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Windows Storage Server 2012 R2 Overview

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Windows Storage Server is an exciting development in the storage platform. It can run on nearly any spec'd hardware and allows for simple management of storage appliances across a wide variety of manufacturers. Unlike customized NAS OS from other platforms, you get similar features and functions across an array of manufacturers. It is offered in two flavors, provides simple management, and runs like a champ. Additionally, having familiarity with Windows Server operating systems allows administrators to dive right in.

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SilverStone FT05 Review

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If you are a case designer or manufacturer, you must be asking what can you do to differentiate yourself from the rest of the herd? After all, there are a ton of cases out there, but what will make yours stand out? Some may use fancy graphics, some will do it with price, and others will go right back to the drawing board. Computer cases have fundamentally stayed the same over the years. Outside of some minor changes like the PSU being moved from the top to the bottom, there isn't much to guess about. Well, SilverStone has some ideas that may be able to change the way you look at your computer case.

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Kodi (formerly XBMC) 14.0

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I am a huge fan of XBMC and have been for quite some time. The application is the forefront of my media center and controls all things entertainment in my home. Many of you may know that XBMC is no longer XBMC. Instead, the application has gone through a name change (Kodi) and the new version 14.0 promises some very exciting new features.

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ASRock Z97E-ITX/ac Review

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There doesn't seem to be much that I don't like about the mini ITX platform. I get everything I want and need and compact platform. Motherboard manufacturers have figured out how to pack all the power, performance, and features into a tiny little package. What isn't there to like about it? I have used the mini ITX platform for building NAS and compact file servers, but I never really considered using the platform for a gamer or daily use machine. ASRock thinks they can get me to turn to the Dark Side and leave my ATX, bigger is better, roots for their Z97E-ITX/ac motherboard and the ITX platform.

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QNAP TS-451 Review

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If you are QNAP, what can you do next? You have already released some of the best NAS with some of the best features on the market, how do you top that? Well, QNAP thinks they have a good shot at targeting the home enthusiast with their latest lineup of NAS in the TS-x51 series. The TS-451 is the 4 bay variant in the product family and offers a powerful CPU, upgradeable RAM, transcoding capabilities, and some new looks.

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Antec ISK600 Review

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My days of large full tower cases are slowly coming to an end. Although I love the behemoths of yesteryear, I see myself starting to look upon Mini-ITX motherboards and cases with more enthusiasm every day. I can get everything I want and need in a compact platform without sacrificing CPU and video card power. This transition seems to have been born from the latest round of case reviews that have been featured here lately. We have featured SilverStone, Fractal Design, Lian-Li and iStarUSA cases on the site but one company wasn't feeling any love and promised me they could sway me from the others with their latest Mini-ITX case. I have to admit, the competition is rough, but Antec feels as though their ISK600 is the case that steals the thunder.

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Setting up MPC-HC for Video Playback in XBMC

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I have been building and using home theater PC’s for as long as I can remember.  However, it seems that recently I have been paying more attention to the quality of things than the quantity of things I do with it.  I remember popping in my BD disc and being blown away by the quality of the image flickering about.  It seems as though that feeling had been washed away even though my collection has been become more high-definition.

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iStarUSA BPU-350SATA Cage Review

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If you are into storage and servers, you may have thought about taking a crack at building your own. Just having a case large enough to home a ton of hard drives isn't enough to do the job right. Your drives need to be accessible. Think about it, you would have to take everything apart to replace or add a hard drive if they were just all stuffed in a case? That's nuts. In the interest of convenience and usability, products like hard drive hot-swap cages are nearly a necessity. Enter the iStarUSA BPU-350SATA hard drive cage

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SilverStone DS380 NAS Case Review

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There is seldom a time when I get more excited than when someone ships me a case designed specifically for storage. SliverStone told me they would be producing something that would get my fingers twitching in anticipation, and for the last couple of months it sat in a dark corner waiting for the day when I could break it open. Lonely and afraid, the SilverStone DS380 SFF NAS chassis waited, waited for its chance to woo me.

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How to Delay XBMC Start

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In the last few iterations of my home theater PC, the rig has been getting faster and faster. Many would not consider this an issue, but in my case, when my HTPC starts, XBMC starts faster than Windows 7 can get networking up. This means that XBMC cannot reach my NAS for media folders or for the MySQL databases I have configured. I tried everything I could think of from batch files to delay start to running a scheduled task after Windows starts. Then I found it. I found how to delay XBMC start without have to use any crazy batch files or jumping through any hoops.

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Fix QuickBooks Error 3371 (Status Code -11118)

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Recently while upgrading a customer's old hard drive to a snazzy new OCZ Vertex 150, we encountered an unexpected result. Everything was moving along splendidly during the customer's "test it all and make sure it works" phase; applications were loading fast and he was happier than ever. Then, it happened... One of his most important applications decided it wasn't going to cooperate. QuickBooks hit us with an error, specifically "Could not initialize license properties. [Error 3371, Status Code -11118] ".

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ASUS Z97-AR Motherboard Review

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I am always on the verge of pulling the trigger when it comes to purchasing a new motherboard. However, the dollar spent to performance gained ratio plays out like a bad commercial in my head. These days, motherboards are becoming more expensive and really aren't offering too much in the way of shiny new features. Sure, they look cool... but do they really offer you anything over your current mobo? Simple answer... Yes... and no. Enter the ASUS Z97-AR motherboard.

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How XBMC is Keeping Me Alive

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I will admit it. I am usually a hold out. In this particular case, I held out as long as I could in fear that an upgrade wouldn't work the way I liked it to. For a long time I had been using a combination of WMC (Windows Media Center) and XBMC to front end my Home Theater PC. WMC handled my Live TV streaming with a cable card and an HDHomerun Prime, while XBMC did everything else. To be honest, XBMC had some level of PVR functionality built-in to handle live TV... but it was crap in comparison and a major headache to configure with my setup.

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Tt eSPORTS Poseidon Z Mechanical Keyboard Review

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There is nothing like the feel and the sound of a good quality mechanical keyboard. A little background, I guess you would call me an old school gamer. I came from the "good ol'e days" when CRT monitors occupied half of your desk, processors were clocked in MHz, keyboards were PS/2, water cooling wasn't sold in kits, and clans were ranked on N.A.T.O. Everyone I knew had mechanical keyboards, I guess we were spoiled back then. Well, the good ol'e days are back... to an extent. New gamers are on the hunt for a good mechanical keyboard and there are a handful of manufacturers out there that are charging premium prices for the types of keyboards we threw away.

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Crucial MX100 SSD 256GB Review

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Crucial, the company that impressed us with their M4 series SSD, has expanded their SSD portfolio with a low cost, high performance, MX100 series drive. Their claims of "unrelenting performance" combined with low cost per GB is an attractive marketing campaign. Extreme Energy Efficiency, Adaptive Thermal Protection, and Power Loss Protection mark some of the Crucial benefits on the product page. With all this marketing fluff, the real question is... how does this budget SSD stack up when it comes to spending your hard earned cash?

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