Typically, hot swap drive storage is designed to install into the front 5.25" bays of whatever chassis you happen to be using. Solutions such as these hot swap capable devices enable users to quickly install and remove standard hard drives and SSDs. Chassis such as the PC-Q25 from Lian Li, the SG10 from SilverStone and the M1 from NCASE don't even offer front expansion bays, so what should users of those chassis do if they want to utilize hot swap storage?
The DriveXpander from VisionTek is a rather unique solution for users that want quick access or move a lot of storage in and out of their machines. The 'DriveXpander' as it's called, is a drive expansion adapter that is easily mounted in the rear of any modern chassis and offers hot swap capable storage for all SATA 2.5" hard drives and SSDs.
Some of the key features for the DriveXpander include a patented NSS drive connector that surrounds each pin in the SATA connector with plastic to allow increased longevity over 50,000 drive insertions. In addition, VisionTek fitted the DriveXpander with brackets that allow the enclosure to rest securely against any PCI or PCIe slot for droop free operation.
Compatibility of the DriveXpander extends to modern Windows operating systems and OS X. MSRP of the VisionTek DriveXpander sits at $19.99 with a one-year warranty.
Packaging for the DriveXpander carries an image of the enclosure on the front, and down below, we find marketing information and features listed.
Scope of delivery includes a SATA power and data cable, along with protective film for hard drives and reading materials.
Looking over the front of the enclosure, we find a lockable tray with activity LED to the far right. You may also notice the PCI brackets to the left that allow the DriveXpander to fit securely in your chassis.
The backside of the enclosure houses the SATA connection, along with an extra set of power leads to the right for the activity LED.
Above, we have installed our Intel 730 SSD into the DriveXpander for testing.
Testing went off without any issues. As the VisionTek DriveXpander is a simple pass-through design, we lost no performance with our installed SSD.
I do have a few gripes about the DriveXpander from VisionTek. Before we get into the nit-picking and negatives of the product, let's first talk about what's good. First, the build quality which I found to be quite superb actually. I like the idea that VisionTek took the time to build the enclosure out of metal to give it some rigidity, and the extra thought of stabilizing the unit with bracket that lays snug against the PCI slots. The articulation of the drive tray is quite fluid and allows simultaneous ejection of your drive when you open the door, and of course lockable trays are always a plus in my book.
Performance was quite good, of course being a pass-through SATA solution, you should expect nothing less than what a direct connection would give you.
So now we have come to what I don't really like with this unit. First is the Molex connection, for some this might not be so much of an issue, but we are now in the year 2015, where we are doing intense amount of wire management in our chassis, and for people like me, we don't like to sit with the rear door of our chassis open fiddling with a power connection for ten minutes.
Next up, we have the included red SATA cable, and while this certainly is just me being picky, I'd rather vendors move on to black cables, so consumers like myself don't have to have an eyesore of a cable sticking out in their high dollar builds. With that said, the issues I have pointed out are certainly manageable and don't influence the performance of the unit itself.
PRICING: You can find the VisionTek DriveXpander for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.
United States: The VisionTek DriveXpander retails for $27.38 at Amazon.
Product Summary Breakdown
|Quality including Design and Build||79%|
|Bundle and Packaging||81%|
|Value for Money||89%|
|Overall TweakTown Rating||83%|
The Bottom Line: With its strong price point, the VisionTek DriveXpander is a fitting solution for those wanting hot swap capabilities that's readily available in any PC or Mac.
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