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Icy Dock MB662U3-2S R1 3.5-Inch Dual Bay SATA III USB 3.0 External RAID Enclosure
Icy Dock MB662U3-2S R1 3.5-Inch Dual Bay SATA III USB 3.0 External RAID Enclosure
Price: £94.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Expensive for a Circuit Board Encased in 2mm Thick Metal and Plastic Doors, 11 April 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This product does what it says on the tin, however it is certainly overpriced for what it is. I would say cutting the price in half would make it a much more reasonable purchase when you consider the fact that you also need to buy hard drives (which tend to be overpriced themselves nowadays) to occupy this enclosure. Of course the manufacturer, Icy Dock, do not factor in these extra costs and they realise they have a strong brand name, hence the price being one of the highest for the 2-bay SAS enclosure market.

So what are you getting for your money? Essentially a small circuit board shrouded in a combination of a 2mm thick metal shell and plastic front bay doors. You also get a tiny 40mm fan which is considerably audible in my opinion (grinding motor noise); even if you set it to its lowest setting it is bothersome when there is little or no other background noise. The fan also uses a connector that may not be bundled as standard with all 40mm fans, so be careful if you want to replace it with a quieter model and be prepared to do some soldering, wire cutting, and / or connector-removing.

Other than these complaints, the enclosure does what it is supposed to. In JBOD mode with this enclosure I could not get either of my Western Digital hard drives to pass the official Data Lifeguard Diagnostic tests or consistently display their SMART status, even though the software correctly identified them as WD drives. This proved to be a false alarm (for now) as I have written a considerable amount of data to them without either of them falling out of a Raid-1 array. I have no doubt that if I took them out of the enclosure and connected them individually to my computer via SATA interface they would both pass diagnostics tests.

So, one star knocked off for value of money and fan noise. Overall the unit seems to be solid.


Icy Dock MB559U3S-1S Ultra Slim USB 3.0 and eSATA External HDD Enclosure - Black
Icy Dock MB559U3S-1S Ultra Slim USB 3.0 and eSATA External HDD Enclosure - Black

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Overpriced, 22 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This enclosure is the same price or only slightly less than you pay for standard capacity drives that go inside them. No doubt the quality of the unit and electronics are better than what you find inside an el-cheapo £15 caddy, however that still doesn't justify the price. Anything past the thirty pound mark for an enclosure, even a premium one, is pushing it in my book.

Yes, I must admit I still decided to purchase one, but after several months use I came to the conclusion that despite Icy Dock being a reputable name and the unit itself being reliable - never faltering once - I still feel that I have been fleeced slightly. This thing is still 90% plain metal, after all. It seems that I paid over the odds for retracting feet and a white L.E.D.


ASUS RT-N56U 300 Mbps 802.11n, Hardware NAT Dual Band Wireless N Router
ASUS RT-N56U 300 Mbps 802.11n, Hardware NAT Dual Band Wireless N Router
Offered by Ebuyer UK Limited
Price: £53.99

106 of 113 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hasn't Let Me Down... Yet, 28 Nov. 2011
The first thing you want to do when you get the router is to set up wireless security settings of "WPA2 Personal" and enter your own password into the "WPA-PSK Key" box to avoid potential interlopers from simply accessing the unprotected router and changing settings at will for their own nefarious purposes.

NOTE: you need to change wireless security settings for BOTH the 2.4GHz and 5GHz tabs to secure the router, as they use separate settings.

To access the router's web interface after connecting to it either via ethernet or wireless one needs to type in the address bar of a browser:

192.168.1.1

and enter the default username and password of:

admin
admin

To get this router working with my Virgin Media cable I had to switch the MODEM off and then on again. It wouldn't automatically work by using the "Quick Internet Setup" button in the router's settings without power cycling the MODEM. This is a minor problem, as it only took me around 10-20 seconds to perform the reset, and it may not happen to you. After that, I could browse the web straight away.

