August 26th, 2010 by Brian Beeler
Connectland USB 3.0 2.5" SATA Enclosure Review
As computer systems slowly make their way to USB 3.0, accessories are being released to take advantage of the new speed gains. Of course external enclosures are included in the push, Brando recently sent us the ultra-slim Connectland USB 3.0 2.5" SATA enclosure. If you need a simple enclosure that looks great and is barely larger than the drive it holds, this one might be for you.
The bottom of the enclosure is an aluminum tray that is connected with a single screw (screwdriver included), though the connection is snug enough that the screw could be optional. The top of the drive is a dimpled black plastic lid that seems durable enough. Connectland also includes a USB 3.0 cable in the package.
Splitting the enclosure reveals a small board connected to the plastic side. The benefit of the case being so small is also at times a hindrance. It's a tight fit and inserting and removing the drive definitely puts stress on the board's SATA connector. That said, we've inserted/removed a drive 40-50 times and the connector is no worse for wear. And if you plan on largely leaving the drive in the case, you shouldn't see any issues - it's just worth noting that this probably isn't the best bet for heavy drive swapping.
In terms of speed, we used the Corsair F120 SSD as a test drive to make sure we saturated the connection. Compared to using the F120 in native SATA, the enclosure speeds were generally pretty good. Natively we saw sequential read/write speeds of 213 MB/s and 90 MB/s. In the enclosure, those went to 114 MB/s and 88MB/s, showing the major delta occurring in the read speeds, as writes were almost unchanged.
Random 512K tests saw similar results, 199.7 MB/s and 102.1 MB/s native and 112 MB/s and 90 MB/s in the enclosure. Random 4K read results were least affected by going to USB 3.0, with near parity, but the writes fell by 60%, going from 77 MB/s natively to 32MB/s in the enclosure.
These results were consistent though across the board, as we popped in several other SSDs to make sure the lay of the land didn't change form drive to drive. On the hard drive front, none of them will achieve speeds fast enough to put the upper throughput limits of USB 3.0 in jeopardy.
The Connectland enclosure runs $32, which is definitely within the range of market prices for comparable devices. If style is important though, most of what we've seen doesn't come close. Bottom line, the enclosure gets the job done. If you use a hard drive, you'll not see a drop off in performance, that only comes with SSDs as they tend to be hampered by the limits of USB 3.0. Overall though, we find the enclosure to be a good buy.