Antec Easy SATA Review
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06
Reviewed on: October 28, 2009
With the larger your files on your computer are getting, more storage space is being required to be installed in your system. This can be done with either an external hard drive or an internal drive. Some people are not huge fans of the external storage solution, so Antec has come up with a great solution to this problem with their Antec Easy SATA hard drive enclosure. The Antec Easy SATA enclosure is going to allow you to not only easily swap out hard drives between computers, but it is also going to allow you to easily and quickly add extra storage space to your setup while still using your SATA connections that you are used to allowing for up to 3Gbps data transfer speeds. I am very excited to see exactly how well this solution is going to work, as well as to see if it is going to handicap any performance that we are all used to with the SATA connections. So, let's take a nice and close look at the Antec Easy SATA hard drive enclosure.
The packaging for the Antec Easy SATA hard drive enclosure is very simple in design. It is a clear plastic package that holds everything inside of it and displays all of the information that you are going to need to know about the product on the outside of the package. The front of the packaging displays a large image of the Antec Easy SATA hard drive enclosure installed in a case with it slightly pulled out along with the hard drive slightly pulled out to display how it does get installed. Above the picture Antec gives you a nice little description of the product which is worded, "Hot Swap Hard Drive Caddy with External SATA connector." The flat flap on the top of the package displays the Antec logo with the "Believe it" slogan printed in the top left corner. To the right of that is where the Easy SATA name is printed with a little bit more of a description under that. When you take a look at the back of the packaging you are going to see the installation instructions printed at the top with sketch drawings to depict what you are going to need to do to install it. All of the features are listed on the back in multiple languages as well. Inside of the package is where you are going to find a little bag of eight screws that will allow you to install the device to your case to make sure it will not go anywhere.
When you open up the packaging to pull the device out, you are going to be able to see that the sides and the entire device looks like a hollowed out optical drive that fits in the 5.25" drive bay with a flap in the front that is going to be able to fall inwards to allow the drive to be installed and look flush with the rest of the case when there is no drive installed. The back of the Antec Easy SATA is where you are going to see the PCB board that has the SATA connection and the SATA power connectors on either side, that are going to allow the data to transfer through, along with the power so your hard drive you have plugged in is going to be able to get the power and information from your computer. Either side of the Easy SATA device look just like a typical 5.25" device and you have all of your screw holes so that you can secure the device to the cage in your case.
The front of the Antec Easy SATA has two features that I want to point out, one on each side of the door that folds back when a drive is installed. On the left hand side of the door, you are going to see what looks like an eject button from a floppy drive, which is exactly what this button does, it will dis-engage the locking mechanisms that are holding your hard drive in so that you can slide it out of the enclosure. The other feature is on the right hand side of the device - it is an e-SATA connector, which will allow you to connect any other external hard drive you have through the Easy SATA device. Coming out of the back of the Easy SATA is a SATA cable that you plug directly into your motherboard. This cable is not for the drive you install inside of the enclosure, however it is the cable that tansfers the data between the motherboard and the e-SATA device you may have installed through the Easy SATA device. Also taking a look at the back of the Easy SATA device, I mentioned the PCB board that allows the hard drive you slide in to get the necessary power and transfer the data between the motherboard and the drive with a SATA cable installed between the two of them.
When you install the Antec Easy SATA external hard drive enclosure, you are going to see that the hard drive does hang out of the enclosure just a little bit. This is only so that you are able to grab the hard drive when you want to uninstall it. This will cause a problem with a front door that you may have on your case that covers your drive bays, plus it does take a little bit away from the overall look of your case with everything else being flush.
Now that we know exactly what the Antec Easy SATA device looks like, it's time to take a look at the specifications and then proceed to see what kind of performance we are going to be able to see from the device.
