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Category Archives: Reviews

Asus U3S6 USB 3.0 / SATA 6 Hybrid Card. Verdict: A Killer Upgrade


By Ian Chiu

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a brand new motherboard with integrated USB 3.0 ports; yet, many want to take advantage of the theoretical tenfold increase in speed the new copper interface has to offer.  For this burgeoning market many manufacturers have started to offer small add-on cards which can upgrade an existing rig to USB 3.0.

Sadly, not all of these add-on cards are created equal as there seems to be two separate and distinct types: PCI Express x1 and PCI Express x4. The latter seem to be the better choice if the ASUS U3S6 is any indication.  This particular board packs in not only two USB 3.0 ports, but also a pair of SATA 6GB/s ports.  It’s a killer combination with one caveat – the U3S6 isn’t an optimal solution unless your existing motherboard is on the extremely short ASUS approved motherboard list. If you disable the SATA 6, the USB 3.0 ports will most definitely work, and you can expect speed up to 245MB/s with a USB 3.0 SSD. For under $30, it’s a price that is hard to beat.

[ Everything USB - Asus U3S6 USB 3.0, SATA 6 Card Review ]

Mad Catz Cyborg R.A.T. 7 Reviewed. Verdict: Highly Recommended Monster Mouse

Mad Catz RAT 7 mouse

By Ian Chiu

When it comes to gaming mice, or even mice in general, not much has really changed in the past couple years. Sure the number of buttons, number of programmable settings and DPI sensitivity may have increased, but when it came to the ergonomics of it, there wasn’t much you could do to change it if a given mouse didn’t fit your hand. Sure some mice allow you to swap out one sized “skin” or covering for another, but even this has always been a very clunky way of doing things and you could just as easily end up with a mouse which was too big instead of too small… or vice versa.

Mad Catz plans to change all that with their Cyborg R.A.T. 7 gaming mouse as this bad boy has more customizable features crammed into it then any mouse ever before! Don’t like where the palm swell is? Change it out for a different one or move it forwards or backwards until is does feel comfortable! Don’t like the pinkie grip? Swap it out for one of the two others which come included! Don’t like where the thumb buttons are? Move the whole freaking area until it IS comfortable. This is what the R.A.T. 7 gaming mouse is all about; or at least that is the THEORY behind it. Is the theory the same as the reality? Everything USB has the full review.

[Everything USB - Mad Catz Cyborg R.A.T. 7 Gaming Mouse Review]

Corsair Flash Voyager GTR Reviewed


By Ian Chiu

Even though USB 3.0 is starting to appear on high end PCs and notebooks, the rest of us are still stuck with slow and old USB 2.0. There’s no point in investing in something that you couldn’t even take advantage of for now. This is especially the case with USB 3.0 flash drives which get a massive boost in performance, but they come at a jaw-dropping price premium. So, there’s still a market for USB 2.0 flash drives even if the room improvement is small.

Corsair’s latest Flash Voyager GTR flash drive – backed by a generous ten-year warranty – comes in 32GB, 64GB and 128GB. What makes them special isn’t the sequential read or write speed (which is already bottlenecked by USB 2.0), but the small file write. This is noteworthy since transfer rate tends to drop as file sizes get smaller. The Flash Voyager GTR is able to maintain a respectable 21MB/s during 2MB write test, twice the speed of other drives. The large file tests are equally impressive. All in all, it makes sense to check out write performance as most companies primarily focus on read.

[ Everything USB - Corsair Flash Voyager GTR Flash Drive Review ]

MS Arc Keyboard Reviewed. Verdict: Aesthetically Pleasing as it is Versatile

By Ian Chiu

MS Arc Keyboard seems to have something for everyone. Whether you need a miniature wireless input device for your HTPC or an easy-to-carry laptop keyboard replacement, the Arc looks like it can serve these roles just well enough to get by. The keyboard itself has a familiar layout for touch typists, and has acceptably low latency to satisfy casual gamers. Though, the D-pad is a pain to deal with during text selections. There’s also no built-in mouse controls which may not be particularly important in a home theater PC environment.

The lightweight Arc keyboard measures just 12″ x 6″, making it extremely portable especially with the bundled nylon pouch. A tiny USB receiver can be quickly stowed into an open compartment on the underside of the keyboard. It’s a shame however that the keyboard and the Arc mouse couldn’t share the same nano USB dongle, unlike Logitech’s Unifying receiver. As the Arc is primarily made to save precious desktop space and to minimize carry weight for road warriors, the miniature keyboard with a slight curvature lacks a lot of advanced features found on similarly priced alternatives yet it should fit nicely in various environments.

[Everything USB - MS Arc Keyboard Review]

Corsair Flash Padlock 2 Secure Flash Drive Reviewed. Verdict: Hurray for Hardened Security


By Ian Chiu

Some time ago, Corsair debuted their numeric padlock flash drive that allowed end users to unlock the storage by entering a four to ten digit PIN code. The obvious advantage of this implementation is to bypass software altogether, easily making it cross-platform friendly. However, the original version was hacked effortlessly by a group of dutch engineers armed with a simple 10K resistor.

To regain trust among consumers and lost reputation, Corsair is now back with Flash Padlock 2, and this time, the company didn’t take any chance by equipping the drive with 256-bit AES hardware encryption. Corsair also covers the components with epoxy compound to make it tamperproof; otherwise, the PCB would be exposed and likely be prone to hacking. In the performance department, you can expect the secure flash drive to hover around 17MB/s during read and 8MB/s during write. The Flash Padlock 2 is a bit weak in terms of small file write though, and it only comes in 8GB. Read on for the full review to check out all the extra security measures Corsair implemented to make drive safer.

