ADATA Launches HD650X and HD710M USB 3.0 Hard Drives

We already had a little view on ADATA’s new drive line-up during our visit at CES 2016 in Vegas last month and now two of the new portable drives have been officially launched. The two new drives are both from the rugged series and can withstand quite a bit of mistreatment. The two newly launched drives are the HD650X designed for use with the Xbox 360 and Xbox One as well as the HD710M camouflage-styled drive.

The Xbox One currently ships with a 1TB hard drive built-in, but considering the fact that a game these days easily take up 50GB and subscribers keep getting games for free, that 1TB can quickly end up full and leave you with the decision on what to delete to make room for something else. That is where the ADATA HD650X comes into play as it adds 2TB extra storage directly to the gaming console via the USB 3.0 port. The colour scheme has also been made to match the console with its green and black. Being that this basically is a normal USB drive, it’s also compatible with Windows XP and newer as well as Mac OS X 10.6 or later and Linux Kernel 2.6 or later.

The ADATA HD710M is designed for general usage and comes in two capacity options: 1TB and 2TB. The camouflage coloured enclosure is made from the same concept that we’ve seen in previous models such as the HD720 that we recently reviewed. It is waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof to keep all your data as safe as possible. It doesn’t just have the basic IP6X cerification, but also the IPX8 and the US Army MIL-STD-810G 516.6 certification. These in combination allow the drive to be completely dust proof, extremly drop and shock resistant, and waterproof in up to 1.5 meters of water for an hour without damage to your drive or data.

ADATA didn’t reveal an official pricing, but you can expect these new drives to have a similar price to the other rugged ADATA HD drives already on the market.

ADATA Premier SP550 240GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


I’ve had the pleasure to review several new drives with triple-level-cell (TLC) NAND recently and today it is time to take a closer look at ADATA’s Premier SP550 solid state drive. The drive is equipped with said TLC flash and an SMI controller to provide an affordable performance upgrade. The ADATA Premier SP550 is available in capacities from 120GB and all the way up to 960GB, I’m however taking a closer look at the 256GB model today.

Let us start with the basics. The ADATA Premier SP550 is a 2.5-inch solid state drive with a 7mm height that makes it a perfect fit for ultrabooks. ADATA also packed a drive spacer along for notebooks that require a 9.5mm drive. This makes it suitable for almost any system, mobile or stationary.

As previously mentioned, the SP550 utilities TLC flash and an SMI2256 controller that comes with all the features that you want and a couple more. The drive naturally supports the basics such as NCQ, SMART, TRIM and Garbage collection, but it also features a low-density parity check error correction code (LDPC ECC) and RAID engine. The drive also supports SLC Caching and comes with a DDR3 DRAM cache buffer for sustained transfer speeds. All that along with Data Shaping technology should ensure data integrity and stability.

The endurance is rated for 90TB total bytes written (TBW) and the SP550 has a mean time before failure rating of 1.5 million hours. The 240GB model is rated for a sequential read performance up to 560MB/s and a sequential write performance up to 510MB/s. That is pretty good for a small drive that’s TLC based. The random performance is rated for 75K IOPS on both read and write operations. Part of the good performance rating comes from the intelligent SLC caching algorithm of the drive that allows NAND flash memory to operate in SLC mode and boosts SSD read and write performance.

A feature not mentioned above is the DevSleep, or Device Sleep, that in supported systems will send the drive to an even deeper sleep state where it consumes close to zero amount of power. Instead of keeping a data channel open for a wake-up signal, the DevSleep uses a power signal to wake the drive back up.

ADATA also got an SSD toolbox that makes maintenance of the drive an easy thing. You can quickly and conveniently configure, optimize, and monitor SSDs, from overall status to specific drive health and lifespan info. Speaking of lifespan, the ADATA Premier SP550 is backed by a 3-year warranty.

Inside the two-piece encasing, we find a 2/3 sized PCB where we see that nothing but quality components were used. The NAND is rom SKhynix, the cache from NANYA, and the controller from Silicon Motion.

Features

  • TLC flash with SMI controller Capacity Model Number EAN Code
  • Advanced LDPC ECC Technology
  • RAID Engine & Data Shaping for ultimate protection
  • Intelligent SLC Caching for improved performance
  • High TBW for extended drive longevity
  • DEVSLP (Device Sleep) supported

Specifications

  • Capacities: 120GB / 240GB / 480GB / 960GB
  • Controller: SMI
  • NAND Flash Memory: Toggle TLC (3-bit MLC)
  • 7mm 2.5-inch SATA 6Gb/sec (SATA III) interface
  • ECC Capability: Advanced hardware LDPC engine
  • Dimensions (L x W x T): 100.45 x 69.85 x 7mm *Varies depending on exact configuration
  • Operating Temperature: 0~70°C
  • Storage Temperature: -40~85°C
  • Shock Resistance: 1500G/0.5ms
  • Weight: 68g / 2.4oz
  • MTBF: 1,500,000 hours
  • Warranty: 3 years

Package and Accessories

ADATA packed the SP550 in a simple white box that has a transparent window showcasing the included drive itself. The front also features all the relevant features that the drive sports.

The rear of the box has all the details in multiple languages as well as the rated speeds.

Inside the box we find the drive itself as well as a 9.5mm drive adapter and a quick start guide.

ADATA Showcase Latest Enterprise, Industrial and Computer Hardware @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Adata have a huge range of products already on the market and it looks like they’ll be keeping that pace up throughout 2016. On display this year, we’ve got their Enterprise Server drives, which come fitted into their new ADATA Flash Array (AFA), a flash media only NAS storage system that can deliver > 1M 4K Random IOPS!

Durability has always been a strong point for ADATA, and their new industrial drive is set to continue that trend.

