Inateck FE2007 USB 3.0 Drive Enclosure with 3-Port Hub Review

Introduction


I’ve taken a look at quite a few of Inateck’s products so far, and I have yet to be disappointed. They are taking known concepts but improve on them with a twist of some sort. They have done exactly that again with their new FE2007 Tool Free UASP USB 3.0 HDD Enclosure with built-in and powered 3-Port USB 3.0 Hub.

Thanks to the power of the USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP), the FE2007 is able to utilize the entire USB 3.0 bandwidth and provide excellent transfer speeds.

You connect the enclosure directly to your system via the micro USB port on the one side of the enclosure and that is all you need to do. The enclosure is both tool-less and driverless. Another bonus feature is the ability to power down the inserted drive when you don’t need it. Save on your power bill and save lifetime on your drive.

There is one problem that you often run into and that is the problem with too few USB ports. This is especially the case on notebooks and compact systems that generally have fewer ports, but not exclusively. Inateck added a three-port USB 3.0 hub to the enclosure and increases the functionality of this tiny device a lot.

There is a second USB cable included that isn’t for data transfer, but rather to provide extra power to the connected devices. This allows you to use more power hungry devices at the same time and charge mobile products faster.

 

The top cover slides off without the use of much force, at the same time it still stays where it should be when closed. The enclosure has the same width internally as your 2.5-inch drive, so all you need to do is slide it in until it’s plugged into the SATA connector and close it again.

Inateck’s FE2007 can take 2.5-inch drives with a height of up to 9.5mm, making sure that you’re also able to mount the thicker drives.

Inateck also included a foam pad with the package that helps to keep a thinner 7mm drive in place inside the enclosure. This is especially useful when you take the enclosure with you on the go.

I’d also like to point out that I really like how Inateck is packaging their products. For the most part the package is just a brown box with a sticker. While this might be boring, no one actually looks at the box after you got it and it’s much better for the environment as well as saving production costs and machine maintenance that ultimately would end in a more expensive products. Well done.

Thecus N5810 Pro Zero-Crash 5-Bay High-Performance NAS Review

Introduction


Thecus have created a new NAS that is something just a little bit special, if not a lot of special. It looks pretty normal on the surface, but it comes packed full of great features, plenty of storage abilities, and with connectivity options as they’re rarely seen.

The new Thecus Zero-Crash N5810 Pro isn’t your everyday NAS, it is one that comes with superior performance, unmatched security, and with built-in mini-UPS. The N5810 Pro is a 5-bay unit and this is an NAS form-factor that is increasing in popularity due to the option for an extra hot-spare, or just the extra capacity.

Let us dive right into the hardware specification, because they are worth highlighting. At the core of the unit we find an Intel Celeron J1900 quad-core SoC processor with 2GHz and the N5810 Pro comes equipped with 4GB DDR3 RAM right out the box. You don’t need to worry about having to upgrade your NAS right away with that kind of RAM, it is easily enough to run all the apps and service you want at the same time.

Where other NAS devices come with two and sometimes four LAN ports, Thecus added one extra and equipped this unit with a total of five Gigabit Ethernet ports. There is full support for all types of Link Aggregation and Fail-over, leaving the setup completely up to you. Maximum performance, redundancy, or you could even use it as an access point if you wanted to.

It has three USB 3.0 ports where one of them is located on the front for quick and easy backups. The last two are on the rear side with the rest of the connections such as two USB 2.0 ports, one HDMI port, and a Line-Out 3.5mm audio jack.

Thecus equipped the N5810 Pro with an internal 130W power supply. I really like the use of internal power supplies over the external power bricks, although the bricks are easier to replace if they should fail. Thecus also thought about that and made the PSU removable from the rear of the unit. It isn’t as easy as getting a new universal AC/DC adapter, but it’s close.

Another really awesome feature in this high-end NAS is the built-in mini-UPS with a removable battery. Again you save yourself having to get another piece of hardware and find room to place it near the NAS. You also save yourself the connecting and setting it up as everything is built-in. If the NAS should lose power, it will safely shut down without loss or corruption of your data. You can define the settings whether it should stay off or resume where it left off once the power is back.

The N5810 Pro NAS is placed on four large rubber feet that prevent any vibration from the mechanical hard drives to move onto whatever piece of furniture the NAS is placed on. They lift the unit far enough off the ground that it also has some extra air vents on the bottom that help to draw in more fresh and cold air for the system. The stickers with serial and product numbers are hidden away on the bottom if you should need those.

Security is an ever-growing issue and Thecus has this side of things handled with both their choice hardware, software and the physical build. Thecus has partnered with McAfee and bundled their Antivirus with the unit to keep the NAS save from itself. Those who prefer the private connections don’t need to worry either as the NAS fully supports VPN connections with the built-in server module.

