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Vantec EZSwap M3500 HDD Storage Rack Review

Vantec EZSwap M3500 HDD Storage Rack Review

The EZSwap M3500 from Vantec offers a robust aluminium design fit for workstations and servers. Read on as we explore this new solution.

@TylerBernath
Tyler Bernath
Published Mon, Mar 10 2014 5:04 PM CDT   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:32 PM CDT
Rating: 95%Manufacturer: Vantec
Vantec EZSwap M3500 HDD Storage Rack Review 99 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 11 IMAGES

Storage racks come in all shapes and sizes. Depending on its intended use, you can have a solution that fits just a few drives or a full on monster that can hold upwards of twelve drives.

In the lab today, we have the first of two storage rack solutions from Vantec. We're starting first with the five bay EZSwap M3500. Now, the M3500 series of storage racks encompasses several models, including one, three, four, and five bay models. This should give plenty of flexibility when configuring your server or workstation for use with these racks.

One of the most unique features within the latest EZSwap series is compatibility with SAS hard drives and solid state drives. Normally, we are left using standard SATA drives with devices such as these.

Vantec EZSwap M3500 HDD Storage Rack Review 02 | TweakTown.com

Scope of delivery for the M3500 included SATA cables, one for each bay, along with the necessary screws and keys for locking each tray.

Vantec EZSwap M3500 HDD Storage Rack Review 03 | TweakTown.com

Looking at the front of the device, I first noticed the entire unit, apart from the trimmings on the trays, is made from aluminium. Each bay has its own activity indicator below, and the fan and lock LEDs are mounted above.

Vantec EZSwap M3500 HDD Storage Rack Review 04 | TweakTown.com

The back of the unit houses a SATA connector for each bay, though I did find it hard to read the layout of the connector when installed in the chassis, so it's a good idea to connect cables or find a way to highlight the letters so they are easier to read.

Vantec EZSwap M3500 HDD Storage Rack Review 05 | TweakTown.com

In addition to the SATA connectors, the back of the unit also houses dual SATA power connections to power all five bays. There is also a fan switch for high and low speeds and an HDD LED indicator switch. To the far left, we have a row of pins for chassis LEDs if you choose to use them.

Vantec EZSwap M3500 HDD Storage Rack Review 06 | TweakTown.com

Moving back to the front before we finish up the images, I found each bay has a hidden locking mechanism. By sliding the plastic down, you expose the lock.

Vantec EZSwap M3500 HDD Storage Rack Review 07 | TweakTown.com

Above, we have the tray for the M3500, again made of aluminium.

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Above, we have the results with our Seagate 600 Pro connected directly to the native SATA III port on our Z77 motherboard. As you can see, we reached 500 MB/s read and 450 MB/s write.

Vantec EZSwap M3500 HDD Storage Rack Review 11 | TweakTown.com

In our second test, we installed the same drive into the Vantec M3500. As you can see, we achieved the same amount of performance here.

Over the past few years, I have seen a countless number of Vantec products come and go, and it seems as of late there is a new energy around Vantec as a whole. What I mean by this is they have transitioned quite a few of their product lines over to more robust aluminium materials and have let go the days of cheaper plastic enclosures. The M3500 is part of the transition and one that I welcome with open arms.

Build quality of the M3500 is top notch with aluminium construction throughout. Fitting the device into my chassis was quick and painless, and drive installation was rather simple, as well, using the included screws.

Performance of the unit was great as expected, though we didn't have a chance to test the device's SAS capabilities at this time.

The only downfall I found with the M3500 was the fan noise. Now, of course, solutions such as these will most likely be installed into hot, noisy servers, but for workstation applications, I found that the fan creates too much noise. Even on low, you get that whir that small fans make.

MSRP of the Vantec M3500 is set at $149.99 with a one-year warranty.

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Vantec EZSwap M3500 HDD Storage Rack Review 100 | TweakTown.com

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Growing up in a small farm town, tech wasn't around, unless it was in a tractor. At an early age, Tyler's parents brought home their first PC. Tyler was hooked and learned what it meant to format a HDD, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95. Tyler's love and enthusiast nature always kept his PC nearby. Eager to get deeper into tech, he started reviewing.

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