Much like the new Enterprise Server drive, the Industrial also comes equipped with all the high-end features you would expect from a durable and high-performance drive. The only real thing that changes on most drives these days are capacities go up, price per GB goes down, but that’s a trend I like anyway!

Moving on to their consumer products, we’ve got a great range of braided, and very high-quality overall, USB 3.0 Type-C cables.

Their latest range of power banks, one of the best ranges we’ve seen actually and there seems to be a shape, size and capacity for pretty much everyone here.

ADATA were really proud of their new UE710 ORG UFD drive, and I’m sure many Apple device users will know why. This will be a great device for quickly backing up and transferring files.

The latest durable drive, perfect if you’re storage drive is important, as it’ll survive a lot of water and a fair few drops on the floor without issue.

One of my favourite toys here, the AURA RGB Bulb. Equipped with Bluetooth 4.0, you can dial in any colour or brightness you like from your mobile phone, meaning you can always set the mood just right.

The RC300 is the first dashcam from ADATA, but give their specialty is storage and recording devices, I can’t think of anyone better for the job. The unit is light and compact, but still offers full HD recording.

2TB is certainly impressive, but it’s the “and larger” part we want to see. Another great drive from ADATA here and we can’t wait to try out the rest of their new 3D NAND hardware.

When performance and style are equally important, the new XPG Dazzle memory will deliver on both fronts. Equipped with LED lighting on those aggressive heat spreaders, they’re going to look great in a lot of gaming systems.

There’s a lot of great products on show here today, and we’ve already reached out to ADATA to bring you some in-depth reviews on their latest hardware. Stay tuned for updates over the coming weeks.

ADATA HD720 Durable 1TB External Hard Drive Review

Introduction


People with an active lifestyle deserve to carry their storage around with them just as well as clumsy people do, but they should pick their portable storage with care and make sure that it can withstand the treatment it will get. Today I’m taking a closer look at just such a storage drive as I’m having ADATA’s HD720 ultra durable external hard drive with a sporty design on and off the test bench.

The ADATA HD720 is available in three capacity versions, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB. Today I’m taking a closer look at the 1TB model and will test both its performance on my benchmark system as well as its durability with some clumsy but calculated actions. The HD720 is dustproof, waterproof, and shock resistant for an excellent data protection even when the worst case scenario should happen.

The drive has passed the stringent IP68 test thanks to its durable design. The HD720 even works normally in dusty environments as well as after being submerged in up to 2-meter deep water for up to 2 hours. The HD720 also passed the standard military-grade requirement (MIL-STD-810G 516.6) and even went beyond that and passed the 1.8m drop test.

This is all thanks to the rugged enclosure that the drive is built into. Deep inside the HD720 is a 2.5-inch sized HDD that first of all is cushioned mounted on its own. Next it is covered by a plastic shock structure followed by a special silicon layer that in combination provide the drive with its resilience. The HD720 also features a G-Shock sensor that flashes red when the drive should register a severe shock. When the shock has passed, a solid or flashing blue light displays indicating normal operation has resumed.

A portable drive also needs to be convenient. Thanks to the use of a 2.5-inch HDD you don’t need any extra power supply, the drive can draw enough power directly from the USB connection. The included cable can’t be static attached either or the drive would lose some of its durability. ADATA made a wrap around design on the HD720, allowing you to tug the drive into the groves on the edge of the drive – that at the same time give the drive an even better protection from a side impact.

There are three color choices on the HD720, either blue and black, green and black or completely black. ADATA backs this 211gram light drive with a 3-year warranty.

Feature Highlights:

  • Up to 2TB capacity
  • Dust, Water, and Shock-proof
  • USB 3.0 connection.
  • Cable wrap-around
  • Passed IP68 and MIL-STD-810G 516.6
  • G-Shock Sensor

Packaging

ADATA packed their durable HD720 in a white cardboard box that has a window to view the actual drive inside. The front highlights the capacity as well as safety features that it comes with.

The rear of the box has a little more information about the specifications in multiple languages as well as details on the waterproof, dustproof, and shockproof capabilities.

Inside the box is the drive wrapped with a USB 3 connection cable and a quick start guide should you need that.

ADATA Launches the ICFS332 CFast Card with SLC and 560MB/s Throughput

Industrial grade products gain their name because they are able to work in much harsher environments than ordinary parts and that is no different when it comes to storage. AData just released a new ICFS332 industrial grade CFast card for that delivers SSD performance and reliability in a very compact form factor.

The ICFS332 CFast card utilizes the SATA3 interface to deliver speeds up to 560MB/s while reading and impressive 400MB/s when writing. The ICFS332 uses SLC NAND that also provides the best reliability, also visible in the 2 million hour mean time before failure rating.

As previously mentioned, industrial applications are run in environments that are a lot harsher, which isn’t a problem for the Adata ICFS332 CFast card that can operate in temperatures between minus 40 degrees and plus 90 degrees Celcius. The cards allow for long-term deployment in these conditions, making the optimal system drives here.

The AData ICFS332 is available in 4GB to 64GB capacities and employs a full range of technologies including ECC and S.M.A.R.T. for high-reliability data transfer and improved security, but also more advanced wear leveling technology to extend the longevity. They come with open API (application programming interface) support that allows customer implementation of intuitive interfaces to easily manage data, monitor storage health, customize features, and integrate web services.

Thecus N7770-10G Elite-Class Business 7-Bay NAS Review

Introduction


Today’s review is a real pleasure for me as I get to take a closer look and test an elite class business NAS with built-in 10GbE and high availability function. I got Thecus’ N7770-10G 7-bay business NAS on the table and I’m going to give it thorough testing to show you just how amazing it is.

