Date: March 7, 2006
Author(s): Rob Williams
We are taking a look at two different products in one article today. First up is Vizo’s MasterPanel which allows you to hook up your hard drives outside of your case. Secondly, we are taking a look at their memory heatsinks which are soon to be available.
Today we are taking a look at two new products from Vizo. Neither product could build an entire review, so we are pairing them together.
Of course, there is “Panel” in the name because you are able to mount the product inside one of your front 5 1/4″ drive bays. What you can do next is run a few S-ATA connections from your motherboard to the back side of the panel. There is a total of three S-ATA connections in the back of the panel, which corresponds to the three front connections. If you are only going to use the external IDE connector, then you will just have to hook up the corresponding connector. Also in the back of the panel is a power connector, which you must plug a 4-Pin floppy power cable into.
Once everything is installed, you can power up the system. Whenever you are in need of booting up an external hard drive or CD/DVD-Rom, you plug in the three-way cable to the front of the panel. This three-way cable includes two S-ATA power connectors in addition to a single molex. You must first plug in one of the S-ATA power connectors to the front of the panel, and then use the other S-ATA power connector or Molex to plug into your drive. This is a fantastic idea, because this makes it unnecessary to open your computer in order to run cables through. Any drive you hook up must be set to the Master setting or else it will not boot up. The same usually goes for any external drives.
The panel has an on/off switch in the front, so obviously is should be in the off position before hooking up and drives. One thing that the MasterPanel is supposed to help with is cleaning up all the useless cables inside of your PC. Of course, if you hook up any of the S-ATA connections inside your PC, it’s not helping anything in that regard. The cable would be there either way. The MasterPanel is a very simple concept, but incredibly useful. If you are often inside of your PC because of a hard drive, then this will save you a lot of time. It’s perfect for a computer shop especially, where you may perform these tasks on a daily basis. The regular consumer may not find too must use for the panel, but if you’ve read this far, you already know whether you need one or not.
Most memory manufacturers pre-install heat spreaders on their modules. It’s actually quite rare to buy new sticks, even if they are value modules, and not have them include a heat spreader. If for some reason your modules do not include a heat spreader, and you want one, then Vizo has what you need. I was shipped a sample of their DDR Cooler and Chipset Cooler. One is obviously designed strictly for your memory modules, while the other is good for memory chips of any kind.
The module heat spreaders are made with pure copper, as most heatsinks and spreaders are nowadays. To help with good heat dissipation, there is a 3M thermal pad on the inside of each half. Once the sides are placed on the modules, you can use the included clips to provide a secure fit. Due to the fact that I only received one kit of each, I did not install either. These look like a great solution if you are in need of a replacement head spreader though.
The heatsinks look to be great for using on memory chips of any sore. If the memory chips on your graphics card use similar sized chips to that of DDR, then you could easily use them there. If you choose to use these on DDR modules though, you will need to buy two kits because they only include 8 heatsinks each. In the end, it would be more efficient to just buy one of the above mentioned heat spreaders to save money. The bottom of each heatsink is slightly sticky, so that once they are laid down, they will not move around on you.
The MasterPanel can prove to be an incredibly useful tool for anyone, if you are in need of external storage. Of course if you needed a more permanent solution, then you should get an actual enclosure. But for a quick fix, this is really cool. Many companies make memory and chipset heatsinks, and I really like the look of Vizo’s. I do believe the information and instructions on their packaging should be more clear though. On the package for the heatsinks, it’s hard to tell whether these are designed for GPU cards or memory modules. If they were designed for memory modules, then you would need 16 in order to cover both sides.
Overall, these are some cool products from a company that seemed to pop out of nowhere. In a few weeks I will be taking their hard drive enclosure for a run. If you check out their website here, you can see they have a very unique, yet impressive line-up. I look forward to see further releases from them.
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