Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of Oyen Digital
Oyen Digital, a popular manufacturer of portable storage enclosures and devices, provided us with its MiniPro™ eSATA / USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive enclosure for testing USB 3.0 enhanced mode on the ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe motherboard. This enclosure offers support for USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and eSATA ports in conjunction with a 2.5" hard drive. We put this enclosure on the test bench with the ASUS P8Z77-I Deluxe board to test the performance limits of the device. The MiniPro™ enclosure can be found at your favorite e-tailer for $39.95.
The MiniPro™ SATA / USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive enclosure is a simple aluminum enclosure supporting any 2.5" form factor hard drive up to SATA III speeds. The enclosure itself supports USB 2.0, USB 3.0, and eSATA connections. Because of its use of the ASMedia 1053e chipset for USB 3.0 support, the enclosure supports both USB 3.0 normal mode transfer speeds and UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) mode transfer speeds. UASP mode is a method of bulk transfer for USB 3.0 connections that increases transfer speeds through the use of parallel simultaneous packet transfers. Per our sources at ASUS, UASP can be explained as follows:
The adoption of the SCSI Protocol in USB 3.0 provides its users with the advantage of having better data throughput than traditional BOT (Bulk-Only Transfer) protocol, all thanks to its streaming architecture as well as the improved queuing (NCQ support) and task management, which eliminated much of the round trip time between USB commands, so more commands can be sent simultaneously. Moreover, thanks to the multi-tasking aware architecture, the performance is further enhanced when multiple transfers occur.
The downside of UASP is that the receiving device (Flash drive/external hard drive etc) must also be UASP enabled for the protocol to work. This requires checking your peripherals before purchase. However since UASP is an industry standard, the device support for ASUS UASP implementation is not restricted to a particular controller manufacturer or device type, so the overall number of peripherals available should undoubtedly grow.
Technical Specifications (taken from the Oyen Digital website)
eSATA 6G (Up to 6.0 Gbps)
USB 3.0: (Up to 5.0 Gbps)
|SATA III (up to 15mm SATA 2.5" HDD/SSD)|
|Windows XP/Vista/7/8 & above; MAC OS 10.2 & above; Linux 2.4.22 & above|
Subject: Storage | August 8, 2012 - 04:31 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: usb 3.0, icy dock, hard drive enclosure, external hard drive, eSATA
Hard drive enclosure manufacturer ICY DOCK has launched its new Blizzard enclosure that is designed to keep your 3.5” hard drive cool. Putting a fast hard drive in an external enclosure can shorten its lifespan if it does not provide proper airflow. As the name implies, the Blizzard takes cooling to the extreme by placing an 80mm fan at the front of the enclosure to ensure that the 3.5” hard drive is nice and chilly even when under heavy load. Specifically, ICY DOCK has released the MB080U35-1SB and MB080USEB-1SB. The former is the USB 3.0 model while the latter foregoes USB 3.0 in favor of Firewire.
The enclosure itself is all back and constructed of ABS with a metal frame. It measures 237.5 x 126 x 146mm and weights 646 grams. The Blizzard enclosure can hold a single 3.5” SATA desktop hard drive. The front of the case is a diamond shape and hold the 80mm fan. From there, the case tapers back into a form-fitting rectangular shape a bit larger than the hard drive it is holding. Exhaust ports are present at the back and the front grill is used as a large intake. The fan is LED lit with a dimmable blue light. Further, a fan speed switch allows setting the fan to high, low, or automatic speeds. Should the drive temperature go above 50 C, the front LED will turn a red color. At the top-front of the drive enclosure are two LED lights–a solid green LED for power and a flashing orange LED for indicated hard drive access. On the side are two large release buttons that allow the front to be pulled off and hard drive to be inserted or removed.
Aside from the fan and the resulting odd shape, this enclosure is fairly standard. If you need fast rotating storage though, that fan design may be very important. When one of my WD MyBook drives died, I swapped it out for a 7,200 RPM hard drive I had lying around and used it as a backup-backup drive (lest it simply act as a dust catcher). It would get warm to the touch, so while it may be overkill for many people some might find it useful if you absolutely need large amounts of fast storage in an external enclosure.
As mentioned previously, the MB080U3S-1SB model features a USB 3.0/USB 2.0 and a eSATA connector on the rear of the device for connecting to your computer. The MB080USEB-1SB model, on the other hand, features USB 2.0, FIrewire, and eSATA ports. Also included on the back of the device is the fan speed switch, LED dimmer, power switch, and power jack.
