There’s a growing trend among makers of PC cases to mount within them connections for the likes of FireWire and USB ports at the front of the case. It’s proven to be a great idea, and has subsequently led to the development of kits like Lindy’s latest, to help the port-wise unendowed achieve parity.
Ultimately, it’s another piece of hardware that pretty much does what it says on the box, albeit not without one or two omissions. The idea is simple. In either a spare 3.5-inch or 5.25-inch drive bay at the front of your machine, you slot in the main unit, once you’ve connected up the power, USB and FireWire leads. It’s easier, we found, to plug these leads in first and then slide the box into your PC, rather than tackle it the other way round. If you go down the 5.25-inch bay route, you need to attach the hub to a bracket that Lindy supplies in the box.
Criticism number one comes in here, although it is a fairly minor one. In these days of half decent case aesthetics, it wouldn’t have gone amiss to include a couple of front bezels with different colour schemes. As it is, you’re stuck with beige, and they hope you like it.
Criticism number two kicks in when you connect the hub up to existing USB and FireWire ports within your PC. Lindy dictates that you must thread the leads through the back of your PC – supplying an adapted backing plate that leaves room for them – and hook them up to the connections at the back of your computer. We’ve no problem with that, but were a little surprised to find no thought had been given to those who would rather hook the hub up to the relevant connectors on their motherboard, should they so have them. Instead, you have to thread the leads right through the body of your case and out the other side.
Grumbles aside, when you switch your computer on, things couldn’t go more smoothly. An LED on the front of the hub indicates that power has reached it, and it worked with little bother on both the Windows Me and Windows XP-based machines we tried it in. The manual is clean and simple, and all the screws you’d need to affix the hub are supplied in the box. The hub provides an extra two USB 2.0 ports, and two for FireWire, and the convenience of having these at the front of the PC can’t be understated. However, if Lindy could address our second criticism, at least in a future product, then this would be a no-brainer recommendation.
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