As I've said many times before, everyone and there mom makes a hard drive enclosure. With a few exceptions they are mostly of the same boxy design. Thermaltake has come out with a design that they hope is going to break the monotony. They focused on making something that you don't have to hide away on your desk. With that they focused on reducing vibration and heat to keep you from having to listen to your hard disk spin up, and to make sure that same hard drive has a long life. So Thermaltake sent us one of these new VI-ON hard drive enclosures and we are going to take a closer look at it.

Review Sample Provided by: Thermaltake

Review by: Garfi3ld

Picture by: Garfi3ld

Specifications

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 up to 1TB
OS Compatible Windows XP & Vista / Mac OS 9.04+
Material SECC Steel & ABS Plastic
Power -External Universal Switching Power Adapter -UL, FCC, CE, CSA Certified
Dimension 255 x 70 x 205 mm, 10.04" x 2.76" x 8.07"
Accessory Hi-Speed 2.0 Cable eSATA Cable Full-Range A/C Power Adapter Dust Cloth
Fan Active SMART Cooling 40mm Fan Fan Current: 0.06Amp (Max) Fan Power: 0.76W Fan Speed: 1000 ~ 4800 RPM (thermally controlled) Rated Voltage: 12 VDC Fan Noise: 27 dBA @ Max
Weight 480 g
Speical 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.

Packaging

This has to be the biggest box for a hard drive enclosure that I've ever seen! I noticed right away that they stuck with the same theme that we saw with the BlacX. They put a large picture of the enclosure on the front of the box. Along with that picture they point out that their "Proprietary Hard Disk Drive Anti-Vibration Suspension System dramatically reduces hard drive noise during data transfer by as much as 36%". The enclosure also will work with eSATA and USB 2.0. On the back they have a diagram of the air flow inside the case. It's nice to see that they focused on the air flow from the start rather than as an afterthought like we have seen on some enclosures in the past.  The back also has a list of the other features used to aid in cooling and lowering the noise and vibration. Inside the box I found everything secure with foam. Thermaltake packed a small box with a USB cable, an eSATA cable, power brick, and a towel to keep the Vi-ON free of finger prints.

Installation

There are two parts to this install; we first have to put the hard drive into the enclosure. Second we have to hook the enclosure up to the pc so we can test it out. To start we took the 4 screws out of the bottom of the enclosure. Once the bottom panel was off the main side panel slid off to gain access to the inside of the enclosure. Inside we found four pillars with springs in them to hold the hard drive up for air flow and to keep the vibration and sound down. We took our Seagate 320 and sat it on the pillars and it slide right into the SATA plug. Once plugged in we only had to put it back together. Amazingly there weren't any screws to clips to attach the hard drive into the enclosure. The enclosure itself holds the hard drive itself.  The 4 screws went back into the bottom and we pulled out the angled desk mount and attached it to the bottom of the enclosure. You have the choice of using the angled mount or sitting the enclosure directly on the table. I felt the angle mount left the fan more room to breathe while being a little more secure for the enclosure.

Now that we had the whole thing put back together it was time to hook everything up to the PC. I started by picking a nice spot to put the Vi-ON that I wouldn't have to worry about the cats knocking it off. Once it was in place I plugged in the power wart into the surge protector and then into the enclosure. Next I had to pick from the eSATA and the USB 2.0 cables. Even though the Vi-ON didn't come with a eSATA PCI plug like most of the eSATA enclosures we have looked at in the past I was able to use eSATA with our test PC. If you have the chance to use eSATA I highly recommend doing so over the USB 2.0. The speed difference is well worth the time (as you will see later in testing). Once I had the eSATA and power plugged in all I had to do was flip the power switch. Our hard drive was already formatted so after a small delay we saw our hard drive appear in My Computer.

Our Test Rig

E6300 core 2 duo

MASSCOOL 8WA741 92mm Ball CPU Cooler

Intel motherboard

Palit 9600GSO

80gig hard drive

320 Seagate hard drive In the Vi-ON

light on sata dvd burner

4 gigs of Mushkin Ram

Seasonic M12 700 Watt modular power supply

17inch lcd

In Win Allure case

Peformance

As you can see below from our tests using HD Tune the Vi-ON performs very well. There is a major difference between our eSATA tests and the USB 2.0 tests. That was to be expected and is a price to be paid for the convenience of having USB everywhere.

Overall

Well like ive said before, every company seems to make a hard drive enclosure. Its really hard to make something different, something that gives you a reason to skip over the other enclosures. Thermaltake has done a good job in doing that. When we started we pointed out that thermaltake tried to produce an enclosure that reduced the noise of normal enclosures while keeping the hard drive cool. They defently did a good job at this, when you have it opened up you can see that its just not marketing talk. They also set out to produce an enclosure that will look good on your desk and be secure from being knocked over. Again they did a great job at this also, the large base keeps the Vi-ON secure while making it look different than any other hard drive enclosure. The fan, springs, and wide base all make the Vi-ON bigger than a lot of enclosures. With a suggested retail of 59.99 I think that the price is the biggest downside to this enclosure. But of course you don't see the amount of detail on all of the cheaper enclosures also.

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: https://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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