NZXT IU01 Internal USB Expansion ReviewIndybird - February 16, 2010
Category: Input Devices
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NZXT established themselves in the computer case market with high quality, enthusiast-focused products. They have since not only expanded their product line, but introduced innovative products to better satisfy enthusiasts' and gamers' needs. Their latest product, the NZXT IU01 USB Expansion, addresses the lack of internal, external and/or powered USB ports in today's computers. The IU01 acts as an internal USB hub powered directly by the PSU. It allows you to connect more internal USB 2.0 devices than your motherboard would typically be capable of. In addition, it supplies two external USB 2.0 ports so that you can move the more passive USB devices such as wireless or Bluetooth adapters to the inside of the computer, freeing up more external ports. Could this be just the accessory USB fanatics have been waiting for? Let's find out...
The NZXT IU01 comes packaged in a small, plain cardboard box. Being a smaller and cheaper accessory, NZXT opted for a very simple package. The front has the NZXT Logo, a clear plastic window to see the product itself, and the name, model and brief description in five languages. Moving over to the back you'll find everything that was on the front, along with a short paragraph describing the purpose of this product and its features. The inside is partitioned into two sections; one with the USB expansion and one with the USB cable, power cable and instructions. I was surprised to see that both of the cables supplied were sleeved with heat-shrink on both ends, giving them a very clean and professional appearance. It should also be noted that the Molex plug on the power cable allows power to pass through to other Molex connections (probably due to this device's typically low power consumption).
After removing the device, you see just how small and simple it is. The entire thing is 1" wide, 3.5" long, about 0.75" tall and contains just a few components. To better fit in with most case color schemes, NZXT chose a black PCB. On the bottom of the board you'll find the means of mounting this device in your case; Velcro. The bottom piece is adhesive backed so it can be stuck to the inside of your case. I rather like this solution to mounting, because it allows you to remove the device from wherever its mounted to make connecting USB cables easier.
Taking a closer look you'll find the two-pin power connector, upstream internal USB header, three downstream internal USB headers labeled "USB1, 2 & 3" and two downstream external USB ports labeled "USB4 & 5". On the right side is the text "USB-HUB Rev2.0", meaning this is the second overall design for this product. I suppose even the smallest and simplest products need to be refined.
Now that we've familiarized ourselves with the IU01, let's see how it installs and performs.