When I review consumer class NAS devices, I often talk about how they are suited for all sorts of media and streaming needs as that is the main focus for that group. The Thecus N7770-10G does all this too and it does it great, but it isn’t what it was designed for. This is a business class NAS and as such it needs a whole other set of features and functionality. You get a complete backup solution that includes the use of external devices, cloud backup, snapshots, and client backup as well as total security thanks to Intel Security Antivirus, AES 256-bit encryption, and VPN server functionality. The N7770-10G still provides all the mobile connectivity and media streaming capabilities as well as centralized authentication control.

The Thecus N7770-10G NAS isn’t built around a low-power ARM or Intel Celeron CPU, instead it’s built with a full Intel Core i3-2120 dual-core processor that has a base clock speed of 3.3GHz. To go with that CPU, you get 8GB DDR3 ECC memory that is expandable all the way to 32GB, dual Gigabit Ethernet, 10GbE card pre-installed, and 7 drive bays for a lot of raw storage.

It is my personal opinion that we have been stuck at 1Gbps ethernet connections for way too long. While we had the ability to link those together to achieve better connections, it is old by now and today’s needs also increase the need for better connectivity. In that regard, I’m glad to see Thecus having this model with an included 10GbE adapter, making it ready for the step into the next speed category. It still features two Intel 82574L Gigabit Ethernet connections too, which you naturally all can link aggregate and trunk. Further, you get a total of six USB 2.0 ports where two of them are on the front and two USB 3.0 ports on the rear. The HDMI port further allows you to turn your NAS into the ultimate multimedia hub by connecting the NAS directly to your TV or monitor.

The N7770-10G supports RAID 0, 1, 5, 6 10, 50 and JBOD modes besides single disk usage. You can create multiple RAID volumes with different modes, only limited by the amount of drives you have available for the pool. Should a hard drive malfunction occur, changing one is simple thanks to online RAID migration and expansion, hot spare, and auto rebuild. You can also pick which filesystem you prefer as the N7770-10G supports EXT3, EXT4, Btrfs and XFS for increased flexibility and ability to suit many different types of environments. Users can simultaneously use different file systems across multiple RAID volumes to get the best of each one.

iSCSI Thin-Provisioning is a thing that many people still read past as they don’t really know what it is, but it is well worth getting the handle on, as you can manage your storage better and get better speeds. 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. Windows Server, NT, and XP users will need to download the iSCIC initiator from Microsoft, but Windows 7, 8, and 10 users, for example, have it built right into the OS. If in doubt, just search for iSCSI from your Windows start menu search.

Two awesome features in Thecus NAS’ that often are overlooked, are the Disk Clone and Disk Wipe functions. Both can be extremely useful for both business and home users. The Disk Clone features allows you to copy the entire contents of a disk to one or many other disks while the Disk Wipe function allows you to permanently destroy a volumes data.

Business data is sensitive data and sensitive data needs to be protected. Thecus N7770-10G offers AES 256-bit RAID volume encryption that allows you to fully encrypt the entire RAID volume. Sensitive data also has to be sent and received with the proper security, for this you can set up the VPN server. It allows users to remotely access a secure network with the equipment already at hand.

Data Guard backup solution is the ultimate software as it provides both local and remote parts. Currently, data is backed up across RAID volumes and external drives. In addition, Data Guard uses innovative technology to sync data across the network to other NAS and servers. It makes managing NAS user-friendly and convenient. But there are many ways to backup your data and the Thecus N7770-10G pretty much supports them all.

With BTRFS support, users can enjoy the simplicity of snapshot backups. 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. Rsync is probably the most common used technique and Thecus supports this too. It gives great flexibility with remote backup capability, a flexible scheduler, and the stability of Linux-based transfer.

You can easily create your own cloud solution with the Thecus N7770-10G, but that doesn’t mean that the existing cloud providers should be counted out. There can be many reasons to use these services and Thecus supportsDropBox, Amazon S3, and ElephantDrive cloud backup functionality. The best here is that it is as easy to use and setup as all the normal and local sharing functions.

Data Burn is another great feature that comes in line with the previous mentioned Disk Clone and Disk Wipe features. With Data Burn, you can connect a CD, DVD, or Blue-ray burner and create physical optical backups of your data. In addition, it also supports burning of ISO image files instead. You can of course also use a connected optical drive to easily backup the data to your NAS.

When you buy a Thecus NAS like this, you also get a few extra software pieces that are well worth having. The hardware in itself is solid quality while failovers and redundancies are available for almost all systems. But you also need to protect your files and an Antivirus software is perfect for this. Thecus partnered with McAfee and includes their award-winning software for free.

Acronis True Image is also included for free and it is one of the easiest ways to manage your backups, I use it quite often on both a personal level and for my reviews setups. It is one of the easiest pieces of backup software available with a long set of functions and One-click protection setups.

Keeping an eye on the NAS while you’re on the go isn’t a problem either thanks to iOS and Android connectivity. With T-OnTheGo and the T-Dashboard, you can manage your NAS, and upload to and download/stream from your NAS using an iOS or Android device on the go.

Feature Highlights

  • Intel Core i3-2120 (3.3.GHz Dual Core) processor
  • 8 GB DDR3 ECC Memory (Expandable to 32 GB)
  • 10GbE card included
  • 1 x HDMI port
  • Hot-swappable hard drives
  • RAID 0, 1, 5, 6, 10, 50, and JBOD

Packaging and Accessories

The front and the back of the box look the same, and it looks stunning. There is no doubt looking at the package that we’re dealing with a premium NAS. The feature highlights as well as the NAS itself are shown clearly and easy to spot.

The side of the box goes more into detail on the specifications and package content. This is also where it will be marked what market it is intended for, which really only comes down to what power cable is included.

The other side shows the feature highlights and how it can be useful in pretty much any scenario. As the box says, A NAS for every need.

