SilverStone TS11-C USB 3.1 Docking Station Review

Introduction


We have tested quite a few of SilverStone’s storage solutions in the past and while the new TS11-C external hard drive docking station might look like previous models, it is special as it comes with the newest technologies. In the past, we have been limited by the USB 3.0 protocol and its maximum 5Gbps transfer speeds even though we connect a 6Gbps capable drive to the docking station. SilverStone’s new TS11-C should make up for this as it uses the USB 3.1 connector for a transfer speed of up to 10Gbps.

SilverStone’s TS11-C is an external hard drive docking station that is made to accommodate either a 2.5-inch or a 3.5-inch drive at speeds up to 10Gb/s with its USB 3.1 Gen2 capability and it also features the new Type-C connector. Since USB is plug and play, as long as you have your USB drivers installed, which also means that this docking station is plug and play. You don’t need any additional drivers to get going, just plug it in, add a drive and turn it on. It is almost a given with a docking station like this, but it’s still worth highlighting that the TS11-C supports USB Attached SCSI protocol (UASP) which allows much better transfer rates in systems that support this compared to those who don’t.

The body itself is gold coloured and made of aluminium. This aids the passive unit itself to stay cool, but it also helps the inserted drive to dispose of its heat. This isn’t as much an issue when used with solid state drives, but mechanical drives need quite a bit of cooling. The cover itself is made of plastic to prevent your drives from being scratched. The top slot cover is a two-piece item that automatically folds back as you insert a drive. The small gap for 2.5-inch drives also helps with the positioning on top of the connector.

The docking station is built around an ASMedia ASM1351 chipset that provides this unit with its USB 3.1 Gen2 capability with speeds up to 10Gbps through the Type-C connector. The included USB cable uses a normal type USB connector which also makes it easy backward compatible with USB 3.0, 2.0 and 1.1. The internal SATA3 interface is also backward compatible with SATA2 and SATA1 drives, as it should be.

With an external device like this that is highly portable, you might want to take it on the road with you too in order to connect extra storage to your mobile devices such as laptops and modern smartphones. SilverStone thought of this too and added a power adapter with exchangeable plugs to be used in pretty much every place on earth no matter what plug type or voltage available.

Feature Highlights

  • USB 3.1 type-C connector with Gen2 up to 10Gb/s super speed transfer rate
  • Supports UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) function for even faster performance
  • Aluminum body with tool-free and tray-less design
  • Supports all 2.5 and 3.5-inch SATA drives up to any capacity
  • Plug & play with support for hot-swapping
  • Multinational adapter socket included

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 box uses the same gold colour as the device and is overall a great looking product packaging. The front shows how the docking station looks and tells you what it is.

The rear of the box contains the specifications and a few more details about the docking station and what drives it can take.

Inside the box, we find a USB 3.1 Type-C to Type-A connector, a user manual, and the multi-regional power adapter next to the docking station itself.

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 PTS01 USB 3.0 Enclosure for NUC Review

Introduction


Intel’s NUC series of mini PCs as well as SilverStone’s lineup of Petit series are amazing and bring a lot of great hardware in a very tiny box. They do however have one problem for some people and that is the lack of storage upgradeability. A few of the NUCs have a 2.5-inch bay, but most only feature mSATA, M.2, and similar next generation form factors. That sets some limitations, but limitations are meant to be broken and SilverStone did that with their PTS01 external USB 3.0 storage enclosure that fits the NUC and Petit cases like a glove.

SilverStone designed the PTS01 specifically for the Intel NUC as the majority of the NUC motherboards only support mSATA in order to reduce the dimensions. Where basic and small is great for the one, the other wants a little more. The PTS01 easily stacks with the NUC and Petit series chassis and it can even be placed between the NUCs and their mounting positions such as behind monitors. That way you don’t increase the footprint of your system, at least if you got a little more space behind your monitor.

You can mount a 2.5-inch hard disk or solid state drive with a maximum height of 9mm in the SilverStone PTS01. It is fully SATA III and USB 3.0 compatible with backward compatibility on both sectors. This could truly be the perfect and most convenient way to expand the storage of your NUC system.

The PTS01 is made from aluminum and steel which makes it sturdy and also helps with the cooling of the drive you mount inside. The tiny chassis measures just 122mm by 108mm by 15mm and it weighs just 125-gram thanks to the choice of material.

The SilverStone PTS01 storage enclosure is very simple on its own as it’s just a two-piece enclosure held together by eight screws and containing a small PCB at one end. On the PCB, you can see the USB 3.0 port and the activity LED to the right and we also spot the ASMedia ASM1153E USB 3.0 to Serial SATA bridge chip. The ASM1153E supports UASP for even better transfer speeds and a larger command queue. The enclosure did however not register as UASP device on my Windows 8 Pro system.

Feature Highlights

  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0 with 5Gbps
  • Supports Intel NUC cases
  • Supports SATA3 2.5” SSD/HDD x 1
  • Robust aluminum and steel body construction

Specifications

Package and Accessories

The simple black box has a premium feel over it thanks to the full-colour print, although you probably won’t look much at the box after you unpacked the enclosure. It also showcases the product itself and the main features right on the front.

The rear of the box has all the specifications themselves and a small image showcasing the usage directly connected to a Petit case.

Inside the box you find the enclosure itself along with a USB connection cable and all the screws you need to mount a drive inside as well as mount it to the NUC or Petit chassis.

SilverStone Release MMS01 Military-Grade External 2.5-inch Enclosure with USB 3.0

Rugged hard disk drives that can withstand drops, water, and dust is nothing new on the market, but they’re getting more and more popular as people need more storage despite their active lifestyle. SilverStone has now released a new enclosure called the MMS01 that allows you to create a protective storage solution with any 7mm or 9.5mm thin 2.5-inch drive.

