NOTE: THIS IS NOT A NIC
If you have ever tried setting up a dual boot on a computer with different Windows versions or even Multi Operating Systems of different types, you have probably accidentally overwritten the primary partition with the new operating system or have had troubles getting rid of those frustrating boot loaders after an operating system has been removed. After going through this a couple times, I know I got tired of installing a separate operating system on a second hard drive and having to get inside the computer and switch the IDE cable and power every time I wanted to boot into the second O/S to avoid boot loaders and partition overwrites etc. After several days searching for a solution to the problem I came across a newer company called ?Romtec? who manufactures the new ?Trios II ? Multi-Drive Selector.? Within weeks, I had one on my doorstep and ready for a review!
Romtec took extreme brain power to come up with something so simple, yet effective and here it is. You may be asking yourself what a product like this is for, but above you have heard one purpose. Another purpose is that the Trios II serves as a natural firewall by automatically shutting off power and communications to the motherboard from the IDE drives not in use.
The next feature I noticed was that you are able to set up THREE IDE devices on the Trios II and with the correct Jumper settings (cable select on all three drives) you are able to actually choose which hard drive will serve as master and which will serve as slave (if you even want a slave). How do you select? Easy- Romtec has created a ?remote? which allows you to plug into the back of the PCI card through an RJ-45 connection and simply hit one of the two buttons (to choose master and slave drives). Not only this, but the remote also has a built in LED to show hard drive activity!
Installation on this product looked pretty easy after a quick skim of the included instructions. The steps included turning the computer off (DUH!), setting the IDE devices which will be connected to the Trios II as cable select, installing the PCI card, hooking the IDE cable from motherboard to Trios II then hooking cables from Trios II to all three devices and last but not least, hooking up the special power connector from power supply to this included device then into the motherboard. Seems simple huh? It took me literally 30 minutes to get the configuration setup and running.
Just a couple other features and cool facts about the Trios II is the red Pci card. Why not add a little bit of style to your system while showing off the killer TRI-boot system you have? Next we noticed the compatibility with any operating system: BSD, Linux, Windows or even DOS, you name it and the Trios II is able to handle the booting! Last but not least I noticed from the box that this single device has support for IDE drives running ATA 33/66/100/133. The Trios II offers a TREMENDOUS amount of compatibility! The last thing, but certainly not the most unimportant is that the Trios II is absolutely nothing but PLUG AND PLAY! That?s right, no drivers, setting changes or anything are needed- the Trios II requires nothing but correct jumper settings.
With every product, we know there has to be a catch. Everything in this box seemed like a miracle to the Pc-Extremist, but if you are going for looks and not functionality- this kind of device can certainly add quite a clutter to a case. With 4 IDE cables in a case and extra length on some power connectors, it?d be much harder than the standard 2 IDE cables, but if you are a modder or just into a nice looking inside I am almost certain you can come up with something to lessen the mess!
If you seem interested in this awesome product, you can pick one up for as little as $69.95 from www.RomTecUSA.com which isn?t as much as I thought it would be. In my opinion, it is worth nearly $70.00 just to save me time and frustration on those boot loaders!
Here's the back of the card, a simple RJ-45 connector for the remote
You can see how the RJ-45 connector on the Remote easily plugs in quick without work inside the case