A TEXT POST

LaCie FUEL Review

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/lacie-fuel-review/

LaCie FUEL Review

If you are a road warrior, then you know having only a few GB of space on your mobile device is a complete bummer.  Instead of shelling out hundreds more for a device with a few extra GB, what if there was an inexpensive solution that could expand your space to TB instead of just GB.  What if I told you that your 16GB iPad or 8GB Samsung could now store up to 1TB of music, movies, photos, documents and more?  Well, LaCie thinks they have the answer to your storage needs and they think that their solution, the LaCie Fuel, is the one that should earn your money.

To put it simply, the LaCie FUEL is a 1 or 2TB hard drive that can connect via WiFi to just about any device.  The sleek-looking, rugged package is built for those on the go.  LaCie FUEL takes documents and media wherever you need to go.

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The LaCie FUEL measures just 4.5 x 4.5 x .9 inches, weighs in at 9.7 ounces, has a Wi-Fi range of up to 150 feet, supports up to 5 connected devices, and has a battery life of up to 10 hours.  Worried about security? You can configure the FUEL’s WiFi hotspot to operate with WPA2-PSK[AES] or WPA2-PSK [AES] + WPA-PSK[TKIP]. The FUEL sports Wireless B, G, and N protocols and also has a USB 3.0 port for speedy data transfers.

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Additionally, the LaCie FUEL operates via WiFi very much like a proxy.  You connect your device to the FUEL via WiFi, then through the FUEL settings you point it to your WiFi.

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On the outside, the FUEL isn’t all that complicated to look at.  Up front, there are two LEDs and a Power button.  The first, is a power LED. The LED indicates 3 things: Green solid: Fully charged, Amber: Charging, Red: Battery is low.  The other LED indicates the wireless broadcasting state.

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On the left, is a USB 3.0 Port and a tiny reset port.

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When using the FUEL with a laptop, there are a number of ways to interact with the drive.  First, you can simply connect the drive to your PC through a speedy USB 3.0 port.  Although that isn’t much fun, it does offer the best performance.  If cords aren’t your thing, connect via WiFi and allow up to 5 of your brethren share your stuff.

If you were to type www.laciefuel.com into your browser while connected, you can browse, play, upload, and interact with your data easily.  The interface is somewhat drab and confusing, but it does get the job done.  While exploring, if you find something that strikes your fancy, click it and it will open in one of the Windows default applications.

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For me, I prefer to explore the FUEL through windows file explorer. Just access this like you would any network share… \172.25.0.1 and you are off and running.  Just make sure you don’t have ECO mode enabled, it turns off SAMBA.

While operating the FUEL from an iOS or Android device, connect to it via Wireless networks in your device’s settings.  Once connected, open your browser to laciefuel.com and install the Seagate Media app.  The app is a quick window into your FUEL and allows you to navigate your data or media collection easily.  Unfortunately, the application doesn’t have the ability to play MKV files.  When attempting to play, it prompts to you buy one of two apps from the app store, Good Player and Ace Player.  Both are $2.99 on iOS.  Unfortunately, there is no VLC support.

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Typically, I don’t get all excited about external storage devices.  However, LaCie FUEL is something different.  The FUEL allows me to connect to just about anything… and even with more than one device at a time.  While flying, I can be accessing tons of music while my significant other is watching her favorite TV show (Doctor Who of course, or if you ask her.. Grey’s Anatomy).  Don’t get me wrong, the web interface could be a bit better, and the iOS / Android app has its limitations, but look at the alternative… um… wait… there is none!  Bottom line, the LaCie FUEL is one of those must haves for travel or work on the go.  Is it worth a nearly $180.00 USD price tag for a 1TB drive?  Yes… this is an awesome piece of tech.

A TEXT POST

Thecus N2310 Review

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/thecus-n2310-review/

Thecus N2310 Review

Can you think of a NAS worth buying that costs less than $150.00 USD? I bet you would have a hard time answering that question. I have reviewed a slew of NAS and can’t answer that question, until now. Thecus has done what many have considered as the impossible. They may have just set a new standard for affordability, slapped the Thecus badge on it, and dubbed it the N2310.

The N2310 is not going to set any LAN speed records, but it will introduce you to “a whole new world”. Sorry… bad Alladin reference there. Anyway. To get some quick information out-of-the-way. The N2310 is a two bay NAS that measures in at just 135 x 97 x 207 (mm) and just 1.8 lbs. This tiny little box supports hard drives up to 6TB in size and can support RAID 0, 1, and JBOD. The N2310 is powered by an 800MHz processor, sports 512MB of RAM, and consumes just about 5W of electricity.

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The N2310 runs Thecus NAS OS6 and provides many of the features and functionality found in much more expensive options. Thecus NAS OS6 brings things like Web-based file access, FTP server, BitTorrent clients, Plex, Mobile Apps, Self RAID creation, and plenty of modules to extend features even further.

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Fighting in the lightweight division, there are some features missing.  First, this NAS does not feature an HDMI port for direct connection in your home theater. Second, don’t expect to get iSCSI support or dual Ethernet connections. Lastly, plastic… everywhere, no brushed aluminum or metal garnish.

Thecus, again departs from dull and drab in the N2310, but not too far. The NAS is seemingly Synology’esque in its outer skin. Up front, there isn’t much going on. You have a pair of quick release drive trays, LEDs for Power, Information, HDD1, HDD2, LAN, and USB connectivity. There is a Power button and a copy button for quick backup.

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Around back you have a system cooling fan (ADDA), a single Gigabit Ethernet Port, USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, a hard reset button, and DC power in.

