After our review of Vantec's USB 3.0 controller card, we learned of the benefits of upgrading to USB 3.0 from USB 2.0. You get to retain backwards compatibility, but the potential performance benefits can be huge. That's probably why most of the major external storage device manufacturers have adopted the 3.0 standard early on. The drives under the microscope are very similar on paper. They are no frills external drives with just a USB 3.0 backwards compatible interface. They are both 1TB in capacity and utilize 3.5" desktop hard drives. They're both from big names in the computer storage industry, Iomega and Seagate. Iomega is famous for its Zip Drives, and Seagate is one of the biggest hard drive manufacturers in the world.
The USB, or Universal Serial Bus, standard is currently the most popularly used external interface for computer systems. It is used as an interface for devices ranging from input devices like mice and keyboards, to storage devices. It's only natural and inevitable that an integral technology like USB would advance with a new version. Being an industry standard for external connectivity, its new version should be backwards compatible with old versions, but it still should be a progression forward. That's what USB 3.0 is today. While the connectors used and the data signal are backwards compatible, USB 3.0 is a huge step forward in terms of performance. While this means little for low bandwidth hardware like input devices, it's important for storage devices like external hard drives and flash drives.
Realistically, USB 2.0 storage devices topped out in the 30MB/s range, while eSATA and Firewire 800 left those devices in the dust. Now with USB 3.0, the USB standard is competitive again. Today we'll be looking at an add-in card that allows you to easily add USB 3.0 compabilities to a computer system. The add-in card is Vantec's SuperSpeed USB 3.0 PCI-e host card (UGT PC312). It's a PCI-e 2.0 1x card that adds two USB 3.0 ports.
iStarUSA is a company with almost 20 years of experience in manufacturing their own industrial switching power supplies, rackmount chassis and server cabinets. Expanding their product catalogue, iStarUSA also makes workstation and server accessories including mobile hard drive racks. Used in situations where hard drives need to quickly swapped, mobile racks help to make the task easier. The drive cage we'll be inspecting today is iStarUSA's BPN-DE340SS. It takes up 3 adjacent 5.25" drive bays and gives you 4 3.5" SAS/SATA drive bays. It's a new model from iStarUSA that supports current SATA 3.0 technology with its 6.0Gb/s transfer rate. It also supports drives up to with 3GB capacity.
Antec, Cooler Master, and Thermaltake are well established brands in the computer power supply market. In this article, we'll be examining some of their high end power supplies catering to users with multi-core and multiple GPUs. The participants include Antec's Signature 850w, Cooler Master's UCP 900w and Thermaltake's Toughpower CM 1000w. They will be strapped to our new power supply test system and will be evaluated on efficiency, noise, ripple, and voltage regulation.
iStarUSA is a company with almost 20 years of experience in manufacturing their own industrial switching power supplies, rackmount chassis and server cabinets. Expanding their product catalogue, iStarUSA also makes workstation and server accessories including mobile hard drive racks. Used in situations where hard drives need to quickly swapped, mobile racks help to make the task easier. iStarUSA has many internal hard drive enclosure options, and today we'll be looking at the T5F-SS, a single drive SATA/SAS hard drive mobile rack.
Antec has three premium lines of consumer computer cases in it's roster: Performance One, Sonata and Gamer. We've already looked at cases from the Performance One and Sonata lines and those cases left with many awards and high ratings. So now all that's left is a look at Antec's Gamer line of cases. It's pretty obvious, but the Gamer line of cases is targeted towards gamers. Antec's claim for it's Gamer cases is that they have "unprecedented cooling, convenience, and style." That's what we'll check out today with the entry level Gamer case from Antec, the Three Hundred. The general style of the Gamer series cases consist of black exteriors, lots of fans (some of them are quite big!) and perforated front panels. Moving from the Three Hundred and up the line, you gain more space, more fans (and even bigger fans!), and a side-panel window.
I normally don't review non-computer accessories circuitREMIX, but I made an exception for Belkin's TuneCast Auto with Clearscan for iPhone/iPod. For one, iPods are hugely popular around the world and the new iPhone 3G is going to make a huge splash on July 11. As well, I personally own some iPods and I intend on buying an iPhone 3G when they're released. In my personal interest in the matter, I've had some trouble finding a good FM transmitter for my iPods. My car is from 2003, and that was before most cars came standard with auxilary input jacks for audio devices. It also doesn't have a cassette deck, and since I'm still using the OEM stereo, there isn't an easy way to install a direct cable input. Using an FM transmitter is my only easy option to get audio from my iPods to my stereo, and out the speakers.
Aeneon is a relatively new brand on the market, re-launched about 7 months ago. Originally under the Infineon brand, it is now a Qimonda brand after the spinoff of Infineon as Qimonda. Qimonda decided to continue the use of the Aeneon brand name for it's retail market division. As part of the strategy, Aeneon exclusively uses Qimonda DRAM chips. This is similar to the use of Micron chips for the Micron owned Crucial brand. We all know that when it comes down to the performance memory market, the DRAM "chip-to-get" changes like the seasons. Other companies such as Corsair, Kingston and OCZ aren't restricted to certain DRAM manufacturers and have more flexibility when creating product lineups. Some of those brands have used Qimonda chips in the past, and many video cards use fast GDDR from Qimonda, and today we'll check out a DDR3 kit from Aeneon which uses Qimonda DRAM chips.
The memory kit on the plate today is from Aeneon's performance line of RAM, XTune. It's comprised of 2GB (2x1GB DIMMs) of DDR3 rated to run at 1333MHz at CL8 (specifically, 8-8-8-24). Aeneon tests these kits in pairs to ensure performance and stability in dual channel configuration.