Tuesday, 2 December 2014

20000mAh Solar Power Charger

Now, this was a order which i wanted to do earlier on in the year but this will be more useful to buy it just in case any events which this could of been used for happen sooner than later. Long story of this purchase is that my dad was needing a new phone and i wanted a solar sharger which would be useful for Glass if i needed power, now the only downside of a normal charger/backup battery is that i would need to charge it if it dies out on  me, but i saw these on my good bargain import shop, Chinavasion for just under £22 (£21.17).

Now ordering this was ok but not when DHL now refuse to accept this type of item but DHL said it was ok when i contacted them, either way, UPS to the rescue and it arrived in just over 2 weeks (UPS was shipped out last Tuesday). Sadly when both items arrived, there was a customs charger of £21.01, which is fair but annoying. That was on top of the £16 delivery for the 2 items. But its arrived and now ready for a test.
The Solar Charger and the phone i had to buy for my dad

After a morning of RollerCoaster Tycoon, bbw porn, chatting and having lunch while watching twitch. I decided to review it in the cold but sunny afternoon, with this in mind, i got it done. You can watch that below:

The Unboxing.

So the packaging had a simplistic colour scheme of white and blue, no EAN barcode, but did have a QC sticker which is a small nice sense of safe feelings maybe. But there was details of what the product does, but enjoy those details below. 

The front of the box, showing the power bank

The back of the power bank, with the details of what it does, how long to charge it the first time and a thank you

The sides of the box, with the connectors the cable inside supports, but to be honest, you can use the cables that came with your phone, iPhone etc. PSP you might need to use this if you don't have a usb cable

The bottom of the box, with the legal details and trademarks perhaps

The top of the box, with the product name.
Now there were some odd spelling mistakes on the box, but that will happen with chinese products not branded, but they made an effort, which is a good side to the box. Now the back of the box had nothing to mention about using the item except for just make sure its charged for over 8 hours via solar, which did frustrate me when recording the first take of the unboxing. But eventually after working it out, it worked by holding down a button.

The packaging was just a plastic mould that fitted the 3.5mm cable and the solar bank itself, which since there was no instructions, makes it slightly disappointing. But the cables were nicely bagged, since i had to retake the unboxing, they don't look good in the pics below, the cable didn't really matter to me although i did try it and it was not a firm fit on the 3.5mm end.

The plastic mould and the two things

The mini bag for the adapters and cables

The power Bank with the 4 lights on

The top of the power bank with the torch turned on and the connectors

The back top of the bank, which mentions the connectors shown

This is the legal and technical details of the power bank. it includes its outputs, model numbers, made in china, the trademarks

The usage

The torch wasn't bright outside but it wasn't sunset so i can't expect it to be, but heck, it was bright in a dark room, which is a life saving bonus. Once i learnt the technique of holding the little blue button down, i got it to charge both the iphone and my main phone at the same time, which is cool and although the charge is slightly slower, it can be useful to charge at night after putting the solar bank in light during the day, maybe on top of a tent for the day when you are out and then charge it at night. Since it went up but 2% in 10 minutes, which for me is the same time for me to lose that much if i'm on wifi or 3g or watching content.
The power bank in the dark

The torch
Also the power bank could fit in my pocket in the jeans i wear for a night out :D, also they can power the fans from poundland which is amazing too, these 2 features i didn't expect to happen and they did, so that i think is a bonus, the only downside is that it is thicker than my phone but it needs to be for the power.

The Verdict

After using it to charge my phone and also seeing how it functions, i've thought about the good and bad of this and there is some good and bad to it...

omracer's Rating: 7/10

The Good Points

  • Its solar powered, but can support charging from a usb charger. 
  • 2 usb ports 
  • A Torch, 
  • Its smaller than i though
  • It charges with real and artificial light
  • A spare multi cable just in case

The Bad points:

  • The item itself is cheap, but it is expensive to have delivery and customs fee involved. 
  • It might feel heavy if you do want to take this with you
  • Slow charging (300mA) via solar
  • No clear instructions of how to use it (like pressing the button twice turns torch on/off, holding button turns charging on etc)

I feel this will be a useful thing next year, maybe my social events have died except one for this year but sometimes its better to prepare for the future. Also i'm $500 away from getting Bronze status with chinavasion, and i've been thinking about setting up an online store to sell their stuff but actually ship it from the UK and say that you can get them from the UK and then royal mail can be blamed if they don't deliver instead of dealing with dropshipping problems,

For now, its being put to the test to charge my phone overnight. See you in the new year for another review or two, possibly

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Seagate 1TB Laptop SSHD (ST1000LM014)

Well, this was a oppoturnity after a nightmare of DOGS CHEWING FUCKING LAPTOP CHARGERS. Which really enraged me, especially since it was on a Friday and although i had a chance to get a temporary charger for the weekend, i was still fuming.

