Thermaltake Silver River DUO Review (Page 4 of 4)

Page 4 - Conclusion

As Serial ATA were originally designed for internal hard drives, common external storage mediums utilize multipurpose interfaces such as Firewire or USB. While technology such as USB 2.0 provides up to 480Mbps of theoretical bandwidth, the majority of external storage devices cannot hit over half of such theoretical speed. In addition to that, features such as SMART proprietary to internal interfaces such as SATA or PATA is unavailable to externally enclosed hard drives.

The introduction of eSATA provides quite a different story. Newer motherboards, including certain value inclined motherboards from major manufacturers such as abit or Asus, ships with at least one eSATA connector. The specification of eSATA were finalized in 2004; however adoption of such interface is not too widely available until just recently. The idea behind eSATA is not just about the limitation of cable length -- but basically a port of internal SATA to something available externally for storage devices.

The requirements of eSATA include the following:

- Full SATA speed for external disks (115 MB/s have been measured with external RAID enclosures)
- Identical logical signaling (link/transport-layer and above), allowing native SATA traffic from end-to-end, all disk features are available to the host
- Maximum cable length less than 2 metres (USB and Firewire allow longer distances)
- Minimum and maximum transmit voltage increased to 500 mV - 600 mV (from 400 mV - 600 mV)
- Minimum and maximum receive voltage decreased to 240 mV - 600 mV (from 325 mV - 600 mV)

More information available at the Serial ATA International Association.

This change basically gives users an opportunity to use external hard drives with the same performance as if the hard drive is inside the computer -- giving it the full potential of the drive and your computer without limitations due to the interface. This also makes once proprietary internal features, such as SMART status, now available to external devices.

Our Thermaltake Silver River DUO showed some very consistent and excellent performance in both USB2.0 and eSATA benchmarks. In terms of USB, at 33.3MB/s average read, the performance can be regarded as excellent and not necessarily limited by the enclosure's controller. In terms of eSATA, we can see some obvious potential here at 55.6MB/s average read with our Western Digital 250GB SATA2 drive with 16MB cache. At major online retailers at the USA, it goes around for $30 -- quite below the price of comparable enclosures. What a deal, go for it!

Special thanks to Peter over at Thermaltake for making this review possible.

Rating: 7.5/10 | APH Recommended
- The rating 7/10 means "Great product with many advantages and certain insignificant drawbacks; but should be considered before purchasing".
- The rating 8/10 means "Definitely a very good product with drawbacks that isn't likely going to matter to the end user".
- More information in our Review Focus.

Great enclosure, great price, flexible in terms of compatibility, good bundled accessories (Even a screwdriver!), nice design, commendable performance, and the list goes on! The Thermaltake Silver River DUO is one great enclosure; now if only it held the drive a bit tighter inside... but it's such a good enclosure, we can't help it but to recommend it.

Page Index
Page 1 - Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
Page 2 - A Closer Look, Installation
Page 3 - Test System, Benchmark Results
Page 4 - Conclusion