Keeping the files safe means more than just to protect them from viruses and malware, and Thecus also has all the other sides of the story covered. The N5810 Pro supports scheduled Rsync backups and also comes bundled with Acronis True Image software for advanced one-click protection. Snapshot backup is equally supported with BTRFS support for subvolumes and easy rollback or restoration.

Those who wish to store their backup in the cloud are covered with support for DropBox, Amazon S3, and ElephantDrive. If that still isn’t enough, Thecus also supports data burn directly to CD, DVD, and Blu-ray disks with Data Burn. You can also choose to just ‘burn’ ISO files as another way of backing up your files. You can even clone entire disks with the NAS.

The five drive caddies can all be locked individually and Thecus included a total of four keys with this unit. Enough for even the most clumsy people that forget or lose them. The caddie’s base is built from steel and covered with a plastic encasing that holds the locking system and two LEDs. Thecus places padding inside the caddies to prevent damage to your drives and possible short-outs from the PCB touching the caddy. They support both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives, so you’re covered no matter what drive you want to use, whether it’s small or big hard disks or even solid state drivers.

Thecus also built in a LCM display with four buttons on the front: enter, escape, up, and down. This not only allows you to view the current configuration, but also change settings. Not to worry, you’ll have to enter a password via the buttons in order to access that part.

Mobile connectivity is also supported with the T-OnTheGo and T-Dashboard apps. When I read those names I always think of Telecom first, but the T stands for Thecus in this case. You can connect from your iOS or Android device for up and downloading files, streaming media, or just to keep an eye on the device itself.

You can even turn the N5810 Pro into a direct multimedia hub for your living toom with the built-in HDMI. Connect it directly to your TV for device management, web browsing with Flash support, and also the most important function, HD video playback. No need to watch your movies on the PC monitor or have an extra HTPC running, just use your NAS. It also features a line-out connection to get the sound out to other devices if your monitor doesn’t have built-in speakers.

OCZ Vector 180 480GB in Four-Disk RAID Review

Introduction


We’ve recently taken a look at how two OCZ Vector 180 960GB drives would perform in a RAID setup and to no one’s surprise, they were amazing. So how can we kick this up a notch? Easy, we take four of these amazing OCZ Vector 180 drives and try a RAID setup on them; now this is what I call fun and I love being able to test this setup.

Okay, I have to admit right away that this setup is halfway cheated, yet it shouldn’t have any performance impact. I only have two 480GB drives, but I also have two 960GB drives that use the exact same components. This means that I’ll just treat the 960GB drives as 480 ones and it won’t have any impact on our tests except that it will have a slightly different total space displayed. It’s really rare that I have four disks of the same brand for such a test, and I just didn’t want to let this chance slip away – and I’m sure more than a few of our readers will appreciate to find out how four of these drives will handle themselves in a RAID environment.

The new OCZ Vector 180 is the follow-up drive to the already successful Vector 150 series and on the base it’s still the same drive. It has however gotten a refresh in both parts, performance, and features, and it’s a drive well worth the attention that it’s getting here. With four drives at my disposal, I also got all the RAID modes available that the Intel RST has to offer: RAID 0, 1, 5, and 10, and I’ll be testing the drives in each available setup. The only place where I’ll only be using the two 480GB drives is the RAID 1 setup and this is a natural limitation based on the setup. Two disks are just max here.

The Vector 180 drive is based on the well-known, and in my opinion amazing, Indilinx Barefoot 3 M00 controller and it’s coupled with Toshiba’s A19nm NAND that we’ve seen perform great in any drive that it’s been used in. The drive is categorized as an enthusiast drive and that with good reason, the performance is great with a rated sequential speed of 550MB/s while reading and 510-530MB/s at writing. The random performance gets close to the 100K on 4K benchmarks, which isn’t bad either, not at all.

All the basic features like SMART, TRIM, and Garbage collection that is a must in every SSD these days are covered, but OCZ didn’t stop there. They also took something that’s usually reserved for enterprise-class drives and added it to their consumer drive and it’s called PFM+. PFM+ stands for Power Failure Management Plus and it helps to prevent data loss in the event of a sudden power loss. The drive has built-in capacitors that can provide enough power to flush the data from the cache to the NAND in the case that the power to the system should fail. Critical data can be saved with addition and it’s a great feature to have in any system.

OCZ’s Vector 180 comes with an official endurance rating of 50GB/day which is quite impressive for both desktop and server-grade disks. It also carries the amazing 5-year ShieldPlus warranty if the worst case situation should happen, where you can get around the hassle and troubles of normal RMAs and just get a new drive instead of the failed. I can not stress enough how amazing this is and you should give this warranty an extra look before you purchase your next SSD. It might be enough to change your mind on what to get, I know it did for me.

