Thermaltake Silver River II Review (Page 2 of 4)

Page 2 - A Closer Look, Installation

On the back of the enclosure, we can see connectivity options of the unit. This is fairly simple on the Silver River II. From the right, we can see the USB 2.0 connector, eSATA connector, DC power input, and last but not least, the power switch. Unlike the Zalman ZM-VE200 2.5" enclosure I reviewed a few weeks back, the Silver River II, as with all 3.5" enclosures, has its own external power source made possible with the DC power input and power adapter found in the box. Since power over eSATA is not frequently found nor featured on this enclosure, having an external power source is a necessity -- not to mention it is not possible to power a 3.5" hard drive over USB unless you want to use four or five. Although the Silver River II is considered a USB 2.0 and eSATA combo enclosure, it runs each connection separately.

As you have also noticed, the Silver River II does not support USB 3.0. It would have been nice to see Thermaltake come out with a USB 3.0 version in this stage. After all, USB 3.0 would allow the Thermaltake Silver River II to enter a much more demanding market as so many of us are scouring the earth to find worthy peripherals that support the interface.

Installation of the HDD into the Thermaltake Silver River II is easy and straightforward. Because the Silver River II utilizes a HDD slide out tray, two black screws found on the connections panel at the back of the unit must first be removed. The HDD tray then slides out, where a 3.5" drive can then be connected to the Serial ATA port. The four screws found in the packaging are used to firmly secure your hard drive onto the enclosure tray. Last but not least, the tray must then be placed back into the aluminum shell, with the two screws you have removed earlier replaced.

After installation, light shaking and short traveling trips are then used to determine the overall durability of the unit. Although on the outside, the enclosure is made of a durable material, I am not convinced that it does the perfect job of protecting the HDD. When shaking, it seems the tray does not securely fasten well to the inside of the enclosure, since the weight of the HDD tends to move the tray into hitting the sides of the enclosure shell. Although most 3.5" enclosures are not entirely made for being portable, I feel hesitant in traveling with this enclosure. The only traveling done with the Silver River II has been short trips in the car, as I am truthfully not comfortable carrying this enclosure in a bag or backpack through public transit any time soon. This could just be an issue with enclosures that utilize sliding HDD trays as the tray has to hold a relatively heavy 3.5" drive fastened onto to only one side of the enclosure. One way to fix this problem could to somehow make the tray fasten to the backside of the enclosure, so both sides of the tray would be secured after installation. Another way could be to add some form of insulation inside the frame that would either support the tray from multiple angles, or be made of some soft vibrate-reducing material like rubber. The problem is not so bad as to say that the light shaking would damage the hard drive inside, but it does rule this enclosure out as being one to survive a one meter drop; I am not about try this -- so do not quote me on this. However, as a semi-portable external drive, this enclosure will not disappoint.

The Silver River II SATA to USB 2.0 bridge was a little hard to find. The successful endeavor included removing another two screws, taking out the connections panel, and then flipping it upside down to get a view at the controller on the underside. For those who are wondering, the Silver River II uses a JMicron JM 20446 SATA 3Gb/s to USB 2.0 bridge.

On the opposite side of the connection panel is a white/blue LED light when the unit is turned on. This design adds a nice overall stylistic touch to the enclosure without going overboard. This indicator is also programmed to flicker or blink when data is transferring; I would have to say Thermaltake has spent a good amount of attention on perfecting the details of the Silver River II's physical prowess.

The stand also stylistically matches the entire unit, giving the setup a sleek look. Also in this area, Thermaltake has spent a great deal in redesigning the Silver River series, making it look quite modern. The stand reaches to the exact height of the lower silver streak on the enclosure, allowing the setup to maintain a balanced design. On the bottom of the stand are four rubber grommets that hold the Silver River II in its place, while lessening the overall vibration noise of the external drive. It is not without its flaws, however; as the stand is not physically snapped onto the unit. This means that every time you lift the unit up, the stand stays onto the table disconnecting itself from the enclosure itself. Moving the setup by pushing it with the stand also does not work as the rubber grommets keep it in place. Therefore, the only way to move the enclosure is to use both hands and to pick up the Thermaltake Silver River II from the bottom and top. Readjustments are also something that must be made frequently, because of such a loose connection from the stand to the enclosure. Thermaltake wanted the stand to be as "flexible" as possible, allowing users to adjust the unit however they wanted, as well as moving the unit however they wanted. Unfortunately, the results are a bit cumbersome.

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