Silverstone MS05 External 2.5inch SATA HDD Enclosure Review

Storage/Other by BillHill @ 2008-04-22

Today we focus on the SST-MS05 from Silverstone which is the latest in their external drive enclosure line which includes an internal docking bay (requires a free 3.5inch external bay or a 5.25inch bay adapter).

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Performance and Testing


The photo below shows all of the components laid out for our inspection. From upper right there is the USB/power cable, the drive housing, the bottom of the docking bay with its long cables (I say better to be too long than too short) encircling the screw pack, and finally the eSATA cable. You can also see the hot-plug/swap connections on the left inside the bay. I would have liked to see longer cables for external duty. At only 20 inches or so, they don't offer much flexibility.

Madshrimps (c)

Installation and Testing

Installing the docking bay into the PC is nearly as easy as the drive into the enclosure. It's mounted just like any other 3.5" bay device. The only thing lacking with the docking bay is aesthetics - a factor on which Silverstone normally shines. When the drive is away from the bay, a large hole is left behind - not so bad for me as my case normally has a door. But others would like to see some kind of a flap to cover the hole when the drive is out. At least to prevent flying critters from using it as a landing bay. I suggest using screws to mount the docking bay rather than any of the available tool less systems (or one screw on each side plus the tool less rig. I was able to push the whole shebang back into the case with not a lot of effort when it was "held" by a Cooler Master Centurion type tool less latch.

And when the drive is present, the entire nacelle plus some of the aluminium protrudes from the bay to provide a grip to assist in removing the drive (the connectors grab snugly - a good thing, IMO). This protrusion (approx. 1" at the corners and 1.25" max) may prevent many case doors from closing. Such is the case with the Cooler Master Mystique 631 where I mounted it for testing. I think that is as much due to pinchpenny case design (leaving almost no clearance behind the door for bay devices) as the design of the MS05. My unit hot plugged just fine for me and the "Safely Remove Hardware" tool releases the drive quickly.

Madshrimps (c)

This composite photo shows the Mystique with the drive in place, with the drive out and how the unit keeps the door open a bit. The door of the Mystique has a convenient curve that coincides with the left corner of the drive, thus it closes more than some others might. My next case will have more than enough room behind the door (needed to conceal my multicolour drive collection) for any bay device.

When I was first trying to install the drive in the late Fall of 2007, I had much difficulty in partitioning and formatting the drive. Thus the delay in getting this review to you. I have concluded that it was the ancient nature of the early, first generation, SATA controller (integrated into the VIA 8237 south bridge) in the machine I was using at the time. Ranish partitioner on the Ultimate Boot CD for DOS finally did the job.

I think that old controller also worked against the MS05 housed drive, as it could only do about 10MB/sec while backing up a partition. The drive I'm using here is the 160GB version of the Hitachi 5k160 series, which is among the fastest of 5400 rpm notebook drives at a typical read in the low 30s and write in the mid-20s

Here is my data from copying an 11GB folder to my new system and then back again after putzing around in other folders/partitions. Read including all overhead (tried to click "Copy" and start the watch at the same time) was 26.2 million Bytes per sec. (time=7min 5sec) - write with all overhead was 24.3 million Bytes per sec. (time=7min 39sec). These are very good, real-world times for a notebook drive. I also copied the same folder both ways with the new machine on the USB connection and here are those results: Read - 23.2 million Bytes per sec. (time=8 min. 35 sec.) , Write - 16.8 million Bytes per sec. (time=11 min. 4 sec.). Again very good for a USB 2.0 connection.
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