When it comes to what is bundled, then we find the usual great content inside the OCZ packaging. We get both a 3.5-inch adapter for those cases that aren’t suited for 2.5-inch drives natively as well as a key for the Acronis True Image disk cloning software so we easily can clone our old and slow drive onto our new and fast SSD. Other available capacities besides the 480GB are 120GB, 240GB, and 960GB.

Diamond DS3900V2 UltraDock Docking Station Review

Introduction


It doesn’t matter if you got the new Apple Macbook with just one USB port or any other system, you always have too few, especially on your portable computers. The Diamond DS3900 Ultra Dock Dual Video USB 3.0/2.0 docking station enables multiple USB devices, monitors, and a network to be connected to the computer using a single USB3.0 cable. It doesn’t matter if you want to connect to your large screen displays, stereo speakers, external hard drive, optical disk drive, printer, USB keyboard, mouse or any other USB devices, the DS3900 has it covered.

Any laptop, Ultrabook, MacBook, just as well as any other PC, can connect to the Diamond DS3900 Ultra Dock docking station, eliminating the need to plug in all USB peripherals and external monitor every time you come into the office or go back home. Just plug in the one USB 3.0 cable from the docking station to any USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 port on the laptop and your displays and accessories will be activated in seconds.

Most laptop manufacturers also build some sort of docking station for their systems, but they usually come with a pretty hefty price as well as being limited for use with specific models. Not so with Diamond’s universal solution. One of the big advantages of having a docking station at home, is that you don’t need to connect every single cable when you get home, a single one will do the trick and all your hardware is hooked up. Even audio is covered.

The single USB 3.0 uplink provides two USB 3.0 ports where one of them supports quick charge (BC1/2 battery charging function) for iPad and iPhones. Further, it has four USB 2.0 ports as well as an IEEE 802.3, 802.3u, and 802.3ab compatible RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port with full support for IPv4 and IPv6, full-duplex, and flow control. Just like it should be.

On the video side of things, the DS3900 is using a DisplayLink DL-3900 chipset and it supports 1080p HDMI and DVI dual digital video output. Extend or mirror your display onto another monitor or set an external connected monitor as your default one, you won’t notice any difference between the use of this docking station and a native connection. It supports High Resolution up to 2048 x 1152 and the entire unit is DisplayLink certified. Audio connections shouldn’t be left out, and they aren’t. It has two 3.5mm stereo jacks for audio output and microphone input.

The Diamond docking station measures 234 x 86 x 33 mm and weighs just 450 grams, light enough to make it portable as well. It does require Windows 7 Mac OS X, and newer versions to work, 1GB of memory, a 1.2GHz or faster SSE2 supporting CPU and 30MB free space for the installation and 10MB hard disk space for the drivers.

Besides the large rubber foot underneath the docking station, it also features a vertical stand for different optics and a smaller footprint. The metal foot is heavy enough to give the station a sturdy stand, even when heavy cables are connected to it. The rubber foot can be slid off and then you just hang the station onto the stand. Very simple and it looks awesome.

Diamond created a what looks to be a solid docking station, one where you only need to connect one cable to your system and in return you get full connectivity including dual display, audio, network, and USB 3.0 speed.

The package includes everything that you need, including a DVI to VGA adapter, power supply, vertical stand, USB cable, manuals, and driver disk.

ASUSTOR AS5102T 2-Bay Enthusiast NAS Review

Introduction


I was pretty excited when I heard that the ASUSTOR AS5102T 2-bay NAS was on the way for a spin on my test bench. I’ve seen, heard and read a lot about ASUSTOR and their features but never had the pleasure of a hands-on experience. This has changed from today and I’ll be giving this unit a thorough lookover and testing.

The AS5102T is categorized as an NAS for power-users to businesses, and I had no doubt about that from the moment I took it out of the box. The NAS is relative heavy for its size and it’s a result of the absolute awesome build-quality. The AS5102T is powered by an Intel Celeron 2.0 GHz quad-core processor which combines with a rich variety of multimedia output functionality to give you an optimal choice for both work and play.

The unit is built around an Intel Celeron 2.0GHz quad-core CPU with a burst speed up to 2.41GHz. The 2GB SO-DIMM DDR3L memory can be expanded to a maximum of 8GB in two modules, it can take two 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch SSDs or HDDs of your choice and supports hot-swapping as well as easy migration to a new ASUSTOR NAS if this one ever should become too small. There is plenty of connection options with three USB 3.0, two USB 2.0, and two eSATA ports. One of the USB 3.0 ports is located at the front ‘inside’ the backup button for the same. A simple press of the key and the NAS will start to sync the drive with the specified location-based on your settings.sata, two gigabit ethernet ports,

The two Gigabit Ethernet ports support every possible setup from link aggregation to fail-over and dual-IP setups. The choice is yours. Another amazing feature is the direct output via HDMI 1.4a and S/PDIF. This allows you to connect the NAS directly to your TV, monitor, or audio system. No need for a dedicated HTPC. You can control it via a web interface, smartphone apps, or directly by attaching a keyboard and mouse to the unit. A true multimedia hub for all your photos, music and movies.

