Kingwin F-35 Review

tacohunter52 - 2009-08-11 19:08:45 in Storage / Hard Drives, Hard Drive Cooling
Category: Storage / Hard Drives, Hard Drive Cooling
Reviewed by: tacohunter52   
Reviewed on: August 27, 2009
Kingwin
Price: $39.99

Introduction:

In the real world, it can be hard finding places to store things. However, in the PC world, storage comes cheap and easy. The hard part is finding places to put your terabytes of data. No, I don't mean it's hard to find 80TB hard drives. That would be impossible today, because to the best of my knowledge they don't currently make those. What I mean is, it's hard to find places to put your multitude of hard drives. Motherboards these days only come with a limited amount of SATA ports. Once those are all used up, you'll have to find another way to add storage space to your rig. Even more limiting than that is the amount of HDD bays with which your case is equipped.

So what do you do when you're out of space to put additional hard drivees? "Space.. the never ending frontier..." Well there's always external enclosures for your HDDs. Some external enclosures use e-SATA ports, but most still use USB 2.0. Kingwin's F-35 uses the latter. Will using an external enclosure like the F-35 decrease the performance you'd otherwise get from using a standard SATA port? Probably... but is it going to matter? Let's find out.

Closer Look:

Packaging is always important, and it serves a few purposes. My personal favorite thing about packaging is what I call the "Christmas Illusion." Companies have become so good at making packaging for its products, it's like Christmas when you open them. Sometimes the product packaging is so nice, you forget how much money you spent on it in the first place. The box the F-35 came in was wrapped in clear plastic, which is clever because it allows you to see all the information on the box, while protecting the box from getting scratched. The front of the box shows a side view of the F-35, Kingwin's logo, and the words "Beyond Capacity." I found that interesting, because technically the F-35 has a capacity of zero. The back of the box shows the F-35's rear end, as well as some specifications and features.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two sides of the box follow the same scheme as the front and back of the box. They're both black and yellow like a bumblebee, which is actually kind of cool. Both sides feature a shot of the F-35's front, though one of these pictures is slightly angled. This shows you the color scheme of the F-35, which justs happens to be black and white.

 

 

The top of the box is completely black except for the Kingwin logo. Opening the top flap of the box reveals the F-35 in its protective packaging. You actually can't see much of the F-35 because it is covered in protective foam. On top of this foam is the USB cable you'll use to connect the F-35 to your computer, as well as the wall wart that will provide power to the F-35, and the HDD located inside it.

 

 

Removing the F-35 shows us that Kingwin took another measure at protecting its product. The F-35 is completely covered in plastic, which serves two important purposes. The first is that it prevents the G-35 from getting scratched during shipment. The second thing is that the plastic will ensure you'll receive the F-35 shiny and fingerprint free. That is, at least until you remove the plastic.

 

 

Now that we've seen the F-35's packaging, let's take a closer look at the F-35.

Closer Look:

Removing the F-35's wrapping reveals a very shiny external enclosure. When I say shiny, I mean shiny. The F-35 could be used as a black hard drive-encasing mirror. This is both a strength and a weakness. It is a strength for a one simple reason; it looks awesome. However, let's move on to the weaknesses; it's black and shiny. This means two things. Every time you touch it, you'll be leaving huge fingerprints. If you don't mind seeing fingerprints, or wiping them off, then it's not that big of a deal. What's a big deal is that the F-35 is a dog hair magnet as well. No matter where I put it down it would some how end up with dog hair on it. As if to make matters worse, the shiny black surface makes the dog hair stand out. This was driving me crazy, because I was constantly wiping down fingerprints and pulling off dog hair. If you're not OCD like me, then your sanity might last a bit longer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Located on the back of the F-35 is the on/off switch. Also located on the back is where you'll connect the USB cord and the 12V adapter to the F-35. The front of the F-35 is shiny and black. When powered On, a blue LED lights up. The bottom is, well, not that interesting.

 

 

In order to install an HDD, you'll need to open up the F-35. Doing so is extremely easy. On the bottom is a single screw. As soon as you remove it, the top cover will swing open. In order to remove your HDD after it's installed, you'll have to push the black switch down, located on top of the metal bay. This pushes the HDD out of the F-35.

