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A Virtual Private Network (VPN) offers effective protection from malware, ad tracking, hackers, spies, and censorship. But that privacy and security will cost you an ongoing subscription.
There are quite a few options out there (TORGuard and NordVPN seem to be quite popular), each with varying costs, features, and interfaces. Before making a decision about which VPN you should go for, take the time to consider your options and weigh up which will best suit you in the long term.
How They Compare
A VPN can stop unwanted attention by making you anonymous. It trades your IP address for that of the server you connect to, and that can be anywhere in the world. You effectively hide your identity behind the network and become untraceable. At least in theory.
What’s the problem? Your activity isn’t hidden from your VPN provider. So you need to choose someone you can trust: a provider that cares as much about your privacy as you do.
Both NordVPN and TorGuard have excellent privacy policies and a “no logs” policy. That means they don’t log the sites you visit at all and only log your connections enough to run their businesses. TorGuard claims to keep no logs at all, but I think it’s likely they keep some temporary logs of your connections to enforce their five-device limit.
Both companies keep as little personal information about you as possible and allow you to pay by Bitcoin so even your financial transactions won’t lead back to you. TorGuard also allows you to pay via CoinPayment and gift cards.
Winner: Tie. Both services store as little private information about you as possible, and don’t keep logs of your online activity. Both have a large number of servers around the world that help make you anonymous when online.
When you use a public wireless network, your connection is insecure. Anyone on the same network can use packet sniffing software to intercept and log the data sent between you and the router. They could also redirect you to fake sites where they can steal your passwords and accounts.
VPNs defend against this type of attack by creating a secure, encrypted tunnel between your computer and the VPN server. The hacker can still log your traffic, but because it’s strongly encrypted, it’s totally useless to them. Both services allow you to choose the security protocol used.
If you unexpectedly become disconnected from your VPN, your traffic is no longer encrypted and is vulnerable. To protect you from this happening, both apps provide a kill switch to block all internet traffic until your VPN is active again.
TorGuard is also able to automatically close certain apps once the VPN disconnects.
For additional security, Nord offers Double VPN, where your traffic will pass through two servers, getting twice the encryption for double the security. But this comes at an even greater expense of performance.
TorGuard has a similar feature called Stealth Proxy:
TorGuard has now added a new Stealth Proxy feature inside the TorGuard VPN app. Stealth Proxy works as a “second” layer of security that connects your standard VPN connection through an encrypted proxy layer. When enabled, this feature hides the “handshake”, making it impossible for the DPI censors to determine if OpenVPN is being used. With TorGuard Stealth VPN/Proxy, it is virtually impossible for your VPN to be blocked by a firewall, or even detected.
Winner: Tie. Both apps offer encryption, a kill switch, and an optional second layer of security. Nord also provides a malware blocker.
3. Streaming Services
Netflix, BBC iPlayer and other streaming services use the geographic location of your IP address to decide which shows you can and can’t watch. Because a VPN can make it appear that you’re in a country you’re not, they now block VPNs as well. Or they try to.
In my experience, VPNs have wildly varying success in successfully streaming from streaming services. These two services use completely different strategies to give you the best chance of watching your shows without frustration.
Nord has a feature called SmartPlay, which is designed to give you effortless access to 400 streaming services. It seems to work. When I tried nine different Nord servers around the world, each one connected to Netflix successfully. It’s the only service I tried that achieved a 100% success rate, though I can’t guarantee you’ll always achieve it.
TorGuard uses a different strategy: Dedicated IP. For an additional ongoing cost, you can purchase an IP address that only you have, which almost guarantees you’ll never be detected as using a VPN.
Before I purchased a dedicated IP, I attempted to access Netflix from 16 different TorGuard servers. I was only successful with three. I then purchased a US Streaming IP for $7.99 per month and could access Netflix every time I tried.
But be aware that you’ll have to contact TorGuard’s support and request them to set up the dedicated IP for you. In most cases, it doesn’t happen automatically.
Winner: Tie. When using NordVPN, I could successfully access Netflix from every server I tried. With TorGuard, purchasing a dedicated streaming IP address virtually guarantees that all streaming services will be accessible, but this is an additional cost on top of the normal subscription price.
4. User Interface
Many VPNs offer a simple switch interface to make it easy for beginners to connect and disconnect the VPN. Neither Nord nor IPVanish takes this approach.
The list of servers can be sorted and filtered in various ways.
Winner: Personal preference. Neither interface is ideal for beginners. NordVPN is aimed at intermediate users, but beginners won’t find it hard to pick up. TorGuard’s interface is suitable for those with more experience using VPNs.
Both services are quite fast, but I give the edge to Nord. The fastest Nord server I encountered had a download bandwidth of 70.22 Mbps, only a little below my normal (unprotected) speed. But I found that server speeds varied considerably, and the average speed was just 22.75 Mbps. So you may have to try a few servers before you find one you’re happy with.
