors a bit warmer (more yellow), whereas the 5-watt 14003 is a bit cooler (more bluish). 2) The reflector on the 3W model is shaped different which causes you to have multiple circles of decreasing brightness, whereas this 5W model basically has an inner pinspot, a small mild halo around it, then the rest of the beam evenly diffused. So for illuminating a larger central area, the 3W reflector is the better choice. For illuminating a centered pinspot area, the 5W seems the better choice.
If the medium power setting on this 5W light steps it down to 220L, it's still difficult to tell the difference between the 3W@220L and this one. As such, a lumen-rating is not linear. This 550L light is not more than twice as bright as the 220L light.
They claim a distance of 550 yards visibility. Really, how is your average consumer going to check the claim about a range of 550 yards? Maybe shooting at a street sign in total darkness and seeing if you can catch a glimmer of a reflection? I don't think they mean "when viewed from 550 yards away" because almost any flashlight of moderate brightness you could see with an unobstructed view at more than 550 yards.
I put this light on a digital scale. With batteries, it weighed in at 1.98 lbs. That certainly doesn't put this into the realm of a light to be used for self-defense. For that matter, anyone needing a light to double for self-defense will be looking at more tactical-based lights, not consumer models like these.
All in all, this really isn't that impressive of a flashlight or "torch". It's definitely priced higher than other flashlights that offer much better light output. There's not a whole lot "wrong" with this light, it's just that there's not enough real selling points / features to justify it's price. It's really just a basic flashlight that favors fashion over function.
Pros: Reviewed using latest firmware available as of this posting: Firmware 3.16.29, build 22-Jan-2015
- The lights aren't obnoxious
- The "Tether" app is not bad, but limited in it's usefulness since you need to be connected to the network for it to function.
- Physical button for powering on/off WiFi transmitters
- Physical On/Off switch. Although is this really a "PRO" when it's right next to the power cord which you can just as easily unplug? I guess so.
- I wish there was more to like, other than what should be expected in a top of line consumer router at this price point.
This next part may not really be a PRO or a CON, but I'm putting the info here because there's plenty of space available... :-)
I tested throughput using a Netgear A6210 AC1200 802.11ac wifi adapter (Newegg N82E16833122618). It was connected via USB3 to my mediaserver in the basement. My router is on the second floor and hardwired to my desktop at 1Gbps. Each file transfer originated and ended on an SSD to eliminate any disk-based latency that could impact throughput and completion times.
It is stated that running your router and wifi adapter in 'mixed mode' can impact overall performance, both in signal quality and throughput. Mixed Mode is when you have both 2.4 and 5GHz bands available, as well as supporting 802.11a/n/ac protocols. (802.11.ac is only available in the 5GHz spectrum.)
I ran my tests in the following configs:
- Router Mixed Mode / Adapter Mixed Mode
- Router 802.11ac Only / Adapter Mixed Mode
- Router 802.11ac Only / Adapter 802.11ac Only
Depending how you view it, this router and wifi adapter combo did not show a significant difference between the combinations, so that may be good or bad.
I used various utilities to test network throughput, but when it comes down to it, people want to read specs they can relate to. So I simply used a stopwatch to record how long it took to perform repeated copy functions across the network, along with specific router and adapter settings noted above. Since there wasn't enough of a discrepancy in the times per configuration, the numbers presented are accurate within a couple seconds of each config.
The first test was a DVD-movie structured data set (VOB, IFO, etc). It consisted of 41 files/folders totaling 5.75GB
Averaging the multiple tests, it took an average of 3:48 to complete the copy.
The second data set was a collection of 4,573 .PNG files totaling 4.8GB. That took an average of 4:04 to copy.
Cons: - Power cord only 5ft
- Wallwart is a bit bulky / larger than expected
- First page of online setup doesn't go to "Quick Setup" as expected. You need to click "Quick Setup" tab if you are following the included Quick Setup guide.
- USB3 and Wifi on/off button on the side, USB2 and everything else on the back.
- Not a fan that I am forced to stand it upright; can't lay it down and can't wall-mount it.
- Difficult to fully secure antennas because how they fit through frame
- Doesn't take much to get it to fall forward
- DHCP reservations are still a PITA to configure. You need manually input each IP and MAC, versus just being able to choose them from your list of active DHCP connections.
- Had an occasional issue with DHCP no longer functioning, so I'd have to reboot the router. Interestingly, I have (2) of their Archer C2 series and they exhibit this as well. I can't say with certainty that the current firmware addresses this issue since I haven't had any new devices to add.
- Updating the firmware erases all the settings of the router. You first need to backup your router config, which is easy enough to do.
- Guest network is EXCEPTIONALLY flakey.
- Passwords must contain at least one number. I didn't find this documented anywhere. Lots of head-scratching and trial & error to determine this.
- 2.4GHz guest network speeds never got above 4.1Mbps. Averaged 3.2Mbps across all my testing.
- Throttling Guest network requires turning off NAT Boost.
- 5GHz Guest seemed to run at slightly less than half the cap allowed. For whatever reason, the capped speed is just under half of what you'd expect.
2048Kbps = ~.98Mbps
4096Kbps = ~1.78Mbps
8192Kbps = ~3.3Mbps
16384Kbps = ~7.72Mbps
Removing the cap allowed the 5GHz Guest network to run at full speed. 2.4GHz still a problem.
- The USB drive functionality needs better support / access options. Upon first inserting the stick, it takes a couple of minutes for the router to configure itself and parse any data on the stick. I didn't see anywhere where it gave a status of its progress. It eventually shows up in the Router's status screen for the USB Disk or under USB Settings. The only way to access it is via its IP address. This is very cumbersome and non-intuitive for your average user. Your best bet if you get that far is to add it as a Windows "Network Location" and/or map a drive to its IPAddress\<share> name, typically IPAddress\volume1 from what I determined during testing.
