A few years ago only a few people were running an SSD in their computer. These days though most enthusiasts and gamers are sporting one. Why? Because they speed up your computer in areas that even the fastest CPU or video card can’t do. The thing is if you got in on it all early, you are most likely running a small OS only drive. Well if you haven’t noticed prices have been dropping, for what you spent on that 60GB drive you can get the Corsair Force Series LX 256GB. Not only will that hold your OS but now you can installed a few more programs on it as well. In fact you should be able to run everything you need off of your SSD with the exception being if you are like me and install every steam game you own. You should keep some of that on a second hard drive. Today I’m going to take a look and see how the budget focused LX drive performs and find out if it is currently the best deal to be found.

Having had the opportunity to work and support home and small office environments, the necessity for things like redundancy, ease of access, and perhaps more importantly granularity of access are extremely obvious. Things that a NAS can provide, but rarely are invested in for one reason or another. The fear of cost or expertise often leads to that heart-breaking conversation where you relay the news that their presentation went up in flames with their failed hard drive, or early morning support calls due to permission issues. Thecus has several NAS offerings on the table, and we've had a look at a few of them. Today we'll sit down with the N4560, a NAS targeted for this very SOHO situation, in which Thecus hopes to address a few of the examples here and beyond.

OCZ like most other manufactures can’t just focus on just top of the line or budget products. Its important to cover a wide range of products to make sure you have something to meet all of your customers price and performance expectations. A good example of this was the Vector 150. They obviously also have the Vertex 450 that I reviewed previously. OCZ took the design that the Vertex 450 and original Vector both shared, kept the Barefoot 3 controller, and swapped out the NAND from 25nm IMFT MLC NAND to Toshiba's 19nm MLC NAND. In other words the Vector 150 replaced the original Vector. OCZs Vector drives are their enthusiast focused drives while the Vertex drives are their top of the line mainstream drives. Let’s dig in and see what sets them apart.

Smaller, Cooler, more efficient, those are three things that I have been working on with both our LAN equipment and in my own office for a few years now. For years the enthusiast in me would get excited about adding a new server, more storage capacity, and new toys to play with. At some point you look back and realize that as much fun as the toys are, you could really get the same job done with one device when you were using two or three before. Not only are you wasting space, but you are also using substantially more electricity each month/year to power it all. On top of all of that when its summer time, you have all of this hardware putting out more and more heat, fighting against your air conditioning, or even worse its already hot and you are making it even hotter. Late last year I took at look at the hardware we use here in the LanOC office and decided to work on combining as much as I could. Today I’m going to tell you about that experience.

If you’re like me you like to back up files, install every game in your Steam library just because and record your favorite TV shows to your hard drive to enjoy them on your own time. This unfortunately takes up a lot of space and more often than not means you need more and more hard drives to sate your unhealthy obsession with storage but what happens when you run out of space to put your drives or even worse, your media PC is in a small mATX case? Icy Dock looks to come to the data hogs rescue with their ToughArmor 6x2.5" SATA HDD Hot Swap Mobile Rack which promises to give us a place to put 6 2.5” drives in a single 5.25” external bay. We’ll find out if this increase in storage is worth your time.

The last time we took a look at a full SSD I was extremely impressed. That drive was the new Vector drive from OCZ, at the time a departure from what they had been doing. Around the same time as our review, OCZ introduced their new Vertex 450 drive that shares a lot with the Vector that I was especially impressed with. The 450 is designed to give you the same Barefoot Indilinx Barefoot 3 controller in the same aluminum shell but with 20nm MLC NAND rather than the 25nm MLC NAND that the Vector has. Let’s find out if the Vertex 450 is as impressive as the Vector.

I don’t know about you, but when I build a new PC I basically plan for an SSD for my operating system and then a second drive or more for my Steam and other files. This has been fairly consistent in my builds from the “Fridge” with its double SSD’s and double spinning drives all the way to the most recent “lunchbox 3” with its SSD and hard drive. I even do the same thing on my gaming laptop. Sadly, there are a lot of people who just can’t do this with their laptops do to only having one drive space. Western Digital surprised us late last week with a game changing drive that has that situation in mind without going with a hybrid setup. That drive is their new WD Black 2 Dual Drive, a single drive that houses a 120GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive.

titleIn the past we have taken a look at a variety of different SSD’s of all different sizes and shapes. Today we are going to check out something completely different. Today we are taking a look at a tiny 1.8 inch SSD that uses a PATA ZIF connection. For those of you who don’t know what a ZIF connection is, that is a zero insertion force connection. You typically see them inside of laptops and in this case this drive is normally used on small laptops and in some handheld devices. Being a PATA based (think IDE) these aren’t all about speed, but I wanted to check the drive out due to its size. So let’s take a look.

titleWith the Agility and Vertex product lines from OCZ in their fourth generations it was exciting to see OCZ change things up and introduce a new model late last year. With a unique design and an Indilinx controller inside it looks like it could really shake things up. I’m excited to see how it will perform, especially compared to the Agility 4 and Vertex 4 that we have recently taken a look at. OCZ gave it the Vector name and in some cases that means “a force or influence”, let’s find out if the OCZ Vector will be a force or influence in the SSD market. 

titleIt wasn’t that long ago when we took a look at the OCZ Vertex 4, the first drive sporting the Indilinx Everest 2 controller. The Vertex 4 topped just about everything we put it through. When OCZ asked if we were interested in checking out the Asynchronous Agility 4, we jumped at the chance. With the difference between the drives just being the NAND used, it’s always interesting to see what real world performance difference you should expect when going with a budget drive. Not everyone can afford to get top of the line, especially when balancing capacity as well. Let’s see what you will be giving up and find out if it’s worth the difference in price.

