Sound Cards

  Home arrow Sound Cards arrow FrontX Port Extender Review
Watch our Tech Videos 
Dev Hardware Forums 
Computer Cases  
Computer Processors  
Computer Systems  
Digital Cameras  
Flat Panels  
Gaming  
Hardware Guides  
Hardware News  
Input Devices  
Memory  
Mobile Devices  
Motherboards  
Networking Hardware  
Opinions  
PC Cooling  
PC Speakers  
Peripherals  
Power Supply Units  
Software  
Sound Cards  
Storage Devices  
Tech Interviews  
User Experiences  
Video Cards  
Weekly Newsletter
 
Developer Updates  
Free Website Content 
 RSS  Articles
 RSS  Forums
 RSS  All Feeds
Write For Us 
Contact Us 
Site Map 
Privacy Policy 
Support 
 USERNAME
 
 PASSWORD
 
 
  >>> SIGN UP!  
  Lost Password? 
SOUND CARDS

FrontX Port Extender Review
By: Justifier
  • Search For More Articles!
  • Disclaimer
  • Author Terms
  • Rating: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars / 3
    2003-10-02

    Table of Contents:

    Rate this Article: Poor Best 
      ADD THIS ARTICLE TO:
      Del.ici.ous Digg
      Blink Simpy
      Google Spurl
      Y! MyWeb Furl
    Email Me Similar Content When Posted
    Add Developer Shed Article Feed To Your Site
    Email Article To Friend
    Print Version Of Article
    PDF Version Of Article
     
     

    SEARCH DEV HARDWARE

    I can already hear ya.. "What the hell is a "FrontX Multimedia Port Extender?" Well, the answer is a simple one. It's a device that slides into a 5.25 slot in the front of your PC that allows you to plug in a variety of shiz in the "front" instead of digging around the back.


     

    Written by:  Justifier (Jim)

     

    I  can already hear ya..  "What the hell is a "FrontX Multimedia Port Extender?"  Well, the answer is a simple one.  It's a device that slides into a 5.25 slot in the front of your PC that allows you to plug in a variety of shiz in the "front" instead of digging around the back.

    We got this in a while ago but we've been so damn busy that it got kicked to the back burner, but here she is all the same.

    The first time I saw this the word "stoopid" instantly filled my mind (it's kind of a small space ya know?), but after reading a bit about it and some thought, all of a sudden it wasn't so stoopid.

    I have more junk sitting around my desk than old man Sanford had in his garage, included in that mess is my game pad and my headset for when I wanted to video conference or jam to some Quake 3 fever.  About 90% of the time I don't use either of these things, but sure enough they're plugged up and taking up space.  What if I could put 'em in a drawer and pull 'em out when they were needed without having to fight that big ass cable monster that's currently residing behind my PC?  Hmm, this might make some sense.

    The second reason this thing just might kickass is the biggest reason to drop some jack on this thing if ya ask me.  This thing would be the perfect solution for what seems to be the latest craze, a "LAN Box".  We've all been to LAN parties where the game of choice changes by the moment, and the noise level is just about the equivalent of 14 C-130 military aircrafts taking off.  To have a place in that box that you can throw your headphones into and plug the game pad or joystick in quickly may just be the ticket.  Hell, a LAN box is damn near screaming for one of these, and I'll get into just why in a bit.

    Before I go of on too much of a tangent and start sounding like I have a 50% interest in FrontX, lemme give ya the low down.

     

    WHAT COMES IN THE PACKAGE:

    The packaging was simple but effective.  When I pulled the plastic of I found the frontX unit, the metal plate for a spare card port, the mounting hardware, and surprisingly easy to follow directions on the back of the package.  Don't believe me?  Here's a pic:



     

    Let's move on and show ya how to install this thing and some pics of it in action...

     

    INSTALLATION:

    Installing this thing shouldn't be too difficult, unless of course your anal like I am.  Putting it in the slot is easy enough, but getting those cables routed so that they don't interfere with my precious airflow is another thing. 

    Putting the unit in the front is as easy as installing any CDRom, slide it in and throw a couple of screws in it for good measure.  But as you can see in the pic below, now there are more than a few cables to worry about.

     


    One thing I have to give to FrontX on this one is that they didn't use cheap flimsy cables in their units.  These are relatively stout so I suggest you prepare for a bit of a battle when routing these things.  I found that using zip ties to run the cables along the drive rack and then down the side of the case worked best.  Once I got them to the bottom I simply used clear packaging tape to keep them tight against the edge of the case and ran them to the back of the case. FrontX was kind enough to include two and a half feet of length so that even peeps with full towers shouldn't have much problem here.

