StarTech USB 3.0 Dual SATA RAID Enclosure Reviewed

StarTech.com has been great at making all the little gadgets and adapters you can imagine to help you accomplish exactly what you want with computer hardware.  They specialize in adapters, enclosures, wires, peripherals and more.  With that being said, today we’ll dive into the USB 3.0 Dual SATA HDD/SSD RAID Enclosure, model number S252BU33R.  In the box you get the enclosure, screws, an AC to DC adapter, a USB power cable, which works in junction with the included USB 3.0 cable if AC power isn’t an option, a manual, and international adapters for your AC adapter to work in most countries.  All of this comes at an MSRP of $92.99 on the StarTech store.

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The construction is straightforward and the enclosure, when assembled, feels solid.  The exterior is black aluminum, with plastic encapsulating the front and rear.  Around back, you’ll see a fan, power switch, USB 3.0 interface, and a power input.  Inside the unit you’ll find two slots for any 2.5″ drives of your liking (although I wouldn’t suggest the WD Velociraptors).  There are a couple dip switches to set the enclosure mode, and a reset button to reboot the device in said mode.  You get to choose from RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD, and Spanning.  Installing a drive requires sliding it into the SATA connector mounted on the interior chassis.  Once in place, use the 4 of the 8 provided screws to secure each drive.  After mounting the drives, slide the entire inner chassis into the outer case.  Secure it all together with 4 additional screws (these ones are black) to prevent the chassis from sliding back out.  Once fully assembled, you’ll notice a fan built into the rear cover. This is to keep high performing mechanical drives from overheating.  The fan never came on during my operation due to using SSDs, but I’ve read that it’s fairly quiet.  From here, plug in the power and USB 3.0 cable, and you’re good to go.  Just with any other drive, newly purchased drives will have to be initialized with Disk Management in Windows or Disk Utilities in OS X.  Once initialized and formatted, it’s smooth sailing.

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Performance is excellent.  I was able to saturate the USB 3.0 bus with what most people seem to top out at.  The read speeds with a 0 queue depth hit 316.9 MB/sec.  Write speeds were nearly identical at 315.8.  All in all, for an external enclosure with its own RAID controller, these speeds are the best you can get, if not superior to many other enclosures.  This speed was achieved using a single 512 GB Samsung SSD.  I have been using the enclosure extensively for several weeks now without any noticeable issues.  If a RAID drive ever fails, one of the corresponding front LEDs will switch to red, indicating which drive needs to be swapped out.  This enclosure is definitely a solid purchase, and will perform to or exceed any reasonable expectations.  We can comfortably recommend this enclosure for most applications.

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