vion1 thumb Thermaltake VI ON 3.5" SATA Hard Drive Enclosure eSATA and USB

About one week ago I took a look at the Thermaltake Max 4 USB and eSATA external hard drive, and I found it was a decent product. Today for review I’ve got another Thermaltake External Hard Drive Enclosure called the Vi-on. This one is very different from the Max 4 in style, and looks, it’s very sleek and sort of artsy looking, it does feature both USB and eSATA connections and a separate, removable base. The Vi-on is also partially tool-less for the installation, and the hard drive rests on springs to help dampen vibrations while the entire enclosure is cooled by a small, silent fan. I’ve put compared it to several others I’ve got on hand, read on to find out the results…

The packaging for the Vi-on is nicely done, and the enclosure is packaged well inside.

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Getting everything unpacked we find the enclosure, cleaning cloth, USB cable, eSATA cable, power supply, stand, and user manual. The stand is a wedge shape and has a cut out in it where the fan is located on the enclosure itself.

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The reason there’s a cleaning cloth included is that the Vi-on has a glossy casing that attracts dust and fingerprints, it looks nice but it isn’t very practical. the two sides of the case are the glossy plastic, while the top, front and back are a metal mesh to help keep the dive inside cool.

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On the back we find the power switch power connection, USB and eSATA ports:

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On the bottom you’ll find four screws that attach a metal plate to the bottom of the unit, this plate serves as a way to secure the side of the Vi-on in place, you must remove the plate to access the inside. The plate also features a cut-out for the fan and cut-outs for the bolts on the base to secure it to the stand.

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Once the base is off the side just slides off, inside we find the circuit board with HDD connection. There’s also a bag inside with four rubber feet that attach to the bottom of the enclosure so you can use it without the base, the legs provide space for the air to flow under the enclosure. The hard drive just sits inside, no screws required for installation. The HDD sits on four posts that have silicone rubber tops which have springs under them, this is to help keep vibrations down. The panel that was removed also has a padding on  it.

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Specifications:

Thermaltake VI-ON 3.5" SATA Hard Drive Enclosure

MSRP: $59.99
P/N: ST0008U

Anyone who is serious about mobility, data integrity and safety of their valuable digital content should take a second look at the all-new VI-ON series external hard drive enclosures.

VI-ON external hard drive enclosure is the world’s first external enclosure with embedded drive suspension system and Active SMART Cooling System that utilizes active temperature monitoring fan for utmost quiet and efficient heat dissipation.

While most users do not realize, hard drives are capable of producing a fair amount of vibration when the internal disks, up to 4 disks depending on size or model, are at their maximum speed.  That is exactly why Thermaltake designed in the world’s first hard disk drive suspension system to minimum those vibration noise.

Features:
-Active SMART Cooling System incorporates an auto temperature sensing fan that reacts to hard drive temperature change in real-time for utmost

efficient thermal management.
-Hard Drive Suspension system minimizes hard drive vibration to eliminate operating noise.
-All around metal mesh opening provide unobstructed airflow intake ensuring proper cooling.
-Stable detachable base unit allows for easy transportation and mobility when needed.
-Elegant glossy black finish.
-Supports SATA to Hi-Speed USB 2.0 interface.
-Supports SATA to eSATA interface.
-Supports Hard Drive capacity up to 2TB (2,000GB)
-Plug & Play

Specs:
Enclosure Interface: eSATA & Hi-Speed USB 2.0
Transfer Rate: USB 2.0: up to 480 Mbps / eSATA: up to 3.0 Gbps
HDD Compatible: SATA I & SATA II
HDD Capacity: 3.5" SATA HDD up to 2TB
OS Compatible: Windows XP & Vista / Mac OS 9.04+
Material: SECC Steel & ABS Plastic

Dimension: 255 (L) x 70 (W) x 205 (H) mm / 10.04  (L) x 2.76 (W) x 8.07 (H) in
Weight: 480 g

Special Features:
- Embedded Disk Drive Suspension System eliminates most of vibrating noise from HDD.
- Active SMART Cooling System effectively manages the thermal efficiency to maximize cooling and minimize noise.


Installation could be called semi tool-less as you don’t need screws to install the actual hard drive, but you need screws to secure the base on.

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The Vi-on does have a blue LED in the front, near the top, to indicate power and activity.

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Well we know it looks good but let’s see how it performs.

First up I’ve got testing with both USB and eSATA connections of the Vi-on using SiSoft Sandra 2009 SP3 Removable Storage benchmark and compared to a few others I’ve got on hand. The same Hitachi 500gb hard drive is used in the ioSafe Solo, Max 4 and the Vi-on enclosures.

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As we can see the Vi-on actually lags a bit behind the Thermaltake Max 4 using both types of interfaces.

For the next test I’ve got DiskBench and the time it takes to Copy to or Write a file and Copy From the enclosures. I didn’t include eSATA scores as we already know it will win out, only SB scores are included as that’s the most common interface.

I used the Windows 7 ISO file for the testing,  weighing in at a little over 3gigs.

Times are in seconds so the lower the better for the transfer time. I used the write speed as a reference for the chart.

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The Vi-on comes in third place in terms of write speeds, with the copy from speed being a bit slow for some reason.

Here’s the actual transfer rates of the test:

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Write speeds are about average for het Vi-on really when compared to other drives, over 30MB/s is good We can see the transfer speed for copying from the drive is fairly slow, I ran the text three times and came up with very similar results. Still though it’s not bad overall.

So it’s not bad in terms of performance.

I do have to sat that I love the design of this enclosure, it is a bit large, but I personally wouldn’t be taking it anywhere with me, I’d use a USB drive or a 2.5” HDD enclosure as I don’t need to move very large amounts of data really. It’s usually just small work related things I’m moving around.

The fan inside of the Vi-on is very quiet, even when the hard drive was under load. I had the Vi-on sitting less than two feet away from me, and really I couldn’t hear it at all, every once in a while I heard the hard drive accessing but it was very faint.


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Conclusion:
The Thermaltake Vi-on 3.5” HDD enclosure is a sleek looking product, and it performs admirably well.  The cooling fan is silent and it does seem to help keep the hard drive cool, and the vibration dampening system seems to work well also.

I really like this product, the style of it should fit well with any decor, and I can recommend it if you’re looking for a nice looking HDD enclosure.

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Pros:
+Great looking
+Well made
+Should keep drive cool
+Quiet

Cons:
-Not the fastest out there
-Large size, not exactly portable

Grades:  
Overall score 9 10 thumb1 Thermaltake VI ON 3.5" SATA Hard Drive Enclosure eSATA and USB
Design score 10 10 thumb1 Thermaltake VI ON 3.5" SATA Hard Drive Enclosure eSATA and USB
Performance score 9 10 thumb1 Thermaltake VI ON 3.5" SATA Hard Drive Enclosure eSATA and USB