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iODD/Zalman vs E2B and G4D?


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#1 IAmTheTrueMeaningOfCovfefe

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Posted A week ago

I just bought an iODD 2541. Which, after the fact, I discovered is the same as the Zalman ZM-VE400, except in name and firmware. It's no wonder they look pretty much identical. I used to own the VE400 a few years ago, it worked pretty well but didn't quite function as expected sometimes. I had no idea that Zalman just rebrands iODD devices. And not too long ago they released the VE500, which seems to have mysteriously all but disappeared from the market, probably due to Zalman struggling to remain solvent as a business.

Anyway, now that I have an iODD, I'm wondering what useful role E2B plays in my toolbox, if any. The iODD boots every ISO I've thrown at it so far, in both UEFI and legacy, without needing to modify the ISO or convert to imgPTN. It even works with a few ISOs I had trouble with before, like FreeBSD disc 1 ISO, which on the VE400 hung up with a "failed to find root directory" or similar error. And the iODD has no need of a helper flash drive/imgPTN when booting Windows installer ISOs from a fixed HDD, unlike E2B.

Some advantages and disadvantages of each that I've noticed:

iODD:

Pros
1. Can also boot raw disk images including VHDs, from what I've read E2B can only boot VHD and imgPTN (partition image, not a whole disk) files.
2. Can emulate a disc drive, disk drive, and flash drive.
3. Can be encrypted
4. Isn't dependent on a particular bootloader
5. Can boot almost any ISO as-is, in either UEFI or legacy modes
6. Can be write-protected, I can't count the number of times I've inadvertently destroyed an E2B drive with the "clean" command after selecting the wrong disk

Cons
1. Needs MBR
2. Capacitive touch buttons don't always work or aren't sensitive enough to touch to be accurate
3. Only recognizes NTFS and FAT32, which fragment easily
4. Requires specialized hardware and an HDD/SSD

E2B:

Pros
1. Only requires a flash drive or HDD/SSD, making it an inexpensive solution compared to iODD/Zalman
2. Can make use of G4D's specialized capabilities
3. Easy to use and somewhat flexible

Cons:
1. Is dependent on G4D (i.e. is boot loader specific)
2. Mostly tailored toward Windows users, making a E2B drive in Linux/OSX isn't straightforward
3. Depending on the circumstances, requires the use of nonconventional file formats (i.e. imgPTN)
4. Can't easily boot disk images other than VHD
5. Has the same NTFS/FAT32 limitations as iODD/Zalman
6. Sometimes restoring the MBR of a disk doesn't work, RMPrepUSB crashes
7. Requires ImDisk for certain operations

E2B is the 2nd best booting tool I've used, iODD/Zalman easily wins in most respects. I could have titled the topic "iODD/Zalman vs <insert multiboot solution here>, but honestly nothing else I've tried compares to E2B, and these are the 2 that I have personal experience with. I've also tried UNetBootIn, SARDU, a few others, but they pale in comparison to E2B and are relatively difficult to use. I have alot of respect for steve6375 as a skillful developer, which is why I've avoided confrontation with him on the forum. Practically everything he posts is useful info, though I disagree with some of it.

Right now I've installed E2B to a fixed 1TB HDD, and that same drive is used with iODD. This is mostly a "just in case" scenario. I bought the iODD first and foremost as a booting tool, and 2ndly for its' ability to pull triple duty as a HDD enclosure and an E2B drive, as well as for static data storage. I feel that they complement each other well.

If I've made any incorrect statements then feel free to correct them. I'm mainly just looking to solicit discussion on how I can use the iODD to its' fullest potential, and whether E2B is really still needed/useful.

#2 steve6375

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Posted A week ago

There is an E2B page here which you may or may not have seen.

 

Some advantages of E2B over a HDD emulation caddy are:

  • E2B fits on a flash drive that can be easily carried on a key chain or lanyard and needs no USB cable
  • E2B is free
  • Some systems have problems booting from a IODD\Zalman (usually to do with spin-up times to get to a 'ready' state or not enough power from the USB port)
  • E2B can install Windows using an XML file for configured\unattended installs without needing to modify the ISO.
  • E2B can also be used for automated installs + unattended install of apps+drivers+updates (SDI_CHOCO).
  • E2B can also use grub2 whch allows you to boot some linux ISOs via UEFI that do not have UEFI boot files and so you cannot boot them from an ISO on a IODD.
  • E2B can directly boot NT6 .WIM files and XP VHD files.
  • E2B can boot many linux ISOs with persistence.
  • E2B can be used with HitMan Pro (if it is on a removable flash drive)
  • E2B can install XP to a SCSI, SATA or RAID system from an unaltered XP ISO
  • Images of other flash drives can be converted to .imgPTN files and run from E2B
  • E2B can boot from some Hackintosh (.dmg) files
  • E2B menu is highly configurable (e.g. will not list 64-bit ISOs on a 32-bit system, password protection, brandable, etc.)
  • E2B can directly boot from IPXE and netboot.xyz kernel files (.krn)

Of course, there are disadvantages to E2B too (e.g. cannot use E2B with a write-protect the USB drive) and many other things besides!

 

I have a Zalman and an IODD. Due to power issues, I use them with a USB Y-cable (more power is required from some laptops) and use an SSD (so no spin-up delay + more robust). I also have a USB 2 extension cable which I connect if there are any communication issues on USB 3 enclosures (e.g. freezing during loading of an image).

 

If you are a pro, you will have both an E2B and an IODD\Zalman and probably other devices too. It's not a case of 'either/or' or which is best, it's just about having more tools in your armoury.

 

 


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#3 ambralivio

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Posted A week ago

Very interesting topic !!!!! :)  :)  :)

 

 

 

If you are a pro, you will have both an E2B and an IODD\Zalman and probably other devices too. It's not a case of 'either/or' or which is best, it's just about having more tools in your armoury.

 

I completely agree with Steve.  :cheers:

 

Zalman/iODD and Easy2Boot are effectively complementary, and both are a MUST-TO-HAVE.

 

I wonder if, in some way, they could be combined by using the same HD !!!  :idea:



#4 steve6375

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Posted A week ago

'combined on the same HD' ??

There is an E2B page here which you may or may not have seen.

You obviously didn't see it!



#5 ambralivio

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Posted 6 days ago

'combined on the same HD' ??

There is an E2B page here which you may or may not have seen.

You obviously didn't see it!

You are right and I'm getting old, too... :worship:

 

Unfortunately, the combination you're talking about is not among my next targets, but I'll certainly dedicate some time in the next future.

 

Thanks a lot Steve for the brillant idea.

 

If it does really work on a practical and reliable way, I think it confirms the good "marriage" between iODD and Easy2Boot.

 

Good job !!!  :cheers:






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