Mediasonic Dual Bay RAID Hard Drive Enclosures Review

by AkG     |     January 13, 2008

Exterior Impressions

These RAID enclosures are 2 bay units, that can connect via USB and in the case of the SU2FWB it can also has a 1394a and b connection options. 1394a and 1394b are better known by the Apple name “FireWire 400” & “FireWire 800” respectively. Even though both enclosures have different specifications, there is nothing to distinguish them apart from one another upon first glance.

The case itself is made of plastic with aluminum side panels and while the metal is not overly thick it does not feel weak nor fragile. Considering the price range of the SU2FWB model $150 CAD) it would have been reasonable to expect a completely metal enclosure. More puzzling still is that both units are advertised on MediaSonic’s website as being made of aluminum or at the very least it infers they aluminum enclosures. In their own words “Aluminum is an obvious choice when it comes to constructing a quality hard drive enclosure”, so why did they make both partially out of plastic?

The exterior of both enclosures is a very nice and refined gray and black color scheme. This use of neutral colours allows the enclosure to blend seamlessly in with any background. I was very impressed with the inclusion of six bright information LEDs on the front of the units. With a simple glance you can quickly ascertain if the unit is on, the condition of the hard drives in the enclosure, if they are active and even if the enclosure is rebuilding its array. Overall it is a nice, fast and concise way of telling you exactly what is happening at any given moment. Not needing to install any software to give you all this information was very nice.

On a positive note both units also have 4 rubber feet on the bottom of the enclosures, and does make for secure mounting when placed on a desk. A minor annoyance is that you can not lay the unit on its side since its slippery aluminum sides it does have a tendency to slip and slide around on a desk.

Just as the front is for information display, the back is where all the various connection options, an on/off switch and even a 40mm exhaust fan is located. This is a very well executed layout with everything clearly labeled and does not feel cramped or cluttered.

However, one thing we did notice is the orientation of the 1394b connectors. In most instances these connectors are usually found in a horizontal orientation yet on the SU2FWB model they are in a vertical orientation. Basically what this means is instead of having the 6 or 9 pins in a long narrow row, they are positioned in very tall narrow row. This orientation can have possible negative side effects since the plastic center post no longer acts as a cable stabilizer and this means that a good connection is solely based on friction between the pins and connector. This small detail does dampen an otherwise very good first impression of these enclosures.

Overall both units look good and would fit equally well with any décor.

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