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title

Product Application:

Controller Panel

Product Provided by:

VIZO

Available at:

NewEgg.com

Estimated MSRP:

$35.99

Availability:

Now

Review by:

Darren

Edited by:

Scott

Review date:

10/22/2007

Crucial System Scanner
 

 

     Some times you have to think out side the box when you approach your next big upgrade, and I do mean outside the box.  Nearly everything you need has gone external from hard drives to video cards.  Thanks to the bandwidth gains offered by USB 2.0 and eSATA (and the dramatic price drops) many of us are finding there aren't enough ports to go around.  Thanks to products like VIZO's Master Panel II you can add all the ports you need  to nearly any build, and stop the rooting around behind your case for good.  Let's see how the Master Panel II can bring you back to the front again.

     We have seen a lot of fan controllers, card readers and such over the years but there always seems to be at least one function that isn't included in the build.  With the Master Panel II, VIZO offers the amusing tagline, "No need to go to the back... Do it in the front!" 

front  back 

     Lets take a closer look at the packaging first.  The front offers a nice look at the product and shows how the master Panel II aims to fill your need for a card reader, fan controller, external drive ports and multi-function I/O ports.  The back takes that into greater detail.  No need to squint, we bring it all to you below.

front

     The front of the Master Panel is cleanly laid out resulting in functions that are easy to get to and clearly defined.  Clockwise from top left: Power and drive activity lights, 4 card slots, 2 fan controllers,  3 audio I/O ports, an RCA port,  an eSATA 3.0 port, a 1394 and  2 USB 2.0 ports.  The housing is constructed of black plastic but only you will know without a pretty close inspection.  The finish nicely matches both the Tagan El Diablo I have chosen for today's install and my favorite black aluminum SF-201.

    FEATURES

  • For 5.25" Bay
  • USB2.0 internal card reader 4 memory slots are active, which allows you to copy data between the different memory cards at the same time
  • Dual fan speed control knobs (4V -12 V)
  • Multi I/O transfer function (USB*2/ 1394 / eSATA/ RCA / audio*3)
  • Support hot plug and hot swappable
    Must be attached to hot swappable compliant host to enable hot swappable function
  • No need to go to the back, do it in the front
  • Support WIN 98SE / ME / 2000 / XP / Vista
  • Support MAC OS 9.X/ X or above
  • SPECIFICATIONS

  • Dimensions: 148(W) x 42(H) x 70(D) mm
  • Card reader Interface: USB2.0
  • Power Mode: USB power / DC 12V, 5V
  • Memory card slot:
    4 slots for: Compact Flash Type I/II, Micro Driver, Memory Stick(Duo*), Memory Stick Pro(Duo*), Smart Media, SD, mini SD*, Multi Media card, RS-MMC*, microSD*
    *: need card adapter
  • Fan Control: 2*3pin fan RPM control knobs (4V-12V)
  • Weight: 90g

    SYSTEM REQUIREMENT

    N/A

accessories

    PACKAGE INCLUDES

  • Master Panel II Main Module
  • Power Adapter Cable
  • Fan Cables
  • USB Cable
  • MIC Cable
  • 1394 Cable
  • Line in / out Cable
  • SATA Cable
  • RCA Cable
  • Accessory Package
  • 98 Driver CD for Card Reader
  • User Manual

back

     The back of the panel is pretty simple as most of the features require only a pass through to function.  The USB cable shown here comes pre-installed and is used by the card reader and as a power source where needed with the rest of the cables left be chosen as needed.  For full functionality you are going to need to take some cables out the back of the case to the correct ports.  The connections on the back are as follows from left to right: 2 fan adapters and a power adapter (hidden behind the USB), pins for two audio cables, the RCA port (also hidden), the SATA port, and headers for the 1394 and USB ports.  These will be easier to see from the top.

top

     As you can see from this angle the entire assembly is about 2 inches deep using only the front mountings in a typical 5.25" drive bay.  This angle also shows the ports hidden above by the USB cable.  The two tiered structure of the boards is pretty simple and should last you for many years of happy plugging along.  Just remember to take it easy on those fragile pin-outs.

Installation:

     I installed the Master Panel II into my Tagan El Diablo case next to a Lite-on DVD-RW.  The Tagan build is based around my ABIT Fatal1ty AN9 32X motherboard which provided nearly all of the needed ports without an external cable run.  I elected to skip the RCA to avoid any unsightly cabling out the back.

installed

     Here is a close look at the finished install.  The color is a nice match for the Lite-on unit and looks pretty sharp in general.  The finished installation even fits nicely behind the door when not in use.  Thanks to the lack of a big side window, I was even spared most of the cable cleanup and settled for just a couple quick cable ties.   The two fan controls had no problem taking over for the built in controllers on the El Diablo and everything else worked like clock work.  I even used the ports to dump these pictures from my Sony camera.

Conclusion:

     The VIZO Master Panel II may not have as many ports as some of the competitors but it does manage to have every commonly used port I have ever needed. The layout benefits from this as well by eliminating the clutter that makes so many control panels look so busy.  The entire install is easy and requires no drivers for most builds, only Windows 98 users will need the included disk.  As with any control panel, the bulk of the time is spent plugging in all of the cables and routing them around the case, or out the back as needed.  VIZO has even thoughtfully provided some cable ties to help keep things clean. 

      I can easily recommend this panel for a build without an eSATA port.  With the exploding popularity of the eSATA market, it is becoming the dominate choice for external storage quickly.  I would also recommend this as an easy way to add the functionality of those optional ports that make things so much easier to any build.  VIZO has successfully made it so I no longer need to take any of my external devices to the back of my desk and that is a win in my book.

Note: Club Overclocker is now using a new rating system based on a score of 1 to 5.
Please go to our rating system page for more information.

Performance: 4 out of 5

Innovation:

3 out of 5

Quality:

4 out of 5

Stability:

N/A
Aesthetics: 4 out of 5

Software/Drivers Pack:

N/A

Overclocking:

N/A
Value: 4 out of 5

4.0

Project Skill Level
(5 being most difficult)

3 out of 5

 


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