TorGuard’s download speeds were faster than NordVPN on average (27.57 Mbps). But the fastest server I could find could download at only 41.27 Mbps, which is fast enough for most purposes, but significantly slower than Nord’s fastest.
But they’re my experiences testing the services from Australia, and you’re likely to get different results from other parts of the world. If a fast download speed is important to you, I recommend trying both services and running your own speed tests.
Winner: NordVPN. Both services have acceptable download speeds for most purposes, and I found TorGuard a little faster on average. But I was able to find significantly faster servers with Nord.
6. Pricing & Value
The Final Verdict
Tech-savvy networking geeks will be well-served by TorGuard. The app places all the settings at your fingertips so you can more easily customize your VPN experience, balancing speed with security. The service’s basic price is quite affordable, and you get to choose which optional extras you’re willing to pay for.
For everyone else, I recommend NordVPN. Its three-year subscription price is one of the cheapest rates on the market—the second and third years are surprisingly inexpensive. The service offers the best Netflix connectivity of any VPN I tested (read the full review here), and some very fast servers (though you may have to try a few before you find one). I highly recommend it.
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Due to this growing requirement for display quality, the older and relatively low signal-quality VGA interface is now on the verge of extinction. It has now been almost completely replaced by the superior HDMI interface.
Nevertheless, there are still devices and display unit that consists of the VGA. And it still has its significance in a few areas. So, how exactly does the VGA vary from the HDMI interface? And which one should you choose? Let’s find out.
VGA, or the Video Graphics Array, is one of the oldest display connections developed by IBM, which came to use in the late 80s IBM computer. It transmits the video signal in analog form. This display controller has been the common type of interface to transmit video signals to the monitor, and almost every display device incorporates one.
The VGA connector consists of a bulky design with 15 pins divided into three rows. It works by transmitting the Red, Blue, and Green video signals along with Vertical and Horizontal sync information. In the later upgrades, it also consisted of VESA signals to identify the type of display units as well.
VGA has received several upgrades from different manufacturers with improvements in maximum resolution support for monitors and signal quality. These are named VGA, SVGA, XGA, SXGA, UXGA, QXGA, etc.
Slightly less input lag
Useful to get a display from older computers
Low bandwidth, image quality, and resolution
Inconvenient due to bulky design
No audio transmission
Signal interference or cross-talk
HDMI, or High-Definition Multimedia Interface, was the first display controller to transfer both digital visual and audio signals using a single cable. Released in 2002, the HDMI interface has now become a norm in almost all monitors, gaming consoles, and other display units.
The commonly used Type-A HDMI, among the five types, consists of 19 pins. These pins are responsible for transmitting the audio, video, and pixel clock data after being inserted into an HDMI port. It works as per the principle of Transition Minimized Differential Signaling, or TMDS, which divides the video signal into pixels and uses links to transmit the RGB color and the divided pixels as a pixel clock.
HDMI has also received several upgrades after HDMI 1.0, with 2.1 being the recent one, with superb bandwidth and support for the highest refresh rate and resolution.
High bandwidth, resolution, and refresh rate
Better video quality and zero or less interference
Both audio and video transmission
Convenient and easy insertion
Available in almost all modern systems
Longer cable length
Cannot be used directly to get display from older systems
Comparatively more input lag
The major difference between the VGA and HDMI interfaces is in their image quality, with HDMI being the better one.
Similarly, HDMI is hot-pluggable, meaning you can insert or remove it while the system’s running, and you won’t experience any disturbance in the signal. However, the image quality will degrade, or the display may not even show up if you try hot-plugging the VGA connector.
Besides these, let’s discuss what features and functionality separate these two interfaces.
VGA connection can transfer the video signal data at the rate of 14 to 116 MegaHertz. This bandwidth varies for different versions, with VGA having the lowest transfer rate and UXGA the highest.
As per the bandwidth, the standard VGA version supports a display resolution of up to 640 x 480. While the QXGA version can provide a maximum resolution of 2048 x 1536. Similarly, the standard VGA interface can attain a refresh rate of up to only 60 Hz.
Nevertheless, for the upgraded VGA versions, one can obtain a slightly higher refresh rate of up to 85 Hz for a lower-resolution display.
VGA VersionsBandwidthResolution and Refresh RateVGA14 MHz640 x 480 @ 60, 75, 85 HzSVGA27 MHz800 x 600 @ 56, 60, 72, 75, 85 HzXGA48 MHz1024 x 768 @ 60, 70, 75, 85 HzSXGA60 MHz1280 x 1024 @ 70, 75, 85 HzSXGA +79 MHz1400 x 1050 @ 70, 75, 85 HzUXGA87 MHz1600 x 1200 @ 60 HzQXGA116 MHz2048 x 1536 @ 60 Hz
Looking at the HDMI interface, the commonly available HDMI 2.0 can transfer the signal at up to 18 Gbps, while HDMI 2.1 have a transmission rate of whooping 48 Gbps. It even surpasses the faster DisplayPort 1.4.
