Vizo Milano Review (Page 4 of 4)

Page 4 - Performance & Conclusion

We'll examine the two aspects of performance of the Vizo Milano before we close -- one for file performance, the second to address is the audio/video performance from a subjective point of view. Firstly, let's check out the general file performance with our HDTach long bench. Test system configuration as follows:

CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 3.45GHz (383MHz*9)
CPU Cooling: Scythe Infinity on Noctua NF-P12 with Arctic Cooling MX-2
Motherboard: Asus P5E3-Deluxe/WiFi-AP@n
RAM: Super Talent Project X DDR3-1800 2x1GB
Graphics: Asus EN8800GT TOP 512MB (NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT 512MB factory overclocked)
GPU Cooler: Arctic Cooling Accelero S1
Case: Thermaltake Aguila (Noctua NF-S12-800 - Front; NF-S12-1200 - Back)
Power: Seasonic M12 500W
Sound: Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic
Optical Drive: NEC AD-7170A 18X DVD+/-RW
Hard Drive: Seagate 7200.10 320GB 16MB SATA2
Operating System: Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate

Hard drive used with enclosure: Seagate 7200.7 160GB 8MB PATA
Intel ICH9R southbridge as USB controller on Asus P5E3-Deluxe/WiFi-AP@n (Intel X38).

For a hard drive that has around 47MB/s average read speed, the Vizo Milano pulled relatively poor USB performance at 21.5MB/s average read. As you can see from our HDTach graph above, the flat line clearly represents a limitation put forth by Vizo Milano's onboard USB controller. Generally speaking, an USB hard drive enclosure should perform at around 30-35MB/s.

In terms of video performance, as I've mentioned earlier, I had no problems playing videos right the first time; and quality is generally excellent on the screen with no frame lag or artifacts under complex scenes. Composite, component, and S-Video out are available, but there's no form of digital video out on the Vizo Milano -- something we would definitely appreciate with high definition video. Video image properties can also be adjusted while the video is playing.

In terms of sound, the analog performance was certainly nothing out of the ordinary; the performance as far as I can see is only average so I won't go into all the details. Digital (optical) out was definitely an appreciated feature that we've used on the Vizo Milano; and since it's a digital out with no after audio processing it retains the original digital attributes of the song without modification. There's no 'jittering' observed with its audio output; signal is consistent and uninterrupted throughout the duration of our testing.

There's no support/implementation on the Vizo Milano for home theater sound technologies such as Dolby Digital Live or DTS:Interactive, which would be nice if it did have such support as well.

The Vizo Milano is definitely an interesting concept -- instantly turn any standard hard drive into a storage medium for a fully featured multimedia device. With excellent physical design, and a remote that works extremely well with the media enclosure, it's certainly an interesting device with very good audio and video performance. Unfortunately, there's a lot of room for improvement. From supported file formats (Or the lack thereof), hard drive compatibility issues, available audio/video out, all the way to the firmware and USB performance, we would definitely like to see Vizo work on the Milano to make it an all around attractive multimedia enclosure. There's a good portion to fix up, but if those are all improved upon, the Vizo Milano would be one hot selling unique hard drive enclosure!

Special thanks to Jill over at Vizo for making this review possible.

APH Review Focus Summary:
6/10 means A product with its advantages, but drawbacks should not be ignored before purchasing.
-- Final APH Numeric Rating is 6.0/10
Please note that the APH Numeric Rating system is based off our proprietary guidelines in the Review Focus, and should not be compared to other sites.

The Vizo Milano is an excellent concept of a media hard drive enclosure, but not very well executed. We would definitely love to see Vizo improve upon in those areas -- regardless, the Vizo Milano is still something that you don't want to miss in order to build a convenient, low cost media machine.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. A Closer Look, Installation
3. Using the Vizo Milano
4. Performance & Conclusion