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The Next Step, Hi-Speed USB 2.0

ION - GHE125U 2.5" Notebook Hard Drive USB 2.0 External Enclosure

Package contents of the IOGear ION USB 2.0 2.5" hard drive enclosure.

The ION is an external 2.5" hard drive enclosure that functions as a USB 2.0 device. It is fully compatible with 2.5" notebook hard drives in the 9.5mm form factor. The Ion supports the IDE ATA 100 specification. The ION manual indicates that it will support drives up to 30 GB in size. After a discussion with Iogear we found out that they have tested the unit with 40 GB 9.5mm drives, and the form factor is the limiting factor, not the size of the drive. So, it should be able to support any size drive as long as they are using the 9.5mm form factor. Just like the Impulse it is backwards compatible with USB 1.1 specs. It is fully plug-n-play compliant and hot swappable.

Unlike the Impulse, the ION doesn't ship with a USB 2.0 PCI card, you have to get that separately. If you don't have one or don't want one, the ION will still function as a USB 1.1 device. Of course, IOGear does offer the GIC250U for separate purchase, so coming up with a USB 2.0 card should not be too hard.

In the ION box is the GHE125U hard drive case. It comes with a USB 2.0 A to B cable and a power cable. Of course, it comes with the standard manual, registration and warranty card, as well.

The Technical Specifications For The ION

Cable Length6 ft.
DimensionsHeight - 0.875"Length - 3.0"Width - 5.5"
HousingCase - Plastic
Humidity20-80% RH, (Non Condensing)
LEDsOn Line - 1Power On - 1
Operating System SupportWin98, 98SE, ME, 2000, XP,MAC OS 8.6 or greater
Operating Temperature20 to 50 degrees (Celsius)
Ports(1) USB mini Port
Power ConnectionsBus powered or PS/2 port powered
Power Consumption5.0V
Storage Temperature0 to 70 degrees (Celsius)
Transfer Rate480 Mbps
USB SpecificationUSB 1.1 and 2.0 compliant
Weight.45 lbs.

Of course, as the Ion does not include a hard drive, your performance will vary depending on the hard drive you choose. In our testing, we used an IBM Travelstar model DARA-212000, which was the 4200 RPM 12 GB drive.

The ION measures in at .875" * 3.0" * 5.5": as you can see, it isn't much bigger than your standard 2.5" hard drive and will still fit in your shirt pocket. The power cable for the ION is a PS/2 pass-through cable. You just unplug your keyboard, plug the pass-through in, and plug you keyboard into it. By using the PS/2 port to power the drive, you don't have to carry around an AC power adapter.

We found the ION to be a great portable backup device and a good way to move our large MP3 collection between computers. The device is also great for recycling those old notebook hard drives once you upgrade to a larger drive. After all, who wouldn't like to take that old notebook hard drive and drop it in their pocket? It is nice and compact and sure beats the storage size of your typical flash card.

At the low price of about $70 it can be quite a good investment, but in order to enjoy the full speed that this device has to offer, you will need to select a fast hard drive and must have a USB 2.0 port into which you can plug it.