In The Box
Inside the box you get the external housing, all necessary cabling to use with either USB or IEEE1394 Firewire, the power cord for powering the unit, mounting braces for the optical device, and four shoes to allow you to sit the completed unit on a flat surface without fear of damaging it.
Also included but not pictured is a manual, a driver disk and the screws necessary to install the optical drive.
A quick glance shows a very similar look to the version used with hard drives, but the size of this model is a good deal larger. Not surprising as it has a larger drive to accommodate. The external housing is designed to fully seat a standard sized optical drive. This will provide a degree of protection to the drive itself without exposing it to excess dust and such.
Looking at the back portion of the external device shows everything necessary to make things work like they should. The red button shown above is the main power switch, so if you want to leave the device hooked up to the system but don't want it to be seen by the operating system, just turn off the main power and you're set.
You'll also note a small 40mm fan mounted in the rear of the external housing assembly. While optical drives don't produce a huge amount of heat, it is still a nice touch to take care of your components. This is just a bit of forethought on the part of Vantec and it is well received. The fan is small and makes no noticeable amount of noise when running.
A bit closer look at the ports on the unit shows all in good order. A single USB port allows you to use that interface with the PC. If you prefer to use IEEE1394, you're also set as there are two ports of this flavor. Since Firewire supports daisy-chaining multiple devices to the same channel, the pair of ports allow you to connect this device in the chain for maximum flexibility.
You'll also see a standard RCA jack for use with a pair of simple speakers or headphones. This is for those who want to enjoy a music CD or something similar but don't want to have to use the system sound. If this isn't a necessity for you, no problem as the USB and Firewire interfaces both support transfer of sound to the system just like a normal optical drive.
Opening up the external housing shows the working area of the device. The circuitry and cabling sits behind the drive after it is installed and there were no issues with the fit of the drive within the housing. Those two thin black lines you see on both covers is a rubberized compound that will help to keep vibration to a minimum. You'll still hear the drive spin up and down when it is working, but you won't have to worry about it rattling all over the place.
Installation is a no-brainer. Use the included drive mounts to prepare it for insertion into the housing and connect the three internal connections to the drive itself. Secure the drive inside the housing, screw the top cover into place and you're set. If you want to use the brackets with the rubber feet you can, but it isn't necessary.
From there it is only a matter of attaching the power cord and hooking it into either the USB or Firewire port of the system to be up and running. As with any other mass storage device, it will automatically be recognized by Windows if you're running WinME or newer. Win98SE will require the included driver disk for the first time you hook it to the system and you'll be good to go from then on. The device will be assigned the next available drive letter and you'll have full access to the optical drive.
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