We have been doing a lot of RAID 0 testing here in the lab over the last two months and even more promotion of using solid state drives in desktops. By now everyone has heard how great SSDs are and now that prices are starting to enter Earth's stratosphere, it is time to get serious.
One problem with putting a solid state drive in your desktop PC is that no one has made a case with slots that accepts 2.5" form factor drives. Sure, you can do the old stack of drives at the bottom of the case or install the drives with just one screw holding it in place, but these are hardly solutions worthy of a 300-400 Dollar SSD. The server room has already migrated to the 2.5" form factor, but desktop guys will have to take matters in their own hands.
Enter the Vizo Arius II, a dual 2.5" drive bay that installs in a desktop 3.5" slot just like a floppy drive. The Arius has a couple of nice features that we will look at today.
Specifications, Availability and Pricing
Drive bays are fairly simple products. They secure drives, flash lights, provide power and make a product that is designed to fit one area fit another. In most cases there is no performance gain or loss, just the ability to have your cake and eat it, too. I call these convenience products, the ones that make things easier.
The Arius II is already setup for the next evolution of SATA, SATA 3.0. The bay only supports SATA, no SAS capability at all. The bay is about the same size as a typical floppy drive and fits into the same bay. Many cases still include two of these bays, so in many cases you can install two of these drive bays and four drives total.
I was able to find the Vizo Arius II at Newegg for an outrageous 59.99 USD! After searching for a better deal I was able to find a reseller on EBay with several in their EBay store for a more reasonable 40.95 USD. Typically I wouldn't list an EBay sale in an article, but we are talking about a 20 Dollar difference and for me personally I think 60 Dollars is a bit steep for a drive bay.
The packaging for the Arius II is put together very well and Vizo has done a really good job of putting the relevant information on the front of the package.
The back of the package lists the features and a visual description to show where the product installs.
A view of the inside of the package shows that the drive bay is packed well.
The Arius II comes with two SATA cables, the required power cables, a set of screws and instructions that shows step by step installation.
The Vizo Arius II ARS-250 Dual 2.5" SATA Drive Bay
Here is our first look at the Vizo Arius II. The two tabs on the left side are the buttons that you push to the side to open the doors. On the right Vizo placed two LEDs that show HDD activity.
On the side we found that the drive bay has all of the required mounting points and they are exactly the same ones that we used to see on floppy drives.
The back of the drive bay is where all of the action takes place. Once thing to keep in mind is that you need to use the included power cables to get full use of the carrier. Other than that it is just like hooking up a standard hard drive to your SATA data cables.
The bottom of the drive bay does not have any mounting points. Floppy drives have four screw holes underneath, but most cases do not mount drives in this matter any longer.
When you open the bay door an ejector arm pushes the drive out of the carrier making swapping drives very easy.
Here we see a Corsair P64 installed in the Arius II.
There is no doubt that products like the Arius II are currently needed to help progress the adaption of 2.5" form factor drives. In the coming days I will show that 2.5" drives are not all solid state and not all about enterprise products. The largest potential growth market is clearly SSDs and their adaption into desktop systems and this is where the Vizo Arius II will really affect users now.
The only real issue we found with the Arius II is the pricing situation. Newegg currently lists the drive bay at a jaw dropping 59.99 USD. Given the economic climate I feel this is a bit too high. Luckily we were able to find the unit for 20 Dollars less, but from an EBay store. This might not be ideal for many consumers.
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