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Apacer AS720 Dual Interface SSD 240GB

When you think of innovation in the storage industry you typically think of things like M.2 and SATA Express that help enable even faster transfer speeds. Well, a while back I was contacted by a lesser known company in the storage industry called Apacer. They had all of the standard products of course but there was one specific product that really caught my eye. This was their AS720 SSD, at first glance, it wasn’t especially innovative. But I noticed that along with the SATA connection on one end, it also had a new USB 3.1 Type C connection on the other end. This really got me thinking about how useful an SSD with dual interfaces could be. For starters, it is worlds smaller than the normal 2.5 inch USB storage devices because it doesn’t need a thick casing on top of the hard drive or SSD like most external USB drives. I was also thinking about how useful it could be when cloning your old drive to your new SSD, especially with laptops that aren’t going to have two SATA connections. So today I’m going to take a look at Apacer’s dual interface SSD. I’m going to dig inside and see what makes it tick, then test both interfaces to see just how well they both perform.

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HyperX Savage 128GB USB 3.1 Drive

With cloud storage I would forgive you if you haven’t thought to much about USB thumb drives recently, I know I have for the most part only been using thumb drives in a few situations where I used to do all of my work directly off of one. The thing is there are situations where the cloud just doesn’t work. A good example of this is with large files but it also can be important when security is a concern and also for installing windows and device drivers. Because of that I have kept a Kingston DataTraveler HyperX drive around. I keep movies and TV shows on it and keep it with my laptop normally because the SSD on my laptop is limited in size. Recently though Kingston introduced a new USB drive in their HyperX brand, the HyperX Savage. They dropped the DataTraveler branding all together and they jumped up to USB 3.1. Today I’m going to take a look at it and find out how it compares to its older brother.

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OCZ Trion 100 480GB

After Toshiba picked up the bankrupt OCZ we have seen OCZ drives move to using Toshiba NAND. With the launch of the Trion 100 though things are a little different. For the first time this is full Toshiba drive that is branded with the OCZ branding. The Trion falls in OCZs product lineup as a budget drive under both the Vertex and Vector drives. The Trion 100 is the first TLC based drive for OCZ, TLC (Triple Level Cell) is similar to MLC but with an additional layer to provide a higher storage density and with that help lower costs as well. So today I’m going to dig into the Trion 100 and find out what makes it tick and then run it through our performance testing to find out how well it performs. Then at the end of the day we will put all of that together along with the price and find out if the Trion 100 is the budget drive for you.

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Eyefi Mobi 8GB

Considering how often I spend taking photos in the office as well as all of our photos when at events. I can say without a doubt that having to pull the SD card out of the camera, walk across the room and plug it into the PC, then sit down and pull everything off of the card takes up far more time than it should be. Eyefi has been on the market for a long time with their WiFi enabled cards but for various reasons I have always put off getting on. Recently I decided that we should check them out and finally see if they are worth all of the hype. So today we are going to take a look at their standard Eyefi Mobi in an 8GB capacity while using it for photos around the house and the office.

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OCZ Vector 180 480GB

Over the last few months I have had the chance to check out a whole list of different SSD’s from a wide range of manufactures. For the most part all of them are sporting the new Phison S10 controller. While those drives have been fast I couldn’t help but notice that the OCZ drives that I tested well over a year ago were right up there holding their own. That got me wondering what the new PCZ drive is capable so I asked to check out the new Vector 180. Today I’m going to dig into it and see what they have going on and then run it through our benchmark suite to see how it performs to find out how it compares to everyone else’s new flagship drives.

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Patriot Ignite M2 480 GB

So a lot of people might not know it but the new M.2 SSDs are actually very versatile. You can run them as a direct PCIe drive with a x2 or x4 connection or you can even run a standard SATA drive on M.2. It wasn’t long ago that I took a look at the Patriot Ignite SSD, well it just so happens Patriot send over another Ignite SSD. This time they sent over their brand new Ignite M2. The Ignite M2 is a SATA based M.2 drive. In other words with this being a SATA drive we still work under the limitations of the SATA interface but with that we keep costs down. Where this comes in handy is in builds where not having to run a 2.5 inch drive is best. So we know this is up my alley, not having to pack in a 2.5 inch drive would save a lot of trouble in some of our LANrigs! So let’s see what the Ignite M2 is all about and then run it through our standard benchmark suite.

