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Category Archives: Hardware

Targus USB 3.0 Dual Video Adapter Reviewed. Verdict: Silky Smooth Video in HD and Beyond

For people with all-in-ones, small form factor PCs and laptops, if they want an additional screen (or two), the best bet is an external video adapter which works work well for PCs lacking the space for an additional video card inside. Granted, some of these machines come with a HDMI jack but even with that, you only get two displays at most. The Targus USB 3.0 Dual Video Adapter is worth checking out if you want scalability. It simply needs one USB 3.0 port and has both DVI and HDMI to drive resolution up to 2048×1152 which is good display up to 24″. Should you want to further expand desktop estate, you can always get another one. USB 3.0 has plenty of bandwidth for applications like this. The Targus employs the DisplayLink DL-3900 chipset as it’s the only one in the DL-3xxx series to boast dual head output.

Installation on Windows PCs is very easy and the adapter even gets HDCP 2.0 certification for Blu-ray and iTunes movies alike. The USB 3.0 video adapter can also carry 16-bit 48kHz 5.1 surround audio through its HDMI port. Another big plus is the DisplayLink USB video chipset being able to offload all of the heavy lifting of HD video playback and 3D rendering to the GPU. During Everything USB’s tests, the Targus adapter is actually able to render 3D game graphics as capable as the system’s main GPU.

The USB cable, tethered to the adapter however, is strangely short and stuttering with 24p playback was noted. Despite the caveats, the Targus works well for most users and sells for about $99, making it reasonably priced by most accounts. Anyone looking to add monitors to their notebook or desktop computer for increased productivity will want to give this adapter a closer look. That is assuming USB 3.0 port is available.

[Targus USB 3.0 Dual Video Adapter Review @ Everything USB]

Seagate GoFlex Desk 4TB USB 3.0 Drive Reviewed. Verdict: Colossal Speed.

We were already huge fans of Seagate’s line of GoFlex External Hard Drives but they are now first to cross the 4TB barrier with their Seagate GoFlex Desk. For the uninitiated, the GoFlex line of drives allow for buying one drive with a specific connector (USB, FireWire, eSATA) and the ability to accessorize with each of the other types. FireWire at home and eSATA at the office, or just carry the connector with you if you don’t have a heterogeneous situation to solve. The large volume of the latest drive may appeal to many walks of life charged with toting the massive amounts of data that the GoFlex Desk 4TB enables. The interchangeable interface feature means that you can support the fastest possible manipulation of that data. Working with VMs or DB backups isn’t trivial with regards to size. Moving data on that scale can be downright glacial with older transfer protocols.

Seagate’s USB 3.0 connector has clocked some amazing speeds during tests and the USB 3.0 to SATA converter that runs the GoFlex Desk looks like it might work for other SATA drives in a pinch too. That’s a nice piece of added value but your mileage may vary. There are some possible problems working with data past 2TB, so do your research. Make sure you know which protocol you can use and where. You’ll also want to spend some time checking your OS’s support for 2TB+ drives. Older operating systems may require patching if they will even work at all. We’d check out this article for details about the speed and compatibility if you are planning a trip 4TB into outer space.

[Seagate Desk GoFlex 4TB Review @ Everything USB]

Corsair Vengeance 1500 Gaming Headset Reviewed. Verdict: Outstanding.

It’s very seldom that virtual surround gaming headset gets such high approval but the Corsair Vengeance 1500 Gaming Headset proved to be a real head-turner. This latest gaming-centric but still multipurpose headset has garnered high marks for sound quality and compatibility. Almost every physical feature of it has been upgraded. The padded ear cups fit better and are more comfortable than previous models and do an excellent job of sound isolation without actually requiring noise canceling features. The cable has a nylon mesh wrapping for tangle free flexibility but warns against unwanted feline affinity.