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Inside, the N2310 is just as simple as you would expect.  The NAS is powered by an applied micro Catalina processor clocked at 800MHz and two Samsung K4B2G1646E-BCK0 DDR3 modules.

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applied micro Catalina (APM86491-SKB90DT)

  • Single-Core Power™465 processors with a floating-point unit
  • CPU speed (frequency): 600 MHz to 1.0 GHz
  • Performance: 2000 Dhrystone, 2.1 MIPS @ 1.0GHz
  • 32 KB I/32 KB-D L1 caches and 256 KB L2 cache
  • 16/32-bit DDR3 SDRAM controller with optional ECC, for up to 1066 Mbps operation
  • Two Gen 2 PCI Express interfaces with x1 operations
  • USB 3.0 – 1 Host with integrated PHY, 1 Host & Device with integrated PHY
  • Two SATA ports
  • Two Ethernet 10/100/1000 Mbps ports: 2x RGMII with Classification and TCP/IP offload.
  • Four UART
  • Symmetric and asymmetric security hardware acceleration engines – encryption, hash and more
  • Supports AES, ARC4, 3DES, MD5, HMAC, SHA-xxx with HMAC, Kasumi and XTS-AES, PKA, PRNG
  • Embedded volatile and non-volatile private key storage
  • Boot support from 16-bit and 8-bit NAND flash, NOR flash/SD card/serial flash/USB/DRAM
  • SLIMPro ARM 32-bit acceleration processor to provide enhanced hardware acceleration capabilities
  • Dedicated Ethernet Offload Engine, Classification Engine, Queue Manager / Traffic Manager.
  • Power Management via advanced wake up capabilities from Deep Sleep Mode such as Wake on LAN, Wake on USB, Wake on PCIe, and Wake on Interrupts.

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10/100/1000 Ethernet is handled by Realtek (RTL8211E)

  • 1000Base-T IEEE 802.3ab Compliant
  • 100Base-TX IEEE 802.3u Compliant
  • 10Base-T IEEE 802.3 Compliant
  • IEEE 802.3 Compliant RGMII (RTL8211E/RTL8211EG)
  • IEEE 802.3 Compliant GMII (RTL8211EG only)
  • Supports IEEE 802.3az Draft 3.2 (Energy Efficient Ethernet)
  • Built-in Wake-on-LAN (WOL)
  • Supports Interrupt function
  • Supports Parallel Detection
  • Crossover Detection & Auto-Correction
  • Automatic polarity correction
  • Supports PHYRSTB core power Turn-Off
  • Baseline Wander Correction
  • Supports half/full-duplex operation
  • Supports 120m for CAT.5 cable in 1000Base-T
  • Supports 3.3V or 2.5V signaling for RGMII/GMII
  • Supports 25/50MHz external crystal or OSC
  • Provides 125MHz clock source for MAC
  • Provides 3 network status LEDs
  • Supports Link Down power saving
  • Green Ethernet (Gigabit mode only)
  • Built-in switching regulator
  • Packages
    • 48-pin QFN (RTL8211E)

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Thecus has done a beautiful job of making things easy for the first time NAS user.  You can have this NAS plugged in and configured in a matter of minutes.  Initial configuration is handled by Thecus Intelligent NAS software.  Installing the Intelligent NAS software is as easy as anything… run the installer, follow the prompts.

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Once installed, Intelligent NAS gives you a bird’s-eye view of all things Thecus on your network.  You can choose the NAS you want to configure and get things setup quickly

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After finding your NAS, the application prompts you for self RAID configuration or manual RAID creation.  If you have two similar disks inhabiting your drive trays, Self-RAID configuration will choose RAID 1 and begin the process of creating your volume.

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It is a given that using your NAS should be easy, and it is also a given that your NAS should perform well in serving up your files. After all, this is basically what the devices is intended for. To benchmark the NAS, we run synthetic benchmarks as well as benchmark some real world activities. Testing is conducted by configuring the N2560 PRO in both RAID 0 and RAID 1.

NAS Benchmarking Hardware & Methodology details hardware used & methodology for conducting benchmarks.
To see how this NAS compares to others, please visit our NAS Benchmarking Database

For testing the large file transfer speed of the NAS, we transfer a 46.6GB Blu-Ray ISO (Avatar) from the workstation to the NAS and back five times. We pipe the transfer speeds during the benchmark to a .csv file for charting. For more on our Avatar Benchmark please see our Benchmarking application: COD Benchmarking Utility

[table id=1 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,30,31 hide_columns=all show_columns=3,6,7 use_datatables=false /]

For testing the transfer speed of the NAS with smaller files, we use the same method as the Avatar test but instead create two hundred individual MP3′s of specific file sizes for repeatable results. The files are copied from the workstation to the NAS and back 5 times. We pipe the transfer speeds during the benchmark to a .csv file for charting.

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For testing the large file transfer speed of the NAS, we transfer a 2GB file from the workstation to the NAS and back five times. We pipe the transfer speeds during the benchmark to a .csv file for charting.

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For further benchmarking, we test each NAS using Intel’s NAS Performance Toolkit to rate 2 key areas of NAS performance. We measure File Copy speeds to and from the NAS and the Directory Copy speeds to and from the NAS. System RAM is set to 2048MB of RAM to ensure there is no mem caching for transfers.

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CrystalDiskMark is another benchmarking utility that determines speeds by measuring 512KB, 4KB, and 4KB (Queue Depth 32) sequential and random read and write speeds. Test data can be Random, 0Fill, and 1Fill. For our purposes, we left the test at Random.