As mentioned above, you can control the AS5102T in multiple ways, but ASUSTOR adds one more to the list. They’ve also added an infrared receiver to the NAS and you can get this awesome little remote for it that works with the AS-6, AS-3, AS-2TE, AS50, AS51, and AS70 series. This is awesome, you can truly kickback and play all the media from your NAS in a convenient way.

With the newest version of KODI that was released just a few days prior to this review going live you’ll even be able to control the NAS and KODI with your normal TV remote. There are however two things you need for this to work, a TV that supports CEC function and an extra USB to CEC Adapter. But then it’s just plug-and-play assuming the TV has the CEC function turned on. Your ASUSTOR NAS is now fully integrated into your existing multimedia setup, awesome.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kV9OfBZVuyo

ASUSTOR also made sure that the unit is as eco-friendly and economical as possible. The system will only draw 17.7W in an average configuration compared to the 100-350W a PC easily can draw. The system will automatically enter sleep mode (Schedule S3) when needed and supports auto-standby for both internal and external disks. The 70mm fan is controlled by the system and only spins as fast as it is needed and I didn’t notice it at all during my time with the unit. You can also set your own custom power schedule with on, off, restart and sleep settings.

A really awesome feature that I didn’t expect to find was not only the LED Night Mode, but also that you’re able to customize what LEDs are turned on and off as well as how bright they should shine. The Night mode can be automatic or you can set your own schedule. The more I dive into the depth of this unit, the more I get impressed by it.

I previously mentioned that the unit felt heavy when I unpacked it and that is because it’s a full metal unit, well aside from the front panel and rubber feet, of course. The NAS features an aluminium casing along with a rust and corrosion resistant coating which combines with the metallic hard disk trays to fully make use of the natural cooling properties of metal. This significantly enhances the entire cooling ability of the system and it’s far superior for the job than plastic units who need bigger fans running at higher speeds to keep cool.

 

The full metal drive trays feature both a locking mechanism to prevent accidental ejection during operation as well as someone taking a drive with him when walking past the unit. Each tray has two LEDs directly built and the locking mechanism when you plug the trays into the unit is simply superb. Same goes when ejecting a drive again, it pops and slides out without a noise or any resistance. It just fits.

A premium device also needs a premium accessories bundle, and the AS5102T has that too. ASUSTOR was so kind to provide us with a remote as part of our NAS, but you’ll have to purchase that seperately if you wish to use a more traditional control of the built-in media player. They NAS also comes with two LAN cables so you instantly can take full advantage of both ports. While other NAS devices provide multiple LAN ports at times, they rarely come with more than one cable. It’s a nice touch from ASUSTOR to include one for each port.

The AS5102T has a tiny footprint with only 10.8cm width, 23cm depth, and 16.35cm height. It weighs about 2kg due to the use of superior metals over plastic and the generally great build quality.

 

ASUSTOR has a long list of apps ready for your mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, among them AiData, AiRemote, AiVides, AiDownload, AiMusic, AiFoto, AiSecure, and AiMaster. Everything looks to be covered with just the right app for each occasion.

ASUSTOR has one more amazing function that I’d like to tell a bit about before we move on and take a closer look at the device itself. The MyArchive function allows you to use hard disks as removable storage archives. Plug in an archive when you need it and swap it out for another one when it isn’t needed anymore, or just to cut on the power consumption. It’s as easy as plug and play and works by keeping any OS related files off the drives.

There is a limited amount of drive bays reserved for this function and in the case of the AS5102T it is one. Larger models allow for two bays to be used for the MyArchieve function. The lazy person can even buy additional disk trays to eliminate the need for screwing when replacing drives this way. This is also a very cost effective way of storing a lot of data, especially when we look at the Seagate Archive HDDs. The 8TB variant costs less than a 6TB WD NAS drive as we use in our tests, and that is an offer that is hard to resist. But keep in mind that these drives are heavily optimized for reading and will have bad writing performance compared to NAS drives.

While AiRemote and AiDownload will be some of the most used tools, the AiMaster is the one worth highlighting. Not only will it allow you to initialize your new NAS from your mobile device, it also allows you to generate the entire setup, change and modify it at any time anywhere. All you need is a networked connection to your NAS. We’ll take a closer look at just this aspect a bit later in the review.

SilverStone Kublai KL06 Micro-ATX Chassis Review

Introduction


Silverstone is one of the greatest and most established names in the chassis industry, in fact, they’re not exactly lacking in other parts of the market either, with extensive product ranges that cater to power supplies, cooling and much more. Silverstone have a lot of technical knowledge when it comes to what makes a great system and you can see that knowledge being put to great use across their entire range; something we hope to see once again in our latest review.

