External HDD enclosures have always been just a box with a USB cord out the back. No regard was given to cooling, or very high speed access. But today I have the Antex Veris MX-1 enclosure with not only e-SATA support, but a large blower fan that circulates air around your HDD.
The year was 1986. Starbucks had only a few stores. Don Johnson was actually cool. The average PC had less memory than today’s cellphones. And in Fremont, California, a little company named Antec was born. Antec’s first employees never imagined that their upstart firm would rise to the very top of the high-performance computer components industry. But rise it did. And rather swiftly, too.
We’re headquartered in Fremont, California, with additional offices in the Netherlands, Europe. We’ve also established distribution partnerships throughout Australia and Southeast Asia. So you’ll find Antec products in over 25 countries. But no matter how large we grow, we’ll never forget our mission: to give you the power you need to create the computer you really want. That’s the Antec way. That’s the Power of You.
- Dual output interface – USB2.0 and eSATA (external Serial ATA) allows you to transfer data up to 480Mbps or 3Gbps respectively
- Support up to 750G SATA hard disk drive
- Unique HDD cooler brings fresh air in and around the HDD for maximum cooling to protect your valuable asset
- Two layer (plastic with aluminum) structure upper and lower covers to absorb HDD and fan noise
- Carbon-glass filled frame to reinforce the strength of the whole enclosure
- Built-in silicone pad to absorb HDD noise
- Included USB cable, eSATA cable, and eSATA bracket to convert internal SATA to eSATA
- Stand included
- Very quiet fan operation – under 22 dBA
- Noise Level: 20 dbA with the blower on inside the enclosure
- Supports Windows 2000 / XP / ME / VISTA
21.9 x 14.6 x 5.7 cm
The Antec Veris MX-1comes in a large black box with the active cooling part being proudly shown along with the product itself.
Inside you’ll find all the usual bits and pieces, including the unit itself, an instruction manual, a vertical stand, a power block and lead and a USB cable. The not so ordinary is the eSATA cable and PCI bracket.
The PCI bracket is used to convert an internal SATA port to the eSATA style. It allows older motherboards to support eSATA’s insane 3Gpbs transfer speeds. That said, you’ll need a hot-swap capable board as older SATA connectors will cause your PC to freeze when the enclosure is connected (we’re talking Pentium 4 478 old). If you do have one of these older type motherboards, fear not as the enclosure also supports USB 2.0 connectivity.
The Veris itself is fat. It looks like a standard enclosure that has had all the pies. It’s made of aluminium and plastic, with carbon-glass thrown into the frame for strength. The reason why the enclosure is a little chunky is because of its secret weapon.
At the bottom of the device is an 80mm radial fan that sucks air from inside the enclosure and blows it out the rear vents. The only way for the air to enter is from the vents on the top of the enclosure which are located at the back. This means that the air has to take a U-turn around the hard disc in order to escape. The result? Your hard disc is encased in a constant stream of cooled air.
If you like your hard disc enclosures to be vertical, rather than flat on your desk, you can use the included stand to make these dreams come true. The stand has foam pads inside to stop the enclosure being scratched, rubber feet to stop slippage and made out of shiny black plastic to match the device itself. All bases covered here.
Inside, you’ll find that the Veris only supports SATA drives which isn’t a major concern as IDE is falling out of fashion. As SATA power and data connectors are a standard, there are no cables inside. Instead, you simply slide the hard disc into place.
To make sure that no vibrations are passed from the drive to the enclosure, there are ultra-squidgy silicon pads, which fully detached the screws and hard disc from the MX-1 itself.
The front of the Veris has the Antec logo printed in white and a very small activity LED which should shine down onto your desk resulting in a sexy glow rather than a glaring beam of light.
The rear has three ports and one switch. The switches job is obvious, as are the other ports. There is one for eSATA, power and USB. None of these ports are marked in anyway, but their function is obvious from the widely different shapes.
Installation is very easy for an enclosure. You have to slide the top of the MX-1 off (which has a screw to secure the lid once your HDD is installed) and then unscrew the hard disc bracket. This then slides out.
Now you have to slide your hard disc towards the plugs and screw it into place underneath.
Now do the reverse of the first three points and your work is done.
Unlike the Vizo Milano for example, there are no scary looking cables or PCB’s. In fact the installation is simple enough for an amateur to accomplish with ease.
I’ll be testing the enclosure with an 80GB Western Digital drive.
To test, I’ll be using SiSoft Sandra XI. Each test was repeated 3 times and the results averaged.
First I’ll test the SATA drive inside the PC to gain internal SATA speeds and temperatures, then the enclosure results will be recorded using USB and eSATA cables. Temperatures are gained using SMART (another benefit of eSATA).
As you can see from the results, the hard disc is actually in a better environment when its in the enclosure compared to internal mounting. This is because of the active cooling that the drive receives.
Hopefully Antec release a standalone HDD cooler that can be mounted in your PC case based on the same design.
The eSATA connector allows for full SATA speeds, and it shows that the internal circuitry inside the Veris isn’t causing any slowdowns.
USB speeds are nothing to be ashamed of either. At 34mb/s, it’s faster than any other enclosure that we have tested thus far (when using USB). Obviously the circuitry is also not limiting USB transfer either.
The downside (?) to the SATA chip that Antec uses is that it can ONLY support 750GB drives which is tiny – please notice the sarcasm. For most users, 750GB is more than enough for their needs, and it’s the most data we’ve been able to fit into an enclosure that we have tested.
Noise wise, its silent. Unless you put your ear right next to it, or have installed an inherently loud HDD, you won’t notice the enclosure when its doing its job.
Speaking of not noticing, the activity LED is far too underpowered. The idea was to have it shine down onto the surface that it’s sat on, instead you have to look for it to see whether it’s working. Sometimes the enclosure will be working so hard that the activity light can’t be seen. It needs to be brighter or you need to put the enclosure in a dark place (Garth Marengi) to see it.
For the asking price of ~£30 (will reduce once the product becomes better known) this is a damn fine deal. The enclosure is ridiculously fast at both USB and eSATA modes; it also keeps your HDD cooler than if it’s in your PC.
Buy it. Buy it now if you are looking for a fast and cool HDD enclosure.
|Top of its class for speed||Little chunky|
|Excellent cooling||Underpowered activity LED|
I’d like to thank Antec for providing us with the enclosure.
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