Kingwin Mini Shuttle 3.5" Hard Drive Enclosure

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Lightweight with good cooling – Joe

SUMMARY: Lightweight enclosure with good cooling.

KW Encl

Size: 204 x 126 x 37 mm; Weight 300 grams

The good guys at Kingwin were nice enough to send a sample of the Kingwin Mini Shuttle 3.5″ Hard Drive Enclosure to try out. This is an external USB HD enclosure that has its own power supply – there is also a version that includes a Firewire port in addition to a USB port for higher throughput.

KW Parts

Includes aluminum enclosure, USB 2.0 A-B cable, AC adapter, driver CD and mounting screws

Key Features:

  • USB 2.0 to EIDE
  • Compatible with HDs up to 400 GB
  • Plug & Play (ex W98 – driver disk included)
  • Newest Prolific chipsets included (PL-2507)
  • Stackable with multiple external enclosures
  • Light weight aluminum alloy material
  • 40mm ball bearing cooling fan with red LED fault indicator
  • Over current protection for HD
  • 204(mm)L x 125.5(mm)W x 37(mm)H/ 8″(L)x 4 3/4(W)x 1 1/2(H)inches
  • PC or Mac OS

The bottom of the drive shows the fan grill:

Base

This is not the best arrangement for noise or air flow – unobstructed flow requires no interference one fan diameter from the intake. In this case the fan’s intake is very close, assuming you rest the enclosure on the table (you could use it on its edge). Fan noise was not too loud but definitely noticeable.

Opening up the top (four knurled screws) shows the fan and PCB:

KW Encl

The view from the back shows the On/Off switch and the USB port:

Back

Looking directly into the enclosure better shows the fan location and PCB:

PCB

On the extreme right are the power and fan failure LEDs:

There is also a green LED that is on when powered up:

LED

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The HD is a snug fit:

HD

And you notice something else – when it’s all buttonede up, there are no exit holes for the fan to exhaust warm air. I tested for this as you’ll see below.

The unit is composed of aluminum base and top plates with four thin, slip-in aluminum sides:

Plate

The sides are not robust – they can be easily flexed, but once assembled, they are sufficient in compression. However, it would not take much to smack a side in – I would not use this enclosure for heavy duty mobile use.

Temperature Test

I mounted a hard drive and measured drive temps at the drive’s base and ambient temps with a digital thermometer. Temps were measured with the drive fully enclosed, with the front panel removed and with the drive in open air (I suspended the drive so that it did not rest on a hard surface).

Test Results

Condition

HD Temp

Ambient Temp

Delta

Fully Enclosed

32.8ºC

21.3ºC

11.5

Front Panel Off

31.4ºC

21.6ºC

9.8

Open Air

35.4ºC

21.4ºC

14.0

Looks like the fan works well, and opening up the enclosure to let it breathe has a significant impact on results. With the side panels so thin, drilling holes in them for airflow is not a major task and will yield tangible benefits (another approach would be to substitute an aluminum grill for the sides, available in hardware stores).

CONCLUSIONS

Kingwin’s Mini Shuttle 3.5″ Hard Drive Enclosure is an effective solution for easily adding additional storage to any system, but especially for laptops. USB ports easily allow adding more drives than you’ll probably ever need, and the Firewire option is one to consider if high throughput is desired. For hot drives, I would definitely recommend mods to increase airflow.

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