PDA

View Full Version : Review - iodd 2501 Portable Virtual Rom Drive



SkydivinGirl
14th June 2010, 22:05
Hey everyone,

I received my iodd 2501 Portable Virtual Rom Drive (http://www.i-odd.com/) today! For those of you who did not see my post about ordering it, this device is a Mass Storage and Virtual CD/DVD/Blu-Ray drive. It comes as an empty enclosure into which you put a 2.5" SATA hard drive.

This is a quick review of the device since I've only been able to use it for a little while so far. :)

First I want to talk about what comes with the device. It comes in a retail package with the following contents:


iodd 2501 Drive Enclosure
Carrying Case
eSATA cable
USB Cable with two plugs on one end for additional power
Quick Start Guide
Enclosure Opening Tool

See the attached image to see everything. I sat the hard drive I installed into the enclosure next to everything so you can judge the scale. The neat thing about the carrying case is that there is room for the drive and the USB cable.

Installing the drive was a little more difficult than I would have thought. You need to use the opening tool (or a small straight object, such as a bent paperclip) in a hole on the side of the device. You are basically just pushing in a small plastic clip inside the enclosure. You push the back panel towards the top of the enclosure and remove it. You then need to push the top panel towards the bottom of the enclosure and remove it.

After the front and back panels are removed, you are left with a plastic frame with a big hole in the middle where the hard drive sits. You bend the frame a little to plug the hard drive into the board mounted on the frame. The sides of the frame have plastic pieces on the inside that go into the drive's screw holes to hold everything in place. Once you have the drive plugged into the board, you bend out the frame to get the drive mounted on the posts. It's a bit of a pain, but the drive is very solid in the frame after mounting.

After the drive is mounted to the frame, reconnect the front and back plates and you're ready to begin using the device. :)

My iodd came with a fairly old version of the firmware but it worked just fine, albeit with fewer features. I went ahead and updated the firmware to the latest version and got all the features that are currently available (I'll discuss those below). Updating to the latest version of firmware required two firmware updates. The first update must be run on a Windows system but it adds the ability to run future updates directly from an ISO on the device. The second update was an ISO. You give the device power, select the Firmware ISO update and it updates automatically, independent of the OS.

Features:


CD/DVD/Blu-Ray emulation - Simply copy an ISO image to the _ISO folder on the drive and it's available through the menu on the enclosure.
Folders - You can organize your ISOs in sub-directories under the _ISO folder and browse through the folders from the enclosure.
OLED Display - Organic LED display on the device is very crisp, clear and easy to read.
Virtual Hard Drives - I haven't tried this yet, but it appears you can make virtual hard drives with the latest version of the firmware. You select the VHD from the menu just like you would a CD image!
CD Only, HD Only and Mixed modes - Different modes are available so you can limit what the computer sees from the device. For instance, you would use CD Only mode for an OS installation so you would not see the enclosure's HD during your OS installation. You can select the mode during device startup or after it's already running.
Write Protect Switch - On the side of the device is a switch that will put it into Read Only mode. This makes it easy to ensure you don't accidentally overwrite your drive or get viruses on it when plugging into an infected computer. :)

After playing around with the device, it seems to work as advertised! I booted from an Ubuntu CD Image on my notebook and it worked perfectly. I'll update the thread if I find anything it does not work on.

I'm very happy with my purchase so far. About the only thing I might do at some point is put an SSD drive in it to make it a completely solid state device. Regular drives work fine, but I always hate having to worry about bouncing them around. :)

There's a few small quibbles I have about the device:


Engrish Manual and Web Site - While this is not exactly about the device, the poor English in the manual and on the web site makes it difficult to understand.
Cheap Feel to Enclosure - The enclosure is actually quite sturdy once you put a drive in it. I guess it feels a little cheap because it is so light but somewhat bulky.
The selection button on the left side of the device need to be pushed straight when making a selection in for it to be recognized. If you have the wheel pushed up or down slightly while selecting, it might not be recognized.

