Antec MX-1 3.5inch Hard Drive Enclosure Review

Storage/Other by jmke @ 2007-05-17

This external hard drive enclosure from Antec promises a good balance between cooling and noise, with vibration damping installed inside; the hard drive can be accessed over USB 2.0 or eSATA and the MX-1 comes with the needed gear to get everything set up.

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Performance Results

Performance Tests

I hooked the MX-1 up to the system with USB 2.0, the device was automatically detected in Windows XP without issue.

Madshrimps (c)

Once the device is turned on a small blue light is visible at the front of the MX-1 under the Antec logo:

Madshrimps (c)

Performance with USB 2.0 was where I expected it to be:

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I did some file copy tests using FC Test, copying big ISO files to the drive, write speeds were 20-30Mb/s, same for read speeds, no matter the size of the files. Writing a directory of 1.08Gb small files to the Seagate 320Gb HDD inside the MX-1 resulted in the lowest write speeds at ~8Mb/s on average.

Switching to eSATA I hooked the drive up to an Intel BadAxe 975x powered system, the HD Tach 3.0 gave me this result:

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Not bad, average read speed at ~55 Mb/s. I took the MX-1 to work and installed the PCI bracket into a Core 2 powered Dell machine:

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Again ~55Mb/s, plug and play action, I did notice the lower burst speed, which is “only” 100mb/s. Compared to hooking the drive up directly to the controller, it’s quite a difference though. The onboard Dell SATA drive had this burst speed:

Madshrimps (c)

I talked with Antec about this difference, they suspect the motherboard as the culprit, in their test lab they could fix the problem by upgrading the BIOS on the motherboard, bringing the burst speed in line with the onboard results.

My colleague reviewer Geoffrey tested the MX-1 with a different hard drive on his Asus P5B Deluxe system, the Asus P5B has an eSATA connector at the back next to the other I/O ports.

Inside the MX-1 he placed a Western Digital 160Gb this are the results:

  • HDD directly hooked up to internal SATA: ~250Mb/s
  • MX-1 hooked up through pass-through PCI bracket: ~126Mb/s
  • MX-1 hooked up to eSATA I/O of Asus P5B: ~150Mb/s

    While the burst speed is lower with the MX-1 the sustained transfer rate is on par with the internal drive which is what counts for file transfers to and from the MX-1.

    Onto our last thermal, noise and power consumption tests ->
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    Comment from Rutar @ 2007/05/17
    I think the Icy Box beats it because it looks better with a full alu case and if vibration was an issue, I'd sure notice that with a Samsung inside.

    Any test for a large backup operation? 45MB sustained copy speed are to beat =P
    Comment from jmke @ 2007/05/17
    55mb/s with eSATA
    Comment from Rutar @ 2007/05/18
    that is average read, I mean actually taking a big folder and time the copy to the external HD with a stopwatch
    Comment from Kougar @ 2007/05/18
    Interesting! Definitely the Bad Axe 2 or possibly software at fault on the eSATA tests.

    Gigabyte 965P-DS3 Rev 1 & (same?) Seagate 320gb 16mb cache drive:
    MX1: 136.1MB/s Burst | Avg Read 63.8 MB/s
    Inside Case: 136.3 MB/s Burst | Avg Read 66.5 MB/s

    Using ICH8 SATA controller, I disabled the Jmicron controller/ports.
    Comment from jmke @ 2007/05/18
    I tested on 4 different machines, all similar results, bios issue other similar, but burst speed is not that vital imho for an external hard drive, primary function is sustained reading/writing, right?
    Comment from Kougar @ 2007/05/18