The 5.1 and 7.1 audio driver flexibility seems to be the key feature of this headset allowing for compatibility for many old and new games alike. The 1500 provides game changing environmental awareness for games but movies and music are similarly enhanced. They appear to be very evenly balanced without favoring treble or bass. The reviewer actually seemed to struggle to find flaws with the Vengeance. In fact, the only complaints seemed to be around some of the nuances of microphone performance. Gamers that use the microphone for in-game communication are rarely concerned with music hall performance so that should be a non-issue for most. See the entire review at Everything USB for more details on this new prodigy from Corsair.

[Corsair Vengeance 1500 Gaming Headset Review @ Everything USB]

Hitachi Touro 3TB USB 3.0 Drive Reviewed, Verdict: Superior Real World Performance.

Hitachi has rolled out a few external hard drives that boast business class speed in a consumer form factor. While not as sleek as some other available externals, the Hitachi Touro 3TB USB 3.0 is big enough and fast enough to justify the missing sleek. It does seem to be much improved over the previous versions and many of the aesthetic concerns are explained by the need to dissipate heat on this caliber of drive. The high platter count and 7200-rpm spindle speed require design concerns that supersede fashion.

The Hitachi Touro also tops out most charts for single drive read and write performance. There are better performing drives out there but not at this price point. Besides being a genuinely good buy, the drive shows above average performance with small files. Tiny files, which are what most average users deal with pose a big challenge for hard drives. This drive shows signs of having been tweaked with extra cache to make it handle real world file use much better as opposed to artificially created large test files. If you are in the market for a beefy external drive of the USB 3.0 variety, you can get more details in a review at Everything USB.

[Hitachi Touro USB 3.0 Drive Review @ Everything USB].

Seagate GoFlex Slim Tiny Drive Review. Verdict: Thin Is In

Seagate has revised and shrunk its GoFlex portable storage down to a stylish new minimum. Now called Goflex Slim, The svelte drive – based on 7mm thick Momentus Thin 320GB – is barely bigger than a regular 9.5mm 2.5-inch notebook drive. Somehow, they’ve managed to maintain the GoFlex option on this newly miniaturized drive. The GoFlex system allows you to change out the connector to switch between USB 2.0, eSATA, USB 3.0, etc. They’ve also upgraded the software that comes pre-loaded onto the drive from Basic to Premium.

If you already have a GoFlex drive, your connector cables will still be compatible. Older model connectors will work but they might look a little bulky compared to this wafer thin drive. This latest model is about as thick as a #2 pencil and should travel well with or without a laptop adding no more size and weight than your average cell phone. The internal hard drive has been upgraded to 7200-rpm which should provide an appreciable increase in access time performance. Check out the detailed performance stats reviewed at Everything USB.

[ Seagate Goflex Slim 320GB Review @ Everything USB ]

Kingston HyperX Max Reviewed. Verdict: SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Marries SSD

By Paul McCollum

USB drives have become almost as much of a mainstay in the pockets of computer users as their car keys. While flash drives are more convenient they don’t offer the flexibility that comes along with an external drive for speed and capacity. Kingston’s latest release bridges the gap between pocket-able flash drive and performance drive speed and size. Its HyperX Max USB 3.0 SSD boasts some of the highest drive speeds available in a portable drive and is smaller than almost every other external class drive.

The latest generation USB 3.0 bridge coupled with a top of the line SSD controller (backed with 128MB RAM) paves way for massive data transfers. The 128GB capacity should be more than enough room for business and personal file storage without the space management issues of generally smaller thumb drives. The backward compatible USB 3.0 mini-connector will allow you to use it on older computers not yet blessed with SuperSpeed ports. In terms of real-world scenarios, nothing really comes close with its 200MB/s read and 164MB/s write speed. Unfortunately, almost nothing rivals the Kingston when it comes to price. The HyperX Max costs about $300 for the 128GB when you can get a speedy 90MB/s 1TB portable drive for under $100. It’s really up to you to decide whether or not the Kingston is cost effective. Check out full review at Everything USB to find details of how well the HyperX Max USB 3.0 SSD compared amongst a large sampling of other drives.

