There is no shock protection of any sort, so even
though the enclosure is made from a one-piece aluminum extrusion, dropping the
entire could still cause damage to the hard drive inside.
Round back, we find a power on/off switch, the
USB2.0 port, and the DC power socket where the AC/adaptor plugs into. By
removing the power source to an external adaptor, Bytecc have ensured that no
noisy cooling fans need be placed in the unit which could be sitting right
beside your monitor. The ME-350US is silent, save for the odd click from the
hard drive read/write head moving about.
Aside from the complexities of
installing or swapping out a hard drive from inside the Bytecc ME-350U2, the portable USB2.0 compliant
enclosure is surprising simple to use. No drivers are required so long as USB2.0 is
functioning on your PC, and your OS is Win2000 or higher (a
driver CD is include for Win98/98SE folks).
To add the hard drive,
simply plug in the included USB cable into the correct USB jack at the back of
your PC and power the unit up. If you mistakenly plug the USB2.0 (480Mbits/s) capable Bytecc
enclosure into a USB1.1 port it will automatically communicate with the computer
at USB1.1 speeds (which are just 12Mbits/s).
When plugged in and powered up, the computer will take a moment
to recognize the drive, and add it in with all the others. As USB2.0 operates
at a speed of 480Mbits/s, transfer speeds from the PC to the external hard
drive are obviously a lot quicker than with USB1.1 connections.
PCstats ran a series
of tests with Sandra 2003, HDtach and timed file transfers to illustrate just what kind of
speeds you can expect from a hard drive connected via USB2.0. The results are
listed below.Since upstream and
downstream data transferring times can vary slightly, we tested the Bytecc
ME-350US with a 1.5GB file. The results were as follows:
1.5GB Data Transfer downstream: 64
1.5GB Data Transfer upstream:
Sisoft Sandra gave us the following results after
completing its hard disk benchmark. It is key to note the read and write speeds
more so than the Drive Index rating.
As HDtack is most often used to test out drives, we also used it to test out
the 40GB 7200RPM, 8MB cache western digital drive that was used for testing in
the Bytecc ME-350US. The results were as follows;
Ultimately, the Bytecc ME-350US serves its purpose as a good way to go for
attached storage via USB2.0. It should not really be seen as a way to add a
hard drive to the system for software applications (ie without having to pop open
the case) as you wouldn't want to install and run programs through the USB bus
in the long term.
For instances where you need to move a great deal of data to and from
computers, or simply need an extra 80GB of temporary storage on one particular
PC, the Bytecc ME-350US
can quickly let you select the most appropriately sized hard drive and fill in
the need. The assembly of the unit may challenge some users, but so long as you
are handy with a screwdriver, it offers little difficulty, and the end result is
much better looking than those beige OEM units!