Coolermaster X Craft 250 External Hard Drive Enclosure Review

Storage/Other by A-star @ 2007-04-11

This slim device allows any 2.5 inch drive to be used an external storage device without the use of an extra adapter, using only USB to take care of the data connection and power.

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Recently we checked out the 3.5” X Craft version from Coolermaster, today we have the smaller version on the test bench, build for 2.5” hard disks (laptop size) the X Craft 250 is noticeably smaller.

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Inside the box

Inside the packaging you’ll find an installation manual, backup software, a very nice pouch for carrying the X Craft 250 around and a Y splitter USB cable.

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The pouch offers enough room for the X Craft 250 and the included usb-cable.
The pouch helps to protect the xcraft 250 during transport and I can say it does its job very well, I dropped mine half a meter and there were no scratches or dents on the unit and it worked perfectly fine afterwards.

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Up Close and Install

On the front of the unit we find a led that lights up blue when the unit is connected and flashes red when there is disk activity. At the back of the unit we find a mini USB port and an external power adaptor plug which is not used.

The cable used to connect the X Craft 250 to your PC is a Y splitter, a mini USB port for the X Craft 250 and two USB for the PC side, we got the X Craft 250 working with only 1 USB connected, but for hard drives which require more power you’ll need to plug in the second one. Make sure you have enough USB ports to accommodate this device.

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Installation is very easy:

  • Unscrew the backend and pull it out.
  • Slide out the bracket.
  • Insert the 4 rubber rings into the designated places (they to shock protect the unit).
  • Slide the hard disk into the bracket.
  • Use the included screws to fasten the hard disk to the bracket.
  • Insert the bracket in the enclosure and fasten it with the screw again.
  • Connect to the computer and you are ready to go.

    Madshrimps (c)
    This is the hard disk I used for the performance tests


    Please keep in mind that we’re using a laptop drive here, this 50GB HDD spins at 5400rpm and less power hungry than the 7200rpm version out there. Access times are expected to be higher, transfer rates to be lower.

    We start of with two synthetic benchmarks, HDTach 3.0 and Sisoft Sandra:

    Random Acces
    CPU utilisation
    Average Read
    18.5 ms
    Long Bench
    18.4 ms
    Sisoft Sandra
    Physical Disk
    Read Performance
    Acces time

    The transfer over USB takes it toll on the CPU with ~20% utilization during the HD Tach benchmarks. Access times are not blistering fast, but well within acceptable boundaries. Transfer rates are low as this laptop drive is really suffering from its 5400rpm rotation speed.

    For our real(er) world test we make us of X-Bit Labs FC-Test (File Copy) program, which generates (writes) a series of files to the hard drive and you can then track the time it takes to copy the data from the external hard drive to the local disk:

    Madshrimps (c)

    The real world test come very close to the synthetic results when large files are read from the drive, when the file count increases this number decreases to ~20Mb/s. The write speed is noticeably slower, and at ~10Mb/s it will take close to 8 minutes to back up 4.7Gb to the drive.

    Conclusive Thoughts

    After several weeks of carrying the X Craft 250 around it’s hard to find any major flaws, the pouch protects the device well enough, it’s easy to use and install. Coolermaster offers the end user the flexibility to choose the drive of their specifications (as long as it’s a 2.5”) so you can re-use the drive cage as drive size increases.

    The two USB connectors on the Y-splitter can provide the needed current for faster 2.5” drives, maybe an extra cable with only 1 connector at each side could be include for the less demanding drives?

    At an affordable ~€20 the X Craft 250 makes for a very convincing deal, if you’re in the market for a cool looking and performing USB enclosure for a laptop size drive, look no further.

    We thank Joost from Coolermaster for letting us test drive the X Craft 250.

    Madshrimps (c)
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    Comment from jmke @ 2007/06/27
    So I went to the shop and told the people about this and tried out everything that we could. And finally it is the Cooler Master enclosure doesn't run well on my iBook. Maybe it's the firmware. But I'm sure that it has nothing to do with the USB cable. So I get it exchanged with other enclosure and tried out another one on my Mac, it worked well, transfer rate is fast enough. And the SysProfiler shows it as USB High-Speed Bus>USB 2.0 Storage Device>Speed>480Mb/sec.
    Weird enough, maybe Cooler Master 250 just doesn't work so perfectly on my Mac, or on iBook G4. Because They've tried out another same new Cooler Master enclosure but it was just as slow.
    My conclusion is, there are still numerous hardware that Mac might not be able to support, or to support to its fullest.