Review: MacAlly PHR-100AF
You can buy a hard drive from almost anywhere, and usually the internal ATA drives will give you the biggest bang for your buck. Unfortunately, they are designed mostly to be used inside a computer. There are external FireWire and USB drives, but sometimes they are costly and don’t offer flexibility. Products like the MacAlly PHR-100AF, an enclosure for 3.5″ hard drives, allow people to make an internal drive external.
Priced around $70, the PHR-100AF is a moderately priced enclosure. Offering two FireWire 400 ports, it is apt for many Mac users. If you’d rather have USB or FireWire 800, MacAlly offers the ACB or AC models. The case itself is aluminum and plastic (the ends are plastic), with a giant blue LED to indicate power, which blinks red to indicate activity (the real result is more of a purple color).
PHR-100AF and Vertical Stand
PHR-100AF Side (or Top) View
The case features rubber strips on the top and bottom that act like feet when it is used horizontally, or lock into the stand when used vertically. The case can be stacked with other PHR-100 models, and the aluminum does a good job of dissipating heat.
With two FireWire ports, the PHR-100AF can be daisy-chained with more drives, iPods, or other FireWire devices. It performed flawlessly with an iBook and a PowerMac G5, with tasks ranging from a system backup to video editing with Final Cut Pro HD.
Installing a hard drive is relatively painless. Once a screw on the back of the case is removed, the top of the case slides off. Four screws attach to anti-shock mounts and the hard drive, and line up with notches in the case. The hard drive must be set to “master” mode, and the ATA and power connectors can then be attached. After fitting the case back together, it is ready to use. It took me about 8 minutes to get my hard drive installed. The chipset is an Initio model#1430.
A 4-pin power connector is located on the back of the case, which the AC adapter connects to. Our only gripe with this case is the lack of a power switch. While this is fine for bus-powered 2.5″ enclosures, this case must be unplugged when not in use (or used with a power strip).
A nice touch is the inclusion of a FireWire cable – you can never have enough of those.
Overall, MacAlly’s PHR-100AF is a solid case, at an attractive price, and has a lot of nice touches which make it stand out. We found it to be nearly-perfect, except for the lack of a power switch.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
With something that almost matches any Power Mac or PowerBook, it is one of the best cases for any inexpensive ATA hard drive.
Pros: Good value, plenty of shock protection, good performance, nice design
Cons: Lacks a power switch