- Fits in 1 x 5.25" drive bay
- Supports 1 x 3.5" SATA HDD
- HDD size may vary depending on motherboard type
- Built-in eSATA port for external HDD allows easy, convenient data transfer
- Data transfer speeds of up to 3Gbps
- 1 x internal 600mm SATA data cable for eSATA connection
- Black finish blends in discreetly with any PC
- Hard drive locking switch for secure docking
- Unit Dimensions
- 42mm (H) x 147mm (W) x 160mm (D)
- 1.7" (H) x 5.8" (W) x 6.3" (D)
- Package Dimensions
- 50mm (H) x 204mm (W) x 295mm (D)
- 2.0" (H) x 8.0" (W) x 11.6" (D)
- Net Weight: 0.6 lbs / 0.27 kg
- Gross Weight: 1.5 lbs / 0.68 kg
- One (1) year parts and labor warranty
All information courtesy of Antec @ http://www.antec.com/Believe_it/product.php?id=MjA2OQ==
To properly test the Antec Easy SATA external hard drive enclosure, I am going to need to install a hard drive and running a few benchmarks on the hard drive when it is hooked up internally as well as through the Easy SATA device to see if there is any difference in scores. I will be runing the HD Tune benchmark suite including Average Transfer Rate, Access Time, Burst Rate, and reading the CPU Usage. This will give me my synthetic bencharmk scores. However I am going to need some real world testing, so this will be done by transfering three different sized file and calculating the time it takes. Well enough talking about it, let's get down and dirty to see exactly how this thing works!
- Processor: Intel i7 920 (Stock)
- Motherboard: MSI Eclipse SLI
- Memory: Mushkin HP3 12800 7-7-7-20
- Video Card: Nvidia Geforce GTX 260
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800w Modular Power Supply
- Hard Drive: Seagate 1TB SATA
- Optical Drive: Lite-on DVD-RW
- Case: Chieftec BL-01B
- OS: Windows Vista Ultimate 64bit
- Ambient Temperature: 26° Celsius
- Seagate 1TB SATA (Internal)
- Seagate 1TB SATA (Easy SATA)
- Average Transfer Rate (HD Tune)
- Access Time (HD Tune)
- Burst Rate (HD Tune)
- CPU Usage (HD Tune)
- Real World File Transfer (Windows Explorer)
- Drive Inex (Sandra)
- Random Access Time (Sandra)
Well, enough waiting, let's get started with the testing and see how all of these drives compare. I will start off by running HD Tune on all of the drives.
The next group of tests that I am going to be performing on these drives are a real world transfer of three different files. They are all different sizes (10MB. 100MB, and 500MB). I will calculate how long it takes these files to transfer from one location to the other final destination.
The final tests performed is the Sandra Physical Disks test. This test is going to give you a representation of your hard drive's Drive Index as well as the Random Access Time.
As I expected, when comparing the hard drive using the internal SATA connections only and the hard drive using the dongle inside of the Easy SATA, they were able to perform just about the same, losing just a little bit of performance in a few of the tests, but these being marginal.
If you are looking to build a new computer with extra storage and you do not want to have even more cables running all around your desktop, then you may want to take a look at the Antec Easy SATA external enclosure as a possibility. The Easy SATA device not only is going to save you room on your desktop when you want to have an external storage solution, but it is going to keep your performance in-line with an internal hard drive because it is taking an internal hard drive and using the exact same connections it would normally have and allowing you to easily swap the hard drive out without having to open up your case. The only complaint that I have about the look of the Easy SATA is the fact that when there is a hard drive installed in it, it does hang out of the device slightly. I think it would have looked better if Antec could have somehow made the hard drive flush with the exterior of the case. Not only does it take away from the overall look of your computer, but it is also going to cause a problem if you have a door covering the drive bays on the front of your case.
The performance that you get out of using the Antec Easy SATA external hard drive enclosure is more or less like having it installed inside of your case, with just a slight decrease in performance. However this could be explained by other Microsoft processes running inside of Windows in the background during the testing. There is a one year warranty that comes with the Easy SATA, however I do not see much that could go wrong with the device itself. The installation of the device is very simple - you install it just like you would any other 5.25" device in an empty drive bay.
If you are looking for an external solution, I would highly recommend the Antec Easy SATA. Not only are you going to see similar performance from it when it is compared to an internal hard drive, but it is going to be able to stay with your case at all times, you are not going to need to have an extra adapter hanging around your computer using up a valuable outlet, and you are going to be able to switch it with another hard drive you have laying around very quickly and easily. I must give Antec props with this product, as they have basically turned a SATA hard drive into a large (size and capacity) floppy disk. I know that I will be using the Antec Easy SATA device inside of my personal setup.
- Ease of use/access
- One year warranty
- Ease of installation
- Hard drive hangs out when installed
- A small loss of performance