Once I had determined that I could connect to the internet perfectly fine, I visited the official ASUS site to upgrade the firmware of the router (which at the time of writing is 1.0.1.8d). As I apparently cannot post links in Amazon reviews, no matter how innocent they may be, you can find the firmware update by typing "ASUS RT-N56U" into Google, clicking the first result and then the "Download" tab. Extract the downloaded archive to a directory of your choice and then enter the router's configuration page and click the "Advanced Setting" button, "Administration", "Firmware Upgrade" tab. Then click the "Browse..." button next to the box labeled "New Firmware File". Locate the firmware update file on your hard drive, click OK to all the warnings and do not allow your wireless or (preferably) ethernet connection to be interrupted whilst the upgrade is in progress. It will take around 3 minutes, and the progress bar appears to be pretty accurate as to when the operation will be complete (the router is reset in the process), so I wouldn't recommend touching it until it reaches 100%.

NOTE: Custom firmware has been developed for this router recently, and contains a huge number of fixes, enhancements and new features. Take a look at this review's comments for links.

After the router firmware upgrade had successfully completed, I happened to notice that my wireless connection was not running at full bandwidth. It seemed to be stuck at around 130mbps rather than the ~300mbps that Wireless mode N is capable of. I discovered this by right clicking on my wireless network in the Windows System Tray and clicking "Status". I did some reading up and discovered that it was because the router needed to be operating in "Bonded Channel Mode" which, apparently, it is not set to by default. To achieve this, I once again loaded up the router's web interface settings and clicked "Advanced Setting > Wireless" then set the "Channel bandwidth" to "20 / 40MHz" as opposed to the default of "20". I then set the router's "Wireless Mode" to operate in N "only", as well as setting my Wireless adapter in Windows Control Panel > System > Device Manager to WirelessN only mode or "802.11n". This may not be necessary if your adapter operates at 5GHz and you are connected at that wavelength and certainly not recommended if your wireless adapter isn't capable of the WirelessN standard at all, since forcing a Wireless Mode in the router settings that your adapter isn't capable of will leave you unable to connect wirelessly to the router.

My next task was to see if I could open a port for the Torrent network. This was easily achieved by visiting the "Advanced Setting > Port Forwarding" button under the WAN heading in the router's settings and adding a new entry in the list with the "Service Name" of "BitTorrent" (or whatever you would like to name it) "Port Range" of "6881" (without quotes) then selecting the local IP from the drop down box. Enter protocol "Both" and then click the "Add" button and press the "Apply" button below it. I then verified, by performing a port scan and checking the status of my Torrent client, that the port was indeed open and accepting traffic.

I happened to notice upon running a port scan test that port 21 appeared to be permanently "closed" (detectable remotely, but not accepting traffic) as opposed to completely "stealthed" (unreachable remotely). This port is normally reserved for FTP traffic. Whilst the "closed" status is normally secure enough, I would not leave it to chance and so discovered a way to stealth it completely. Go to the "Advanced Setting > Firewall > Lan to WAN Filter" tab and look at the LAN to WAN filter table, which is currently blank. If you want to completely block port 21 off from the outside then you need to add a new blacklist entry for the "Port Range" of "21". Protocol "TCP", Add and Apply.

So, after I had performed all these steps, I was fairly happy with how the Router was performing for me. I have read in a number of places that the Firmware simply isn't advanced enough for other people's needs and they hope for a version of DD-WRT (open source third-party firmware) that supports the ASUS RT-N56U. I tend to agree with them, but so far this router hasn't cut me off from any essential features that I personally require, so that's good enough for me.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 6, 2011 3:42 AM GMT


Sennheiser MX 980 High-Fidelity Metal-Crafted Earphones
Sennheiser MX 980 High-Fidelity Metal-Crafted Earphones
Price: £139.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing Quality of Sound and Build, but Not for FM Radio., 29 Oct. 2011
I have no problem with the comfort of these earphones. For me, compared with in-ear monitors of any kind, they fit like a glove. Although the metal is chunky and indisputably more weighty than your average pair of earbuds, they are also of higher quality and obviously a lot more durable.

For a review of the sound quality, you need only look at this web page:
[...]
Needless to say they are astonishing.

If you intend to use these earbuds to listen to FM radio, however, I would advise you to look elsewhere. As you may know, modern devices with an FM radio feature often require the use of your earphones as a radio antenna, as they have no internal antenna of their own. My MX980 were only able to pick up static, where as a much cheaper pair of earbuds on the same equipment and in the same location could get a perfect signal. The only way I could hear anything at all was by grasping the metal 3.5mm stereo jack, and acting as a rather poor human aerial.


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