Hardware limitations are a problem that are often encountered in any media PC environment. That limit could be a memory capacity or perhaps running out of hard drive bays in your case. Or maybe you're just sick of constantly removing a side panel to swap hard drives. The perfect solution in all the cases above is an internal hard drive rack. These convenient pieces of expansion hardware allow a user to spend a 5.25" bay and convert it to an additional 3.5" hard drive bay. VIZO Technology Corp has sent us their 3.5" contender in the Arius line, the Arius EX, to test.
Product Name: VIZO Arius Ex 3.5" SATA HDD Rack
Review Sample Provided by: VIZO
Review by: Adam
Pictures by: Adam
Nothing too risky here, just a simple box utilizing the egg-carton material on the inside to house the Arius EX. The hardware and accessories are individually wrapped to keep things pristine, especially the rack itself, since the steel frame loves to hold finger prints. VIZO has included everything you'll need for installation: power cable, SATA cable, mounting screws, and the key set. The manual, of course, is tucked away as well.
|Compatible with 3.5" SATA I/II HDD|
|Compact size can fit all 5.25" bay|
|Light weight / Huge quantity storage|
|Support hot swappable|
|Security lock included|
|Easy to open with one touch|
|Patented tool-free design for rapid HDD installation|
|With guide wire design, HDD can be slid into rack easily|
|Optimal steel frame design for excellent heat dissipation|
|Silicon rubber HDD anti-vibration structure provides extra protection on HDD|
|Unique scratch-proof SATA connector, more than 50,000 times plug / ejection|
The Arius EX is a 3.5" SATA I/II hard disk drive type, with a stainless steel mounting frame and plastic front. The interface host is 7 pin SATA, and has both power on and activity indicators.
VIZO has included a toolless installation of the hard drive, which helps to utilize the hot swap compatibility. The rack itself will depend on your case, but in most cases the EX will need to be mounted with traditional screw and screw Phillips. The minimum requirments of an OS for the Arius EX are Windows 2000 ~ Vista, and MAC OS X, all of which you should be running at or above. The light-weight materials help to contribute to the EX's 305g empty weight (0.67 lbs), and holding the standard dimensions of a 5.25" bay drive, installing the rack into a case should consit of nothing more than sliding it in and securing it.
Securing it may be a bit tricky depending on your case. Any normal screw-mounting bays should see no problems. A case such as the COSMOS-1000, however, in which a button is pressed to extended metal bars in place of screws, takes some caressing. The outside steel frame in which the screws are actually mounted are designed to be flexible to help with the installation and anti-vibration, though because of this you may need to hold the piece steady to ensure its mounted straight. In cases such as the COSMOS, the pins that hold the drive in place are only extended from one side and use pressure to keep the other side steady. Given the trait of the frame, you can see how this may cause some difficulties. It's not impossible, though, it just takes a bit more precision than other methods.
Once the rack is in, it looks great, especially on cases with a clean, black front. The drive itself installs smoothly, thanks in part to a designed guide wire system and the mentioned tool-free trait.
The Arius EX supports an unusual up to 6 Gb/sec data trasfer rate, though you probably won't come close to it for a while yet. Still, its a thoughtful perk and perhaps shows the companies committment to the future. VIZO has also included a scratch-proof SATA connector to help preserve the EX from the wear and tear of constant plugging and ejections. Heat dissipation is utilized through the Arius EX's steel frame design, and the structure includes silicon rubber for anti-vibration and added protection of the drive itself.
The rack also provides a counter for one of the downsides of having such a easily accessible drive, which is theft risk. VIZO has built a key-and-lock system that when engaged prevents those without the key from opening the door to access the HDD. When unlocked, the EX features a one touch open system with a small square handle that pulls out to release the mechanism.
Whether your looking to expand your limit of hard drives, wanting to create a more ease-of-access hard drive bay, or simply looking ot incorporate a built-in hot swap method, the Arius EX will deliver. Though you may find minor issues when it comes to installation, these a few and far between, and likely to be the only you encounter with this rack. When you factor in the EX's attractive appearance and VIZO's undeniable loyalty to the customer's investment, this product has no problem standing out on it own.