Quality, solid enclosure
This unit is compact and solid, even if not exactly lightweight. Its aluminum enclosure is sturdy and attractive on the outside, and the internal components are clean and neat. There's an elegant simplicity to the whole design. The ATA chip is by Initio, the FW chip is by NEC, and the parts appear to have been designed and assembled by Part II Research, Inc. The board itself is assembled with quality. The 80-pin ribbon cable is short, about 2 inches, and has been feathered to accommodate some lateral flexibility. The two-color LED indicator is a nice touch; blue for power-on, magenta for activity. It's easily disabled by disconnecting the internal cable. Both LEDs share the same connector, however, so it won't be so easy to just disable one or the other. Overall, setup and operation is simple, which is great. That's less to go wrong. However, that's also a single point-of-failure in some cases. In fact, the case itself is a good example. There's only one screw on the back to hold the whole enclosure together. That's great for getting into the enclosure quickly, but it's a problem when the first thing you do is drop the tiny screw on a messy office floor. You'll also need a tiny philips screwdriver, which can be mildly annoying for non-professional computer people. <br><br> Mounting the drive itself into the unit couldn't be simpler: screw four nylon nubs into the drive's mounting holes, then just snap the drive into place. Clips on each side engage the nubs for a secure mount with minimal vibration. One very minor quibble has less to do with this unit in particular than with a growing trend in the accessory world: inappropriate re-use of connector types. The power plug on the back is basically an S-video connector, or for those of you with older macs, an ADB connector. No biggie in the end, as long as you don't plug the power supply into your keyboard or VCR, but there *are* connectors specifically designated for this kind of low-voltage application. I don't know why something specifically for power wasn't used. But like I said, that's a minor issue. The box includes all necessary cables: AC to the power brick (the low-voltage cable is permanently attached to the brick) and a clear 6-pin firewire cable. It does include a small but stable stand for vertical orientation -- there's no fan in the unit, so you may want to stand it on its side if you think that will improve air circulation. There are seven slits on the bottom to let air in and out. Other than that, the unit relies on its aluminum hood to transmit heat away from the drive. This is easily one of the best overall enclosures available in a market dominated by flimsy no-name products with reputations for blowing power supplies and corrupting data. The build and finish are top-notch. I only wish the screw on the back was either larger (and easier to find) or captive. But for such a remarkably inexpensive unit, it's hard to beat overall.
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