Thecus had a lot of success with their Windows-based NAS devices and now they’ve expanded that series with the new W2810PRO NAS. The new NAS comes equipped with an Intel Celeron N3150 quad-core processor, the same that we recently saw the N2810PRO launch with, it comes with 4GB DDR3 memory, and uses an SSD as boot drive.
Linux-based NAS run more out of the memory than Windows does and as such the use of a real SSD over a flash module is something that will make a huge difference for such a system. The quad-core processor is powerful enough to drive 4K experiences and thanks to it being a Windows version, it comes with a familiar interface. Integrating Microsoft services such as Office 365 and Azure Cloud Service is as easy as it could be on these devices as they’re running Windows 2012R2 Essentials as the operating system.
“Adding to the success of the original Windows Storage server 2012 solutions from Thecus, the W2810PRO provides increased power and speed performance to users”, said Florence Shih, CEO of Thecus Technology Corp. “This new Thecus Windows Storage Server is an ideal solution for individuals and businesses that are comfortable and proficient with the Windows platform to safely protect and effortlessly manage their valuable data.”
The 60GB boot SSD is more than enough for Windows itself and plenty of apps while the two drive bays give you up to 16TB raw storage capacity when using 8TB drives. That is a lot of power and storage in a small form factor. Windows Storage Server Essentials offers a host of features and functionality for organizations of all sizes including Data Deduplication and Storage Spaces for efficiency and protection, native support for Active Directory, and remote access through the P2P application, Orbweb.me. Users can further customize the W2810PRO to specific business needs as it supports third-party Windows Server add-ins.
Connection-wise, you get both an HDMI port and DisplayPort for direct usage, an S/PDIF for an audio connection, three USB 3.0 ports, and dual Gigabit Ethernet network connectivity.
Top Storage for 1-50 Employee Business
Office 365 & Microsoft Azure: Cloud Service Integration
Active Directory Domain Services: Scalable, Secure User Management
Data Deduplication: Performance Optimization
Enhanced Boot Drive: Embedded SSD
Windows License Included
Intel Celeron N3150 Quad-Core Processor
4GB DDR3 RAM
The new Thecus W2810PRO NAS is available starting today and it is an update well worth it. It packs more than double the power of the previous model, the W2000+, which was based on an Intel Atom dual-core processor.
Shuttle released a new system that once again proves that a powerful system doesn’t need to be large in physical dimensions. The new SH110R4 is the newest family member in the XPC Cube series of 13-liter barebone PCs and it comes with everything available you’ll need, from a Skylake LGA 1151 socket over two M.2 expansion slots to an integrated heat pipe system for CPU cooling.
The Shuttle SH110R4 is built around the Intel H110 chipset and supports dual-channel DDR4 memory with a speed of up to 2133 MHz. You can equip it with a total of 32GB through its two memory slots, but the specifications don’t reveal whether it’s full-sized DIMMs or SO-DIMMs. My bet would be on the last, SO-DIMMs. With the use of a Skylake-based Core, Celeron, or Pentium processor, you also gain 4K video capabilities through the processor-integrated GPU and the onboard HDMI and DisplayPort. A D-Sub VGA port was also added for backwards compatibility.
Besides the graphics connections, you also find all other relevant external connectors. There are four USB 3.0 and four USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet network powered by an Intel i219LM controller, and a 5.1-channel HD audio system powered by a Realtek ALC662 chip.
The Shuttle XPC Cube series are basically mITX systems with a clever cooling solution and users can upgrade the motherboard to pretty much any mITX board they wish at any point. But the included one is pretty good as it is and comes with two M.2 slots, one M.2 2280/2260/2242 Type M slot for high-speed SSDs and one M.2 2230 Type A/E slot for devices like WiFi cards. There’s also a PCIe x16 and a PCIe x1 slot for additional expansion cards such as graphics cards, raid controller, monitor cards, sound cards, etc.
The really cool feature is the Shuttle’s I.C.E 2 cooling engine that utilizes heat-pipe tech to keep the SH110R4 cool. It uses convection cooling to dissipate heat away from and around the CPU. The I.C.E.2 copper tubes, coated in nickel for enhanced tube hardness and rust-proof protection, are filled with distilled water to effectively channel heat and provide highly efficient processor and chassis cooling.
It also comes with a built-in PSU which can deliver 300W and is 80Plus Bronze certified. Overall, you get a small and stable system with great features and a suggested retail price of £172.00.
Ransomware is some of the nastiest pieces of software in existence and in theory, it could hit anyone. Some people naturally have a greater risk, through the kind of work and tasks they do with their systems. But in theory, anyone can be unlucky enough to be hit with this kind of evil doing through security holes in the software being used.
This warning and reminder isn’t based on a specific new kind of ransomware, it is more to raise awareness of this kind of threats. Encryption-based ransomware such as CryptoWall, CryptoLocker, or TorrentLocker are on the rise, and they don’t just target Windows-based systems as many belief, they have also begun targeting network-based storage devices. Because of its stealthy nature and disastrous effects, ransomware is commonly perceived as a sophisticated, highly destructive, and unstoppable malware threat.
An advanced user isn’t really afraid of ransomware as they usually make backups of everything onto their network connected devices – or work directly from there via permanent shares and iSCSI setups. In the case of an infection, they simply wipe their system and install it again, and that would be the end of that story. Creators of this kind of nasty software know that and they want a piece of that pie too, which is why they have started to attack other systems besides workstations.
Where there is a threat, there is a way to defend yourself against it, at least in 99.9 percent of situations.
Update your operating system. Most people are up-to-date on their Windows and OS X updates simply because you’re being told when they’re available. But when was the last time you updated your NAS OS? Most NAS systems have automatic update features available and you should at the very least enable this for critical updates.
Install security software. A good anti-virus software is a good place to start and you’ll find solutions such as Avast or Intel security in your NAS’ app features. It will take up some resources to have it running, but those are resources that you should be happy to give up. Especially if you use the automatic download features found in all NAS units.
Disable Remote Desktop Protocol. Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) is a very common target for malware, which is why you should disable it if you don’t absolutely need it.
Install Mobile Apps and use Push Notifications. Applications for your smartphone and tablet are another great way to stay on top of your headless systems. Together with the push notifications feature you get up-to-date statuses from your system right into your pocket.
Beware of your actions. The golden rule is as it always has been, beware of what you do. Take the one second extra to hover a link and check the destination in the status bar before you click it, turn off features such as Hide file extensions for known file types, and don’t trust anything until you have verified the authenticity.
This time, the warning came from Synology, but in theory, it could have come from any of the big manufacturers. The bigger a company and brand gets, the more likely it is that their systems will be actively searched for vulnerabilities. Luckily Synology and other NAS’ have even more features that will help you in case that you get hit by this kind of malware.
A multi-version backup of all your files is naturally the best defense. If everything is backed up, then the evil ones can take their ransom demand and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. Backup all your vital files from your system and onto your NAS is the first step and from there on you should have at least one more backup step – this could be a cloud solution, another NAS, or external drives, for example. Synology’s new Cloud Station Backup app can do all this for you through a single app, so it is as easy as it’s ever been. Hyper Backup is another awesome tool that lets you enjoy a full range of multi-version backup destinations from local shared folders, expansion units, and external hard drives, to network shared folders, Rsync server, and public cloud services. It can also isolate data for further protection from internet threats.
If your system supports Snapshot Replication through Btrfs file system, then you got another level of protection right there. Snapshot Replication allows you to replicate data from a primary site to an offsite location up to every 5 minutes and 15 minutes for LUNs, ensuring all your critical data in shared folders or virtual machines in iSCSI LUNs can be recovered quickly in the event of a disaster.
Synology also put up a mini-site that summarizes all these information along with the step to follow if you should have been effected. The fact that this site even was made, speaks for the severity of these attacks and how far they’re spreading. So be aware, practice safe surfing, and show an evolved behavior.
We often both report on and test high-end NAS devices here at eTeknix, but that isn’t what everybody needs nor wants. Sometimes you want a budget-oriented and basic solution, and QNAP just released a new series of devices in this category. The two new NAS are called the TS-128 and TS-228 and are respectively 1-bay and 2-bay NAS’.
The new TS-x28 series is built around basically the same base as we saw in the TAS-268 NAS that we recently reviewed, just without the HDMI connector and dual Android system. The TS-x28 series is still a feature-rich NAS series for users that want to easily handle file backup and synchronisation tasks, both locally and through the internet.
