funkyfresh computers and accessories

Samsung 1TB 840 EVO SSD Review

Samsung 840 EVO 1TB SSD is one of the best values in a high performance SSD. We used it to upgrade a workstation class notebook in two ways. First, we used the included Samsung software to migrate from the existing SSD to the 840 EVO. Next we swapped out the Seagate Momentus drive for the Samsung 840 EVO.

We run multiple video editing programs and the entire Adobe CC suite on our portable workstation. As anticipated the biggest impact was seen after we replaced the 7200RPM with the 840 EVO. A typical editing project may range from a 200GB-600GB. Having the speed of the 840 EVO to more rapidly open, preview and jump around the timeline was certainly worth the added expense.

The 840 EVO does get fairly warm to the touch in operation. Nothing that impacted performance but that speed generates heat. The 1TB features sequential read/write speeds of 540/520 MB/s which is very good and competitive with the highest performing consumer drives available.

Flash memory technology is maturing and manufactures are using creative ways to cram more memory in the same amount of physical space. The 840 EVO uses triple level cell memory. Think of it as an apartment complex with more people living in each apartment. More people in each apartment means more light switches can be turned on and off simultaneously. Of course when you have so many people living so close together things can sometimes go wrong. There's less room to breathe so to speak. That's kind of the argument of why 3D memory might not be as robust SLC or single level cell memory.

The argument is becoming moot as all manufactures are on this tack to reduce costs and stay competitive. Basically, Samsung has found a way for those people, or Bytes of data to peacefully coexist and even thrive in the same amount of space. The 1TB 840 EVO offers a 3 year warranty which is decent for non critical use. With over provisioning and using less of the drive's actual capacity we anticipate good reliability.

Visit Samsung for more information and all the specs on the 1TB 840 EVO SSD.  

iGrand Piano for iPad Review


The iGrand Piano is a $20 app and great stocking stuffer from IK Multimedia that consists of roughly 200MB of piano samples resulting in a very playable instrument across multiple octaves.

Creating a good quality piano sample requires capturing the full range of the piano at multiple velocities. IK Multimedia provides several pianos to choose from in a variety of timbres that are all impressive, especially for a $20 app.

We plugged our iPad directly into our Mackie mixer and DAW to capture this raw recording. We wanted to hear what the piano sounded like pumping through the JBLs. The pianos are panned left to right and include some reverb to make the sound a little more lush. This recording is straight from the iPad. As you listen you can hear us toggle through the various pianos and octaves.

We tested it using the iRig Keys portable MIDI keyboard controller connected to an iPad 2. The iRig Keys provides 37 velocity sensitive mini keys and requires no technical knowledge. Just plug it in and it works. This could be very handy for kids to practice with headphones when noise is an issue or if a real piano or full size MIDI controller is not available.

The iRig Keys is cheaply made. The keys and buttons are spongy, certainly not what we would expect in a $100 unit. A better option would be the M-Audio Axiom AIR Mini 32 or something similar with an adapter to connect to an iOS device.

The iGrand Piano is a great gift for the musicians in your life, especially kids. The samples are very good and there's a variety of pianos to keep things interesting. Plus there's more to the app than just playing piano. Lots more. It's well worth the 20 bucks. The iRig Keys MIDI controller, not so much.

Visit IK Multimedia to find out more about the iGrand Piano app.

Western Digital VelociRaptor 1TB Review

Western Digital’s VelociRaptor has been one of our preferred SATA drives for video editing for many years. This time around Western Digital improved the performance and raised the capacity to 1TB while maintaining low noise levels for a 10,000 RPM drive. We swapped out a 7200RPM HDD in our workstation with the 1TB VelociRaptor model #WD1000CHTZ and could not discern any change in overall noise levels coming from our system.

The increased capacity of the VelociRaptor will be welcomed by video editing professionals everywhere. We commonly edit multiple tracks of HD video in P2 format, MPEG4, Avid DNxHD and QuickTime ProRes. These projects balloon in size quickly even when using aggressive HD codecs so it’s critical to have enough capacity and overhead on a drive to confidently work on a few projects. RAID arrays are required for more extreme bit rates but we were happy with the performance of the 1TB VelociRaptor when editing DNxHD and ProRes timelines.

A few years ago we had a 300GB 3.5 inch form factor VelociRaptor fail on us and that was very disappointing. We were not even 1 year into using the product. However, since the move to the 2.5 inch form factor wrapped in the 3.5 inch heat sink not one VelociRaptor has failed on us. It’s been a rock solid “online” drive and we’re very happy to see Western Digital continue to make it.

However, we have to wonder if this is the last pure HDD version of the VelociRaptor that will be brought to market. SSDs and hybrid drives are the future and it’s only a matter of time before SSDs replace HDDs, especially at the lower capacities.

For now, the VelociRaptor remains the best price/performance option in a 1TB drive for video editing professionals.

Visit Western Digital for more information.

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