A Closer Look
Not much effort wasted on flash and dazzle here; this packaging is purely functional. The view window shows what you’re getting, which is:
the unit itself, power and data cables, and a quick-install guide. Since this device is essentially an internal USB hub, no drivers are needed or included. The cables themselves are sleeved, which is a nice touch. The unit itself comes attached to a Velcro strip that covers the whole back of the circuit board, allowing you to simply peel off the adhesive and stick it to any convenient surface on the inside of the case.
Since this is a USB hub, there is only really one good test for it: data throughput. Towards that end, I tested the performance of a Patriot Xporter XT 4GB flash drive; once through the IU01, and once through one of the root hub ports on the motherboard’s I/O panel.
The difference in performance between the two is practically nil; exactly what I’d expect from a good self-powered hub.
Thoughts and Conclusion
So, is this little device worth ~$24 of your money? If you find yourself chronically short of ports, and hate the idea of having a hub hanging off the back of your tower, then yes. It is especially useful for those who frequently utilize bus-powered external drives, since it draws its power from the power supply directly–this helps to avoid unexpected voltage drops on the motherboard itself. If, on the other hand, you never use anything more than mouse, keyboard and maybe one flash drive, it would probably be a waste. The NZXT IU01 is crafted to fill a very specific niche, and it does so without fuss, complaint, or defect. For that, I give it the TechwareLabs Seal of Approval.