So after searching around, i finally found one. But i also wanted to try a SSHD since the laptop has been feeling slower and slower and i noticed its in relation to the HDD speed. Since i'm a seagate partner (Well i signed work up as a partner and info is in my name) and i already have good experience (i've heard otherwise but barracudas haven't been too bad. They were a next port of call.

Now i was tempted to go for a 500GB option but due to the fact that i was almost less than the formatted size of a 500GB drive left (465GB) on there, it would be best to get the ST1000LM014.
After pricing around, or more so looking for one supplier for both items. LambadaTek was my choice. The invoice i paid is below:

The invoice i paid from them. 

  • The charger (Part number: AA-PA1N90W/UK) was £50.11. One of my works suppliers is selling that for £70 :O
  • The SSHD was £64,81. Dabs have reduced it to under £60 by £0.02. But if you want to be safe with amazon, your free to click below

Then after 2 couriers i know of, they turned up and then both items, arrived.
The items i ordered that arrived. 

Also if you want to see the Segate specs, the PDF they provide is embedded below:

The SSHD before the fitting

Both products arrived, i was testing android the night before and it has to be the luck of getting windows to boot again. But once that was done, i opened the box and started to review. If you want to watch the video, check below:

Now the packaging wasn't in a retail box, which can give me a scare to wonder if its an OEM product, which if it is, that fucks the warranty completely :(, But it wasn't as far as the labels go, so i'm fine for the moment.
The only marking on the box, with the seagate part number and the size aswell as seagate

The top of the box
Then i opened the box and the SSHD. In a nice anti static bag, it was the standard you usually get. With all the part number, serial numbers on the label.

The front of the SSHD

The back of the SSHD

Fitting it was not a problem, it was the same size as the old HDD, which i thought was 7mm, but it must of been 9.5mm since the SSHD is 9.5mm from the seagate spec. Either way, it was nice to have no "OH SHIT TEH DRIVE IS TOO BIG FOR ME LAPPY" issue.

After fitting, it was time to boot it up and get the drive cloned.

The tales of a slow discwizard. 

If you want DiscWizard, click HERE. ]
The basic features are free, acronis sell more features for ££/$$$.

Now this was the more troublesome part, Cloning the drive, i must admit, it was a nervy process but with the old drive being slot to initate the cloning, i ended up installing it on my desktop, then make a usb version (it does let you do this) then i ran the cloning from there, It took about 2 hours and then it was all done, all cloned and bootable. 

The best advice i can say here is create the bootable media and then do the clone that way. it would of saved me at least 30 minutes or made it quicker within that time. 

The testing after the clone

It felt the same speed for the first few boots, but by the 4th or 5th boot, it was much smoother, i mean the fact the boot time was UNDER 2 MINUTES, compared to it being between 4 and 7 minutes is a nice improvement to say the least. 

There was even a problem with chrome not rendering the pages properly when the HDD was in full use. But once the SSHD was running, i've had none of that problem, thats a definate sign of goodness. I can also log on quickly. 

With the NP550P7C, there is a thing with the 2 SATA ports. The main port (the one i didn't put the SSHD in the video) is actually the SATA III port. Which i didn't realise, but it does help to speed it up and since the drive is SATA III, it makes it smoother even further. 

There is also less sign on the HDD indicator which makes it better again.
Speccy was reporting it fine and even 27C, which its interesting since the other drive never went below 30, even in the colder (SATA II) port. 
The details of the drive in Speccy. (Serial number is hidden for obvious reasons)

The conclusion:

After more booting and some software testing, i found it was making the laptop much better, faster and easier to work with. Sure the value is reasonable but you have to look around to find that £5 off or in my case deal with a hyper puppy eating wires on halloween which makes you have an excuse to purchase it.

omracer's Rating: 8/10

The good points

  • a clear sign of faster improvement in terms of booting and application loading. 
  • 1TB which is plenty.
  • as seagate said, no extra effort needed other than to replace a hard drive like normal.
  • potential for this under £70

The bad points

  • 8GB NAND isn't that much even though corporate testing say its perfect or a nice amount
  • The speed is noticeable but not with a click of a finger style speed like a proper SSD.

so, this has made my life a little quicker for a while and if your feeling like you need a SSD but need a bit of storage internally, this is your best bet and doesn't break the bank.

More reviews soon

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

HDMI Capture Card PCI-E (Trident 7160 HD/ Timeleak HD72A)

So, this review was a planned one from a night of eBay browsing and even one trip into Plymouth and then finding out there are HDMI capture cards that are under £100 and are not USB based. Then it came to finding a company named Timeleak which has made some entry level Capture cards.

Named the HD72A (there is a /B version but that includes a HDMI out to a tv as well as a HDMI in), it can be able to show HDCP content as well as have confirmed compatibility with OBS.

OBS is also known as Open Broadcaster Software and its one of the best FREEWARE screen recorders I've ever used and perfect for getting started on twitch.


Now, after searching, it turns out Timeleak sell them Directly via their website. Which that is around £42 and then another £15 to £20 with postage via DHL. They do sell the card through eBay. its confusing to use the website since the totals were different and it even thought i had ordered it (but didn't pay even with a paypal option, well i don't need it haha)


Enjoy the video review below, which covers most of the content here, but this post goes into more geeky details.

The Packaging and contents

So, its a small but colourful packaging with blue, black and red on the front and back and Black and white on the sides. 
The Top of the Card. Note it says HDCP ready and also a picture of optimus prime, well an autobot anyway

This was the left side of the box

The rear end of the box

The right hand side of the box

The bottom of the box, with what it can support, a fake alienware pc, the card and a screen with bumblebee on it
Now as we get inside the box, it have not much in terms of documentation other than a folder A4 piece of paper with what the thing can do, a vauge translation of how to install drivers and also a mention on what Intel C-State is and why turning it off is a good thing (makes the computer go faster by not limiting voltages neither overclocking the CPU), there is mention of how turn C States off with a AMD CPU too. 

The only paperwork with the item
Then there is a Driver CD in the usual tiny cd format. It looks like there is no bundles software with the thing, which is sort of good since its either pirated or rubbish, ULEAD with the EasyCap was an example from some forum posts. From looking on the CD there was something called HD PVR but i will go into this later

The tiny driver CD thats is with it. 
Then you have the item, in a anti static bag, it did come with a low profile bracket as well, this might be a useful card for making a small PVR for either Youview or any other HDMI device for a home theater. 
The HDMI Capture card itself, with the LP bracket above it

The installation and setting it up.

Just as a note here, i'll list my PC spec below, this might not be vital to a perfect setup but i'm a budget but not on jobseekers kind of guy. 

  • Intel Core2Quad Q8300
  • Artic Cooling Freezer 7 Pro Rev 2
  • Gigabyte G31m-ES2L Rev 2.4
  • Corsair XMS2 2 x 2GB DDR2 800MHz
  • ASUS Radeon HD 6570 1GB DDR3
  • Basic Case
  • 500W CoolerMaster Non Modular PSU
  • Asus P7131 TV Tuner
  • 2x Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm 500GB (one for 8.1 x86, the other for Yosemite 10.10)
So it was a simple install since i only had a free PCI-E x1 slot left. This wasn't as tricky as i thought it would be, well maybe having big hands doesn't help. Since the G31m has a PCI-E x1 above the main PCI-E x16 (Graphics Card Slot), i had to take the GPU out (the video shows more trouble than what it was meant to be). But the card didn't feel firmly in at first, after i realised the metal contacts were in the slot, i was fine, its a bugger to see them in there.

The Card inside my PC, yes my wires are a tied up mess and there is a fan failing to stick with blu-tack but i am thing on a new case and even a new pc soon anyway. 

*upside down* the hdmi card as well as my hd 6570 GPU next to it

Now once i had it installed and booted up to Windows (since i was facing really annoying issues with Yosemite recently after upgrading then formatting then apple HDA being a pain), it picked up the card but didn't appear with "installing device software" at start up, which had me worried, since i thought i didn't plug it in, but low and behold, it was there but no driver installed. Since i was unsure on if the driver with the disc would work (it happens with the EasyCap drivers a fair bit). I posted the Driver info below.
The card but with no device driver
The compatible Hardware IDs

The Actual Hardware IDs

The events, best used to check what happens, 

 Now once i put the CD in it was very mimimal in terms of contents, with no autoplay and only 2 folders and 2 files on the root, it was going to be a sort of simple installation for anyone that knows how to install drivers without using installers. Now if you want a copy or have lost the disc, you are in luck (well except if you want to use the DVR25HDR since i didn't attach a key for obvious reasons and obs is much better).