The SilverStone MMS01 is a military-grade external 2.5-inch enclosure with USB 3.0 connectivity. It has a thick protective cover for your drive and has been certified for the IP65 standard against dust and water. But it doesn’t stop there, the MMS01 has also proven to be immune or resistant to rapid temperature change, vibration, 1.2-meter drop, salt spray, sand, and fungal growth.

The SilverStone MMS01 doesn’t sacrifice performance for its MIL-STD-810G and IP65 certifications because it doesn’t have to. Inside is a bridge controller chip that supports UASP for the best possible USB 3.0 connection with improved access times and data transfers.

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 dust proof and water resistance

SilverStone’s newest drive enclosure, the MMS01, will be available from today for a suggested retail price of just $30.98 USD which isn’t much premium over other enclosures that don’t offer the extra rugged protection.

SilverStone Releases DS222 External Dual-Bay RAID Enclosure

RAID setups are great for speed and redundancy and why should that be limited to your internal drives. SilverStone released a new external USB 3.0 chassis with built-in hardware RAID functionality and space for two 2.5-inch drives. The price and capacity gap between 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives have more or less been closed, making 2.5-inch drives a viable option at a highly reduced footprint as well as power consumption.

The new SilverStone DS222 external enclosure supports the use of the two drives as individual drives, BIG mode, RAID 0, and RAID 1 modes. It also comes with some useful features such as an alarm buzzer that can be turned off should you not want it and it also comes with a dedicated power button for the enclosure itself.

SilverStone’s DS222 should be able to get plenty of power for most drives with just the USB 3.0 connection, but SilverStone also added another micro USB port for 5V power supply, making it easily connectable to a system with plenty of power and without the use of an extra power adapter. That makes the setup a lot easier. The DS222 supports plug and play hot swapping and the entire chassis uses a tool-free design for extra convenience.

The new SilverStone DS222 will be available starting December the 18th for a suggested retail price of $62.48.

SilverStone Releases New FS-Series Drive Cages

It can be a troublesome job to find a chassis with enough room for all the drives you might want to add to the build you are making, and this is especially the case when you build server and storage oriented systems. SilverStone is aware of this issue and released a whole list of new drive cages to solve this problem. The new SilverStone drive cages either support plenty of 2.5-inch drives in the FS2xx series or plenty of 3.5-inch drives with the FS3xx series.

Let us start out with the 2.5-inch models where there will be three new drive cages. The first is the FS202 with room for two drives in one 3.5-inch bay, then there is the FS208 with room for eight 2.5-inch drives in two 5.25-inch device bays and finally the impressive FS212 with room for twelve 2.5-inch drives in just three 5.25-inch device bays. The SilverStone FS3xx series can fit either three, four, or five 3.5-inch drives in respectively two, three, and three device bays with the FS303, FS304, and FS305.

All the new FS drive cages are made with an all aluminium body with a beautiful hairline brushed finish. The loading is trayless and screwless and all of them support hot swapping too. They come with adjustable drive status LED and the 5.25-inch device bay models also feature fan control system and built-in cooling fan. For safety, you can lock each drive tray individually to prevent sticky fingers from running away with your drives as well as preventing accidental ejection.

Another added bonus with drive cages as these, besides the easy setup and better cooling, you also require a lot fewer power cables which reduce the overall clutter in your case, improves the airflow, and brings you past the limitations based on available PSU connections.

 

SilverStone’s new FS drive cages will be available on December the 18th for a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $25 for the FS202, $94.80 for the FS208, $115.80 for the DS212. The DS303 will cost you $62.40, the FS304 $80.60, and the FS305 will cost you $98.00.

SilverStone Releases PTS01 USB 3.0 Enclosure for NUCs

Small form factor PCs such as the Intel NUC systems are great and they provide an impressive amount of power in a very compact shape. They do however have one issue most of the times and that is when it comes to storage. Most of the NUCs only support mSATA drives which will increase the costs per GB over 2.5-inch sized drives as well as generally limit the available storage options. SilverStone now released a new drive enclosure that will fix that issue by adding almost any 2.5-inch drive to such a system via a USB 3.0 connection.

Now USB 3 drive enclosures aren’t anything new, but SilverStone’s new PTS01 drive enclosure also matches the layout and compatibility of the NUCs or SilverStone Petit Series chassis. The PTS01 is built with aluminium and steel that both helps with the heat dissipation and keep the drive operating at an optimal efficiency. The enclosure has room for one 2.5-inch SSD or HDD with a height up to 9mm and it connects through a micro USB 3.0 type B cable.

The smart design and compatibility also mean that you don’t have to find a new way to place everything just because you expand with a SilverStone PTS01 enclosure. Being compatible with the NUC mounting options, you can simply put it between the NUC and your mounting system such as the backside of your monitor and forget all about the addition except for the increased storage abilities.

The recommended end-user price for SilverStone’s PTS01 is set to $29.20 USD plus tax and it will be available on December 2nd.

Icy Dock Announces ToughArmor MB992SKR-B Enclosure

We are living in a world where storage capacities grow while the physical size of the drives shrinks more and more, which makes space optimization a vital scenario for a lot of people and companies. Solid state drives mostly come in the 2.5-inch form factor and the mechanical hard disk drives in this category keep growing in available capacity too. With that in mind, it is great to see ICY DOCK announcing a new mobile rack that allows you to do that and more.

The new ToughArmor MB992SKR-B Enclosure can take two 2.5-inch drives and connect them to a single SATA3 connector while it only takes up a single 3.5-inch drive slot. It comes with built-in hardware RAID support for RAID 0 and RAID 1 as well as BIG where the capacity of the two installed drives is simply added to each other. While this isn’t the first enclosure to feature such a thing, it is one of the few that also allows you to present the drives individually to the system in the JBOD mode (Just a Bunch Of Disks).

Another really nice touch on the ToughArmor MB992SKR-B and one that’s often forgotten in this category is the front positioned rebuild LED that will let you know once the hardware has set up and initialized your RAID configuration.