- Nowhere near USB3 speeds
- I also tested streaming HD video from my mediaserver running PlexServer to my Roku 3 running the Plex client. Both my mediaserver (802.11ac adapter) and Roku are wireless. For whatever reason, it always seemed to start choking around the 1hr mark with HD content, which was rated around 8Mbps. Dropping down to 4Mbps 720p allowed it to continue without issue. Not sure why that was happening.
Streaming content in general from my Roku 3 or FireStick HD didn'
Overall Review: Whenever I have more CONS than PROS for a device, it's not going to get 3 stars or higher.
This router functions fine as dual band router when used for it's basic functionalities. It really starts to fumble when you want to get more advanced. Personally, I don't think enabling a "Guest" network to be all that advanced anymore, but when that portion doesn't function well, I certainly can't hold out hope for the way-more-advanced functions.
Given that I've seen similar head-scratching issues with the two Archer C2's that I own, I'm really starting to think that TP-Link is not putting as much Quality Assurance Testing in their home products as they put into their commercial/professional line of products, which is a shame because I've always been a TP-Link advocate for the home.
The one time I engaged TP-Link support, I was met with a fast and friendly response. Unfortunately, the reply pointed me to a FAQ that didn't fully match up to the current firmware/settings, so it was of no use.
There are also the TP-Link user forums which seem to be fairly good, but forums are often hit or miss because they aren't entirely, if at all, staffed with TP-Link employees.
I can only imagine that manufacturers are loading all these advanced features into consumer-grade routers because they need to have some reason to roll out something newer/better. The problem I see is that most of these features you'd only use in a business/corporate environment. And what I've found through personal trial & error is that buying consumer-grade equipment for a commercial-grade job is rarely going to work in your favor. (Referencing the two Archer C2's I purchased for a small business and eventually had to replace.)
Creating an efficient, thoroughly tested router for the home would be excellent! This unfortunately would take months & months of testing and the product release and life-cycle just doesn't allow for it. There's a reason older products are referred to as "Tried & True" and I'm just not seeing this with all the newer networking gear coming to market for the home consumer. How can a company like TP-Link really allocate resources to creating a stable platform or firmware for existing products when it's rolling out new products so often? Such is life if you want to be the person with the newest gadgets.
With all that being said, I do have to note that even though the 802.11ac standard has been ratified for some time now, you're still going to find various pieces of hardware working at different capacities. My specific testing of 802.11ac was done using a Netgear A6210 AC1200 adapter (Newegg N82E16833122618). This of course could impact certain throughput measurements. However, it won't impact general functionality of the router and that's really where this router stumbles. Subsequently, it very much misses the sweet spot of getting the most bang-for-your-buck.
Pros: The biggest PRO about this laptop is the SSD. Sure, it's a first gen Samsung SSD (SATA-2), but that's still faster than any conventional HDD that you're going to get in any new or refurb laptop. In fact, given failure rates of HDDs in laptops, I would NOT want a refurb laptop with an original HDD. If it hasn't failed by now, it'll certainly be slower than when it was new since it'll start allocating reserve sectors to make up for failing ones.
I'd still trust the longevity/MTBF of a first gen Samsung SSD over any mfg HDD.
And for a basic laptop, 128GB of space is plenty for most people.
The system ships with a pretty clean install of Win 7 Pro x64. No Home version nor 32-bit crippling the OS.
I was also pleased that the system shipped with the latest BIOS (A21) and there wasn't any bloatware on the system.
Speaking of the BIOS, it has better-than-average customizations available.
The battery functions as good as a new battery. It certainly doesn't hurt that the laptop has an SSD which contributes to extended battery life compared to running a conventional HDD.
Looks like they went out of their way to clean or replace the heatsink and cooling fan. Bonus points there!
14" screen = less screen to illuminate = longer battery life & smaller overall footprint.
To get this machine up & running took very little time. Throw a free MS-Office-compatible suite on there like LibreOffice or OpenOffice, and you're good to go!
Cons: Nothing significant, but I guess this is where I'll nitpick. I have to keep in mind this is a refurb, so wear & tear is expected.
There is a small cosmetic strip/line of rubber that is kind of embedded around the screen bezel. A small section of this had come loose. I just pushed it back in, but it didn't want to stay tight.
A couple of the phillips screws to remove the back plate were mildly rounded out. I was still able to remove them, I just had to be careful.
While the heatsink & fan were very clean, there was some minor accumulation of dirt/organic debris in some of the crevices elsewhere in the laptop. It was nothing that compressed air (from a compressor, not a can) didn't take care of.
Again, these things are nitpicking on a system with expected wear & tear. If I'm complaining, it's because it's not "like new" inside and out. And that's not fair of me. :-)
So really, there's no CONS about this system.
Overall Review: The memory it arrived with was a 2x2GB config of DDR3 PC10800 CL9. The system will take PC3-12800. I put an 8GB Crucial stick (N82E16820148734) in there and it accepted it without complaint*. Brings the total up to 10GB of RAM. Or run the 8GB by itself at faster clock speeds, but in single-channel mode.
*CPU-Z reported the memory as 8GB, but the timings were a bit weird. It's not worth detailing here since it didn't negatively impact system performance.
I could've bought a matching 8GB PC3-10800 SODIMM for the same price, but since the PC3-12800 was the same price, I figured I'd get it and put it into a newer laptop down the line if it wasn't compatible with this system. Note, the Crucial stick I bought was low voltage (1.35 -vs- 1.5v) and lower latency (CL9 -vs- CL11), which should match up better with the existing RAM.
In short, 8GB or 10GB is going to be better than 4GB, period. However, running one 8GB PC3-12800 in single channel versus 10GB PC3-10800 (8+2) in dual-channel is going to be unnoticeable in daily use. You'll only see differences in benchmarks. So go with what feels best to you. Or whatever is cheapest at the time.
Pros: - 3yr warranty!