Today I have the latest entry in the Kublai series and this one is particularly special, as it is the first Micro-ATX form factor product in that range; no doubt to address the increased system capacities required by many of today’s high-end components, such as RAID arrays and long graphics cards.

“Being the first Micro-ATX chassis in the Kublai series, a line of cases famed for layout efficiency with classic styling, the KL06 fills the role perfectly. Equipped with dual 120mm quiet fans for cooling multiple drives and high-end components, it retains SilverStones’ signature positive pressure design for effective dust prevention.” – SilverStone

The chassis caters well to modern hardware, dropping support for lots of 3.5″ drives, favoring a setup for 8 x 2.5″ drives and just a single 3.5″ drive on the interior. Storage bays are removable to make way for water cooling, there’s room for a large graphics card, high-end PSU and a whole lot more; so let’s get right to it and take a closer look at what the KL06 has to offer!

The Kublai is a fairly simple looking chassis, but none the less, one that is very nicely designed. The left side panel is a solid panel, cut from thick steel that should help greatly reduce unwanted noise and vibrations from your system.

Another thick panel on the right side of the chassis. Both side panels are mounted with two thumbscrews at the rear, providing you with quick and easy access to the chassis interior.

The front panel is really nicely designed, with two 5.25″ drive bays at the top and a semi-transparent front panel mesh, behind which you can see the front fans.

The main I/O panel has all the usual ports and switches while also being another of this years chassis to drop the older USB 2.0 ports entirely.

The front cover can be easily removed via clip at the bottom, allowing you to easily clean the filter and maintain your fans.

Around the back, you’ll quickly notice that the motherboard mounting is inverted, with the I/O at the bottom and the PSU mounting at the top. There’s plenty of ventilation here, an optional fan mount at the bottom and a screw on protective cover for the four expansion slot mounts.

The top panel has a large ventilation section for the PSU air intake.

It has a magnetic dust filter attached, which is far easier to keep clean than most PSU filters that are located on the underside of the chassis.

There’s four rubber feet on the bottom of the chassis to help keep it firmly in place, even on hard surfaces.

Inateck HBU3VL2-4 USB 3.0 Hub and HBU3VL3-4 Hub with Ethernet Review

Introduction


We’ve all run into this one particular issue at one point or another and that is where we have to work with too few USB ports. This is where USB hubs come into play and today I’m taking a closer look at two of them. On the test bench is the Inateck four-port HBU3VL2-4 USB 3.0 hub and the Inateck three-port HBU3VL3-4 USB 3.0 hub with Ethernet connectivity. Both of these new USB 3.0 hubs are aimed at netbook, notebook, ultrabook, tablet, and similar portable PC users and they reflect that in their size, features and portability.

The Inateck HBU3VL3-4 and HBU3VL2-4 both feature the same basic design and are highly portable. They barely take up any space with their 110 x 32 x 20mm size and are lightweight enough to not notice in your bag at just 59grams. They are both passive powered units so you don’t need to carry around an extra and heavy power supply just for the hub. Perfect for users on the go.

The first of the two units, the HBU-3VL2-4 four-port USB 3.0 hub, comes with a short USB 3.0 cable so you can connect it without having meters of cable rolled up next to your laptop. It features three USB ports on top of the unit and one on the end. The one at the end of the unit is especially suited for bigger plugs and devices that would otherwise impair connectivity to the rest of the ports. Other than that, the four-port USB hub doesn’t feature much because there is no need for anything else. It has a sticker on the rear with the product and company names as well as the model number.

Being a passive powered unit does bring the benefit of not having to carry around an extra power supply, but it also means that there are a few limitations on what you can connect. The maximum power draw from connected devices can’t exceed 5V 900mAh. It would be tempting to use a hub with this design as a charger, but that isn’t recommended for passive hubs. But normal smartphones, flash storage, and input devices shouldn’t provide any issues at all. Inside it features the VIA VL812 chipset that should deliver more than enough performance, and I don’t expect to see much of a performance impact through its use.


The second USB hub is a little more specialized and comes with one really cool extra feature, a RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port. This could be particular useful for ultrabook and tablet users that only have wireless connections at their disposal. Just connect the Inateck HBU3VL3-4 to your system, install the Realtek drivers and enjoy the benefits of a cabled connection.

The Inateck HBU3VL3-4 looks just like the 4-port hub we just saw, but it only features the three USB 3.0 ports on the top. The fourth port at the end has been replaced with an RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port. This is really awesome and thanks to Inateck’s use of a Realtek RTL8153 chip inside, I expect to see solid performance here.