Not only this, you can achieve a maximum resolution of 8K and a refresh rate of 240 Hz for 1080p resolution. Let’s have a quick look at the bandwidth, resolution, and refresh rate for the two interfaces.
HDMI VersionsBandwidthResolution and Refresh Rate1.0 – 1.2a4.95 Gbps1080p @ 60 Hz1.3 – 1.4b10.2 Gbps4K @ 30 Hz or1080p @ 144 Hz2.0 – 2.0b18 Gbps4K @ 60 Hz or1080p @ 240 Hz2.148 Gbps8K @ 30 Hz or4K @ 144 Hz
Input lag is the time elapsed between the reception of a signal and its appearance on the screen. In the case of the HDMI interface, the digital signals are post-processed in terms of color and other effects for better image quality. But the analog signals from VGA are shown as they are received. This post-processing can cause a slight input lag in HDMI.
However, the lag is not that significant. It is in a few milliseconds, and you would not even find any differences. To add to this, when you use a VGA connection in a digital display unit, the analog VGA signals also take a while to get converted into digital signals. Thus, the VGA interface also seems to have input lag.
Also, the input lag mostly depends upon the monitor and display unit rather than the connection type. So, if we look at the imperceptible time of lag, Input lag and latency do not make much of a difference.
Talking about signal quality, the VGA interface experiences a lot of signal interference from other system components. This is because the VGA carries the information in the analog signal, and these pick up noise from other cables and electrical parts of the computer.
In the past, most of electronic devices used a VGA interface. So, to lower the interference, the VGA cable is provided with a cylindrical extrusion. Similarly, the I/O Shield at the back of the motherboard also prevents signal interference from internal components and other cables of the PC.
HDMI interface is able to transfer both audio and video from the same cable and port. It even supports up to 32 channels of audio signals and HD Audio, such as DTS and Dolby.
However, VGA is able to transmit only the video signal. You will need an additional audio cable and port on the system to share the sound. Even after using a VGA to HDMI converter, you will have to get an additional audio cable to get the sound signals.
VGA cables can transmit image and video signals in their original quality within a distance of 25 feet. Beyond that, the signal quality starts to degrade. However, there are VGA cables longer than 150 feet in the market though you won’t get better quality.
But the recommended length of an HDMI cable is up to around 50 feet or 15 meters, up to which you won’t experience any quality degradation. The digital signals in the case of HDMI do not get lost a lot in comparison to the VGA analog signals.
The higher quality signals, refresh rate support from the HDMI and its longer cable length make it the ideal choice for display at a farther distance.
VGA interfaces are mostly compatible and found in older displays and gaming consoles. You may not find an HDMI port in those systems. So, if you possess such hardware, then you may want to use the VGA, and the HDMI cables might be useless. In addition to those systems, the projectors still use the VGA interface.
Similarly, you can find HDMI in modern displays, consoles, TV, and other electronics. Almost all display and audio-needing devices are HDMI-friendly nowadays. Yes, some of these systems still provide one VGA port, but the transition is getting faster due to the excellent signal quality of HDMI. So, VGA cables have become pretty much obsolete at the present time.
So, while HDMI is almost used in every display unit, VGA is mostly employed for a multi-monitor setup, screen projection, etc.
Having said that, there are converter cables available in the market, such as VGA to HDMI and HDMI to VGA. You can use these to use a VGA cable on an HDMI port and vice versa.
Being a bulky design, the VGA connector needs to be locked into the port with two pins on its side. Without the lock, the connector gets loosened easily, hence, distorting the image quality and color. Sometimes, the display will not even come up on the screen. This makes the VGA quite inconvenient as you need to make sure of a tight connection behind both the monitor and the system.
However, the HDMI does not require such pins to tighten it. You can simply insert the connector to the monitor and the motherboard or GPU, and it does not easily come off as well. There is a chance of a loose connection, but it is quite unusual. And you do not have to worry about having the video signal disturbed.
Being the oldest type of display interface, VGA cables are quite cheap and easily available in the market. HDMI cables are quite costlier than VGA. The cost of the new HDMI 2.1 cable, with its fastest bandwidth, is incomparable with the old and slow VGA cable.
But nowadays, you can find a cheaper HDMI cable of an earlier version in the market. And they do a fine job in comparison to the VGA cables.
Besides both being a display controller and interface for video signal transfer, there are not many similarities between VGA and HDMI.
VGAHDMIMuch less bandwidth.Higher bandwidth.Supports low resolution and refresh rate.Supports higher resolution and refresh chúng tôi transmit only video chúng tôi transmit both audio and video signals.Relatively less input lag.Slightly more input chúng tôi level of signal interference and electromagnetic chúng tôi electromagnetic interference and no signal cross-talk.Bulky in design and inconvenient to connect due to the need for tightening chúng tôi pins to tighten and can connect conveniently.Shorter cable length.Longer cable length.Suitable for old computer systems and projectors.Suitable for modern systems.