- Machined aluminum case (but a plastic bottom)
- 14" length of cable (not including the length of the connectors).
- Barely got warm in testing
- Unobtrusive Activity LED unless you're looking right at it
- Comes ready to use in NTFS format. Drive is formatted to 1 trillion bytes (1 TB), but keep in mind that this translates to an effective 931GB of reported usable space
- Included software works pretty well for being free:
- Includes the basic WD SmartWare suite, but has (3) activations available for the full Pro version. (Not sure why you'd need three, unless you setup the software on three different systems)
- Ability to password protect the HDD. On systems you designate, you can have it automatically unlock. This keeps the password lock from being overly intrusive every time you go to use the drive. As well, if you have your system on any type of automated power-on to run backups, you wouldn't be able to perform the backup if you weren't there to input the password.
- Backup software can do scheduled backups or always-on continuous backups as data changes. After you go through the super-easy online activation to the Pro version of SmatWare, you'll also have integrated backup/restore from your Dropbox account
- Basic utilities for checking drive health
- The included help file pretty much will walk you through any of the functions you can do with the software.
Using CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3, I tested the drive 5 different systems, all with USB2 & 3 capabilities. The average 1MB Sequential Read/Writes on USB3 was a pleasant 113MB/110MB per second. On USB2, it takes a significant but expected hit. It only averages 32MB/30MB on the 1MB Sequential Read/Write test, which is about half of USB2's theoretical 60MB/s max speed.
I'll cover the 512K Random tests in the "Other Thoughts" below.
Cons: There's really not much to complain about with this drive! If I had to nitpick...
- 14" cable (not including the length of the connectors)
- USB2 speeds could be a bit faster given what it's capable of using USB3.
- Currently $90 at the time of this writing. For $110, you can double your capacity with the "Titanium" model, although I can't say it's the 'exact' same drive inside, just larger. The 2TB version of this particular drive is $140, so still only $50 to double your capacity.
Overall Review: Other than picking at the price point on this drive, I really have no significant complaints.
You may have noticed that I mentioned the 14" data cable as both a PRO and a CON. I think for portability, people don't want to be wrapping up a 3ft cable. For me, 14" is long enough to be able to plug in the drive and then place it out of the way, but also not so short that if you plugged into the back of a tower, you're not left with it dangling.
I really like the fact that it has a 3yr warranty and performs decently on a variety of USB3 controllers.
The other thing to mention is it's 512K random read/write speeds. I specifically didn't list it as a PRO or a CON for a couple of reasons. 1) If you're using this for a backup drive, larger sequential read/writes are going to be the primary operation and this drive is fine for that. 2) It's been a while since I've reviewed HDD performance factors. I've been doing all SSD reviews and rarely use HDDs anymore, so I can't say that this drives Random 512K Read/Writes are far out of line. I did find it interesting that it's 512K Random Write is ~17MB/s FASTER than its Read. On USB3, the 512K Random Read is ~42MB/s and the Write is ~59MB/s.
This drive ALMOST gets a 5-egg rating. I believe the performance is up to par and the free software seems like something someone may actually use. And the mostly metal enclosure is nicely machined. However, 5-eggs are reserved for items that I unequivocally recommend as a "Best Buy". That being said, I'm taking off one egg because the case is not 100% metal as you might expect, but primarily because you can double your capacity for about another $20-$50, so the 2TB model is a better overall value in a GB/$ comparison.
Pros: - Case is a rubberized matte finish on the top, bottom and front. The sides and back of the case are matte painted metal with one side including a plastic window
- Plastic over metal thumb screws for sides of case
- Removal of the body panels is tool-less
- The interior is free of sharp edges and painted black
- Rubber standoffs for the power supply
- Accepts both mATX and mITX motherboards
- Includes two case fans
- Interesting and creative design with plenty of space for accessories (relative to other mATX cases).
- Unique lighting effects which are variable via a selection button on the side of the case.
- Sturdy design
- Mounts for liquid cooling solutions
- Reasonably quite fans
- Low-gloss, fingerprint resistant coating
- Air filter for the power supply
Cons: - One side of case includes rotary control; power button; audio; and USB (2x2.0, 2x 3.0) ports.
- The Motherboard tray is riveted and non-removable
- Cabling is not sleeved
- No fans in the top vents only lights
- Non-removable motherboard tray
- No tie downs for internal cabling
- Plastic window is not easily removable
The primary complaint with this case is the accessory ports (audio, USB, etc) located on the right side of the case. That means for right-handed people, if you typically keep your computer on the right side of you, you need to reach around even further to utilize the ports. As well, it limits the space in which you can place the case on your right side because you need to have the additional clearance in order to insert & remove things. And a minor complaint is that when you are working in the confines of an mATX/ITX case, it's nice to be able to remove the motherboard tray for easier installation.
Overall Review: - Vents are grey painted plastic
- There are (3) separate storage bays.
- There's the front 5.25" for an ODD and a 3.5"
- Two removable trays that accept 2.5" - 3.5" drives
- Two rear mounted trays for 2.5" drives
- Overall width is a bit more than what you might anticipate, so allowing a bit more space for that + the side mounted ports make the required space even greater.
This case visually stands out from the pack with its unique, SteamPunk-ish styling with a great fingerprint resistant rubberized coating to protect much of the finish. Overall, the case is strongly built with a spacious interior compared with other mATX designed cases, but the non-removable MB tray may complicate some MB installations. ODD installation is complicated by the need to remove an old-school twist off metal drive bay cover. Front and top covers are tool less to remove but are not mentioned in the manual. The manual is clear but brief. The 3.5 inch drive bay under the ODD bay may block some taller video cards if used. There are five screws to remove the mount which complicates the removal of the ODD and 3.5 inch bay. The overall impression is the case is modern on the outside but a bit dated in the inside due to the un-sleeved cables and non-removable MB tray. There is only one filter in the case. Other manufactures include additional filtering. There is a significant lack of tie-downs for cable management although there are pass-thru’s for cables. The fans are quiet and provide good air flow. And the cutouts for water cooling is a nice consideration.