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The N2310 is a good option for those of you that are looking for your first NAS on a budget.  Pound for Pound, this NAS is going to be hard to beat.  When you add up all the features Thecus packs into their OS, and then top it off with a sub $150.00 price tag; you are looking at something that is pretty amazing.

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In the benchmarks, this NAS isn’t a chart topper.  It does manage to squeak out some small victories by beating out the LaCie 2big NAS in most benchmarks, but loses out to the rest of the pack.  However, let’s not forget that this NAS is bested by devices in these benchmarks costing twice as much.  In my opinion, you don’t buy a budget NAS to top benchmarking charts anyway.

Even though I like the Thecus N2310, it is somewhat of a question mark for me.  It has an amazing price tag and packs plenty punch.  One of the reasons I question the N2310 is need vs want.  Yes, the N2310 has almost everything a home user is looking for in a NAS… but will it do everything you want?  It lacks iSCSI, HDMI, and dual Ethernet Ports; for some, those features can be overlooked making this a great option.  The primary reason this NAS is a question mark for me is that I am hesitant recommending ANY two bay NAS (this is a recent development).  In my opinion, it is inevitable that you will wish you had purchased a four bay device.  You will quickly realize that transferring your movies, music, photos, documents, and backing up PCs in your house to one NAS will shrink your percentage of available storage in no time.  If it were me in your position, looking at a budget NAS, skip this one and move right up to the N4310 when it becomes available.  Same features, some better guts, and more HDD bays.

A TEXT POST

Thecus Adds Snapshot and ESXi VAAI Support

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/thecus-adds-snapshot-esxi-vaai-support/

Thecus Adds Snapshot and ESXi VAAI Support

Thecus Technology Corporation, the creator in NAS and NVR storage solutions, announces firmware updates to its business class NAS models, adding support for the BTRFS file system as well as ESXi VAAI. The new features enhance Thecus OS5, adding snapshot backup functionality as well as allowing ESXi virtualization storage tasks to be offloaded to the NAS. In addition, USB backup functionality has been improved with bi-directional copying now available.

BTRFS Snapshots

As BTRFS becomes increasingly popular, Thecus NAS owners can now enjoy support for this full featured file system. With BTRFS, advanced storage features such as snapshot backups are native to the file system rather than requiring external drivers or software. This means enhanced storage functionality while simplifying storage management.

With BTRFS support, Thecus NAS users can enjoy the simplicity of snapshot backups. Through BTRFS subvolumes, snapshots of data at various time points can be manually or automatically made and just as easily later restored to rollback files or folders to previous states.

ESXi VAAI

Users of the popular virtualization hypervisor, ESXi, can now appreciate full support for VAAI. vSphere storage APIs for Array Integration allows storage operations in the virtualization platform to be offloaded to networked storage, improving overall performance of the Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

USB Backup

With the ubiquity of USB storage, the ability to easily back up USB and external hard drives to Thecus NAS has been a well-appreciated feature. Now, users will also be able to back up the other way around. The newest updates from Thecus allow data from the NAS to be backed up onto USB attached storage, helping users conveniently keep their multiple backups up-to-date.

How to

For users of Thecus NAS, upgrading their units to the latest software is as simple as going to the Download Center and following the instructions for the appropriate model: http://www.thecus.com/sp_download.php

A TEXT POST

Facebook Sucks

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/facebook-sucks/

Facebook Sucks

Sorry about this, but I am about to express my disgust with Facebook.  Don’t get me wrong, I like Facebook.  I use it all the time for work and for fun.  I have yet to find a tool better for reconnecting with old friends.  However, it has gone too far.  This isn’t a rant about privacy and the social engineering project that the Facebook Enterprise is embarking on.  This is about SPAM.

If you remember, a long time ago I wrote an article on AOL and its SPAM tactics advertising that it would prevent SPAM.  If you know me, I hate SPAM.  SPAM through Mail, SPAM through email, SPAM through phone calls, SPAM SPAM SPAM!!!

My Facebook wall used to be a place where I could keep up with everyone.  Tom went to the beach, Linda had a baby, Jeff stepped on a frog.  The tiny bits of information that we found inviting about our friends and their lives.  Instead of the little tidbits of information we used to find so hilarious “Sitting on the deck #bored”, we are now bombarded with SPAM… and you are loving every second of it.  I used to make fun of the little updates… seriously? Who the hell cares where you are sitting?

Today is different though.  My Facebook wall is now littered with video garbage and post card images that have nothing to do with anyone anymore.  Cats that knock stuff off of counters and a kid, albeit a cute kid, that says “apparently”.  The entire wall is meaningless crap.  I found myself watching a video of an overweight clown dancing to “Single Ladies” for more than than 5 seconds.

I sat down and thought about this for a minute.  If I went through my friends list and deleted anyone that posted all this garbage, I wouldn’t be left with ANYONE!  My Facebook friends list would be a collection of senior citizens, that signed up for Facebook because their grandchildren thought it would be funny to have grandpa on Facebook.  That’s all.  I would only know whats going on with Medicare and that someone didn’t get a large enough cost of living increase from Social Security.

BTW, share this.  HA!

A TEXT POST

QNAP’s myQNAPcloud SmartLink Service

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/qnaps-myqnapcloud-smartlink-service/

QNAP’s myQNAPcloud SmartLink Service

If you are one of the many QNAP faithful, you may have realized that there have been many quiet changes that accompanied QTS 4.1.  Among the many enhancements came an enhancement to QNAP’s MyQNAPCloud service.  From the start, the service didn’t look like it would be something that I would really take advantage of.  The interface was simple and didn’t really offer me much in the way of functionality.  Also, having multiple NAS meant multiple logins and just an additional layer of pain.  Well, things are different now… and I like it.

