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Data-Tec D350 3.5-inch eSATA External HDD Enclosure
HDD Storage | First Looks
Fri 17 Feb 2006



Full eSATA Ahead

 


SATA connector on the inside.


Faceplate requires four screws to mount.


Internal LED to reflect HDD activity.

Storage is big business these days and most evident of this is the high demand by consumers for DVD writers and media, high capacity hard disk drives and portable flash memories. This increase in demand is not unexpected when we consider the pervasiveness of broadband Internet connection and the easy availability of digital multimedia content. Even more important is the fact that without high capacity storage mediums such as DVD media, commercialization of games for video game consoles, music and movies for home entertainment would have been all but impossible. On the front of personal storage, declining prices of hard disk drives, DVD media and flash memories have transformed the way we manage our increasingly insatiable appetite for digital data ranging from pictures, software, audio to video content.

eSATA

Along with the soar in the storage ceiling of hard disk drives (HDD) came a demand for portable, high capacity storage devices, and the more cost effective are external HDD enclosures. By simply inserting a regular hard disk drive into a specially designed enclosure (either PATA or SATA, depending on the HDD) and jacking it in to either a USB 2.0 or Firewire port, consumers can easily have a portable HDD that provides storage in excess of 400GB or the equivalent of storing more than 45 dual-layer DVD movies. As good as this sounds, it is during transfer of huge amount of data to and fro either USB 2.0 or Firewire connection that the bandwidth inadequacy of these connections is exposed.

While Firewire and USB 2.0 have fast transfer speeds of 50MB/s and 60MB/s respectively, the new eSATA interface has an even more astonishing speed of up to 300MB/s (for external variant of SATA2). Clearly, the higher the bandwidth the faster the data transfer, and with transfer sessions that can potentially run up to a hefty size, it is obvious that eSATA is the interface most suited for such tasks.

Furthermore, with HD content gradually becoming more available and eSATA starting to creep into many new motherboards as standard, the fast data transfer rate of eSATA is going to come in handy sooner than you might think. One such product is the Data-Tec DS350 SATA2 HDD enclosure.

Wrap It In Aluminum

The DS350 is crafted out of aluminum, thus making it both resilient to corrosion and light on the hands for ease of carry. Closer inspection did not reveal any unfinished metal edges and corners that would require careful handling when going about inserting a SATA2 HDD into the aluminum confines. Entire installation was easy enough but because screws are needed to secure both the HDD and the faceplate into place, the DS350 is not quite as straightforward as screw-less HDD enclosures. In terms of application, the eSATA is fundamentally identical to USB devices in that eSATA devices are all a simply plug-and-play (better known as hot-pluggable) away from becoming an extension of your computer.

Not For Everyone…For Now.

Granted that eSATA connection is only beginning to trickle into motherboard designs, the DS350 will probably remain as a niche product for the foreseeable future. However, if the history of USB is anything to go by, the future of eSATA is certainly looking very promising, especially when the massive 300MB/s bandwidth is considered. In fact, Data-Tec has included an eSATA bracket for users with systems that have SATA2 connections to start benefiting from the explosive 300MB/s transfer speed. Clearly, with so much bandwidth on tap, peripherals such as the Data-Tec DS350 eSATA HDD enclosures will undoubtedly be well received in time to come.

Product Specifications
  • eSATA Interface
  • Supports SATA/SATA2 HDD
  • Compliant with SATA2 for Up to 300MB/s Transfer Rate
  • Hot-pluggable
  • HDD Activity LED
  • Plastic Stand with Rubber Feet
  • Mounting Screws
  • eSATA Mounting Bracket
  • DC Power Brick
  • External eSATA Cable