All in all, I like this case. I know some people have been waiting for it to arrive Stateside. Now it's here (securely packed & shipped directly from Asia) and it's overall worth it if the styling cues are your thing. It would've been nice if the top fan-looking ports were actually that- instead they are for lighting effect only. Neat, but an option to mount low velocity fans would be nice.
TomsHardware is friendly with NewEgg and- coincidentally or not- also just used this case for their article "Building An Intel-Based MicroATX Gaming PC On A Budget". You can also check out what they had to say about it.
Pros: * Initial wireless setup wasn't exceptionally difficult. I just used the quickstart sheet and followed the directions.
* 2 ways to view your video feed: web browser or free mobile app
* 2-way communication option (Also see CONS section)
* Video recording, ability to set triggers and to choose where it is stored
* Event notification based on various triggers (motion, sound, times)
* Excellent color reproduction in regularly lit areas. (Indoor lighting, outside, etc.)
* Decent low light performance with & without IR assistance. In my two-car garage, I placed the camera in one corner and walked to the opposite corner. I then shut the garage door. I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. I flicked on my phone and checked out the streaming video. There's enough detail to be able to note my skin color and that I was wearing shorts and a tank top. I figure the viewing angle is just about 90° from center.
* Can automatically switch between Day Mode(color) & Night Mode (B&W infrared)
* Can switch to a lower res (240p) if you are recording close up areas and/or don't want to use up as much storage space on your microSD card. Surprisingly, the 240p resolution still isn't all that bad.
* With each camera being self-contained and thus no master control box required, adding additional cameras is as easy as setting them up and registering them with your MyDLink account
* I ended up using this as a baby monitoring system. It's WAY WAY less expensive and just as effective than what you'll find at the big-box baby & toy stores.
* Nicely weighted base allows the camera to be set in almost any position and not have it tip over when not bolted down.
Cons: * Could be a little tricky for novices to setup & configure, but that's almost "par for the course" when it comes to WiFi/Cloud devices.
* 2-way communication is kind of a gimmick in this price range since it requires hookup to an external speaker, which in of itself will require its own accessories and mounting solution.
* Since this is a fixed lens, zoom functionality is digital...similar to functionality you might find on a phone. Thus, zooming just makes on-screen detail larger, not necessarily clearer.
* "Cloud enabled" devices seem to all share a certain amount of head-scratching because they have their internet-based interface and then a separate interface on your local network. Each interface has different functions, some overlapping and some only in one interface or the other.
* Effectively for indoor use only
* Couldn't figure out how to change the video recording profile. I found where you set the details of each profile, but how to actually implement a specific profile eluded me. (I didn't attempt to contact Tech Support...at least not yet.)
Overall Review: One of things I try to take into consideration when reviewing things is to keep in mind that I'm reviewing the item based on the noted specifications of the device. Since this is listed as a 640x480 camera, I'm not going to knock it for not being 720p or 1080p. I believe people should understand the technical specs and limitations of what they are buying. If the product doesn't live up to the specs or it's just difficult to use, then yes, that's certainly worth noting.
For being a standalone IP-based camera, I think it's pretty nice for this price range. As of this writing, it's $80.
I feel this camera is best served as an easy solution to monitoring a specific inside section of your home. I first used the camera to record stuff going on outside by setting it on a window sill. At about 50ft+ out to the street, you're not going to pick up the text of any license plates, but you can easily tell a make & model of a vehicle as it goes by. If you leave it in "day mode" during the night, it's not overly shabby at picking up detail under street lights, but beyond that, you're not gonna get much else. Using "night mode" while in front of a window to record activities results in reflection from the IR, so unless you're flush against a window pane, don't expect a lot out of night mode when trying to view from window sill.
I've decided to use the camera as the primary camera to monitor my infant's crib. I think it works great for that! It's great to be able to know how he's doing when the babysitter puts him down for the night and mommy & daddy want to check in on him from their phone!
Assuming you don't bolt it down, it's easily moved and repositioned. As long as I'm within 10ft of a power outlet, I can easily move the camera to a new location. Since it's already been configured on the WiFi, it only takes a couple of minutes to re-establish it's connection to the network.
I put an 8GB microSD card in the device and formatted it via the local interface reached via its internal IP address. Then I went about configuring the video resolution and it's triggers. It took me a bit to figure out how playback video from the microSD still in the device. You can do it from the internet-based interface or it's local network interface, but the "how to" is mildly different. My browser also wanted to throw up a flag about the web certificate not being trusted, but bypassing that was easy and caused no unexpected problems. One nice feature is the ability to have the recorded video include the prior & post 10 seconds of video before the trigger actually occurs. You can also set it to automatically overwrite the oldest videos if your microSD card runs out of space. I can't really tell you how much video you can get on a given capacity card since your choice of video compression/quality will make a difference. With the "night mode" video, I'm averaging about 2MB per 30sec of "Excellent Quality" video @ 640x480.
Pros: (NOTE: My home is about 11 years old, so the electrical wiring is by all accounts good and fresh.)
- Easy setup for most situations
- Adds two 100Mbit ethernet connections where ever you plug in the range extender
- Allows for an entirely new SSID if you are so inclined to keep your existing WiFi separate
- Noticed very little throughput degradation when using the powerline functionality.
- Decent free utilities on the included mini-CD.
- Solid ethernet connection going from 2nd floor office, into the garage, and then ending on the other end of a 100ft extension cable.
- Overall: A well priced product that offers solid performance when used within expectations / known limitations. (Keep reading...)
Cons: - Default IP may interfere with existing router
- The naming conventions and explanations of functions can get somewhat confusing since they are effectively packaging two separate products in this kit.
