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NAS External Data Storage: Synology Diskstation DS213air review

(1 vote, average 4.00 out of 5)

DS213air sideIntroduction:

We have reviewed a good number of the Synology Diskstation range over the last few years varying from entry level to professinal level models, and whilst all are excellent products, they all are limited to hard wired connections i.e. they all need to be close to either a free network port, or in the case of home users next to a router. Whilst there are options that can be used to remedy this such as Powerline plugs that allow you to share your internet connection through your mains electricity, simply running network cabling everywhere, or using a third party USB wifi dongle, the DS213air provides the simplest of all - in built wireless connectivity.

Specifications:

Hardware:

  • CPU Frequency : 1.6 GHz
  • Hardware Encryption Engine
  • Memory : DDR3 256 MB 
  • Internal HDD/SSD : 3.5" or 2.5" SATA(II) X 2 (Hard drive not included)
  • Max Internal Capacity : 8 TB (4 TB HDD X 2) (Capacity may vary by RAID types) (See All Supported HDD)
  • External HDD Interface : USB 3.0 Port X 2
  • Size (HxWxD) : 165 x 100 x 225.5 mm
  • Weight : 0.94 kg
  • LAN : Gigabit X 1
  • Wake on LAN/WAN
  • System Fan : 92 x 92 mm X 1
  • Built-in Wireless Support
  • Noise Level : 19.0 dB(A)
  • Power Recovery
  • AC Input Power Voltage : 100V to 240V AC
  • Power Frequency : 50/60 Hz, Single Phase
  • Power Consumption : 22.44W (Access); 5.76W (HDD Hibernation);
  • Operating Temperature : 5°C to 35°C (40°F to 95°F)
  • Storage Temperature : -10°C to 70°C (15°F to 155°F)
  • Relative Humidity : 5% to 95% RH
  • Maximum Operating Altitude : 6,500 feet
  • Certification : FCC Class B, CE Class B, BSMI Class B
  • Warranty : 2 Years

For a more detailed specification visit the dedicated Synology page here.

Review:

DS213air backThe Synology DS213j at first glance is very similar to the DS212j that we previously reviewed (here), sharing a similar case design and indeed fairly similar hardware specifications, although with an increased CPU speed. As with other Synology Diskstations, setup requires installation of hard drives and then use of a hardwired connection to a router of network port for setup (installation of the DSM operating system) before the system can be rebooted with settings to use an available wireless network.

Once installed, the DS213j shares it's features with every other diskstation using the excellent DSM operating system, allowing the system to be used as everything from a file or media server through to a cloud backup system or web server and it is this operating system that in our eyes makes the Synology range heads and shoulders over their competition.

Although wireless functionality can be added to any of the Synology servers using a third party USB dongle, the benefit of keeping the limited number of USB ports free for connecting printers is, in our eyes a much better option.

Performance, although obviously dependent on the wireless network it's connected to, is slightly slower over wifi than it's hardwired equivalents, but is still fast enough for media streaming or any of the other functions. When we tested it over a domestic wireless network we acheived average ~40MBps upload and ~64MBps when a mixture of small and large files were transfered to and from the server.

Price:

~£250 - available from Amazon: Synology DS213Air DiskStation (Diskless) 2 Bay Desktop NAS Enclosure with Built-in Wi-Fi Adapter

Verdict:

4/5 - The Synology DS213air comes with issue free wireless connectivity allowing full access to the potential of a Synology diskstation without the need for messing around with wireless dongles, or extending hardwired networks. As with all Synology systems it runs the excellently supported DSM operating system that makes maintenance and usage a doddle for any level of user.

 

Audio: Edifier Spinnaker Bluetooth Speakers

(1 vote, average 4.00 out of 5)

Edifier SpinnakerIntroduction:

The average rectangular speaker has a certain historic aesthetic quality, but speaker manufacturers are starting to break the mould with new and innovative designs. Not least of these is Edifier, a company that always seems to think outside of the box (excuse the pun yet again!) with their groundbreaking designs and the new Spinnaker speaker set certainly sticks two fingers up to tradition.