The entire mobile rack is made of metal which helps with both the heat dissipation as well as the overall durability of the enclosure. Multi-Flow Technology (MFT) will effectively route air flow correctly for excellent passive cooling via ventilation slots on the front, rear, top, and bottom, providing an even better protection for your installed drives. Lastly, Anti-Vibration Technology and EMI Grounding are used to provide a stable environment, allowing the hard drives or SSD’s used to perform at their best.


ICY DOCK didn’t just name their series of enclosures ToughArmor for fun or because it sounds great, they named them that way because the really are tough. A clear demonstration of this is shown in the video below where they put them up against the full weight of a Lexus SUV.

ICY DOCK didn’t reveal any pricing or availability of the ToughArmor MB992SKR-B at this time, but you can check out the full specification chart below.

Key Features

  • Built-in hardware RAID controller allows four different configurations: RAID 0 (FAST), RAID 1 (SAFE), JBOD, & BIG.
  • Supports SATA 6Gbps and hot swap.
  • Removable tray system for easy maintenance.
  • Front LED indicator lights for drive power, access, fail and RAID 1 rebuilds status.
  • Full metal construction, perfect for rugged applications and complies with flammability requirements.
  • Fits 2 x 7mm to 9.5mm 2.5” SATA HDD or SSD in a 3.5” front device bay.
  • Multi-Flow Technology (MFT) – provides excellent passive cooling.
  • Anti-Vibration Technology (AVT) – creates a safe environment for hard drives or SSDs.
  • Active Power Technology (APT) – individual led only powers up if there is drive installed in each bay.
  • EMI Grounding – protects hard drives from electrical damage.
  • Eagle-hook lock system & 2-segment safeguard key lock keeps drives secure within the enclosure.
  • Single SATA 15 Pin to power entire device & single SATA connector to operate.
  • Suggested applications in medical & military systems, government agencies, Industrial PC, SMB workstation, VM workstation, mobile DVR system, aerospace computer, automation system and embedded system.
  • Limited 3-year warranty to complement the typical warranty of a hard drive.
  • Supports SATA and SATA power cables with locking latch design

Icy Dock Announces ICYRaid MB662U3-2S USB 3.0 RAID Enclosure

Icy Dock announced the ICYRaid MB662U3-2S USB 3.0 drive enclosure that comes with built-in hardware RAID and thereby allows you to take your setup with you on the road where ever you go. When taking drives on the go, you also need to make sure that they stay safe, you wouldn’t want to damage your drives and thereby your data. The ICYRaid MB662U3-2S is built with heavy-duty aluminum to do just that while still keeping the weight down.

The ICYRaid MB662U3-2S allows you to set four modes, RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD, and BIG. So, no matter if you need extra redundancy, extra speed, a larger volume, or just multiple drives: the ICYRaid MB662U3-2S can do it. The internal design has been created to allow your drives the best possible heat dissipation and it is aided by the rear-mounted 40mm fan.

The hardware RAID is already a big benefit as it reduces the load on the system compared to a software-based RAID setup. We’ve seen external RAID units before, but it is rarely seen that they also feature UASP support for better throughput; you will need to run Windows 8 or newer (or Mac OS X) to take advantage of this.

There are LEDs on the front that will show drive activity as well as errors or ejected drives. You can, however, disable those on the back of the drive if they should bother you. The full power switch is also a nice touch and it allows you to fully turn your drives off, even when it’s still connected to your system. Optionally, ICY DOCK also offers 2.5-inch adapters to mount smaller form factor hard disk drives and SSDs.

Key Feature:

  • Built-in hardware RAID controller allows four different configurations: RAID 0 (FAST), RAID 1 (SAFE), JBOD, & BIG.
  • Tool-Less design for easy hard drive upgrading or replacement.
  • Plug & Play SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface with UASP support.
  • Supports 2 x 3.5″ SATA I / II / III hard drives.
  • Supports the latest 8TB HDD per bay in all 4 RAID modes for up to 16TB of storage.
  • Front LED indicator light to monitor disk status in RAID.
  • Rear LED indicator light for RAID rebuilds status.
  • Designed for professional users in any industry.
  • The front & rear LED can be disabled when needed.
  • Solid aluminum body construction for portability, heat dissipation and extra protection.
  • Built in security slot for security cable kit.
  • Compatible with Mac OS X Time Machine.
  • Designed for both Mac and PC systems.
  • Limited 3-year warranty to complement the typical warranty of a hard drive.

ASMedia Demonstrates 750MB/s via USB 3.1

The USB 3.1 era is upon us and ASMedia were the first to become officially authorized by the USB-IF official organization. Up until now, USB 3.1 has been more a gimmick and a sales pitch than a useful product, there simply haven’t been any devices around that really could take advantage of what the new host controller and protocol can perform.

So we need a demonstration of what it can do, some real figures to work with instead of theoretical figures. We all know that USB theory doesn’t equal USB reality. During the Intel IDF 2015 we now got that demonstration from ASMedia. They had an MSI notebook and an ASUS USB 3.1 enclosure box connected to show what the host controller can do. The ASUS USB 3.1 enclosure box had two M.2 SSDs on the insides, making sure that there is enough performance to test the bus to the max. The USB 3.1 host controller also supports RAID on a hardware level, which is really nice.

And the result is pretty impressive for a USB connection. We see a sequential performance of up to 735MB/s and a sequential write performance up to 748 MB/s. The random QD32 4K performance isn’t without either and is something that the previous USB connections weren’t good at, not at all. Now we just have to wait for some actual drives to be released that take advantage of this, instead of the unimpressive USB 3.1 flash drives that don’t perform any better than a USB 3.0 does.

