Lightweight with good cooling – Joe
SUMMARY: Lightweight enclosure with good cooling.
The good guys at Kingwin were nice enough to send a sample of the Kingwin Super Shuttle USB 2.0 5.25″ EIDE Drive Enclosure to try out. This is an external 5.25″ drive 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.
- USB 2.0 to EIDE
- Compatible with 5.25″ EIDE HDD
- 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
- 256(mm)L x 165.5(mm)W x 51(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:
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:
The view from the back shows the On/Off switch and the USB port:
Looking directly into the enclosure better shows the fan location and PCB:
On the extreme right are the power and fan failure LEDs:
There is also a green LED that is on when powered up:
Installing a CD results in a snug fit:
Note that there is not a lot of room behind the drive:
The drive I used measured 7¾” long; some older drives are longer than this and they may have a problem fitting into this space. Make sure that when you install the top, all the cables are stowed; if not, you’ll get this:
And you notice something else – when it’s all buttoned up, there are no exit holes for the fan to exhaust warm air; if you use this and the drive is running pretty much flat out, I would mod this unit by replacing at least one of the sides with a mesh grill or drilling sir holes in the sides.
In addition, all the product shots in the literature show the enclosure with the front grill in place – you remove the grill before installing the drive (DUH!).
The unit is composed of aluminum base and top plates with four thin, slip-in aluminum sides. 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.
In use, I found the fan noticeable but not noisy. With the exception of W98, simply plug in the USB cable and you’re off and running.
The PCB in the enclosure is the heart of it. If the case is not important to you, it is possible to easily remove the PCB from the enclosure:
It’s held in place with three screws. The fan plugs into the PCB and can be disconnected (although the fan failure LED will stay on), while the power switch is a slip fit:
Depress the tabs and it comes out. Naturally, you have exposed components, so insulating the PCB is a must; thankfully it’s a 12 volt part. I could see this mod if you’ve run out of IDE ports and want to add more drives using on-board USB ports.
Kingwin’s Super Shuttle 5.25″ Drive Enclosure is an effective solution for easily adding another drive to any system, but especially for laptops. USB ports easily allow adding more drives than you’ll probably ever need, and the Firewire¹ option is one to consider if high throughput is desired. For drives running continuously, I would definitely recommend mods to increase airflow.
¹There are some concerns about Prolific’s Firewire chip (PL-3507) and data corruption; I can’t address this as I do not have the Firewire version; in addition, posts I have read on it indicate that it shows up after some time. I have no way to tell you this is an isolated or endemic problem.