By – John Williamson

Silverstone He

Prioritizing what to upgrade in a PC build can be extremely overwhelming as consumers are inundated with a staggering amount of products all vying for their hard earned cash. Analysts and technical commentators often discuss about the price to performance ratio and how a new component can reinvigorate your PC and overhaul it’s sluggish performance after a few years. Without a shadow of doubt, upgrading from mechanical storage to a Solid State Drive will yield the greatest improvement in terms of boot times and responsiveness within the Operating System. Unfortunately, SSDs have commanded a premium price point and offer fairly meagre capacities when compared to traditional HDDs.

Advancements in technology has allowed the production cost of SSDs to slowly reduce and now there are affordable drives on the market such as the Samsung 840 Evo 120GB. In conjunction with this development, there has been an increased uptake of external SSD enclosures for people wanting a fast, portable drive with staggering media copy speeds over USB 3.0. Silverstone were kind enough to send me their latest enclosure which aims to provide a sturdy, reliable casing with excellent read/write speeds.

The Silverstone TS10 enclosure is protected during shipping in a black cardboard box and plastic protective shell. This does a fairly good job of housing the item in a small footprint whilst keeping it safe. However, the glue was starting to come off from the right hand side. Thankfully, this side piece uses a top flap to reinforce the structural integrity and prevent the side tabs from coming underdone. Silverstone’s colour scheme and overall branding might seem a bit plain to some but I find the black coating has a clean, professional look and is suitable for personal or business use. The black box has blue diagonal streaks on the front and looks the part from a distance whilst adding a touch of character.

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Included in the package is a 7mm enclosure, 290mm Micro-USB cable, 3 fixing screws and a small screwdriver. The enclosure’s top and rear sections are comprised of anodized aluminum and have a textured surface which is remarkably resilient against fingerprints and dust buildup. Enclosures are meant to be left in the open and often accumulate a large quantity of dust and grime on more glossy surfaces. Silverstone have opted for a matte black finish and the material doesn’t mark even if pressure is applied.  The top also features an understated Silverstone logo and brand name which compliments the black colour scheme.  Now we move onto the sides which are made entirely of plastic and feature 2 screws at each end for easy disassembly. There is no need to unscrew the right section as it acts as the bottom support tray for the SSD. Out of interest, I removed this part and was surprised to see some high quality supporting foam which cushions the SSD and gives it a better fit. On the other side is the plastic end connecting to a PCB with connectors and power indicator light.

The installation process couldn’t be simpler and shouldn’t take you longer than 1-2 minutes. All you need to do gently pull out the PCB section and push your drive into the appropriate power and SATA connectors. When that is in place, slide the drive into the enclosure and tighten 2 screws into the loose tabbed portion. The screws are incredibly small and easy to lose so I am thoroughly impressed that Silverstone included a spare in case you accidentally knocked one onto the floor. After that stage has been completed, attach the USB 3.0 cable and Windows should detect the SSD/HDD. Please remember that this device is only an enclosure so it doesn’t require any additional drives or software.

It’s always a difficult task to distinguish between various brands of SSDs within enclosures because the maximum speed is limited by the USB 3.0 interface which operates up to 5 Gbit/s. In theory, all USB 3.0 devices are backwards compatible so you could use this device with a USB 2.0 header. However, I would strongly advise against this since SSDs were never designed to run via this slow, outdated technology and will be massively bottlenecked by the transfer speed. USB 3.0 operates at 10 times the speed of USB 2.0 and most computers these days should have a USB 3.0 connection.

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The normal testing procedure for drives involves AS SSD and ATTO benchmarking software. I decided to use a larger sized consumer grade drive with a reasonable read/write speed because this is what the majority of consumers will be using. The drive in question is a Seagate 600 480GB with a maximum read speed of 500MB/s and maximum write speed of 400MB/s. When used as an internal drive over SATA3 (6.0 Gbit/s), AS SSD reported a Sequential read speed of 511MB/S and writes of 445MB/s. The ATTO graphs show that this drive reached read highs of 540MB/s and writes of 460MB/s. As you can see, this drive is performing above its stated specifications and contains some excellent figures via the Motherboard’s internal interface.

So how does it perform with the TS10 enclosure? According to AS SSD, sequential read speeds hit a limit of 404MB/s whilst attaining a write speed of 370MB/s. While this may be a reduced figure, it is still fairly impressive for an external USB 3.0 enclosure. As expected, the SSD is limited by USB 3.0’s interface but manages to perform admirably whilst adding the adaptability of being a fast and portable device. The statistics are similar in ATTO with a maximum read speed of 412MB/s and write of 381MB/s. We have to compare devices on a fair basis and in comparison with other USB 3.0 enclosures, the Silverstone does exceedingly well.

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Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?

The Silverstone TS10 7mm HDD/SSD enclosure is a solidly built product with impressive read/write speeds when compared to competing products. External drives are useful if you own a few systems and want to quickly exchange data in a seamless manner. The TS10 can also be used to make fast system backups and give you a greater peace of mind. If you have any spare SSDs or wish to compromise a little bit of performance for portability, then the Silverstone TS10 is a great option.

Silverstone TS10 SSD Enclosure Summary:

  • Time Used – 4 Days
  • Software Used – AS SSD, ATTO
  • System Specs – Intel i7 4770K, 16GB RAM, Sapphire AMD R9 290 Tri-X 4GB OC
  • Acquisition Method – Review Unit
  • Availability – NeweggAmazon
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