Thank You LegitReviews for providing us with this information

Inateck FE2007 USB 3.0 Drive Enclosure with 3-Port Hub Review

Introduction


I’ve taken a look at quite a few of Inateck’s products so far, and I have yet to be disappointed. They are taking known concepts but improve on them with a twist of some sort. They have done exactly that again with their new FE2007 Tool Free UASP USB 3.0 HDD Enclosure with built-in and powered 3-Port USB 3.0 Hub.

Thanks to the power of the USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP), the FE2007 is able to utilize the entire USB 3.0 bandwidth and provide excellent transfer speeds.

You connect the enclosure directly to your system via the micro USB port on the one side of the enclosure and that is all you need to do. The enclosure is both tool-less and driverless. Another bonus feature is the ability to power down the inserted drive when you don’t need it. Save on your power bill and save lifetime on your drive.

There is one problem that you often run into and that is the problem with too few USB ports. This is especially the case on notebooks and compact systems that generally have fewer ports, but not exclusively. Inateck added a three-port USB 3.0 hub to the enclosure and increases the functionality of this tiny device a lot.

There is a second USB cable included that isn’t for data transfer, but rather to provide extra power to the connected devices. This allows you to use more power hungry devices at the same time and charge mobile products faster.

 

The top cover slides off without the use of much force, at the same time it still stays where it should be when closed. The enclosure has the same width internally as your 2.5-inch drive, so all you need to do is slide it in until it’s plugged into the SATA connector and close it again.

Inateck’s FE2007 can take 2.5-inch drives with a height of up to 9.5mm, making sure that you’re also able to mount the thicker drives.

Inateck also included a foam pad with the package that helps to keep a thinner 7mm drive in place inside the enclosure. This is especially useful when you take the enclosure with you on the go.

I’d also like to point out that I really like how Inateck is packaging their products. For the most part the package is just a brown box with a sticker. While this might be boring, no one actually looks at the box after you got it and it’s much better for the environment as well as saving production costs and machine maintenance that ultimately would end in a more expensive products. Well done.

Enermax Displays Internal and External Storage Solutions at Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – When you mention Enermax, most people think of cooling as the first thing. But the company produces a lot more than just fans and we’ve swung by their booth at Computex to check out their storage expansion units, card readers, and multi-purpose units.

Enermax brought along two of everything so they both could show off the units in built-in as seen in the shots above, but also let us check out the units first hand and from all sides.

We have the default hot-swap units such as the EMK5102 and EMK5102 as well as more advanced docks such as the EMK5201U3 that features both USB 3.0 front bays and hot-swappable 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives.

3.5-inch enclosures are just as well covered as the 5.25-inch ones and you’ll even find PCI expansion slot covers for 2.5-inch SSDs such as the EMK3106.

The Mobile Rack EMK3203 is a unique and pretty cool enclosure. It doesn’t just put two 2.5-inch drives into a single 3.5-inch drive bay, it allows for easy switching of drives as well as hardware-based RAID. The aluminum cover helps to keep everything cool, even when running mechanical drives inside.

It has rarely been so easy to take your RAID setup on the road and at the same time have the insurance that it will work in any system with a default 3.5-inch drive bay.

Every one of these enclosures is built great and with first class components, and should last you a long time.

Card readers are also part of the display and thanks to the USB 3.0 connection you’ll get all the speed that your memory cards can perform. No bottleneck as there used to be with USB 2.0 connected readers.

All new are the USB 3.1 enclosures Brick EB308U31 and Ultrabox EB310U31. The two new devices are capable of utilizing the new 10Gbps USB connections that are twice as fast as USB 3.0.

Featuring the new USB type-C reversible connector makes it easier than ever to connect them and you’ll never again have to do the well known 3-times-turn move to connect your USB devices.

The Ultrabox docking stations are available as single-bay and two-bay units where the 2-bay even features built-in cloning abilities with process indicators.

SilverStone Storage Enclosures at Computex 2015

Computex 2015 – Silverstone has a wide variety of enclosures and it doesn’t really matter where or how you need them, They got it covered. From internal to external, hybrids, and from USB to SAS – you’ll find it all.

There are traditional hot-swap bays so you can utilize all you front bays for drives, with and without trays.

The Silverstone MS06 for example is a hybrid solution that allows you to take the drive on the road as USB 3.0 high-speed storage and just plug it into your own system for a direct connection when you get home.

External enclosures such as the DS222 allows you to connect two drives externally to your USB ports and that includes built-in RAID support. RAID isn’t just for external drive bays and the Mobile and Treasure storage MS08 is a 2.5-inch SATA hot-swap module rack with RAID support and a tray-less design.

The TS431 and TS231 units allow you to connect 3.5-inch SATA drives easily to your system via USB 3.0 interface and support hot swap for their trayless drive bays. The units are also available with miniSAS connectors for direct connection to your high-performance controller.

Storage enclosures are nice, but what if you want to build a complete system with lot of drives and keep a small form factor. A thing that used to be difficult, but isn’t anymore thanks to SilverStone. The CS280 and DS380 provide lots of drive bays as well as room for mITX motherboards and internal power supplies.

The CS series are cases for storage and that’s just what they do. The mITX cases support 6 external 2.5-inch hot-swap drive as well as two internal. The whole thing is wrapped in a beautiful aluminum enclosure with rounded corners.

Last but not least, SilverStone also brought along their line-up of internal drive bays, used to expand your case’s front bays in a more practical way. Whether you need 3.5-inch or 2.5-inch drives to be easy accessible and with hot-swap abilities, SilverStone has it covered with their huge amount of options.

Stay tuned for more news, photos, and information directly from Computex 2015

Inateck FE2004 USB 3.0 HDD External Enclosure Review

Introduction


I’ve had the pleasure to have a closer look at quite a few of Inateck’s docking stations and enclosures so far, and it has been a pleasure every time. Today I’m taking a closer look at the Inateck FE2004 2.5-inch portable HDD and SSD enclosure. The FE2004 enclosure connects through a USB 3.0 connection for great transfer speeds thanks to the 5Gbps bandwidth and it can take drives up to 9.5mm height.