 

 

Both of the shiny plastic sides are identical. The only difference is that one side has some white added onto it. There is a grill on each side to prevent dust from getting into the enclosure. Oddly enough, both fans are intake fans, but I guess this makes more sense then having a push/pull configuration, especially because an HDD would completely stop the airflow. The drive bay itself is a metal enclosure with an open bottom. Attached to either side of the metal bay are two intake fans. These fans then connect to the F-35's PCB, which is connected to the top cover.

 

 

 

 

The PCB looks much like the reverse of what you'd see on your HDD. It's got the SATA connectors you'd typically use for any SATA HDD. Sadly, you will not be able to use your older IDE hard drives with the F-35. The rear end of the PCB is more what you'd expect a PCB to look like. It has some transistors, the fan connectors, a crystal oscillator, and an LED connector. The two connectors that you see connected to the PCB are either very firmly in place, or have been soldered together. When I tried to remove them, the pins started to slide out from the back of the PCB. For this reason they remained in the photo.

 

 

This wouldn't be a "Closer Look" page without showing you what comes with the F-35. So without further adieu, purchasing the F-35 will get you a USB cable, a 12v wall wart, two extra screws, and a manual.

 

Now that we've seen all the goodies, let's see how the F-35 performs.

Specifications:

Interface:
SATA to USB 2.0
Data Speed:
USB 2.0 / 480 Mbps
Color:
Black
H.D.D support:
3.5” SATA I/II
H.D.D. Capacity:
2 TB
Fan:
50 mm x 2
Dimension:
2 1/2” W x 9” L” x 5 1/4 H”
Support OS :
Windows 98SE/ME/2000/XP/Vista; Mac OS 10x & Above
Material:
ABS 94V0 Shell
Weight:
3 lbs

 

Features:

All information on this page courtesy of http://www.kingwin.com/products/cate/enclosures/f_35u_bk.asp

Testing:

The F-35 is extremely easy to fingerprint. Other than that, it is extremely shiny and looks great. So how exactly will it perform? In order to find this out, I'll be running a series of tests from SiSoft Sandra and HDTune. I'll also see how long it takes to transfer a 10MB, 100MB, and 500MB file from one folder to another. I will be testing the F-35 with two different HDDs and compare it to what the HDDs get when they're plugged directly into the motherboard.

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Drives:

 

 

Benchmarks:

 

 

HD Tune:

HDTune measures disk performance to make comparisons between drives or disk controllers.

 

 

 

SiSoft Sandra:

Sandra is a benchmarking utility designed to test all areas of a computer system. The area we are going to be looking at is the Physical Disk Performance and File System portion.

 

 

 

Test File Transfer:

These test files are created by OCC and used on all our test suites like these. Time is measured by stopwatch.

 

 

 

The internal drives obviously outperformed the F-35. What's important was that the F-35, for the most part, wasn't too far behind in performance. Yes, for many tests the F-35 was slower, but most users wouldn't be using this like a normal HDD. Instead, they'd be using it to store files and folders that aren't constantly being used. These could include documents, songs, and whatever else you don't look at every single day. The great thing is that the F-35 performed very close to the internal drives at transferring the OCC files. So when you decide to transfer your life's memoir, you're not going to have to wait five hours for it to finish, unless of course your memoir is 600GB. In which case, not only would you have to wait a while, you also must have had a very interesting and long life.

Conclusion:

After thoroughly using the F-35, I really can't think of too many things wrong with it. Actually, all I can think of is that it lacks e-SATA, and it fingerprints easily. Neither of these are a big deal at all. The F-35 looks awesome! The shiny black coloring works. I love the two 50mm fans and the blue LED on the front is great. More importantly, the performance is great as well! The F-35 does perform slower then an internal drive, but that's to be expected when using an external enclosure. It would be nice to have an alternative to USB, such as Firewire, or e-SATA. However, the F-35 looks so sexy, it's hard to notice anything is missing. Besides, it makes sense that Kingwin would use USB and not anything else. Everyone with a computer has at least one USB port, and many people with computers have neither a Firewire nor e-SATA port. Why would you go to the trouble of adding features many customers may not be able to use?

I know many people like their external enclosures to be bullet proof. The F-35 seems very sturdy, but I can't imagine it surviving a fall to the floor. However, I'm fairly certain it would save your HDD in the event of a fall to the floor. However, forget all this falling. The F-35 is meant to be on your desk, or at least my desk. Some users do carry around their HDDs, so for those folks, durabilty is something to consider when purchasing an enclosure. Overall, I'd recommend the F-35 to any one looking for a way to add another HDD to their rig.

Pros:

 

Cons: