SilverStone Releases DS222 External Dual-Bay RAID Enclosure

RAID setups are great for speed and redundancy and why should that be limited to your internal drives. SilverStone released a new external USB 3.0 chassis with built-in hardware RAID functionality and space for two 2.5-inch drives. The price and capacity gap between 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives have more or less been closed, making 2.5-inch drives a viable option at a highly reduced footprint as well as power consumption.

The new SilverStone DS222 external enclosure supports the use of the two drives as individual drives, BIG mode, RAID 0, and RAID 1 modes. It also comes with some useful features such as an alarm buzzer that can be turned off should you not want it and it also comes with a dedicated power button for the enclosure itself.

SilverStone’s DS222 should be able to get plenty of power for most drives with just the USB 3.0 connection, but SilverStone also added another micro USB port for 5V power supply, making it easily connectable to a system with plenty of power and without the use of an extra power adapter. That makes the setup a lot easier. The DS222 supports plug and play hot swapping and the entire chassis uses a tool-free design for extra convenience.

The new SilverStone DS222 will be available starting December the 18th for a suggested retail price of $62.48.

SilverStone Introduces the MS08 Mobile RAID Rack

SilverStone has no shortage of add-ons for our systems and they’ve added one more to the list, the MS08 mobile RAID rack. The MS08 allows you to take your RAID setup with you on the go as it is hardware based and packed into a convenient little unit.

The MS08 will fit into any 3.5-inch drive bay while it holds up to two 2.5-inch SSDs or HDDs with a height of up to 9.5mm. The mobile RAID rack supports both JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) as well as RAID 1 and RAID zero, depending on if you want maximum capacity, speed, or redundancy.

The connection is handled through a single SATA3 6Gbps port and as such the array won’t be able to perform better than that, but that doesn’t take much away from the usefulness of the device. Adding a second port would create incompatibilities with a lot of bays and prevent the easy and convenient hot-swap abilities that the SilverStone MS08 comes with.

The mobile rack is made from a plastic and aluminium construction that should provide both durability and protection for your drives. It offers easy swap of drives too as it has a tool-less design and supports hot swapping. It also comes with dual-LEDS so you know what drive is accessed when.

SilverStone did not reveal any pricing or availability at this time, but I’d expect it to come in around the £35-40 area and be available very soon.

MSI GT80 GTX 980M 8GB SLI Titan Laptop Review

Introduction


There are few things more exciting than reviewing a gaming laptop that you know has a reputation to live up to. Naturally, when the courier dropped off the GT80 Titan I couldn’t wait to get my claws into it. It has a specification list that puts most desktops to shame and has been paraded by MSI for a couple of months now as their latest and greatest flagship gaming laptop, promising nothing but the best for followers of MSIs “Dragon Army”. In preparation for meeting this monster in person, I had a brief look around the MSI website and was impressed to see just how much has been crammed into this machine. There were the usual claims of speed, “ultimate performance” and the likes, but below this was a tech spec list long enough to possibly justify these claims and had me wide-eyed with interest from the off.

I decided to leave to the official blurb behind and just dive in, as to not be influenced by big claims or rose-tinted glasses, so let the unboxing begin!

Specifications

  • Name: MSI GT80 Titan
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-4980HQ @ 2.8GHz (up to 4.0GHz Turboboost)
  • RAM: 32GB 1600MHz DDR3 (8GB*4)
  • SSD: 4 x 256GB PCIE SSD
  • HDD: 1TB 7200RPM
  • GPU: 2 x NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M 8GB in SLI
  • LAN:10/100/1000/Gigabits Base T (Killer)
  • WLAN: Killer 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Built-in Bluetooth V4.0
  • Monitor: 18.4″1920 x 1080 Anti-glare LED backlit
  • Keyboard: SteelSeries Red backlit mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Brown Switches
  • I/O: 5x USB3.0, 1x HDMI, 2x Micro Displayport, SD Reader, Mic-in, Headphone-out, line-in, line-out, 1x 1Gb LAN, Optical Out
  • Webcam: FHD Webcam
  • ODD: BD-RW (6x)
  • Battery: Built-in 89 W/h lithium-Ion
  • OS: Windows 8.1
  • Dimensions: 45.6 x 33 x 4.9 cm
  • Weight: 4.5Kg (w/ Battery)
  • Warranty: 2 year collect and return, 1 Year Global
  • Price: £3499.99 Inc VAT

The box comes loud and proud with the MSI logo on it.  Now I know this laptop is big, but this box is huge. On opening it we see why, there are extra goodies in there too, I spy a backpack!

Removed from the outer box and separated from the backpack, this still weighs quite a fair amount

When you lift the lid of the outer box you are immediately presented with a rather nice black envelope sealed with an MSI sticker; we’ll open this in the next section

You can immediately see the laptop on the left in a protective bag and there is a cardboard section on the right which houses the power supply.