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HyperX Predator M.2 PCIe G2 x4 480GB

Last week I took a look at Kingston’s latest HyperX SATA SSD the Savage. Now today I have the chance to look at their flagship SSD the Predator. The Predator is an M.2 x4 drive that is available with and without a PCI Express card to M.2 adapter. For our testing today I will be using it with the adapter to see what everyone can expect for performance, but if your PC supports a x4 M.2 slot you can save yourself a lot of space and keep a PCIe slot open by running the drive through it. M.2 is the replacement for mSATA. Running the drive over M.2 gives a direct connection to the CPU and when run in a x4 configuration it gives us up to 20GB/s bandwidth. In other words for the first time in a long time we aren’t limited by the SATA connection. With that I’m extremely excited to see what the Predator is capable of!

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Kingston HyperX Savage 240GB SSD

When it comes to SSD shopping you have to consider your budget, speed requirements, and also your brand preference. For me personally, I have been using Kingston drives in basically all of my builds as well as all of our test benches for a few years now. This is partly because Kingston has always been great about supporting us but it is also because when I visit their offices and their US manufacturing I watched them jump through hoops testing and retesting their Memory. I realized that they take their quality very serious and for me more than anything else I can’t afford to have my SSD die. So while there have been other drives that are faster, I stuck with them. Why am I telling you this today? Well that is because today I will be taking a look at a MUCH needed new SSD in their product line called the Savage. The Savage line from HyperX isn’t new, they have a nice set of RAM under the name already but today they officially introduce the new SSD. So kick back for a few while I dig into the HyperX Savage SSD and see what it is all about.

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Intel SSD 750 Series PCIe SSD

You may not know it, but over the past few years we as gamers and enthusiasts have been smack dab in the middle of a bit of a revolution. Sure games don’t seem to push hardware as much as they used too and the focus has been on higher resolutions. But on the storage front performance has been improving with leaps and bounds. Here at LanOC our first hard drive review came about around the same time that the first consumer SSDs were hitting the market. When tested that hard drive saw an average read speed of about 75MB/s. Our first SSD review a few months later put down an impressive 214.6 MB/s. After that we saw speeds increase to 300 and then recently to around 550 MB/s. PCIe drives have performed better than that but none of them promise to put down numbers like todays review. Today I’m going to check out Intel’s first consumer focused PCIe drive that happens to also use NVMe.

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Patriot Ignite 480GB

Even after our LAN this weekend I’m not burnt out on all of the storage talk, so it is only fitting that I continue our streak of SSD reviews. Today I have a drive from Patriot in the office. Specifically their new Ignite in a 480GB capacity. The Ignite is one of three recently introduced drives from Patriot with this being their flagship drive. The Ignite features the same Phison's quad-core, eight-channel PS3110-S10 controller that we also saw on the Mushkin Striker last week so we know just how well it can perform. This is fitting because both Patriot and Mushkin focus on bringing the best possible performance at the best possible price. So today I’m going to run the Ignite though our benchmark suite and see how it compares to everything I have tested recently and then see how good of a deal the drive is as well. Could this be the SSD for your next build? Let’s find out.

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Mushkin Chronos 480GB

Last week I took a look at Mushkins new flagship SSD. Well it just so happens I also had another Mushkin SSD floating around the office to review. This one isn’t anything like the Striker. The Chronos is a little older but with that it is also a little better value when you are shopping. Our sample is the big guy with a 480GB capacity but it is priced to compete. So today I’m going to see what is inside of the Chronos and most importantly I am going to figure out if the aging Sandforce controller is still fast enough to justify a purchase for someone who is on a budget.

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Mushkin Striker 480GB

This year at CES Mushkin introduced their upcoming lane of SSDs called the Striker. Up until now, most of their SSDs have been in the Chronos product line. A change in name along with performance improvements are welcomed. The Striker series of SSDs run a quad core 8 channel Phison controller with Micron's 16nm 128Gbit MLC NAND. In the case of our sample, it has an impressive 480GBs of storage. They suggest that the drive will have read speeds up to 565MB/sec and write speeds up to 550MB/sec so today I am going to put it through our benchmark suite and find out if that is really the case. Before then though I am also going to dig inside and see what is inside as well. Enjoy!

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Corsair Force LX 256GB

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.

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Thecus N4560 4 Bay NAS

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.

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OCZ Vector 150 120GB

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.

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Thecus N7510 7 Bay NAS

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.

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Icy Dock ToughArmor 6 HDD Hot Swap Mobile Rack

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.

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OCZ Vertex 450

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.

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WD Black 2 Dual Drive

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.

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RunCore Pro IV 1.8 Inch ZIF SSD

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.

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