Review: MacAlly PHR-250CC
A few months ago, we took a look at MacAlly’s PHR-100AF FireWire enclosure for 3.5″ hard drives. Overall, we liked it, as it had very few drawbacks and a very attractive design. We wondered if its smaller sibling, the PHR-250CC would earn our praise for 2.5″ hard drives.
Priced around $60, the PHR-250CC is perfect for anyone who wants to use an IDE 2.5″ hard drive from an old laptop with any computer that has a FireWire port. Offering two FireWire 400 ports, it is apt for many Mac users. There’s also a USB 2.0 port for those times when you just can’t use Firewire. 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). It is essentially a smaller version of the PHR-100 series cases.
The case features rubber strips on the top and bottom that act like feet when it is used horizontally. Unlike the PHR-100 series, the case can only be used horizontally. The case can be stacked with other PHR-250CC models, and the aluminum does a good job of dissipating heat.
With two FireWire ports, the PHR-250CC can be daisy-chained with more drives, iPods, or other FireWire devices. It performed flawlessly with a Mac mini and a PowerMac G4, with tasks ranging from a system backup to video editing with Final Cut Pro HD. The mini was running Tiger and the PowerMac was running Panther.
Installing a hard drive is relatively painless. Once a screw on each side of the case is removed, the top of the case slides off. After sliding the hard drive into the connector, four screws attach to hard drive to the case. After fitting the case back together, it is ready to use. Just like with our PHR-100AF, the installation was done in less than 10 minutes. It is worth noting that the drives can be up to 9.5mm in height.
This enclosure is bus-powered, but can also gain extra power thanks to a DC input (AC adapter not included). It does come with a USB to DC cable in the need that your drive needs an extra boost.
Besides the USB to DC cable, there’s a USB to mini-USB cable and a FireWire 400 cable. The drive will work with plain USB 1.1, but will be slower.
Finally, MacAlly included an on/off switch, something our PHR-100AF didn’t have (PHR-100s made in 2005 do feature a switch).
Overall, MacAlly’s PHR-250CC 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 a perfect enclosure for any 2.5″ hard drive.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
Just as we liked the PHR-100AF, we really like the PHR-250CC.
Pros: Good value, plenty of shock protection, good performance, nice design
Cons: None significant