The KDE 4 release series is nearly four years old. Yet many users still maintain that the KDE 3 series delivers a faster, more efficient, and more customizable desktop. However, their claims are rarely detailed, so the recent release of a new version of the Trinity Desktop Environment, the KDE 3 fork, seems a suitable time for an examination of the claim.
The last time I compared the two KDE versions, KDE 4 was still working out some of its rough spots, such as using Akonadi to manage personal information in a database. Similarly, although based on what was then eight year old technology, Trinity was still fine-tuning, adding such features as the ability to run KDE 4 applications.
Since then, however, both desktops have matured and added features. So how do they compare now in terms of speed, feature, and stability? It’s time for a point-by-point look.
One of the main claims about the KDE 3 series is that it does everything more quickly than KDE 4. That claim seems more or less true, but depends on the apps that you are running.
On my main work station with sixteen gigabytes of RAM, the latest KDE desktop appears nine seconds after l log in. By contrast, Trinity is ready to use in five seconds. Logging out and returning to the log in screen usually takes nine seconds for KDE and seven for Trinity, but, depending on the apps I am running, either can take up to twenty-three seconds. What’s more, Trinity seems more likely to have long delays than KDE (and to crash altogether during logout).
The speed that apps run at depends on the environment for which they are designed. With applications that aren’t designed for a specific desktop, start times are inconsistent. In most cases, such as Firefox, the start times are equal. However, KDE opens LibreOffice in three seconds as opposed to Trinity’s five. Yet KDE takes five seconds to open The GIMP to Trinity’s three.
Both desktops open apps written for KDE 4 in about the same time. However, apps written for KDE 3, such as the Basket note program, seem to open twice as fast in Trinity than in KDE. However, comparisons may be misleading, because Trinity uses its own version of many programs, which may be tweaked for performance, and are not usable by KDE.
Verdict: Claims about Trinity’s speed are exaggerated, but it is still faster than KDE in most cases. On an older computer with only one or two gigabytes of RAM, the difference in speed might be even greater.
Comparing desktop layouts is difficult, because KDE takes a more visual approach to customization features than Trinity, and a user accustomed to one may have trouble finding a particular feature in another. Moreover, KDE tries to extend the concept of the desktop, while Trinity’s concept of the desktop remains largely unchanged from a decade ago. Much also depends on the options you choose.
Still, in general, Trinity seems designed equally for those who prefer desktop icons and menus. By contrast, KDE’s default assumes users who start apps from the menus. Yet that said, by adding a Folder View, KDE users can have an icon-oriented desktop that functions similarly to Trinity’s default.
In fact, if you choose, you can use several different icon sets at once, or else change them as you change tasks. The main difference is that Folder View controls are harder to learn than anything in Trinity; even after several years, I still fumble with them sometimes.
In addition, KDE offers far more features than Trinity. Unlike Trinity, KDE offers widgets on the desktop, which allows them to be considerably larger than when they are on the panel. As a result, you can easily create custom desktop views, such as an overview with a To Do and Calendar. If you are not adding icons to most of the desktop, such custom views are a handy way of using otherwise wasted space.
KDE also includes customizable hot spots, and a wide arrange of special effects for the desktop. Some of these are just eye-candy, but a number increase accessibility or add visual clues that reduce common irritations such as finding the active window among half a dozen.
Trinity does have an edge in some individual controls. For example, it allows you to select which file formats have a desktop preview, while KDE simply enables previews for all. But while KDE may lag in a few individual desktop controls, in general it allows a wider variety of work flows than Trinity.
Verdict: Some users might prefer the relative simplicity of Trinity, but in general the KDE desktop simply offers more possibilities. That means that in KDE, you have a greater chance of working exactly the way you want.
Unlike GNOME 3.x or Unity, both KDE and Trinity are designed with the assumption that panels are places to put frequently used small tools and notifications of various sorts. Taskbars, notification trays — all the classic features users have learned to expect in a panel — appear in both desktops.
So, too, do most of the configuration options, although the fact that KDE’s are visually oriented and minimalist may disguise the fact. In both desktops, you can set the size and location of the panel, and whether it hides to give more space for displaying open windows. The main differences are that, to change the background of a KDE panel, you have to adjust the theme rather than changing it separately, and that Trinity has a number of pre-configured panels that you can choose that require considerable customization to reproduce in KDE.
Verdict: Trinity. Despite improvements early in the KDE 4 series, the KDE panel is still not as convenient to configure as Trinity’s.
For me, this is a choice between two evils: opening a sub-menu in a classic menu often obscures what you are working on, while Kickoff is too cramped unless you resize it. However, KDE also includes an alternative called Lancelot that steers clear of these extremes, as well as KRunner, a minimal tool for users who know what is on the system.