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The myQNAPcloud service simplifies remote management for the casual, home , and power user.  The service now provides a gateway to your appliance(s) in a very clean and easy to navigate portal.  Once you have assigned your NAS a name (QID) through the myQNAPcloud service your NAS becomes available to use in the myQNAPcloud portal.

Through this cloud service, you not only have an easy way to access your NAS or NAS (that’s the plural) via Dynamic DNS, you have a single interface to access things like the Device Details, NAS Administration, Download Station, File Station, Web Server, Multimedia Station, Photo Station, Music Station, and more.  It is all there.

The interface is broken up into two major sections.

The left has sections for My Devices, Favorite Devices, and devices Shared With Me.

  • My Devices: From here, you can manage and catalog all your QNAP devices.  They are listed out in alphabetical order.
  • Favorite Devices: You can easily search for devices owned by friends, family, or others and add them to your list of favorites.
  • Shared With Me: If someone shares a file with you using your email address registered with myQNAPcloud, the links for those files will show up here.

When a device is selected from My Devices, the right side of the portal allows you to login to your NAS.  The Shared folders and Share links tabs require you to login, while the Device detail tab can be viewed freely.

Device Detail provides a photo of your NAS for easy identification, the device name, model, internet address, local and WAN IP, the firmware version, and the last update.  The links along the bottom, in my case, QTS, File Station, Multimedia Station, etc, will quickly redirect you to your NAS.  In order for this to work, myQNAPcloud and your router need to be properly configured to forward the ports for those services.

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The Shared Folders tab is an easy way to quickly access files from across the internet.  Downloading, Sharing, and uploading is easy and intuitive.

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To register your NAS in the myQNAPcloud service, use the myQNAPcloud icon in QTS.  For instructions: Click Here

QNAP has done it again.  The myQNAPcloud SmartLink Service in QTS 4.1 has brought access and usability to another level.  Having all of these features at your fingertips; like Music Station, DJ Station, Video Station, etc. no matter where you are from one simple interface really strengthens QNAP’s position as a leader in NAS.

A TEXT POST

Thecus Launches Comprehensive 4-Bay N4310

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/thecus-launches-comprehensive-4-bay-n4310/

Thecus Launches Comprehensive 4-Bay N4310

Thecus is pleased to announce the release of the newest addition to its lineup of home, SOHO, and SMB NAS solutions, the N4310. Featuring an AMCC 1GHZ SoC with 1 GB of DDR3 memory, the new 4-bay NAS offers exceptional performance and easy data management at an unprecedented value.

“Our mission begins with your needs. Adding the N4310 to our already extensive product portfolio allows Thecus to continue to redefine the NAS market,” said Florence Shih, chairperson at Thecus. “The N4310 provides the versatility and functionality required to reach the full spectrum of SOHO and SMB user needs.”

Following in the footsteps of the N2310 released late last year, the N4310 is stacked with features providing a practical solution for those in need of economical network storage:

  • RAID (0,1,5,6, and JBOD)
  • Private cloud features
  • Built-in FTP server
  • AES Data Encryption
  • Hybrid Storage Mode for block and file-level storage
  • Plex media support and BitTorrent client
  • Mobile control and media streaming via T-OnTheGo™ (for Android and IOS)
  • Energy Efficient: 29.5W – Operation mode / 10W – Sleep mode

Addressing the evolving needs of business professionals pursuing a highly efficient NAS, the N4310 utilizes Hybrid Mode Storagefor resource management, AES Data Encryptionfor added security when dealing with sensitive data, and a built-in FTP server for optimal file sharing. The unit is also equipped with a CPU Offload Hardware Engine, allowing for high performance and speed within a RAID environment (100MB/s read and 75MB/s write speed). For even further security, lockable drive trays come optional; and if you would like peace of mind with power redundancy, the N4310 also supports dual power input.

Offering an extensive array of software, including Plex Media Server, a BitTorrent client, and T-OnTheGo mobile support, the N4310 provides a strong platform for multimedia sharing. Beyond these, this latest 4-bay also offers media streaming and smartphone syncing, making it the perfect media data center.

Start-up is simplified with our Intelligent NAS utility, which boasts a 5-minute complete installation. Once up and running, the refined ThecusOS 6 provides users with a unique, customizable experience thanks to the rich reservoir of resources found in the Thecus NAS App Center.

As a high-performance, low-cost device, the N4310 offers a great array of solutions for all users, from audiophiles with expansive music libraries to the vigorous small business owner with essential financial data.

The Thecus N4310 will become available mid-September in the US for an MSRP of $349.

For more information on where to buy this product, go to:
http://www.thecus.com/wtb.php

A TEXT POST

Lian Li Announces the PC-V2130 Brushed Aluminum Full Tower

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/lian-li-announces-pc-v2130-brushed-aluminum-full-tower/

Lian Li Announces the PC-V2130 Brushed Aluminum Full Tower

Lian-Li Industrial Co. Ltd today announces the release of a new brushed aluminum full tower chassis – PC-V2130. The update of the popular PC-V2120, the PC-V2130 improves on the design by adding extensive water cooling support, a more versatile HDD system, enhanced cable management.

Brushed Aluminum Full Tower

At 94L, the PC-V2130 can handle any hardware PC enthusiast desire. Motherboards up to HPTX are supported. Up to 11 3.5”/2.5” drives can be mounted behind the motherboard tray and on the individually removable hard drive bays. An included removable bracket allows for 4 more 2.5” drives to be installed. The chassis also features a modular 5.25” cage that gives builders the flexibility to use the space as they see fit.

