Reviews and Evaluations done right
WiFi is one of those services that people simply expect to see these days. When you walk into just about any public building you are going to start looking for the “free” WiFi that they have. Most people do not stop to think about that that looks like behind the scenes especially when you are in a smaller business. In a large business you have multiple wireless access points (WAPs) that are run by a central controller. This centralized control system makes it relatively simple to control both the business side and the guest side of the wireless network. These tools can be very expensive and out of the budget range for most small companies. Instead a small business will end up with either an edge device with built in wireless (and really bad service), a single WAP or multiple individual WAPs that need to be managed independently and have their own problems.
The world of storage is evolving very quickly as the way PCs are built change. We have watched as the traditional single dive systems have given way to hybrid drives, multiple disk systems and even systems with additional cache in them. All of these measures are designed to give you more options for your system, but there is (at times) a limit to what can be done. This is typically the size of the drive. For years the typical disk was 3.5 inches and about ½ of what the common bay height was. With the original SSDs this dropped significantly and has been followed on by mSATA, mini-mSATA and now M.2. These offer high density storage in a very small package. Today we are checking out ADATA’s SP900NS38 256GB M.2 SATA SSD. Let’s see what kind of performance it offers shall we?
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For the majority of people the term wireless means a simple router or access point (AP) and that is that. However, when you look at wireless on a larger scale you have to have a means to control access points in your organization with a little more efficiency. The thought of going from AP to AP and manually making changes to ensure proper coverage or channel plans is one that would keep most network engineers up at night. However systems that offer a centralized management point for multiple Aps are typically out of the range of small and even medium sized businesses. NETGEAR has stepped in and created a few products to cover this market. We have their WC7600 Wireless controller and a pair of WN370 Access Points in the lab, so let’s check this bundle out and see how it fits in.
Cooler Master’s CMStorm group has built up a reputation for making good gaming peripherals. Over the years we have seen them put out everything from mechanical keyboards to customizable mice and even gaming headsets. For the most part these offerings have been on the pricier side of the market, but in the recent months they have been working on a more value oriented batch of products. One these (that we happen to have in the lab) is a keyboard and mouse combo, the CMStorm Devastator. Is this combo set really worthy of the CMStorm name? I think we should find out.
One of the things that makes a board stand out from the crowd, beside features and price, is how well it performs. Even with a massive feature set a board is not going to do well if the performance is not there. With the Z97-I Asus is trying to push the same level of features that you would find in a larger board, but will they be able to get the same level of performance? That is what we are looking to find out today. So without much in the way of ceremony, let’s get into why you are here and see what the Z97-I is hiding inside its small frame. You can also check out our coverage of the design and features of the Z97I Plus.
As Intel moves more and more core components to their CPU we are seeing an interesting shift in motherboard design. The manufacturers are all realizing that the performance difference between them are narrowing. The days of seeing a massive difference in benchmark scores are almost gone. However, instead of just pushing out a bunch of cookie cutter boards some motherboard makers are looking for new ways to differentiate their boards. Asus is one of these makers and we will be taking a look at a board that has more than a few departures from the normal motherboard design philosophy. This is the Asus Z97-A. So without too much more delay, let’s dive in and see what Asus has given us.
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The need for a place to put your digital stuff is always going to be. There really is just no getting around it. The question is, do you want to trust your files to the cloud, or do you want to keep them in your possession? For some the cloud looks like an attractive alternative. It is inexpensive and you can access you information from anywhere you have an internet connection. At least the cloud used to be an attractive alternative until the news about how poor security is at many of these places along with the news that when you put your files online you lose some of your ownership rights. So what do you do when a bigger or external drive will do the trick? Well simply put a Network Attached Storage device is perfect for this. Almost all of them come with multiple drives in some form of RAID to protect your data and, in many cases, can be accessed from anywhere you have an internet connection. Today we are taking a look at a NAS from Synology that is aimed straight at the home. This is the two bay DS214SE 2200. So let’s dive in and see if Synology can do for the home what they have done for small to medium businesses.