MUKii TransImp External SuperSpeed 3.5” Enclosure

Posted by on Thursday, September 30, 2010 - 6:08am

mukii transimpMUKii intends on breaking into the USB 3.0 enclosure competition with very reliable and very durable products, which manage to look good to boot. We will be taking a look at one of MUKii's USB 3.0 enclosures, heralding from their TransImp line, which among other things also includes hard drive docks. The TransImp U3 models are available for either 2.5" or 3.5" SATA drives, which our view sample is the latter. But unlike a lot of hard drive enclosures on the market, the TransImp come bundled with a software application to help the buyer to achieve some simple task and configurations.

 

Introduction to the MUKii TransImp External SuperSpeed 3.5” Enclosure

USB 3.0, if you can believe it, was announced way back in November of 2008. It was not until January of 2010 that we finally saw our first consumer product and as time has gone on we are starting to see more and more  on the shelves today. USB 3.0 introduces a new bus to the mix called SuperSpeed that has a max bandwidth of 5Gbit which should give us about 350 to 450 megabytes/s of throughput; USB 2.0 pales in comparison with 480Mbits/s that we typically only see 41% (25MBytes/s), with around 58% (35MB/s) out of a few higher end products. It is this SuperSpeed feature that is the reason the media has made it the second coming, but do you think we've seen the most buzz it will get? Maybe for the time being, but Intel has recently stated its plans for chipset integration in 2011 and that is only if AMD doesn't beat them to the punch. When that happens you can guarantee the buzz will return as it marks mainstream integration of USB3, just as what happened with AMD's inclusion of SATA6 in the new SB8x0 chips.

However, that is not to say that product products for it will not become available, as there is still the NEC and VIA chips that are being added into a fair number of motherboards to give them support. Because of this we are seeing a large assortment of USB3 enclosures for hard drives old and new, either spindle or solid state; flash drives, for easier portability; and even PCIe controller cards, to give us USB 3.0 on our older motherboards. Now there is a new company joining the foray, adding to the well populated SuperSpeed products that are already on the local electronic store's shelves.

MUKii intends on breaking into the USB 3.0 enclosure competition with very reliable and very durable products, which manage to look good to boot. We will be taking a look at one of MUKii's USB 3.0 enclosures, heralding from their TransImp line, which among other things also includes hard drive docks. The TransImp U3 models are available for either 2.5" or 3.5" SATA drives, which our view sample is the latter. But unlike a lot of hard drive enclosures on the market, the TransImp come bundled with a software application to help the buyer to achieve some simple task and configurations.

About MUKii

MUKii Technology is a company that specializes in design of comprehensive intelligent peripherals for day-to-day life. Guided by a company brand philosophy of “Understanding and Applying Existence”, MUKii strives to integrate a range of technological applications for daily life to emphasis their functional integration.

Here at MUKii, we show our respect for the rational consumer by providing sturdy, durable and intelligent peripherals that will allow the user to enjoy their use and convenience. MUKii endeavors to realize a diversified concept in using the product; the promotion of a Green EQ lifestyle; protection of the Environment, satisfaction in use; reduction of waste and a realization of the true necessities of life.

MUKii take on the TransImp

“As digital and high-resolution media contents become more and more popular, the demand for file storage increases. Because of that, high-speed storage peripherals interface is an inevitable trend, which saves time and energy and improves working efficiency. MUKii TransImp TIP-330U3 3.5” hard drive enclosure uses USB 3.0 interface that supports a transfer rate up to 5Gbps. It also passed the strictest compatibility tests and is compatible with all 3.5” SATA hard drives on the market while featuring high reliability. AC adapter supplies pure and stable power to the hard drive to ensure safe and accurate data retrieval at high transfer rate. The vertical stand allows flexible positioning and saves space on your desktop. M one tuning system included (Auto format/ Smart energy saving/USB Turbo/Auto backup/Status feedback) are powerful and yet easy to use. The aluminum casing not only is stylish and ultra slim, but also provides excellent cooling efficiency. MUKii TransImp series hard drive enclosures are designed to the requirements of time-saving, energy-saving and data security to satisfy all your needs in data transmission.”


  Specifications

  • Model:TIP-330U3-BK
  • Device support: SATA hard drive
  • Device size: 3.5”
  • Internal interface: Serial ATA
  • External interface: USB 3.0
  • Material: Aluminum
  • Dimension: 215x124x32mm
  • Power: AC power adapter

  Features

  • Compatible with any 3.5” SATA hard drive.
  • USB interface for easy data access.
  • Compliant with USB 3.0 Backward Compatible With USB 2.0.
  • Transfer rates up to 5Gb/s with USB 3.0.
  • Hot Swappable / Plug and play
  • Blue LED indicates Power; HDD activity.
  • High quality and stylish design.
  • Aluminum case provides excellent heat dissipation.
  • Free MUKii hard drive utility software: Auto format / Smart energy saving / USB Turbo / Auto backup / Status feedback.

