SilverStone MMS01 Military-Grade USB 3.0 Enclosure Review

Introduction


If you are living an active lifestyle and still want to carry around your storage while keeping it protected the best way possible, then you need something other than a normal portable storage device. There are many rugged portable drives on the market by now and we’ve had a look at several of them already. But what if you already have a drive and want to turn that into a safe portable storage drive? Then you need something like SilverStone’s MMS01 military-grade USB 3.0 portable enclosure. Today I’m taking a closer look at how this works and how well it works.

SilverStone’s MMS01 is a thick protective enclosure that has been IP65 certified which makes it dust proof and water-resistant. The enclosure doesn’t stop there, it has been tested and proven to be immune or resistant to rapid temperature change, vibration, 1.2-meter drop, salt spray, sand, and fungal growth. You shouldn’t fully submerge a setup like this, but other than that your data’s drive is well secured.

Durability doesn’t mean that we need to sacrifice performance and the MMS01 is bound to show us some great numbers. Powered by the USB 3.0 bus and with UASP support, the only limitation is the 5 Gbps of the USB bus. The enclosure is equipped with a USB 3.0 type B port and the drive is backward compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1. Thanks to the USB interface, we don’t require any extra drivers or anything and it will work as plug-and-play with both Windows and Mac OS systems.

Inside the enclosure there is room for a drive with a height of up to 9.5mm, allowing you to mount most 2.5-inch hard disk drives. Solid state drives with the thinner 7mm height aren’t a problem either and that is what I’ll be using in my tests today.

With a weight of just 280 gram, the MMS01 is a lightweight unit despite its great protection. This is an important factor when we deal with mobile drives as no one wants to carry unnecessary weight with them. If you are looking for an enclosure that can protect your drive in the harshest environment possible, the MMS01 might be the one to get.

Feature Highlights

  • Super speed USB 3.0 and SATA 6G interface
  • Supports 7mm or 9.5mm thick 2.5” SATA hard drives or SSD
  • Supports UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) for additional performance
  • Unique anti-vibration silicone sleeve over ABS shell for complete protection
  • Adheres to US military standard (MIL-STD-810G) for thermal, drop, shock, humidity, sand, dust, and fungus resistance
  • Certified IP65 for dustproof and water resistance

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers information and might as such be subject to changes in possible future revisions of the product.

Package and Accessories

The colour scheme on the package fits the military theme originating from the certifications and presents the enclosure well. The front has all the vital features presented for a quick and easy view.

The rear of the package contains more details information about the specifications and a multilanguage description.

Next to the enclosure itself, we find a USB cable, an Allen key to take the enclosure apart and mount the drive as well as a manual inside the package.

SilverStone MS08 Mobile Rack 3.5-inch RAID Enclosure Review

Introduction


Today I am taking a look at something a little different from my usual drive and NAS reviews, today I’m taking a closer look at the SilverStone MS08 mobile rack that converts a single 3.5-inch drive bay into a two-bay 2.5-inch RAID unit with hot-swap abilities.

The SilverStone MS08 mobile rack can be a very useful tool to have at your disposal in several different scenarios. First of all, it allows you to connect two drives as a single one to your motherboard or host controller. You have three modes that you can connect the drives as, whether you want performance, redundancy, or capacity. All the basics are covered RAID 0, 1, and JBOD at your disposal.

The RAID feature is set by the hardware itself. You got two small switches on the rear of the unit that lets you select the mode and a little button that needs to be pressed in order to change the configuration. SilverStone included an SATA cable and a power adapter from MOLEX to SATA, allowing you to connect it to your setup without the need for anything that isn’t in the box. Even the four screws to mount it into the chassis are included.

The SilverStone MS08 connects to a single SATA connector and it supports up to SATA3 6Gbps. Mechanical hard drives, and especially 2.5-inch, aren’t fast enough to saturate such a connection, but with an enclosure like the MS08, you can get very close. The added bonus of being able to hot-swap the drives by simply ejecting them to the front make the enclosure even more useful.

Even people who want to take their drives on the go can benefit from the SilverStone MS08. Thanks to the standard 3.5-inch form factor, the MS08 fits into any docking station and enclosure that is built for 3.5-inch drives. Where you’d normally take a single 3.5-inch drive with your data, you can now take a RAID setup of 2.5-inch drives instead and you don’t need to worry about the order of them. You also don’t need to worry about drivers or complicated setups when you’re on the go, the unit is fully plug-and-play the same way a normal drive is.

The tool-less tray design is a great feature and it allows for true hot-swapping of drives. The enclosure itself is both durable and beautiful thanks to being constructed from premium aluminum that also aids in cooling the drives as well as their protection. There are a few plastic parts, but the majority of the enclosure is made of aluminum. You can load the MS08 with 2.5-inch drives that have a height of up to 9.5mm, making it compatible with most 2-5inch hard drives and solid state drives.

The front of the MS08 enclosure has two blue LEDs, one for each drive, allowing you to keep an eye on what drive is active and not. The drive tray isn’t lockable, but the ledge is secure and there is little risk that you could end up opening it by accident. Even if you should end up opening it when you didn’t want to, you don’t need to worry. The door has to be opened fully and then pressed in to eject the drives. Both drives will be ejected at the same time.

Pulling the rear of the enclosure off and having a look inside, we see that SilverStone added the SATA connectors on an independent PCB. It doesn’t feature much besides the two SATA connectors and a little power stabilization.

The main PCBB has the external connections and buttons. To the right we see the two LEDs mounted that then are passed on to the front of the enclosure. We can also see the connector for the sub PCB here.

