Rosewill RX358 USB 3.0 Hard Drive Enclosure

poster

Testing

We tested this enclosure with a Seagate 7200.10 250GB SATA Hard Disk Drive.  The enclosure was connected to our Vantec SuperSpeed USB 3.0 Host Controller (reviewed here).  We used the included USB 3.0 cable, as well as a standard USB cable to test USB 2.0 throughput.  Below are the specifications on our test machine:

Our Seagate drive was placed in a new Rosewill USB 3.0 hard drive enclosure, which was used for both USB 3.0 and 2.0 testing.  The same drive was connected directly to the motherboard’s SATA port to determine the maximum throughput the drive can deliver.  Although the Seagate hard drive is only 250GB, the 7200.10 series uses perpendicular technology, which packs more bits into the same amount of space, which translates into higher throughput per platter spin. Just for kicks and giggles we tried other hard drives we had laying around, but the 7200.10 drive provided the best output in these tests.  Any hard drive can easily saturate the bandwidth of USB 2.0, so we used the fastest drive we could to demonstrate if there was a limit to what USB 3.0 could provide.

We used the ATTO becnhmark as well as Simpli Software’s HDTach 3.0.1.  ATTO shows how the drive performs with different file sizes, and HDTach has a good picture of the drive speed with the platter.  Once we powered on the drive, Windows 7 immediately recognized it and assigned a drive letter, just as you expect with any USB drive.

We measured the drive’s temperature with a thermal probe to see how effectively the fan works at cooling your drive. As we noticed during installation, no aluminum actually touches the drive, so it is really up to the fan to disapate heat.  With the fan off our test drive reached a max temperature of 102 degrees, which cooled down to 86 degrees with the fan on.  The ambient room temperature was 76 degrees.  The fan is apparently very effective, and is so whisper quiet that you can barely notice it.



Left: SATA, Middle: USB3.0, Right: USB 2.0

When we used HDTach we could see how the drive performs as the head moves across the platters.  It doesn’t take much to saturate USB 2.0’s bandwidth, so nearly every hard drive should  max out anywhere between 25 to 30MB a second, which is what we see when we run the enclosure on USB 2.0.  When we run the drive on USB 3.0 we can see  that the drive does not max out the bandwidth, as the transfer rates have a natural curve as the head moves across the platter.  The drive has a slightly less average transfer rate under the SuperSpeed interface than on SATA, but it appears that the drive does not max out the bandwidth and therefore there is room to spare.


Seagate 7200.10 drive on all three interfaces

We also tested the same hard drive under the motherboard’s internal SATA chipset and benchmarked under ATTO.  The hard drive reached a read speed of 56MB a second and a write speed of 78MB/second.  This is a little odd, as usually read speeds are much faster, but nevertheless the drive achieved write speeds up to 78MB/second.


SATA slightly edges out USB 3.0, but not by much

You can perform most common tasks just like you would an internal hard drive.  One thing we noticed was that you cannot read SMART information from the drive, which includes reporting the drive’s internal temperature.  This isn’t a big deal, as you couldn’t do this with USB 2.0 either.  Either this feature isn’t supported in the USB 3.0 specification, or isn’t translated by the SATA-USB chips.