Specifications:

Input Type: 3.5mm Stereo Jack
Power Source: AC
Power: 90 Watts total power (Treble: Two at 10W; Midrange: Two at 10W; Bass: Two at 25W)
Connections: Wireless - Bluetooth
Driver Size: Tweeters: 0.76 in./19 mm silk dome tweeter, Magnetically Shielded, Midrange: 2.75 in./70 mm, Magnetically Shielded, Woofers: 4 in./116 mm, Magnetically Shielded
Frequency Response: 68 Hz-20,000 Hz +/-3dB on reference axis; Crossover Frequencies: 135 Hz, 3.2 kHz
Speaker Configurations: 2.1
Dimensions: Width: 140 mm/5.51 in. Length: 189 mm/7.44 in.Weight: 4300 g Height: 413 mm/16.26 in.

Review:

Since I'm writing this review in Portsmouth (UK) within site of the Spinnaker Tower landmark, this review seems somewhat apt and the speakers certainly bear a passing resemblance. Finished in black plastic and cloth, the Spinnaker speakers are a far cry from the standard speaker design and come packaged with a uniquely designed aluminium dome-shaped remote control.

On the underside of one of the speakers are all of the connections with simple channels for running wiring, through which the two speakers and power are connected. In addition there is also and aux-in jack point for connecting external (non-bluetooth) audio sources.

Once connected the speakers can be turned on by depressing the dome of the remote (which is recharged using the included USB cable) and a bluetooth device paired by depressing the domed remote for a longer press to start the setup process (the Spinnaker speaker set supports both A2DP and AVRCP Bluetooth profiles), a very simple process. Alternatively as mentioned, the aux-in jack can be used to connect non-bluetooth devices should the need/desire arise.

Once connected, the audio quality is as good as would be expected of an Edifier product with excellent audio reproduction even up to maximum volumes (which to be honest aren't likely to be used on a regular basis as it gets loud!), with no audible distortion. Audio is faithfully reproduced with strong unexaggerated bass and midtones and vibrant treble.

The remote is easy to use but adds little functionality beyond volume control and input switching and very basic track navigation which is a slight disappointment, but not a deal breaker.

Price:

~£249.99

Verdict:

4/5 - Although the Edifier Spinnaker Bluetooth speakers are fairly pricy, they do offer excellent audio quality for the money, as well as an innovative design and an easy way to connect any bluetooth (or other audiio through line-in input) compatible device to make music playback simple and a real joy.

 

Modular PSU: Fractal Design Newton R3 600W Modular PC Power Supply review

(5 votes, average 3.60 out of 5)

Fractal Design Newton R3 600WIntroduction:

A PC is only as good as the sum of its parts, and normally one of most overlooked components of a system build is the power supply (PSU), something we noted in a previous article (here). It is essential that you choose in a PSU that will efficiently meet your system's power requirements, and additionally one that will provide consistent and stable outputs. With 80 Plus certification, the latest Fractal Design PSUs in the Newton R3 range offer exactly what system builders require efficiency, stability and usefully a modular approach to cabling.

Specifications:

  • 80PLUS® Platinum
  • Single, powerful 12V rail
  • SLI (800W and up) and CrossFireX Certified
  • Long-life ball-bearing fan
  • Modular cables
  • Japanese capacitors
  • Semi-passive fan

Review: 

If you have read our latest case review (here), you will have heard the name of the Fractal Design Newton R3 already, as Fractal Design kindly provided us with a sample of the 600W version for review. The Newton R3 comes beautifully packaged inside what can only be described as a presentation pack, with the PSU housed in a cloth bag, and the modular cables provided in a custom made toolbag that provides labeled pockets for each of the cables.

Installation is as normal, using four screws to hold it in position in your case. Where the benefits of the modular design comes in handy, is when you start connecting up the PSU to the motherboard, graphics card (GPU) and any installed hard drives. As standard the PSU comes pre-wired with the motherboard connectors, and GPU connectors, with everything else ready to be installed when required. Each of the additional cables connects to the PSU through a six-pin connector, with enough length to connect up devices in any size case.

We ran the PSU, as usual, using OCCT to monitor performance under stress testing conditions and the unit performed well, with minimal fluctuation leading us to have no issue at all in recommending this power supply for system builds, escpecially given the 5 year warranty offered!

Price:

~£100 available from Amazon Newton R3 Power Supply

Verdict:

4.5/5 - As with our recent review of the impressive Fractal Design R4, their take on power supplies also surpasses expectations, with excellent build quality and reasonable pricing, the Newton R3 offers an excellent power supply for any system builder wanting a powerful and stable system.

 
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