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Discussion on Article:
Thermaltake Muse: External Enclosure for 3.5” and 5.25” Devices

Started by: TA152H | Date 11/14/05 05:20:41 PM
Comments: 7 | Last Comment:  08/25/06 01:02:39 PM

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This review seems to miss a lot of important aspects of the product. It seems it was written without clearly knowing what the market was, and who would use it.

OK, more constructively, a few thingsI think should have been included or changed I will write in paragraphs hereunder.

How about noise level? How well did this enclosure mask the hard disk sound compared to other enclosures?

How about power usage? Did this unit use a lot more power than the hard drive would if attached internally? Or how about compared to other external units?

How about performance vis-a-vis the same hard disk attached using a more "normal" interface, meaning PATA or SATA? How much is the USB 2.0 interface interfering with performance?

How much is the USB 2.0 interface hurting processor performance? I noticed in USB 1.1 that it has a terrible effect on memory accesses on a couple motherboards of mine. Not sure if this is still the case, but I think processor performance using each solution would be interesting, particularly USB 2.0 versus SATA or PATA. I suspect, but am not sure, USB 2.0 would show a negative effect. It would be interesting to see it in real application benchmarks against normally attached drives.

Also, listing the units it is competing against without giving any type of introduction to what they are is unsupportable. A brief description of what they were would have helped even if it seems unnecessary. It is bad form to introduce an item without describing it at all. For example, I wasn't sure if any were hard disks attached to the SATA interface. Only indirectly did I come to the conclusion that they were all enclosures, but I still don't know the differences they represent.

The type of person interested in this type of unit is certainly not limited to people that have no room in their cases. Most cases have plenty of hard disk drive slots, although probably some people run out. I think a really useful way of using this type of hardware would be for someone that has several machines and wants to be able to move data between them very easily. Meaning, you use this USB drive as your data drive and just plug it into whichever machine you are using. You store everything on it, while using the host machine merely to hold the OS. Very useful for making data portable.

It would also be useful for transporting large amounts of data from machine to machine without the constraints and limitations of a network.

None of this would make sense if the line about the size and weight making it "absolutely" unsuitable were true. It looks only slightly larger than a DVD player and can't weigh more than 7 pounds fully loaded (1,536 grams is less than 3.5 lbs). Maybe on Jupiter this would be too heavy, but it would pose little problem for a normal human on Earth, particularly a male. Think about it, is this bigger than a laptop or heavier? Yet, if you had a computer at work and home, you'd have the benefits of always having your data with you, while not suffering from the limitations of laptops. Plus, it is more portable than a laptop. Of course, you can't use it in between home and work, so obviously does not make laptops useless in all situations, but does obviate the need in some.

This article took a lot of work to make, but misses on a lot of things that would have been relatively easy to include and would have been very valuable. Performance benchmarks against undescribed competitors doesn't make it nearly as useful as it could be. I hope this doesn't come off as insulting, my intention was to be constructive, but I suspect it will come as as insulting nonetheless. For this I apologize in advance.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 11/14/05 05:20:41 PM]
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> How about noise level? How well did this enclosure mask the hard disk sound
compared to other enclosures?

As you could see from our article, the enclosure doesn't have any fans. So,
the enclosure itself doesn't generate any noise at all. The noise level will
solely depend on the HDD installed into the Thermaltake Muse enclosure.
We didn't compare the noise level generated by the device installed into TT
Muse , because the overall noise level in the room is anyway higher than the
noise generated by the working HDD.
We could perform some noise level measurements in a "silent chamber",
however, they will hardly have any practical meaning unless this device will
be louder than the rest of the components in the system.
And as soon as we hear some disturbing noise generated from any of the
enclosures we test, we will certainly report that in our articles.


> How about power usage?
> Did this unit use a lot more power than the hard drive would if attached internally? Or how about compared to other external units?

I don't think this question is appropriate. The power consumption of the
enclosure depends 99% on the power consumption of the device installed into
it.
And as for the comparison of the power consumption of the PCBs used in
enclosure devices like that, it hardly makes much sense: there is only one
single chip on that PCB, and its power consumption is negligible against the
background of other components.

>How about performance vis-a-vis the same hard disk attached using a more
"normal" interface, meaning PATA or SATA?
How much is the USB 2.0 interface interfering with performance?

I don't think we should move the previously obtained results from one review
to another all the time. If you would like to read more about the dependence
of the external storage solution on the interface type, you should check out
our article here:
http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/storage/display/stlab-sata.html
It will answer your question.

>How much is the USB 2.0 interface hurting processor performance?

It depends on the type of requests sent to the USB device. If the requested
data blocks are small, the CPU is loaded heavily. If the blocks are larger,
then the workload reduces.

> Also, listing the units it is competing against without giving any type of
introduction to what they are is unsupportable.

Agree on this one. Will take note for the future.

Thank you for your feedback.
0 0 [Posted by:  | Date: 11/18/05 01:28:59 PM]
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