Inside the box we find a power cable for our region, a single RJ45 ethernet cable, four keys for the drive trays, screws for seven 3.5-inch drives and screws for seven 2.5-inch drives as well as a utilities disk, warranty card, and quick installation guide.

ADATA Launches the Premier SP550 SATA SSD

ADATA launched their newest drive, the ADATA SP550 SATA3 SSD, that is said to bring a great performance vs cost ratio. The drive is built with SMI’s SM2256 controller that comes with plenty of features as well as triple-level cell NAND, SLC Caching, and DDR3 cache, which when coupled should create an amazing drive.

The ADATA SP550 is available in four different capacities, 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB, a choice for everyone. The drive comes in a standard 2.5-inch 7mm form factor and is bundled with a 9.5mm adapter to make it compatible with laptops that have the bigger slots. The SMI2256 controller also supports DevSleep, which is another bonus for laptop and netbook users as it will draw a lot less power when idling. Besides DevSleep, you also get LDPC ECC (low-density parity check error correction) and RAID engine for enhanced data protection, stability, and reliability.

One of the things that ADATA highlight on this drive, besides the performance vs cost ratio, is the overall lifetime thanks to the TBW rating that it comes with. The two smallest drives have a 90TB TBW rating while the 480GB can write 180TB and the 960GB version has a total bytes written rating of 360TB. The read performance is rated up to 560MB/s on all models and 510MB/s write performance, except the 120GB version that only can 410MB/s when writing. The 4K random performance is rated to 75K reading and writing for the 3 largest models while the small one only does 60K reading and 70K writing.

The three small drives are already listed for purchase while the 960GB still has to be dispatched. The 120GB can be found starting at €54, the 240GB from €90 and the 480GB starting from €180. So a fair guess would be 360 Euros for the 960GB version, when available. The drives are backed by a 3-year warranty.

ADATA Launches SP600NS34 M.2 2242 SATA 6Gb/s SSD

ADATA’s new Premier SP600NS34 M.2 2242 SATA 6Gb/s SSD for Ultrabooks and desktop PCs has officially launched and it is ready to meet the users latest demands. It is a slimmer, faster, and power-saving drive to store all your data.

The Premier SP600NS34 comes in two capacities, either 128GB or 256GB, and adopts the smallest SSD form factor M.2 2242 that only measures 22 x 42 x 3.5 mm. Small size doesn’t mean small performance and this drive shows that. It is based on a JMicron controller and synchronous MLC to perform sequential read operations up to 550MB/s and a random read and write performance of 75K and 77K respectively.

It supports DEVSLP that helps to extend the battery lifetime of your ultrabook and also comes with BCH ECC (Error Correction Code) up to 72bits/1KB. It also supports Intel Smart Response Technology that automatically identifies the most frequently used data and applications and thereby increases the data transfer rate and it has a DDR3 DRAM Cache Buffer that also helps with the transfer rates.

The drive is officially launched, but I couldn’t find it listed at any shop or retailer yet, but that is bound to happen very soon. ADATA didn’t supply an MSRP either, but we shouldn’t expect this to be an incredible expensive drive despite its great feature list.

ADATA Reveals XPG Z2 DDR4 Memory and Sets Impressive New Record

ADATA announced that they have set a new world record in the air-cooled DDR4 segment using their XPG memory modules and an MSI X99A XPOWER AC motherboard. Not only did ADATA set this impressive new overclocking record, but this is also the first time we get to see the new XPG Z2 DDR4 modules pictured, or rather rendered.

The MSI X99A XPOWER AC has been used to break a lot of records lately and as such isn’t a surprise to be involved in yet another one. To achieve this, they used the XPG Z2 DDR4 3400MHz modules and managed to push it all the way to 4034MHz.

“In cooperation with motherboard manufacturers, ADATA strives to achieve the best performance in DDR4 memory compliant with the Intel® X99 architecture. The XPG Z2 DDR4 3400 breaks the record with extremely high clock frequency of 4034MHz, impressing both gamers and standard CPU clock users alike with outstanding sustained performance, cooling and stability!”

I really like the design choice with the black PCB and simple yet elegant large heatsink and wouldn’t mind having a full set of them in my own system. The normal 3400MHz CL timings for these modules are 16-16-16 at 1.35V.

The new ADATA XPG Z2 modules will be demonstrated in running systems at Computex next week from June 2nd to 6th in Taipei, where fans can check them out and see the performance with their own eyes.

ADATA Launches PV120 Power Bank with Leather-Like Exterior

ADATA launches its PV120 Power Bank featuring a leather-textured exterior with smooth metallic side-striping, a bright LED power level indicator, and several charging ports, and a sizable capacity of 5100mAh for even the most demanding gadgets or multiple charges.

The new ADATA PV120 Power Bank will be available in three different colours, black, white, and blue/cyan. One to match each gadget colour and personal taste.

A really cool feature is that you can charge the power bank while you use it to charge a device. This of course requires more power to go in than out, but it is a great additional feature.

Safety is always an issue when dealing with electrical currents and ADATA thought of that too. The PV120 Power Bank comes packed with six safety features including over-temperature protection, over-charge protection, short-circuit protection, over-voltage protection, over-discharge protection, and over-current protection. On top of that, it also comes with flame-resistant shielding for even greater safety.

The new ADATA PV120 Power Bank isn’t available yet, but shops around the world already have it listed with an estimated time of arrival of less than a week. The price starts at €19.99, which really isn’t much considering what you get.

ADATA Launches HD710A Durable USB 3.0 External HDD for Mac

ADATA just announced the launch of the HD710A waterproof, dustproof, and shock-resistant USB 3.0 external hard drive for Apple users on the go and with a rugged lifestyle. This new ultra-durable external hard drive is designed especially for MacBooks, but there shouldn’t be anything preventing you from using it on other systems. It comes with storage capacities of 1TB or 2TB, enough to store all your precious moments in the most secure way possible. The white design will let it match your Apple equipment and the drive fully supports Time Machine for backups, but also comes with ADATA’s on-the-go Mac software to enhance the functionality.