Create your own personal cloud system without monthly subscription fees and storage limitations while you increase the security as all files are stored in the safety of your own home and on your own server. With the myQNAPcloud service, you get multiple remote access services to convenient access, manage, and share multimedia files located on your TS-x28 NAS from anywhere with a web browser. The mobile QNAP apps such as Qfile, Qphoto, Qmusic, Qvideo and Qmanager all work flawlessly with the new devices too. The Qsync utility is particularly useful as it supports file synchronisation across multiple devices and users can acquire the latest files from any device connected to the NAS whenever they need it.
Multimedia services are no problem with the TS-x28 series either, even though it doesn’t have the direct connection options. You can still stream through DLNA and other services to get all your media content directly on your TV and other smart devices. The Surveillance station also comes with 2 free IP camera channels for that home security setup that you might have considered for a while.
Overall, a tiny NAS that has all the basics and none of all the extras you possible don’t need nor want. Hardware wise it is powered by an ARM v7 dual-core CPU with 1.1GHz clock speed and has 1GB DDR3 memory. You get one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port besides the Gigabit Ethernet port for connectivity. The TS-228 is available now for around £200, but I could only find placeholders for the price of the TS-128 at the time of writing. My guess would be around £160.
Thecus already released a mighty NAS with the N2810, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be improved upon. The new version is called the N2810PLUS and it comes with a better CPU and double the RAM. Both are things that are hard to argue with and a welcome addition to Thecus’ lineup.
The N2810PLUS comes equipped with 4GB DDR3 memory over the 2GB in the N2810 and the slightly faster Intel Celeron N3150 quad-core processor. The previous model used the N3050 processor, so it is only a small bump. Still, every little helps and can make the difference for a smooth experience.
The N2810 and N2810PLUS NAS’ support 4K video output via the built-in HDMI port and this is one of the areas where this upgrade should make a difference. The added memory, which most likely also makes it dual-channel over a single-channel setup now, will provide a much smoother display of high-resolution content. The addition of two more CPU cores will no doubt also help with this and any other task.
The NAS is designed for easy hard drive installation and with a focus on reliability. It can act as a full multimedia centre that supports AirPlay, DLNA, and much more – on top of the direct 4K playback. Two LAN ports provide the user with 7 modes of link aggregation and the three USB 3.0 ports deliver high data speeds for portable storage.
It also comes with the latest version of Thecus operating system, ThecusOS 7.0, that provides an optimized and feature-rich platform with an intuitive user interface and easy navigation. Key new features include Photo Station, Thecus App Center, and File Center. ThecusOS 7.0 delivers significant advancements in productivity, flexibility, and performance.
The new N2810PLUS edition NAS will begin shipping globally today, so it should be at your local Thecus dealer very shortly.
ASUSTOR launched two new high-capacity enterprise-class NAS units, the AS6208T and the AS6210T. The only difference between the two units is that one has 8 drive bays and the other one has 10 drive bays. They are powered by an Intel Celeron (Braswell) 1.6GHz quad-core CPU with Boost speeds up to 2.24GHz. This is backed by 4GB dual-channel DDR3L memory which is expandable.
This is a great base for a powerful system that comes with hardware encryption support and 4K capabilities. All that power can be connected through the four built-in Gigabit Ethernet ports for a read and write performance up to 398 MB/s and 355 MB/s respectively in a RAID 5 setup.
There are plenty of USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports as well as two eSATA ports. With that amount of extra ports, you can expand the systems even further than with the 8 and 10 internal bays that each support up to 8TB drives.
It’s probably unlikely that a system like this will be used for as a multimedia hub, although it would be perfectly suitable for it. Instead, it is much more likely to be used for surveillance tasks. It is well equipped for both scenarios with its direct usage ability. It features both an HDMI 1.4b connector and an S/PDIF audio link.
As with all other ASUSTOR NAS units, these two new ones come with a 3-year warranty and a suggested retail price of $999 for the AS6210T and $899 for the AS6208T. That’s actually not bad at all.
Key Hardware Specifications
Intel Celeron 1.6GHz Quad-Core Processor (Automatic Overclocking to 2.24GHz)
Read Speed of up to 398+ MB/s and Write Speed of up to 355+ MB/s Under Link Aggregation and RAID 5 Configurations
4GB Built-in Dual-Channel DDR3L High Speed Memory (Expandable up to 8GB, 4GB x2)
4 x Gigabit Ethernet Ports
Front of Device: 1 x SuperSpeed USB 3.0 (5 GB/s) Port
Back of Device: 2 x SuperSpeed USB 3.0 (5 GB/s) Ports, 2 x USB 2.0 Ports, 2 x eSATA Ports
Supports Largest Capacity Hard Disks on the Market (8TB)
Smart Fan Temperature Control
The AS6208T and AS6210T both come built-in with the latest ADM 2.5.4 firmware providing RAID data protection, high-grade AES-NI hardware encryption technology, a 256-bit data encryption mechanism, firewall, network defender, antivirus software for installation and other safety mechanisms to keep data safe and secure. But you will be able to upgrade to the newest firmware very soon as ADM 2.6 is scheduled to be released in April.
When good isn’t good enough, then you’ll want great, and when looking for great, you can’t get past QNAP. They have just launched two new NAS series for the enterprise sector with plenty of storage capacity options, great connectivity, and strong CPUs. Perfect for enterprise users that don’t want to compromise. The two new series are the TVS-ECx80U-SAS R2 and the TS-ECx80U R2.
Both of these new NAS series feature two built-in SFP+ based 10Gbps Ethernet ports without increasing the price over the previous models without the R2 name addendum. Besides the two SFP+ connectors, the system also features four 1Gbps Ethernet ports. Overall, everything you need for an IOPS-demanding application setup such as virtualisation setups and database systems.
The TVS-ECx80U-SAS R2 series comes equipped with a powerful Intel Xeon E3-1246 v3 3.5 GHz processor and 16GB DDR3 non-ECC or 8GB DDR3 ECC RAM. A great hardware base for almost any setup. The TS-ECx80U R2 series provides models powered by an Intel Xeon E3-1246 v3 3.5 GHz processor too and these come with 4GB DDR3 ECC RAM. Further, the series offers options with an Intel Core i3 3.5 GHz processor and 8GB DDR3 non-ECC or 4GB DDR3 ECC RAM too.
There are quite a few models to choose from, in various sizes and with varying drive bays. They all have four DIMM slots, extra internal ports for caching, redundant power supplies, and much more.
Today’s motherboard review lands right in the middle of everything. Not because it’s all over the place, but because it has a lot of usage scenarios and support for pretty much any setup. You could use ASRock’s E5V5 WS motherboard in a gaming system as well as in a server setup as both of those setups are fully supported, but its real area of operation is to act as the base for a powerful workstation.
The ASRock E5V5 WS uses an LGA 1151 socket and the board is compatible with both E3-1200 v5 processors such as the one I’ll be using later on in this review, but it also supports normal 6th Generation Intel Core processors – so basically the entire Skylake and Skylake-S line-up. As backbone behind the CPU that you end up using is the Intel C232 chipset that is perfectly tuned for workstation environments and a motherboard like this. Memory wise you can use normal DDR4 DIMMs as well as ECC UDIMM memory modules with a speed of up to 2133 MHz in the four DIMM slots with 15μ gold contacts for a total of up to 64GB RAM.
The gold contacts in the memory slots aren’t the only quality feature in this motherboard. The E3V5 WS motherboard is part of ASRock’s Super Alloy series and comes with premium 50A power chokes and is made of a high-density glass fabric PCB. It also features ASRock’s full spike protection that protects from sudden surges, lightning, and electrostatic discharges (ESD).
The network connection isn’t controlled by the average low-performance controller either and we find an Intel PHY i219LM controller on this motherboard. The Gigabit Ethernet controller supports Wake-On-LAN, supports 802.3az energy efficient ethernet and PXE. The Ethernet controller is one of the parts that is protected by the Full Spike Protection. The second part with protection is the USB. The ASRock E35 WS features two USB 2.0 ports and four USB 3.0 ports on the rear panel and you can connect another four USB 2.0 and two USB 3.0 ports via headers. All of these are protected by the ASRock Full Spike Protection. The audio is also protected by this and we find a 7.1 channel HD Audio controller, the Realtek ALC892. It features Blu-ray audio support and uses ELNA solid audio capacitors. Last but not least, you also find legacy PS2 connectors for both your mouse and keyboard.
Internally we find good expansion options too. Since we are dealing with an Intel-based motherboard, we also get IRST for RAID setups across the six SATA3 6 Gb/s connectors. Supported modes include the normal RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10 modes.
