VisionTek mSATA Enclosure Review
So how many of you out there own a laptop, tablet or perhaps a Gaming rig that features a motherboard like the MSI Z87-G45 GAMING? Now you’ve made the decision for a full upgrade and switching to a newer Z97 based system? Not sure what I’m getting at? Well all of the above may share the an mSATA port, where as the Z97s new feature is the M.2 socket. This obviously means your prior space-saving SSD occupying your mSATA port will become somewhat redundant. For any rig, storage is always a premium, we always want that little bit more (those damn Steam sales! 😉 ). So what do we do with all those spare mSATA SSD floating around out there???? Well to satisfy your wonder, a company from across the pond already have an answer for you! So here we have the VisionTek mSATA Enclosure. Whether you want to add the latest SSD technology to it or simply want to re-task an existing mSATA drive after an upgrade, the VisionTek mSATA enclosure will meet your performance and portability desires. Featuring data rates up to 600MB/s via USB 3.0 and a bus-powered design so no AC adapter is needed, this pocket-sized powerhouse is ideal for creating an on-the-go data storage, transfer, and backup solution. The sleek, scratch-resistant aluminium enclosure provides rugged durability to safeguard your data and comes complete with everything you need to start taking HD movies, music, photos, documents and even more importantly Games wherever you roam!
‘mSATA mini USB 3.0 Bus-Powered SSD Enclosure
Turn a mSATA solid state drive into a high-performance pocket-sized storage solution! Whether you want to add the latest SSD technology to it or simply want to re-task an existing mSATA drive after an upgrade, the VisionTek mSATA mini SSD enclosure will meet your performance and portability desires.‘
Packaged in a clear plastic blister and on the front of a predominantly white are red display card, we can see the VisionTek branding, what the device is, that it is plug and play, compatibility and ‘UNSCREW ENCLOSURE > INSERT mSATA SSD > START USING’ some very simple instructions. 😉 Of course being a clear plastic blister pack, we also get to see the tiny VisionTek mSATA Enclosure inside!
Flipping the blister over gives us a brief on the product, its highlighted features, specifications and the rest of the pack contents.
To be fair there isn’t a lot to see, but then what did you expect? 😉
Once out of the pack we get a better look at the VisionTek mSATA Enclosure itself and it is tiny at 7.4mm(L) x4.1mm(W) x1.3mm(H), incredibly light, very solidly built using a single sheet of metal (very similar to many of the recent mobile phones from HTC) and looks great with its gunmetal grey powder coating. The package also includes bus-powered USB 3.0 cable, spare screw and a rather handy mini screwdriver.
At the time of writing the VisionTek mSATA Enclosure is retailing for £29.27 from Amazon and comes with a 3 year warranty.
courtesy of VisionTek
- 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
Installing the Kingston Now into the VisionTek mSATA Enclosure is surprisingly very simple (anyone who’s used an HDD or SSD enclosure in the past will see why). Using the mini screwdriver, just unscrew the two screws on the blank end of the enclosure, slide out the drive caddy, clip in your chosen mSATA and then the same in reverse. All nice and easy. 🙂
The test bed for this review (shown below) was treated to a fresh install of Windows 7 64Bit Home Premium (service pack 1) with all associated Drivers installed. The enclosure was connected to an available USB 3.0 on the MSI Z87-G45 GAMING of the pcG Test Rig. Job done!
|Case||Cooler Master HAF XB||Power Supply||Corsair AX760i|
|Motherboard||MSI Z87-G45 GAMING||CPU||Intel Core i5-4670K|
|CPU Cooler||Raijintek Themis||RAM||Kingston HyperX Beast 8GB 2400MHz|
|Graphics Card||MSI Radeon R9 270X GAMING (OC Edition)||SSD||HyperX Fury 120 GB|
We use PCMark 8 to help ascertain Gaming performance. The test used measures the performance of the drive while loading real game data for both World of Warcraft and Battlefield 3. In addition to this we will also use ATTO Disk Benchmark to confirm the drives (or in this case the drive in the enclosure 😉 ) claimed performance levels.
- PCMark 8 Storage Test – Results
|Drive||World of Warcraft (Load Time)||Battlefield 3 (Load Time)|
|Kingston M.2 120GB||58.5 s||134.0 s|
|HyperX Fury 120GB (SSD)||58.8 s||136.4 s|
|Kingston Now mSATA 60GB (SSD)||58.9 s||136.2 s|
|ADATA mSATA SX300 64GB (SSD)||59.0 s||136.7 s|
|Kingston HyperX Na’Vi Limited Edition 240GB (SSD)||59.2 s||137.6 s|
|Kingston 200V+ 60GB (SSD)||59.8 s||138.2 s|
|VisionTek mSATA Enclosure (Kingston Now mSATA 60GB (SSD)||74.8 s||178.7 s|
|Western Digital Black 1TB (HDD)||123.6 s||303.9 s|
As you can see from the data above pretty much all of the SSD based drives put in similar performances and the Kingston Now mSATA proves it’s no slouch either. Placing it within the VisonTek mSATA Enclosure does have a hit on performance, but any external drive your likely to use will have the same issue. Some will argue it’s tied down to the USB 3.0 data transfer rate of 5Gbit/s (625MB/s) vs SATA3s 6Gbits/s (750MB/s), although realistically they aren’t far off the same, others may argue it’s down to the length of the USB cable degrading performance (unlikely). Personally I don’t care because it’s portable and the load times above are a damn site faster for Gaming than from our high performance HDD like our Western Digital Black!
- ATTO Disk Benchmark
In the pure throughput test (using ATTO Disk Benchmark) the test Kingston SSDNow 60GB mSATA has an advertised read speed of 550MB/sec and write speed at 520MB/sec, which as you can see from the test above is pretty spot on. Throw it in the VisionTek mSATA Enclosure and this does drop to an approximate read speed of 370MB/sec and write of 300 MB/sec. This is obviously a big hit, but when comparing it to other portable USB 3.0 devices like the HyperX Fury 64GB Flash Drive (read 90MB/sec / write 30MB/sec), HyperX DataTraveler 64GB (read 225MB/sec / write 135MB/sec) or even the king of USB drives, the HyperX Predator (240MB/sec / 160MB/sec), suddenly looks incredible!
The VisionTek mSATA Enclosure is a bit of an odd product and not something we would normally review here at pcG, I mean it isn’t exactly Gaming related and not something that everyone would use or want. However for those of you out there like us who own mSATA SSD and moving with the times and upgrading to the newer M.2 it’s a no brainer.
It is very well built, solid, looks great, has a very small footprint which gives it ultimate portability.
Then there is the performance. Ok, so the drive tested inside the enclosure did take a lose 33% of its 550MB/sec read speed and a massive 42% of its 520MB/sec write speed, but it is still a lot faster than any USB pen drive out there.
Even the pricing is reasonable. When you factor in a quality external SSD or HDD enclosure will set you back around the same amount, at approximately £30 the VisionTek mSATA Enclosure seems a pretty sweet deal!
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Where possible we always use Amazon’s price for Value…
Many thanks to VisionTek for providing this sample for review