Closer look

The TransImp 3.5” is fully compatible with all current SATA hard drives up to 2TB and offers full backwards compatibility for standard USB 2.0 ports. While you may not be able to utilize the SuperSpeed 5Gb/s bus, you still have all the other benefits this enclosure offers. (Editor's Note: I recently read an article (that for the life of me am unable to find again) about a USB3 flash drive which showed an increased transfer rate operating on a USB2 port. Reason for this was that USB3 is full-duplex and when in 2.0 mode the drive was able to at least still utilized the flash drive's que methods. May very well be something this TurboUSB feature works with.) 

The TransImp is constructed from aluminum, which not only makes the enclosure lightweight but helps to dissipate heat from the installed drive. Currently it is only available in black with the red accents, which we like as it has a racy look about it and is very appealing.

Seeing that MUKii is a company you likely are not familiar with you may be concerned about its quality. I am happy to report this is not some cheap junk that line the shelves of some electronic stores. The TransImp is very sturdy and appears to be quite well made. I will not do a drop test but I feel it would handle a one from a nice height, like say if you bumped it off your desk, and not cause damage to the drive inside.

From the rear perspective we see there isn't much there. Offering only the power inlet, power button and USB port. No flash no bling just functionality.

By separating the two pieces that make up the TransImp, we see the small PCB that the drive connects too. The brain of the enclosure is a JMicron JMS539 controller, supporting SuperSpeed as well as high-speed, making the U3 backwards compatible to USB 2.0. Another nice benefit that the enclosure offers is a power saving mode, which other than the obvious energy cost savings, is great for laptop or netbook owners when on the go as it will help cut down on battery usage. Not only that but the drive will run cooler. As I'm sure we all know, lower temperature and less voltage translate into longer life of the components.  


Software

As we mentioned on the opening page, the advantage with the MUKii offerings are the software bundled with the enclosures, an option that many other manufacturers do not included. This simple little bonus makes things easier for the consumer, adding to the list of what make this a quality product. The M One application, as it is called, is essentially a front end to smaller apps. This gives you access to: auto formatting, energy saving stages, performance increasing, auto back up and drive status/health feedback (translating S.M.A.R.T. into easy to understand info). The applications are very straightforward and simple to use.


Back up scheduler


Partition maker


TurboHDD


Installation

The installation of the MUKii and a SATA drive is pretty straight forward, so this section of this review will be pretty brief. Holding the two halves together are 2 screws, but they are not installed directly out of the box, so all you have to do is simply slide the enclosure apart. All of the mounting hardware (screws) is included which we will outline their install points.

Installing the drive is also pretty easy. Place the drive on the metal frame and slide it into the SATA/power connector on the small PCB. Once this is done you will need to install the four screws that secure the drive to the frame, which you will know if the drive is not fully seated into the connector if the holes do not completely line up . Next is inserting the assembly into the other half of the enclosure, first plugging in the small wire for the LED.

Finally, secure the halves using the two supplied screws. Plug in the power and USB cable, and it's good to go. Shall we see what this thing is made of?


Testing and results

We tested the enclosure using some of the most popular and easy to find benchmark applications. We tested under both the USB 2.0 and SuperSpeed protocols so you, our reader, a firsthand look at the speed difference between the two.

CrystalDiskMark 2.7.4
CrystalDiskMark is designed to quickly test the performance of your hard drives. Currently, the program allows to measure sequential and random read/write speeds.

HD Tune Pro 3.50
HD Tune Pro is an extended version of HD Tune which includes many new features such as: write benchmark, secure erasing, AAM setting, folder usage view, disk monitor, command line parameters and file benchmark.


Conclusion

The MUKii TransImp U3 enclosure turns out to be a pretty darn nice with slick looks and great build quality. The installation is a breeze, especially if you plan on using it as a permanent solution. But the real benefit is the transfer rates you get with the new SuperSpeed bus. We saw consistent 100+MB/s speeds with CrystalDiskMark. It is nice to be able to get speeds like this, especially when transferring large files or make for a much faster backup.

I am normally not one to use the software that comes with an external drive, but the M-One can be very useful, especially in it's simplifying of tasks that can prove to be a bit daunting when use what the OS offers. Formatting, partition and back up is all part of the software package that comes with the TransImp. The TurboHDD has also proved to be of use, as it proved to increase the performance of the enclosure by more than a few megabytes/sec.

One suggestion to MUKii for their next enclosure is to implement a hotswap hard drive feature, like we saw in Eagletech's enclosure we previously reviewed. This would make drive installation much quicker, but also bridge the gap between an enclosure and a dock, as MUKii already produces both (which we will be reviewing in the coming days).

Overall we think the performance number speak for themselves and MUKii has made a solid product. 

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