Articles: Storage

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Removable hard disk drive enclosures that are installed into the system case can’t help in all cases, even though they are so popular among the users. They are just one possible solution if you need to keep your data by yourself and to be sure no one is going to access it without your knowing. HDD enclosures are good when the user works on one and the same computer.

Sometimes, however, you have to move a large amount of information stored on a hard disk drive to a computer which you haven’t seen before and you are not sure if you’ll be able to attach the drive to the mainboard’s onboard connectors. In this case you may want to use an external container that connects to the computer via one of the widespread peripheral interfaces (USB 2.0 or FireWire).

We are regularly reviewing such devices, and today we’ve got two containers from ST Lab and ViPowER to discuss.

Closer Look at Testing Participants

ST Lab S-101 USB2.0-HDD3-EUR-1

Let’s first examine the hard disk drive enclosure from ST Lab. Having a metal case with thick, robust panels, this thing looks pretty solid. The container can be dismantled by unfastening four screws on the top and bottom that can act as legs if necessary. There are vent holes in each of the longer side panels. The hard disk drive is to be put inside through one of the shorter side panels on which there is also a LED indicator. The installed 3.5” hard disk drive is fastened right to the side panels of the case through two holes on either side. Thus, the working device becomes an integral whole with the enclosure.




This solution also helps to cool the working drive since the side panels act as a heat-spreader, enlarging the heatsink area. A Power switch, a USB port and a power connector are located on one of the smaller side panels. This container uses a Genesys GL811E USB 2.0 controller. The 8bit/16bit PIO mode, 160-bit Multiword DMA mode and UltraDMA mode are supported. The power supply supports input voltages from 100 to 240VAC and outputs 12VDC. The dimensions of the container are 250x116x33.5mm. The accessories to the device include an external power supply with a cable, a USB cable, a miniature CD with drivers and utilities, a stand to position the device upright, and a user’s manual.

I should also note that three container models based on this case are available. They differ in the interface. Besides the reviewed model, there are models that besides USB 2.0 also support Serial ATA and FireWire interfaces. They come with appropriate interface cables and have different numbers in their model names (S-121 and S-111). By the way, the snapshots show you the accessories to the SATA-supporting model.

The average retail price of this enclosure is $55.

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