Just upgraded your Ultrabook's mSATA SSD? What should you do now with the spare SSD? Use it as an external drive with VisionTek's mSATA mini USB 3.0 SSD enclosure! It is extremely fast compared to flash disks and compact enough to fit inside your pocket. Let's find out just how powerful this pocket-sized storage solution is as we look at it today.
VisionTek have been around since 1988. Today, they offer computer and Mac related hardware such as graphics cards, solid state drives, power supplies, adapters and related accessories. You can find out more about their products by visiting their website at www.visiontekproducts.com.
VisionTek's Take On the mSATA mini Enclosure
Sized smaller than a business card and weighing 0.30 ounces empty, the mSATA mini Enclosure features the SuperSpeed USB 3.0/2.0 interface to offer data rates up to 600MB/s and a bus-powered design so an AC adapter is not required. To complement its performance and portability attributes, the mSATA mini’s sleek, scratch-resistant aluminum housing provides rugged durability to safeguard a drive’s data and comes complete with everything needed to start using and sharing HD movies, music, photos, and important documents wherever desired.
- Enjoy data rates up to 600MB/s... that’s up to 10x faster than USB 2.0!
- No bulky power adapter needed... power via USB 3.0/2.0 interface.
- Hot swappable... attach and eject the drive as needed.
- Hassle-free, no drivers needed... works immediately with Windows® XP and higher, Mac® OS X® 10.4 and higher, and Linux® systems.
- Drives Supported: One SATA I/II/III mSATA SSD (Drive Not Included)
- Interface: USB 3.0, Backward Compatible With USB 2.0
- Power: USB 3.0/2.0 Powered
- Dimensions: 2.91”L x 1.65” W x 0.51 H
- Weight: 0.30 Ounces (Without Drive)
- Warranty: Three Years
- Includes: Mini Screwdriver and USB 3.0 Cable
Front is a simple clear plastic packaging for you to view the product inside.
Features and specifications of the mSATA mini enclosure are found at the back.
Opening the packaging, you will find the mSATA mini enclosure which is full aluminum casing, 1 spare screw, a small screwdriver which actually works very well and the USB 3.0 cable to connect the storage device to your computer or Mac.
The mSATA mini enclosure is fully aluminum and it comes in a darkish silver metallic color.
It is barely 3 inches in length, only 2.91 inches based on written specs.
On this end, you can see the SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port and that tiny hole is where the activity LED is located which is a white LED by the way.
The other end is closed as well as screwed. You can open the enclosure in either sides.
There are three easy steps in installing your mSATA SSD card into the enclosure which are:
- Unscrew the enclosure with the included mini screwdriver.
- Insert your mSATA SSD.
- Reassemble the enclosure and connect via the included USB 3.0 cable.
So first, open the enclosure by removing the screws.
Here's the board inside the enclosure where you will mount the mSATA SSD.
In installing the mSATA SSD card, make sure you have the right face of the SSD on the front which is where the product description sticker is usually located.
To secure the mSATA SSD in the board, you only need to push the SSD card into place which will lock itself in position.
Here's a look at the mSATA SSD locked into place.
Finally, assemble everything back together.
We will be testing the VisionTek mSATA mini SSD enclosure using a Kingston mS200 240GB 6gb/s mSATA SSD against some of the common portable data storage options available today such as flash disks and external hard drives which will be played by a Kingston HyperX USB 3.0 64GB flash drive and a Silicon Power Stream S20 USB 3.0 750GB external hard drive. Notice that we only use USB 3.0 compatible devices to give it the best chance to match up with the performance of the mSATA mini SSD enclosure combo. We will be using Anvil Storage Utilities to test the drives at 0 Fill, 46% (applications) fill and at 100% fill.
0 Fill Test
*click graph to enlarge
Compression 46% (Applications)
*click graph to enlarge
Compression 100% (Incompressible)
Based on the three test phases, the VisionTek enclosure paired with a Kingston mS200 240GB mSATA SSD beats all alternatives whether it is empty or full. It does get a little slower as it reaches full capacity but not to a point wherein USB 3.0 flash drives can beat it.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
If you are looking for a fast portable storage device with a reasonable capacity, using the VisionTek mSATA mini SSD enclosure paired with an mSATA SSD of choice would be the best solution. This combination is like a combination of a flash disk's speed and the capacity of external hard drives. We could say this solution is somewhere in between, like having the best of both worlds. Notice that the enclosure offers speeds up to 600mb/s. Note that this speed is still dependent on the mSATA SSD you will place inside. It will not go faster than the mSATA SSD's specification you installed in the enclosure. The enclosure does heat up a bit just like how flash drives also heat up during usage but not to an alarming state and the full aluminum body of the enclosure does help dissipate the heat.
By this time, it would look like this is the best portable storage solution available today but there's a catch. Although the enclosure is cheap only around $30 at Amazon, mSATA SSDs are not cheap compared to what flash disks are offering. So unless you have a spare mSATA SSD from upgrading your ultrabook, this portable storage solution is on the expensive end of things unless you don't mind paying premium for the added speed. Another thing to notice is the short USB 3.0 cable the came in with the enclosure. It will not be a problem when you plug it in a laptop but if you have a tower chassis wherein the USB port is somewhere on top or in the middle, the unit would be dangling. Other than those, we surely love how the VisionTek mini mSATA SSD enclosure worked with the Kingston mS200 240GB mSATA SSD. If you do have a spare mSATA SSD lying around, turn it into a super speedy portable storage device using this enclosure!
- Fast and Easy Installation