Author Topic: Bytecc ME-350U2F external HDD enclosure  (Read 925 times)

Offline Allie-Baba

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Bytecc ME-350U2F external HDD enclosure
« on: Feb 15, 2004, 11:35 PM »
After looking around for reasonable backup solutions - I finally came to the conclusion that my best approach was to build an external HDD. Not knowing much about doing this of course - I fumbled around for a while trying to figure it all out. I finally setteled on two products - the Western Digital 120G 7200 RPM 8M buffer drive and the Bytec Aluminium external HDD case supporting both USB 2.0 and IEEE1394.

WD 1200JB[/b]

What can I say - typical WD, always reliable always easy to install. This is the classic 'Special Edition' WD setup with 7200 RPM, 8MB buffer, 120G capacity, 100M interface, and 3 year warranty. Well worth the extra price over other non 'SE' drives in my opinion.

Bytecc ME-350U2F Case[/b]

This was something new for me so I was a bit nervous. There are a LOT of selections out there and I mulled over a fanned metal plastic case vs. an aluminium case. Eventually luck won out as I inadvertantly ordered the wrong unit (DOH! :-[). But it all worked out in the end.

The Bytecc unit is an exteremely well built unit that with one exception is quite easy to put together. Assembly begins by first removing the back cover from the unit that reveals the ISE interface, internal cards, and of the course, the mounting location for the HDD. Once removed, the HDD is placed into the case and screwed in - no but wait, then you can connect the IDE cable to the drive. Oops. Remove the drive, connect power and IDE, then it's hard but not impossible to get the whole thing in to position and back into the case. After only minor struggling, the drive is back in and the back panel is ready to screw on. But first, two decorative side panels slide into their slots on either side of the case. Covering the HDD screws. Finally the back panel goes in.

About that back panel. Included are 2 1394 (Firewire) ports, one a 'shoot through' I presume, a single USB 2.0 port, a rather unusual DC jack (it looks a bit like a PS2 connector with 6 pins) and an On/Off switch. The USB 2.0 port is a 'type B' connector.

Since the case has no fan I was a bit nervous about heat -  however, even during lengthy writes, the cases barely gets warm to the touch. Luke warm. Never hot. This makes the overall unit very quite with only the sound of the HDD whirring.

The unit is designed to stand on it's side, as such is included a low medium grey stand. In fact the unit can not readily stand horizontally as the case is designed with slight ridges on both sides running the lenght of the case from front to back. This would make the case quite awckward to stand horisontally. The vertical stance is probably as much utilitarian as it is thermally related, allowing a smaller footprint on your desk.

The front of the case is silver shiny plastic with what might be called a 'Christmas Star' like designed four pointed star. It appears that part of this design allows some amount of airflow. Additionally a large, bright, prominent blue LED sits at the middle of the front. This light alights whenever there is disk activity, both read and write. The LED might almost be to bright for some people. Bytecc calls this a 'Fashion Cooling Light.......... Huh???? .... Well OK - I'll give them the credit that blue is a 'cool' color. I highly doubt that it is in fact a thermoelectric cooling device.

Detailed product info and even more specifications can be found Here. Additionally, USB only and 1394 only versions are also available for slightly less. However, I wanted to have the most versatility available.

Certainly one of the more interesting things related to this external drive is performance. Which by internal IDE standards is well  ........ reasonable. But that's to be expected I given the units interfaces. At any rate, I obtained the following measurements for read and write speeds utilizing 'Performance Test V 4.0' that I received included with Norton SystemWorks Pro 2003.

Utilizing USB 2.0 on my new PC, the new external drive achieved an average read speed of 26.7 Mbps and an average write speed of 7.5 Mbps.  I do not currently have a IEEE 1394 cable available to attempt a similiar measurement. The tests were run on a single empty 33.3 G partition on the drive. Slightly higher values were obtained on other partitions but there is some error in these measurments since I was doing several other things during the tests with the PC. By contrast, my internal system 40G WD 7200 RPM 2M buffer drive (non-Special edition) achieves an average read speed of 30.4 Mbps and a write speed of 19.5 Mbps. While by contrast another internal drive, a WD 160G 7200RPM 8Mbuffer 'Special' drive achieves read and write average speeds of 38.6 and 35.1 Mbps. The latter number probably being somewhat anomolous given the large size of the buffer and not knowing the actual size of the files in use.

One additional key issue is that the external drive is formatted as FAT32 for Win98 compatibility and write ahead caching is turned off in the OS (a smart thing for external drives IMHO) while the two internal drives are NTFS and their write ahead caching is turned on for higher performance.

All in all I am extremely happy with this setup. Functional, useful, quiet, cool and Kewl ;).


« Last Edit: Feb 16, 2004, 06:02 PM by Neon »
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