If you choose to download the drivers for the LAN port instead of using the included driver disk, make sure you download the right one. There has been a revision in the product, but it can easily be identified by the sticker on the bottom. The download page will also warn you about this and guide you to the right version. This is well done and something I wanted to point out, I like when a company makes everything as easy as possible. One is identified by a serial number sticker while the other has the mac address on the sticker.

QNAP Turbo Station TS-431 4-Bay SOHO NAS Review

Introduction


I loved what the QNAPs TS-x31 series sports right from the first time that I heard of it. It just sounded like the perfect SOHO device for people who want a lot of features, easy setup, simple maintenance and a reasonable price.

Today I’m taking a closer look at the QNAP TurboNAS TS-431 4-bay Personal Cloud Storage for Home and SOHO users. It features an ARM Cortex A9 1.2GHz dual-core processor that delivers performance enough for multitasking, creating your personal cloud for digital notes, and multimedia streaming via DLNA & AirPlay.

With the TS-431 you can build a private cloud-based notebook and share it with friends and colleagues with Notes Station and Qnotes mobile App. It allows you to easily organize and manage files and backup tasks in one centralized location and synchronize files between computers, laptops, tablets, phones and other devices. You can archive, manage, watch and share your media collections with the dedicated Photo Station, Video Station and Music Station apps as well as enjoy all these moments on the big screen via DLNA and AirPlay streaming.

That is all pretty much default for QNAP devices, just as the 24/7 surveillance center you can create for your home or small office. The CPU in the TS-431 also allows you to transcode videos offline and enjoy smooth video streaming even when your network connection or playback possibilities are restricted.

The Freescale ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core CPU runs at 1.2GHz and gives the NAS a great performance ratio. It can provide transfer speeds up to 110MB/s reading and 80MB/s at writing. Maybe you need to increase your data safety to prevent unauthorized access to the files, well QNAP has that covered too with full NAS volume encryption with speeds of over 30MB/s with AES-256 bit.

The network connectivity on this device is safeguarded with dual Gigabit LAN and support for the latest 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi adapters. It further features three USB 3.0 ports and one eSATA for attaching high-speed external storage. The LAN ports support multiple port-trunking modes, allowing you to set up link aggregation to increase data transmission capabilities, as well as failover and dual IP for continuous system operation. The supported port-trunking modes include: Balance-rr (Round-Robin), Active Backup, Balance XOR, Broadcast, IEEE 802.3ad, Balance-tlb (Adaptive Transmit Load Balancing) and Balance-alb (Adaptive Load Balancing).

QNAPs operating system is better than ever and it keeps improving. The ‘intelligent’ desktop allows you to find the desired functions quickly and it allows you to create shortcuts of your choice for even quicker access. You can monitor the NAS’ vitals, install new function or change in your user setup with just a few clicks. Automated backup function can be set to kick in as soon as recognized devices are connected, creating backups to and from your drives and NAS, this includes rsync, QNAP’s NetBack Replicator and works equally well with Windows and Mac OS X Time Machine systems.

The new myQNAPcloud allows you to setup your NAS even easier and quicker than before. Just connect and power on the NAS and go to the URL from the sticker either manually or by scanning the QR-Code. Enter the key (partially whitened in the above image) and you’ll have your NAS setup in a couple of minutes, ready to use. Thumbs up to QNAP, the system works like a charm. You will of course need a network where the NAS gets it IP automatically and an internet connection. Don’t worry if you don’t, the old-fashioned way to initialize it works just as well as it always has.

The cross-platform file-sharing covers all sides with SMB/CIFS, NFS, and AFP protocols for sharing across Windows, Mac and Linux/UNIX. Data, logs and ISO image of CDs and DVDs can be centrally stored in the TS-431 and protected by an integrated antivirus solution. You can even manage your files via the internet by use of the File Station. It brings conventional desktop styled file operation to web browsers, allowing you to easily upload, download and manage your files no matter where you are, as long as you got a connection via LAN or the internet. It even supports file extraction, smart search as well as sharing specific files with friends and family via unique URLs.

One of the key aspects of this device is the capabilities for your private cloud. I’ve mentioned some functions above, but most of all it gives you a lot more space without a monthly cost. It also eliminates security concerns you might have by using public cloud services. The TS-431 is ready to establish a secure and large-capacity private cloud just for you and the myQNAPcloud service allows remote access without any tricky setups and router configurations.

Raijintek Triton AIO CPU Cooler Review

Introduction


By now you have probably heard of Raijintek, established in Europe in 2013 they have gone from a small emerging company to a rather big name in a small amount of time. They already have a range of air coolers, such as the TISIS and the EREBOSS, a range of cases such as the AENEAS and the beautiful METIS and are looking to expand into power supplies and other products in the coming years.

