You may have noticed that nearly all of the exciting hard drives in the last year have been 2.5 inch drives. The 2.5 inch standard has long dominated the notebook market and is quickly starting to take over the enterprise server market. When Western Digital released the VelociRaptor analysts took notice as it marked the 2.5" invasion into desktop systems. Here we are a year later and solid state drives are all the rage. I know several enthusiasts that are using SSDs in their full towers, most of them with multiple drives in either RAID 0 or RAID 5.
Other than rack mounted servers I have yet to see a desktop system come with an efficient 2.5" mounting system for these drives. Several companies make adapters but most were designed to fit a floppy disk drive into a 5.25" CDROM bay. Vizo has noticed this same issue and decided to do something about it.
The Vizo Ares II is a dual 2.5" SATA drive system that will allow you to install two "notebook" style drives into a standard 3.5" floppy drive bay. The system is a little smaller than a traditional desktop hard drive but it does have the same screw locations, so if it really came down to it you could use the Ares II in your traditional HDD bay. Let's get a closer look.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
There really isn't anything to show the Ares II as a technical marvel or something that is going to give you blazing fast performance over what your hard drives would run at normally. There really aren't any advancements when it comes to drive enclosures like this. Their main selling point is ease of access. This is mainly due to users who are starting to take advantage of hot swap features now found on many motherboards.
The Ares II allows you to place two 2.5" SATA drives in a single 3.5" slot. These are the spaces that were once filled with floppy drives ten years ago and other than specialty hardware today generally go unutilized.
Vizo has already taken big steps to get their products to the market. In the US, Newegg is already selling Vizo products. The Ares II Dual Drive Adapter is currently available from the etail superstore for 59.99 USD. The cost seems a little high to us for an enclosure so we will need to take a closer look and see if the Ares II is a worthwhile accessory that can make your experience 60 Dollars easier.
The front of the Ares II box is very informative. It shows a picture of the carrier and a list of features.
On the back a complete list of features and specifications can be found as well as some brief installation notes.
The sides are void of information other than the product name and the website for Vizo.
On the inside the carrier is packed well so it shouldn't get damaged during shipping.
The Vizo Ares II 2.5" Drive Adapter
Here we get our first look at the Ares II. The carrier is the same size as a floppy drive. The two buttons on the left push to the right to open the doors.
One nice feature is that the drive just slides into the Ares II without the need for rails or anything screwed into the drive. Just slide a drive in and close the door.
When you open the door a release mechanism pushes the drive away from the connectors and you can grab the drive with your fingers to pull it out the rest of the way.
Here we see the data and power connectors. The Ares II comes with a special adapter that routs some extra power to an LED system.
On the side of the carrier Vizo has included mounting holes so you can use the carrier in a floppy drive bay or a hard drive bay.
Here we see the unit filled with a SATA 2.5" hard drive.
Manual and Accessories
The manual is just a single page setup guide. Since there are not any jumpers or for that matter anything that takes brain power to connect everything, it's easily displayed on a single sheet of paper.
For accessories the Ares II comes with everything that is needed. The SATA cables are a little on the long side since most of these will be installed within 5 inches of the SATA ports, but we can live with that. Also, I am not really sure why Vizo just didn't run the LEDs off of the SATA power plug, but they didn't. You will need to use the included special power Y adapter to get full use of the Ares II.
The Vizo Ares II is a convenience product that makes installing the latest 2.5 inch hard drives into a desktop a breeze. Since most of the new solid state drives are hitting the market in a 2.5" package, the demand for such a product is there. I can tell you, the Ares II does make life much easier for what it was designed to do.
My only complaints for Vizo would be that they didn't include SAS support with the Ares II and the high cost at this time. At close to 60 USD the convenience factor really starts to fade if you are not looking to hot swap drives. There are other products on the market that perform similar and the price of those units are around the same price, but I would like to have seen Vizo really break the mold and come out with a solution that costs around 20 Dollars less.
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