Eminent 2.5″ eSATA/USB & 3.5″ USB HDD enclosures review
2.5” & 3.5” HDD Enclosures
Eminent was kind enough to give us a lend of two hard disk enclosures for review, one for 2.5” hard disks and the other for 3.5” hard disks. The 2.5” model features both USB2.0 and eSATA connectivity and a backup button. This enclosure is bus powered, so no separate power supply is required. The 3.5” model features USB2.0 connectivity, supports both SATA and IDE hard disks and includes a vertical stand.
While one can easily pick up an external hard disk that is ready to use, an external enclosure provides several advantages over a complete unit: The user can use their preferred hard disk brand and model, where as some external hard disks do not give a clue as to what hard disk is inside. When upgrading to a larger hard disk or even an SSD in a laptop, the 2.5” enclosure allows the original hard disk to be used as an external drive, such as for additional storage capacity or for backing up to.
In this review, we take a look at each enclosure, their ease of use and how well they perform in comparison to having the hard disks installed internally. To test the limits of each enclosure, we will run a set of benchmarks with an OCZ Vertex 2 SSD installed and compare these results to having this SSD installed inside the computer. Finally, we run a set of real world file copy, read and delete tests to see how the enclosures perform with typical everyday use.
Eminent Company Information
Eminent produces a range of consumer electronics, including set-top media players, computer peripherals (external HDD, USB Hubs, card readers, mice, etc.), network devices (routers, switches, PowerLine Ethernet, Wi-Fi, etc.) and accessories such as audio, video and data cables and power supplies. They also have a range of home automation and security products such as remote control lighting, smoke detectors, security alarms and CCTV.
Further information on the Eminent company profile, including their product range can be found on their website.
The HDD enclosures came in retail packaging, as shown in the following images:
2.5” Enclosure – Front
2.5” Enclosure – Rear
2.5” Enclosure – Left Side
2.5” Enclosure – Right Side
2.5” Enclosure – Top Side
2.5” Enclosure – Base Side
3.5” Enclosure – Front
3.5” Enclosure – Rear
3.5” Enclosure – Left & Right Sides
3.5” Enclosure – Top / Base Sides (same content)
What’s inside the boxes?
The following shows what each enclosure came with.
2.5” Enclosure package contents
3.5” Enclosure package contents
Breakdown of the 2.5” enclosure bundle content:
- Eminent USB/eSATA 2.5” HDD enclosure
- Carry case
- eSATA cable
- Mini USB to 2xUSB A plugs cable
- USB to 5v DC plug
- Screw pack
- Mini Philips screwdriver
- Backup Software CD
- User guide
Breakdown of the 3.5” enclosure bundle content:
- Eminent USB 3.5” HDD enclosure
- Vertical stand
- USB A to B cable
- DC power supply
- EU to UK power plug adapter
- Screw pack
- Mini Philips screwdriver
- User guide
Each bundle has everything one needs to get started, including the screwdriver! It is nice to have both cables bundled with the 2.5” enclosure, as some multi-connectivity enclosures only include the USB cable. Both enclosures also come with a spare screw, something we have not seen before with any DIY kit.
Now, let’s take a look at the enclosures:
2.5” & 3.5” HDD enclosures along with a 2.5” hard disk
The 2.5” enclosure has a glossy top surface, while the 3.5” enclosure has a brushed style surface on each side with a glossy front panel. A small drawback with the glossy finish is that this easily attracts fingerprints.
The Eminent logo of each enclosure is holographic, varying in colour hue depending on the angle. The effect is stronger on the 3.5” enclosure where a rainbow of colours is visible at certain angles:
2.5” Enclosure logo
3.5” Enclosure logo
The 2.5” enclosure has a label on the back showing its power requirements:
Now, let’s see the connections of each enclosure:
2.5” Enclosure connections
3.5” Enclosure connections and info label
The 2.5” enclosure has a mini-USB connection, which both powers the drive and connects it. For eSATA connectivity, the eSATA port provides connectivity, while the DC jack supplies power using the included USB to DC power cable. The “Back up” button works with its included software to initiate a backup process each time this button is pressed.
The 3.5” enclosure is more basic, with USB and power connections, along with a power switch.
The following are the specifications, as printed on the packaging of each enclosure:
2.5” Enclosure Specifications
3.5” Enclosure Specifications
One thing which a few of our members pointed out in our external Samsung HDD review is that a USB port is only designed to supply up to 500mA of current and that the use of a USB ‘Y’ cable is not a certified method of providing additional power. As some 2.5” hard disks have a power requirement of greater than 500mA, it is worth noting that no 2.5” bus powered HDD enclosure is officially USB certified due to the >500mA current requirement to power certain 2.5” hard disks.
As we can see above as well as in the specifications, the 2.5” HDD enclosure requires 1A of power, which means that there is a possibility that it may cause issues with certain hardware that those does not tolerate the combining of power from two USB ports. Note that with the eSATA connection, the enclosure is powered by a single USB port with the included USB to DC plug. Throughout our review, we have not encountered any computer that was unable to power the enclosure with either our Samsung 2.5” 320GB SATA hard disk or the Vertex 2 inside.
The 3.5” enclosure is powered by its included DC power adapter, so this model should not have any issue even with USB ports that have a strict 500mA current limit.
Now let’s head to the next page where we will look at our test PC and testing procedures…