External Data Storage: Tsunami S3500 3.5” HDD enclosure

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Tsunami S3500 3.5” HDD enclosureThe Tsunami S3500 3.5” HDD enclosure was reviewed. This external enclosure can take a single SATA drive of any capacity and for this test we used a 250 GB Maxtor HDD.

The rear of the enclosure contains the USB 2.0 connection port, the mains power input and two switches: one to turn on the HDD and one to turn the 80mm blue LED fan on and off. Upon opening the case, we were presented with a very simple installation. The HDD attaches to the chassis by way of 4 included screws which hold it in place very securely. Attaching the two cables, SATA data and power, was a little bit awkward as the cables are fairly short and had to be twisted in order to get them to fit. Once this was achieved, all that was required was to replace the outer cover, attach all the rest of the cables and it was time to switch it on.

Firstly, it must be said that the 80mm fan is not quiet......we could hear it over background noise and from across the other side of the room. However, if you want silent operation you can turn the fan off using the switch on the back. We tried to set up the “one touch backup” next. This proved to be impossible on Windows Vista as no drivers for Vista are included, and we could not find any to download either. TTsunami S3500 3.5” HDD enclosure with 80mm fanhankfully though we were able to set up a virtual machine of XP to test this feature and are happy to report that it set up fine and worked without a hitch.

We tested the capacity of the fan to keep the HDD cool during data transfer and at the same time, monitor the speed of data transfer. To monitor the temperatures we used a temperature probe which attached to a header on one of our motherboards and placed the probe on the underside of the HDD - not directly next to the fan. We transferred 200GB of digital media from an internal SATA drive to the external, using PC probe (ASUS) to keep an eye on the temperatures with and without the fan on. The temperature inside the case was 19oC before switching the HDD on, 22oC at idle and a mere 25oC after 20 minutes of data transfer. Turning the fan off increased the transfer temperature to 36oC. This is quite a large difference and shows how effective the fan really is. Transfer speeds were a more or less consistent 24mb/sec for the full 200GB of data.

Conclusions

Overall, for the price this is a very good piece of kit. However, we would like to have seen Vista drivers included on the software CD. The fan is loud enough to be annoying if left on too long, but if you aren’t transferring data it can always be turned off. It would have been nice if the fan was either temperature controlled or had an intermediate setting (e.g. half speed) instead of either on or off. The model we tested only had a USB port of connection to the computer which limits the transfer speed of a SATA HDD (up to 3GB/sec). The inclusion of an eSATA port as well as a USB port would have been a welcome addition. Overall, this Tsunami external enclosure did what it said it could do: kept the HDD nice and cool and allow one touch backup (XP or earlier OS). However, if you can afford to spend a little extra money, try to get an enclosure that has an eSATA port as USB really limits the speed of read/write operations.