3.5″ SATA HDD External Enclosure

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So now that I’ve ordered a 750GB Seagate 7200.10 drive to cart data back and forth, its time to find a good small enclosure so that I can get it from Seattle to work around the world. Now I’ll never have to worry about running out of room for photos or home movies again. A quick search for “usb sata external enclosure review”:google revealed some good products that only cost $30-40. The main question is whether the controllers on these drives will support 750GB which only Vantec says for sure that it does.

!http://www.overclockercafe.com/Reviews/other_misc/Kingwin_Nighthawk/pics/1000.jpg! “Kingwin Nighthawk TL-35CS”:http://www.overclockercafe.com/Reviews/other_misc/Kingwin_Nighthawk/index.htm. $36. The critical things are that it is 210x122x40mm (8-1/4″x4-3/4″x1-1/2″) and weighs 580g (1.27 pounds). It says it only handles 500GB hard drives but does have a 40mm cooling fan which you need for modern drives. It has both USB 2.0 (pretty slow these days) and also a SATA connector on the back so it can really run fast if you’ve got an external connector on your PC. In performance tests, it ran at 27MBps on USB 2.0 which ain’t too shabby. “Kingwin”:http://www.kingwin.com/pdut_Cat.asp?CateID=27 has a whole line of these

!http://www.virtual-hideout.net/reviews/vizo_luxon/images/luxion_grey.jpg! “VIZO Luxon USB/SATA 3.5″ External HDD Enclosure”:http://www.virtual-hideout.net/reviews/vizo_luxon/index.shtml. This is a similar product but is just slight smaller 210x125x34 in height. The main issue is that there aren’t any fans, so it probably isn’t meant to be run regularly and hard. It is pretty quick though running at 90MBps which is still slower than the theoretical SATA 150 running at 150MBps but pretty good for real world performance. Average speed is 29MBps so very similar to the Kingwin not surprising. Benchmarks wtih done with HD Tach from “Simpli Software”:http://simplisoftware.com

!http://www.bigbruin.com/reviews05/vantecns3/logo.gif! “Vantec Nexstar3 NST-360SU-BK Drive Enclosure”:http://www.bigbruin.com/reviews05/review.php?item=vantecns3&file=1. Supports up to 750GB drive according to “Vantec”:http://www.vantecusa.com/p_nst360su.html but it does include an internal SATA to eSATA PCI bracket. This basically takes an internal drive connector and then routes it out of the box with the so called external SATA (eSATA) connector and cable. With a USB 2.0 connector, the speed was 32.2MBps average and 34MBps burst as it ran up against the limits of the USB 2.0 speed. With eSATA it was as fast as an internal drive (although it was just 86.7MBps peak vs. 134.7MBps for an internally connected drive) and 46.8MBps average, particularly for average speed. It’s about $45 and a good buy with the eSATA connector. “Vantec”:http://www.vantecusa.com/ is a specialty vendor, so a pretty good choice. They have a large collection of components and have both NAS Servers with network connection and also USB and SATA connection. This one also lacks a cooling fan, so that’s probably the main issue. “Pricegrabber”:http://www.pricegrabber.com/p__Vantec_NST_360SU_BK_External_3_5in_Hard_Drive_Enclosure,__15722408/sort_type=bottomline has them for $45.

_As a comparison, I ran HD Tach 3 against my 750GB Seagate 7200.10 running against the nVidia nForce3-250 SATA controller and got 137MBps burst (very close to the 150MBps theoretical maximum) and averaged read of 90MBps, so an internal SATA controller is quite a bit faster than a USB 2.0 connected drive. For my 300GB Maxtor DiamondMax III, the burst was about the same at 134MBps, but average read was 45MBps reflecting the lower density of the drive. Both spin at 7200rpm, so with twice the density the Seagate is going to be about twice as fast._

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