The triple-layer construction incorporates exceptionally elastic silicone material to provide great shock absorption from all angles. It has passed the MIL-STD-810G 516.6 military-grade shock-resistant test as well as the stringent IP68 test against water and dust. The drive can survive for up to 60 minutes in up to 1.5 meter of water; it should take a lot to kill this drive.

The USB 3.0 cable easily wraps around the drive itself when not in use, practical for storage on the road as you won’t have to search your bags for the cable. It’s always where the drive is. The low weight of just 220g further enhances the portability and the drive is backed by a three-year warranty.

No word on pricing or direct availability yet, but the black PC version goes for $69.99 and $126.48 on Amazon.

Thanks to ADATA for providing us with this information

ADATA Launches New Smart OTG microReader

ADATA has launched a new smart OTG microReader that combines a microUSB and standard USB connectors to share files among different devices such as mobile phones, tablets and PCs. The normal USB connector acts as the microSD card reader at the same time, resulting in a very small device.

The microReader is compatible with OTG devices running Android 4.0 or higher without the need for further cables or adapters. On-The-Go devices can be extremely useful as we’ve seen in some of our recent reviews and as such it’s great to see more devices being released. It supports all microSD, microSDHC and microSDXC cards, simply insert the card into the base of the standard USB connector.

The adapter has a slim design that should prevent interference with other attached USB devices and comes in several packages. You can get the adapter alone or packed with microSDHC or microSDXC cards up to 64GB.

Thanks to ADATA for providing us with this information

SteamBox – Building Your Own HTPC Gaming System

Introduction


There has been a lot of talk in the last year about SteamBox, but at the end of 2014, very little, if anything was shown that really brought this into the hands of consumers. There’s a few systems from system integrators such as iBuyPower and CyberPower that are designed “like” a SteamBox, but Valve have yet to put their official units to market.

Now let’s not get carried away, because chances are that you’re reading this article from a PC, or that you at least own a PC. If you own a PC, congratulations! You own a SteamBox. All SteamBox is, is some clever marketing for a gaming PC, the main difference being the operating system. Valve have been working on their own version of Linux that essentially boots to Steam instead of a normal desktop, much in the same way an Xbox One boots to a dashboard rather than Windows; this is something you can achieve yourself.

I want to game on the big screen!

If you’re eager to break away from your desk and start gaming in the living room, or any other room of the house for that matter, then you’ve likely been enticed by the SteamBox concept. The HTPC gaming system market is booming right now and while there are great systems out there, it can be great fun building your own.

You’ll need to pick the right hardware for your budget, while also trying to balance things such as system heat and acoustics; this rig is going to be in your living room after all. Fortunately, we’ve already tested a bunch of chassis’ for this very task, which you can check out here in our Best Chassis For Steambox feature. Today, let’s see if we can get plenty of bang for our buck with a budget of around £800.

ADATA Display Huge Range of Memory Products @ CES 2015

ADATA are one of the leading memory brands on the market and CES 2015 is a perfect example of why. ADATA have on display a massive range of products from their product range, including a bunch of new products that will be hitting the market this year. There’s so many to cover that I don’t even know where to start, but lucky for us (and for yourself) they’ve got a lot of handy product cards with all the lovely technical details that we so desire.

There’s not a lot of innovation in storage right now, but that hasn’t stopped ADATA from pushing out some stunning new SSD models, with more competitive prices, improved reliability and more. As well as a range of stunning DDR3 and DDR4 memory modules. We work closely with ADATA, so you can expect in-depth reviews of these products and no doubt many more products throughout the year as soon as they’re available for testing.

ADATA Launches its Gold Edition XPG Z1 DDR4 Overclocking Memory

DDR4 memory wasn’t that well received when it launched earlier this year with most people being a bit disappointed in the speeds. This is a thing somewhat attributed by the lower voltages used compared to DDR3. Lately more and more companies are launching their overclockers and high-performance DDR4 modules to make up for this and the latest of them is ADATA with their new Gold Edition XPG Z1.

We saw ADATA’s red XPG Z1 modules earlier this year, but the new golden modules kick it up an extra notch. The Gold Edition XPG Z1 runs at 1.35v and with speeds between 3000 and 3333MHz at CL16 timings.

The setup should be a piece of cake with XMP 2.0 profiles and the modules are built with 10-layer PCBs with 2oz of pure copper and oversized aluminium heatsinks for the best cooling and thereby better and more stable modules with more overclocking potential.

Thanks to ADATA for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of ADATA

ADATA Launches Stylish UC340 USB3.0 Flash Drive up to 256GB

ADATA Technology launched the new Choice UC340 USB 3.0 flash drive. The UC340 flash drive features trim geometric lines and a clean glossy finish. It is stylish enough to use it to accessorise and to carry in a neck strap, purse, or on a keychain for example. The new UC340 flash drive is powered by USB 3.0 and the largest model with 256GB capacity can transfer with up to 200MB/s and write up to 120MB/s. The coloured head is a push click button to extend or retract the USB connector.

It won’t be coming exclusively as 256GB though, you’ll be able to get this stylish flash drive from 16GB and up. The UC340 features both of ADATA’s UFGtoGO and OStoGO features for extended usage abilities and come with a lifetime warranty.

The UC340 will be available through selected retailers and distributors shortly at an MSRP of £8.90, £13.90, £23.90, £57.90 and £123.90 respectively for the 16, 32, 64, 128, and 256GB models.

