MAPower KC-31 3½" SATA Hard Drive Enclosure

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Review – Kraig Neet

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Some times you just need more disk storage and have nowhere to put it – this happened to me when I modded my case to insert more cooling mechanisms and populated every conceivable slot, nook and cranny in my rig for better performance. Now that I sacrificed storage spacing for performance, what do you do? Well, buy an external USB2 hard drive enclosure like the one featured here.

Thanks to the good guys at Mapower, we have the MAPower KC-31 3½” hard drive USB2 enclosure up for your reviewing pleasure.

It’s a nice little looking case for the most part. The whole concept behind a enclosure like this is twofold:

  • More space for storage when you run out, and
  • Make use of the smokin’ 480 Mbps that USB2 offers.

Let’s not forget the third thing that MAPower added to it as well – the sweet looks of this killer little enclosure! I love the way the black screen looks against the brushed aluminum finish. Here’s the front and back of the enclosure:

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Now we get a look at what kind of cabling we get. The box said USB to SATA – note that SATA cables are not included. Also, our victim for this test – a brand new Hitachi SATA 250 GB 8 MB cache hard drive.

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Next lets open it up and take look inside:

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We get a look at the controller PCB and mounting system. Notice my leet paint skills in pointing you to the hold down contact points of the drive!

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I want to get a close up of the guts of this controller:

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You can see where the SATA power & ATA connections are. All you have to do is slide the drive into the connections – it was very easy to install. All I had to do was mate up the corresponding connections and turn it over to insert the 4 holding screws – it was by far the easiest of any hard drive enclosure I have used.
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Almost done, here you can see the drive properly seated and mated up with all the necessary connections:

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Just put the lid on with the other four screws and all we need to do now is plug it in. Sweet, they have even included a blue LED to indicate when the enclosure is powered:

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Plug it in and turn on the switch in the back to hear the familiar blee-bopp of Windows picking it up and then make your way to disk management to activate the disk and format it and we have more storage!

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The performance was not what I expected it to be. It has been a while since I have used an external hard drive and I was expecting some really good bandwidth scores, but I was left disappointed.

I ran the 8 MB and 32 MB tests on the ever popular HDTach v 3.0.1.0. The 8 MB score gave me 32 MB/s on average and the 32 MB test yielded a paltry 33 MB/s – WaaAAAaaahhoooooo! Jeezz, that’s not what I expected from a SATA drive hooked up to a 480 MB/s USB2 port. I thought maybe its my system, so I tested my Raptor raid array and got a smoking 219 MB/s – Heh!

My conclusion is that overall I liked this enclosure. It looks really well, installation was a snap, it does a good job of being “extra storage” and can be used for redundancy with your important files. But it wouldn’t’ work well for much of anything else unless you like slow transfer speeds.

Thanks again to Mapower for sending this our way.

Kraig Neet

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