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Archive for the ‘storage’ tag

Dual-drive external USB storage for £20 - really?

Posted on 24th Mar 2010 at 11:46 by Richard Swinburne with 21 comments

Everyone needs a bit of extra storage, right? For those who can't afford expensive RAID arrays or want something more portable than just throwing in another internal hard drive, USB drives are always accessible.

While the Tsunami Ultimate II 3500 might look like any other USB drive caddy out there it does have one appealing hook: it's the cheapest dual-disk drive caddy on the market. At just £21, Tsunami assures us we'll find nothing cheaper - and as far as we can tell, it is right.

Dual-drive external USB storage for £20 - really? Tsunami Ultimate II 3500 two drive USB external storage
Click to enlarge

That said, being the cheapest doesn't always mean worth buying, and while we didn't expect much for an Adam Smith and some change, the Tsunami does in fact have a few interesting features.

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Leaving Live Mesh and the mess Microsoft is in

Posted on 20th Nov 2009 at 11:24 by Alex Watson with 16 comments

Alex Watson
It’s not often PC Pro gets the drop on us in terms of new technology (unless you’re into laser printers), but they were well ahead when it came to Microsoft’s Live Mesh, and prompted by their enthusiastic praise, I gave it a try.

Live Mesh really is pretty nifty; sign up for an account, add your computer to 'the Mesh' (your own of group of machines) and any folders you select are uploaded to the servers. You can then access these folders and files via a web browser, or – and this is the brilliant bit – set them to by synced across multiple computers. Make a change to a file on one PC, and it’ll be uploaded to the servers, then downloaded when the other machines turn on so they all mirror each other.

For a while, in fact, it was so good, I wondered if it was the start of a turnaround for Microsoft.

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Own an Intel SSD? Tell how worn out it is!

Posted on 23rd Oct 2009 at 10:45 by Richard Swinburne with 28 comments

Richard Swinburne
Kingston dropped an interesting titbit that we thought we'd pass on to all Intel SSD owners - of which there's soon to be a lot more once the latest value X25-X drives arrive.

Basically, the biggest unknown factor in NAND Flash technology is wear and tear. The cells have a limited amount of data writes, so don't last forever, even though intelligent wear algorithms mean an MLC drive will last 10 years having written a few hundred GB a day to it - far more than any normal user will do.

One question that will get more important as time goes on is the second hand market: How can you account for wear if you're buying it off someone else?

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2009: The year to buy your SSD

Posted on 18th Jun 2009 at 12:21 by Richard Swinburne with 14 comments

Richard Swinburne
For those who haven't already grabbed one and are still wondering if now is the time, I think I can say that yes, the time is now: SSDs are becoming the predominant boot drive for enthusiasts with a bit of spare cash.

Don't just take the big sustained read/write values at face, it's actually in day-to-day usability of SSDs that really make the difference: click as fast as you can on Word or FireFox and they'll open at the rate your finger moves. It's akin to having a fresh install every time you turn on your PC - everything just loads.

Prices are dropping all the time and while the cache supported Indilinx or Samsung SSDs are clearly the premium products - balancing top performance with anti-stutter cache and zeroed response times - even the more affordable Samsung (or Corsair) 64GB MLC SSDs, or even the dual JMicron OCZ Apex, or G.Skill Titan afford most of the benefits.

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My history of RAID and storage

Posted on 23rd Apr 2009 at 10:46 by Richard Swinburne with 13 comments

Richard Swinburne
So I run three terabyte Samsung F1 drives in RAID 5 at home from a motherboard with an Intel ICH9R Southbridge with Matrix RAID. It's 'onboard RAID' but even so, I've still been impressed.

My experience with Matrix RAID has transversed the ages ever since Intel introduced the technology. Previously I've played with Western Digital Raptor 74GB hard drives connected to an ICH6R (on an Intel 925X reference board) and getting all sorts of super-sized theoretical bandwidth figures for fun and it booted a fresh install of Windows XP like lightening. Yay for a bit of e-peen swinging, hey?

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Why the hard disk light needs to die

Posted on 24th Feb 2009 at 09:16 by Alex Watson with 53 comments

Alex Watson
When I first got my Mac laptop, it annoyed me, to an obscene level, that it didn’t have a hard disk activity light. Unused to the new machine’s noises, I would listen obsessively to it, trying to figure out what the hard disk sounded like when it was working hard, when it was copying files, when it was doing nothing at all.

Gradually, I got used to the fact the machine didn’t have a HDD light. It stopped bothering me. I realised it had little bearing on how I used the computer. It’s not like I didn’t load up a program just because a light was flashing.

In fact, now I find myself annoyed, angry even, at the HDD light on my Shuttle at work. It’s bright orange, and just in view, and as the hard disk thrashes away when the PC starts up in the morning, it annoys the hell out of me. This is, I realise, because it’s a sign the PC has broken its promise to me.

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Styx: Master of Shadows Review

Styx: Master of Shadows Review

Styx's interesting approach to stealth is hindered by a lack of polish.
Mod of the Month October 2014 in association with Corsair

Mod of the Month October 2014 in association with Corsair

Six up and coming modding projects straight from our forum

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