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Antec's Easy USB: Two up front


Two up front
— 6:28 AM on June 25, 2001

ManufacturerAntec
ModelEasy USB
Price
(street)
$14.95
AvailabilityNow

If you have those extra devices, do you really want the hassle of having to reach around the back of your case every time you want to remove them? I didn't think so.

Antec has a quick solution for your auxiliary USB woes: the Easy USB. Does it do the trick? Is it worth the cash? Can TR do a review without any graphs? Let's find out.

Easy USB?
So what exactly is the Easy USB? In short, it's an insert that converts a 5.25" drive bay to a 3.5" drive bay with two USB ports. Unlike other solutions that move port and connectors up front, the Easy USB doesn't wholly sacrifice a 5.25" bay. It still allows one to populate the bay with a 3.5" drive, like a floppy or a Zip drive. Other solutions do, however, provide more than just USB ports, so there's a tradeoff.


The Easy USB with a 3.5" Zip drive inserted

What does it take to make it all work? Not much. The Easy USB package comes with the drive bay, a bag full of screws, and the USB header cable. The cable should work in most motherboards that support USB headers, and the drive bay fits properly into any 5.25" bay. Adding in a 3.5" drive requires that the drive have screw holes on the bottom, which is standard.

There are also some instructions printed on the packaging, but even Joe Sixpack could figure things out without them.

Does it work?
Well, there's not much to really test here. I put my Zip drive into the 3.5" bay, plugged the header into my motherboard, and it worked. No fancy graphs or performance analysis needed. The entire installation took about five minutes and was as easy as the name implies.


Front-of-the-case convenience for digicams and the like

I could try to quantify the convenience of having a couple of USB ports at the front of the computer rather than at the rear, but I think you've got a good idea of where it might be useful for you. In some cases, if you don't have any USB devices you normally remove, there's really little that the Easy USB can do. In fact, for devices you remove rarely, it's a lot cleaner to have the cables running out the back. But, if you do have something like a digital camera that you unplug a lot, the Easy USB is a joy.