Fantom Drives 500 GB Titanium II External USB 2.0 Hard Disk Drive
When I first came across a deal for the Fantom Drives 500 GB Titanium II External USB 2.0 Hard Disk Drive, I almost passed it up. From the online photograph, it looked boring with no flair. It wasn't until I saw the back of the drive that I realized that it is the same enclosure as the AcomData E5 HybridDrive External Hard Drive enclosure that I reviewed and disassembled recently. Both enclosures probably came out of the same OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and branded distinctively for the different market sector. At that point, I just had to buy the Fantom drive.
Since this drive is physically identical to the AcomData E5 HybridDrive, I won't do a full review on this drive. You can refer to the AcomData E5 HybridDrive review article I wrote to get an idea about this drive. Instead, this article will concentrate on the similarity and difference between the Fantom drive and the AcomData drive.
There are two reasons why I HAVE to buy this drive. 1) The power supply adapter is the same and I can move the drives between two computers without dragging the interface cables around; 2) I want to figure out reuse the Acomdata E5 HybridDrive enclosure with other hard drives. Plus, I needed another 500 GB drive to satisfy my Photo Storage Solution.
When I first got this drive, I had thought that maybe I was wrong about the AcomData E5 HybridDrive being an aluminum enclosure. After all, the name of this Fantom drive has the word Titanium in it. But apparently Titanium is just a marketing name and the product isn't made out of titanium. The Fantom drive card board box identified the drive enclosure as "attractive, rugged aluminum enclosure".
Unlike the AcomData E5 HybridDrive, the Fantom Titanium external drive enclosure doesn't have the fancy hokey-pokey proprietary partition that separate the hard disk into a CD PART and a HD PART. It doesn't use any specialized security firmware that you have to bypass to access your data on the HD Part. So theoretically it's possible to swap out the internal 500 GB hard drive with another drive easily. Disassembling this drive should be a piece of cake based on the AcomData E5 HybridDrive External Hard Drive Disassembly article I wrote before.
After opening the package, I pulled out the two power supply and did a comparison. They are indeed the same in power specification. The only difference is that the AcomData E5 HybridDrive uses a ground three-prong power plug while the Fantom Titanium drive uses a two-prong non-polarized plug. I tried the AcomData power supply on the Fantom drive and it worked just fine. Like the AcomData drive, a bright blue LED on the front of the drive indicates that the drive is on. Windows XP found mass storage drive and installed the driver automatically.
From the factory, the hard disk is formatted to FAT32. You can format it to NTFS in Windows XP, but because it's larger than 32 GB, you won't be able to reformat it to FAT32. If you want to keep the FAT32 portability among operating systems, you'll have to erase the entire disk rather than formatting the disk in Windows XP.
I disassembled this Fantom Titanium drive much the same way as I disassembled the AcomData drive. Except the Fantom drive doesn't have a fancy silver cover on the back. That's just as fine, because after I taken apart the AcomData drive several times, I've bent the thin silver back cover.
Inside the enclosure is a Samsung HD501LG 500 GB, 7200 RPM, 16 MB cache hard drive. It's connected to a much simpler SATA to USB converter board than the one found in the Acomdata E5 HybridDrive enclosure.
When I turned the internal bracket over to remove the Samsung hard drive, I noticed that Fantom only used three hard drive screws to mount the drive. I don't know if it was an oversight during manufacturing or if they purposely used three screws rather than four. Makes me wonder about their manufacturing process.
Is Hard Drive Replaceable?
I have a Maxtor DiamondMax 10 6L300S0 300 GB SATA150 HDD that I used for this test. I plugged this drive into the Fantom Titanium enclosure, powered it on, and then plugged it into the computer. The hard drive (formatted to NTFS) mounted immediately on my Windows XP notebook computer. The data on it were quite intact.
I decided to use the 320 GB drive in this enclosure and use the Samsung 500 GB drive elsewhere.
Does the 500 GB Drive Work Without the Case?
Yes, the Samsung 500 GB drive works just fine without the enclosure. It works in my desktop computer without any problems.
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