Sun Driver (SATA version) arrives with very nice and simple retail packaging and a couple hdd's ready to be tested! :p
Installation is very simple (no harder than replacing the drive) :)
The fit for power, flat cable and sata data/power are all very solid (sata connections are especially tight which is nice because I've some cheap sata connectors on other devices where the cable can fall out if bumped)
2.5in hdd fit's nicely as expected. The tight power/data connection and 2 mounting screws are more than enough to keep the hdd in place and secure.
A good look over Sun Drivers PCB shows of the quality from manufacturing.. all connections, components, etc are clean and there is no slop left over or bad solder here!
NOTE: (Sun Driver may come shipped to you with switches all set to "ON" please REMEMBER switch them all away from led -> to take advantage of the GC http://d2sun.com/download/SunDiskMenu01.rar to switch games)
Some sexy photo's of Sun Driver's led showing status. Old face plate mod for SunDisk :p .. will probably do some nice mod for Sun Driver soon also ;)
Installing games and configuring Sun Driver is easy and fast.
Power on Wii with "Eject" button and 4 switches to the right and GC Menu app comes right up!
GC Menu is nice and simple select the game you want and Wii reboots with selected game loaded into disc channel :D
I found this product easy to use and with 3 way to change games it is very convenient way to store and play your games.
Upon first connecting the usb data cable to pc drivers were automatically found and installed, http://d2sun.com/download/SunDriver_Programmer_V2.0.rar worked as expected and loaded games quick.
All tested drives worked except:
Western Digital model: WD2500JD-22HBB0 (250gb 3.5in hdd)
I was able to install game images and game cube icon even show for SunDiscMenu but trying to run it only ever rebooted the wii. I spent hours trying to make this drive work but with no success.
So over all quality, value, ease of use, and products design innovation for it to completely replace your dvd drive make it an obvious and wonderful option for those looking into drive mods.
Also I can't speak for everyone, but thinking over the years at how many optical drives have failed me compared to hard disc drives and HDD's always seem to last longer.
Final thoughts?... Having tried many of the current solutions on the market this one is by far my favorite so far.
Go to: http://d2sun.com/distributors.htm
There you can find legit official resellers and their price for you.
As far as purpose it replaces your dvd drive to a hdd one with mini usb on the front to load games from your pc to it. And yea you mention homebrew solutions but HARDWARE will not depend so much on these hacks which are software dependent and always change/fail with official firmware updates,.. hardware makes it more convenient for the end user and much more stable.
The choice is much one of reliability, compatibility and ease of use over a free one being complicated and very limited/dependent on your specific setup.
How hard is the Installation ? Do you have to get rid of the optical Drive completly? Does it lag ? Do you have any video using it ?
Installation is simple = 4x screws to remove original dvd drive, 1x power cable, and 1x flat cable
Yes you completely remove the optical drive and replace with SunDriver sata or ide/cf version.
No lag. 8x speed
Wii and GC iso loading
Video = my isp is throttling my bandwidth so even uploading pictures atm is painful.. Sorry