- I think it's a bit misleading for TP-LINK to state "500Mbps high speed data transmission over a home's existing electrical wiring". Think about that for a minute... They only put 100Mbit ethernet connections on the range extender. And your WiFi signal is 300Mbit. So all that probably does -in theory- is give you more overhead. However, -in practice-, I don't really think it offers much.
- Overall: Documentation could be better and there's a little too much in the "gotcha" department for most people that will buy this without really digging deep into these reviews, the forums, and understanding the setup of their current infrastructure.
Overall Review: I'm using a TP-LINK TL-WR1043ND router as the source, so that made it a bit tricky to test the wireless extender. "Why?" Because I already get superb WiFi coverage with it in and around my house. I really have no dead spots. It's in a 2nd floor office and I still get a 270Mbps connection downstairs in my finished basement. Even outside I still get good connection, so testing the range extender wasn't something I can fully critique. And generally speaking, I was really more interested in the ethernet Powerline function from the get-go.
I was tempted to list this as a "CON", but I can't really fault the technology and TP-LINK makes specific note about it... If you plug the sender or receiver into a power strip, surge protector, or battery backup, it's going to be hit or miss if it's going to carry a signal. Most likely, a miss.
This is unfortunate because most people will already be using a powerstrip or battery backup ("UPS") near their networking base. So you are almost forced into repurposing a single wall outlet just for the sending unit and the receiver. I'm not an electrical engineer, but it made sense after thinking about it: This technology really just wants straight copper connections with nothing in between to mess with the signal- much like ethernet cables! As soon as you introduce anything that does surge suppression, line conditioning, etc, you are introducing A LOT more electrical gates for the signal to pass through. That takes a toll on a very specific signal that needs to be transmitted intact.
When testing various powerstrips and UPS'...IF I could establish a connection...it was so broken up that it effectively rendered it useless.
The easiest way to know if you're going to be alright is to take a laptop, disable wifi, and use the ethernet connection to send continuous pings to your router. From a cmd prompt: ping -t your_router_ip. If you are getting solid responses <10ms, you should be OK. If you're seeing scattered replies >100ms, forget it- You've got something in between the sender & receiver. Leaving the ping running, simply walk around to different outlets and plug it the receiver. It will either re-establish a connection or it won't.
So what's the overall impression here? I'd be more impressed if the powerline adapter had 1Gbit ethernet, at least then you could potentially take advantage of that claimed 500Mbit speed. But as it stands, most WiFi is going to be faster than that, so what's really the point of the ethernet, especially two of them? Maybe just for a SmartTV or something?...But even most of those come with WiFi adapters now. I was looking forward to 500Mbit ethernet speeds between my MediaServer in the basement and my PC's around the house. As it stands now, I'm still settling(?) for 270Mbit WiFi speeds.
Verdict: A solid 4-eggs for a product that pretty much does what it's supposed to without too too much hassle.
Pros: - Decent USB3 speeds. Best I was able to achieve was 196MB/s Read and 189MB/s Write. This is a pinch more than 3x the max speed of USB2 (60MB/s).
- Nice aluminum shell
- Has a lanyard hoop
- Easily retractable
- Unobtrusive blue activity light
- Comes with SanDisk's "SecureAccess" software which uses 128-bit AES password encryption on the contents. (This is a "lite" version of their full software package "EncrypStick")
- You don't have to encrypt all the data. You can pick & choose what to put in the encrypted "vault" folder. So you can have both encrypted and open data on the stick at the same time.
- Lifetime warranty
Cons: - No physical dust cap. Contacts are always open to the elements.
- In testing on (4) different systems, each having a different USB3 chipset, I was never able to attain SanDisk's claimed speeds of 260MB/s (Read) and 240MB/s (Write).
- Not necessarily your best bang for the buck.
Overall Review: - Speeds will vary based on the USB3 chipset it's attached to, although this is relatively 'par' for most USB3 devices; They all seem to have different preferences for chipsets.
- Testing compressible data via the ATTO Benchmark utility, my best case scenario was 196/189 with the ASMedia chipset. Worst case was 142/128 with the FrescoLogic FL1000 series.
- Testing incompressible data via the AS-SSD utility resulted in a best case of 187/184. Worst case showed 133/119.
- Dimensions: 7/8" x 2_13/16"
- The SecureAccess software is usable/functional. The first time you run it, you'll be prompted to create a password as simple or complex as you like. You'll also be given the opportunity to set a hint phrase.
The software allows you to set the max number of attempts before forcing a timeout, and how long that timeout lasts. It also allows you to set the password expiration date.
One thing to note is that without the SecureAccess executable (7MB) available, the encrypted file is worthless. So you either need to leave it on the stick or plan on downloading the software on the host PC.
For me, this unit ranks a 4 out of 5 eggs because it's a tad bit pricey and didn't attain SanDisk's quoted specs, although it was still well within the USB3 territory. Looking at the list of "CONS", it's pretty short.
The included/available encryption software is a nice addition and it works, but I think that anyone concerned about data security will already have a solution they plan to implement. But if not, it's there for you and it's pretty easy to use.
Here's my biggest issue with these high capacity USB3 sticks... The only reason I see for requiring the stick format is for ultimate portability: tiny, no cables, toss it in any pocket, and go. Otherwise, could get a SanDisk SSD such as the X210 ($110), Ultra Plus ($95), X110 ($100), or the Extreme II ($110) and a nice pocketable, self-powered USB3 2.5" external case (~$25). And you'll still have some cash left over! Not to mention you'll have a better chance of hitting higher speeds across the board.
(All test systems have an SSD as the OS/Boot drive)
Test System 1:
- Intel Core i7 3930K.
- USB3 Chipset: ASMedia XHCI.
-- Driver v220.127.116.11
Test System 2:
- AMD Phenom II X4 975.
- USB3 Chipset: NEC/Renesas.
-- Driver v18.104.22.168
Test System 3:
- Intel Core2Quad Q6600.