Extensive Water Cooling Support

A tool-lessly removable top panel allows for 240/280mm radiators to be easily installed. Two more 280mm radiators can be installed at the front and bottom of the chassis, respectively. Two grommeted holes above the rear 120mm exhaust fan allows for more water cooling support.

Cable Management

The PC-V2130 features 8 grommeted holes for simplified cable management. 31mm (1.2”) behind the motherboard tray gives builders plenty of space to work with.

High-End Tool-less Features

The PC-V2130 is stacked full of high-end tool-less features to ease installations. On the inside of the chassis, Lian Li’s tool-less PCI slot mounting mechanism allows for simple expansion card installation. On the outside, the entire front bezel can be removed with just the removal of a couple of thumbscrews – enabling easy access to the 2 front 140mm fan dust filters. The side panels can be taken off with just the press of two latches.

Wheels for Easy Maneuverability

The wheels design enables easy moving of a fully loaded system. A locking mechanism on the rear wheels prevents the chassis moving when set in place.

Connectivity

The I/O panel is located on the top of the PC-V2130, and is hidden by a stealth cover when not in use. Connectivity includes four USB 3.0 ports and HD audio connections.

Price and Availability

The PC-V2130 will be available in black PC-V2130A (Silver), PC-V2130B (Black) and PC-V2130X (Internal Black with Window) in North America for the suggested retail price of PC-V2130A / PC-V2130B USD 499 ; PC-V2130X USD569.

More product information and pictures can be found here:

http://www.lian-li.com/en/dt_portfolio/pc-v2130/

Video overview:

A TEXT POST

Thecus NAS App Center Reaches 600 and Counting

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/thecus-nas-app-center-reaches-600-counting/

Thecus NAS App Center Reaches 600 and Counting

With more than 600 official Thecus and third-party apps on the shelves in the Thecus NAS App Center, users have access to a toolbox full of comprehensive apps to suit their needs.The wide range of apps provide solutions to the full line up of Thecus NAS and allow users to customize their units to fit any networking demand.

The days where a NAS unit was just a means for backing up data are long gone. With the Thecus NAS App Center, users are able to cater to all their digital needs, be they business or pleasure.

Downloading torrents, watching movies, and listening to music at home and on the go are all available on your Thecus NAS. With apps such as Transmission, XBMC, and Plex, your Thecus NAS can be transformed into your own personal media center, accessible anywhere with the T-OnTheGo app. These apps and others will help you to manage, stream, or share your media files across numerous platforms.

Whether it be for CRM, website management, or to run basic operations, the apps available in the Thecus NAS App Center have you covered. Apps such as Odoo and Open ERP even allow you to integrate and automate your business apps, transforming your Thecus NAS into a high-powered professional utility. Users can also increase the functionality of their Thecus NAS in backup/sync, communication, content management, security and much more thanks to the Thecus NAS App Center.

With the growing number of apps created every day, the App Center provides a near unlimited resource to Thecus NAS users.

To access the Thecus NAS App Center, go to: http://www.thecus.com/sp_app_center.php

A TEXT POST

All the FireFox about: Pages

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/firefox-pages/

All the FireFox about: Pages

Have you ever wondered what lay under the fox in Firefox?  I have stumbled across articles here an there that helped me fix certain issues with Firefox by changing some settings in about:config.  If you are like me and were wondering what other about: pages there might be… here is a list.  Firefox version 30.0.

  • about: Shows the Firefox about
  • about:about – Shows all the about links.
  • about:accounts
  • about:addons – Shows all your installed addons, plugins, and themes.
  • about:app-manager – This tool will help you build and install web apps on compatible devices
  • about:blocked – Shows the malware protection page used when the browser identifies a page as not safe for viewing.
  • about:buildconfig – Shows the arguments and options used to compile the build in use
  • about:cache – Shows information about the Cache Service.
    • about:cache?device=memory – Shows individual entries in memory
    • about:cache?device=disk – Shows individual entries on disk
    • about:cache?device=offline – Shows individual entries for offline viewing
  • about:certerror – Shows the error page used when an SSL/TLS certificate is untrusted or otherwise invalid.
  • about:config – You can get in a lot of trouble here. Control many aspects of Firefox that aren’t available through the GUI
  • about:crashes – Find your Firefox crash reports here
  • about:credits – Shows a list of all the contributors to Mozilla
  • about:customizing – Customize Firefox.
  • about:downloads – Shows your downloads
  • about:feeds – Shows the page used when clicking the rss feed icon in the address bar.
  • about:healthreport – Get insights and performance information about your version of Firefox
  • about:home – Home page
  • about:license – All licensing for Firefox
  • about:logo – Shows the Firefox Logo
  • about:memory – Shows memory usage for Firefox. You can clean up memory usage here too.
  • about:mozilla – The twins of Mammon quarrelled. Their warring plunged the world into a new darkness
  • about:neterror – Oops! Shows the page displayed when Firefox experiences a network error.
  • about:networking – Network Monitor
  • about:newtab – Opens a new tab, shows the grid of pins sites and frequently visited sites.
  • about:permissions – Shows the permissions for site, like store passwords, block locations, allow cookies, etc.
  • about:plugins – Shows your installed and enabled plugins
  • about:preferences – Shows the preference configuration screen
  • about:privatebrowsing – asks if you would like to open a private browsing window
  • about:rights – These are your rights with regards to Firefox
  • about:robots – We have come to visit you in peace and with goodwill!
  • about:sessionrestore – Shows the session restore page that is displayed after a Firefox crash
  • about:support – Page contains technical information that might be useful when you’re trying to solve a problem.
  • about:sync-log – Shows a log of sync errors
  • about:sync-progress – Shows the page for Sync is now complete
  • about:sync-tabs – Tabs from other devices
  • about:telemetry – This page shows the information about performance, hardware, usage and customizations collected by Telemetry. This information is submitted to Mozilla to help improve Mozilla Firefox.
  • about:webrtcWeb Real-Time Communication
  • about:welcomeback – Shows the page Firefox successfully reset your profile.

