I have seen a multitude of swappable hard drive racks in my time, most of which were flimsy junk. Being a cynic (frustrated idealist) at heart I wasn't as excited as usual about reviewing new hardware and instead of rushing over right away to pick up the racks I decided to pick them up a couple of days later. The next day when I received a picture in my email I decided I liked what I saw and rushed over to pick up the racks before someone else decided to review them. The pictures below show it all. These things look good and as we will find out later they are functional. I have included a picture below of the box, a cartridge and a complete kit. The racks in the picture below are silver and would look awesome in an aluminum case.
LCD Display, Fan Fail/Over-Heat Audio Alarm & Display, HDD Usage Time Record Display, Master Or Slave Hard Drive Setting & Display, IDE Interface, Aluminum Casing, Easy 3 Steps Key Lock, Support ATA 133 MB/Sec Data, Transfer Rate, 40mm Rear Cooling Fan, Power/HDD Access Indicator.
Available in Beige, Black and Silver.
The picture below shows a silver cartridge on the left and a complete silver kit on the right.
While I don't see many beige computers being sold anymore, the racks below would definitely look good in such a PC.
Now for my personal favorite, the black cartridge and complete set; ideal for a black case.
Enough with the cosmetics. What we all want to know is does function meet form in the case of the PC Toys MobileMaxx. I will say unequivocally yes! I have just built a new PC. I decided not to load the case down with tons of drives to the point of generating more heat than necessary. The problem of sending large disk images across my home network to share and burn on another box can be a nuisance at times. The MobileMaxx solves this problem on two fronts. I just move the data drives to the PC which I want to use them on. I decided to stress the hard drive below by running it full speed for over an hour to do a video conversion from RAW mpeg1. Normally the heat would really rise in the 5 1/4 slots because they have no direct fan blowing on them. With the MobileMaxx the fan resident in the aluminum rack kept the drive very cool. With a room temperature of 76F, temperatures after one hour of stressing the drive only climbed to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. This is only 2F above ideal temps of 84F. The unit was lukewarm to the touch when I swapped racks to my mpeg 1 storage disk. Normally the drive is very warm to the touch. The mobile rack had done its job quite well. The shot below is of the LCD readout after an hour of hard usage.
The rack has programmable alarms so that you can set your computer to alert you whenever your drive is getting too hot. The rack also has a fan alert alarm that lets you know if the fan stops working. I find both of these features to be quite useful. Some might consider it overkill but if you have ever had a drive crash and burn while full of data, anything that might help your current drives not to crash gains value quite rapidly. In the picture below I removed the cover off of the empty silver drive to show the internal components. The IDE connector attaches to the back of the drive as well as the power connector. The red, yellow and green cables are attached to the pins and act as jumpers once the on-off switches are set on the rear exterior of the cartridge. The directions are fairly clear on how to pin the drives internally. Once all the wires are connected internally the drive slides into the cartridge and is attached to the rack structure via screws. The cover is then slid in place and the job is almost complete.
Once the drive is secured and cabled inside the cartridge the pins are then set for the drive by means of the red dip switches. When you start your PC watch how the bios recognizes your drive as master or slave. If it does not recognize your drive accurately just take the drive out of the rack and reset the jumpers. It's that easy. One thing to take note of here; you must lock the cartridge in the rack by using the key to set the lock to the appropriate position. If you do not do this your drive will not power up.
When it's all done you have a mobile rack that adds to the visual appeal of your box. The LCD provides instant information as to the operational parameters of your drive and adds a unique touch to your case.
If you are looking for an aesthetically appealing and functional mobile rack then the MobileMaxx just might fit the bill. While it doesn't contain an MP3 player and won't give you the time in 6 cities at the press of the button while controlling Winamp, it does exactly what it is designed to do. It gives you an easy method to swap out drives while the LCD monitors the heat of your drive and sounds an alarm when the drive temperature exceeds your alarm setting or when the cooling fan ceases to spin. What else could you ask of a mobile rack that doesn't kill your pocket book? The MobileMaxx provides solid functionality at a reasonable price and I would recommend it to anyone looking for an inexpensive answer to their swappable rack problems.