Thanks to ADATA for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of ADATA

ADATA Launches HV100 External Hard Drive in Three Colours

Adata has announce the arrival of the HV100 External Hard Drive with a sandblasted smudge-free finish available in three colours and three capacities. The HV100 comes with a G-Shock sensor protection and has both the OStoGO and HDDtoGO features that extend the functionality of the drive.

The HV100 will be available in 500GB, 1TB or 2TB sizes and connects through the USB 3.0 interface. The built-in multi-coloured LED will show the connections status, mode, and activity as well as warn you when a severe shock should hit the drive.

The HDDtoGO software enables you to enjoy true mobility and leave no trace behind when working remotely from your office while the OStoGO software allows you install your Windows OS via your external drive. Both handy features to have with a portable drive.

There is no word on pricing or availability yet.

Thanks to AData for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of AData

ADATA launches HC500 External Hard Drive for TV & PC

Ever since the digital TV signal was launched, most set-top boxes and TVs have supported broadcast-recording to USB devices. ADATA has just launched the latest addition to their external drive line-up in form of the HC500 2.5” Hard Drive with TV recording support features.

The new USB 3.0 hard drive is housed in a sand blasted metal case and will be available in the colours Gold and Titanium-black. The available capacity choice is 500GB, 1TB or 2TB. Besides just being an ordinary external drive, it has one additional feature you might find useful, or not. The built-in G-Shock sensor will use the activity LED to warn you with a flashing red light when a shock with too much G-force occurs and it will stay red if the disk has been damaged. This won’t really help you protect your disk more than usual, but it will at least tell you if there is a problem.

The new drive comes bundled with some software as well. With NTI’s Backup Now EZ you can easily create backups of your valuable business and personal files while NTI’s MiST cloud software allows you to create your own personal cloud-drive on this hard drive. NTI’s Backup Now is available for most platforms including mobile ones where the MiST cloud software is a windows only system. The free personal-cloud software is only free for the first year after which you’ll have to pay to continue to use the service.

The physical dimension of this drive are 115 x 77.6 x 15.5 mm and it weighs between 178 and 216 grams depending on capacity. The HC500 USB3 drive comes with a 3-years warranty. There is no word on pricing or availability yet. There aren’t any transfer speeds mentioned either, but it can be assumed that it’s a 5400 RPM drive that is being used inside the housing.

Thank you ADATA for providing us with these information

Images courtesy of ADATA

Adata Launches Enterprise Grade SR-1010 Server SSD

Adata has launched their newest line of Server SSDs, the SR1010. While this drive is designed with server environments in mind, there is nothing that holds a quality minded enthusiast back from using these drives. After all, every one likes the best data security possible, but it comes with a premium price.

The new Adata SR1010 features the very important Power-Loss Protection (PLP) that helps prevent data crashes caused by system failures. The drive also supports SMART for easy hardware monitoring and has an ECC Recovery that can correct up to 55 bits per 512-byte sector (BCH). It also comes with a guarantee to work great with pretty much every enterprise system you could think of. For the Linux users it supports both SUSE Enterprise and Red Hat Enterprise, for Windows it is WHQL certified and the virtual environments are covered with both Citrix and WMWare certifications.

Adata used the Seagate (SandForce/LSI) SF-2581 controller and Multi-Level Cell (MLC) NAND Flash Memory with enhanced NAND sorting methodology. This helps these drives to reach sequential read/write speeds of up to 550/550 MB/s. They can also achieve 4KB random read/write speeds of up to 73,000/45,000 IOPS. There are three available capacities to choose from: 100GB, 240GB and 480GB. These disks should be great in anything from data centres and embedded devices all the way to the data-safety minded individual.

The power consumption is 2.25 watts in idle and 4.1 watts when in use. You should be able to depend on these drives for a very long time as Adata only used the best components in these drives. To back that statement, the Adata SR-1010SS come with a 5-year warranty and are rated for up to 2 million hours of MTBF. The drives have a default 2.5-inch form-factor, are 7mm high and weighs 63 grams.

There is no word on availability or pricing yet but judging by its predecessor, they aren’t going to be cheap, but you get what you pay for.

Thank you Adata for providing us with these information

Images courtesy of Adata

Overclockers UK First to List the New ADATA DDR4 Memory

 

Some companies take new hardware releases very serious and want to offer their customers the entire range as soon as possible. Overclockers UK is one of them and they are now the first to list the new ADATA XPG Z1 DDR4 modules.

The ADATA XPG Z1 comes in a variety of speeds and sizes. The available sets range from 16GB to 32GB and are all 4 module quad channel kits. So it’s either four times 4GB or four times 8GB modules. They come in three speed categories, 2133MHz, 2400MHz and 2800MHz and with a CAS Latency of  15-15-15-35, 16-16-16-35 and 17-17-17-39.

Overclockers UK offers a direct Lifetime Warranty on the modules, showing the faith they have in them. They operate between 1.2 and 1.35 volt and otherwise comply to the DDR4 standard of 288-pin UDIMM and Haswell-E compatible.

When grabbing your wallet to check, it will need to have between £199.99 and £666.66 in it to be able to get these modules and you can check them all out right here.

Thank you Overclockers UK for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Overclockers UK.

ADATA Launches ISMS312 SATA III Disk On Module (DOM) SSD in the UK

Disk on a Module, or DOM for short, might be a concept many are familiar with but few have had their hands on. I’m using four DOMs myself, three in custom NAS’ and one in my route. I can honestly say that it’s awesome to use such small devices as OS Disk in automated systems like that.

ADATA now launches the ISMS312, a high-performance industrial SATA III 6Gbps 7-pin Disk-On-Module (DOM), which is suitable for embedded storage systems, industrial computers, medical and network infrastructure devices by providing the best balance between performance and cost. It also features the industrial grade S.M.A.R.T. and capability of customization for industrial application.

