Thermaltake BlacX

Author
Aron Schatz
Posted
August 26, 2008
Views
30190
Thermaltake BlacX
Data backup and storage have come a long way since the use of floppy disk to house that precious data. Today we can use the hard drive as the removable storage thanks to products like the BlacX.

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Page 1
Intro:

External hard drive storage is the technology that people are using to keep their data backed up in multiple locations in the current era of technology. There are good products and bad ones just the same but not all enclosures promise the same thing. The Thermaltake BlacX was probably the first unit to take a hard drive and turn it into the removable storage. Now you can easily keep multiple physical backups with ease using this product. Pretty interesting.

Box:

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The BlacX box is black with the standard Thermaltake red and orange accents. It makes sense to use a black colored product for this product. I still don't know why they called it the BlacX, but it's pretty catchy.

Parts:

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The box includes the BlacX unit itself along with the AC adapter, USB cable (A to B) and a manual. The product is basically plug in and use for any operating system.

One part that annoyed me was the AC adapter. The cable is too short. It's probably around 5 feet or so and that wasn't long enough for me to position it on my desk (with the power strip on the floor) in a good spot. It's bad when you have a good product and a detail like that goes by.

BlacX:

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The unit itself reminds me of an 8-track tape deck in that you insert a hard drive and it sticks out of the unit... Mind you, I've never used an 8-track, but I've seen them. The front of the unit contains the various logos and the front top contains the eject lever for releasing the hard drive once it is locked in place. The unit is pretty tiny and can fit nicely in tight spaces. This particular unit is USB2 only but I see that they make an eSATA unit as well.

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The back of the unit is pretty simple with the standard connections. The power button is on the left and it is a normal pop type power switch. I have no qualms over the USB cable length as the computer is usually pretty close to any of the peripherals I'm using.

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Aside from the release button in the front, the top contains the status indicator LEDs on the right. There are two in that ring. A blue one for power and a red one for activity. The top on the unit is slotted like that for a good reason. The BlacX can accept both 2.5" and 3.5" hard drives. This makes the unit extremely handy in technical services departments that need to quickly access data off of hard drives.

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The unit is made in China and that's all I'll say. Maybe we'll start manufacturing goods in the future once again. Other than that, the bottom contains the rubber feet to keep the unit in place.
Page 2
Testing:



As past reviews have shown, USB2 enclosures all tap out at the same throughput as long as the drive supplying the data is fast enough. Not surprisingly, the BlacX saturated the USB2 data bus and provided as much data through it as it could. If you buy a USB2 external hard drive enclosure, prepare to be limited by the throughput of USB2. Once USB3 comes out, this should change. This is one of the reasons that eSATA has been coming out in force. There is a newer model of the BlacX that includes eSATA support (for a higher price) so plan on picking that one up if you are in need of a high rate of data transfer.

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The unit is hot swappable. You don't need to turn the power off on the unit to remove it even though you probably will to feel safer. The serial ATA specification has built in hot swap functionality (you can thank the connections for that).

The Concept:

The BlacX brings something fairly unique to the computer world that I haven't seen before. You can now use a hard drive as a removable physical medium to store data. Hard drives are VERY cheap for the data size they offer. Move over Blu-ray, this is how people will start storing data for backup purposes and it is already happening. Optical disk technology cannot keep up with hard drive space and products like this make backing up very simple. You can keep multiple independent backups on different hard drives for extra redundancy. The concept is great and tape libraries should be a thing of the past with technologies like this.

Conclusion:

The Thermaltake BlacX is hovering around the $40 mark as shown below. The price is good for a rather unique product and one that allows easy backing up of a load of data. The point of this unit is to get people in the habit of really taking care of their data. Invest in this unit and get some anti-static bags for your removable hard drives. You can swap them in and out to rotate backups. Hard drives are the new tape storage!

Since this unit doesn't have eSATA, you might be thinking of just buying the one with eSATA. I agree with you, but this unit is less expensive and some people don't have that much data to transfer. Many computers don't even have any eSATA ports so you might be out of luck on that end, but this unit has you covered. It's a good concept and the unit performs as expected. Thermaltake made a winner with this one.



I'd like to thank Ramsom at Thermaltake for making this review possible.
members/attachments/upload/2008/08/26/2782m.jpg box.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/08/26/2783m.jpg parts.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/08/26/2784m.jpg unitiso.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/08/26/2785m.jpg back.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/08/26/2786m.jpg top.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/08/26/2787m.jpg bottom.jpg members/attachments/upload/2008/08/26/2788m.jpg on.jpg

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