There are two PCIe Gen3 x16 slots that support both Nvidia Quadro and AMD FirePro workstation graphics cards as well as consumer graphics cards. There is also full support for the use of AMD’s CrossfireX technology for multiple graphics card usage. As I mentioned earlier, you can make a great workstation with this motherboard. There are three more PCIe Gen3 x1 slots available for further expansion and neither of them will be blocked by the use of two-slot graphics cards. Even with a CrossfireX setup, you’ll still have access to the three x1 slots.
Quality hardware and components are just one side of the story, we also need a good BIOS and proper software to have the best experinece. The E3V5 WS comes with both of those features too. The UEFI BIOS has the easy EZ mode dashboard besides the advanced setup pages, which contains multiple readings of the system’s current status. You can check the most crucial information of your system, such as CPU speed, DRAM frequency, SATA information, fan speed, etc.
Even better, you can reach the tech support purely from the systems BIOS, as long as the system has an internet connection. You can also install LAN drivers onto your windows installation directly from the BIOS.
The ASRock OMG (Online Management Guard) technology allows you to establish an internet curfew or restrict internet access at specified times for your kids. Stay in control of their surfing times without yelling. This probably isn’t the most used function in a workstation system, but it could be used to shut down any connection attempts outside of office hours. Another useful feature is the USB Key function that can replace the password question when you log into windows. Do it by plugging a USB drive in instead.
The well-known ASRock XFast RAM and XFast LAN are also built into this motherboard. The XFast RAM feature allows you to fully utilize the memory space that otherwise can’t be accessed in 32-bit systems, among others. XFast LAN is a quality of service protocol that prioritizes the important traffic so you don’t have to wait for loading times. ASRock Live Update and APP Shop also help to make the maintenance easier.
The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers product page and can as such be subject to changes in future revisions of the product.
Home security is an ever growing trend as technology gets smaller and better, and at the same time, it has also become a lot for affordable for the everyman. Today I’m taking a look at one of the best options in this category as I’m having D-Link’s DCS-2630L Full HD 180-Degree Wi-Fi camera in my testing area.
Where most home surveillance cams still come with a 720p resolution, the D-Link DCS-2630L adds on top of that and goes for the full 1080p HD experience. While 720p already was a great step up from the old 480p CCTV resolution, it just doesn’t beat the full 1080p experience. The Wi-Fi camera doesn’t just feature a higher than usual resolution, it also has a wider field of view, allowing you to monitor an up to 180-degree wide area. Basic cameras only feature 90 or 120-degree view, which allows the DCS-2630L to monitor a lot more real estate that might prevent you from having to set up multiple cameras. The wide-view feature is also a lot better to look at than a traditional wide view fisheye view that distorts things.
Recording video during daylight is an easy thing, but you’ll also want to monitor what is going on when it is dark. After all, that is the time of day we usually associate with the need for protection. D-Link added night vision capabilities to the DCS-2630L with the help of infrared LEDs. The camera is able to see in the dark at a distance of up to 5 meters (16 ft) with as little as 0 Lux light. The IR LEDs can be turned on manually, but the camera also features a light sensor that determines when the LEDs are needed.
Next to the six infrared LEDs it also features two PIR sensors that detect infrared radiation when a person or animal passes for an enhanced motion detection. And that is another one of this cameras features next to just being able to show and record what is going on. With motion and sound detection, the camera is able to start recording automatically and also push notifications to your Windows, Android, and iOS device to let you know that something is going on.
D-Link didn’t just built-in a high-quality microphone to picks up on loud noises like the breaking of glass and the ability to send notification alerts about this to you, it also features 2-way audio that lets you send audio back. A high-quality speaker lets you respond to what you see using your mobile device.
The Full HD sensor features a 1/3-inch 3-megapixel sensor to deliver images in sharp and rich detail while the camera lens is made of glass for the best possible results. All this coupled with the de-warping technology provides you with a clear and ultra-wide 180º field of view surveillance. The camera comes on a wall mountable metal stand with flexible tilt for the perfect angle. It also allows for 360-degree camera rotation to ensure that your video is perfectly level no matter where you mount it.
It isn’t just an ordinary camera on the Wi-Fi field either and it sports a proper IEEE 802.11ac dual-band connection for reliable connection and streaming. It also features a convenient WPS button for quick and simple connection with the rest of your network infrastructure. Everyone can press a button. Besides the wireless connection, the DCS-2630L also features a micro SD/SDXC card slot with support for up to 128GB memory cards. This is enough for up to a week of continuous clip recordings in 1080p.
A status LED lets you know what your camera’s doing, which is a simple but very useful thing. The whole camera in itself is very power effective and only requires a USB connection, portable battery, or power adapter to run. That also allows for a very flexible placement.
2 PIR Sensors – Enhanced motion detection senses when a person or animal passes for accurate
microSDXC card slot – Record continuous, scheduled, or detection triggered video clips directly to a
microSDCX card up to 128 GB
Unique De-warping technology maximizes the video quality with less distortion to eliminate a fish-eye view
Built-in two-way audio
mydlink app support for iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows phone
Packaging and Content
The D-Link DCS-2630L is a consumer camera and the package is made to be as eye-capturing as the camera catches images. The front displays the camera and usage scenario as well as the product highlights such as 1080p and wide eye lens.
On the rear, you will find more detailed information about the functions and features, all in full colour.
Each of the two sides is full of information too. On one side you find the features listed above the minimum requirements for usage.
On the other side, you’ll find a simple representation of the camera’s easy setup and usage as well as what’s inside the box.
Besides the Wi-Fi camera itself, you also find the Quick Install Card with default information and QR-code for easy setup as well as the quick install guide, a GPL code statement, and an assistance card if you should have trouble.
There’s also an AC/DC adapter included with a plug fitting the region where you bought it. Due to the clever usage of micro-USB, the camera is also easily powered otherwise.
We had our first look at Corsair’s newest Carbide chassis during our CES visit in January and now it has been fully released and can be yours, if you want to pay the price and like the looks, of course. The SPEC-ALPHA is no ordinary looking chassis and stands out with its bold angular styling and also comes with a large side panel window for you to display the nice hardware inside the chassis.
Corsair removed any sort of 5.25-inch drive bays at the top of the chassis which in return gives a direct airflow path for improved cooling abilities. The case comes with three 120mm fans included: two in the front and one in the back. The front can also fit a 240mm radiator for those who wish to use liquid cooling instead of air cooling. A three-speed fan control is also included.
The large CPU cut-out should make for easy cooler mounting, whether you choose air or water, and you can use from mITX to ATX motherboards in this system. You get the usual 7 expansion slots on the rear and you can mount expansion cards with a length of up to 380mm. The CPU cooler can be up to 156mm which does limit a bit, but not much.
You can mount plenty of traditional storage in the SPEC-ALPHA that allows for three 3.5-inch and four 2.5-inch drives. Externally you get two USB 3.0 and two audio jacks.
The SPEC-ALPHA is available now in three color options: black and red, black and gray and white and red. The suggested retail price is set to $79.99 which actually is a more than fair price for a chassis like this. Corsair backs the chassis with a 2-year warranty.
Bold Exterior Design with LED fans: You’ll never mistake it for anything else – the asymmetrical, hard-edged design of the SPEC-ALPHA and its numerous color combinations give it a bold, unique look, and the front LED fans can be viewed through the front air intakes for a glimpse of the performance within.
Direct airflow path to keep your CPU and GPU running cooler: Modern systems don’t need tons of drive cages in the airflow path. By removing the 5.25” drive cage, the SPEC-ALPHA has a direct path from the front intake to the two hottest components – your CPU and GPU, which can result in better, more efficient cooling.
Large side panel window to show off your hardware: Why hide it? All that performance hardware you built your rig with is looks great, so why not take a look at it through the huge side panel window?
Three included 120mm fans and built-in three-speed fan controller: Two front LED fans and a rear fan provide excellent airflow, and the built-in fan controller lets you decide exactly how much cooling you need with the flick of a switch.
Cable routing cutouts and tie downs: Nobody wants to see a rat’s nest of cables, so the SPEC-ALPHA has cutouts and tie-downs behind the motherboard tray to keep your cable routing neat and tidy – and out of the airflow path for better cooling.
Easy to Build: Tool-free drive installation and side panel removal mean you can spend less time building your PC and more time gaming with it.
Front 240mm radiator compatibility: Upgrade to the power of liquid cooling for your CPU or GPU with up to a 240mm hydro series cooler in front of the case.
Native USB 3.0 and SSD support for modern builds: Whether it be a new external drive for storage or a new SSD for your OS or games, rest assured the SPEC-ALPHA is ready for anything you throw at it.
