The Romtec Trios RX-910T6 IDE Hard Drive Selector
Something a Little Different

By Jeff Bouton

This thing is a little light...

When we first laid eyes on the Trios Hard Drive Selector, our initial reaction was "it looks like it belongs in a Mac."  In fact, the unit is fully compatible with the Apple Macintosh as well as the PC, but I'm willing to bet that the most common customer for this unit will be using a PC.  The construction is a very light plastic that doesn't give the feel of a quality constructed unit.  The buttons are clunky when pressed, which is clearly heard by a definitive "clink" sound when selecting between drives.  In this case, given the lackluster first impression, the only true test of quality would be time.

When we inspected the rear of the unit, the one thing that stood out was the lack of a socket around each IDE connection.  Considering how close each connection is, it may not have been possible to factor this into the current design.  However, we found that extreme caution was needed to assure that the cables were lined up correctly on the pins before connecting them.  We'll elaborate more on this in the installation section.

The other design issue we found was the actual placement of the IDE connections.  As shown in the picture, the unit is designed as if the hard drive placement would be above the the Trios RX-910T6.  This is a confusing decision since the majority of cases on the market today have the drive bays located on top and the hard drives mounted below the Floppy drive.  Initially, this didn't weigh too heavily on us, but once we tried to install the cables, we were forced to try some advanced origami techniques to get the cables to connect in a neat manner.  Once again, we will get further into this in the installation and setup section.

Setup & Installation
A Little More Elbow Room Would Be Nice...


When it came to installing the unit into a drive bay, it couldn't have been easier, but that is where the simplicity stopped.  Once we had the unit mounted securely in the case, getting the cable connected was quite a task.  As we mentioned earlier, the placement of the IDE connections was a small concern upon first inspection, but once we tried actually installing the cables, the fun really began.  With our test system, we found it very tight working with four separate IDE cables.  It wasn't too difficult getting the cables set up properly between the drives and the Trios, but when it came to installing the Primary IDE cable, we had serious difficulty getting the cable to fold and fit to the motherboard without stressing the socket on both the board and the Trios.  In fact, to get this accomplished easier, we used some high quality rounded cables, supplied by our good buds at PCNut, that flexed much easier in this tight situation.


Once we got the Trios Hard Drive Selector installed, however, the tide began to turn.  The majority of the issues that we brought up earlier are quality and design issues that don't necessarily effect how the unit would perform.  It was nice to see that once we installed and began using the unit, this remained true.


The Romtec folks boast that the unit can be seamlessly installed into virtually any computer without affecting the hard drive performance at all.  We initially began testing this by running HD Tach on all three of our hard drives before and after connecting them to the Trios RX-910T6.  Our findings backed up Romtec's claims 100%.  Normally we would display a few screen shots of the HD tach performance graph, but we saw no difference in hard drive performance whatsoever.  We tested this with three separate hard drives from three different manufacturers.  The first drive used was a 15 GB IBM DTLA 30715 7200 RPM, followed by an 8GB Western Digital 5400 RPM and a 10GB Maxtor 3 2049H2 5400 RPM.  All of these worked smoothly, without error.


Another nice touch was that if we tried selecting another drive while the machine was powered on, the drive would not change unless the system was completely shutdown and then restarted.  This is an excellent safety feature that prevents anyone from damaging their data or hard drive by engaging another switch while the computer is running.


As a whole, the Trios RX-910T6 Hard Drive Selector offers a lot in function and convenience but leaves a lot to be desired in regards to the construction and design of the unit.  Although I found little to like about the unit physically, once it was installed, those flaws became a less significant.  With some reworking of the IDE connection placement, a flush mount design, and more solid construction, the Trios could easily fetch a higher score with this reviewer.  All things considered, the $80 price tag seems a little high, but where else can you find a unit like this?  In the case of the Trios RX-910T6, quality and design are mediocre at best, with its functionality and performance being top notch. 

We give the Trios RX-910T6 Hard Drive Selector from Romtec a Hot Hardware Heat Meter Rating of an 7.

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