Nov 26 2014

News - Fractal Design Announces DEFINE R5 Silent Chassis

Fractal Design makes outstanding cases for not a lot of money. No matter which one we review the outcome has always been the same – solid, well designed, and a great value. So it is great to see them iterating the focused-on-silence Define series with the new R5 which will only run $110-120 depending on whether you want a side window or not.

Full PR after the click.

Nov 25 2014

Review - Perfect Home Theater (PHT) T-ITX-6: Thin-ITX HTPC Chassis

Perfect Home Theater (PHT) T-ITX-6: Thin-ITX HTPC Chassis

There are many different types of home theater PC (HTPC) enclosures; with most falling somewhere in the spectrum between a throw-everything-including-a-big-O’-GPU-in-the-box and the small-silent-discrete varieties. Supporting only Thin-ITX motherboards the $160 Perfect Home Theater (PHT) T-ITX-6 is firmly located in the latter category. That’s not to say that expansion is strictly limited to just an optical disc drive (ODD) however, with the chassis supporting one low-profile PCIe and up to three 3.5” hard drives, or a Slim-line ODD, two 3.5” and one 2.5” storage devices. With such a sleek aluminum profile there must be some compromise required, let’s dig in and find it.

Nov 18 2014

Review - Thecus N2560 2-Drive NAS System

Back in April, we took a look at the 5-Bay NAS N5550 from Thecus, which was one of their first NAS units including an HDMI port to allow hybrid functionality by combining the reliability of a NAS with some of the features of a dedicated HTPC (home theater PC).  With conventional hard drives reaching 6TB these days, support for five disks is unnecessary for many buyers , so Thecus has released a two-bay version of their NAS, the N2560. Available in white, this two drive NAS also includes an HDMI port but has a much smaller footprint, which increases the installation flexibility and reducies the potential for noise pollution, alongside a much more affordable price.

 

Nov 17 2014

Review - D-Link DIR-880L Wireless AC1900 Dual-Band Gigabit Cloud Router

D-Link DIR-880L

It isn’t safe to call it a glut, but we are increasingly spoiled for choice when it comes to 802.11AC routers. Choice is never a bad thing so it was great to see D-Link bringing an AC1900 (1300Mbps 5GHz + 600Mbps 2.4GHz) entrant, the DIR-880L, into the fray. At $175 street ($209 SRP) this wireless router/bridge is $10-$20 cheaper than its rivals from the other major networking OEMs, but offers almost exactly the same features set: 1GHz dual-core Broadcom (BCM4708A) SOC, attached storage via USB 2.0/3.0, three stream 802.11AC, four (LAN) + one (WAN) Gigabit Ethernet. If it can also match the stability and performance, D-Link will have a winner on their hands.

Nov 12 2014

News - ZigBee v. Bluetooth Mesh - Fight!?

There was a time when the whole ZigBee v. Bluetooth (BT) question would have been kind of silly. BT was very capable, but its power characteristics made unsuitable for the types of devices that a Home Automation (HA) protocol like ZigBee is intended to address. That has changed significantly over the last couple years, with BT LE (Low Energy) taking on RF4CE and now with BT Mesh entering the mix. How these protocols compete and complement each is an interesting topic for anyone who likes to stay on top of the specifics of how the HA market is developing.

With that in mind, GreenPeak Technologies just released a whitepaper where they address this topic, albeit from the perspective of a ZigBee player. Either way, it makes for an interesting read.

“A decade ago, WiFi and Bluetooth battled but ended up sharing the home networking space and successfully growing the market to where both technologies are now found everywhere,” explains Cees Links, CEO of GreenPeak Technologies. “The battle is brewing again as Bluetooth Mesh is now attempting to move from the sensor wearable space into the ultra-low power sensor networking space, today successfully served by ZigBee. However, it will take a lot of work to evolve Bluetooth Mesh to the position where it can provide the functions and capabilities that ZigBee already provides today. So why confuse and divide the market?”

GreenPeak

 

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