I bought a drive enclosure to use for backups. Specs, reviews, comments.
AMS VENUS DS-2316B2BK Aluminum 3.5' USB 2.0 Black External Enclosure - Retail
* Model #: DS-2316B2BK
* Item #: N82E16817145656
* $5.99 FedEx Saver Shipping
* $38 (approx)
- Fan is 80 mm and lies beneath the drive. It's non-standard and not replaceable -- dust may claim it. New it spins with a soft whoosh -- not bad but certainly audible. Far better than the usual fans that blow air pointlessly against the back of the drive. This one looks like it should really, really work.
- Case is aluminum and reasonably compact with good vents and air space beneath the case.
- Drive insertion is very, very easy and fast.
- Power supply is very compact, nice short cords at both ends, switchable.
- USB 2.0 cable is short -- just right.
Eons ago we bought gear like this based on a brand name or a trusted vendor. Now there are no brand names. Some engineer in China came up with this design, it was built somewhere else, and is probably imported and relabeled by dozens of small companies. How does one know it's any good? Because New Egg has 73 reviews of it with pretty good ratings.
And, if it doesn't work, try again with someone else. The average expected cost will still be low, provided one buys from a vendor (New Egg, Amazon) that has user reviews.
Update 7/19/05: Thus far, I'm delighted. Great fan (not user serviceable however). Very cool. Quiet. Compact. Reliable. Perfect.
Update 5/30/06: Fan remains very quiet. I can't tell if it runs all the time as it's much quieter than my office. I bought two more enclosures as my home backup had outgrown the removeable cartridges I had used. Nowadays Venus makes versions for SATA as well as IDE ATA drives. The current enclosure supports up to 500GB.
Update 6/1/06: The fan was so quiet because it had stopped. Arrggh. Thanks for the reader whose comment made me suspicious. I noticed the case was hot, and when I opened it up the fan was stopped. A tap restarted it, but of course now I don't trust it. I wish Venus either used better fans, or had a temperature alarm, or both. When the fan is running the case is mildly warm and you can hear a soft whir. Fans are a real curse. There's not temperature control, the fan runs all the time.
Update 11/26/08: More in a later post.