Verdict: KDE, but just barely.
Virtual Desktops and Activities
Little changed in the options for virtual desktops between KDE 3 and 4. However, current versions of KDE also introduce Activities — independently configurable desktops that you can switch between depending on what you are doing or where you are, each of which has its own set of workspaces.
Because of Activities, you can have more customized work flows, such as starting KDE with an overview full of widgets, then switching to a more conventional desktop as you settle down to work. They are more complex than anything offered by Trinity, but convenient and efficient once you are used to them.
One of the claims made for the KDE 3 series is that it has more options for personal preferences than the KDE 4 series. This claim is hard to examine, because the KDE 4 releases began with few options and gradually added more. To complicate matters even more, KDE 4’s System Setting window was extensively revised in the first few releases, although recently it has become more consistent between releases.
In addition, KDE 4 tends to minimize top-level menu items, while KDE 3 was more likely to add them. At other times, it seems to have dropped options that most users are unlikely to use. Consequently, while Trinity at first glance appears to have more options, in many cases it has simply organized the ones it has more loosely than modern KDE does.
Nor can you always make a direct comparison, because each desktop has options that only make sense within its own context. For instance, the Removable Dialog settings is only applicable in the context of modern KDE’s Device Notifier for external hardware.
However, when all these differences are taken into consideration, KDE and Trinity seem almost identical in the choice of personal preferences. The greatest difference is that different themes are available for the two desktops.
Even the layout is not a major difference; KDE displays choices in groups of icons by default, but you can easily change to the tree view of Trinity’s Control Center.
Verdict: Tie. I’m assuming that the choice between the System Settings and Control Center layouts is unimportant to most users.
System and Administration Tools suffer the same problems as personal preferences — naturally enough, since they appear in the same windows. However, Trinity has specific controls for peripherals like Joysticks and PCI Cards, as well as more displays giving information about the computer hardware and configuration and useful options such as a default spell-checker that KDE lacks.
Verdict: Trinity. Average users may not notice such lacks, and administrators probably leave the desktop in favor of the command line. But, for intermediate users wanting to learn how to manage their system, configuration and administration tools remain KDE’s largest lack.
KDE 3.5.10 was the last in a series of thirty-five release stretching over eight years. With this history, it had a reputation for being extremely stable and crash-free.
However, while Trinity’s latest release, version 3.5.13, suggests a continuity, the continuity does not necessarily include stability. On my machine, Trinity has frozen several times, including once when I attempted to change the menu, when the only recovery was to delete the Trinity folder in my home directory. Similarly, changing the theme spontaneously adds a panel on the left side of the screen, and using the Monitor & Display to change the resolution causes it to crash without making any changes. In addition, twice in about thirty logouts, Trinity has hung.
In comparison, I have installed KDE half a dozen times on different computers, and twice as many times virtually, and never had the slightest problem in four years. The most I can say is that modern KDE runs best with at least two gigabytes of RAM.
Verdict: KDE. I have heard of difficulties with KDE, but never experienced them.
Before sitting down to this exercise, I assumed that KDE would have a large lead. I was never a fan of KDE 3, and I assumed that, for all Trinity’s heroic efforts, the passage of time would not have been kind to its foundations.
The results, though, surprised me. Awarding one point for a win in each category and two points for a second place finish, I find that I’ve given KDE a total of 11 points, and Trinity 12 points — technically an overall win for KDE, but by most standards a tie.
What is useful about this exercise is that it points to the strengths and weaknesses of each desktop. It allows the cautious confirmation of the myth of Trinity’s speed, and a debunking of the myth of its stability.
However, each of these categories should probably not be given equal weight. Personally, I’d like to see proof of Trinity’s increased stability before relying on it. Nor am I sure that, having adjusted to using KDE’s Activities, that I’d like to work for any length of time without them.
Your priorities may cause you to give the categories different weights. But, if nothing else, the comparison shows that Trinity can still function as a modern desktop, and that KDE is not as a great a departure from the classic desktop as you might have been led to believe. Choosing between them may be a matter of tradeoffs, but, if nothing else, I hope I’ve given you the basis for an informed decision.
If 2023 has done anything, it has made the average person much more familiar with video conferencing programs. Google Meet and Zoom have seen a lot of use this year, but there is no clear consensus on which program is the better option.Features and Details
Zoom and Google Meet serve the same basic function, but Zoom is a comprehensive and fully-featured platform. Google Meet has simplified features that make it useful for basic functions. This difference becomes even more clear when you look beyond the free versions of each program into the paid tiers.
Table of ContentsPricing
Both Google Meet and Zoom are free to use, with optional paid tiers for users that need more features and functionality.
Google Meet has two paid options: Google Workplace Essentials and Google Workspace Enterprise. Google Workspace Essentials is priced at $8 per month, while Google Workspace Enterprise is priced on a case-by-case basis—and honestly isn’t something the average user is ever going to need.
