VIZO Ares II Dual 2.5in SATA Drive Rack

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Product: VIZO Ares II Dual 2.5in SATA Drive Rack
Provided By: VIZO
Price:


Introduction:

VIZO has a lot of interesting storage solutions and they continue to provide consumers with quality products at very competitive prices.  A while back we looked at the original Ares rack that fit a single 3.5in drive in a 5.25in bay.  Today we have the Ares II and this little unit fits a pair of 2.5in drives into a single 3.5in bay.  It provides Hot-Swap SATA connectivity for those of you who need quick portable storage.  With that being said, let's jump right in.

Ares II Box
Ares II Box 

 

The VIZO Ares II comes is a pretty decent box that contains all the relevant information a buyer will need before he drops his cash on this product.  While the box isn't too fancy, it does include details regarding the product inside.  It shows that the 2.5in drives do not need rails and they should install very simply and quickly.

As we open up the box, we find a good assortment of goodies that will allow you to install this device in your system with no extra expense.  VIZO includes all the required power cables, SATA data cables and screws needed for this unit.  The power cables are Molex-to-SATA cables that also contain a "Y" adapter for the HDD LED indicators.  I'm not sure why VIZO couldn't wire this directly into the unit so you could just use standard SATA cables.  This isn't a big deal though - unless you lose the cables that come with the Ares II.  If you do, you'll lose HDD indication.  The drives themselves will continue to function properly.

 Ares II Bundle
Ares II Bundle

 

Before we take a look at installation and performance of this unit, we'll grab the specifications from VIZO.

 

VIZO Ares II Specifications:

Description:

  • For Dual 2.5” SATA HDD / SSD
  • Compact & Space Saving
  • One touch to Open
  • Tool Free for Drive Installation
  • Strong Stainless Body with Ventilation Holes for Excellent Heat Dissipation
  • Mini Size / Double Storage Capacity
  • Easy to open / Easy to install / Easy to use
  Ares II Front & Back
Ares II Front & Back

 

Features:

  • Compatible with dual 2.5" SATA HDD / SSD
  • Compact size can fit external 3.5" drive bay
  • Space saving design permits huge quantity storage
  • Great for storage expansion of mini PC / PC
  • Easy to open with one touch
  • Patented tool-free design for rapid drive installation
  • Support hot swappable
  • Reliable EMI shielding
  • Strong stainless body with ventilation holes for excellent heat dissipation
  • Unique scratch-proof SATA connector , more than 50,000 times plug / ejection

 

Specs:

  • Data Transfer Rate : 3 Gb / Sec
  • Drive Type :
    2.5 " SATA I / II Hard Disk Drive
    2.5 " SATA Solid State Drive
  • Housing Material : Stainless & Plastic
  • Interface Host : SATA ( 7 pin )
  • Indicators : Power on, Drive activity
  • Weight : 282.5 g ( without Drive )
  • Dimensions : 134 (L) x 102 (W) x 24 (H) mm 

 

Continue on to the next page for installation and testing.


Installation:

Installation is pretty simple, if you can install a CD-Rom, you're not going to have any issues whatsoever. Installing a HDD into the Dual-Bay rack is very simple and doesn't require any screws to mount the drives. Installation of the second drive is honestly just as mundane as the first - the bay cover opens by sliding the release to the right; insert the drive, close the cover.  The cover locks into place - securing the drive to the power and data interface.  There is also a lever at the back side of the drive that helps push the drive out of the bay when you open the cover.  That's right ladies, no more chipped fingernails when taking out your 2.5" drive!  I bet that's a relief!

 Drive Installation
Drive Installation
Drive Installed
Drive Installed

 

If you've got your motherboard set to SATA or AHCI mode on your SATA interface, you should be able to hot-swap drives in this dual-bay rack as well.  We were able to drop in a 320GB drive while the system was running with no issues.  The drive was detected within seconds and we were able to run benchmarks.  The nice LED to the right of the drive slot kept us company through the tests.

Ares II Installed
Ares II Installed 

 

Performance Tests:

To get a quick feel for performance with the VIZO Ares II Dual-Bay 2.5in SATA rack we ran HDTach as our only benchmark.  The Ares II is merely a SATA pass-through device so performance of this unit should closely mimic what the drive placed inside is capable of.  We used a 320GB Western Digital Scorpio that spins at 5,400rpm for the test.  It's not the fastest 2.5" drive around, but it performs pretty well in our other enclosures as well.

 HDTach

 

 HDTach Chart

Compared to other drive enclosures; both internal and external, the VIZO Ares II does very well.  The Ares II uses the same drive as the iStarUSA 2.5in eSATA dock below.  The other drives show performance of a 3.5" Hitachi 120GB drive.  You can see that the Ares II pulls ahead of the iStarUSA dock in burst rate, but lacks slightly in random access times.  Average transfer is too close to call though with the Ares II pulling out an extra 0.1MB/sec.

 

VIZO Ares II - Conclusion:

The VIZO Ares II is a unique product that offers not one, but two 2.5" bays in a single 3.5" internal enclosure.  Either drive can be hot-swapped and the pass-through SATA interface assures solid performance.  The design of the product is very well done and while there is no active cooling available, most 2.5" drives should stay cool enough as they are designed for tighter, less-ventilated spaces.  There really isn't anything not to like about the Ares II and if you need to quickly add one or two small drives to your system, this is one of the few ways you can do it without opening your system or cluttering up your desk.

 

Pros:

  • Easy installation of Dual-Bay unit as well as drives.
  • No real performance decrease over standard SATA connections.
  • Decent price for two SATA drive enclosures.

 

Cons:

  • Latch feels a little cheap.

 

While the Ares II certainly may not be for everyone, it delivers on providing a very space-friendly way to add a couple of 2.5in drives to your system.  With these drives available in 500GB sizes, you can sure pack around a lot of data in your pocket.  The Ares II lets you easily connect these drives to your system without opening it up or having extra cables strung across your desk.  It's a beauty.

 BCCRating

 Top Pick

 

I'd like to thank VIZO for sending the Ares II our way for a review.  If you have any questions or comments, please post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.