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Revived ASUS AIO ET2220INTI-I5 – Flickering Screens (Overheating)

Back in June 2013, I did an un-boxing review on the ASUS AIO ET2220. 4 years have since passed, and now it is starting to give a little problem – flickering greenish screens! Based on my test so far, the greenish screen only appeared after some time of usage (like 30 mins or so). And then the screen will then start to flicker until the screen finally turns itself off while the system is still running. And if you were to shut it down and power it up after 15 minutes, the system will be fine again. I then began performing some diagnostics using HWMonitor and found out that the temperature of the onboard graphics Nvidia GT610 had hit a high of 75°C. This is definitely not the norm as it should idle around 50°C and increase to approximately 65°C during load.

So what is the problem? It is likely to be associated either to the cooling system (i.e: heatsink and fan) or the thermal paste losing its effect. I decided to open up the chassis to take a look.

First, you have to remove the 5 rubber seals at the edges, and then remove the screws beneath it. And then remove the plastic cover for the stand and loosen the 4 screws.

          

The next step is to remove the back cover that are secured by the plastic clips. Please do this with care or you might risk breaking the clips as they are very soft. After releasing the back cover from the plastic clips, DO NOT pull the cover out as it it connected to the side ports via a ribbon.

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Review: Ambi Climate 2

I made a pledge at Kickstarter for the Ambi Climate 2 after seeing many positive reviews with the first release. After some hiccups with the manufacturing and then with the logistics, Ambi Labs finally sent out the product in August. Although there was a delay of about 2 months from the campaign projection, I must commend the folks at Ambi Labs for keeping the supporters updated regularly on the progress. I have been using the Ambi Climate 2 for a couple of weeks, and I must say that this is a good buy that help improve my family’s sleep. No more blanket kicking or worrying about Ashley being too cold without the comforter.

So what is this “Ambi Climate 2”? It is an IoT device that aggregates the different environmental conditions (such room temperature, humidity, weather and etc.), and then combining with your preferences that it learns overtime to help you control the air-con to suit your liking. In layman terms, it is a smart universal remote that helps to control the air-con to moderate the room temperature. The design of the Ambi Climate 2 is small, minimalist and sleek. And more importantly, the operation is seamless and I would say pretty fail-proof. You simply power up the device, download the app on either your iOS or Android devices, and then follow the simple instructions to get going. It should not take you more than 10 minutes to complete the configuration. The device does come with 2-year warranty, and there is also a closed group Facebook support.

     

The Ambi Climate 2 also provides you with some insights on your room conditions (temperate and humidity) and log the history of your room temperature. As you can see from the chart below, the Ambi Climate 2 is able to help moderate the room temperature between 23°C and 25°C. Hence, my family is able to get a good night rest even on rainy days where the external temperature would fall. In the past, we set the air-con at 26°C, and had to adjust accordingly in the middle of the night when we felt cold. With the temperature moderated, perhaps it could help lower the electrical bill contributed by the air-con. If you are the kind who likes your room to be cooled before you are home, then you are in for the Ambi Climate 2 as you can turn on your air-con via the mobile app.

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Review: Western Digital Blue 1TB Solid-State Drive (SSD)

Western Digital (WD) has been successful in the storage industry for many years and is also one of the few manufacturers left. Some of the well-known HDD that WD has produced over the years are the Black series for performance, Blue series for mainstream PC, Red series for NAS and etc. Late last year, they had also ventured into the solid-state drive segment. There was not much publicity done, at least not one that I have seen so far.

On 1 Nov 16, WD introduced both the WD Blue and WD Green SSD,  offering consumers with more options. SSD is slowly replacing HDD as it now cost less than S$0.60/GB compared to a few years ago. Many people are now adopting SSD simply because of the speed it offers as well as the less space it requires. You can easily stack 8 SSD into a mATX PC versus to 4 HDD. 

The WD Blue SSD is available in both 2.5″ SATA (7mm)  and M.2 2280 (NVMe) form factor, and capable of up to 400 Terabytes Written (TBW). It offers up to 545MB/s and 525MB/s of sequential read and write speeds, in different capacities – 250GB (S$139), 500GB (S$259) and 1TB (S$499). Locally, it comes with 3-year limited warranty.

WD Blue 1TB_1     WD Blue 1TB_2

WD Blue SSD is built using the 2nd generation TLC flash node, and features SLC cache technology.

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Upgrade QNAP TS-453 Pro Memory (2GB to 16GB)

The QNAP TS-453 Pro has 2 memory slots, and is expandable up to 8GB (4GB x 2). Although the official maximum memory supported by the QNAP is listed at 8GB, I decided to try my luck with 16GB since my friend and a few other people had successfully upgraded theirs. A note from QNAP is that the two memory modules must be of the same size and preferably of the same type.

System Config Before Upgrade     System Config After Upgrade

I decided to go for the Crucial 16GB Kit (8GB x 2) DDR3L-1600 SODIMM Memory (CT2K8G3S160BM) to ensure that the ram are of the same type.

Crucial 16GB Kit (CT2K8G3S160BM)

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Review: QNAP TS-453 Pro (TurboNAS) – First Time Setup

I have been wanting to upgrade my existing 2 x D-Link Network Attached Storage (NAS), DNS-320 & DNS-323, into a 4-Bay NAS for quite some time. This would allow me to move from RAID1 into RAID5 for better data protection assurance and performance. I did some market research and shortlisted 2 models, 1) QNAP TS-453 Pro and 2) Synology DS415+. Both NAS have been released for quite a while and are the popular models for home office usage. It was pretty hard for me to decide which to go for either. QNAP concentrates more on hardware performances while Synology provides better software user-friendliness.

QNAS TS-453 Pro     Synology DS415+

In the end, I decided hardware over software in hope that QNAP would invest more effort to improve its software delivery. Who knows I may switch to Synology in future?

But for now, I will concentrate my review on the QNAP TS-453 Pro. The NAS is available in 2 configurations for the memory, 2GB and 8GB, with the rest of the hardware specifications remaining the same. I chose the former as I would be upgrading the memory on my own to 16GB instead. I would be equipping it with 4 x 4TB Seagate NAS HDD (ST4000VN000) and 2 x 8GB Crucial DDR3L-1600 SODIMM Memory.

The Complete Package

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