Kingwin Portable 5.25" Aluminum Hard Drive Enclosure

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Portable enclosure with good cooling – Joe

SUMMARY: Attractive package, good cooling performance in an external 5.25″ drive enclosure.

Encl

The good guys at Kingwin were nice enough to send a sample of the Kingwin Portable Aluminum Hard Drive Enclosure (KH-525U-BK) to try out. This is an external 5.25″ drive enclosure that has its own 30 watt power supply – there is also a version that includes a Firewire port (uses the Oxford 911 chipset for Firewire) in addition to the USB port for higher throughput; both version come in either silver of black.

Key Features

  • Aluminum case
  • Blue LED lights for power on and orange LED flashes during data transfer
  • IDE Interface
  • USB 2.0 480 Mbps transfer rate
  • Plug & play and hot-swapping capability
  • 2 stands
  • 30 watt power adapter
  • Single rear 40 mm cooling fan
  • Cypress chipset for USB
  • Driver CD (if needed); CD and HD screws included

The aluminum case is certainly strong enough to withstand the knocks for portable use. I also like the LEDs:

Lit

These are quite bright and, in a darkened room, the blue LED will give enough enough light for a decent night, or mood, light. It’s also cool to see the orange LED flicker on and off during data transfers.

One other feature I think is very good are the holes in the base for both CDs and hard drives:

Holes

No need to buy an adapter kit to use this for a 3.5″ hard drive. In addition, with all that space, the cooling for a hot drive is quite good – more on that later.

The back shows

Back

ports for power, USB and audio jacks for use with CD ROMs; the power switch and fan are clearly visible. Also note that there are four small black screws holding the back to the case – you remove these, the back slips out,

Back Bare

and then you can remove the top cover – the enclosure now looks like this:

Case Bare

Reverse the process after a drive is installed (why the paper documentation shipped with the enclosure does not show this is beyond me). One thing I will note is that fitting the cover into the enclosure’s top rails is a bit finicky – the tolerances are on the tight side (not bad, BTW).
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When mounting a drive, the “guts” of the unit are contained in the removable back piece:

CD Bare

I used this unit to clone a few hard drives and used it as shown – no need for the case as long as you’re careful. With a CD mounted in the enclosure, the front panel is removed (DUH!):

CD In

A black CD will look very sharp.

The entire front piece is removable:

Front

The front tabs fit into slots machined into the enclosure’s sides:

Front Open

All in all, a neat, well fitting package.

Cooling Performance

To test how well the unit cools, I mounted a Western Digital Raptor and ran it for an hour in open air, in the enclosure with the front cover on and with the front cover off, with the following results:

Condition

HD Temp

Ambient Temp

Delta

HD Open Air

37.5 ºC

18.2 ºC

19.3 ºC

HD No Front Cover

29.3 ºC

18.3 ºC

11.0 ºC

HD With Front Cover

27.4 ºC

18.0 ºC

9.4 ºC

I can’t explain why cooling was better with the front cover on than off – normally, I would expect that the less restrictive condition would move more air resulting in better cooling. I ran this more than once, so it’s not a fluke (could be that the holes in the cover distribute the air more evenly over the hard drive’s area).

In any event, what’s notable is that Kingwin’s Portable 5.25″ Aluminum Hard Drive Enclosure does a very nice job of cooling a hot drive – 8 – 10 ºC is significant and, I expect, may pay a benefit in longer drive life.

CONCLUSIONS

Kingwin’s Portable 5.25″ Aluminum Hard Drive Enclosure is an attractive and effective external hard drive enclosure. Of all the enclosures I’ve seen, this one stands out for its flexibility and performance.

This drive is available from Directron for $36.99 (silver).

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