Author:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Logitech

Logitech Z606 Review

Logitech this week released a new model of affordable 5.1 surround sound speakers. Priced at $129.99, the Logitech Z606 is a 5.1 powered speaker setup aimed at users looking for a budget-minded upgrade to their home theater or PC audio experience.

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We got an early look at the Z606 and found that, despite some improvements over previous Logitech surround sound packages, its lack of digital inputs may limit its appeal. But if your specific audio setup conforms to the system’s limitations, you’ll end up with a nice sounding 5.1 system that’s hard to beat for the price.

Check out our complete quick look review to see if the Logitech Z606 is the affordable surround sound system you're looking for.

Author:
Subject: Memory
Manufacturer: Corsair

Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB Memory Review

After first teasing the product last month at CES, Corsair today is officially launching the latest edition of the company's flagship memory. The Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB is not only a new model of high performance DDR4 memory, it's also the first product to feature Corsair's new Capellix LED technology.

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The Dominator Platinum RGB line will be rolling out in 22 SKUs of varying capacity and performance, with clocks ranging from 3000MHz to 4800MHz and capacities between 16GB and 128GB. We were supplied with early access to the CMT32GX4M4C3200C14 SKU, a 32GB (4x8GB) kit clocked at 3200MHz with timings of 14-14-14-34.

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Read on to see how this memory performs, how far we could overclock it, and how the new Capellix LEDs look and work outside of the Corsair showroom.

Author:
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Synology

Synology DS1019+ Review

Synology this week is launching the DS1019+, a 5-bay counterpart to last year's 4-bay DS918+. Like most of the company's "Plus" series devices, it is aimed at higher-end home users and small businesses with a price (without drives) of $649.99.

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Synology loaned us a review unit of the DS1019+ prior to launch, and after adding it to our growing shelf of network storage devices, we spent some time seeing how this new model compares to its predecessors and counterparts.

Specifications & Design

The design of the DS1019+ is virtually identical to that of the DS918+, with the same style of drive bays, same case material and color, same basic layout of ports and status lights, and even an almost identical list of technical specs. The biggest difference between the two by far is simply the addition of a fifth drive bay on the DS1019+. So, if you liked the look and feel of the DS918+, you should feel the same way about the DS1019+.

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Following the design trends of other Synology NAS devices in recent years, the DS1019+ is compact considering its capabilities. It measures in at 166mm x 230mm x 223mm (about 6.5 x 9.0 x 8.8 inches) and weighs about 5.6 pounds without drives. Included in the box is the power adapter with region-appropriate power cord, two five-foot Cat5e Ethernet cables, an accessory kit with two keys for the drive bay locks, 20 screws for mounting 2.5-inch drives in the 3.5-inch drive bays, and a quick installation guide.

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Like almost all Synology NAS devices, the DS1019+ ships without drives, so you'll need to add your own mechanical or solid state drives in order to use the device. If want to configure the NAS with a traditional RAID, you'll want to populate the drive bays with drives of the same capacity and ideally from the same vendor. If you need to mix-and-match drive vendors, at least aim to use drives with identical performance specifications. Similar in concept to Drobo, Synology also offers a "Hybrid RAID" (SHR) option that allows users to combine drives of different sizes or later expand the array by replacing smaller drives with larger ones. Depending on drive types and size mismatches, however, there is a performance penalty to going this route compared to a similar RAID configuration utilizing identical disks.

As alluded to, the 1019+ is powered by the same CPU found in the DS918+: the Intel Celeron J3455, a quad-core 10-watt Apollo Lake part. With base and boost clocks of 1.5GHz and 2.3GHz, respectively, the J3455 is more than powerful enough to accommodate the transfer and management of data on the NAS, and it also supports hardware video transcoding, which is a huge advantage for services like Plex.

Continue reading for our complete review of the Synology DS1019+!

Author:
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: iStorage

datAshur Pro Encrypted USB Flash Drive

Editor's Note: This review was originally published at TekRevue and is republished here with permission.

When it comes to protecting your data, there are options such as local encryption or using an online storage service that offers encryption in the cloud. But one major weakness that affects both businesses and consumers is the "sneakernet:" moving data physically between computers or users via mediums such as flash drives or external hard drives. For example, delivering the latest W-2 forms to the HR department or taking your yearly tax information to your accountant's office.

While it's possible to move data in this manner securely by using software-based encryption, the simple reality is that many users and employees don't take data security into consideration, or they just forget. The thought is "the data is in my hands, it's safe." But, of course, when that flash drive or hard drive gets left behind at the coffee shop, or the bag containing them gets swiped at the airport, this false notion crumbles immediately.

UK-based iStorage is one company that recognizes this issue, and the company has built its entire product line around hardware-based encryption for external storage devices. These are devices that automatically encrypt the data stored on them, completely preventing access to the data unless the correct PIN is physically entered on the device. As long as employees or family members use a device like this for their external data storage, they never need to "think" about encryption since the data is automatically secured as soon as it's unplugged from the computer.

While iStorage offers a range of devices including external hard drives, we spent some time with one of the company's flash drives. The datAshur Pro is a USB 3.0 drive that is available in capacities ranging from 4 to 64GB. We're reviewing the 32GB model, which has a current street price in the US of about $125.

Author:
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: OWC

OWC USB-C Dual-Bay Drive Dock Review

Editor's Note: This review was originally published at TekRevue and is republished here with permission.

Industry trends, such as increasingly compact PCs and Macs that are incapable of being upgraded, and faster connections to network-attached storage devices, have made the traditional “bare” 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch drive far less common in typical homes and businesses. But for those who still use bare drives for backup, archiving, data transfer, or troubleshooting, the importance of a solid drive dock is crucial.

These devices, which generally accept the SATA connections of bare mechanical and solid state drives and allow access to the drives via a more handy external I/O protocol, have been around for years, with certain devices offering access via USB 2.0, FireWire, eSATA, USB 3.0, and even Thunderbolt. But the ones you find today in typical online marketplaces often suffer from reliability issues or limited functionality, such as the inability to boot from a connected drive.

One company that has long offered a range of external drive docks is OWC, and although it has been several years since I used an OWC drive dock, I recall that the company’s products suffered none of the aforementioned drawbacks. And so when my most recent USB 3.0-based drive dock from StarTech recently died, I was interested to see that OWC had continued to update its drive dock product lineup, adding a USB 3.1 Type-C option last year.

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I spent the last few weeks evaluating a review loan of this latest OWC Drive Dock, and found it to be a well-built, high-performance device that is a significant upgrade over my previous drive dock. Read on for my more detailed impressions of the device’s design and performance.

Author:
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Samsung

Samsung today is launching a new member of its consumer-targeted family of NVMe SSDs, the Samsung 970 EVO Plus. Thanks to the upgrade from 64-layer to 96-layer V-NAND, this new drive promises significantly better write performance, a slight bump to overall responsiveness, and improved efficiency all in the same single-sided package at capacities up to 2TB.

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This new drive, a mid-cycle refresh that keeps the well-regarded 970-series on the market, looks impressive on paper. But do those soaring advertised IOPS and insane write speeds hold up in reality? Check out our initial review of the Samsung 970 EVO Plus.

Author:
Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Western Digital

WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD Review

Western Digital today is launching the latest version of its Black-series NVMe SSDs. Like its predecessor, the WD Black SN750 is targeted at gamers, introducing a new "Gaming Mode" that tunes the drive to favor performance over power efficiency.

The drive will be available in two variants — one including a heatsink and one without — in capacities up to 2TB. Western Digital worked with cooling experts EK to design the heatsink.

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We had a brief time to review the 1TB non-heatsink model and have some initial performance results to share.

Read on for our review of the WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD.

Author:
Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: FlexiSpot

FlexiSpot SanoDesk Pro Review

I'm no doctor, but the consensus appears to be clear: sitting for long periods of time isn't healthy. There are lots of jobs where prolonged sitting can be a problem, and writing about and reviewing PC hardware is certainly one of them.

Our knowledge of the dangers of prolonged sitting or, more positively, the benefits of standing while working, isn't new. Indeed, several years ago when I first started my career focused on online writing I purchased what was then a relatively novel motorized sit-to-stand desk from Steelcase.

That Steelcase desk, which I continue to use to this day, is solid and well built, but it was insanely expensive at the time I bought it. Since then lots of companies have entered the market to offer cheaper sit-to-stand solutions, but few are high quality or feature-rich enough to justify their price points.

In my time looking at options ranging from Ikea to boutique companies specializing only in the standing desk product category, I've found that desks either lack features such as height memory, feel cheap with loud jerky motor movement, or involve a complicated and time consuming assembly process. There are good options out there, of course, and while they're far cheaper than my original Steelcase desk, they're still quite expensive.

But we were recently contacted by a company called FlexiSpot, who asked us to evaluate one of their motorized high-adjustable desks. We receive all kinds of review requests here, including frequent requests related to things on the periphery of the PC hardware industry such as desks and other furniture. But what caught my attention with FlexiSpot's proposal was their claim of an "easy 5-minute assembly" for their desk.

So, intrigued by that, I agreed to a review sample of the FlexiSpot SanoDesk Pro. Priced at $599.99 for the basic desk, the SanoDesk Pro isn't cheap, but in my testing I found it to offer premium construction and operation at a lower price than many alternatives of equal quality. And yes, that "5-minute assembly" claim is actually true.

Read on for our impressions of the FlexiSpot SanoDesk Pro.

Subject: General Tech
Manufacturer: Wooting

The World’s First Fully Analog Keyboard

For years, keyboards have been mostly static. Sure, there’s been innovations here and there but for the most part, we’ve been clacking on the same set of keys for most of our lives. The switches are digital, like the light switches on your wall: they’re either on or off with nothing in between. For many games, this just isn’t ideal. Racing games need feathery touches; third-person action games demand you both creep and run; most, in fact, feel better when you add a little bit of nuance to your control.

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The Wooting One is the world’s first completely analog optical keyboard. With the press of a button, every key can offer the same kind of nuanced control of a controller’s trigger, and thanks to a clever design, it will work any game that offers dual controller and keyboard support. Coming in at $159.99 for a single tenkeyless model and two switch options, this is the kind of innovation that doesn’t come cheap.

Join us as we dig in to see just how much of a game changer analog switches truly are.

Manufacturer: be quiet!

Introduction and Case Exterior

It has been almost three years since we reviewed the original Silent Base 600 enclosure, and today we have the brand new Silent Base 601 from be quiet! in for review. Launching this week, the latest case from the German manufacturer combines a noise-reducing interior with a no-frills exterior. Gone are its predecessor's optical drive bays and hinged front panel door, allowing for a wide-open internal layout, and overall this is a thoroughly modern enclosure design.

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The Silent Base 601 enclosure also marks this reviewer's first experience with a be quiet! product (Lee handled the Silent Base 600 review), so I came into the this with zero expectations - and was honestly pretty surprised by the case overall. My findings (and many photos) are documented in this review, so let's get started!

Features from be quiet!:

  • Noise dampening vents provide excellent air permeability with maximum silence
  • Extra thick insulation mats of 10mm in the front, top and sides
  • Two preinstalled Pure Wings 2 140mm fans
  • 3-step fan controller caters for up to three fans
  • The PSU shroud provides a neat interior
  • Ready for radiators up to 360mm
  • Three years manufacturer’s warranty 
  • Product conception, design and quality control in Germany

The Silent Base 601 is available in both the standard version (as reviewed) or a windowed version for $10 more, and with the option of three different front accent colors - orange, black, or silver.

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Continue reading our review of the be quiet! Silent Base 601 enclosure!