If I missed anything, please let me know in the comments below.

A TEXT POST

ASUSTOR AS-204TE Review

New Article has been published on http://computingondemand.com/asustor-204te-review/

ASUSTOR AS-204TE Review

Unless you have been living under a small stone in a field behind Bilbo Baggins’ home, you may have heard the term NAS (Network Attached Storage).  NAS are becoming more prevalent in the home, the small office, and the Enterprise.  These flexible, inexpensive, devices can nearly do it all, which is what makes them so attractive.  Well, it seems like everyone and their cousin is producing a NAS of some sort, but only a few have really got their act together.  Among that small few, those that have more in R&D than they do in sales, is a company by the name of ASUSTOR.  Today, ASUSTOR is no longer just a startup company.  Instead, they have been producing some of the best, low-cost, NAS that money can buy.  We had the chance to review their AS-302T, as well as the AS-608T and absolutely loved it.  Let’s see if their AS-204T can live up to our lofty expectations.

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ASUSTOR has set out with two variations of the AS-204, one T and one TE.  The difference between the two? The TS-204TE has an additional 512MB of DDR3 RAM for a total of 1GB and HDMI 1.4a.  They both feature the same Intel Atom 1.2GHz Dual-Core processor, they both sport a single USB 3.0 Port, two USB 2.0 Ports, and a single Gigabit Ethernet Port.  Both units measure in at 185.5(H) x 170(W) x 230(D) mm and weigh just 3.4 kg / 7.5 lb.  The AS2-204T/TE can support Single disk, JBOD, RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, RAID 6, and RAID 10 configurations and 6TB drives.

Hardware Specifications

  • CPU: Intel® ATOM™ 1.2GHz Dual-Core Processor
  • Memory: 1GB Memory DDR3
  • HDD: 2.5″ / 3.5″ SATA II/ III or SSD x 4¹ Compatibility
  • Expansion: USB 3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x 2
  • Network: Gigabit Ethernet x 1
  • Output: HDMI 1.4a x1
  • System Fan: 120mm x 1
  • Infrared Receiver
  • 3.5mm Audio Jack
  • Input Power Voltage: 100V to 240V AC*
  • Certification: FCC, CE, VCCI, BSMI, C-TICK

Operation

  • Power Consumption: 36W (Operation); 22.6W (Disk Hibernation); 0.8W (Sleep Mode)²
  • Noise Level: 19.4dB
  • Operation Temperature: 5°C~35°C (40°F~95°F)
  • Humidity: 5% to 95% RH

Eco-Friendly Design

  • System Sleep Mode (S3)
  • Auto-Standby for Both Internal and External Disks
  • Auto Fan Control
  • LED Night Mode
  • Power Schedule: On, Off, Restart, and Sleep

Having the HDMI port and expanded memory allows you to run the ASUSTOR Portal app from the App Center in administration.  ASUSTOR Portal allows you to connect your NAS to any HDMI ready display and run an application like XBMC on your NAS instead of adding an additional piece of equipment to your home theater like an HTPC or Raspberry Pi.  Having an Infrared Receiver built-in means you can use the optional AS-RC10 remote control for easy navigation.  Personally, I prefer the iOS XBMC app or XBMC constellation for control, but your mileage may vary.

The ASUSTOR AS-204TE looks like any other NAS in the ASUSTOR lineup.  However, don’t be fooled by its appearance, there are some key differences.  Up front, the AS-204TE is simple and fantastic looking.  The raised asustor logo defines the brand.  The power button and blue LED are smooth and flush.  The HDD glows a soothing green.  Although there are two positions for Ethernet connectivity LEDs, only one is populated; the other is plugged.  The OTB (one touch backup) button is similar to that of the Power button, but unlike QNAP TS-470 it features a USB 3.0 port for quick data transfers.

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Occupying the majority of the AS-204TE’s face is a plastic piece of trickery. Normally, you would expect there to be an LCD panel hidden behind the clear plastic, similar to that of the AS-608T.  However, ASUSTOR has done no such thing here.  The only thing that resides here is the IR receiver.

Just below is the hard drive cage.  Each drive tray sports a quick release button and the smoothest action of any HDD tray we have seen in a NAS to date.  Again, similar to others in the ASUSTOR lineup and those by QNAP, there are no drive tray numbers.  Each drive tray is manufactured from high quality materials and the release mechanism is strong.  Each drive tray has its own LED indicator for power and activity and can home either a 3.5″ or 2.5″ hard drive.

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Around back, the ASUSTOR NAS has a solitary USB 3.0 Port and Gigabit Ethernet Port, the HDMI port, Audio connectivity, dual USB 2.0 ports, a Kensington Security Slot, a HUGE 120mm exhaust fan, and power connectivity.

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Inside, simplicity reigns supreme.  Disassembling this NAS is far easier than it was for the QNAP TS-470.