The ADATA ISMS312 is a high-speed MLC NAND flash, providing excellent performance and reliability with a sequential read/write speed up to 250/40MB per second and MTBF of up to 1 million hours. In addition, the ISMS312’s low 1.15W power consumption can save power and significantly extend the lifespan of the devices it supports. And thanks to the industrial grade operable temperature range of -40°C to +85°C, the ISMS312 can work in harsh environments for long-term operation. The ISMS312 is available in both horizontal and vertical pin orientations to accommodate a wide variety of system form factors.

To fulfill performance and cost-saving demands for various industrial applications, ADATA has developed the A+ SLC solution to effectively improve the SSD’s performance, stability, and lifespan by more than three times compared to a typical MLC format, bringing it closer to SLC grade but with a cost savings approaching 80%. Therefore, the ISMS312 is the best choice for customers seeking the best value for budget and performance in a high-quality upgrade solution.

The drive features S.M.A.R.T. to monitor the drives state, including NAND flash and device status. It also supports SSD life left and wear-leveling factor, which helps to prolong the lifespan of SSD.

The value-added “ADATA SSD Toolbox” software helps users check the SSD’s information and configure system settings quickly. Featuring high stability and durability, ADATA’s ISMS312 SATA III 6Gbps DOM provides industrial consumers with the best value proposition for reliable data security at a competitive cost and is available in capacities of 8GB, 16GB and 32GB.

It’s great to see more DOM’s reaching our markets, as there haven’t been that much to chose from so far and this new ADATA DOM sounds very promising.

 

ADATA Launching XPG Z1 DDR4 Overclocking Memory

Yesterday ADATA Technology launched their first DDR4 overclocking memory in the XPG series, the XPG Z1. The new modules support the latest Intel Haswell-E platform for the ultimate performance with all the benefits of DDR4.

DDR4 outperforms DDR3 with improved performance and lower power consumption, operating at a voltage of 1.2V instead of 1.5V. This is a 20% reduction of power that helps keep the system at a low temperature for stable operation.

With speeds of up to 2800MHz and timings of CL 17-17-17, the XPG Z1 can reach transfer bandwidth of 22GB/s. Archiving this speed at only 1.2V should give over-clockers a lot of headroom to play with. In addition, the SPD (Serial Presence Detect) of XPG Z1 allows direct application without changing settings in the BIOS.

It “Looks cool, Acts cool”. The XPG Z1 features a jet wing-inspired design with carbon texture symbolizing the pursuit of extreme performance. Or so it is advertised. Thanks to a unique Thermal Conductive Technology and a 10-layer PCBs with 2 oz copper, the chips in XPG Z1 make direct contact with the heat sinks. This in return ensures the IC and PCB to operate in an environment of equal temperature, as well as reduce electric resistance and consume less power; giving an enhanced quality of signal transfer.

As always, ADATA stand by the quality of their modules and give a lifetime of warranty (local laws my supersede this, example Germany).

Thank you ADATA for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of ADATA

ADATA Ready DDR4 2133MHz Premier Series Memory For X99

The first major consumer platform to support DDR4 memory will be Intel’s Haswell-E with the X99 chipset and LGA2011-3 socket. According to the most recent rumours Intel’s X99 is expected as soon as September 14th, but possibly earlier. In response to that ADATA have released a series of Premier memory designed for use with Intel’s X99 platform. The new modules come with speeds of 2133MHz in an unbuffered DIMM format, according to the specifications these are 4GB modules offered in kits of up to 8 modules. These DDR4 kits should operate with 1.2 volts and should have a fair amount of overclocking headroom. Pricing for ADATA’s kit wasn’t announced, but recently we have seen 16GB DDR4 kits selling for around $350, so don’t expect these to be cheap!

Source: ADATA PR

Image courtesy of ADATA

Adata PV100 4200mAh USB Battery Review

Introduction


Modern day smartphones are awesome, we can use them to make phone calls (although fewer people do these days), text message, use a wide range of apps, play games, browse the internet, check out emails or most importantly, share cat memes with each other. It doesn’t matter how you use your phone, truth is we’re all using them more and more. Our mobile devices are getting more and more powerful each year, while also becoming more and more energy-efficient, but the issue remains that our battery life is rarely enough to get us through a full day of wasting time on our favourite device.

There is of course a solution to our power needs and that is mobile recharging devices such as the Adata PV100 that I will be taking a quick look at today. These small devices come in all shapes and sizes, but more often than not they’ll feature a rechargeable internal battery and a USB port for connecting your device. Plug them into your phone, tablet or similar device and you’ll be able to recharge on the go, handy for those times you’re nowhere near a plug socket, or don’t have time to stop and charge.

The PV100 is a relatively compact device, packing 4200mAh charging capacity, which is more than enough to charge your average smart phone at least once, some lower power devices may even get a few charges out of it. For example, my HTC One X+ has a 2100mAh battery, so in theory I should be able to get two full recharges out of the PV100 for my device.

Unfortunately I don’t have the packaging for the PV100 as I was given it directly at a trade show by Adata and I needed to employ its charging features immediately, then I lost the box… whoops. So let’s get right to it and see what comes bundled with the battery.

In the box you’ll find the PV100 device as well as a nice white USB to microUSB charging cable, it’s fairly short, but enough to fulfil the task in hand and there is nothing stopping you from using your own cable (eg; lightening cable for iPhone) should you need to.

New Adata SSD and DDR3 Products on show at Computex 2014

As our tour of Computex comes to an end, we still have a few highlights to show you from the ADATA stand. Recently we took a look at their new line of DDR4 memory which is scheduled to become available possibly towards the end of this year. Coming down to a current level and looking at what they have in the DDR3 range, we find an In-Win D-Frame chassis sat on its side with a few ADATA storage goodies tucked inside.

