Stories by Jon L. Jacobi

Samsung 850 EVO review: 3D NAND and insane endurance for the masses

It's been only a few short months since Samsung's 850 Pro delivered the company's long-lasting 32-bit 3D NAND to the high-end/corporate market. Now it's available to mainstream consumers in the form of the 850 EVO. The EVO is cheaper, and its warranty is only half that of the Pro's, but that's still a hefty five years--what most vendors provide only for their premium drives.

The Toshiba Q Series Pro SSD delivers top performance at a discount

Many capable SSDs are out there, but don't overlook a relative newcomer: Toshiba's Q Series Pro. Toshiba's drives are among the very fastest we've tested, and in an unusual development, we saw no drop in performance in its smaller capacities. Throw in heavy online discounts, and you have an excellent bargain in a top-performing drive.

HP Mini 5103: Secure, But Has Small Display

The <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/products/browse/results.html?catId=2103&amp;mid=577">HP</a> Mini 5103 is a corporate-oriented <a href="http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/collection/1658/top_10_netbooks.html">netbook</a> that does just about everything right: It has a plethora of business and security features, an excellent keyboard and touchpad, and a touchscreen. However, performance is mundane, and a larger display would be nice--especially on a unit this pricey. The Mini 5103's configurations, and there are a lot of them, start at $399 and can run up to nearly $1000 even before including extended service and warranty plans. At this writing, the configuration we tested would set you back $649.

Mozy 2.0 Adds Local Backup

<a href="http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64544/description.html">Mozy 2.0</a> is a mild but welcome upgrade of the client for this popular online backup service. In addition to offering interface improvements, this version lets you back up easily to both the MozyHome cloud service (you can get 2GB of storage for free, or unlimited storage for either $5 per month or $54 per year) and to a local hard drive.

Logitech Vid offers free and easy video calling

When you think of Logitech Vid (free with some restrictions), think of an easier-to-use version of Skype with superior quality. The most salient reason for the ease of use verdict comes from the simple fact that you choose people to chat with by their e-mail and a photo they take when they sign up, not some potentially obscure screen name. There's also a simple but intuitive onscreen interface.

Gateway GT5692 value desktop PC

The GT5692 is the first PC we've reviewed that comes configured with AMD's triple-core Phenom processor. In this case, it's a <a href=" http://www.pcworld.com/shopping/reviews/prtprdid,67366237-sortby,retailer/reviews.html">2.1-GHz X8450</a> model fed by 4GB of PC5300 DDR2 memory and a 500GB, 7200-rpm Western Digital SE16 Caviar Blue hard drive. What did we think of the triple-core? There's certainly no reason to avoid one; but if you have the software to take advantage of more than two cores, you might as well spend a little extra to move up to a four-core processor instead.

Acer Veritron L460 value compact desktop PC

About the size of a hardcover novel, the Acer Veritron L460 is a great option if you want to fit <a href=" http://www.pcworld.com/article/123848/">a value PC</a> into a tight space (such as behind a desk, under a table, or in a kiosk). It may be small, but this Acer's case is tightly packed with an Intel E4700 CPU, 2GB of 337-MHz DDR2 memory, and a 3.5-inch 160GB (7200-rpm) hard drive.

Dell Inspiron 518 value desktop PC

If you want everyday value performance that's a cut above the norm, take a look at the Inspiron 518. Sporting a 2.4-GHz <a href=" http://www.pcworld.com/shopping/reviews/prtprdid,31693422-sortby,retailer/reviews.html">Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 CPU</a>, 3GB of PC6400 DDR2 memory, and a 320GB Western Digital Caviar SE16 hard drive (7200 rpm, 16MB cache), the unit romped to a very nice WorldBench 6 score of 108. <a href=" http://www.pcworld.com/article/123848/">Among value desktops</a> at the time of testing, that number was second only to the 117 posted by the <a href=" http://www.pcworld.com/article/150207/micro_express_microflex_82b_value_desktop_pc.html">Micro Express MicroFlex 82B</a>. But while the Inspiron 518's ATI Radeon HD3450 turned in gaming frame rates that should satisfy a casual user, it was no match for the MicroFlex 82B's nVidia 8800GT graphics, which quadrupled the Inspiron's frame rates.

Cerise Quad Core Workstation Power Desktop PC

A long, tall Silverstone TJ10 tower, the Workstation's case is done up handsomely in brushed metal, and it has more expansion and cooling features than you can shake a stick at. The only styling trick the company missed was finding a keyboard and mouse to match the brushed-metal colour scheme (both input devices are black).

Xi MTower PCIe Centurion Power Desktop PC

This excellent WorldBench performer (it scored 132) turned me blue--literally. There was so much reflected blue LED light inside the roomy midtower case that I felt Smurf-like as I perused the Centurion's top-notch set of components. These include a 3.16-GHz Core 2 Duo E8500 CPU and a pair of 2.5-inch striped RAID 0 Western Digital VelociRaptor drives, which are embedded in 3.5-inch heat sinks.

HP Pavilion Elite d5000t Power Desktop PC

At US$1830, the Pavilion Elite d5000t is one of the least-expensive power desktops we've tested of late. Even so, it turned in a more-than-competent score of 120 in our WorldBench 6 benchmark. Unfortunately, the system's nVidia GeForce 9500 GS graphics board managed gaming frame rates of only 50 to 80 frames per second; that's a mere third of what a more-affordable system, such as the $1599 Micro Express 450B, is capable of. Still, buying from a large vendor such as Hewlett-Packard has its advantages.

Gateway One GZ7220 value PC

The One has arrived. No, I'm not talking about Keanu Reeves and the Matrix, but Gateway's new One GZ7220, whose display and PC components are integrated into a single, slim unit. Think of an <a href=" http://www.pcworld.com/tags/Apple+iMac.html">iMac</a> in glossy black with a slightly smaller, 19-inch, 1440-by-900 screen, and you're on the right track.