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The AS-204TE is powered by an FSP Group Inc. 150 Watt Power supply.  Unfortunately, the PSU is not 80 PLUS certified and the product page specifies that this unit operates at 72% efficiency.

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The AS-204TE does not allow for memory expansion.  The Samsung PC1600 DDR3 DRAM (K4B2G1646Q-BCK0 DDR3 ) is fixed.

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USB 3.0 is handled by an Etron EJ188H controller and has a maximum bandwidth of 1.25 Gigabyte/s per port and up to 5Gb/s in SuperSpeed.

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The Intel ATOM processor is cooled by a simple heatsink

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For the mobile enthusiast, ASUSTOR’s mobile applications bring management and multimedia with you, wherever you go.

AiMaster
AiMaster is dedicated NAS management software for your mobile device. No matter if you are an individual user or IT administrator, AiMaster lets you conveniently manage your NAS while its comprehensive support for push notifications ensures that you stay up to date with the status of your system.

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AiMaster has to be the best mobile NAS management application I have used yet.  It brings the NAS UI to the mobile platform better than the competitors do.

AiData
AiData lets you safely browse and access all the files stored on your NAS from your mobile device. Additionally, it allows you to stream multimedia content and view photos from your NAS as well as providing integration with Dropbox that gives you easy data management across the cloud.

AiDownload
Use your mobile device to control Download Center on your ASUSTOR NAS. Whether it’s searching, downloading or managing tasks, AiDownload gets it done in the blink of an eye. Furthermore, when your downloads are completed, your mobile device will receive immediate notification.

NAS setup couldn’t be easier.  The included ASUSTOR control panel quickly finds your NAS on the network for quick setup.  Once found, the application gives you some quick and useful information about your NAS.

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The application then walks you through your initial configuration.

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The initialization process will prompt you to either upload ADM or connect to ASUSTOR for the latest firmware available

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After firmware has been applied, ADM presents two options.  1-Click Setup and Custom Setup.  1-Click Setup uses optimized settings in accordance with your computer settings and the installed hard drives.  Personally, I always choose the Customer Setup.

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The rest of the configuration is broken down into 5 steps.

  1. The first being Hostname and admin Password.
  2. The second is time & date
  3. Network configuration
  4. Storage Configuration
  5. Settings applied

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The last 3 screens are for an ASUSTOR ID.  This provides you with the ability to get technical support and download apps from the ASUSTOR App Central and is also required for the Cloud Connect Service.

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ADM 2.0, the ASUSTOR Data Master Operating System, is a sleek and robust Linux-based operating system.  The interface is well designed and navigation is as easy as using an iPhone.  The OS is standard across the entire ASUSTOR lineup.  Simplicity? Yes. Multitasking? Yes.  Looks good? Yes.  Bloated? No way.  With the advanced web IU, you can rearrange settings, create pages based on your usage preferences, and even change the background image.  You can run multiple applications without having to commit to those changes and lose everything; the applications can be minimized, moved, or closed.

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The administration, out of the box, is broken up into several different “apps” that reside on the desktop.  The apps are logically defined and it is easy to figure out what does what without requiring a manual.

Access Control

Access control is where your users, groups, app privileges, and shared folders reside.  Users can be added with just a few clicks and groups can be assigned just as easily to make administrating access to shared folders easy.  Shared Folders can be created and added in no time at all and allows for advanced user access permissions.  ADM is the first NAS OS we tested that recognizes right clicks and presents options for individual items quickly.  Others have followed since.

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Activity Monitor

The activity monitor presents everything you need to know about what your NAS is doing in a very slick way.  The percentage of each CPU (core) is displayed graphically, as well as memory, network activity, disk usage, and running processes.

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Backup & Restore

Backup & Restore is everything the name describes.  You can create RSYNC jobs, FTP Backup jobs, configure backup to external devices, configure the One Touch Backup, backup to Cloud (currently only supports Amazon S3), and the ability to export and import your backup settings.

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File Explorer

File explorer is as self-descriptive as can be.  You can view and manage documents easily.  With the cloud services ASUSTOR builds into the NAS, you also have the ability to create a public share for any specific document quickly to allow someone from the outside to download.  Beyond that, compression is built-in (zip or 7z!); just right-click on a file and choose.

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Settings

Settings is home to the basic configuration of your NAS.  You can configure system ports, regional options, enable notifications, restore to factory default, configure networking, modify energy-saving features, and more.  The hardware subsection allows you to configure things like LED indicators, buzzers, HDD power down settings, and customize the LCD panel.  ADM defender is a very basic firewall that can ban specific IP addresses or ban them based on failed login attempts.  ADM update allows you to check for and install any software updates available for your system.

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Services

Services is where you configure most of what your NAS will do for you.  Here you can enable and configure CIFS/SAMBA, AFP, NFS, FTP, WebDAV, the Web Server, MySQL, Terminal Access, and the RSYNC Services.  Each of these are easy to configure, but I am a bit disappointed in the RSYNC implementation.  Creating modules for each folder you have can become a cumbersome and time-consuming process. It would be helpful if an RSYNC Module was created automatically each time a share is created, or at least an option available for creating the module when the share is created.

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Storage Manager

The Storage Manager is where your disk management and volume management reside.  Here you can create volumes in various RAID and non-RAID arrays (RAID 0,1, single disk or JBOD).  Inside the Disk tab you can view SMART information or get down and dirty with the Disk Doctor.  The Disk Doctor is something that every NAS should employ.  It not only allows you to do a SMART scan, but it will also do a bad block scan.  To further enhance the feature, you can schedule each of these and have the AS-302T report to you its findings.  Worried about losing data? This can be your first line of defense in detecting potential issues and being proactive.  This NAS has support for iSCSI for use in shared storage environments.