Today’s review is a little bit special as I don’t just get the chance to test one of the newest NAS on the market, but also a new operating system at the same time. Thecus N2810 2-bay SMB multimedia NAS server with 4K playback is in the testing area and it comes with Thecus’ brand new ThecusOS 7.0.
Thecus N2810 NAS is powered by an Intel Celeron N3050 Braswell dual-core processor with 1.6GHz base clock and a 2.16GHz burst speed. This is a great processor for NAS usage as it’s both powerful and energy-efficient. On top of that, the N2810 supports hardware AES 256-bit encryption for that extra layer of security without impacting performance the way a software solution will. This is backed by 2GB DDR3 memory, but you can upgrade the system to a maximum of 8GB DDR3 RAM should you require more. The standard 2GB should still be plenty for normal usage scenarios and seamless 4K media playback.
Thecus opted for a full USB 3.0 setup which is a nice thing to see. Thanks to the USB bus’ compatibility you can easily use legacy devices while having maximum speed on your modern equipment such as high-end flash drives and external SSDs. There are two USB 3.0 ports on the rear and one on the front. The front port also features a convenient one-touch copy button that allows you to copy content to or from a USB drive with a single press of the button.
The two RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet ports on the N2810 support 10/100/1000 BASE-TX Auto MDI/MDI-X and Wake-on-LAN. You can naturally also set them up for link aggregation and Thecus allows you to set all seven modes: Load balance, Failover, 802.3ad, Balance-XOR, Balance-TLB, Balance-ALB, and Broadcast.
There is also the HDMI port for direct playback on your TV or monitor without the need for any other device at all. This is a feature we see more and more on modern NAS devices and it is one that I really love. While streaming is great, a direct connection allows for higher compatibility with formats and there are fewer points of failure or lag on the way. That said, the Thecus N2810 has absolutely no trouble streaming either, but we’ll get to that later.
Keen eyes will already have spotted the serial UART port too and that isn’t something that we usually see on NAS devices, it is however an awesome feature. We sometimes find the port on the PCB, but rarely on the device itself. UART stands for Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter and is part of the serial communication protocol.
The N2810 is the first Thecus NAS to run the completely new ThecusOS 7.0 operating system and user interface. The refreshed OS offers an easy to use and intuitive user interface and quite a lot of new features over the previous OS including the new Photo Station, Thecus App Center with over 700 apps, and user profiles. Besides the design and feature improvements, it also got a push in regards to the performance where it gets even more out of your hardware.
The N2810 steps up to the challenges that 4K playback creates and provides a robust hardware platform that is able to handle multiple tasks with ease. The built-in HDMI port allows you to transform the NAS into a multimedia hub by connecting it directly to your TV or media center to utilize the power of KODI. There are plenty of streaming options too with basic DLNA as well as Plex Media Server that can stream to your consoles with ease. The server can also automatically assemble iTunes, iPhoto, and Aperture content. Apple TV and Chromecast are both supported too, completing the circle of media abilities.
The N2810 is an SMB NAS and as such comes with a comprehensive list of enterprise-oriented features too, although none of them are limited to firms and enterprises, home users can take equal advantage of them. The Thecus System Failover feature is a fault tolerance process that creates mirrored data volumes. With at least two Thecus NAS available, data is copied by schedule and all changes are mirrored between the two NAS. While the second NAS is not visible, it communicates with the primary NAS. In the event of a power or network failure, a scheduled maintenance, or other unforeseen circumstances, System Failover automatically redirects operations to the secondary Thecus NAS, which then acts as the primary NAS.
Local failover is also achieved easily with a Thecus NAS and Snapshots. With BTRFS support, users can enjoy the simplicity of snapshot backups through BTRFS subvolumes. Snapshots of data at various time points can be manually or automatically made and just as easily later restored to rollback files or folders to previous states.
To complete the backup and failover abilities, the N2810 comes bundled with Acronis Backup Software that can backup all your data to the NAS with a single click as well as local backups and Time Machine support. Real-time remote replication (Rsync) is naturally also supported and it is one of the easiest to use and widest available backup methods.
Security is an important factor on a NAS, after all, it’s the device that holds all your files, memories, and data. Whether you’re an enterprise user or a home user, a virtual private network can come in very handy. The N2810 can operate as a VPN server and allow users to remotely access through a secure network.
Thecus also added Intel Security to the package that gives you an active defense against viruses that might have made it onto your NAS. The software protects you by scanning the files on your NAS and defending it against possible threats. Intel Security is the world’s largest dedicated security technology company and Thecus users will be able to benefit from Intel Security’s powerful software on their NAS entirely for free.
With the Thecus N2810, it is also an easy task to set up your own personal cloud service that will work with mobile iOS and Android devices with the use of Thecus’ T-OnTheGo app and your PCs. The mobile app enables users to access, copy, stream, and edit any data between their NAS and mobile device. Your own personal cloud, available from anywhere with internet access. The access from anywhere is made as easy as it could be thanks to the built-in DDNS feature that will give your NAS a name rather than a difficult to remember and mostly changing IP address.
You can also reverse the whole thing and use the public cloud systems together with the N2810 NAS. The system will work with DropBox, Amazon S3, and ElephantDrive cloud backup functionality. Guard your data with RAID at home and an additional level of protection in the Cloud. Just drag and drop files into the folder on your NAS and access them on any computer or mobile device with DropBox, Amazon S3 or ElephantDrive.
With currently available hard disk drives you get up to 8TB in the consumer sector and 10TB in the enterprise sector. With two drive bays at your disposal, that’s already a lot of storage and you can take maximum advantage of this storage thanks to iSCSI and the efficiency of iSCSI thin provisioning. Connect through iSCSI for the fastest data transfer speeds available and make wasted disk space a thing of the past with thin provisioning’s flexible storage functionality.
Embedded with Intel Celeron N3050 Dual Core CPU
Running on the newly-designed and enhanced ThecusOS 7.0
Seamless 4K Multimedia Playback
Uninterrupted Accessibility with Thecus System Failover
Secure Remote Access with Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Faster Transfers: 2 LAN Ports for Link Aggregation
99% Virus Prevention: Bundled with Free Intel Security
Complete Client Side Protection: Bundled with Free Acronis Software
Packaging and Accessories
Thecus packed the N2810 in a beautiful box that clearly shows the intended usage, as a 4K capable multimedia center.
The rear of the box continues the beautiful full-colour wrapping with the feature highlights. There’s no doubt that you have a premium device in your hands when you look at the package.
It continues on the sides where the brand new Thecus OS 7 is presented on one side.
The second side reveals the hardware specifications, device size, and package content.
Inside the product is a quick installation guide and a product disk as well as the warranty card and product notes.
Besides the manuals and the NAS itself, there is also a power adapter with connection cord, two sets of drive tray keys, an RJ45 LAN cable, and a security latch for the power cable that can prevent accidental removal.
USB hubs are nothing new and an essential tool for port multiplying which allows you to connect more devices to your system than you have ports available. This is particularly useful for mobile systems that come with very few ports on their own, but a stationary system can benefit equally from a good USB hub. In today’s review, I am taking a closer look at SilverStone’s EP03 USB 3.0 hub with built-in supercharger function and an integrated display for monitoring voltage and current on all ports.
At heart, SilverStone’s EP03 is a 4-port USB 3.0 hub capable of 5 Gbps transfer speeds. It is naturally also compatible with both USB 2.0 and 1.1 devices on both the host port and the individual connectors. That in itself is nothing new, but everything else is. In fact, this is a pretty smart hub.
When you pick the EP03 hub up and hold it in your hands, you have no doubt that this is a quality built hub. It feels sturdy and it also looks pretty good with its simple plastic case and top plate made of brushed aluminium.
The top is also what instantly reveals one of the features that make this USB hub unique, the built-in display. You can watch the current and voltage in real-time on the display for each of the four ports. Port selection is handled by the small button next to the display which lets you cycle the four ports.
As the display already indicates, this isn’t just a USB hub for peripheral and drive connection, it is also an intelligent charging station that can satisfy users’ increasing demand for fast charging of power-hungry mobile devices. It can deliver 2A to each of the four ports simultaneously and is fully compliant with the USB power delivery specifications 1.2 (BC 1.2).
In addition, the built-in protection mechanism ensures the EP03 can deliver power evenly and safely according to the number or the state of battery charge of connected devices. All these features can also be used to check if a new/replacement charging cable is up to the task and comes with the proper specifications compared to your original cable.
The SilverStone EP03 comes with an AC adapter included which both ensures that you have enough current to all ports, but also allows you to use it as charging station with the use of a host system. It comes with built-in over current and over voltage protections too, so all your connected devices should be safe.
