External drive enclosures are very simple units in that they have one function to offer and very little else. As we know the market is make up mostly of single drive enclosures and with the capacity of drives now hitting 4TB, this for most people is enough. There are those that do need that bit more, or if the data has value to it, need the redundancy that the likes of RAID1 offers.
Small, compact systems are ever more popular and naturally these units have reduced space inside to take hold of extra drives, so this is where a unit like this comes into play – it easily allows for the storage to be expanded and at the same time, it can easily be unplugged and moved to another system if needed with minimal fuss.
Being a sub-brand of SilverStone, we know already that the build quality and feel of the TS231U is going to be great – as well as the other products in the Teratrend line. the brushed aluminium front door finishes the unit off with a little bit of style and the simple Teratrend branding to the bottom right rounds this off.
On the performance side of things, to get the best out of this unit you are going to realistically need the USB3.0 connection as many boards do not natively support SATA multiplier on eSATA without a 3rd party option. This though is not a fault of Teratrend and every computer these days comes with USB of some sort so compatibility is not going to be an option. The support for 4TB drives also keeps the unit right up to date with a maximum capacity of 8TB possible in JBOD and RAID0. In RAID0 i would have liked to have seen a bit more performance from the unit, as the Se enterprise class drives that I’ve used each themselves can give up to around 170MB/s, so there does seem to be a slight bottleneck either within the RAID controller or the USB controller within the system. Up to 200MB/s for most users though is still going to be a welcomed speed, but with a couple of other devices giving a little bit more this is the only area where I feel some tweaks could be made.
I would like to award this product, but the speed is a critical factor for me, is this area can be improved – either with a firmware update or a revision to the controllers then there is the scope for an Editors choice award – for around £80 you still can go wrong with 8TB of storage sitting on your desk.
Bottom Line: The TS231U is a great looking, well built unit that does exactly as it says on the tin. For many home users this is an ideal product for boosting your expansion needs with ease.