[Kingston HyperX USB 3.0 SSD @ Everything USB]

IOGEAR Mini HTPC Keyboard Reviewed. Verdict: Packing Tons Of Function Into A Tiny Package

By Paul McCollum

The HTPC setup is becoming more and more the norm now than just a computer enthusiast project. Major manufacturer support for these projects is making HTPC creation easy enough for just about anyone. Logitech, Microsoft and Lenovo all have models that combine QWERTY keyboards with multimedia controls. The latest from IOGEAR improves on Logitech diNovo Mini’s design in several key areas.

The IOGEAR Mini Wireless Multimeda keyboard has a full QWERTY and combines it with a tiny pearl trackball for mouse control, all in a footprint measuring just 6.5″ x 4″. The trackball sensitivity can be controlled on the keyboard itself. However, the layout is definitely made for the right-handed, lefties will need to adjust. Nearly all keys are backlit and almost every key has an alternate function. There’s also a full top row of multi-function multimedia keys as well for volume and video player control. When you close the lid, the keyboard will automatically go into sleep mode for saving battery life. The wireless dongle achieves more than adequate range from a discrete nano-sized dongle, giving you about 30 ft. range. But has IOGEAR included enough features or lowered the price point enough to make it a serious competitor? Read the details to decide for yourself.

[ IOGEAR Mini Wireless Keyboard Review @ Everything USB ]

Thermaltake Shock One Gaming Headset Reviewed. Verdict: Good All Round Sound and Good Directionality

In the highly competitive market of computer gaming headsets, a few companies such as Logitech, Razer, and Steelseries have predominantly dominated in the last few years. Recently, a few unexpected manufacturers such as Corsair and Coolermaster have introduced their own headset lines hoping to invade this tightly knit stalemate. Thermaltake also introduced their eSports lineup of gaming accessories recently hoping to make an impact in this market, and leading the charge is their flagship gaming headset eSports Shock One.

The eSports Shock One offers great sound quality after the initial break-in, and brings a refreshing sense of balance and fullness to the sound compared to the competing headset from Corsair. With the DTS Surround Sensation certification, the Shock One headset brings great treble and bass with great dimensionality, which shows from its impressive performance in gaming, movies and music. Although it did not offer the best experience out of the box, with the occasional bit-rate issues, acquired comfort, and the acoustically unsound pleather pads, the Shock One brings a nice package overall for Thermaltake’s first step in the headset market. In all, the Shock One shows everything a gaming headset should be and brings some stiff competition to the $100 range. In-depth review available at Everything USB.

[ Thermaltake Shock One Gaming Headset Review @ Everything USB ]

Logitech Z305 Reviewed. Verdict: Nifty Portable Speaker Offering Great Mids and Highs

Notebooks win over desktop PCs on every almost activity save very specific areas. The biggest of which are gaming and sound, both for pretty much the same reason. Sacrifices must be made for the sake of portability and while 3D gaming on the go is a nice-to-have travel tunes is a must-have. Thankfully, Logitech and other manufacturers continue to try new things to get volume and quality out of a portable speaker without adding too much weight. The Logitech Z305 is a very travel-friendly USB speaker that mates very well with netbooks and workstations that are missing something in the sound department.

The small well-built sound bar attaches quite nicely to your laptop screen. At almost 13″ wide, it fits perfectly behind any 14″ or larger laptops and adds an appreciable oomph to your PC or Mac. Techno and other styles of music with wide dynamic ranges are all greatly enhanced by the Logitech Z305. Unfortunately, it still has some limitations in sound reproduction and design. Bass is the weakness of this tiny sound-bar which may fail to give you the kick you are missing. Also, the laptop can no longer be closed properly while the Z305 is installed. Overall, the balance of sound price and size all seem to come out in favor of Logitech’s mighty mini. Full details available at Everything USB.

[Logitech Z305 Portable Speaker Review @ Everything USB]