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System Information

The System Information module gives you insight into some basic information about your NAS.  It will let you know what version of ADM you are running as well as the ASUSTOR ID you have assigned to the AS-302T.  Here you can also find what model you have, the CPU, how much RAM is installed, and what temperatures your NAS is experiencing.  The Networking tab shows you some basic network information.  The Log tab shows you the latest issues or experiences your NAS has had.  Online users is self-explanatory.  The Dr. ASUSTOR, however, is something unique.  It is a utility that can help you proactively manage your NAS.  It will list errors and solutions as well as offer suggestions for keeping your NAS healthy.

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App Central

App Central is your portal to expanding your NAS horizons.  Applications from ASUSTOR and the community can further enhance the functionality and usability of your NAS.  Applications range from Social Networking to Backup & Sync with everything in between.

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It is a given that using your NAS should be easy, and it is also a given that your NAS should perform well in serving up your files. After all, this is basically what the devices is intended for. To benchmark the NAS, we run synthetic benchmarks as well as benchmark some real world activities.

NAS Benchmarking Hardware & Methodology details hardware used & methodology for conducting benchmarks.
To see how this NAS compares to others, please visit our NAS Benchmarking Database

For testing the large file transfer speed of the NAS, we transfer a 46.6GB Blu-Ray ISO (Avatar) from the workstation to the NAS and back five times. We pipe the transfer speeds during the benchmark to a .csv file for charting. For more on our Avatar Benchmark please see our Benchmarking application: COD Benchmarking Utility

[table id=1 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,29 hide_columns=all show_columns=3,6,7 use_datatables=false /]

For testing the transfer speed of the NAS with smaller files, we use the same method as the Avatar test but instead create two hundred individual MP3′s of specific file sizes for repeatable results. The files are copied from the workstation to the NAS and back 5 times. We pipe the transfer speeds during the benchmark to a .csv file for charting.

[table id=2 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,29 hide_columns=all show_columns=3,6,7 use_datatables=false /]

For testing the large file transfer speed of the NAS, we transfer a 2GB file from the workstation to the NAS and back five times. We pipe the transfer speeds during the benchmark to a .csv file for charting.

[table id=2 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,29 hide_columns=all show_columns=3,6,7 use_datatables=false /]

For further benchmarking, we test each NAS using Intel’s NAS Performance Toolkit to rate 2 key areas of NAS performance. We measure File Copy speeds to and from the NAS and the Directory Copy speeds to and from the NAS. System RAM is set to 2048MB of RAM to ensure there is no mem caching for transfers.

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For benchmarking the performance of iSCIS, we created an iSCSI connection to the NAS and benchmark the NAS using Intel’s IOMeter. IOMeter has to be one of the most widely used software packages for benchmarking disks. There are an endless number of ways you can build a benchmark, but we chose to limit our benchmarking to 100 percent Sequential Read and Write then 100 percent Random Read and Write. You can emulate our benchmarking by using the following configuration

‘size % of size % reads % writes % sequential % random delay burst align reply
2,097,152 100 100 0 100 0 0 1 0 0
2,097,152 100 0 100 100 0 0 1 0 0
2,097,152 100 100 0 0 100 0 1 0 0
2,097,152 100 0 100 0 100 0 1 0 0
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[table id=17 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,29 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,16,17 use_datatables=false /]
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CrystalDiskMark is another benchmarking utility that determines speeds by measuring 512KB, 4KB, and 4KB (Queue Depth 32) sequential and random read and write speeds. Test data can be Random, 0Fill, and 1Fill. For our purposes, we left the test at Random.

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[table id=16 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,29 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,12,13,14,15,16,17 use_datatables=false /]
[table id=16 hide_rows=all show_rows=1,29 hide_columns=1,2,3,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,14,15,16,17 use_datatables=false /]
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The ASUSTOR AS-204TE is not a power house NAS; and it isn’t designed to be. With a price tag of right around $430.00 USD, this NAS is meant to be an affordable Home/SOHO NAS that delivers features you would expect to find in a NAS that costs hundreds more.  Although, it may not have the beefiest processor or loaded with tons of RAM, it does have everything you need, and more.

When comparing the benchmarks to other 4-bay NAS we have reviewed, the AS-204TE isn’t the fastest. Don’t let number in the review criteria fool you… That is a number we use when comparing this NAS to all 4-bay we have reviewed, including the TS-470 which sells for right around $1,053.99 USD.  This NAS is still capable of serving up your files quickly in a small network.

ASUSTOR AS204TE 3 300x300 ASUSTOR AS 204TE Review ASUSTOR AS204TE 2 300x300 ASUSTOR AS 204TE Review

The ASUSTOR OS (ADM) is strong with features and is smoother than Sade.  Operating this NAS is easy and with the ASUSTOR Portal it can replace your HTPC or cable box as well as serve up files at home or on the road.

Although we didn’t cover XBMC in any detail in this review, the application is as fluid running here as on my 8-Core HTPC. It also uses far less electricity… 42W in testing at full load.  We had no issues with playback and menu transitions were effortless.  Upgrade your experience with the optional remote or with XBMC Constellation and you end up with a powerful multimedia appliance that makes a big impact with a small footprint.

The AS-204TE is packed with all the features you look for in a small, inexpensive, package, making it hard to pass up.  If you are a home user looking for a good NAS at a great price, the AS-204TE may be the one for you.  Bottom line, if you are looking for a NAS on a budget… don’t look at anything else.