- USB3 Chipset: FrescoLogic xHCI FL1000 Series.
-- Driver v22.214.171.124
Test System 4:
- AMD A8-4500M
- USB Chipset: AMD Reference.
-- Driver Catalyst 13.x
Pros: + Solid bass response all the way down to 20Hz
+ The highs aren't so bright that they hurt your ears
+ Good physical adjustment range for the cans
+ Good response up to 15KHz
+ No problems with Skype, Microsoft Lync, & other similar apps
+ Simple, secondary volume dial and on/off switch for the mic
+ Makes me think my Sony MDR-7506's drivers are shot
+ Fancy packaging
(Note: "Cans" = Headphones. "Drivers" = Speakers)
I performed most of my analysis using my computer with a Pioneer BDR-206 as the disc player and an Asus Xonar Essence STX sound card (which is one of the best/cleanest prosumer audio cards you can buy.)
For testing and evaluation, I used the following CD's:
The Ultimate Test CD (The orange/green one by Woodford Music)
Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon (Gold coated disc)
The Cleveland Orchestra - Gustav Holst's "The Planets"
Techmaster P.E.B. - Bass Computer
Miles Davis - The Complete "B*tches Brew" Sessions
Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy (for non-music/spoken word testing)
Christian McBride - Live @ Tonic
As others have noted, the bass may be a wee bit overstated, but the drivers certainly get there. Testing with a sinus tone of 20Hz really made the drivers dance and it wasn't sloppy or overly mushy. Impressive!
Keep in mind, we're reviewing these as $50 headphones, not >$100 headphones.
I used the Techmaster CD to check how the drivers handled both extreme low & high frequencies at the same time. Again, I came away impressed!
Another test I use is "The Planets". This will really give a sense of the drivers sensitivity. There are areas where the music hits a crescendo and then tapers off to almost nothing. That 'almost nothing' is sometimes the subtle nuances that make a live recording what it is, especially in orchestral music.
Speaking of sensitivity, this is what sealed the deal for me... I've been using my Pink Floyd "Dark Side Of The Moon" CD for testing for a long time now. I heard something that I've never picked up before! At the absolute very end of "Eclipse", the last 3 seconds where most people only hear silence, there is what sounds like a game-show theme song playing. At first I thought I was hearing audio bleeding in from outside so I pulled the cans off and looked around for the audio source. Nothing. I played the end of the track again. WTH?!?! Then I thought it was just digital artifacts that you'll occasionally hear in music when it goes through a conversion, such as MP3 encoding. Nope! This was actually some type of music in the background! "WOW! After all these years!!!" I even played it back through my home audio system (Higher-end Sony receiver, Klipsch towers). Even with my ear up to the tweeter & midrange, it was barely audible. Color me sufficiently impressed with Corsair's driver selection!
Cons: - A little bit more adjustment on the mic placement would be nice
- Mild resonant noise transfer from the wire to the can
- Not really effective for mobile headphone-only usage
- They don't collapse for travel
- Since the microphone is integrated, Corsair could spend a couple more pennies and make these USB-based.
- Makes me think my Sony MDR-7506's drivers are shot
- Fancy packaging
Keeping in mind that these are completely passive headphones, there's not too much to complain about. Yeah, they might be a little soft in the middle of the frequency spectrum, but I don't think that's going to bother gamers too much. Vocals still come through clean and vivid enough. There's a slight dip in response around 10KHz, recovers at 11KHz, then tapers off until there's nothing left after 16KHz. Again, nothing major there.
As for the build quality, I did not get the same impression as others have noted. I didn't find the microphone to be fragile. It bends in the middle so you can bring it closer to your mouth. Nothing major there. If I was to complain, it's that it doesn't necessarily want to stay put; It kinda wants to straighten itself out again.
I do think the inner-diameter of the cushion may be a bit smaller for some people with larger ears. However, it's an oval opening and the cups do rotate a little bit for better fit. You just have to 'adjust for feel' once they're on your head.
I certainly didn't find them loose around my ears, although as others have noted, I never did get fully comfortable on the top of my head. BUT, I also don't have months of wear on them to where they would/should eventually settle to the shape of your head. My Sony's are like I'm wearing nothing at all. But they've also got hundreds of hours on my head and fit like a well-worn leather glove.
With volume at approx 75%, I couldn't hear myself snapping my fingers, but I could hear myself clapping. That's acceptable for $50.
A notable annoyance is the wire(s) leading into the can. ON more expensive units, this is typically a more pliable material or it's isolated better. With the HS30's, when any part of the cable between the can and the volume-block is touched or brushes against something, you hear that resonate into the can. Very similar to what you get on almost all inexpensive earbud headphones.
Lastly, they aren't meant for travel/mobile use because of the mic wire and the fact that they don't collapse in on themselves like higher end units (see the Sony MDR-7506 for reference), so packing them in a bag for travel is essentially out of the question. That's also another reason for making them USB and not 1/8" plugs...they aren't going anyplace, so just leave 'em plugged in with a single cord.
Overall Review: This is one of those times where I seem to be at odds with the other Eggxpert Reviewers here. I'm normally a tough critic, but these have wowed me enough that they are gonna get 5-stars. However, that's coming from the standpoint of a semi-audiophile and not a marathon gamer. The fact that I thought so highly of my reference Sony MDR-7506 headphones was a wake-up call. I don't believe they were always this bad...I have to believe that the drivers are shot after years of use and the HS30 headphones simply pointed that out to me, loud and clear! (Pun absolutely intended!)
It's rather cold here, and I wasn't doing anything with them in which I'd break a sweat, so I don't know how well these cans breathe. I'm guessing probably not too well, but unless you're REALLY into your game or you're in a hot room (bad for your computer!), then I don't think sweating is gonna be too much of a concern.
As other reviewers have noted... what's up with the packaging??? Yeah, it looks fancy, but geeze...unpacking 'em without worry about breaking them was not an option. It's quite the puzzle for the first timer. Unless you just tear into boxes with no care about saving it, then you're fine.