The hub is built around a Genesys Logic GL3522 chipset which actually is a USB 3.1 Gen 1 controller, but that just leaves internal headroom and ensures the best possible connection.
Integrated display for monitoring voltage and current
Supports current up to 2A for each USB port
Provides four 5Gbps Super Speed USB 3.0 USB ports
High quality brushed aluminum design
Supports over voltage and over current protection
Includes AC adapter for stable power delivery
Compliant with USB power delivery specification 1.2
Package and Accessories
SilverStone always has some great looking packages for their devices and it’s no different for this USB 3.0 hub with fast charging and power meter. It presents itself colourful to the user and begs to be taken home. I know I wouldn’t walk past it.
The rear of the box explains the features in multiple languages.
One of the sides has more details on the product itself in the form of images and text.
And the other side has all the detailed specifications. Overall, a box that tells us everything there is to know about the product inside.
Inside the box, we find a USB 3.0 cable, an AC/DC power adapter, a user guide, and the USB hub itself.
Just as you wouldn’t use a low-end graphics card for high-end usage, you shouldn’t use the wrong hard disk drive in your storage system either. There is a reason for every product and you should always pick the one suited for the task at hand, especially when you deal with your storage. Today I’m taking a closer look at Seagate’s impressive 8TB NAS HDD and we will take a look at how well it performs.
As said, when you pick your storage, you need to pick the right one for the task and not just grab anything you can find. This is particularly important when we talk about systems that have to run continuously and in environments with a lot of drives closely packed together. The Seagate NAS HDD goes beyond the standard desktop drives in this regards as it is built exactly for these scenarios.
Vibrations can damage your drives and the can also have a direct impact on your drives speed, and the more drives you install close to each other, the more vibrations you’ll get. The Seagate NAS HDDs are rated for usage in systems with up to 8 bays which gives you an impressive raw capacity of 64TB. The Dual-plane balance system enhances drive performance in aggressive NAS workloads for better vibration tolerance.
The Seagate NAS 8TB drive comes packed with 256MB cache, which is double that of the 6TB model. It uses the default SATA3 6GB/s interface that makes it compatible with pretty much any NAS system. The performance isn’t without either as it comes with a rating of 150 IOPS and above and a sustained sequential read performance up to 230MB/s, an exceptional performance for a mechanical drive. The pure capacity is pretty nice too considering the default 3.5-inch form factor and it has an areal density of 1333Gb per square inch. The average seek read and write latencies are rated to be 8.5ms and 9.5ms, or lower. The whole thing is rounded off with an 180TB per year workload rating, a 1 million hour mean time before failure, and a 3-year warranty.
The great performance comes from Seagate’s years of experience that the put into the hardware and also the firmware that controls the drive. NASWorks is optimized for use as storage drives and it has been tuned to deliver higher performance, a better reliability and interoperability with popular NAS enclosures, and it has the RAID Recovery feature that prevents the NAS from a full RAID rebuild if the RAID degrades. Extended error recovery controls correct data without the need for full drive rebuilds.
Performance isn’t everything, but as we’ve seen above, that part is well covered. There are two further factors that need to be considered before you decide which drives to use: Acoustics and power consumption. A drive that consumes a lot of power can quickly drive up the total cost of ownership and it’s also bad for the environment. The Seagate NAS 8TB drive has an average power consumption of 9W during active operations and an idle power consumption of 7.2W. When in sleep or standby mode, the drives will consume as little as 0.6W. The 8TB NAS HDD doesn’t make much noise either and is rated for just 2.6 bels during operation and 2.5 bels when idle.
Seagate also offers the optional +Rescue Data Recovery Services for extra peace of mind. With this extra service, Seagate has your back and can recover the data from a possible failed drive. Whether the error is due to mechanical failure or accidental damage, most data can be recovered when done right. It is a fast and easy recovery process where your data can be restored in 15 days or less. This is also a field that Seagate is very successful in with an approximately 90% success rate in data recovery.
So if you need drives for backup and disaster recovery, multimedia server and storage, file and print server sharing, archival, remote access, virtualization, or a private cloud storage, then this might be just the right drive for you.
8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1TB capacity options
Seagate NAS HDDs are built and tested to provide industry-leading performance for small NAS systems.
NASWorks technology supports customised error recovery controls, power management and vibration tolerance for optimal performance and reliability with workloads up to 180TB/year workload rate limit (WRL).
NAS error recovery controls optimise drive health by helping to ensure drives are not dropped from the NAS and sent into a RAID rebuild.
Improved vibration tolerance and emission in multi-drive systems with dual plane balance.
Advanced power management supports multiple power profiles for lowpower, 24×7 performance.
Quiet drive operation enhances the customer experience in living room or office environments.
Optional 3-year Rescue recovery service plan protects against data loss from viruses, software issues, or mechanical and electrical breakdowns in a NAS or RAID environment.
It has been a little over half a year since Thecus introduced the support for Orbweb.me on their WSS-based NAS’. That was so successful that the support now has been extended to all of Thecus’ Linux-based NAS’ too. Whether you run the older Thecus OS 5.0 or the recently released Thecus OS 7.0, you can now have easy access to your NAS and everything that’s connected to it from anywhere.
Some might say, I already have access to it all from everywhere, that’s the point of a NAS. But the ease of which you have access to it, how easy it is to use, and the security behind it isn’t always the same. The Orbweb.me application brings a new remote access experience to Thecus Linux NAS from any web browsers such as Chrome, Internet Explorer or Firefox as well as mobile devices powered by iOS and Android.
Orbweb.me is a P2P (Peer To Peer) module that allows users to easily view, stream and manage files in their NAS anytime and anywhere. Best of all, you don’t need to know your IP address and it works well over shared connections too.
Orbweb4.0 offers several features including webcam monitoring with timeline view and snapshot. All these features further increase Thecus NAS functionality. The Orbweb.me application is also available to download for any windows PC in its basic version, but because of the partnership between Thecus and Orbweb, Thecus NAS include a subscription for the Orbweb.me Ultimate Version that otherwise require an annual $69.99 subscription fee.
Thecus NAS uses an arsenal of security protocols and features to maintain user´s data safety. To prevent data from coming under attack when data is being transferred, Orbweb.me uses AES 256-bit encryption to secure all data traffic.
Moving on to camera equipment that doesn’t use the more-or-less default SD or micro SD cards creates an issue with most portable systems, you can’t just slide the memory card into your notebook and transfer the files over for backup or editing. Most portable systems such as notebook and ultrabooks feature SD card slots, but what if your equipment uses QXD cards instead? That’s when you need an external card reader and Lexar just introduced the Professional XQD 2.0 USB 3.0 Reader which is designed to aid professionals in quickly transferring files from XQD 2.0 cards to computers and not take up a lot of space.
Lexar already has the impressive Workflow XR2 reader, but this one is a more compact version that’s better suited for people with limited space on the go. It can easily slip into a pocket or bag, and offers a simple plug-and-play design with a USB 3.0 connector so content can be securely transferred on the go. Whether you capture photos in the RAW image format or record 4K video, this card reader will have your files transferred in no time.
“Given the rapid growth and widespread appeal of 4K video, we realised it was essential to create a reader for XQD 2.0 cards that provided professionals with a way to transfer great video and photo content without the wait time,” said Steffi Ho, product marketing manager, Lexar. “The Lexar Professional XQD 2.0 USB 3.0 Reader supercharges post-production content transfer, no matter what you’re shooting.”
Lexar backs the Professional XQD 2.0 USB 3.0 Reader with an impressive 5-year warranty and it comes with an MSRP of £29.99. Availability is expected in late April.
Provides professional-level high-speed transfer of RAW images and 4K video files
Accelerates workflow, leveraging SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology
Designed for use with XQD 2.0 cards
Compact, portable design for photographers and videographers on the go
Today’s review is a special one for me as it is the first time I get to review a PNY SSD. I got the XLR8 CS2211 2.5-inch gaming branded SSD on the test bench today and it will be interesting to see how well it does. The PNY CS2211 SSD is available in three capacities from 240GB over 480GB to 960GB from which I’ll be testing the 240GB model today.
PNY is no stranger in the SSD market and they created some great drives in the past for all sectors of the market, but they’re probably most known for their graphics cards. But we aren’t here to talk about graphics cards, it is about storage today. PNY has taken what they have learned from their previous drives and created the XLR8 branded CS2211 drive, and it shows in the performance ratings.
The drive is rated for a sequential performance of up to 565 MB/s reading and 540MB/s writing, which is about as good as it gets on the SATA3 interface. The random input-output performance is equally impressive with 95K IOPS ratings for both reading and writing. Those are at least the ratings for the larger models and the small 240GB version can’t keep fully up with that. It still comes with impressive ratings despite being a little slower ,with an 87K IOPS rating and a drop in sequential writes to 470MB/s.
