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New Motion Combo Firewire & USB Converter Unit Review

By: Cameron Johnson | Accessories in Storage | Posted: Oct 16, 2002 4:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.0%Manufacturer: New Motion

Specifications and Features


The Unit itself is a simple carriage that is designed to support any 3.5 or 5.25 inch IDE device. This unit converters the IDE signals of the IDE device (including ATAPI CD/DVD ROM/RW drives, tape backup and LS120 drives) over for connection to external controller ports on your PC. While this is great on the surface, we know how much of a performance hit you can take doing this. Well this baby takes two ways around it. First of all you have a USB connection port. This port allows USB 1.1 and 2.0 operations, so for older PC's who don't have USB 2.0 controllers you are limited to 12mbps operations. Slow, yes, but it does get the data across. If, however, you have a USB 2.0 controller onboard, you can transfer your data @ 480mbps. While this still isn't the full speed of a ATA-66/100 or 133 drive, it does reduce the bottleneck and time taken to transfer large data files.


For more advanced speed and connectivity, this unit has Firewire ports on the back. This allows you, if you prefer Firewire or don't have USB 2.0 but have a Firewire controller card, to access the unit. Allowing the full 400mbps transfer of the Firewire bus, you get near enough to USB 2.0 transfer speeds. With a built in 2 port repeater hub for the Firewire unit, this drive really packs a punch.


Located on the back are two RCA ports. These ports are used when a CD or DVD drive is used. The audio cable that plugs into the analog audio port on the CD drive is then routed to the two RCA ports for left and right channel audio output for connection to a sound card or any external audio setup. In all, the design is perfect with easy access to the internals. Two screws hold a plastic shard over a metal face plate for access to the IDE cable, power connector and audio ports.


Installation under Windows 2000 and XP is totally hassle free. Both Windows 2000 and XP have native driver support for USB and Firewire connection, so it's truly plug and play. Windows 98 and ME, however, requires a driver for both USB and Firewire connection. These drivers are provided on a CD with an online PDF file explaining how to install your IDE devices into the unit.



Despite being rather small in design, the New Motion unit comes in a rather large box. This box houses the unit, power leads and driver CD as well as a brief instruction leaflet on installing drives into the housing. The best part about this unit is how simple it is to install any IDE device. Since the unit is a stand alone (one IDE device at a time only) unit, you can have the jumper set to master, slave or cable select; the unit will find it no matter what.



After removing the unit from its box, you get a fair idea of what you have purchased. The unit looks rather sleek in design, all rounded with plastic shards to shield any noise generated by high speed IDE HDD's and super fast CD drives.



When the plastic shard is removed, you get a view of the insides of the unit, and from the picture you see it is very plain and simple. IDE cable is provided to connect the IDE device to the unit you wish to install. A 4-pin Molex connector for powering the unit is also provided which can handle just about any high powered drive you wish to throw into it. A 4-pin audio connector is provided for when using CD drives such as CD-ROM, CD-RW and DVD-ROM. The front face place has a red LED for when IDE hard disks are in use so you can determine when your drive is sending data to and from the PC.



The back of the unit houses three Firewire ports, 1 USB type B port and 1 3-Pin standard PC power connector. When using Firewire mode, the two extra ports act as a repeater hub for the Firewire daisy-chain system. When in USB mode the Firewire ports are disabled. There is no need to use switches for selecting which mode you wish to use, the system auto-detects which connection is in use and disables the other inactive connection.



Finally, you can see the Unit in Firewire operations. When in USB mode you get a Generic Mass Storage Controller appear under the USB section. Easiest Installation Ever.




While it is very hard to benchmark an external box, we have used SiSoft Sandra's Disk Benchmark utility to show the speed difference between USB 2.0 operations and Firewire compared to some other drives.



As you can see, Firewire with its dedicated channels does not rely on CPU power as much. While only having 400mbps transfer as apposed to the USB 2.0 having 480mbps, Firewire is more efficient in large data transfers.


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