Zoom has four price tiers outside its free plan: Pro, Business, Zoom United Business, and Enterprise. These plans are billed annually, with Zoom Pro starting at $149.90 per year, Zoom Business at $199.90 per year, Zoom United Business at $300 per year, and Zoom Enterprise starting at $199.90 per year.Participants
The free versions of Google Meet and Zoom allow users to host meetings of up to 100 participants each. The paid versions of each program increase the number of participants in each meeting.
Zoom Pro still allows only 100 participants, but Zoom Business increases the count to 300. Zoom Enterprise allows 500 participants, and Zoom Enterprise+ allows up to 1,000.
On the other hand, Google Workspace Essentials allows up to 150 participants, while Google Workspace Enterprise allows up to 250. Google does not have an option that allows a huge number of participants in the same way that Zoom does.Meeting Length
Zoom is well-known for its 40-minute meetings. They’ve become something of a punchline over the span of the year, but 40 minutes is all the free plan allows. However, the paid versions of Zoom extend the meeting length by quite a bit.
Zoom Pro allows meetings to go for up to 30 hours. This is the maximum amount of time Zoom allows, regardless of tier.
Google Meet allows meetings to last for up to an hour on its free plan, and up to 300 hours maximum if you opt for the paid version. On a price-to-length basis, Google Meet is the better value. Meetings can last up to 10 times longer on Google Meet than on Zoom, although it is debatable whether anyone needs a 300 hour long meeting.
It’s also worth noting that both Zoom and Google Meet allow for an unlimited number of meetings, even on the free plan. This means you can host meeting after meeting if you don’t want to pay, so you can extend your meeting length for as long as you need.Recording
The free Zoom plan allows users to record meetings to their hard drives, while the premium tiers allow users to save locally or up to 1GB to the cloud. Zoom Enterprise provides unlimited cloud storage.
Google Meet doesn’t allow local recording on its free plan, but Google Workspace Essentials does allow users to save recordings to Google Drive.Other Features
Zoom was built as a dedicated video conferencing platform, while Google Meet is part of a larger suite of services. As a result, Zoom has a more comprehensive set of features than Google Meet does.
Zoom allows users to integrate with other services, including Skype for Business, Facebook Workplace, and Salesforce. It also integrates with Google services like Google Calendar and Google Drive. On the other hand, Google Meet integrates with all Google services and a few others like Skype for Business.
Zoom users can conduct polls, collaborate on a virtual whiteboard, and more. All of these features make it the objectively more powerful platform, but not necessarily the best choice.Security
One area that has to be addressed is the security of the two platforms. Zoom came under scrutiny throughout the year for security breaches, such as trolls making their way into meetings and causing massive disruptions.
Since that time, Zoom has implemented several security features to make the platform safer, such as 256-bit TLS encryption, end-to-end encryption, and more. You can also set it up so that users can only join if they have an email from a specific domain.
Google Meet also has a number of built-in security protocols. All of these are active by default, and there are also server-side protections that are difficult to bypass. Google Meet allows for 2-step verification for users joining meetings.Google Meet vs Zoom: Which is Better?
Both video conferencing platforms excel in certain areas. If you are in search of a dedicated, fully-featured video conferencing service with every bell and whistle you can think of, Zoom is the best choice. Its suite of features, customer support team, and expanded platform make it a phenomenal choice for businesses.
While Google Meet may have less features, it is easier to set up. You do not need a dedicated account. Users can join Google Meet calls with a standard Google account, which enables meetings to get started faster with less set-up involved.
From an objective standpoint, Zoom is the better option. It works, and it works well—and 2023 has seen the platform expand in major ways. However, not everyone needs all of the features that Zoom offers. If you are working on a minor project with friends, or you are a student in search of a way to remotely meet with your classmates, Google Meet can get the job done with less hassle.
AncestryDNA and 23andMe are the world’s most popular DNA tests. Combined, the companies have tested the DNA of more than 15 million people, according to the International Society of Genetic Geneology .
You can read our full reviews of AncestryDNA and 23andMe , but below we break down the primary differences between the two kits.
For one, AncestryDNA only tests your autosomal DNA, while 23andMe tests your autosomal DNA, your mtDNA, and your yDNA (if you’re male).
Autosomal tests are the most common DNA tests. They look at DNA inherited from both sides of your family and compare it to other samples to determine your ethnicity. Autosomal DNA tests also reveal family relations up to seven generations—or 210 years—with up to 95 percent accuracy.
Your 23 pairs of chromosomes.
On the other hand, mtDNA comes from your mother and yDNA from your father—however, only men can have their yDNA tested. These types of DNA reveal the lineage, known as a haplogroup, that you descend from on your mother’s or father’s side. 23andMe uses this information to tell you about your ancestors tens of thousands of years ago and their migration patterns.They give different results
Because of the aforementioned different kinds of DNA the tests examine, the results you get also differ. AncestryDNA just provides an ethnic breakdown of your DNA through an interactive map, while 23andMe does this and much more.