It is no surprise that the drive has such good ratings as it is built with only the best components. It utilizes 15nm Toshiba MLC NAND and a Phison PS3110-S10 controller aided by 256MB DDR3 cache package
PNY gave the CS2211 the XLR8 styling as a gaming product, but the design has been toned down a bit in comparison to the previous XLR8 drive design. It is a beautiful design that makes the drive stand out and also makes in an optimal candidate for systems that proudly shows what components they are made off.
There are a lot of products that get a ‘gaming’ label in order to appeal to that market segment, but the CS2211 does deserve this label. It is a perfect gaming drive thanks to its high IOPS performance on top of the high sequential performance. You’ll copy fast, load fast, and should experience even less loading times in-game.
Feature wise we find the basic Trim and SMART capabilities, but the CS2211 also comes with background garbage collection, end-to-end data protection, and error correction code for up to 120 bits per 2K sector. Overall, we see a drive that presents itself very well and PNY agrees with a 2 million hours mean time before failure rating and a full 4-year warranty.
The 7mm slim drive is perfect for usage in both desktop and notebook systems where it also will fit well in 9.5mm drive bays thanks to the included adapter bracket. The SSD doesn’t feature the DevSleep function that I really like to see in drives, but that isn’t a deal breaker and most gamers don’t want power saving features, they want pure and raw performance which the CS2211 delivers.
Aside from the beautiful brand sticker on the top, the drive is built with a standard 2-piece snap-together enclosure that holds the PCB and doesn’t require any screws that could loosen themselves over time in high-vibration environments.
The PCB itself is a two-thirds length one with a total of eight NAND chips distributed over the front and back. The Phison PS3110 S10C controller sits firmly in the middle of the PCB. Next to it we also see the Nanya DDR3 cache chip that helps the drive to achieve the great speeds that it can.
Part Number: SSD7CS2211-240-RB
Form Factor: 2.5 inch
Interface: SATA-III 6Gb/s; backward compatible with SATA-II 3Gb/s
Max Sequential Read Speed: 560 MB/s
Max Sequential Write Speed: 470 MB/s
Max Random Read Speed: 87,000 IOPS
Max Random Write Speed: 95,000 IOPS
NAND Type: MLC
Ideal For: Gaming, Hard disk drive replacement, photo and video storage, and boot drives
Packaging and Accessories
The PNY XLR8 CS2211 solid state drive came packed in a simple black box with the PNY logo on the side.
Inside the box is the SSD itself as well as a 9.5mm adapter for usage in notebooks and laptops designed for the 9.5mm thick drives. By adding the adapter to the drive, you make sure that it’s firmly seated in the system and doesn’t rattle around.
Normally you’d get the drive in a more colourful wrapping and with an included registration key for the Acronis True Image cloning software. Review samples like this one sometimes come with a few things missing because the company is in a hurry to get the drives to us so we can test them for you – and they know that we don’t need the extras.
USB 3.1 is the newest generation and it brings quite a few improvements over the previous generation, such as the double bandwidth capabilities. The trouble with new generations of connectors is that you’ll also need to upgrade your system to use them, at least if you got an older one. Luckily you don’t need to upgrade your entire system, you can just use an expansion card. SilverStone just released the ECU03 which is such a card and it will give your system both a USB 3.1 Type A and a USB 3.1 Type C connector.
The SilverStone ECU03 offers 10 Gbps bandwidth for excellent throughput and transfer rates, especially when multiple external drives are attached simultaneously and otherwise would create bottlenecks. The ECU03 fully supports the eXtensible Host Controller Interface (XHCI) that makes it driverless for an easy installation. The expansion card also supports the USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP) that increases the overall throughput by handling multiple requests at the same time.
USB is by definition highly compatible and the card is naturally backward compatible with USB 3.0, 2.0, and 1.1 devices. Motherboard support is secured through the use of a PCI-Express Gen2 x2 interface that most stationary PCs will have available for use. Even small form factor (SFF) systems are supported as the card is designed to be low-profile. SilverStone also includes a low-profile expansion slot bracket with the card right out of the box.
Includes SuperSpeed USB 3.1 external USB Type-C connector
SuperSpeed USB 3.1 with Type A and Type C ports
PCI-E Gen2.0 x2, throughput up to 10Gbps
Compliant with eXtensible Host Controller Interface (XHCI) specification Revision 1.1
Compliant with USB Attached SCSI Protocol Revision 1.0 (UASP)
Includes optional low-profile slot cover for supporting low profile cases
By now there can’t be much doubt in anyone’s mind that 2016 will be the year that will be remembered as the year VR went mainstream. We have got 3 major players each bringing out their own VR headsets, partly they already have to early adopters, and they surely won’t be the last ones. Overclockers UK is one of the biggest gaming system builders and hardware components shops in the UK and they are also on board for this new wave of virtual reality. We’ve already seen them create dedicated HTC Vive area in their shops where customers and fans can experience the full room VR experience, so there is no doubt that they believe in this too.
Overclockers UK will also be among the 600 buyers, sellers, and developers who will attend the VR World Congress next week on April the 12th in Bristol that is being headlined by AMD and their LiquidVR. At the VRWC, you’ll find a dedicated expo hall filled to the brim with exciting and innovative companies showing the latest developments in VR.
OC UK themselves will bring their high-performance PCs, starting from the recommended VR specifications and all the way up to the 8Pack designed and built monster PC called the Asteroid. There will also be the chance to test out OCUK’s Room Scale VR Experience at their booth.
You can also be part of this yourself, if you have time and are in the area, and you can even get in for free with a little luck. Overclockers UK is giving away 2 tickets for this event and the entry is as simple as it could be. All you have to do is to visit the OCUK forums and post a reply to a thread there. You should also take the time to browse the forums a little bit while you’re there, they got some great and knowledgeable people hanging around that post a lot of interesting stuff.
There are plenty of memory cards on the market, but it aren’t all of them that are equally suited for all tasks – much in the same way as it is with any other kind of storage product. Kingston just released a new micro SD Card specifically designed for use with action cameras and that comes with UHS-I U3 Speed Class 3 ratings. The new Kingston SDCAC microSD Action Camera UHS-I U3 memory card comes in various sizes from 16GB and up to 64GB.
The new Kingston SDCAC microSD Action Camera UHS-I U3 memory card comes in various sizes from 16GB and up to 64GB. Its rugged performance and form factor make this micro SD card ideal for most action cameras including GoPro and drones.
The cards feature speeds of up to 90MB/s when reading and up to 45MB/s when writing. While that doesn’t sound like much when we compare it to SSD performance, it is quite nice for a card of this size. And we also have to keep in mind that these are minimum speed ratings and not possible maximum speeds.
The sustained performance allows outdoor enthusiasts to shoot in 4K resolutions without missing a single frame and even shoot up to 240 frames per second on normal Full-HD recordings. With a capacity availability from 16GB to 64GB, there should be a right card for everyone. The 16GB and 32GB capacities are shipping this month while the larger 64GB ships next month.
The cards can perform in any environment as they are waterproof, shockproof, X-ray proof, and temperature proof. Pretty much just proofed. The card is available in two version, with and without an SD card adapter that lets users quickly and easily view footage on a PC, notebook, or media reader.
Kingston’s microSD Action Camera UHS-I U3 is backed by a lifetime warranty, free technical support, and legendary Kingston reliability. No word on pricing yet.
Features and Specifications:
Designed for action cameras and drones: shoot video at up to 30 frames per second in 4K or capture HD footage at 240 frames per second on your GoPro, action camera or drone to preserve every second of your latest adventure.
Rugged for every adventure: waterproof, shockproof, X-ray proof, and temperature proof to perform even in harsh environments.
Enough space for your trip: whether shooting in 4K or at 240 frames per second, the card has room to keep you going.
DDR4 memory has come a long way since its introduction, but notebook and compact-system users haven’t been able to find as many choices when it comes to SO-DIMMs as the more traditional DIMM form factor. G.Skill is changing that and they’ve released yet another impressive module in this series. The new Ripjaws DDR4 modules can achieve 3000MHz at CL16 timings and they do so at a lower power consumption than other modules.
While DDR4 modules consume less power than DDR3 did, running them at such high speeds as 3000MHz usually requires modules to require 1.35V to perform at these speeds. But not these new Ripjaws modules, these modules will perform these speeds at just 1.2V and support the latest XMP 2.0 standard designed for 6th Gen Intel Core processors.
