Eminent 2.5″ eSATA/USB & 3.5″ USB HDD enclosures review

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Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review

Review: Eminent
2.5” & 3.5” HDD Enclosures
Reviewed by: Seán Byrne
Provided by: Eminent

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.

Retail packaging


The HDD enclosures came in retail
packaging, as shown in the following images:

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
2.5” Enclosure – Front

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
2.5” Enclosure – Rear

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
2.5” Enclosure – Left Side

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
2.5” Enclosure – Right Side

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
2.5” Enclosure – Top Side

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
2.5” Enclosure – Base Side

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
3.5” Enclosure – Front

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
3.5” Enclosure – Rear

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
3.5” Enclosure – Left & Right Sides

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
3.5” Enclosure – Top / Base Sides (same content)

What’s inside the boxes?


The following shows what each enclosure came
with.

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
2.5” Enclosure package contents

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
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:

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
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:

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
2.5” Enclosure logo

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
3.5” Enclosure logo

The 2.5” enclosure has a label on the back
showing its power requirements:

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review

Now, let’s see the connections of each
enclosure:

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
2.5” Enclosure connections

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
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.

Product Specifications


The following are the specifications, as
printed on the packaging of each enclosure:

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
2.5” Enclosure Specifications

Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
Eminent 2.5" eSATA/USB & 3.5" USB HDD enclosures review
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…