Here are all the Neanderthal traits 23andMe can identify.
Visualizations from 23andMe were also far more interesting. While AncestryDNA just provides you with a map, 23andMe goes above and beyond with unique offerings like Your Ancestry Timeline and Your Chromosome Painting. In short, you get a lot more with 23andMe.
23andMe’s fascinating ancestry timeline visualization.They represent a different number of ethnic regions
People of European descent also have a disproportionately high number of regions in both tests compared to other ethnic groups. Seventy-four percent of AncestryDNA’s regions are European compared to 23andMe’s 30 percent. Read our in-depth feature on why DNA tests are more detailed for white people to learn more. In short, it’s because most of their customers are of European descent.
The companies are regularly updating their ethnic breakdowns as new data come in, so expect more regions to appear with time.They have different-sized DNA matchmaking databases
A few members of my family came up in my DNA matches on AncestryDNA. (Identifying information has been blurred out.)
It should also be noted that the more people in a DNA database, the more accurate the test results become. More DNA data allows these companies to perfect the algorithms used in creating ethnicity estimates.Which one is right for me?
Like most things in life, it depends on what you want to get out of the experience. If you’re looking for genealogical information and want to find relatives, then AncestryDNA is the way to go, just by virtue of it having a much larger database.
The map of my ethnicity breakdown from AncestryDNA.
Both tests are regularly refining their data and algorithms to improve the results. Over time, you can expect to receive notifications when either service has improved its ethnicity estimate.
Different RAID levels offer different benefits. Some provide performance gains by pooling storage capacity and read/write I/O, while others protect against hardware failure through data redundancy.
Among these levels, RAID 5 and 6 have been two of the most popular ones in recent times, as they provide a combination of both performance and safety. Due to their various similarities, it can be confusing to figure out when it’s best to use RAID 5 vs RAID 6.
As such, we’ll discuss what these two RAID levels exactly are, their main similarities and differences, and when to use either one in this article.
As stated, different RAID levels focus on data protection and performance improvement to varying degrees. RAID 5 provides both of these through block-interleaved distributed parity.
This means that striping occurs at the block level. The size of these blocks, also known as chunk size, is up to the user to set, but it typically ranges from 64KB – 1MB.
Additionally, for each stripe, one chunk of parity data is written. These parity blocks are spread across the array instead of being stored on a dedicated parity disk.
We’ll cover why RAID 5 handles parity like this further in the article, but ultimately, this results in one disk worth of space being reserved for parity data.
Fault tolerance against single disk failure
High usable storage capacity
High reading speed
Can be set up with a hardware controller or implemented through software
Penalty on write performance
Risky rebuild process
RAID 6 is a lot like RAID 5, but it uses two distributed parity blocks across a stripe instead of one. This one detail changes everything from the level of fault tolerance provided by the array to the performance and usable storage.
Writing parity twice makes the array much more reliable but by the same token, write performance also suffers twice the penalty. Read performance, though, much like RAID 5, is excellent.
Fault tolerance against two disk failures
Great read performance
Rebuilding after disk failure is safer
Higher write performance overhead
Two disks worth of space needed for parity
The first thing that the parity block count impacts is the fault tolerance level. In a RAID 5 array, one block-sized chunk of parity data is written for every stripe. In the event of disk failure, the lost data can be recomputed using the parity data and the data on the other disks in the array.
Essentially, this means that a RAID 5 array can handle one disk failure without any data loss. Usually, anyway. This fault tolerance was the reason why RAID 5 was very popular until the 2010s. These days though, RAID 5 is rarely used as its reliability is no longer up to par. This is due to the way most hardware RAID controllers handle rebuilds.
If the controller encounters an Unrecoverable Read Error (URE) during the rebuild, it will typically mark the entire array as failed to prevent further data corruption. Unless you have backups or plan to recover data from individual disks, the data is lost.
HDD sizes grew exponentially in the last two decades, but read/write speed improvements were much more moderate. Essentially, the size of arrays increased at much greater rates than data transfer speeds, which meant that rebuild times started to get very long.
Depending on the setup, rebuilding the array after a disk fails could take from hours to days. Such rebuild times meant a higher chance of encountering UREs during the rebuild, which translates to a higher chance of the entire array failing.
In recent years, URE occurrence rates in HDDs have dropped significantly thanks to technological improvements. Due to this, RAID 5 is still used here and there. But the general industry consensus is to still opt for RAID 6 or other levels, and for good reason.
In RAID 6, parity data is written twice per stripe. This means a RAID 6 array can sustain up to two disk failures without data loss. This makes RAID 6 much more reliable and thus better suited for larger arrays with important data.
RAID 6 involves calculating and writing parity twice, which is great for reliability, but it also means that it suffers twice the overhead for writing operations.