titleWhen it comes to storage, there is no question that cloud storage is growing in importance every year. For some this is all that you might need, but if you are like me, you need a lot more than what is available on the cloud. When combined with laptops and multi computer households, adding more storage to just your PC isn’t always the best option. This is where Network Attached Storage comes in: you can have almost endless amounts of storage available in your home. Companies like Thecus have built on that with a collection of features like built in antivirus, Bit-Torrent support, and multimedia support. We are going to take a look at Thecus’s N5550, a 5-bay NAS with USB 3.0.

titleTo say it’s been a while since we have taken a look at a Mushkin SSD would be an understatement. The last time we took a look at one of their SSD’s it was a SATA 2 drive. Things have moved on to bigger, cheaper, and faster things. Mushkin recently introduced their 7mm version of the Chronos Deluxe, a SATA 3 based SSD with advertised transfer speeds of up to 560MB/sec read and IOPS of 90,000. With numbers like that, I had to get my hands on it to see how it performed. How will it compare to all of the other drives with similar advertised performance numbers? Will this be your next SSD?

titleEarlier this year I had the chance to visit the OCZ offices. While being shown the offices I could sense the excitement. At that time they finally had the Indilinx crew in the office and they were very excited about how having an in house NAND Controller and firmware production would change the future of OCZ’s SSD business. The first drive that Indilinx had a hand in was the OCZ Vertex 4. Today we are going to put the Vertex 4 to the test in our new benchmark suite along with a few other SATA 3 drives to see how they perform. I hope that the same excitement that I saw in the OCZ offices will equal top notch performance from their current flagship SSD. 

titleBy this time, we all should be familiar with the term "cloud" and what it means, and you probably already are using a cloud solution of some kind (either Dropbox, or Windows Live Mesh, or others). What about a personal cloud? A cloud that you can take with you everywhere you go that stores much more data than what you can put up in a Dropbox account. We have previously reviewed a 16GB product from Kingston, but lets take a look at something with a bit more storage. Today we will be looking at the 500GB Seagate GoFlex Satellite external WiFi hard drive, designed to give you access to media, particularly on your mobile devices, wherever you go.

titleIn the beginning, there were platter hard drives. They would spend their lives spinning away into a data driven oblivion. Google has even authored a study on hard drives, and their reliability. For awhile, there were drives called RAM drives. They would use some of your system memory as a temporary hard drive (temporary because they were volatile) as a means to store and access data. This process was very quick. Recently, solid state hard drives (like a RAM drive, but not really) have become popular. They access data very quickly, and although they are small in size, they do pack quite a punch. Today we will be looking at the Samsung 830 Series SATA 6Gb/s drive (128GB capacity). How does it compare to other SSDs on the market, and does its performance warrant installation in your PC? Read on to find out!

titleSo you do the smart thing, you backup your data from your laptop and your home PC to an external or network drive and go on with life feeling confident that you have gone well and above what most people do. For the most part, you did. What about when you’re traveling, have you seen how much abuse a device can take when on the go? For some people, and I know I’m one of them, some of the data you carry with you while traveling is more important than the laptop or device that you actually carry it on. In that situation you need a way to not have to worry about your data, no matter the situation, and to have a guarantee to back it up as well. The folks over at ioSafe focus specifically on this crowd. Not only do they offer products that are according to them build to handle almost anything, but they back it up with data recovery if something does happen.  Today we are going to take a look at that Rugged Portable hard drive to see what all of the fuss is about, without any more buildup, let’s dig in.


headerI remember, early last year, thinking to myself; "Self, it would be totally awesome if they made an external hard drive that was battery operated and could connect to a WiFi network. No more USB cables!" Well, that time has arrived with several new products that have recently hit the market. Today, I would like to take a look at the Kingston Wi-Drive 16GB unit and see how it works, and more importantly, is it worth the money.

titleEarlier this month Star Trek: Online went the Free To Play model, meaning anyone can have their own starship and participate in one of the best science fiction franchises of all time! Why is that significant to this article?  It is significant because I am a Trekkie. I openly admit it. When HornetTek contacted us to do some reviews on their products, this product definitely caught my eye for two reasons. One, I like hard drive enclosures and external storage solutions. Two, it is named "Enterprise". There is even a glimpse of the good 'ole 1701 on HornetTek's website.

The question is; is the HornetTek Enterprise 4X an enterprise-level device that performs like the Federation flagship would, or is it just as useful as a self-sealing stem bolt? Read on to find out!

ssdheaderIf you are building a new computer, or looking for a great way to upgrade the performance of your current machine, many people recommend picking up a Solid State Drive instead of a spinning Hard Disk Drive. SSD's have several advantages of their spinning counterparts, including faster read and write times, and better reliability in environments where shocks and drops are common (like laptop computers).  However, they do require some management that you might not be familiar with.

titleWe used to work closely with Mushkin as far back as our first few LAN parties but over the past few years that communication slowed down. This year at CES we had a chance to catch up and see what they have been up to, and we were happy to see that on top of staying in the RAM market they have also introduced a couple SSD’s. Their newest SSD is called the Callisto Deluxe, and we will be taking an in depth look at it today. Sporting the SandForce SF-1200 controller and promising read speeds of up to 285MB/s and write speeds of up to 275MB/s, it sounds like it’s a perfect match for the Mushkin name. Of course there is only one way to find out; let’s jump in.


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