Date: November 30th, 2002
Hard drive racks have been around for a while. They provide an easy way to remove and swap hard drives from a computer without the hassle of opening the case. This feature is useful in a number of scenarios, e.g. a developer wanting to quickly switch development platforms, or for offsite backup of large amounts of data. The concept is always the same: a hard drive is mounted in a special cartridge, which is then inserted into a proper frame that is mounted in a 5.25″ drive bay. Lock the drive in place, turn the computer on, and the drive is available.
PCToys have taken the removable hard drive rack one step further and improved on the design and functionality with their MobileMaxx drive rack series.
A closer look
The package includes one mounting frame, one drive cartridge (additional cartridges can be purchased individually), an installation/instruction sheet, mounting screws, and a set of keys. The first thing to notice while unpacking is the lightweight but sturdy aluminum material used for the frame and cartridge. The second thing that immediately grabs your attention are the LCD display and buttons on the front.
Taking a closer look at the cartridge reveals some extras. Inside are the normal 4-pin Molex power connector, the ATA-133 data cable, and 3 colored wirepairs. The wirepairs are installed in place of the hard drive jumpers that configure the drive for Master, Slave, or Cable Select. They work in conjunction with a jumperblock on the back. They enable the LCD to display the drive configuration. The installation instruction sheet is well done, easy to read, and well illustrated. However, configuration of these wirepairs and jumpers can be a little confusing at first.
Installation is straight forward and painless. Mount the frame in a free 5.25″ drive bay. Install a hard drive in the cartridge. Insert the cartridge in the frame and lock it in place with the key. Turn the computer on. Configure the BIOS to detect the IDE drive if this is a new addition.
The LCD on the front displays numerous data including the temperature (Celsius or Fahrenheit), drive activity, and drive configuration (Master or Slave). It can be programmed to sound alarms on fan failure or temperature anomalies. The frame has a small fan on the back that exhausts warm air from the cartridge.
The MobileMaxx is the Porsche of hard drive racks. Sure, there are cheaper and simpler models out there that do the job, but the MobileMaxx delivers quality and additional features that especially power users will appreciate. Nice additional details are the availability in beige, silver, and black to match the user’s case, and the availability of individual matching cartridges. The PCToys MobileMaxx ATA-133 Removable Hard Drive Rack is available at a number of retail stores as well as online retailers such as CoolerGuys.
Submitted by: Alex “crazygerman” Byron