Installing a 3.5" hard drive in the rack is very easy and only takes a few moments. First, you need to unlock the rack using the key and turning the lock clockwise...
Next, grab the handle and pull it open, then slide the hard drive inside. Close the drive door shut, relock, and you are finished. It doesn't get much easier than that.
Since I am currently using a HTPC chassis, I was not able to mount the rack in a drive bay, simply because this case doesn't have any drive bays. But, that won't matter for testing. I will be using a Western Digital Raptor 74GB 10,000 RPM drive in the rack. For benchmark purposes, I will be using HD Tune 2.55. Results from my testing are below.
Test results were as anticipated. Unlike many external enclosures we have reviewed in this past, this rack uses a direct SATA connection so you won't experience the slowdowns in transfer speed that you would see with USB 2.0 or Firewire interfaces.
The iStar T5F-SS is a very capable and aesthetically pleasing hard drive rack. Two keys are provided to prevent someone from easily stealing your drive and also, hinder accidental removal during data transfers. Two blue LEDs reflect hard drive activity and power status. The black plastic bezel looks nice and resembles brushed anodized aluminum. This rack supports both SAS and SATA interfaces and uses a standard 4-pin Molex connector for power. The 40mm cooling fan on the back of the unit only blows a small amount of air, but thankfully, it is also quite - I was not able to hear it over the other fans in my system. This should be enough to keep the drive inside from overheating. The Raptor drive I installed was noticeably warm after use, but then again, it spins at 10,000 RPM and generates more heat than the average hard drive.
I really couldn't find anything that I disliked about this rack. It does what it's supposed to do, is quiet and should keep any drive operating at a safe temperature. As of writing, the iStar T5F-SS retails for $29.99 at a popular online reseller.
OCIA.net has awarded the iStar T5F-SS our Seal of Approval.