Inateck FE3001 USB 3.0 HDD Enclosure Review

Add Your Comments

Today, we have an opportunity to look at one of Inateck’s newest product offerings in the FE3001 USB 3.0 HDD enclosure. This latest offering supports UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) and has several other features worth checking out too. So, let’s get to it and see what this latest Inateck offering is all about.

Specifications and Features

The specifications and features below are provided by Inateck’s product page. The big hitter here is the UASP support, which can provide speeds noticeably higher than normal USB 3.0 operation. In order to take advantage of UASP, you’ll need to install a SSD in the enclosure. The FE3001 allows installation of both 2.5″ and 3.5″ SATA HDDs. All modern Windows, MAC, Linux, and Android operating systems are supported – both 32 and 64-bit versions. The FE3001 supports HDDs up to 4TB in size and uses an ASMedia USB to SATA bridge chip (ASM1153E) to handle internal transfers between the two connection types.

Inateck FD1006C Specifications
Model Inateck FE3001
Output Interface USB 3.0/2.0
Chipset/Controller ASMedia ASM1153E
Compatible 2.5″, 3.5″ SATA HDD/SSD Up to 4TB
OS Support XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1 (32/64-bit), Mac, Linux, Android
Weight 280g/9.88oz
Size 190x112x32 mm/7.48×4.41×1.26 in
Inateck FD1006C Features
  • UASP support for even faster performance, requires UASP capable system
  • Compliant with 2.5″/3.5″ SATA HDD/SSD
  • Compliant with USB 2.0 or lower version
  • Compliant with SATA6G, SATA3G, and SATA1.5G
  • Super speed USB 3.0 offer speed up to 5Gbps, ten times of USB 2.0
  • No reboot and additional driver is needed
  • Made of aluminum-alloy material
  • LED power/activity indicators

Packaging/Accessories/Product Tour

The retail box has a sleeve around the outside that provides a few product details. There is a nice picture of the unit on the front and additional branding that lets you know it’s a portable enclosure that supports USB 3.0 and UASP. Around back are the specifications and features along with Inateck contact information.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Once inside the box, you’ll find the FE3001 enclosure wrapped in plastic and sitting in a cardboard bed. Below that are the accessories. You get an extra pair of rubber pads for the bottom of the unit and a screw driver for the assembly process. The rest of the items are what you’d expect to see included.

  • 1x 12V/2A Power Adapter
  • 1x Accessories Bag (rubber pads and screws)
  • 1x Screw driver
  • 1x 100cm USB3.0 Cable
  • 1x User Manual

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A closer look at the Inateck FE3001 reveals the case is made out of durable aluminum-alloy material and has minimal branding on the top and bottom. Four rubber pads are affixed to the bottom to keep the unit from sliding around on the surface. The back of the device has the connections for the USB 3.0 cable and power adapter and is also where the power on/off switch is located. Two ventilation areas are found at the back to help keep the enclosure cool. Along the right side are the power (green) and HDD activity (blue) LEDs, which are located towards the back end of the unit. We’d much prefer to see these lights located on the top or front of the enclosure where they would be much more visible.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If we slide the HDD mounting tray out, we can see the PCB along with the SATA power and data connectors. Just as promised, we found the ASMedia ASM1153E SATA to USB bridge chip attached to the PCB.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Installing either a 3.5″ or 2.5″ HDD only takes a couple of minutes to accomplish. However, the included instructions for mounting a drive are incorrect and could be dangerous if followed as printed. We’ll get to that in a minute, but let’s start by looking at the screws included in the accessories.

Included Screws

Included Screws

The instructions start off by saying to remove the two screws that allow sliding the HDD tray out of the unit. The screws were not installed at the factory, so you can just slide it out from the get go. Two of the long black screws pictured above are used to secure the HDD tray once the drive is installed.

Next, the instructions say the following:

Using the included screw driver connect your SATA SSD/HDD to the SATA connector and attach it to the drive tray by driving two of the installation screws through the stabilizing holes on the bottom of the drive tray into the bottom mounting holes on your SSD/HDD.

