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The Next Step, Hi-Speed USB 2.0

IOGEAR Supplied USB 2.0 Devices

IOGear has clearly become a leader in USB 2.0 solutions. In our report from Comdex (Cable Modem/DSL Router With VPN Support - IOgear ), we looked at some of the directions in which IOGear was taking the new USB 2.0 standard. IOGear has been hard at work developing some innovative devices for USB 2.0, and we were lucky enough for them to allow us to put a few of them to the test.

To show the performance gains from USB 2.0, IOGear supplied us with the Impulse Hi-Speed USB 2.0 CDRW (GCD161040) and an IOGear ION 2.0 (GHE125U). The Impulse is an external USB 2.0 CDRW drive, and the ION is a USB 2.0 2.5" hard drive cage.

While putting them to the test, we really wanted to find out how much true performance difference we would actually see between USB 1.1 and the new USB 2.0. Is USB 2.0 really able to match the speed and performance of IEEE-1394 (FireWire)? We asked this and many other questions during our tests of the Iogear products. In the process of taking this look at USB 2.0, we also were able to give these IOGear products the typical THG once-over, and see if they were worthy of possibily finding a home with your computer.

Impulse - GCD161040 USB 2.0 CDRW

Package contents of the IOGear Impulse USB 2.0 16/10/40 CDRW. It comes with everything you need to enjoy the benefits of USB 2.0. With the included USB 2.0 PCI card, installation and configuration are a snap.

The Impulse is an external USB 2.0 16x10x40 drive with a 2 MB Buffer and Burn Proof Technology. In complying with the USB-IF standards, the Impulse is fully backward compatible with USB 1.1, as well. It is compliant with v2.2 of the PC Power Management standard. It is fully plug-n-play compatible and hot swappable.

The Impulse comes with one High Speed USB 2.0 PCI Card (GIC250U), which is sporting the IOGear label. The GIC250U USB 2.0 adapter uses the NEC USB 2.0 chipset. The GIC250U includes a total of five ports; four of them appear on the back of the card and one of them is internal to the card. The internal port is handy in case you want to mount devices in your PC that require USB connectivility, without having to run cables outside your PC. Of course, including the USB 2.0 PCI card in the package will raise the overall price, but, from what we can tell, it won't up the cost that much.

The burning software that ships with the drive is Nero Burning ROM Version 5. It comes with the standard cables you would expect for an external USB device, one USB 2.0 compliant A to B cable, and a power adapter. The package also contains one blank CDRW, one blank CDR, one 20-CD carrying case, a manual and a standard warranty card.