At the top of the casing there is the major peculiarity of the Muse enclosure: it is the data transfer indicator. There is a transparent round window glowing blue when active, that looks very much like the battery charge status indicator in a car. The needle-pointer that moves along the scale when the data is transferred, the user can get an idea of the data stream intensity. There is a button on one of the casing side panels that releases the cover and opens the enclosure. If you are installing a regular 3.5” hard drive, you can use four rods with rubber washers at the bottom of the enclosure to fasten it. The HDD sits on these rods and is pressed with an anti-shock rubber frame at the top. This padding frame is glued to the top cover of the enclosure. This way the hard disk drive is locked reliably inside the enclosure and is also protected against vibrations during operation. Since the rods stand out above the bottom of the chassis, there is some free room between the bottom panel and the HDD that ensures sufficient cooling of the latter.
If you are using a 5.25” storage device, there are two brackets that are locked in specifically shaped up gaps, with no screws necessary. The enclosure is quite large and heavy so you wouldn’t really want to move it around a lot and use it as portable “on-the-go” companion. Its most optimal application is to serve as a common external storage device that couldn’t fit into the system unit.
Now l;et me say a few words about the technical specifications of this device. It supports IDE/USB 2.0 interfaces. It uses Cypress AT2+ chip. The enclosure can accommodate 5.25” optical storage devices as well as 3.5” hard disk drives. The enclosure is 270mm x 178mm x 55mm big and weighs 1,536g.
The enclosure is supplied with a vertical stand, power supply unit and a power cable, a USB cable, two metal brackets for 5.25” devices mounting, rubber padding, user’s manual and a CD disk with the drivers.
Thermaltake Muse enclosure is currently selling for approximately $62.
Testbed and Methods
To test the performance and efficiency of the Thermaltake enclosure we installed into it a Hitachi HDS722525VLAT80 hard disk drive. The potential performance of this HDD allows to load the USB 2.0 interface to the full extent. We evaluated the efficiency of this enclosure solution basing on the results taken from the HDD installed into it. Besides, we have also tested it with a LiteOn SOHW-1653S optical drive (CS09 firmware version) by measuring the DVD-ROM disk read speed.
During our test session we used the following benchmarks:
- WinBench 99 2.0;
- Nero CD-DVD Speed 4.08;
- FC-Test 1.0.
The testbed was configured as follows:
- Albatron PX865PE Pro II mainboard;
- Intel Pentium 4 2.4GHz CPU;
- IBM DTLA-307015 15GB host HDD;
- Radeon 7000 graphics card;
- 256MB PC2700 DDR SDRAM;
- Microsoft Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4.
During our tests we connected the device to the mainboard USB 2.0 port.