First of all, there are no mounting holes present on the bottom of the HDD tray – they are on the sides of the HDD tray. If you install a 3.5″ HDD in the enclosure, you can use the small silver screws to attach the drive. If you use a 2.5″ drive, you’ll only be able to secure it with one screw on the right side of the tray. The danger comes in the fact that the long black screws fit the threads of a SSD, but are way too long to be used safely. They will likely make contact with the PCB inside the SSD and could cause damage. The instructions would lead you to believe that the included screws are to be used to mount both 3.5″ and 2.5″ drives. The threads on the smaller silver screws will not work on a SSD because the threads are different, which only leaves the option of using the much too long black screws… Don’t do it! So, if you plan on installing a 2.5″ SSD drive in the enclosure, use a screw that might have come with your SSD or find one intended for mounting a SSD.

3.5" HDD Set in Place

3.5″ HDD Set in Place

2.5" SSD Set in Place

2.5″ SSD Set in Place

2.5" SSD with Proper Screw

2.5″ SSD Mounted with Proper Screw

Granted, the more seasoned system builder will pick up on the shortcomings of the instructions, but a novice user could run into a serious problem. Inateck could easily fix this problem by mentioning in the instructions that SSD mounting screws are not included.

Benchmarks

We’ll be using our daily driver system for testing the Inateck FE3001 enclosure. Mainly because it’s loaded with Windows 8.1, which has native support for the UASP protocol. Here are the components that make the system up.

Test System Components
Motherboard ASUS Maximus VI Impact
CPU i7 4770K
Memory G.Skill TridentX 2X4Gb DDR3-2666 MHz
SSD Samsung 840 EVO 500GB
Video Card EVGA GTX 750 Ti
Case w/PSU EVGA Hadron Hydro – 500W PSU
OS Windows 8.1 x64

We grabbed our Patriot Ignite 480 GB SSD and installed it into the enclosure to use as the test drive. The SSD is rated for 560 MB/s read and 545 MB/s write, which is more than adequate to saturate the USB 3.0 interface. Those rated speeds were easily obtained during our review of the Patriot Ignite when it was connected to a SATA 6 GB/s port. Knowing that, you can judge the benchmarks below on how close it came to those speeds when using the FE3001 enclosure connected to a native Intel USB 3.0 port.

The first thing we need to check is if the FE3001 is recognized as UASP ready. That’s easy enough to verify by using the ASUS USB 3.0 Boost utility, which indeed found it to be UASP ready.

UASP Ready

UASP Ready

The Inateck product page shows an image of a SSD installed in the enclosure and being tested on a Mac system. The read and write speeds show 433 MB/s and 386 MB/s respectively. Let’s see what we can come up with on our Windows 8.1 system.

Our first benchmark is ATTO, which is a popular test for manufacturers to base their speed claims off of. Here we did substantially better than the results found on Inateck’s product page. ATTO reported a maximum read speed of 463 MB/s and a maximum write speed of 459 MB/s. Pretty impressive stuff there!

ATTO Results

ATTO Results

The rest of the below benchmarks will typically show slower read/write performance due to the incompressible data tests they use. Even with that, we see read/write results well over 400 MB/s in most cases. Pretty impressive results here that solidify the speed advantage a UASP capable device can deliver when coupled with a SSD.

CrystalDiskMark Results

CrystalDiskMark Results

AS SSD Results

AS SSD Results

Anvil's Storage Utility Results

Anvil’s Storage Utility Results

Conclusion

Beyond the annoyances of oddly placed LED lights and an installation guide that could use an amendment or two, we’re left with a great performing HDD enclosure in the Inateck FE3001. Even though the best performance will obviously come from installing a SSD in the enclosure, it would make a great option for a 3.5″ platter type HDD as well. The impressive read/write speeds with a SSD installed in the unit rival those of a drive hooked directly to a SATA port, and that leaves little to complain about.

Speaking of little to complain about, the price for the FE3001 is a mere $22.99 from Amazon. Considering the performance, the aluminum case, and the UASP support, that’s a heck of a value. Inateck has a great performing and well priced unit here… Overclockers approved!

Overclockers_clear_approved

Click the stamp for an explanation of what this means.

Dino DeCesari (Lvcoyote)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *