Consumer Reviews
by Josh Shaman

Icy Dock 3.5" SATA Dual Bay RAID Enclosure Review (MB662U3-2S)

The Icy Dock 3.5" SATA Dual Bay RAID Enclosure is the newest offering in the ICYRAID line, and it gives users the ability to externally store and cool two 3.5" HDD's. Much like the rest of the Icy Dock line which has garnered an impressive reputation for its hard disk enclosures and its removable storage kits, this model has a sturdy exterior. Designed for photographers, video and audio professionals and any users looking to purchase an enclosure as a backup storage solution, this model has premium features accentuated by demand for RAID customization options and USB 3.0 connectivity.

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by Doug Crowthers

Corsair Obsidian Series 900D Case Review

Corsair's Obsidian Series 900D Super Tower is the manufacturer's most robust, high-end case with ten expansion slots, up to fifteen internal 3.5" drive bays, support for dual bottom-mounted power-supplies, and loads of other features for a wide-range of applications. The 900D has vaulted to the top spot as Corsair's most premium case, adding to the well-established Corsair Obsidian Series 800D. This rig is for serious builders with big projects; whether users want to build an ultimate dream PC, add state-of-the-art liquid cooling, create a monster file server, or design a workstation capable of the most challenging design tasks, the 900D provides plenty of configurable space.

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by Josh Shaman

Crucial M500 SSD Review

The Crucial M500 (and the OEM-tailored Micron M500) are a new mainstream SSD family that offers a SATA 6Gb/s interface, Marvell controller, 7mm drive height and Micron's latest 20nm MLC NAND. Along with the top-level hardware components, the Crucial M500 comes with Micron's firmware which is made in-house. The M500 builds on a longstanding heritage of reliability and compatibility - Micron's calling cards with both their consumer and enterprise SSDs. What makes the M500 family unique though isn't blazing burst speeds; this time the story is more about price and capacity. The M500 is the first mainstream SSD that offers a drive at the near terabyte capacity, 960GB. The suggested MSRP is under $600 as well, which while still expensive, presents the market with the first viable opportunity from a trusted brand to go SSD-only. What's more, this is all within a 7mm drive body, which makes the M500 a solid fit for just about any client computing platform.

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by Doug Crowthers

Intel SSD 525 mSATA Review

Intel's SSD 525 mSATA drives are the latest iteration in the line and utilize 25nm MLC NAND memory with LSI SandForce SF-2281 controllers. According to Intel, SSD 525 drives can reach up to 50,000 IOPS random read and 80,000 IOPS random write, while sequential read performance runs up to 550 MB/s with sequential writes of 520 MB/s. The SSD 525 series measures 50.8mm x 29.85mm x 3.7mm, weighs 10 grams, and includes a PCIe mini-connector intended to support applications from netbooks, thin-and-light systems, mini and sub-notebooks, all-in-one computers, and embedded platforms. The SSD 525 Series offers additional key features such as: Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 128-bit Encryption, End-to-End Data Protection, and Data Compression.

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by Josh Shaman

Corsair Voyager Air 1TB Review

Corsair's Voyager Air is an portable storage device with capacities of 500GB and 1TB designed to dramatically increase smartphone and tablet media capabilities by producing and broadcasting its own wireless network. A novel feature that Corsair brings to the market is an Ethernet port that enables the Voyager Air to act as a NAS when plugged into a router. This feature, not found on similar devices, gives Corsair a significant differentiator in a market that has very fine degrees of separation. When on the go, the Voyager Air has a battery life of up to 7 hours for continuous video streaming and a range extending up to 90 feet. Additionally, Voyager Air can support streaming up to 5 HD movies to 5 devices at one time.

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by Josh Shaman

Seagate Wireless Plus Review (STCK1000100)

Seagate's Wireless Plus is a 1TB external storage device that provides users access to their media by broadcasting its own wireless network, thus removing the need for wires, Wi-Fi hotspots, and network access points. This feature, combined with the 150 foot range of the Wireless Plus, allows users to upload and download documents, pictures, music, and movies to and from their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices at any time without being tethered down or restricted by their current location. Essentially, by removing data limitations natively found on smartphones and tablets, Seagate's Wireless Plus creates an alternative to shelling out gobs of cash for the expensive capacity steps offered by smartphone and tablet manufacturers.

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by Josh Shaman

WD My Book Thunderbolt Duo 8TB Review (WDBUSK0080JSL)

The Western Digital My Book Thunderbolt Duo 8TB is an external storage unit that provides top-of-the-line capacity in a book-sized enclosure. Near the end of 2012, we reviewed the WD My Book Essential which provided the highest capacity on the market in a single hard drive at 4TB. Now, we're examining the WD My Book Thunderbolt Duo formatted specifically for Mac and available in 4TB, 6TB, or 8TB. Our test model comes with a whopping 8TB storage capacity. The Duo crams that exceptional storage capacity into a relatively small space using two 3.5" 4TB Hitachi Deskstar 5K4000's.

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by Josh Shaman

OCZ Vertex 3.20 SSD Review

The OCZ Vertex 3.20 SSD is the latest rendition in the Vertex 3 line and now offers a smaller MLC NAND configuration. Most SSDs, such as the Vertex 3 that we reviewed in 2011, have relied on 25 nanometer (nm) process geometry, but OCZ is taking strides to create production efficiencies and cut costs by moving to 20nm NAND die. However, other than decreased NAND die size, updates are minor. The Vertex 3.20 retains the same controller and processor as its predecessor and produces very similar performance.

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by Josh Shaman

Seagate SSHD Thin Review (Gen3 500GB, ST500LM000)

Seagate's third generation SSHDs (solid state hybrid drives), now for both laptops and desktops, are marketed as a replacement for HDDs and serve as a good option for those otherwise considering an SSD. SSHDs aim to offer users the price-point and robust capacity of HDDs while also utilizing NAND flash to provide the performance attained with SSDs by caching critical applications. Slimmed from 9.5mm to 7mm, our review model third generation Seagate 500GB SSHD Thin with 8GB of MLC NAND would fit well in any user configuration and is especially well-suited for ultra-thin, ultra-light laptops.

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by Josh Shaman

Icy Dock 3.5" SATA HDD Backplane Review (MB153SP-B)

The Icy Dock Hot-Swap 3.5" SATA HDD Backplane Module enables users to fit three 3.5" HDDs into two 5.25" device bays. This device is a good representation of what Icy Dock is known for - a considerable line of drive adapters and storage enclosure peripherals for users who want to make the most of their PC's space. Icy Dock focused particularly on gamers and media enthusiants when they designed the Hot-Swap 3.5" Backplane as it enables users to utilize Hot-Swap capabilities for convenience in performing maintenance and upgrades. 

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