Saturday, 18 July 2015

Fast USB 3.0 drive caddy for SSDs - Inateck FE2005

A few years ago I needed a USB 3.0 drive caddy for 2.5" HDDs, so I bought a cheap ICY BOX  IB-233ST
This ICY does have screws but you can just use the rubber sheath to hold it together - this allows for quick changing of drives without having to fiddle with tiny screws and find a tiny screwdriver!

However, when I fitted an SSD drive into it, I was only getting sequential rd/wr speeds of 150-200MB/s.

After doing a bit of research, I bought this screwless Inateck drive caddy (FE2005S)
This caddy showed much better Crystal DiskMark Sequential scores.

As I am only concerned with actual USB data rates, the table below shows the results for sequential reads and writes only (I used the same USB cable for both caddies).

240GB Samsung EVO 840  (rd/wr MB/s)    ICY = 198/190       Inateck 513/510
120GB OCZ Agility 3          (rd/wr MB/s)    ICY = 151/100       Inateck  208/105

As you can see, the maximum transfer rate for the ICY USB controller was about 200MB/s and 500MB/s for the Inateck. I was running Win 8.1 64-bit and it did install a UAS driver (Uaspstor.sys) when I connected the Inateck for the first time.

The USB cable that comes with the Inateck is about 24 inches in length and seems to be well shielded.
I can boot from it too.

P.S. After using this for a few days, I have found a design flaw. The USB 3 port in the caddy is recessed into the plastic case by 2-3mm. This means that the USB 3 cable connector cannot be fully pushed in to the socket on the caddy and so can easily fall out when you move the cable or caddy around. It also loses contact very easily when moved so that the drive disappears from Explorer. This has gotten to be really annoying!
All they had to do to fix this was to mount the USB 3.0 socket on the PCB a few mm forward so that it would be flush with the case!

The recessed socket prevents the USB plug from being fully inserted.
Consequently it can lose contact or even fall out!