The root of the CD drive. 

The 32bit drivers

The 64 Bit drivers

 Once i followed the simple way of using device manager to install the drivers, as shown in the video review, it was installed and all setup, no having to worry about sound drivers etc. However a point i need to make is that the drivers ARE NOT SIGNED. This will annoy people with 7 x64 and 8.x 64 since of turning driver signing enforcement off. It turns out its also named a "Trident HD 7160". A odd name and no sign of the HD72A the product was even advertised as. But at least there was no driver software to go with it, like Roxio and Happauge usually snowball in.

The driver once installed

The info on the driver and also the fact it is not signed

More info on the details

The history of when drivers were installed
Technically that was all set-up and OBS was the last part. Basically you needed to open it as a "video capture device" Then select it and the setting were the usual and OBS picked up the audio without having to configure it manually.


Now, after a trial and error experiment. I checked if the Timeleak HD72A drivers (Which is actually the HD75A drivers v1.06) would work, and low and behold they did and told me something new. 

The capture card is actually a HD75A
The details and notice its SIGNED. 

Notice the same device ID

 I installed it, after rebooting the PC, i saw no difference, Maybe less lines when testing OBS was exactly the same config as below.

The settings for the Card. There is support for Custom resolutions but there was no need to set that up, also you might need to raise the volume, i thought it was too loud if i used it, it was actually the opposite

Showing the Vita TV and the sound working while the mic was working (through a USB adapter and Poundland quality headset) 

 The Digital Manual

Now although there was a small a4 sheet with some details, there was a slightly easier to understand manual in a word document, i'll be honest and just show you below, i can't say much in terms of what it mention, since it is quite clear.
Page 1,2,3 

Page 4,5,6

Page 7

I also hid out the key in the screenshot in the manual, just in case but it was a simple guide and there was an installer on how to use the software, but to be honest, there is no need to use it. Other programs like OBS, Nero, Cyberlink can use it. 

The Testing

Now, you might of seen on the video i mentioned tearing, which isn't too bad its more thin lines flashing which i'm not sure but it wasn't too distorting,  But there is no delay on mine at the least. Maybe it helped due to the "ultrafast" setting with x264 on OBS which is the least CPU heavy profile for recording videos.

Recoding at 60fps at 10mbits on OBS, that was the quality from the capture card and it was nice, i've not tested it on a PS3 or even my laptop yet, but that is for another time. 

The Conclusion. 

The card is a good entry level start into getting good quality for game streaming or even making let's plays with HDMI. Now since this is a hard to find item, some places might be not as nice than others and some come from china with the customs might be hassling. So i might suggest being careful. Now if you don't have a deidicated PCI-E x1 slot, don't worry as other sized PCI-E slots work fine but you might need to have a spare slot for a GPU or any other dedicated card that needs a bigger slot. 

But the value is amazing for what i've seen so far. With HDCP ready it makes it more compatible and no splitters required, which even some of the usb capture cards have some hassle with that. Then if it works like any other capture card and even webcams work, getting it working with software should be reasonably good. Which with OBS, i saw no hassle at all. 

With this in mind

omracer's Rating: 6/10

The Good points
  • Good Value.
  • A modern-ish slot for most PCs. If your board doesn't have PCI-express x1 or x16 then consider a new motherboard. 
  • Works with most video capture software and doesn't need its own to do so.
  • HDCP ready for most consoles and even other devices. 
  • Easy to install with the HD75A/HD72A Drivers
The Bad Points
  • The drivers are NOT Digitally signed, this might make installation more complex for 7 and 8.1 x64 users. Scrap that. using the Timeleak drivers fix that.
  • The Audio is not a separate driver for some older software. But can be solved by using OBS.
  • Not easy to get the card (except from ebay/chinese suppliers)

I hope this review helps a bit more in terms of what it can do and if you are having driver issues, you might be able to solve it using this post as a guidelines. 

Hopefully i'll try to review some more Chinavasion products, maybe some Xmas stuff too. But for now, i need to enjoy a meal out with Glass tonight :D