The Inateck FE2004 has a delicate and simple appearance. The only thing that stands out from the black enclosure is the battery indicator and company logo. The manufacturing is great and every part fits together without gaps or edges that you’ll feel. The surface also feels very smooth and it’s generally an enclosure that is pleasant to touch and hold.

A portable enclosure also has to be convenient to carry and light weight. Inateck’s FE2004 is both as it only weighs 90 grams the rounded corners make the 130 x 83 x 13 mm small enclosure easy to slide into even the tightest pockets. The USB cable is detachable so you don’t break it during transport and can pack it all better. A detachable USB cable also allows you to replace it with a longer or shorter one depending on your needs.

The FE2004 would be a great expansion for laptop users to store all their extra media such as films and images, ready to stream when needed and without the need to take up that little precious internal storage that most laptop users are bound to. The enclosure is

The enclosure is suitable for 9.5mm and thinner drives. There is a pre-mounted foam pad inside the enclosure to keep thinner drives such as 7mm SSDs mounted properly and prevent them from rattling around and Inateck also includes a second foam pad with the enclosure in case you ever need to replace it. A minor thing that costs them maybe a cent, but one that is extremely convenient for the user buying the product.effectively.

The bottom side of the enclosure has four tiny nipples as feet and while they don’t look like much, they do provide a better grip on the surface than the other side does. Place on the top side, the enclosure could easily slide off a smooth surface, but the feet hold it in place.

Features

  • Built-in foam pad, protect hard disk effectively
  • Blue and red power supply/HDD LED activity indicator
  • Suitable for 9.5mm and thinner 2.5-inch SATA HDD and SSD.
  • Super Speed USB3.0 offer Speed up to 5Gbps
  • Compatible Operating Systems: Windows 2000/Windows Me/Windows 98/ XP /Vista/ 7/ 8, Mac OS 9.1/10.8.4 above
  • Hot Swap & Plug and Play: No reboot and additional driver is needed
  • Tool-Free design: Mounting a drive in three-second without tools and mounting screws.

 

ICY Dock Announced ICYCube MB561U3S-4SB 4-bay USB 3.0 & eSATA Enclosure

ICY DOCK is well-known for their drive enclosures and they’re always amazing. I’ve owned quite a few of them over the years and they’ve never let me down. Their newest device is an external drive enclosure and it looks to be no different as the MB561U3S-4SB 4-Bay external 2.5″ & 3.5″ HDD enclosure with SuperSpeed USB 3.0 and eSATA interface seems to have it all.

The new MB561U3S-4SB features both a USB 3.0 5Gbps and an eSATA 6Gbps interface, allowing you to choose which connection you prefer. The eSATA port will need to be connected to a controller that supports port multipliers, but there aren’t many that don’t these days. It also looks great with its solid aluminium structure and great looking drive trays. And while we’re speaking of drive trays, the new EZ-Tray design used in this unit is interchangeable with a lot of other ICY DOCK units, both internal and external, and effectively allows you to move the same tray with disk from unit to unit.

Keeping four mechanical hard drives cooled in an enclosure like this requires the help of a fan. ICY DOCK utilized an 80mm fan that’s connected to the fan controller on the rear. It has three settings, low, high, and automatic where it sets the rotation speed depending on the ambient temperature inside the enclosure. Using current 6TB drives and you can have up to 24GB of raw data in this small and great looking unit, not bad.

When ICY DOCK creates a unit like this, they always add something special. In this case it is the external mounted and detachable fan. This allows you to easily remove the turbine looking fan module and clean everything in a proper fashion.

Key Features:

  • Plug and play installation, no drivers required
  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0 with up to 5Gbps transfer speed
  • Backward compatible with USB 2.0 interface
  • eSATA connection with up to 6 Gbps transfer speed (port-multiplier required)
  • New EZ-Tray system supporting both 2.5″ and 3.5″ SATA HDD/SSD of all heights
  • Adjustable cooling fan with 3 speed settings (low, high, and auto)
  • Support largest capacity drives available on the market (6 TB)
  • Removable EZ-Tray design allows you to quickly swap out drives
  • Moderately illuminating white LED for power & drive activities
  • High grade aluminum alloy frame with detailed matte finish
  • Include 4x EZ-Trays which features shock absorbing technology to help protect your drives
  • Detachable 80mm ball bearing rear cooling fan provides easy maintenance
  • Integrated power supply, so big power bricks aren’t necessary
  • Rubber padded soles for enhanced stability
  • 3-year warranty

Thanks to ICY DOCK for providing us with this information.

Enermax 2.5 and 3.5-Inch Mobile Drive Rack Roundup Review

Introduction


Being able to quickly eject drives can not only be an extra convenience but also a great bonus in many situations. Enermax has created a very long list of amazing docking bays and mobile racks for just this and today I’m taking a closer look at three of them in different form factors and with different capabilities – one for every usage scenario.

We will need to go up a drive size when we have a docking station around the drive, that’s a given. The three mobile racks that I’m taking a closer look at today are the EMK3101 for a 2.5-inch drive in 3.5-inch bay, EMK5102 for a 3.5-inch drive in a 5.25-inch bay, and the EMK5201U3 that combines the two previous into one smart unit. It has both a 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch bay as well as two front USB 3.0 ports in the spare area.

The EMK3101 allows you to easy swap, plug-in, and swap out 2.5-inch drives in this 3.5-inch sized mobile rack. A simple mechanic lever will eject the drive when you need it and it comes with a lock when you want to make sure that it stays in there. The connection is a direct pass-through and one that won’t affect performance. A simple solution that works every time.

SSD or 2.5-inch HDDs might not be all you would like to hot-swap with easy front access, 3.5-inch drives are still king of the storage area and that is where the EMK5102 comes into play. The 5.25-inch sized mobile rack allows you to hot-swap a 3.5-inch drive, in the same way the EMK3101 does with a 2.5-inch drive.