For $50 headphones that will stay on your desk, these are great, if not a tad bulky/space-consuming.
I believe that after a while, the headband will finally settle in. (Just surprising that it's not more comfortable because it seems so supple right of the bat.)
In testing with Skype and other voice-based communications, the placement of the mic did not have that great an impact, so that lack of adjustment towards the front of your mouth isn't a serious concern. Almost every soundcard, no matter how cheap, has the ability to turn up the gain on the mic.
I think these will really be liked by gamers who require attention to sound. FPShooters certainly need it, and I thoroughly enjoyed it with my driving sims. Oh, and at max volume, I didn't notice any significant distortion. Although this is probably due to my soundcard as well as the drivers. If you have some dumpy onboard audio, your distortion measurements will likely vary.
"So what do we have?" $50 for comfy headphones that help keep out the noise AND sound as incredibly good as they do in this price range??? Yeah, I'm in for pair! 5 Eggs!!!
Pros: - Aluminum protective shell
- Self-retracting USB connector when 'closing' it
- Blue LED activity light is not obnoxiously bright
- 5yr warranty...is that a PRO?
Cons: - Potentially just a bit too bulky to sit it next to another USB stick if they were side by side (width-wise)
- While the self-retracting feature is nice, I still prefer physical caps to cover the interface. This particular unit only retracts it and then generally hides it behind the aluminum cover, but by no means is it enclosed. Look at the 3rd picture in the gallery above.
- Does not like all USB3 chipsets
- Significantly underwhelming write speeds. Overall average write speeds are in the 23-24MB/s ballpark. And if you work with a lot of files that are smaller than 256K, forget it! And if they're small files in a compressed format like JPG, ZIP, RAR? Hahahah! Just stop reading now because you'll be dead long before it writes 128GB of those file types.
- I'm suspicious of a 5yr warranty, meaning that it seems short. Why should these devices get such short warranties but their SDRAM gets a lifetime warranty? I can think of various reasons, none of which endow me with a sense of functional longevity for this device.
Overall Review: Thinking of "PROS" was a bit tough. There wasn't really anything to make it stand out from the growing field of higher capacity memory sticks.
And now the 'not so good' and outright 'bad' news.
I tested this on 3 different systems, each with a different USB3 chipset, all with the most current driver available from mfg. The stick was plugged directly into the motherboard slot or connector on the PCIe card. The following write/read numbers will be the average MB/s based on an evenly distributed sample set of files from 256K to 8MB.
PC1 is a Core i7 3930K, ASMedia USB3 chipset
Write: 25.23 --- Read: 101.62
PC2 is a Phenom II X4 975, NEC/Renesas USB3 chipset
Write: 24.06 --- Read: 114.68
PC3 is a Core2Quad Q6600, Fresco Logic FL1000 USB3 chipset
Write: 23.75 --- Read: 112.83
Average of those three sets of data... Write: 24.34MB/s --- Read: 109.71MB/s
On the Fresco Logic I was getting constant disconnect/reconnects. I have 6 other brands of USB3 devices and none of them exhibit this behavior on this controller. Although from what I can tell, as long as the drive was active, such as during benchmarking, it was fine in terms of not disconnecting.
So where does that leave us? Well, if we consider that the theoretical maximum data transfer on USB 2.0 is 480Mbit/s (60MByte/s), the read speed is definitely USB3-qualified, but it's barely working at USB2 speeds when you need to load this thing up with data. And therein lies the big rub for me. If I have 128GB that I need on a portable device, at speeds this slow, it's gonna be a one-time only gig because I don't want to wait more than once for that data to be written. And I think it's rare that MOST people truly have 128GB they're gonna store on a USB stick. Maybe for storing multiple, complete system images that have everything ready to go? Otherwise, I'll save a couple of bucks (and LOTS of time) by getting a 64GB SATA2 SSD and an external USB3 case, at the minor expense of not-quite-as-portable-but-still-pocketable size.
I have somewhat of a hard time finding a good place for USB sticks of this capacity. Yes, the size is nice, but when you objectively look at the situation, are you really going to fill all that space on a consistent basis? I don't think so.
I'd say that since the read speeds are decent, you could use this with ReadyBoost in the Win7/8 environment. But I'd still have a hard time deciding to use this instead of a smaller capacity USB stick. The only other use I can think of off the top of my head would be for long term storage instead of using Blu-Ray discs or (much more less-expensive per MB) conventional HDDs.
Overall this unit gets 3-eggs. The irritatingly slow write speed coupled with questionable functionality across all USB3 chipsets definitely take it down a couple notches. If I really needed this much external capacity, I'd kick in another $22 or so and get a 120GB SSD & a USB3 external case. (Example: N82E16820211602 + N8
Pros: I'm no jeweler so I don't look at this with as discerning an eye as I do techie/computer stuff. That being said, the ring arrived in a proper ring box. There were no scuffs or scrapes. The finish was great with no visible flaws nor blemishes.
Picked up this ring for like $18 via NewEggFlash. I certainly have no complaints!
Cons: none to speak of
Overall Review: Nice and lightweight like a titanium ring should be!
Pros: * Tons of options and built-in functionality.
* Ability to run it in RAID-0 or RAID-1
* Multiple avenues for support, including active forums
* Sleep/Wake timers
* Integration and/or function with other services such as PLEX, WebDev apps (e.g. WordPress, Joomla, Drupal), MySQL, PHP, MediaWiki, SABnzbd, various torrent clients, etc
* Seems to have a pretty solid, growing list of apps (as long as "Poussain" continues to develop for it)
* External connections for eSATA and USB3 devices
* Dual gigbit NICs
* As a simple attached network device, it's fairly straight forward to get setup with a relatively intuitive interface...AS LONG AS YOU ALREADY KNOW ABOUT NETWORK PROTOCOLS, OR YOU READ THE MANUAL (ON PDF).