Gaming orientated memory is what is pushing much of the consumer market forward, even though DDR4 is on the door-step. In ADATA’s case we are looking at the XPG line of products, with a third generation of their memory on show here. Running at 2933MHz in this 16GB demo setup, these modules are available in a variety of colours to suit the tastes of any enthusiast user when building a new colour coordinated rig.

Taking a closer peek at the Gigabyte board which is driving this setup we find an M.2 drive hidden away. If you recall from our coverage at CES, we found this drive on show in its prototype stage with a heatsink attached to the drive controller to keep it cool under the collar. As we can now see, ADATA have managed to tame the SP900’s thermals. Available in capacities ranging from 128GB and up to 512GB, the SP900 with its SandForce controller is capable of delivering read and write speeds of up to 550MB/s and 530MB/s respectively. Stay tuned as I’m looking to get one of these new drives in for review in the coming weeks.

Taking a look back at our ADATA coverage from this years CES once again, you may recall that we saw both of the drive below that were then in their Prototype stages. Available in capacities of up to 1TB on the SP910 and 2TB on the SX930, ADATA are one of the industries leaders when it comes to taking SSD storage to the next level. As we see the M.2 era come more and more into play, there is hope that the cost of SATA based SSDs on the higher end of the capacity scale will start to drop down in price, much like drives up to 512GB have done over the last few months.

ADATA Showoff Worlds First DDR4 OC Module at Computex 2014

One of the buzz words that is floating around this years Computex is to do with memory. We have known for some time now that DDR4, the successor to the current DDR3 standard, has been in development, however until now DDR4 has not really been anything more than a photo or words on a page. This year we find a few big names showing off their DDR4 memory kits, ADATA included.

Set up in one corner of the ADATA suit we find a demo setup featuring an unknown motherboard, presumably running an engineering sample X99 chipset and what appears to be a working set of DDR4 modules. Over the DDR3 standard, ADATA’s DDR4 modules are already set to come in a wide variety of capacities and speeds, starting at 2133MHz and rising up to 3200MHz. What’s more, a sign beside the display put a strong emphasis on the fact that these XPG modules are built for overclocking. Obviously we don’t know how far these kits are going to go when pushed to the limits, but rest assured, the performance difference between DDR3 and DDR4 is going to very notable.

Pricing and a release date is very much an unknown entity. With the current desktop chipset Z97 only supporting DDR3, we are looking at X99 as a potential time for consumer availability whilst the server platform will be seeing support much sooner.

To further show how ready ADATA are for the DDR4 server market, a number of modules including a very-low-profile (VLP) with 4 or 8GB capacities – aimed more for the blade server market, a 16GB module running at 2133MHz and most interestingly a single module with a capacity of 32GB. Whatever way DDR4 is going to be fundamental to the next generation of desktop and enterprise computing and as we draw closer to its release we will go deeper into what it has to offer.

ADATA Premier Pro SP920 256GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


In the world of solid state drives, there are a vast number of advantages to be seen and had over the older mechanical counterparts and aside from raw capacity and the consequent price per GB of storage, the SSD is bar far the superior option to opt for when upgrading or building your new system. On the face of it, solid state drive are all about pure speed and whilst they are able to hit the limits of what the SATA III interface can handle, there is a whole lot more to the humble SSD to what lies on the surface and the crib sheets that are laid beside them.

The behind the scenes operations that hard drives rely on are pretty set in concrete and whilst there are some minor differences in performance to be seen, the way in which data is read and written to the drive stays the same with the iconic spinning platters and a read / write head which flickers back and forth hundreds of times a second. Solid state drives as we know by now are much more different and the lack of moving parts as indicated in their name means that everything is electronically altered within the silicon chips that are laid out on the PCB. How this data is read and accessed though does vary and overall we find three types of NAND available; synchronous, asynchronous and toggle. Typically we see most drives on the market offering up asynchronous or toggle mode NAND and this on the basic level comes down to the price. As we know, if you want better and more consistent performance, then you’ll be expecting to pay that bit more and this is exactly the case with synchronous NAND. The performance levels that are on offer on paper may look vastly greater, but in the real world the differences in speed are a lot closer than expected – the real advantage comes in sustained performance. I will go into this all a little later on to explain how it all works.

In the latter part of last week, ADATA gave us all a bit of a tease with an image on their Facebook page that teased us all with a portion of the drive on show with today’s date (2nd April 2014 for those not reading this on the launch date) down the left hand side. Buy why are ADATA keen to do this? Surely the launch of a new drive can’t be that special?

Well in some respects this is just another SSD; it doesn’t offer up a 2TB capacity as I’ve seen some speculate and ADATA haven’t found a way to rip through the limitations of the SATA III interface – nor is it a RAID0 drive within a single 2.5″ frame – damn I love it when people try to spread rumours! What the SP920 is, is in fact a drive that has been designed and built to meet the demands of our home entertainment driven lives and this where the aforementioned synchronous NAND comes into play.

Built around one of Marvell’s latest controllers, ADATA have chosen to use the more expensive NAND in favour of faster and more efficient file transfers from the drive – something which async and toggle mode drives struggle with as the volume becomes more congested with stored data. Multimedia files such as high-definition films and audio files or uncompressed data as we techs refer to them can put a lot of strain on the drive and in some cases we see the performance slowly drop down when being read – especially as the volume fills as mentioned above. This is what the SP920 is made to combat and thus why ADATA are proud to get the enthusiast community wanting more information.

Inside the SP920 packaging we get what is becoming a somewhat new industry standard bundle with a 2.5″ to 3.5″ drive bay adaptor, 7mm z-height to 9mm drive converter, screws for installation, quick start guide and a copy of Acronis’ drive migration software to make the upgrading process much quicker and less painful.