Silverstone DS221 Dual HDD Raid Enclosure

Posted by on Thursday, February 4, 2010 - 12:00am

Silverstone ds221So my most reasonable option would be to build my on drive enclosure. This way I can pick whatever enclosure style I like. And I can load the enclosure with any drive I want. Yeah....I like this option better. Silverstone has a new enclosure that will help me accomplish my goal. The new DS221 dual 2.5" drive enclosure is a stylish unit that can house two laptop size drives that can be insert without having to tear apart the box. And if that doesn't get you excitement level up how does it support for RAID 0, 1 and even JBOD.

Introduction to the Silverstone DS221 HDD Enclosure

Mass storage is something that is not new to many of us....actually any of us. Each and everyone of us seem to need some form of extra hard drive space whether it for family photos, large music collections or to house that huge amount of video footage of your twin girls being born and growing (yes I am talking about myself).

In my case I will want to share to video with everyone as I go from grandparents to uncles and aunts houses. I can sit there and burn the videos to DVD which takes what seems like forever. Or I have the option to copy them over to USB flash drives. But honestly they can get expensive and I would need way too many. Last resort is I can go out and get a USB external hard drive. Then I am restricted to whatever drive that is inside.

So my most reasonable option would be to build my on drive enclosure. This way I can pick whatever enclosure style I like. And I can load the enclosure with any drive I want. Yeah....I like this option better. Silverstone has a new enclosure that will help me accomplish my goal. The new DS221 dual 2.5" drive enclosure is a stylish unit that can house two laptop size drives that can be insert without having to tear apart the box. And if that doesn't get you excitement level up how does it support for RAID 0, 1 and even JBOD.

Silverstone on the DS221

SilverStone created an incredible mobile storage product, the DS221. It connects to the PC via eSATA or USB 2.0 high-speed interface which enables data transfer with maximum compatibility and stability, making DS221 the best choice for storing your data with speed by RAID 0 and JBOD mode or mirror mode by RAID 1.


Specifications


Model No.
SST-DS221B(Black)
Enclosure material
Aluminum
Color
Black
Power requirement
5V 2A power adapter
Operating system support
Windows 2000/XP, Vista, 7
Mac OS 9.x (Apple USB support 1.3.5 and greater) and Mac OS 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, and 10.4
Mac:G3 processor or greater
Computer with eSATA or USB 2.0/1.1 interface
PC
HDD size support
2.5” hard drive x 2
HDD interface support
SATA hard drive
Minimum System Requirements
Windows 2000/XP, Vista, 7
Mac OS 9.x (Apple USB support 1.3.5 and greater) and Mac OS 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, and 10.4
Mac:G3 processor or greater
Computer with eSATA or USB 2.0/1.1 interface
PC
Enclosure interface
eSATA (Max. 3Gbits)
USB2.0 (Max. 480Mbits)
HDD capacity support
1TB Hard Disk and below
Net Weight
370g±10g
Dimension
168mm(L)x120mm(W)x28.3mm(H)

Features

3Gbits SATA II data transfer speed
Slim and light portable aluminum enclosure
Support dual bay 2.5” SATA hard drives
Support RAID 0/1/JBOD function
Plug and Play with hot-swappable connection
Maximum 3Gbits data transfer speed via eSATA interface
Maximum compatibility with USB2.0 (480Mbits)


Closer look

The DS221 is ideal for those that need the extra protection that can from Raid 1. Or for anyone that want the speed benefits of Raid 0. Many would say that Raid 0 is pointless running through the USB port. Understandable but not a problem for the DS221 as it has an eSATA port for extra performance. But the USB 2.0 option is always welcome as every company has one and you are guaranteed a connection.

The DS221 is an all aluminum enclosure that comes in only black. It displays all the characteristics of their cases. Fine lines, high quality and tool-less assembly is all part of the DS221 feature list. Up front you see there are two quick release levers alone with two doors. Once open you will see there is no need from tools to install your drives. Just slide them down the narrow chamber and lock the door back in place.

The rear of the casing is where you will find all the connections and switches you will need to adjust before operation. First of all if you decide you will need to use the power adapter regardless the operation mode. I am stating this because if you have used small portable drives before you will know that no power plug is needed. Not the case here as the two drives requires more power than the USB port can provide. The feature that makes the DS221 is the Raid option. You have the option to choose between 0 (striping), 1 (mirror) and JBOD (just bunch of drives). All done with the flick of a switch.


Installation

The DS221 is a simple device to work with as no drivers are needed. We simply sled in the drives into the bay and let the latches secure the drives into place. The drives we are using will be the Hitachi Travelstar model spinning 7200 RPM.

Connecting the enclosure to the computer is just as simple. First you will have to decide what connection you want to use for operation: USB or eSATA. Chances are if you do have eSATA ports you will go this route as it is the fastest of the two. You can't go wrong with USB as every PC has at least one of these ports.

Either way you will have to go through the Storage Management area of the Control Panel to format the unit. The whole process from begin to end took all of five minutes to accomplish.


Testing and Performance

We will be testing the DS221 on my daily Intel 920 and Gigabyte Extreme X58 rig using the USB and eSATA ports. To get some number we will be using HD Tach.

USB - Raid 0 - Read & Write


USB - Raid 1 - Read & Write


eSATA - Raid 0 - Read & Write


eSATA - Raid 1 - Read & Write

From the testing you can see that selecting the eSATA route is much faster than the USB option. And the striping feature is faster than the mirror option. But each of the four combinations have their own advantage which we have covered though out the review.

Conclusion

The Silverstone DS221 is another wonderful looking device from Silverstone. The style and appearance is what we come to aspect from Silverstone. The brush aluminum going well with the FT02 aka Fortress 2 case we reviews a few week ago.

But what set the DS221 apart from the rest of the enclosures on the market is the operation modes that you can select and in this case its Raid 0, 1 and JBOD running through USB or eSATA ports.

You will be happy to know that no tools are needed to get the unit ready. It is just a matter of sliding the drives into the enclosure and connecting it to your favorite PC.

If would have been nice to see the DS221 with the ability to be mounted in a bay of the PC. This would just give the buyer another way to interface with the PC.

Even though the enclosure is small and portable you have to carry around the small power adapter whenever you want to take the DS221 with you.

The DS221 can be had for less than $80 from online retailers.

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