[ Everything USB - Corsair Flash Padlock 2 Review ]

Seagate BlackArmor PS 110 USB 3.0 Drive Kit Reviewed. Verdict: USB 3.0 Should Have Come Sooner

By Ian Chiu

[ The following article is syndicated with permission from Everything USB ]

USB 3.0 is here. While not everyone has immediately hopped on the bandwagon yet, several major motherboard and storage manufacturers have been actively pushing out SuperSpeed USB devices, and one of them is Seagate BlackArmor PS 110 Performance Kit. Bearing an ambitious name, the BlackArmor PS 110 is one of the industry’s first portable USB 3.0 2.5″ drives. The kit – backed by a generous 5-year warranty – comprises of a 7,200-rpm 500GB drive that now becomes the performance bottleneck instead of the USB interface; a single-port USB 3.0 ExpressCard/34 card; an auxiliary power cable; and a backup software suite.

Obviously, what makes this drive so special is the speed. The on-board USB 3.0-to-SATA bridge chip boosts average performance to consistently high between 60 to 95MB/s. This is up from 30MB/s range registered by USB 2.0 FreeAgent Go. A review by Everything USB confirmed that the BlackArmor PS 110 USB 3.0 is indeed the bottleneck as a 3.5″ 1TB drive inside a WD My Book 3.0 easily bumped speed even further to 110MB/s. Keep in mind BlackArmor PS 110 3.0 is only first generation product. So it could take a year or two before the potential of USB 3.0 is fully realized. Read on for the full review for all the benchmark data and usability test results.

[ Seagate BlackArmor PS 110 USB 3.0 Review @ Everything USB ]

Mophie Juice Pack Air Reviewed. Verdict: Cures iPhone Battery Woes

By Ian Chiu

Mophie Juice Pack Air iPhone Battery

The iPhone 3G may be as powerful as a netbook or a Sega Dreamcast, but that doesn’t help improve the device’s battery life. For those who are displeased with this fact, there are already plenty of battery extenders which may alleviate the problem as long as you remember to bring them with you. It does seem somewhat inconvenient to carry an extra accessory around, so Mophie has made Juice Pack Air – an add-on battery pack that doubles duty as an iPhone case.

Encased in the Juice Pack Air is a 1,200mAh Li-polymer battery that is rechargeable through its micro-USB jack – the de facto interface for cellphone charging. The Juice Pack Air does add bulk to the phone, but the tradeoff is worth the additional 5.4 hours of Wi-Fi, 4.5 hours 3G data transfer and an equal amount of talk time. Everything USB recently reviewed the battery extender case hybrid, and found it to be a lifesaver for serious iPhone 3G and 3GS users alike. It can take a 20% remaining iPhone 3G back up to nearly 100% in one short hour. The reviewer was impressed by the build quality as well as the glossy finish which is only about as scratch resistant as the curved back of iPhone 3G. He did however point out the Juice Pack Air’s inability to power the iPhone without recharging it. This means your iPhone 3G couldn’t draw on the Juice Pack Air’s external power directly to save some of its internal battery charging cycles.

[ Mophie Juice Pack Air Battery Extender for iPhone Review @ Everything USB ]

Logitech G19 Gaming Keyboard Reviewed. Verdict: Worth Dropping Two Benjamins

Gaming keyboards have come a long way since the original G15. All the G-keys and the use of LCD to show player stats are ingenious additions that have become an indispensable tool for WoW fans, hardcore CoD4 players, and macro-happy gamers. Since then the market has definitely saturated. (Even MS has two gaming keyboards.)

Despite the stiff competition, Logitech hasn’t lost its edge. The new G19 gaming keyboard is the first major upgrade since the G15 revision. Improvements to the Logitech’s flagship product include full color LCD (including YouTube and VLC compatibility); intuitive creation of powerful macros; support for six simultaneous keypresses; customizable key backlighting; and two self-powered USB 2.0 jacks. Impressive features demand high price and higher power requirement, which is why the G19 costs $200 and why the G19 is the first gaming keyboard that needs an AC adapter (warning: bulky). Everything USB’s reviewer is so impressed with the G19 that any hardcore gamers with $200 to spare should run out and get one. Those who don’t take fragging too seriously should really look elsewhere.

[ Logitech G19 Gaming Keyboard Review @ Everything USB ]

Logitech G35 Gaming Cans Reviewed. Verdict: Do Your Research First

By Ian Chiu

Four years after the inception of the famous G-series peripherals, Logitech surprisingly hasn’t made one gaming headset, until now. The Logitech G35 is the company’s first foray in the highly competitive gaming headset market. So what makes the Logitech any different than say a pair of regular USB headsets or a pair of 8-driver cans? For starters, the Logitech G35 is powered by 2nd-generation Dolby Headphones – a glorified term coined for virtualized surround sound. Dolby Headphones 2.0 is now able to simulate 7.1-channel audio (up from 5.1) through just two drivers. It also supports Dolby Pro Logic II audio tracks (for DVD movies), and its voice morphing (which can be activated through one of the G-keys) allows you to easily mask your voice behind one of six filters.

Everything USB has recently reviewed it and has a rather mixed view on the G35 gaming headset. While the sound quality is simply breathtaking, the voice morphing is a lot of fun and the Dolby Headphone effects are actually better than the reviewer could have ever imagined for virtual surround sound, the fact that G35′s surround sound option only works with 60% of the games tested is a let down. And at a MSRP of $130, the G35 USB headset constitutes a ‘serious investment’ for any gamers. Read on for the full review which includes a comprehensive compatibility chart and a voice morphing demo.

[Logitch G35 Gaming Headset Review @ Everything USB]