Using HD Tune 2.55 to test drive access speed, we find the average throughput for this Seagate SATA-II 7200.9 model to be around 35MB/s. This equates to little more than half the theoretical 480Mb/s speed of USB 2.0 and is typical of USB drive enclosures. I could not get a SMART temperature reading from the drive through USB using any software, HD Tune or otherwise.
There's certainly nothing new about an external USB 2.0 drive enclosure and while it's hard to get excited about reviewing one, Thermaltake has made the VI-ON different enough to take note of. One is its appearance, with the high gloss finish and open mesh design for better cooling. The angled base also sets this box apart from others on the market. This coupled with the SMART active cooling system is supposed to help keep the drive temperatures down. Unfortunately no software I tried could read the SMART temp through the USB controller, however the variable speed fan seemed to do a decent job of cooling as the drive was not hot to touch after removing it from the enclosure.
The other highly touted feature of the VI-ON is the drive suspension system, which incorporates spring-loaded rubber stops and a foam-lined side panel rather than metal screws to hold the drive in place. This certainly simplifies drive installation and does seem to cut down on vibration, although it will become less of an issue as SSD drives increase in capacity and decrease in price.
The Thermaltake VI-ON can be found for under $40 at many online retailers, which puts it well in line with other external storage enclosures. Just add your own 3½" SATA drive in whatever capacity needed for your application.
The Thermaltake VI-ON earns the OCIA.net Seal of Approval.