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-- Vantec EZ-Swap Removeable Hard Drive Rack
-- Price: $39.00 USD
-- 12.30.2003
-- By: merlinicorpus
-- Page: 1 2 3 4 5 

To add the hard drive, simply pull the silver tab, turn the key to the off/unlocked position, and pull. It sounds pretty simple on paper, but in reality, its very difficult to get it to release. I had to pull so hard on the tab the first time I opened it that I thought I had broken it off when it finally released. Once the lock is disengaged it releases easily, but the mechanism to lock the drive in place needs serious work.

Getting the lid off to access the hard drive is fairly easy. Simply press down the button marked "press here" and the lid slides off.

Here you can see the standard IDE connection, molex connector, and some wires to hook up to the jumpers. The wires are used because with them you change change the drive from master to slave and vice versa without having to pull it out of the drive cage. This would be handy for simply selecting a drive to boot from, or swapping into another machine.

As you can see, its a pretty tight fit. If you were using conventional jumpers, you would have to remove the drive entirely just to change master/slave settings.

Simply put the drive in place, attach the connections, screw it in place, reattach the lid, and you are good to go. Installation from this point forward is basically like any CD/DVD drive.

There were two things about the lid that really, really annoyed me. Both problems were do to the same very bad design flaw. The lid is not snug with the rails that hold it in place. They are so loose in fact, that you can actually remove the lid without pressing the button or sliding it off the back. This also caused another, far more serious problem. Since the lid is loose on the device, every time the CD drive above it spins up, the vibration makes the lid rattle like a sack of empty pop cans being tossed around. This isn't some minor annoyance noise either. It makes it sound like the computer is shaking itself to pieces. I found by removing the lid altogether and running the drive without the lid fixed the problem, but that's hardly a solution.

You should also note that unlike the Vortex, which had a dedicated thermal probe that attached directly to the hard drive, the EZ-Swap uses a much less reliable air temperature probe. If I were to believe the EZ-Swap, my temperature are running 5C less than when I was using the Vortex. Somehow, I find that difficult to believe.

The LCD screen is fairly straightforward. It has a activity indicator that moves in the upper left corner whenever the drive is in use. There is a marker near the center that displays the IDE channel the drive is running under, a indicator that tells if the fan is running, and the temperature is displayed in Centigrade.

Basically, there are two things you can change via the LCD. First, you can specify a overheated temperature that when the EZ-Swap detects is too warm, will cause an alarm to sound. Rest assured that if that alarm goes off, you will hear it. Its very, very loud and reminds me somewhat of an air raid siren. Second, you can specify whether the temperature is displayed in Centigrade or Fahrenheit.

The EZ-Swap also includes a nifty little counter that tells you how long your hard drive has been in operation which is expressed in days and hours. Not particularly useful information, but it has a cool FYI factor.

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