Turning the main PCB over and we find the brain in this enclosure, a JMicron JMS562 bridge chip. The JMicron JMS562 is a Super Speed & eSATA GEN III to Dual SATA Gen III Ports bridge chip with four independent SATA channels and a microprocessor integrated.

Features

  • Premium aluminum construction for durability and protection
  • Supports for two 9.5mm 2.5” drives
  • Supports RAID 0, 1, and JBOD
  • Offer great performance of up to SATA 6Gb/s
  • Tool-less tray design for quick hot-swaps
  • Fits into any 3.5” drive bay

Packaging and Accessories

SilverStone wrapped the MS08 Mobile Rack in a colorful orange themed box that makes it stand out. The front of the box shows the enclosure itself as well as its features. There’s also a handy QR-Code to scan in order to check the official product page online.

The rear and the sides once again feature the features of the MS08 enclosures and you’ll find it in multiple languages on the rear of it.

Inside the box is everything that you need to connect the MS08 and get started. You get an SATA data cable, an MOLEX to SATA power adapter, four screws to mount the enclosure, and a manual that explains how to install and use it.

SilverStone Introduces the MS08 Mobile RAID Rack

SilverStone has no shortage of add-ons for our systems and they’ve added one more to the list, the MS08 mobile RAID rack. The MS08 allows you to take your RAID setup with you on the go as it is hardware based and packed into a convenient little unit.

The MS08 will fit into any 3.5-inch drive bay while it holds up to two 2.5-inch SSDs or HDDs with a height of up to 9.5mm. The mobile RAID rack supports both JBOD (Just a Bunch Of Disks) as well as RAID 1 and RAID zero, depending on if you want maximum capacity, speed, or redundancy.

The connection is handled through a single SATA3 6Gbps port and as such the array won’t be able to perform better than that, but that doesn’t take much away from the usefulness of the device. Adding a second port would create incompatibilities with a lot of bays and prevent the easy and convenient hot-swap abilities that the SilverStone MS08 comes with.

The mobile rack is made from a plastic and aluminium construction that should provide both durability and protection for your drives. It offers easy swap of drives too as it has a tool-less design and supports hot swapping. It also comes with dual-LEDS so you know what drive is accessed when.

SilverStone did not reveal any pricing or availability at this time, but I’d expect it to come in around the £35-40 area and be available very soon.

Fixstars SSD-6000M Is the Largest 2.5″ SSD to Date

This has certainly already been a very interesting year with a bunch of new impressive solid state drives hitting the market. We’ve previously seen Fixstars 3TB and 5TB drives being released, Kingston released their new Predator PCIe SSD and Intel blew everyone away with their SSD 750 NVMe drive.

Now Fixstars is back to blow us away again with the world’s largest capacity 2.5-inch standard form factor drive, sporting an incredible 6TB capacity. The drive does go beyond the more common 7mm drive height and instead uses the 9.5mm height that most 2.5-inch HDDs come in. Fixstars used that all that space and packed it with 15nm MLC NAND. Fixstars did not specify which brand of NAND they were using, but with 15nm technology it can really only be either Toshiba or SanDisk that jointly developed this.

The drive is said to perform pretty well despite the capacity with sequential read reaching up to 540 MB/s and writes reaching up to 520 MB/s. The figures come directly from Fixstars and the test environment wasn’t specified, neither was the random 4K performance (IOPS), but I’m sure those specifications will be released as the launch gets closer. The drive also supports all the basic features such as NCQ, TRIM, and SMART.

Fixstars backs the drive with a 3-year warranty and it is expected to launch in July this year. The 6TB SSD is designed mainly for video storage, medical applications, big data analytics, communications infrastructure and other industrial applications, but that doesn’t stop us power users from enjoying it too, if the price is right.

Toshiba 2.5-inch 1TB Solid State Hybrid Drive Review

Introduction


Toshiba is one of the world’s leading suppliers when it comes to OEM Hard drives, so it’s no surprise that they also want to be part of the Hybrid Drive wave led by WD, with their own OEM drives and range of consumer SSHD drives. Today we’re taking a closer look at the Toshiba 1TB 2.5″ Notebook Internal Solid State Hybrid Drive, the MQ01ABD100H.

Hybrid drives enter a sweet spot between traditional hard drives with spinning platters and solid state drives with their flash memory. They are giving us the capacity we’re used to from the hard disk but with a boost to the most-used-files on your system to near SSD speeds. Toshiba uses self-learning caching algorithms to determine your usage pattern and optimize file locations.

There are several reasons one would pick a hybrid drive, where none of them have to be exclusive. If your laptop or notebook only has room for one drive while you need a lot of storage space, a SSD that size might be out of your price range. The hybrid drive will give us faster boot times as well as faster access to often used files. Compared to traditional hard drives this is a big bonus, but doesn’t cost much more. A lot of people might also feel it will be easier to just deal with one disk over setting up both a SSD for your system and a HDD for the rest.

It’s also a great choice to make if you aren’t sure that you actually need the speed a SSD will give you. While SSD’s have become both cheaper and bigger over the years, they’re still to expensive for many people. Comparing the pure capacity of hard drives they could get for the same money can leave you with a tough decision. The Hybrid drive fills this gap, allowing everyone to find just the sweet-spot between the price and performance they need.

Since this is an OEM drive, it comes with no form of accessories. The drive is mainly sold to system builders, and they don’t need these extras. The drive isn’t an exclusive and can be had at many retailers as well. Toshiba is offering a 3-year warranty on this 9.5 mm thin drive that weighs 117 grams.

This hybrid drive from Toshiba has been on the market for a while now, and as such I did a little digging into complaints and user feedback. There weren’t many bad user reviews to be found, and less than ordinary on a product of this age. This should already be a good indication on the reliability of this drive.