Combining the two enclosures above and adding two USB 3.0 ports and we get the Enermax EMK5201U3 mobile rack. It can hold both a 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drive as well as having two USB 3.0 ports with direct header connection.

All three enclosures come with the patented Non-Scratch SATA connectors that guarantee a maximum life span with up to 50,000 drive insertion and ejections. The SATA connectors are gold-plated for better grip and protection from corrosion and the steel clip on the included SATA cable to avoid accidental cable removable.

The mobile racks support the latest SATA III and SAS drives as well as USB 3.0 5Gb/s connectivity for the EMK5201U3 model. The enclosures are built from with sturdy stainless steel frames to keep everything living for as long as possible and have LED indicators to show when the drives are being accessed.

Lenovo Showcase A GRID server at GTC 2015


GTC 2015: After walking around the exhibition show floor at this years NVIDIA GTC event, a few things caught our eye and the main thing was a huge standing rack blade enclosure from Lenovo.

As we know with blade racks, they can support a whole host of hardware including storage modules, video cards and of course, the networking infrastructure and processing power that you’d come to expect from a system of this calibre.

Inside the Lenovo N1200 server, we can see everything needed for a highly spectacular NVIDIA GRID server. If you want to find out more about GRID, we invite you to check it out here.

We have a lot more coverage coming from NVIDIA GTC, so keep your eyes peeled.

Enermax EMK3104 Hybrid 2.5-inch Docking Station Review

Introduction


There are many types of drive enclosures on the market; some are internal, some are external and some are hybrids. The Enermax EMK3104 Mobile Rack is a hybrid solution and a smart one at that.

The enclosure can take 2.5-inch hard disk and solid state drives and convert them into a 3.5-inch standard sized drive. This allows the easy use of a smaller 2.5″ drive in a 3.5″ drive bay that otherwise wouldn’t allow the use of them.

But it does more than that, it also allows easy front access to switch and replace the drive, or just remove it. It also allows you to lock the drive to both prevent tampering with your drive as well as accidental ejection.

On the inside, it uses a patented non-scratch SATA connector to guarantee a maximum life span with up to 50.000 drive insertions and it can handle both SATA III and SAS drives.

The Enermax EMK3104 doubles as a mobile disk rack and allows you to connect it via USB 3.0 instead of using the normal SATA connectors on the rear. To the rear of the enclosure, you’ll find a micro USB 3 connector and the cable needed is included with the drive array.

If it was to be docked in a 3.5-inch drive bay, you could just eject it and take it with you as USB 3.0 portable drive.

The hot-swap system allows you to quickly change the HDD or SSD when you need another one. Inside is a simple mechanism that will eject the drive when opened and automatically retracted it when closed.

When enclosing a drive in such a small space, you’ll need to make sure that it stays cool. To aid this, the EMK3104 has an aluminum cover on the top and ventilation holes on the bottom. This should provide the best passive cooling capability.

 

SilverStone TS431S 4-Bay miniSAS DAS Storage Tower Review

Introduction


Connecting multiple storage drives externally doesn’t work equally well on every connection type. If you were to use a USB 3 connection you would get the speed necessary, but your access times would suffer. If you were to connect it via eSATA you would have the access times, but shared bandwidth between the connected drives.

The solution is a direct SAS connection and the SilverStone TS431S that I’m taking a closer look at today is just such.

SilverStone’s TS431S DAS Tower Enclosure uses an external miniSAS interface to connect up to four SAS or SATA drives to your system. One of the great things about an enclosure like this is that its features pretty much depend on the controller you connect it to. This makes it universally usable without limitations; if your controller supports it, so will this tower.

The PC connection via 6Gbps SAS/Mini-SAS interface enables data transfer with maximum compatibility and stability, a thing that makes the TS431S a great choice for storing and backing up large quantities of data. You won’t notice any difference whether your drives are connected internally or through this DAS.

One of the first things I noticed on the TS431S was the choice of an internal power supply, and this is great. SilverStone knows a thing or two about power supplies and they opted to use that knowledge rather than just bundle a less efficient power brick. It works with both 110V and 230V power outlets and uses a normal 3-pin power connector for universal operation everywhere. Otherwise, the TS431S doesn’t have many external features, as they simply aren’t needed.

The installation couldn’t be any easier than it is. All you need to do is open the front door, slide your drive into a bay, and close the door again. Connect power and an SAS cable, press the power button and you’re done. You will need to setup the drives on your raid controllers interface or software, of course, but that’s a given.

The tool-free and trayless design makes removing a drive just as easy as plugging it in. Open the front door, release the hatch, and take your hard drive out. Close the door and you’re done. You don’t even need to power the enclosure down as it also supports both hot-swap and plug and play.

Backed by a two-year warranty, the SilverStone TS431S looks to be a great option to expand servers with limited drive bays the simple way, and without sacrificing functionality.

Sonnet Introduces Fusion R400 RAID USB 3.0 Rackmount Enclosure

Expanding your storage doesn’t have to be hard, and that includes rack-mounted solutions. Sonnet has introduced the R400 4-bay rack mounted RAID enclosure that connects as easy as with the built-in USB 3.0 interface. This allows you to hook up more storage with a single cable, and the configuration is just as easy.

The Fusion R400 features a high-performance internal storage controller that offers five drive configuration options: RAID 5, RAID 0, RAID 10, Span, and JBOD, without requiring additional hardware or software. Drive operation and health status indications are available at a glance with multicolor LEDs and setting the RAID mode is as easy as flicking a switch.

The data transfer speed is rated up to 240MB/s reading and 230MB/s writing, but that depends on your drives and configuration. The power supply can deliver 220W, which is a lot more than is needed for a device like this. It weighs approximately 6.8 kg and comes with a one-year warranty.

