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STORAGE DEVICES

Coolmax Gemini
By: SPeeD
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    2003-10-02

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  • Coolmax Gemini
  • Coolmax Gemini
  • Coolmax Gemini

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    Coolmax Gemini


    (Page 1 of 3 )

    [T]oday I have the pleasure of reviewing the Coolmax Gemini Series 3.5in/5.25in Aluminum USB v2.0 External Enclosure. This device allows you to take any 3.5 inch hard drive or 5.25 inch CD-Rom, CD-RW, DVD, DVD-RW or MO drive and connect it to any PC with an available v1.1 or v2.0 USB port. Coolmax is a Taiwanese company that has been in business since 1992 as a leading manufacturer of DC cooling fans, CPU coolers, power supplies, external enclosures, IDE/FDD rounded cables and data storage devices. So what is special about the Gemini series of external enclosures? Is this a "Wow! I don't know how I got along without this" wonder tool or a "Gee, this kinda sucks" gadget? Let's find out.

     

    Manufacturer:

    Coolmax Technology Inc
    Product:

    Coolmax Gemini Aluminum USB 2.0 External Enclosure

    Price:

    USD$46

    Availability:

    NOW

    Reviewed By:

    Maurice "DaddyMJ" Johnson

    Edited By:

    Mack "SPeeD"

     


     



     

    INTRODUCTION

    Would you be interested in being able to take your hard drive containing every song you've ever downloaded with you to a friend's house? Or how about being able to take your 200GB hard drive to any PC in the house and perform a full backup of crucial files for your less than PC literate family members? I'm sure there are lots of other scenarios you can think of that would entail using a portable drive enclosure for the task. Well today I have the pleasure of reviewing the Coolmax Gemini Series 3.5in/5.25in Aluminum USB v2.0 External Enclosure. This device allows you to take any 3.5 inch hard drive or 5.25 inch CD-Rom, CD-RW, DVD, DVD-RW or MO drive and connect it to any PC with an available v1.1 or v2.0 USB port. Coolmax is a Taiwanese company that has been in business since 1992 as a leading manufacturer of DC cooling fans, CPU coolers, power supplies, external enclosures, IDE/FDD rounded cables and data storage devices. So what is special about the Gemini series of external enclosures? Is this a "Wow! I don't know how I got along without this" wonder tool or a "Gee, this kinda sucks" gadget? Let's find out.

     


    PACKAGING


    The Gemini comes in an attractively colored cardboard box with a full description of the product specifications and features on the back. Coolmax even provides the assembly and operating instructions on the outside of the box for those of us that never RTDM (Read The Damned Manual). Putting everything on the outside of the box is a good thing because the manual that comes inside the box is that in name only. It's really just a single piece of paper folded twice to provide eight pages. The instructions are very simple but I can't argue with that because this is a plug and play device after all. It shouldn't take a rocket scientist to operate.

    (click to enlarge pictures)


    Upon opening the box you get the drive enclosure with dense foam protective caps, an AC power adapter, a USB cable, a small plastic bag containing eight screws, and the aforementioned "manual". There are four screws each for either a 3.5 inch or 5.25 inch device. Now I have to admit that when the box from UPS arrived at my door, it looked none the worse for wear. And as you can see above, the Gemini box was not damaged at all. But when I removed the protective foam endcaps from the drive enclosure, the plastic front panel came tumbling out like a jigsaw puzzle. A closer inspection of the front panel reveals that it is one, pretty thin and flimsy, and two, constructed of a very brittle plastic. The smoked grey endcaps of the drive enclosure are also made of some not so durable plastic. I found three hairline cracks on one corner of one endcap. This is most likely the site of whatever impact that caused the front panel to break into pieces. The actual drive enclosure itself is made of aluminum with a brushed texture and raised ridges along the sides.

     


    Okay, Let's take a detailed look at the drive enclosure itself. You see the front panel which is opaque due to the textured pattern formed on the inside surface of it. If you look at the inside of the drive enclosure from a front view, you can see the drive activity light on the lower right hand corner. This is a two color LED that glows green as long as power is on and will flicker orange during drive activity. You see the enclosure back panel which contains the power adapter jack, the on/off switch, the USB port, the audio jack and the exhaust fan grill.

     


    Another look at the back of the drive enclosure shows two captive screws that keep the drive tray locked into the enclosure. Once these two screws are loosened the drive tray simply slides out of the back of the drive enclosure. A simple and effective containment system. Again, you can see that the drive LED is actually attached to the drive tray and not the enclosure shell.

     


    SPECIFICATIONS

     



    (silver)(black)

    (click to enlarge pictures)

     

    The Gemini external enclosure comes in three models and two colors. You can get either the silver aluminum with smoked grey endcaps or the black aluminum with black endcaps. The model variations are USB v2.0 only, IEEE1394 (Firewire) only, or a combination unit that contains connections for either USB v2.0 or IEEE 1394. The USB v2.0 models are fully backward compatible with the USB v1.1 specification. Coolmax's listed manufacturer's suggested retail pricing is already being beaten by at least one online retailer. Click on the red "buy now" link in the beginning of the review to find this device for approximately $46.00.

     

    ModelCD-510-U2CD-510-FW

    CD-510-Combo


    MSRP

    US$65~70.00US$70~75.00US$75~80.00
    Interface

    IDE to USB v2.0

    IDE to

    IEEE 1394

    IDE to USB v2.0

    IDE to IEEE 1394

    Data transfer rate480bps400bps

    480bps (USB v2.0)

    400bps (IEEE 1394)

    Compatibility for

    HDD

    Up to 1 TBUp to 200GB

    Up to 1 TB

    (USB v2.0)

    Up to 200GB

    (IEEE 1394)

    MaterialAll Aluminum Frame and Metal Tray
    Interface supportHDD, CD-Rom, CD-RW, DVD, DVD-RW, MO
    For hard diskSupports HDD without need for drive rails
    Operating systemWin98SE/ME/2000/XP, Mac OS 8.6 or higher
    Power adapter100 - 240V / 12VDC~1.7A
    Cooling fan1 x 4cm cooling fan
    Audiostereo headphone jack
    Dimensions258mm(L) x 168mm(W) x 60mm(H)
    Weight0.95KG

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