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  VIZO Master Panel II Review

VIZO has sent us a number of products over the last year which consisted of mainly hard drive enclosures and laptop cooling devices. This time, they sent a product that allows old cases to feel like new again! This product adds all the same front panel connectors those new fangled cases have into a standard 5.25 inch bay. 

"No need to go to the back... Do it in the Front!!"... says the front of the box.  Oh dear! Aside from the slighly risque translation, the product does indeed allow you to do it in the...umm...front. The VIZO Master Panel II re-routes audio, USB, Firewire, and eSata ports into a front panel that sits in a standard 5.25 inch bay. It even contains a dual-channel fan controller and a Multicard Reader.  Looks like hanging on to that old case for a bit longer might just be an option afterall.

What's In The Box...

 VIZO Master Panel II Review

In order to re-route all the back panel connections to a front panel 5.25 inch bay, the VIZO Master Panel II includes a plethora of connectors to get the job done.  The package includes:

  • Power Adapter Cable
  • Fan Cables
  • USB Cable
  • MIC Cable
  • 1394 Cable
  • Line in / out Cable
  • SATA Cable
  • RCA Cable
  • Zip Ties and Screws 
  • 98 Driver CD for Card Reader
  • User Manual

I found it a little odd that there were no cables to allow the use of standard motherboard or audio card front panel connectors to route the audio to the 5.25 inch bay. Also a little peculiar is the inlcusion of an AV connector that only supports composite video.  Who uses composite video these days?

First Impressions

VIZO Master Panel II Review 

The Master Panel II seems well put together and it is nice to see the inclusion of the card reader.  The reader supports the following formats:

  • 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*

The formats with the asterisk require an adapter to work with the reader.  The reader also allows media to media read and write capabilities between the seperate slots.  The only thing missing here is SDHC media support which could be an issue if you are already using these cards.  Below the reader, you will also see the USB 2.0, Firewire and eSata connections.

VIZO Master Panel II Review

To the right, you'll see the two fan controller knobs and the mic/headphone, and line input ports. Also present is the somewhat useless (by today's standards) composite video port.

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