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SunbeamTech Airbox USB 3.0 Enclosure Print E-mail
Written by Vikram Chand   
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Rated 4 out of 5 Stars 4 out of 5 Stars

Sunbeam Tech USB 3.0 Airbox Enclosure

Easy compact and cool!

Hard drive enclosures are now beginning to adopt the USB 3.0 interface which is supposed to blow USB 2.0 and any other interface out of the water. Today we are testing the Sunbeam Tech Airbox USB 3.0 Enclosure to see how much faster it really is.

The Airbox can handle 3.5" or 2.5" (won't be secure) drives. We will test it with our Samsung HD501IJ 500GB SATA 3.0GBps hard drive. Unlike other compact enclosure this one has a cooling fan with LED, so it cools while looking cool at the same time. It can support drives up to 2TB (terabytes) so you have a lot of room to expand. Let's see how fast it really is.


DESIGN, CONTROLS AND PACKAGING

The Airbox is packaged in a very easy on the eyes box. Lots of pictures on the front of some of the major features like USB 3.0, 5GBps, Windows 7 compatibility and more. The back lists some more features such as the fact that it supports Windows 2000 SP4, Linux 2.4.1.0 and Mac OS 8.6 (or anything later than these). The back also has some test results and other minor features like LED and up to 2TB support. One of the sides lists the package contents and the other lists the specifications. Inside the box you will find the Airbox itself, a mounting stand, a USB 3.0 cable, an AC power adapter, accessory pack (screw driver and screws) and of course the user manual. The other two sides have the Sunbeam Tech logo and the product name.

The overall exterior of the Airbox is clean looking and solid. While I don't really care how it looks as long as it does what it says, but doesn't hurt to look good while you are at it. The front of the enclosure has a vertical blue LED that indicates the status. Steady light means power is on and drive is idle. Flashing light the drive is currently being accessed. The left side has the cooling fan grill and the right side is just plain. The back has the power button, DC in, USB 3.0 port and the FAN LED on/off switch. One thing I noticed is that your fingerprints tend to easily stick on the outside.

There are two small screws on the back that you will need to remove to slide the drive tray out. The tray has the PCB on the back where the hard drive will connect to the SATA II connector. You can also see the 80mm fan on the other end. The fan is plugged in to the PCB on the front.

SunbeamTech Airbox USB 3.0 Enclosure SunbeamTech Airbox USB 3.0 Enclosure
SunbeamTech Airbox USB 3.0 Enclosure SunbeamTech Airbox USB 3.0 Enclosure
SunbeamTech Airbox USB 3.0 Enclosure SunbeamTech Airbox USB 3.0 Enclosure
SunbeamTech Airbox USB 3.0 Enclosure
SunbeamTech Airbox USB 3.0 Enclosure
(click image to enlarge)


 

INSTALLATION

The installation is pretty straight forward--put it in the carrier, slide it to plug it in properly to the SATA II connectors, secure it with a couple of screws (provided), slide the whole thing back in the enclosure and replace the two screws. Then just plug in the USB 3.0 and power adapter and you are all set to go.

SunbeamTech Airbox USB 3.0 Enclosure SunbeamTech Airbox USB 3.0 Enclosure
SunbeamTech Airbox USB 3.0 Enclosure
(click image to enlarge)

 

TEST SYSTEM

Motherboard : Asus M2N-E
CPU : AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ Dual core
CPU Cooler : Thermaltake Frio Cooler
Operating System : Microsoft Windows 7 Enterprise 32-bit
Graphics Card : PNY GeForce Verto GTS 250 1GB
Optical Drive : Sony DVD-RW drive
Case : Thermaltake Element G
PSU : Thermaltake Toughpower XT 775W
Hard Drive : Samsung HD501IJ 500GB SATA 3.0GBps


TEST METHOD

I will use a Samsung HD501IJ 500GB SATA hard drive in this Sunbeam Tech enclosure and test the data transfer rates using HD Tune Pro 3.5. I will also use the same hard drive on the Thermaltake BlacX Duet eSATA/USB docking station to get eSATA and USB 2.0 transfer rates. Then I will compare all of the results to see how much faster USB 3.0 really is.
 


 

RESULTS

As you can see from the results below that USB 3.0 is clearly faster than both eSATA and USB 2.0 as expected. Looking at the chart, USB 2.0 uses the most CPU when transferring data and eSATA uses the least, but USB 3.0 cpu usage is a huge improvement overall. I saw average transfer rates of 25.25 MB/s (maxed out at 26.9 MB/s) with USB 2.0, 29.38 MB/s (maxed out at 37.57 MB/s) with eSATA and 64.4 MB/s (maxed out at 82.75 MB/s) with USB 3.0. So with some of these real world tests, we can see what USB 3.0 has in store for us. I don't think it will disappoint us at all. We should start seeing more and more USB 3.0 devices in the market soon.

SunbeamTech Airbox USB 3.0 Enclosure
SunbeamTech Airbox USB 3.0 Enclosure
(click image to enlarge)

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

I have the SunbeamTech USB 3.0 enclosure for a few weeks now and it does not disappoint at all. This enclosure is inexpensive for the performance it delivers; you can probably find it for less than $50 at online stores like Newegg.com. The installation is fairly easy and simple but you need a screw driver (supplied). USB 3.0 will definitely not disappoint at all and it will be around for a decade if not more (just like USB 2.0). I would rate this enclosure 4 out of 5 and present it with our Highly Recommended award.

 

Highly Recommended Award

 

Pros
Up to 2TB limit, solid design and includes everything you need.
Cons
Installation could be easier--maybe add a door (get rid of the screws).
Bottom Line
A very fast USB 3.0 enclosure with great limits.


 

DETAILS AND SPECIFICATIONS :

Manufacturer :   Sunbeam Tech
Website :   www.sunbeamtech.com
Model # :   EN-AIR-USB3.0-BK or EN-AIR-USB3.0-EU-BK
Color :   Black
Interface :   USB 3.0
Support Drives :   3.5" SATA I / II
Material :   Aluminum (except the front/back panels and thermal relief holes)
Max Transfer Rate :   USB 3.0 - 5Gbit/s
Fan Speed :   1600 RPM ±10%
Indicator Lights :   Power ON - Steady Blue (front)
Disk Access - Flashing Blue (front)
Fan State - Rear
Power Supply :   100V to 240V
Supported OS's :   Windows 2000(SP4)/ME(SP2)/XP/VISTA/7
Linux 2.4.1.0 or higher
MAC OS 8.6 or higher
Dimensions :   203 (L) x 126 (W) x 44 (H) mm
Weight :   435 grams
Description :  
The USB3.0 Airbox 3.5” external enclosure is constructed with an all aluminum housing, and is combined with an 8cm LED fan that blows cool air directly onto the hard drive inside so that your hard drive is well protected from overheating and instability. Supporting up to 2TB in hard drive capacity, this tech-chic external enclosure comes with cool blue LED and a control button to turn ON and OFF the LED fan’s light to suit your mood. The USB3.0 interface allows for up to 5Gbps transfer rate. Where performance, stability, and aesthetics matter, the Airbox external enclosure is the best choice for you.


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 June 2010