When you lift the laptop out of the box, there is a whole host of goodies waiting for you underneath

CPU-Z

GPU-Z

RAIDON Announced Stardom ST4-TB Thunderbolt Dock

Thunderbolt technology is mostly a feature found on Apple devices, but not exclusively. It’s still one of the most versatile and fastest connections available for connecting peripheral devices and Stardom (RAIDON) is ready with their newest enclosure for this interface, the ST4-TB.

The two Thunderbolt 2 ports on ST4-TB features dual 20-Gbps channels not only allow for very fast file transfers but also has the feature to daisy-chain as many as six Thunderbolt devices to a single port. And since Thunderbolt is based on Display Port technology, Mini Display Port devices like Apple LED Cinema Display can plug right into it as well.

The ST4-TB is also portable and comes with a grip handle to take it with you on the go and it supports both RAID 0 and independent drive mode. In RAID 0 mode, the enclosed four drives will be striped and combined into one large volume for storage to enhance the data transfer speed performance. Under the Independent mode, the enclosed drives are seen as four separate volumes instead of one single volume.

The new ST4-TB can perform with up to 724MB/s while reading, which is quite impressive, and supports up to 8TB drives. The test results seen above were performed with an Apple Mac Pro 3.7GHz Quad-core Intel Xeon E5 with 12GB RAM running Mac 0S X 10.10, four HGST 8TB SATA III 7200 rpm drives and two Adata 64G SATA III SSDs.

Specifications:

  • Interfaces: Two Thunderbolt 2 ports (up to 20Gbps)
  • Compatible Drives: 4x 3.5-inch/2.5-inch SATA III HDD/SSD up to 8TB
  • Storage Mode: JBOD, RAID 0
  • Cooling: 90mm low noise fan
  • Size: Height 166mm, width 124mm, depth 248mm, weight 3.4kg

Sadly there wasn’t any word on pricing or availablity yet.

Thanks to Stardom via TechPowerUp for providing us with this information

Zenbook NX500 Ultrabook Announced by ASUS, Featuring 4K UHD Touchscreen

ASUS announced its latest addition to the multiple-award-winning Zenbook Ultrabook series, the NX500, stated to come in a new sleek and elegant all-aluminium chassis and with state-of-the-art components. In addition to the latter, the NX500 is said to pack the new ASUS VisualMaster display technology and the world’s first 15.6-inch 4K UHD touchscreen, using 3M QDEF technology in order to deliver vivid and natural colour.

In terms of performance, the Zenbook NX500 boasts Intel’s Core i7 Quad-Core CPU and NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 850M graphics, featuring 2 GB of GDDR5 video memory. ASUS also provides customers with the ability to choose between one 512 GB PCI Express x4 SSD or up to two SATA 3 SSDs, configurable as a RAID 0 array, when it comes to the NX500’s disk space capabilities. Other aspects of the NX500 include three USB 3.0 ports, next-generation Broadcom dual-band three-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi and integrated Bluetooth 4.0.

The NX500 also comes with the SonicMaster Premium audio solution, featuring the ICEpower and Bang & Olufsen technology. The sound solution is said to deliver a deep bass, rich and crystal-clear vocals, having a wide frequency range and high volume levels. Together with the MaxxAudio Master by Waves, recipient of a Technical GRAMMY award, it brings professional-level sound processing and an enhanced listening experience to the NX500.

The VisualMaster display technology is said to provide the NX500 with incredible clarity, accuracy and vibrant lifelike colour, delivering stunning detailed images to the 4K UHD 15.6-inch IPS touchscreen display. The 3M QDEF technology is also said to use quantum dots in order to provide an ultra-wide colour gamut of 100% NTSC, 108% Adobe RGB and 146% sRGB, while having a wide viewing angle of 178-degrees.

ASUS’ Zenbook NX500 is said to boast a new refined slim shape, having it carved from a single block of aluminium and featuring tapered slim edges. The keyboard is also said to be a work of art, having it as a one-piece frameless construction, featuring chicklet design and backlighting controlled by an ambient-light sensor.

Thank you TechPowerUp for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TechPowerUp

KingFast Unveil 1TB “C-Drive” SSD

High capacity SSDs seem to be coming more and more common these days. Particularly as Crucial recently released their M500 series of SSDs available in a 960GB capacity. Yet we haven’t really seen any other high capacity SSD drives intended for consumer use until now.

KingFast, a Chinese flash memory company, has announced its C-Drive 1TB which TweakTown managed to grab a look at during Computex. This is a drive to rival Crucial’s M500 960GB SSD as it features a 1TB capacity. The drive on the face of things looks exactly like any other drive on the market with a 2.5 inch form factor and a 9.5mm thickness. Yet it is unique as it encloses two individual SSDs in an internal RAID 0 configuration. There are two 512GB Sandforce SF-2281 driven SSDs inside but they both share a single SATA III interface. This means speeds of 559 MB/s read and 532 MB/s write which is actually only marginally faster than current SSD drives on the market.

It is clear that the SATA III interface is limiting these SSDs although the internal RAID configuration is mainly in place to allow the 1TB capacity to be reached easily not to allow the drive to perform faster. KingFast didn’t mention anything else about the drive in terms of pricing, TRIM support, availability and other capacities.

Image courtesy of TweakTown