If you're contemplating the cost of a new Windows-based computer to catch up with SATA 3.0 hard drives, you might be able to get away with just a $49 investment rather than a complete PC overhaul. Apricorn's Velocity Solo upgrade kit gives you access to SATA 3.0 hard drives and SSDs -- all you need is an x1 PCIe 2.0 slot -- and a SATA 3.0 drive, of course. (The Velocity Solo does not work with Macs.)
Out of the box
There is no real "unboxing" for the Velocity Solo; Apricorn markets it in a run-of-the-mill, hang-it-on-the-wall blister pack.
There are a couple of ways to connect the Velocity to your drive, depending on the type of drive it is. If you have a 2.5-in.SSD drive, you can mount it directly on the card by sliding it into the SATA data and power connector bank on the Velocity Solo and securing it with the screws provided.
If, on the other hand, you've installed a new SATA 3.0 hard drive, you can connect the data port to a connector located at the top rear corner of the Velocity Solo. (The power connection needs to be brought over from your computer as you normally would with any such installed hard drive -- the power directly available from the card is insufficient for a mechanical drive of any size.)
Whether you've used an SSD or a mechanical drive (or both), once the attachments are done, just plug the Velocity Solo into an available x1 PCIe slot, screw it to the backplane, and you're ready to close up your computer and start things up.
(Note to the wise: Whenever you install an interface card or memory module in your PC, don't just shut your computer off. Pull the power plug and wait a few minutes. Some motherboards maintain a quiescent level of power at the bus.)
Once powered up, your computer should automatically recfsectionognize the Velocity Solo and any drives attached to it. If your drive hasn't already been partitioned or formatted, you'll need to do that through the usual disk management options found in the Control Panel's Administrative Tools icon. Should you run into problems, Apricorn maintains an online tech support section at its http://www.apricorn.com/products/software/ezgig.html website.
The EZ Gig software promised on the blister pack is actually a download from a section of the same website. EZ Gig is disk drive cloning software that will let you, for example, re-create your current boot drive onto your new Velocity Solo SATA 3.0 drive despite any variance in capacity between the source and target drives. You can then use the BIOS options available on your PC to make one of the Velocity Solo drives your new boot disk.
At a Glance
Apricorn Velocity Solo
Pros: Simple installation; onboard 2.5-inch SSD installation; EZ Gig software
Cons: Comes in a hard-to-open blister pack
If you've installed an SSD, you should notice a decrease in boot time. If your old drive has a larger capacity than your SSD or mechanical disk, EZ Gig IV has an exclusion option that allows you to choose files to preclude from the cloning operation.
Apricorn has always made some very credible niche products (like its Upgrade Kit for 5th Generation Video iPods) and not-so-niche products (such as the EZ Writer II portable DVD burner). The Velocity Solo doesn't go against that grain. Being able to add a SATA 3.0 disk system to a tired old PC without replacing the motherboard -- or the entire computer -- is a wonderful idea. And being able to install an SSD without trying to figure out how to fit a 2.5-inch drive in a 3.5-inch bay is even better. (Duct tape is not an effective long-term solution.)
I give Apricorn a big Geek Thumbs Up for the Velocity Solo.