Today we are going to look at the Triton, Raijinteks expandable AIO CPU cooler which has a few tricks up its sleeve. The Raijintek Triton supports all the popular socket types from both Intel and AMD. You can also see that we have a 12v pump, an aluminium radiator and a copper water block, all in the hopes to keep temperatures as low as possible.

The box for the Triton is really nice, it is quite “aggressive” with its font and an excellent picture on the front; it certainly makes it stand out. It has all the information you need about the cooler such as which sockets it fits and some nice pictures showing you what to expect inside.


Inside the box we get a nice bunch of brackets and fittings to allow us to mount the CPU cooler, the fittings are for both AMD and Intel. One of my pet hates with certain manufactures is giving a sachet of thermal paste rather than a syringe. The sachet can only be used once, meaning if you need to re-attach the cooler to upgrade the CPU or anything else, then you will have to purchase more separately, unfortunately Raijintek have opted to give us a sachet. It’s great that they do actually supply some paste, I just prefer to have more than one application.

You might also have noticed the 3 little coloured bottles, we will go into these a little later on, but they certainly make this cooler stand out from the crowd.

The two 120mm fans for the Triton are very simple looking indeed, this is excellent as they will fit almost any system, too many colours can put people off fans if they don’t match the rest of the system, so keeping to black and white is a great idea. The 1000 – 2600 RPM fans should work great with the 240mm radiator as they’re designed to provide a good amount of air pressure.

Raijintek have thought about this product a lot and to make sure you can balance between performance and noise, they have included this excellent little fan controller. When I opened the box I didn’t expect this and I wish I could get a box of these to work with other fans that I use; Such a simple idea makes a huge difference.


Before looking at the pump/rez combo, I want to show you the contact plate for it, this is a rather nice nickel plated copper which will ensure an excellent heat transfer from your processor to the fluid inside the cooler.

Now, let’s get onto this units party trick shall we? a new level of customisation for an AIO. As you can see below, we have a warranty void sticker over a G1/4 thread cap. This is to allow the use of the 3 dyes that are included with the Triton. I have been reliably informed that this sticker is to prevent novice users from opening the system, it will not void your warranty unless signs of misuse or excessive modification are detected, so using the dyes won’t instantly mean you cannot return the product. You will also notice from this picture that the inlet and outlet also have G1/4 threads, this is a very common thread size in custom water cooling, so this will allow you to easily expand the loop.


As you can see Raijintek give you 3 different dyes with their Triton cooler, Red, Yellow and Blue. This allows you to make a range of colours including green, purple, orange and more.


I chose the blue dye, and it is as simple as just adding as much as you like into the available port, less dye will give you a lighter blue, the whole bottle will give you the blue that you will see throughout this review.


With the full bottle we can see a really nice dark blue that really does change the whole look of the cooler; I really do like the idea of these dyes.

Another way that Raijintek make this cooler aesthetically pleasing, is by adding an LED into the CPU block, I can’t honestly say I saw it make too much difference, but I did test this cooler in the day time, after dark, it could change the look completely.

Installation for the Raijintek Triton is very easy, you just add the back plate to the motherboard using the screws and thumb nuts provided, you then add the front plate. Once you have done this, add the thermal paste and just simply attach the cooler to the front plate; simple!

When the cooler is in place there is plenty of space in between the RAM and the Triton meaning you can use RAM with large heat sinks if you like. So, we have seen how this product looks, let’s see how it performs!

Toshiba HG6 THNSNJ512GCSU 512GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


Toshiba’s drives are mostly sold as OEM models and built into other products such as workstations and laptops, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve to get a good spin on my test bench. Today I’m taking a closer look at the Toshiba HG6 series of solid state drives, more specific the Non-SED model with 512GB capacity (THNSNJ512GCSU).

The HG6 is a series of mainstream SATA Solid State Drives that combine high performance with power efficiency to satisfy a wide range of applications from notebook PCs to servers in the data centers. Toshiba is the inventor of NAND flash memory technology, so we know that we have some of the best on our hands when dealing with these drives.

Toshiba leverages its NAND flash memory expertise to optimize the performance and data integrity, integrating enterprise-class technology such as the Toshiba Quadruple Swing-By Code (QSBC) for improved error correction and reliability. It is the 2.5-inch drive that I’m taking a look at today, but the drive is available in a wide variety of form factors such as mSATA and M.2 2280 and with capacities between 60GB and up to 512GB.

Toshiba’s Quadruple Swing-By Code (QSBC) technology is in improved error correction code (ECC) that is said to be far superior to the otherwise used technologies and as such should provide you with far better data security. It also features End-to-End Data Protection, S.M.A.R.T., TRIM and Garbage collection. The drives support Read-only mode for emergency and serial ATA DIPM (Device Initiated Power Management), HIPM (Host Initiated Power Management) and Device Sleep for reduced power consumption.