The fans included are said to be quiet and temperature-controlled, generally operating at a slow speed and only speeding up when really needed. The unit is compatible with Sonnet’s line of PCIe® and ExpressCard/34 USB 3.0 host controllers and supports Mac, Windows, and Linux computers. The Fusion R400 RAID USB 3.0 (FUS-R4BR5-0TB) is available now at an MSRP of $349.

Thanks to Sonnet for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Sonnet

Silverstone MS06 2.5″ USB3 Enclosure with Docking Station Review

Introduction


Drive enclosures aren’t anything new and neither are hot-swap drive bays, but it is rare that we see the two combined in the way Silverstone has done with the MS06 2.5-inch USB 3.0 HDD/SSD enclosure with 3.5-inch hot-swap drive bay. Now that’s a really long name, so I’ll just refer to it as Silverstone MS06 from now on.

It is great to have a drive in an ejectable enclosure so you can take it with you on the go, but it isn’t everyone that has the same docking system. In fact, it will most likely be difficult to find anyone among your friends who uses the same system. At least this is the case when we talk traditional hot-swap bays. To combat this issue, Silverstone created their MS06 enclosure on a pure USB 3 basis that in return allows for full compatibility with almost any system. When you leave your home, you just press the eject button, grab the drive and the included USB3 cable and you ready to head out on your adventures.

Silverstone used a USB 3 micro B-type connector on the enclosure and it is also this connector that plugs the drive into the docking bay. Internally the enclosure connects to a USB3 header on your motherboard, which by definition is a dual header. To not waste that second connector, Silverstone used the extra space on the 3.5-inch docking bay for an extra USB 3 port. A simple but smart and effective way take advantage of everything we have at our disposal. The eject mechanism is a simple mechanical function and works very well.

Inside the enclosure Silverstone used the JMicron JMS567 SATA to USB3 controller, a good choice. The JMS567 has UASP support, is windows hardware compliant and backward compatible. It also supports a lot of add-on functions from SHA encryption to NVRAM addition, but what features it has depends on the package.

There was paid attention to both big and small details on the Silverstone MS06 enclosure. Except for the two ends, the entire enclosure is made from a single piece of aluminium that makes it sturdy, good-looking and light as well as helping with drive coolign. Inside is a foam pad to keep the inserted drive firmly in place. Silverstone also included everything you need to hook the enclosure up to your system, from extra screws to a tiny screwdriver to fit the tiny enclosure screws.

The Silverstone MS06 enclosure is a unique solution to a problem you maybe didn’t even knew you had, that is until now.

Inateck FE2005 USB 3.0 Tool-Less 2.5″ HDD Enclosure Review

Introduction


Having an external enclosure for your Hard Disk and Solid State Drives can come in very handy for a multitude of reasons. You might have those old Hard Disk drives from a laptop you’ve upgraded with an SSD, or an old SSD you’ve upgraded to a bigger and better one, or maybe even both. If you could answer yes to one of those questions, the Inateck FE2005 tool free 2.5″ external enclosure might be just the right choice for you.

Inateck have designed the FE2005 as a tool-less solution and there is no need for any screws or other fastening tools. You just slide your drive into the enclosure, connect it to a USB port and you’re ready to go. It is compatible to all systems with USB ports; Mac OS, Windows and Linux and supports automatic sleep and spin down of the drives.

The first few times you’ll open the enclosure it will be very tight but once it has been open a few times, the operation will become much smoother. You just pull on the clamshell and the enclosure slides apart. You can also push at the rear bottom in case it is too tight at first and you don’t want to risk accidental damage. Fold the clamshell down, slide the drive in, fold it back and push the enclosure together. That’s it.

The exterior is kept very simple and the only detail added is the name on the top of the enclosure. It is manufactured in a combination of ABS plastic and aluminium to give it an improved heat dissipation.

The choice of materials also helped Inateck to keep the weight down at just 75 grams, without a drive inserted. The enclosure is equally small as it is light and the external dimension equal those of a 3.5-inch drive.

The Connection to your computer is done by a USB micro-B connector, a common choice. It’s also a choice that might give you a bigger choice on what cable you will be using, if the included shouldn’t be the right match for your needs.

A dual-coloured activity LED will tell you what connection mode is active. It will shine white on USB 2 mode and blue on USB3 mode. Inateck also added a slide-lock to prevent accidental or unwanted opening of the enclosure.

By adding a foam-pad inside the enclosure, Inateck made sure that 7mm drives will be securely mounted even though the enclosure also can handle 9.5mm drives. A minor thing to do, but one that gives a big bonus, is that Inateck also included an extra foam pad with the packaging in case you need to remove the pre-installed and later want to add it back to once again safely use 7mm drives.

The enclosure doesn’t have any external anti-vibration features in the form of rubber feet or similar, but covers it internally instead. The bottom of the enclosure is fully padded to protect your drive from scratches and help to eliminate vibrations when mechanical drives are used.

Inateck used the JMicron JMS567 chipset for direct conversion from SATA-III to USB 3.0 with support for USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP) and a Winbond chip for caching. This combination should ensure us as close to the practical speeds possible. There will be a minor impact on the transfer speeds here just as there is with any conversion, but it should be marginal.

Within the package is everything you need to get going. A manual to get started, a USB 3 cable to connect the enclosure and with your PC as well as a replacement foam-pad as mentioned earlier.

P100 Silent PC Case Announced By Antec

Antec announced a new PC case which is said to be a balance between price and the features it withholds. The Antec P100 has room for up to ATX size motherboards and graphics cards up to 317 mm in length. The case can also house up to two optical drives as well as seven 2.5″ / 3.5″ drives.

The case has been built for silence, which is a key characteristic of the Performance One series. This is made possible by making high-density side panels without any openings, as well as a front door with foam padding inside, which can open up to 270 degrees. The case comes with two 120 mm fans pre-installed and also offer 3 more slots to fill up. Included as well are dust filters for the front intake and PSU intake ventilation holes.