The new modules will be available in four different kits with either 8GB or 16GB modules and in packs with either one or two modules. Having SO-DIMMs that run with CL 16-18-18-43 timings at 3000MHz is already nice, but having them do so at just 1.2V is even more impressive. Adding that extra power and up to 32GB memory to compact systems is suddenly looking a lot easier.
Should your interest have been woken now, then there is some good news. You don’t have to wait very long to get the new G.Skill Ripjaws DDR4-3000MHz SO-DIMM modules as they will be available this month, April 20166, at authorized distributing partners. G.Skill did not reveal any pricing at this point, but we can assume that we’ll need to pay a fair price for such impressive and tiny memory modules.
Do you have any systems that would benefit from SO-DIMMs in this capacity, and if, would you upgrade to get that extra memory performance or are you happy with the more default 2133 to 2400MHz DDR4 memory speeds? Let us know in the comments.
Today we are taking a closer look at fast external storage, more specifically Lexar’s newest portable SSD called the D512. Lexar also offers the drive in a smaller D256 version with 256GB capacity, but I have the pleasure to have to big 512GB model on the test bench today.
Right away we see that we have a small and compact drive which is perfect for a portable unit. On top of that, it is also a very light drive that you barely will notice when you have it packed next to the rest of your items. So we have a strong portable drive right of the start, but what about the performance. Performance has to match and that’s where a portable SSD shines over a flash drive. Both types of drives use NAND technology, but other than that there are big differences.
Lexar’s portable SSD is capable of sequential transfer speeds up to 450MB/s when reading and 245MB/s writing which is pretty nice for a portable storage solution that is as small and light as the D512. The is no official rating for random performance, but we’ll naturally have a look at that once we get the benchmarks rolling.
The tiny D512 provides plenty of space for you while you are on the go and travel about. Whether you want to take along you movie collect, music library, and photos, you’re covered with plenty of storage. It is also an optimal drive to unload all your vacation photos onto from memory cards and portable capture devices.
One of the unique things that come with the D512 is the capacity meter on the front. The first five LEDs act as such and will light up as the drive gets filled with data. This allows you an instant view on the drive fillage as soon as you plug it into your system. The second unique feature works in conjunction with Lexar’s other Workflow products. The new portable SSD uses the same form factor and connector which makes it compatible with the Workflow drive hubs. Just plug the drive in and you are good to go. I love the Workflow system so much and use it almost every day for my work here at eTeknix.
The drive is also highly compatible when it comes to volume setup as it supports both NTFS, FAT32, and exFAT. On its own, the drive is fully plug-and-play and doesn’t require any drivers or tools of any sort. This naturally originates from USB standard that is plug-and-play by definition.
Lexar is part of the Micron Group which also means that the drive is equipped with some of the best NAND flash on the market and that has undergone high-grade quality checks before assembly.
SSD-level performance — up to 450MB/s read and 245MB/s write speeds
Sleek and compact design
Available in 256GB and 512GB capacity options
LED capacity meter displays available storage space
Great for use with Lexar Professional Workflow line products
Two-year limited warranty
Package and Accessories
Lexar packed the 512GB Portable SSD in a neat white box that shows the drive’s look and basic specifications on the top.
The bottom of the box also has the system requirements, which is a USB port, as well as the basic specification again, but in several languages.
Inside the box, you will find the portable SSD itself as well as a USB 3.0 cable.
Both sides of the drive are covered with a protective plastic film to make sure it arrives scratch-free in your hands. It also gives you that little bit of joy it is to remove the film from your brand new device.
Giada is no stranger to the compact systems, but the new i80 takes it to a whole new level with power in a compact chassis. The tiny i80 mini-PC is built on Intel’s NUC concept that packs plenty of power in a compact form factor and coupled with a fashionable appearance, as they call it. The i80 is using the latest Skylake-U processors and support dual 4K UHD resolution that makes it perfect for office work.
The Giada i80 features both HDMI and Mini-DisplayPort connectors for your monitors and they are powered by an Intel Graphics 520 GPU unit. There are two different models with different CPU, but other than that the two models are the same. One uses an Intel Core i5-6200U processor with 2.5GHz and 2.8GHz boost while the other uses the smaller i3-6100U processor with 2..3GHz and no Turbo Boost 2.0.
You are able to install up to 16GB DDR3L-1600 MHz in these units via the two SO-DIMM slots which should be plenty for most work situations. The two slots also allow for dual-channel memory usage that gives a clear benefit over units that only feature one slot.
There are plenty of connection and control options. Starting on the front, there are two USB 3.0 ports next to a 3.5mm audio jack and an IR receiver.
The connections continue on the rear where we find the previously mentioned Mini-DisplayPort that supports 4K 60Hz resolutions and the HDMI port that allows 4K resolutions with 24Hz. There are two more USB 3.0 ports on the rear where you also find an RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet connector and a TF card reader.
On the inside, you will find an integrated Realtek ALC662 audio codec that powers the two-in-on jack on the front. The Ethernet is powered by Intel’s i219LM controller.
You can expand the function with a full-length Mini-PCIe card that supports mSATA2, a half-length Mini-PCIe Wi-Fi or BT module, and install one mSATA3 drive as well as one 2.5-inch SATA3 drive with a maximum height of 7.5mm. That is quite a bit of expansion options for such a tiny system. speaking of tiny, the system only measures 116.6 x 111 x 47.1 mm
The larger i80-B5000 model comes with a suggested retail price of $380, but the price for the smaller i80-B3000 model wasn’t revealed at this time. Further details can also be found on the official product page.
ASUSTOR announced the launch of two new economical entry-level multimedia NAS devices called the AS3202T and AS3204T. The difference between the two is the number of drives you can mount, either 2 or 4. The new AS32 Series is built around Intel’s latest Celeron 1.6GHz quad-core CPU that provides plenty of processing power for such units and they come with 2GB DDR3 dual-channel memory.
Besides being a great quad-core CPU for NAS usage, the systems also feature Intel’s AES-NI encryption instructions that allow the devices to support hardware encryption. This is something that gives a far better performance when dealing with encrypted drives than a software solution would.
The AS32 series also features a great graphics processing unit that allows you to use the NAS as a multimedia hub. You can connect the systems directly to a TV or monitor for direct playback without the use of other devices. Attach a keyboard and mouse or use an IR remote to stay in control of the system.
The ASUSTOR Portal App makes it easy and allows you to use the NAS to browse the web, change the configuration, use KODI and similar apps while the official ASUSTOR remote control completes the couch experience. Users can centrally store all of their digital multimedia on the NAS (photos, music, movies) and play it all back on demand, enjoying a comprehensive home multimedia experience.
The AS32 series doesn’t feature external drive bays, but still work with a toolless mounting system that allows you to easily install everything just by the use of thumbscrews. The exterior design uses the diamond pattern that we’ve seen before, for example on the AS1002T that we reviewed a little while ago.
“In order to provide better multimedia playback experience to consumers, we are launching the AS3202T and AS3204T tower model NAS devices which feature powerful performance,” said Johnny Chen, Product Manager at ASUSTOR. “When compared to the 31 series devices of the previous generation, the 32 series devices provide even more powerful graphics processing capabilities which allow for sharper imaging and smoother playback for all high definition multimedia.”
External storage can be connected to the three USB 3.0 ports on the AS32 series. One is located on the front for easier access and the other two are on the back next to the Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port and the HDMI 1.4a port.
The NAS naturally come with ASUSTOR’s ADM operating system that’s both easy to use and setup. There is no need for complex installation and the devices can be setup with just a three steps. This makes it a great NAS for beginners as it’s budget friendly, easy to install, and still powerful.
Besides the default function, the functionality can be expanded with a large variety of add-on applications that can be installed directly from the built-in app central. There are mobile companion apps too for users that want to access their storage on the go and through the comfort of their smart devices.
Currently, ADM version 2.5.4 is the latest official version of the operating system, but the ADM 2.6 beta is available too and thereby we can expect the full version of this to be released soon too. The latest ADM 2.6 beta includes upgrades to ASUSTOR Portal web applications by increasing YouTube 1080p playback performance and support for a rich variety of streaming video sites such as Netflix, MetaCafe, US Stream, Vimeo, Youkou, Tudou and more.
Synology released a new NAS that is a little different that what we’re used to seeing. First off it is very tiny and it is also a bit in reverse, but with good reason. The new Synology Diskstation DS416slim is a NAS for 2.5-inch hard disk drives and drives are plugged through the rear. With its measurements, 18.4 cm x 16.8 cm x 23.0 cm, and its low weight, 700 grams, the DS416slim is a ultra-small NAS that still packs quite a punch.