For smaller I/O sizes (typically 256 KB and under), RAID 5 and 6 have very comparable write performance. But with larger I/O sizes, RAID 5 is definitely superior.
RAID 5 requires two disks for striping and one disk worth of space to store parity data. This means that a RAID 5 array requires 3 disk units at the minimum.
RAID 6 is similar, but it requires a minimum of 4 disks because parity data occupies two disks worth of space.
In a RAID 5 array, the usable storage can be calculated with (N – 1) x (Smallest disk size), where N is the number of disk units. For instance, we’ve shown a RAID 5 array with three 1 TB disks below. One disk worth of space is used to store parity data, and since the smallest disk size is 1 TB, the usable space comes out to 2 TB.
It’s important to try to use same-size disks, as otherwise, the smallest disk would create a bottleneck which results in a lot of unusable space. The example below shows the same scenario, where the 500 GB disk has resulted in 1.5 TB being unusable.
In a RAID 6 array, the usable storage is calculated with (N – 2) x (Smallest disk size). Once again, it’s important to use same-size disks to ensure there’s no unusable space in the array.
In RAID 5, an XOR operation is performed on each byte of data to calculate parity information in RAID 5. For instance, let’s say the first byte of data in a 4-disk array looks something like this:
If we perform an XOR operation on the first two strips (A1 and A2) and then do the same with the output and the third strip (A3), the output is the parity information (Ap). In this case, its value is 11110101.
When any disk (for instance, Disk 1) fails, here’s what happens. First, A2 XOR A3 gives us the output 00100000. When we use this output in an XOR operation with Ap, we get 11010101 as a result, which is the lost data.
This is basically how parity data is calculated and used to recompute lost data in RAID 5.
RAID 6 is much more complex as it computes parity twice. Depending on the setup, this is implemented in various ways, such as dual check data computation (parity and Reed–Solomon), orthogonal dual parity check data, diagonal parity, etc.
RAID 5 can be implemented through both hardware and software means. The former obviously involves the use of a dedicated hardware RAID controller. As RAID 5 requires parity computation, this is the recommended route.
This is especially important in certain cases, like with a NAS, where the processor isn’t powerful enough to handle the calculations without creating a significant bottleneck.
Although not ideal for performance reasons, RAID 5 can also be set up using software solutions. For instance, Windows allows you to pool your disks together using the storage spaces feature. You can also create a RAID 5 volume via Disk Management.
RAID 6, on the other hand, requires a hardware RAID controller. This is because the polynomial calculations performed to compute the second parity layer are quite processor intensive.
It should be evident at this point that while RAID 5 and 6 have some key differences, they’re also similar in many ways. For starters, unlike RAID 1, RAID 5 and 6 provide fault tolerance through parity instead of mirroring.
Specifically, they use distributed parity, which is different from the dedicated parity disks used by RAID 2, 3, and 4. With distributed parity, you don’t have to worry about bottlenecks as with a single parity disk.
Both RAID 5 and 6 have excellent read performance thanks to data striping. But by the same token, both of them also suffer penalties on write performance, albeit to varying degrees.
RAID 5 offers a good mix of usable storage, data protection, and performance. You can also set it up with fewer disks, which makes it a budget-efficient option.
As for fault tolerance, we’ve already covered how RAID 5 has grown less reliable over the years. It’s still fine for small-sized arrays, but with larger arrays, where there’s a higher chance of failed rebuilds, we wouldn’t recommend RAID 5.
RAID 6’s reliability does come at the cost of write performance and usable storage. However, this slight disparity is undoubtedly worth it when the data on the disks is important.
RAID 6 isn’t the best for smaller arrays (e.g., 4 disks), as a significant portion of storage is lost to redundancy. If redundancy is required in small arrays, RAID 5 or something like RAID 10 would be better.
Instead, RAID 6 is best suited for larger arrays where there’s a chance of losing much more data if the setup isn’t reliable.
RAID 5 isn’t completely unreliable, and it’s still usable for smaller arrays. But with really critical data, you’ll want to prioritize protection over minor performance differences, and that’s where RAID 6 takes the cake.
Regardless of which RAID level you opt for, though, it’s important to understand that RAID isn’t a backup. RAID’s redundancy only protects against disk failure. Even a RAID 6 array can fail during rebuilds.
RAID 5RAID 6Parity LayersParity data is calculated once.Parity data is calculated twice.Fault ToleranceCan tolerate one disk chúng tôi tolerate two disk failures.Write PerformanceWrite performance suffers some penalty.Write performance suffers comparatively greater overhead.Minimum DisksAt least 3 disks are chúng tôi least 4 disks are required.Usable StorageOffers greater usable storage.Usable storage is comparatively less.Parity CalculationParity is calculated through a simple XOR operation.Parity is calculated using XOR along with other complex algorithms.ImplementationCan be implemented using hardware or software solutions.Requires dedicated hardware RAID controller.
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