Thursday, May 22, 2003

Front Panel Computer Ports

As PC manufacturers have finally caught on to the notion of having port access in the FRONT of a box, the guys have have been offering that access for years. They create customizable front computer ports which extend and transfer computer ports to the front panel of a PC system. This is a great upgrade idea for any older PC or even any new PC which doesn't have front ports as a part of their case design.

The FRONTX Casing is installed into a 5.25" drive bay of your PC system. It has 4 port holding bays, i.e. 1 large bay and 3 small bays. The FRONTX Port is simply an extension cable fitted onto a custom designed port holder, which can be slotted into the port holding bay. Each port holding bay can hold a maximum of 2 computer ports, which means the FRONTX Casing can hold a maximum of 8 computer ports.

Click and drag to address line to see photo 1

As the design is modular, ports are totally exchange-able and customizeable. So, if a user wants audio ports, firewire ports, and even video ports. they can slide into any of the 3 small bays, top or bottom space. Similarly, game or usb ports can go into either the top or bottom space of the large bay. The voids of the unused or partially used port holding bays are covered by slotting blank plastic plates.

I like FrontX. It allows a user to avoid having to crawl under a desk and behind a computer to deal with plugging/unplugging peripherals - which we have all done and all hate with a passion! Front X modules come in three different colors (black, gray, and white). Users can select a wide variety of port combinations - which can include FRONT PANEL USB HUB (1 or 2), FRONT PANEL IEEE 1394 FIREWIRE HUB, FRONT PANEL SERIAL CONNECTOR, and FRONT PANEL MULTIMEDIA CONNECTORS for front connection for Microphone, Headphone, Joystick, VCR and multimedia devices.

The FrontX system is extremely easy to install and there's no card to plug into the computer itself. The extension cables are simply re-routed inside the PC chasis and exits out the back through an opening of PCI/ISA slot where they are plugged into the appropriate plug.

Click and drag to address line to see photo 2

The FrontX case costs about $11.00, with module prices ranging from $4 - $14. Entire kits (like the multimedia kit) will run around $30.00.

For the multimedia plug modules, I would like to see a more professional calibre of extension cables (maybe a tie in with Monster Cable?) as the cables are rather basic and offer no gold plating or shielding, but for the basic computer user, Front X represents a great way to upgrade your computer to make it easier to plug in your peripherals!


TIVO FOR YOUR EARS: Radio YourWay AM/FM Recorder by PoGo Products

Monday, May 19, 2003

I'm busy compiling the updated 2003 list for ELECTRONICA WE'D LIKE TO SEE. So, think about it. Dick Tracy Watch Phones, Star Trek Communicators ... if you could look into the future, what "Electronica" would you like to see? EMAIL ME.