While the Icy Dock website does not list an MSRP, the enclosure can be found for around $70. It is currently listed for $71.99 over at Newegg, for example. I’ll admit that it’s a rather odd enclosure, but if you have the desk space and want to keep your drives nice and chilly this appears to be a decent option. No Thunderbolt support, but as Ryan found out, you would need a multi-drive array to really get your money’s worth out of Thunderbolt (so for a single hard drive, USB 3.0 or eSATA should be fast enough).
You can find more photos and information on the Blizzard enclosure on the company's website as well as a video of it below.
What do you think of the external hard drive enclosure?
Subject: Storage, Shows and Expos | January 10, 2012 - 05:39 PM | Allyn Malventano
Tagged: CES, usb, ssd, eSATA
Victorinox stopped me in my tracks while walking around the Pepcom Digital Experience last night. I'd heard there was a 1TB USB drive, but assumed it would be one of those things that was purely a concept and wouldn't be out for another year or two. Then I saw this:
That larger drive (center left) is a *working* 1TB SSD in a thumb drive form factor. Sure it's on the larger side, but it's no bigger than the typical 32GB USB 3.0 thumb drives are at present. One side of the SSD contains a user-programmable e-ink display, which persists even with power removed. The other side shows the beginnings of a thick stack of PCB's and stacked flash memory:
Pictured above is one of flash memory packages alongside the controller. Here's a side view:
Within this package is a sandwich of 4 thin PCB's housing a total of 4 special flash memory packages. Each package can contain an interleaved stack of 16 (!) 2xnm dies. By interleaved I mean 8 dies make up a data channel to the controller, so each package provides 2 channels. This makes the assembled device physically equivalent to an 8-channel SSD - just neatly folded and shrunk into this relatively tiny device. Since all of you know I love ripping these things apart to see what makes them tick, well, Victorinox beat me to it and had one disassembled already:
The last really cool and unique part of the design is right here:
This is a picture of the underside of the *top* of the USB connector. This part is normally the standard steel top of a USB connector, but here Victorinox has engineered a 7-pin eSATA connector into it. Modern laptops typically have an eSATA connector that is also physically and electrically compatible with USB - using the USB portion of the connector to provide extra power when a powered eSATA device is connected. eSATA devices have a connector that can plug into this hybrid port, but not into a standard USB port. This device switches that concept around, in that it is physically compatible with both USB 3.0 and eSATA ports - and can function in eSATA mode when connected to the latter. This yields reduced latency when compared to USB, which introduces more overhead.
Victorinox expects to ship these in sizes from 64GB all the way up to the 1TB capacity later this year. Estimated cost of the largest capacity? $3,000.
PC Perspective's CES 2012 coverage is sponsored by MSI Computer.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: Storage | October 7, 2011 - 11:32 AM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Startech, eSATA, usb, SATA HD Duplicator
Startech's eSATA USB to SATA drive duplicator is a portable device that lets you clone SATA, eSATA and USB disks. It is quite handy in that you do not need a running PC to be able to clone a disk which can be handy when you are copying an OS installation and need access to all files on the drive. It is also great in data emergencies or even better, to prevent an emergency from ever happening because you back up your drives frequently. Plug and Play is very appropriate for this device, you could put in two drives to the duplicator and leave it copying over night as you do not need to monitor its operation at all. Drop by R&B Mods for their full review of the duplicator.
"Today we will take take a look at an interesting product from Startech. Startech Portable eSATA USB to SATA Standalone HD Duplicator Dock is a hard disk duplication device that you can do easy hard disk cloning with. Let’s see how it performs in our tests and how easy it is to use."
Here are some more Storage reviews from around the web:
- Icy Dock MB882HX-1SB 2.5” SATA II SSD Xpander Hybrid Adapter Review @ Hi Tech Legion
- QNAP Turbo NAS TS-1079 Pro @ Tweaktown
- Thecus N3200XXX NAS Server Review @ OCC
- Kingston Wi-Drive 16GB Wireless Flash Storage for iOS Devices @ Tweaktown
- SilverStone TS07 USB 3.0 External Drive Enclosure Review @ MissingRemote
- The Memoright FTM Plus SATA 3 SSD Review @ The SSD Review
- The Intel SSD 710 (200GB) @ AnandTech
- Corsair Force GT 240GB Solid State Drive @ Tweaktown
- Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120GB Solid State Drive @ Tweaktown