FrontX Front X-tension CPX088
Written by David Lin in Peripherals on 14 March 2005. Page 2 of 2. Add A Comment

Installation:

We chose to install the FrontX in our Antec P160 chassis. It started out like any other 5.25” drive installation, but quickly turned into a rather large headache. Attaching the aluminum drive rails was no problem. The problem with the unit was that it was a few centimeters slimmer than a normal CD-ROM Drive and so it would not fit snugly in the 5.25” bay. There was no way to secure the unit in the bay, and so we had to resort to shoving a piece of cardboard between the rail and the case. After that was done, we simply had to plug the cable connectors into our motherboard headers. That went very smoothly because we had spare connectors available on our motherboard. Some, however, will not have the necessary connectors, so be sure to check your motherboard diagram before purchasing this unit. If you lack the available connectors on your motherboard, FrontX also offers an external port solution where the cables are tunneled through your case and out of an available expansion slot to be connected at the rear of your chassis.

Overall, the installation was not too difficult. Due to slightly smaller size, the FrontX unit would not fit in our P160 5.25” drive bay. Of course, if you have the old mounting system that requires you to screw the drives onto the case, then you should have no problems with the installation of this unit.

Performance:

After everything was plugged in, there was no software that needed to be installed. We tested out all of the ports and luckily, they all worked as expected. In fact, we used the USB port to transfer the pictures seen in this review. For the sound port, we listened for distortion or warping, but none could be detected. Overall, it performed as we would expect any ports to perform.

Hardware Components
Processor: AMD Athlon XP 2600+ @ 2.53GHz
Motherboard: Abit NF7-S Revision 2
Memory: 2 x 512MB Kingston HyperX PC4000
Graphics Card: BFG 6800GT OC
Hard Drives: 2 x 120GB Maxtor SATA (RAID 0)
Case: Antec P160
Power Supply: ThermalTake Silent Purepower 420W
Software Components
Operating System: FedoraCore3
Linux Kernel: 2.6.9-1.667

Conclusion:

The FrontX is a very convenient unit for those who need more front ports. FrontX offers a wide variety of ports so anything that is needed should be available from them. Even if it isn't available, they have DIY (do-it-yourself) port kits for you to make your own custom ports that can be mounted on the FrontX unit. Overall, we were satisfied with the unit, but the problems during installation were rather annoying. FrontX will need to address this issue, since there are a growing number of cases that use drive rails rather than the old direct mount system. As a whole, the FrontX is a great affordable unit for users not wanting to crawl into a jungle of cables underneath their desk and would much rather plug their devices directly into the front of the computer.

Pros:

· Convenient front ports
· High quality plastic casing & cables
· Cheap
· Customizable

Cons:

· Problems fitting snug in the 5.25" drive bay

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