All-in-all, these are minor problems that don't affect the device's functionality. If you think you might have use for a device like this then I would definitely suggest you get one for yourself. :)

Ciao!

Heather

*EDIT* This model has a firmware update available that lets you use NTFS for the ISO partition instead of exFAT. This update also organizes ISO titles on the drive's selection screen instead of listing them in the order they were put on the drive. It makes it much easier to find the ISO you want. All the later versions of the device also have this functionality.

SkydivinGirl
15th June 2010, 13:13
I forgot one major thing when I wrote about this enclosure. The hard drive needs to be formatted FAT32 or exFAT format. There are problems with both formats. FAT32 supports a maximum file size of 4GB so you cannot use full size DVD ISOs on the drive without splitting them (the iodd supports split ISO files) and exFAT only works in Win XP (with a patch (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=1cbe3906-ddd1-4ca2-b727-c2dff5e30f61)), Vista and Windows 7. I don't know if exFAT is supported on MAC, but a quick search leads me to believe that it is not.

Heather

keropi
15th June 2010, 13:18
what a nice device! :D
though I need to ask: what cool thing you can do with the ISO emulator in a USB HDD?
(if only they made such a device for PSX/Saturn/DC/etc...)

TheoryBoy
16th June 2010, 09:45
Thanks for this post skydivinggirl, ordered one of these drives yesterday. :)

SkydivinGirl
16th June 2010, 14:05
@TheoryBoy

I think you'll like the device.

I tried to get the Virtual Hard Drive stuff working yesterday but could not get it working properly. I found out that it's also supposed to support virtual floppy disks in some way. They haven't released any instructions for using the virtual hard drives or floppy drives yet. :(

Since I still use bootable floppy disks for using Ghost and other programs, I simply made bootable CDs using the floppy images I have. You can't write to the CD image or "swap disks" but it works. :)

I used this device to load Ubuntu on a netbook yesterday and I'm going to use it later today to load a clean install of XP Pro on a notebook. It really does work great. I ordered another one of these yesterday to use at work. The company is paying for that one though. :wink:

Heather

SkydivinGirl
12th March 2012, 17:47
For anyone interested, these drives are now available in newer versions under the Zalman brand name. Newegg.com has them available in USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 models for about half the price that I paid for the initial model. These devices are great for modern and retro computers that can use USB hard drives and CD-ROM drives.

USB 2.0 (Silver)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817379025

USB 3.0 (Silver)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817379027

USB 3.0 (Black)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817379026

Heather

BBond007
5th October 2012, 20:42
For anyone interested, these drives are now available in newer versions under the Zalman brand name. Newegg.com has them available in USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 models for about half the price that I paid for the initial model. These devices are great for modern and retro computers that can use USB hard drives and CD-ROM drives.

USB 2.0 (Silver)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817379025

USB 3.0 (Silver)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817379027

USB 3.0 (Black)
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817379026

Heather

I ordered the Zalman USB 2.0 version and upgraded the firmware to read HFS and NTFS.

I do like the device and I'm glad I bought it, however I did not realize that the ISO functionality of the device was only available in USB mode and not eSATA.

If it worked in eSATA mode I'd have bought a second one for my A1200 for CD32 emulation..

SkydivinGirl
1st November 2012, 00:27
Thanks BBond007!

I forgot to update the review to let everyone know that you can use NTFS file formats now. The great thing with the NTFS format is that the device now puts everything in alphabetic order when scrolling through the ISO images. The ISOs on the exFAT filesystem format was always in the order in which they were put on the drive.

Since SSDs have come down in price a lot lately, I put one in one of my iodd enclosures so I have a completely solid state virtual CD drive now. It's so nice not having to worry about causing damage to the drive since it travels so much.

I didn't remember that the drive only works as a virtual CD drive when in USB mode. All-in-all, I've not been happy with the eSATA connector. It's usage seems really limited as a removable drive interface.

Heather