The reduced power consumption from the above-mentioned features is great for use in laptops and so it the drives weight of just 53 grams. The HG6 is using Toshiba’s own A19nm Toggle 2.0 MLC NAND Flash memory as well as the in-house created Toshiba T635879BXBG SSD controller. It comes with a normal mean time to failure for this market segment of 1.5 million hours and an expected product life of 5 years. Since this is an OEM product, the warranty is based on whatever product you’ve purchased with it built-in.

The drive doesn’t use a RAM buffer like most SSDs on the market, but rather relies on the Adaptive Size SLC Write Cache technology that assumes a similar function as Samsung’s TurboWrite feature. It is treating a portion of the NAND as SLC for write operations to improve performance before flushing the writes to the MLC when idle. It’s also to be noted that Toshiba used thermal pads on all chips, providing the most efficient heat dissipation for high-performance systems such as servers.

OCZ Vector 180 480GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


We have had a look at the 960GB capacity of the new Vector 180 series already and today it’s time to take a closer look at the smaller sibling with 480GB capacity. The new mainstream and entry-level server SSD is packed full of great features and performance, and the 480GB capacity will probably hit the sweet spot for most people interested in this drive.

The drive is aimed at the mainstream market but still delivers more performance than most do in this segment and it lands right in the middle of features and performance. OCZ’s Vector 180 is built around the in-house created Indilinx Barefoot 3 M00 controller that has been coupled with the latest generation of Toshiba’s A19 MLC NAND flash for great sequential speeds up to 550MB/s and a random performance up to 100k IOPS. This is surely a drive that will wake the interest of enthusiast.

The drive doesn’t just come with great speeds, it also has a great endurance with an official rating of 50GB/day. OCZ’s Power failure management plus (PFM+) is a great new feature that prevents partial data loss and corrupting in case of power failure. There are capacitors that ensure the data at rest is safe but all user data in the DRAM buffer will still be lost in the case of sudden power loss. The capacitors ensure that all metadata is safe and that the drive will continue to operate normally after a power loss, i.e. the NAND mapping table won’t be lost, which can brick the drive or at least slow down the next boot up as the drive has to go through recovery process. While not perfect, it’s a really great feature and extra security to have.

The 480GB model is using a total of 16 Toshiba A19nm NAND and two Micron RAM chips just like the 960GB model does, but they’re half the capacity, of course.

You can easily relax for the next five years as OCZ’ ShieldPlus warranty covers your drive, even without receipt or proof of purchase. This is absolutely one of the best warranty services around. Vector 180 comes with a full bundle including 3.5-inch adapter and Acronis True Image disk cloning software. Other available capacities are 120GB, 240GB, and 960GB

Silicon Power Slim S80 240GB Solid State Drive Review

Introduction


Silicon Power has been in the storage business for a long time and I’m glad to finally be able to put one of their drives on the bench and take it for a test run. Today I’m taking a closer look at the SP Slim S80 solid state drive that comes with promises impressive performance and is available with capacities up to 960GB. It is however, the 240GB model that I’m taking a look at today.

The Slim S80 is equipped with a Phison PS3108-S8 SATA-to-Flash micro-controller to deliver sequential transfer rates up to 550MB/s reads 500MB/s writes while offering impressive 4K random speeds of up to 80,000 IOPS. With such a performances, the Slim S80 can significantly reduce both boot times and quickly load applications as well as provide a higher reliability than traditional hard disk drives and provide higher reliability over traditional hard drive.

Silicon Power’s Slim S80 is carrying its name thanks to the 7mm height for use in ultrabooks, ultra slim notebooks, and similar narrow spaced usage areas; on top of that it only weighs 63 grams. Solid state drives are perfect to use in mobile devices thanks to the lack of mechanical parts so they aren’t affected by shocks and vibrations in the same way.

Built with both S.M.A.R.T., Wear Leveling techniques, and Error Correction Code, the Slim S80 should guarantee data safety on top of the great performance and a long lifespan. The used Phison controller also supports AES encryption to keep your data safe and DevSleep for a low power consumption in mobile devices.

Specifications

  • Capacity: 32GB/60GB/120GB/240GB/480GB/960GB
  • Dimensions: 100mm x 69.85mm x 7mm
  • Weight: 79g
  • Vibration Resistance Test: 20G
  • Shock Resistance Test: 1500G Max
  • Read up to 550MB/s、Write up to 500MB/s
  • 7mm slim design suitable for Ultrabooks and Ultra-slim notebooks
  • SATA III 6Gbps backward compatible with SATA II 3Gbps
  • Supports TRIM command and Garbage Collection technology
  • NCQ and RAID ready
  • Implemented with ECC technology to guarantee data transmission reliability
  • Built-in with SMART monitoring system
  • 3-year warranty

Besides the Phison controller, the S80 has 16 of Toshiba’s 19nm flash chips and a 256MB Nanya RAM chip.