The front side has a standard pair of USB 2.0 ports, USB 3.0 ports and HD audio connectivity on the I/O panel. There is no word just yet in terms of pricing, but given the feature set, a price range of below $100 / €74 / £62 should be expected.

Thank you Tom’s Hardware for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of chlodzenie.net

Teratrend (SilverStone) TS432U 4 Bay USB3.0 RAID Enclosure Review

Introduction


Just over two months ago, I had a look at the TS231U 2-bay external RAID enclosure from Teratrend – a sub-division of Silverstone. Whilst I loved the refined looks of the metal chassis and the rather simple setup process and overall the concept of what it does, I was sadly left a little disheartened over the slow speeds experienced – especially with the unit setup for RAID0 operation.

Teratrend naturally wanted to make amends on the impression that the TS231U left me with and after taking on board the feedback I’ve had to give them, they sent me out a unit of a higher calibre. The TS432U that I’m going to have a look at today, as the title suggests, is a four bay unit. Whilst the TS432U as doubles the potential storage capacity that the TS213U could handle, there are more RAID options to play with and a LCD display on the front to make configuring and maintaining the unit far easier than before.

Like NAS systems that I have a delve into, four bay RAID enclosures like this unit have a large number of advantages over smaller two bay units, however there is one particular advantage that stands out over the rest. This is RAID5. For those that are totally clued up on RAID, there are eight standard levels of RAID, however a number of these are not commonly used. RAID5, as mentioned, is a key RAID level that many opt for as it’s not only provides data spanning across multiple drives but it also allows for the data to still be accessed if a single drive were to fail. For the purpose of this review I will focus on RAID0, 10, 5 and JBOD for performance comparison.

Before I take a closer look at the TS432U, those that have read my review on the TS231U will note a large number of similarities between the two units, in-fact bar the addition of an extra two drive bays (and the consequent RAID options that come with this), the only feature that this unit has over the other is a LCD display on the front.

With this drive having two slightly different designs (either with a screen or without), Teratrend have kept packing costs down by using the same box for both SKUs of the four bay unit. To distinguish the units apart once they have been packaged, a sticker is placed on the front of the box to indicate which unit is inside. Alongside the unit is a IEC kettle lead, USB 3.0 and eSATA cable and a CD with the user manual and system utilities on.

Teratrend (SilverStone) TS231U 2 Bay USB3.0 RAID Enclosure Review

Introduction


The storage markets are growing rapidly at the moment and this is certainly clear from the large number of home and small office users that are jumping onto the NAS bandwagon to increase their storage capacity to satisfy their needs. For some people though the prospect of setting up network devices is still either a daunting process or even more simply, too much hassle. Having a solution that is virtually plug and play is still the main choice of many users and as a result there is a market flooded by USB enclosures for both 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives.

Teratrend is a name that some may look at and turn away as its not recognised, but the sooner its realised that their a sub-brand of SilverStone – the same people of manufacture many great looking chassis and power supplies as well as coolers, the attention is soon brought back with the prospect of a high quality, well build unit.

As storage is not the main focus of SilverStone, the Teratrend brand was brought in to distinguish the new line of products a few years ago and since then we have seen a number of two and four bay options that take the effort out of storage expansion with say to use and simple devices that look good at the same time on any desk.

Like many other drive enclosures on the market, the contents are rather simple and alongside the enclosure itself we find a kettle lead, eSATA and USB3.0 data cables and a simple manual that outlines the RAID selection and drive installation process.

Icy Dock MB080U3S-1SB Blizzard 3.5″ SATA External Hard Drive Enclosure Review

Having looked at a number of external storage options recently, it would be safe to say that on the most part, all of these options take a conservative and refined approach to their design with slim builds, clean lines and stylish looks that will fit into virtually any setup.

We do find however that there are a large number of people that don’t always want the same clean refined looks to their systems and peripherals and look more towards the modded scene where everything is making a statement. Any device manufacturer is aware that this group of users is out there and this is why we find cases, components and everything between that are geared towards the modding community. This doesn’t necessarily mean that each and every item that they have will be modified in some way, but if there is something unique in the product that makes it stand out from the crowd then there is a certain chance that it will appeal to one or more people.

Icy Dock’s Blizzard enclosure that we are looking at today is one such item that breaks the mould with its off the cuff design that not only separates it from other external enclosures, but also Icy Dock’s own product range. As we will see this new style of design may be a bit marmite to some, but its been thought through well with no sacrifice on performance.

Akasa Integral S 3.5″ External USB3.0 Hard Drive Enclosure Review

External storage as we all know is a quick and cost effective solution to boosting the storage capacity of any system, especially small form factor systems, games consoles and laptops. On the market there is a whole array of solutions available from the likes of Akasa, Icy Dock and Silverstone, to name but a few. On top of the mainstream manufacturers however there is an array of cheaper solutions that don’t quite cut the mustard when it comes to giving the same performance that they get from the drive, and quite often you’ll see these enclosures at a cheaper price than those that not only look good, such as the Integral S we have here today, but perform as they say on the tin.

Akasa is one such company that falls into the quality group and this lies not only with their enclosures, but also with their cooling solutions, cases, power supplies and cables. Some people out there may not know of Akasa, and to some that have heard of them, they seem to be a bit of a dark horse, but this is because they don’t just serve the consumer segment of the market. A number of their products find their way into the electronics industry along other paths such as OE and contract manufacturing, so this could mean that without knowing, you’ve used something in the past of even now that has a little bit of Akasa inside it.

I’ve personally used a variety of their products across the years, including a notebook cooler that was purchased nearly 10 years ago and works just as well as the day I bought it, which is an impressive feat, especially considering its been running 24/7 for most of that time – that goes to show that their products are more well built than meets the eye. Hopefully the Integral S steps upto the same mark and theres only one way to find out, lets get on and delve into the Inegral S 3.5″ external USB3.0 drive enclosure.