* Netgear seems to be on top of constantly updating the firmware to resolve issues as they are noted.
Cons: * The built-in DropBox-like functionality called ReadyCloud forces you to split administration functions between the local client and the web client
* Online documentation doesn't exactly keep up with the changes in firmware revisions
* The web certificate would never properly recognize in neither FireFox nor IE. That's rather annoying.
* The webclient never did automatically discover the NAS on my network. I tried both IE and FF, and also tried it with static and DHCP addressing. I had to use the included RAIDar utility to initially see the NAS. Even after it was functioning, the Discovery section still never noticed it.
I chose to focus more on the home enthusiast features of the ReadyNAS because I don't maintain a fully utilized AD environment at home. (AD admins know that integrating anything into AD for the first time is a time consuming process when done correctly and with proper securities in place.) Also, NewEgg caters more to the home enthusiast and not so much as a VAR for businesses. I didn't spend too much time tinkering with the simple NAS function because for all intents and purposes, this device is nothing more than a standalone PC in that capacity- You get it on the network, share its resources, "Done".
What attracted me most about this NAS was the ability to set it up as a personal/private Dropbox-like device. I was looking forward to being able to easily share data privately with people on the outside. Unfortunately, using the built-in functionality of ReadyCloud, this proved to be very cumbersome and ultimately not worth it for myself nor my people on the outside. Much of the confusion(?) stems from having to maintain administrator functions from two locations- One from the local client and the other from the ReadyCloud web client. Adding to that annoyance is that when you want to add files or make certain modifications, it forces you to be in one section or the other depending on the task. As the admin, I can understand that there will be limitations if I'm connecting via the ReadyCloud service, but to force me to go out to ReadyCloud when I'm on the local LAN is annoying and serves to make it more confusing, trying to keep track of what gets created/modified and where. I'm sure over time it sinks in, but it seems more difficult than it should be.
It also supports Drag & Drop of folders & files into the web window, but the "folders" part of that never worked. Individual files D&D'ed just fine, but it would fail if I tried to D&D a folder (size or content was irrelevant).
Just to make sure my results were consistent, I had multiple people double-check my work and I even performed a factory reset and started over just in case I missed something.
Overall Review: It's pretty much impossible to review all facets of the ReadyNAS 312 in two weeks time unless it's your fulltime job (which is probably not the case for most of us Eggxpert Reviewers). On a device like this, there's just too much to explore and test. Much of it can only be effectively tested in an environment similar to a medium size business. Other parts are more for the enthusiast home-user. And I suspect that anyone who purchases one will not be toting it between work and home on a regular basis. Which brings me to the title of this review.
When I take into consideration everything that the ReadyNAS is supposed to do, either with its built-in apps or growing list of add-ons, it seems very schizophrenic. Is it geared towards the home enthusiast willing to pay quite a few bucks more for a feature-rich home media server / NAS? Or is it geared towards the medium size business that needs all the tie-ins with Windows Active Directory and/or the Macintosh? Maybe it wants to be both- a jack of all trades. But has it mastered any of them? I'm not so sure at the time of this writing.
That being said, before purchasing this or a similar unit, do your research. What have other reviewers said? (I don't suggest putting too much stock in reviews that simply regurgitate what's on the box or what's readily seen in advertisements for the product.) Do they review the unit in the same context as your expectations? E.g., if the review focuses on the ability to function with iTunes and TimeMachine on the Mac platform, but you're more looking to use it as a webserver and FTP server with ties into Active Directory, then possibly that review shouldn't carry as much weight in your decision making process. Same applies to this review! If your expected needs or planned use isn't the same as what I was testing, then my complaints shouldn't carry as much weight.
You've seen other reviewers here that have given it a 5-egg rating and for them it's absolutely correct. I'm giving this unit a 3-egg review based soley on my experience. Keep in mind that's not "bad"; It's "Average". It simply didn't achieve Perfect 10's across all of the criteria I was checking. However, I feel confident that Netgear will continue to address many issues with consistent firmware updates.
Like any review, we base it on what we have in front of us and not "what it could be with additional updates". For the home enthusiast, I think the price is a bit steep considering what can be done with a stripped down unit and readily available free software. I think the home enthusiast is going to have to justify this high cost of entry based upon available support and available apps, compared to a business that can write this off as a small expense within the total operating budget.
Pros: * Easily adjustable by cutting the belt down to size and reattaching the buckle
* The mechanism by which it locks makes it very easy to get the perfect fit, as opposed to holes which can sometimes seem to far apart for that perfect comfort fit.
Cons: * The chrome on the face of the buckle has a faint detergent-like film on it that I wasn't able to remove, but it's only visibile upon close inspection.
* Speaking of...based on the picture, I thought the buckle was more of a satin or brushed nickel finish, which is what I wanted to go with my gray suit. It's actually chrome, but the lighting on the picture doesn't really reflect this (no pun intended). The recessed, textured section is more of a grayish, satin color.
Overall Review: The shipping took two weeks from China. It was free shipping and it states on the invoice 5-15 days for shipping, so it was within the specified time frame, but towards the end of it.
I ordered two leather belts @ $24 each (Items 9SIA25D0RF3726 and 9SIA25D0RF3721). Quality was average.
3-eggs doesn't mean "bad"; It means Average, which is exactly what this was from start to finish. I would buy from this seller ("Timebear") again if the price is right on a product.
Rating my "Tech Knowledge" on belts? I dunno... 5 eggs? I guess so since I seem to have mastered the functionality of it and have over 30+ years experience with belts and utilizing them. :-p
Cons: * The belt had what seemed to be dye or polish streaked down a good portion of it. A decent amount of elbow grease & microfiber removed enough of it that it's not visible except under close inspection.
* The chrome on the face of the buckle has a faint detergent-like film on it that I wasn't able to remove, but it's only visibile upon close inspection.