[svlug] Hardware for a new server

Eric De Mund ead-svlug at ixian.com
Sun Feb 10 10:33:39 PST 2013


] So, I think that's the direction I'm going to go:
] [...]
] $52 2x Vantec NST-280SU3-BK USB3.0 & eSATA NexStar 3 enclosure
]        ( http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817392047 )
] [...]

I'm reading that this new box (boxlet? (-:) will be very important to
you. Hence, are you sure you want to house its HDD in an external en-
closure that's passively rather than actively cooled? Also, the reviews
there on Newegg for this item, well, they don't really inspire. In fact,
they seem a little bit scary to me.

I don't know hardware, but last June, I did some research for an exter-
nal hard disk enclosure that was going to be for a neighbor. As it was-
n't going to be under my care and watchful eye, and as sometimes these
apartments here get ridiculously hot for a period each summer, I wanted
active cooling and a solid reputation. I ended up buying this unit from

    1 x ($47.99) Thermaltake ST0021U Steel Mesh & Ruggedized Plastic
    3.5" Black USB2.0 & eSATA Max 5 External Enclosure

Now, it's ridiculous that an enclosure costs $50 rather than $30 (I
think ten years ago, good enclosures with fans cost $30, no?), but
there it is. I've been extremely happy with this unit that's been run-
ning more or less full-time since June with a Seagate 9SL153-515 750GB
7200RPM 3.5 SATA hard drive in it. It's quiet, and even on hot days,
with its two 80mm fans, it stays cool to the touch. By quiet, I mean
that it sits on a shelf 3-4 feet to my left, and I have to look over
at it to confirm that it's on.


1.  For $50, I wish the unit were metal. But it's plastic. It's not a
    flimsy plastic, it feels better, more solid than that, but still.

2.  They use two hex-head screws to seal the unit. They supply a little
    hex Allen wrench, but I felt I was slowly stripping the screw heads
    each time I went in. I was happy to find that I could up and replace
    them with two normal hard disk screws.

3.  After 6 months, one of the eight "neato blue" LEDs on one of the two
    TT-8015 fans died. But the fan itself was and is still fine.


1.  Stays cool to the touch. Not just neutral, but slightly cool.

2.  Quiet.

3.  Once you're under the hood, past those two outside screws, it's
    tool-less on the inside with a snap-in arrangement.

4.  The SATA connector inside isn't flimsy. After putting half a dozen
    disks into this thing to test them out, I'm not afraid that I'm go-
    ing to accidentally bend the connector when I slide the hard disk
    along the tray to plug in to it. (Not so with a LaCie enclosure I
    recently bent a SATA connector in and had to carefully straighten
    out again.)

5.  Soothing blue mood lighting.

Ah, here are good, clear pictures, showing the insides of this thing:

    Thermaltake Max 5G USB 3.0 HDD Enclosure Review

I hope this helps,

p.s. It was originally a toss-up for me between the above Thermaltake
Max 5G and one of the Macally enclosures, similar to this one (I didn't
save the Macally model in my notes):

    Macally Hi-Speed eSATA/FireWire/USB 2.0 Storage Enclosure for
    3.5-Inch SATA Hard Disk G-S350SUAB2 (Silver)

If memory serves, I ended up declining on the Macally because some of
the vents were fake, they only looked like vents. And the customer re-
views of the Thermaltake were more solid.
Eric De Mund   |  Yahoo: ead0002
ead at ixian.com  |  GTalk: ead.ixian at gmail.com

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