    Once you have you're cables NEATLY run to the back of the case, it's time to pop out the PCI or ISA slot cover above or below your sound card., we used the one above.  Run your cables through that hole and you're almost done.

     


    As seen in the above picture, slide the included slot cover with a boat shaped cut out at the top into place with the cables obviously in the cut out.

    As for plugging the wires in it's pretty self explanatory, plug the well marked speaker, microphone, headphone, and game pad plugs into their appropriate place on your sound card. 

    "Great, now where do I plug in my speakers" you ask?  There's a mounting hole for the included speaker jack in the PCI slot cover.  

    For those of you who are a bit lost, which shouldn't be anyone, this is pretty simple stuff, here is a full blown pic of what ya need to do.  Beware, this thing is is almost 60kb.


     

    Notice we have no pride, we ripped that pic straight from FrontX's PR page.  It was a whole lot more suitable than the ones we took ourselves, there were enough empty beer cans around to get us $100 at the recycling center.

    Now that you've got the grunt work out of the way, let's see what it look's like installed:

          

     


     

    Not too shabby for a couple of drunk Overclocking junkies.  Although I must say, the gray color that this thing comes standard with leaves a lot to be desires.  Let's wrap this thing up.  Hit next to see out oh so informative take on this unit in general and the conclusion..

    OBSERVATIONS:

    While we generally like the concept behind the FrontX, and a lot of the features, there are a few things we didn't.

    For starters, as I mentioned on the last page.  GRAY?  I know that it's impossible to match a computer tan color of every case, but GRAY?!  This thing could be much higher in our eyes had they made an attempt to make this thing look native in your case.

    And to throw a USB connection in as a standard feature would have been a big plus.  I know I would love to have a quick USB port available for my digital video camera, not to mention palm top connection cables, or to download those porn pics from your digital camera.

    Now while these are things we aren't happy with, there are relatively simple resolutions.  AS for the color, that is one of the reasons I feel this thing is a perfect match for a LAN case.  How many of you FreakZ out there paint your LAN boxes all with all kinds of funky designs?  Painting this thing to match your whacked out case quickly solves the color problem.

    As for the USB ports, FrontX has plans in the immediate future to release "add on" components for this.  First on their list are USB, Serial, Video, and Parallel ports.  As long as they keep the prices of those upgrades reasonable it should alleviate that problem as well.

     


    CONCLUSION:

    I would have to say that in general FrontX has a pretty good product here.  They came up with a unique idea and put out a quality component.  This thing is not cheaply built in my opinion, I especially like the door on the front to hide all the connectors when its not in use.

    I would HIGHLY recommend this product to anyone who has or is planning to build a LAN case.  LAN cases are generally not as crazily overclocked as our home PC's and airflow won't be as much of an issue.  As for your home PC, that one is up to you.  If you feel that this is something you need, and that it's worth the $25.90 price tag, then go for it.

     

    PRO'S

    Great Instructions

    Convenience 

    KILLER LAN Box Addition

    Looks KEWL if Painted

     

    CON'S

    Price (US$25.90)

    Color

    No Standard USB Ports

    Possible Air Flow Restriction

     

    With all that said, if you think this thing is for you, and it probably is for many of you, head over to FRONTX.com and get one!


    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

    More Sound Cards Articles
    More By Justifier

    blog comments powered by Disqus

    SOUND CARDS ARTICLES

    - Reviewing the Creative Audigy SE
    - Bluegears b-Enspirer
    - Creative Labs Audigy2 NX Review
    - Audio Hardware
    - Creative Labs: The Microsoft of Sound
    - Gainward Hollywood@Home SoundXplosion Pack R...
    - FrontX Port Extender Review
    - NewQ Gold DSP Review
    - Acoustic Edge Sound Card Review
    - Guillemot Maxi Sound Muse

    Developer Shed Affiliates

     




    © 2003-2017 by Developer Shed. All rights reserved. DS Cluster - Follow our Sitemap
    KEITHLEE2zdeconfigurator/configs/INFUSIONSOFT_OVERLAY.phpzdeconfigurator/configs/ OFFLOADING INFUSIONSOFTLOADING INFUSIONSOFT 1debug:overlay status: OFF
    overlay not displayed overlay cookie defined: TI_CAMPAIGN_1012_D OVERLAY COOKIE set:
    status off