Sweet mercy, at first glance Koolance’s PC4-1025BK case seems like a perfect power-user box. Unfortunately, this water-cooling-enriched case is simply too small to contain certain enthusiast hardware and too complicated for the average user.
Our little hearts were ablaze with excitement when we busted open the chunky Buffalo TeraStation Live. And with good reason; on paper, the four-drive NAS device looked like it was going to be an easy winner–its two terabytes of total storage in a RAID-5 configuration made us smile.
As far as we’re concerned, the Blu-ray burner to beat these days is LG’s GGW-H20L1 (reviewed December 2007). Unfortunately for Sony, its BWU-200S isn’t the drive to do it. We pretty much knew this before we even began testing the drive—after all, the BWU-200S is rated for 4x Blu-ray write speeds compared to the LG’s 6x speed rating.
We’re going to get this out of the way up front. If you’re looking for raw speed, the MediaSmart isn’t for you. We’ve tested faster NAS boxes, but we’ve never tested a network storage device that delivers the same level of functionality as this little Windows Home Server-based wonder.
You can’t help but be impressed that Samsung’s 940UX provides 19 inches of 1280x1024-res full-color LCD action over a USB 2.0 interface. How is that even possible? It’s the result of a built-in DisplayLink chip and driver, which handles graphics duties and makes the monitor instantly recognized by the OS as a connected USB device—no manual configuration required. It’s an amazingly simple and convenient way to add one or more monitors to a PC that lacks any additional videocard ports. Samsung says you can even daisy-chain up to six 940UX LCDs to a single machine (each monitor sports one upstream and two downstream USB 2.0 ports) provided your CPU can accommodate them. Minimum requirements for one or two 940UX monitors is a 1.2GHz CPU and 512MB of memory, and it scales up from there.
For a change of pace, we’ll start with our biggest critique
first—literally, the biggest. Thermaltake’s Xaser VI chassis (the
air-cooling-specific VG4000 model) is the Godzilla of cases. It’s heavy
enough to make carrying it an awkward, hernia-inducing experience, and
that’s before you slap a system inside. Heaven forbid you make full use
of the case’s eight (?!) hard drive bays and seven (?!?!) 5.25-inch
expansion slots. Add water cooling and you might want to invest in some
wheels and a dolly for transporting the beast.