The Synology DiskStation DS416slim is built around an Armada 385 Dual Core 1.0GHz CPU and comes with 512 MB DDR3 memory. That is enough to allow this tiny unit to perform with up to 170MB/s read and 77MB/s write performance through a link aggregated windows connection. The CPU also features a dedicated hardware encryption engine.
As mentioned above, the DS416slim is capable of link aggregation and that is because it comes with two RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports on the rear panel. Whether you want to configure them for load balancing or failover protection is naturally your choice. The NAS also comes with two USB 3.0 ports for external storage and other devices, one on the front for easy access and one on the rear for more permanent connected devices.
The rear is also where you find the four drive bays that each can hold a 2.5-inch hard disk drive or solid state drive with a height up to 12.5mm. Without any real height limitation, the choice of drives to use is yours. The power consumption is rated at about 17 watts during access and just 11 watts during HDD hibernation, which also makes it a very power efficient NAS. The noise output is rated to 20.3 dBA.
As this is a Synology NAS, it naturally comes with their own impressive DSM operation system. The DSM system also just got a major overhaul and version 6.0 was just released as well. You get tons of streaming and backup options as well as mobile apps and security when you pick a DSM 6.0 powered NAS.
The new Synology DS416slim comes with a recommended retail price of £222.00 including VAT or €248.64 excluding VAT, and it is backed by a 2-year warranty.
Synology released the final version of DiskStation Manager (DSM) 6.0 after six months of beta programs and it was well worth the wait. DSM 6.0 is a major leap in the development of DSM and introduces major enhancements in every aspect including Virtualisation, Cloud Solution, Collaboration, Security, Multimedia, Accessibility and much more. Loyal readers will also have seen our review on DSM 6.0 just a few weeks ago where we had a go with it ahead of time.
There are so many improvements in DSM 6.0 that it is hard to get them all mentioned in a post like this, but I’ll try to bring you the highlights. Should you want to check out more details on the individual new function before you upgrade, then you can visit the official minisite for DSM 6.0 and check up on all the details. One of the awesome new functions that you’ll barely notice except for its usability is the new powerful content indexing service. This effective feature allows you to quickly reach all your data with a full content search for more than 700 file formats including office documents and metadata from your media files. With this, you’ll quickly find the files you’re looking for, no matter where on your NAS they’re located.
The Cloud Station Suite also made file syncing a lot easier, no matter what device you’re using. It is now all in one place and easy to setup and configure. Whether you just want to use it for backups to your personal cloud or sync it with a host of cloud storage services too, the Cloud Station Suite makes it easy.
A lot of the really new features in DSM 6.0 focus on the enterprise users, but the home users were in no way forgotten. DSM 6.0 focused highly on optimizing the multimedia experience. The redesigned Video Station with offline transcoding allows you to watch movies anytime, anywhere. Multimedia mobile apps support multiple devices including the new Apple TV, Apple Watch, and Windows 10. Media storage and access are some of the main reasons for home users to get a NAS and with these improvements you can be sure to have a smooth experience, anytime, anywhere.
The advanced collaboration tools are equally useful for home and enterprise users alike. Whether you are calculating prices for customers or keep track of your household expenses, you can do it all on your own NAS without the need for any local software. Create Spreadsheets or use the advanced Note Station yourself or share, edit, and collaborate with friends, family, and coworkers.
The concept of electronic mail is as old as the internet itself. DiskStation Manager now also comes with the all-new MailPlus and MailPlus Server packages that allow you to set up a secure and reliable private mail server as well as use a modern email client for receiving and sending messages. Again, everything will run on your own server and you remain in full control and don’t need to rely on third-party services. While this mostly is relevant to enterprise users, there are quite a few enthusiasts such as myself that could benefit greatly from this system at home too.
DSM 6.0 also offers a much greater support for SSD cache that ensures a significant boost in performance for those that need more than the average. This is mainly for enterprise users and so is the newly added support for shared folders with over one petabyte of storage space. The Btrfs file system is now also supported on more NAS models than before, which in itself adds a row of great features such as data compression and data scrubbing.
DSM 6.0 also introduces Snapshot Replication to Synology’s NAS’ that offers near-continuous data protection as well as multi-site replication for an even better protection of your files. In addition, Synology’s Hyper Backup package can now perform multi-version backups of all types of destinations.
Consolidating physical servers with virtualization technology can increase server utilization and reduce business operating costs – and it’s also really cool. DSM 6.0 introduces two new features here with Docker DSM and Virtual DSM that enables users to build a reliable and multi-tenant environment on their Synology NAS.
Virtual DSM allows you to deploy multiple virtual instances of DiskStation Manager on the same unit. You can easily live migrate virtual machines to another Synology NAS and test out DSM upgrades in isolated virtual machines before you effectively install it. There is no need to worry about downtimes when upgrading with such a feature. It also adds another layer of security as it protects the physical machine from being affected if the virtual machine gets attached.
Docker DSM is a lightweight virtualization system with data protection where you don’t have to give up system performance. It can be containerized and run on a Btrfs shared folder with little performance impact, yet provide you with a lot of benefits. It only requires 256MB memory for each Docker DSM where Virtual DSM requires 1GB or more each and the only real difference is the whether you need the ability to use iSCSI LUN and targets.
So, it might be time to upgrade your Synology NAS. You can find a full list of applied models for each function and check out the full software specification too if you want to know more. As a user that already had the pleasure to play with DSM 6.0, I can highly recommend it.
You might already have your graphics card and processor coupled into your liquid cooling setup, but what about your memory? While memory isn’t a thing that’s obvious to add to your custom loop right away, there can be good reasons to do so. To name one: Parts of your system that otherwise wouldn’t run hot might start to do so because of the lack of airflow generated by the fans from traditionally cooled equipment such as CPU and GPU coolers.
Liquid cooling for memory isn’t anything new as such, but EKWB just released a new version of the EK-RAM Monarch cooling modules where the existing black variant is now also available as a Nickel plated version. The EK-RAM Monarch Module is a heatsink adapter which allows virtually any DDR-SDRAM memory module of any generation to be liquid cooled – but it also requires the EK-RAM Monarch series water blocks to go on top.
Each heatsink consists of two separate plates with the memory module sandwiched in between. The heat transfer between the memory module and aluminium heatsink adapter is ensured by the use of an enclosed thermal pad. Each set of EK-RAM Monarch Modules contains two adapter heatsinks that are made of CNC machined high-quality aluminium and feature either a nickel finish or a black anodized finish.
The EK-RAM Monarch modules are available now through EK’s own webshop and their partner reseller network. A nickel plated set of two modules will set you back €34.95 while the black version is a little cheaper and only will cost you €29.95. Both prices include VAT.
Besides the above-mentioned reason of missing airflow in the memory area, adding liquid cooling to your memory will also allow you to overclock them higher while still retaining a stable system. While memory overclocking won’t result in as big a real-world difference as other parts such as CPU and GPU, it might be just what you’re missing to grab those last couple of benchmarks points and beat your friends results. Maybe you’ll also just do it for aesthetic reasons – the modules do look awesome.
Getting free games bundles with your graphics card or motherboard isn’t something new, that has been around for quite a while now, but it is a rarity that we also see games being bundled with power supplies. In fact, I can’t remember it happening before myself. However, that is exactly what EVGA has done as the have gone ahead and bundled Grey Goo Definitive Edition with select power supplies.
The game isn’t just bundled with a one or two power supplies, this offer applies to pretty much the entire 80Plus Gold, Platinum, and Titanium rated power supply lineup, as you can see in the list below. Ranging from entry level 550W models all the way up to impressive 1600W models, the offer is made available for most people.
Grey Goo is a real-time strategy (RTS) game that combines classic strategy mechanics and a balanced combat system with an emphasis on large-scale decision-making. It puts you at the centre of a tactical struggle for survival – and ultimately, control of Ecosystem 9.
The game features both a single-player campaign as well as multiplayer action with your friends and enemies. In single player, you have the option to play one of three factions: Humans, Beta, and the Goo. The Humans are the masters of defensive architecture while the Beta only is described as a proud and versatile alien race. The Goo is probably what most people will want to play tho as that is the enigmatic and highly mobile life form made up of, yes you guessed it, grey goo. In the multiplayer part, you also get a fourth faction, the disruptive and unpredictable Shroud.
As always with this kind of offer, there are a few conditions to get the free game. You’ll have to have purchased the power supply on March the 25th, 2016 or later from an authorized reseller. You’ll also need to register the purchased product to get the game key. Once you’ve followed the redeem guide, you’ll get a game code emailed that you then can activate through your Steam app as you most likely have done with so many games before.