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Reviewed by: Bryan Pizzuti [06.03.02]
Manufactured by: VICS Technology

MSRP: $70

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Once boot up is complete, the device will automatically switch modes to monitor the speed of the PCI bus, which, unless something is drastically wrong, should be around 133 MHz:

Using the button on the front, you can change to measuring the utilization of the PCI bus by either percent or amount of data. Note the yellow indicator light which tells you whether the display is showing kBpz (Lilo) or MBps (Mega) in the transfer mode. Utilization is always expressed as a percentage (Hence the "P").

I noticed that whenever I accessed my floppy disk drive, the display would switch to (and stick at) displaying 80.00 until floppy access was done. I've been unable to find an explanation for this, but the mode indicator, as shown below, is also indicating Port 80: the POST port. It may just be a legacy thing.

The instructions specify how to configure this device for use with VICS Technology's RD1 BIOS SAVIOR device, which is basically a BIOS/CMOS backup tool. The switches on the RD2 can be configured to switch between the backed-up BIOS and the main one, in addition to other things, such as switching a hard drive from master to slave. They also suggest using one of the switches on the CLEAR CMOS jumper on motherboards, but this might not be a very good idea. Most CMOS chips need to be disconnected from the wall to be cleared, and CERTAINLY can not be cleared while power is on. To do so might gain you a fried motherboard. However, if you have an older modem, that uses a jumper to control turning it's speaker on or off, it might work there, just as an example. But experiment with caution, please. Your hardware is your responsibility, not VICS Technology's.


No, I'm not going to benchmark this device. The USB and 1394 ports are just pass-throughs. However, this device makes a very good tool for PERFORMING benchmarks, as in measuring the utilization of the PCI bus whenever a device (or devices are in use). I have a nicely loaded PCI bus on my machine, containing a TurtleBeach SantaCruz sound card, a 10/100 network card, and a USR 56k modem. I was going to put a PCI IDE controller on there, but mine turned out to be faulty. However, I intend to use this device to perform PCI bus utilization tests with PCI RAID cards.

I started playing an MP3, while my phone dialed, and my network connection was grabbing something nice and big from SUN's website, and also had my DVD drive rip one of my favorite Alannis Morisette CDs to MP3 files on a hard drive on the OTHER IDE channel, to see exactly how far I could max the PCI bus. Here's what I got:

Not bad...excellent measuring tool.

It's difficult to say how good this device is, simply because it's the only one of it's kind. It combines the utility of having externally readable POST codes, like many motherboards which now use 4 LEDs to show boot-up status (some of which are visible through the ATX plate). It gives you front-mounted USB ports, enabling you to use the ones on your board, as well as a single Fire wire port, to plug in your camcorder without having to crawl around to the back of the PC. You get a readout of exactly how much of your PCI bus is being used at any one time, so you know if it's being overloaded, as well as the PCI bus frequency, which can be an indicator of clocking problems. You get extra front-panel LEDs and switches in case your case didn't have enough for your NIC and your RAID card. And you get a fairly nice-looking aluminum plate.

All of this is in one box, and fits in one 5.25" drive bay, which is a great use of space. And the more flashing lights on the front of the case, the more high-tech you look...especially if it's flashing a bunch of numbers no one else understands. Is it worth the money though? Well, to any hard core modder, money is no object. What you have to ask is whether it's worth the time. And the answer looks like yes. The only fault I can see with this device, other than the USB plug issue, is the manual, and its bad translation. But since when do modders need a manual?

On a side note, I wonder when we'll see a case with one of these on the Show Off Your Rig! Page?

  • Nice aluminum color
  • lots of lights and buttons
  • functional in addition to pretty

  • Some assembly required
  • Manual could be translated better
  • USB plugs not easily re-configurable

Final Score: 85%