If every other external enclosure we’ve reviewed has been a Chevy Nova, then Norco’s DS-500 external SATA storage, um, block is easily a Humvee. For this device not only performs solidly but also weighs as much as everyone’s favorite urban assault vehicle. And that’s before we stuffed five hard drives into it.
If you read our original review of the X-Fi way back in November 2005, you already know about this card. Back then, Creative packaged this exact same card with a drive bay and remote and charged an impossible to justify $280 for the X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS soundcard.
As we said with the Auzentech, we’re impressed when companies go above and beyond reference designs for products. Razer’s Barracuda AC-1 is such a product. Though it uses the same C-Media Oxygen HD chip as the X-Meridian, you wouldn’t think the two cards were related.
Soundcards, like videocards, tend to have cookie-cutter designs; products that use the same chipsets look virtually the same.
That wasn’t the approach Auzentech took when it put down the traces for its Auzen X-Meridian 7.1 card. Auzentech says it carefully crafted a custom PCB and added components to get the best possible audio from the card, which is based on C-Media’s top-shelf CMI8788 Oxygen HD “audio processor.” We believe it, too. The board’s traces, layout, and components are vastly different than those of the Razer AC-1 soundcard, which also uses the CMI 8788 Oxygen HD chip.
Mmm. That's the noise I made upon receiving a huge package from CoolIT and Silverstone this past week. Not just because of the contents -- a sweet, sweet system, featuring CoolIT's new Boreas cooler, packed into a TJ07 case -- but because the damn thing weighted nearly as much as I do, I swear. Getting that thing onto a Labs bench reminded me of Homer and the Stone of Triumph. Not fun.
ProShow Gold has long been the, umm, gold standard for wedding, portrait, and studio photographers who want to show work to clients on a DVD, and we can see why. With its smooth user interface and dizzying number of effects and customizations, ProShow Gold instantly became our favorite slide-show program.
We’ll get the bad news out of the way first. Hitachi’s Deskstar T7K500 hard drive, with an easy-to-remember 500GB of storage, is unremarkable. More than that, it underperforms when compared to similarly featured, similarly priced (if not cheaper!) products.