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Up for review today I’ve got an external hard drive enclosure from patriot Memory called the Gauntlet. This hard drive enclosure is essentially a solid piece of aluminum that will not only protect the drive inside, but will help to keep it cool as well. The Gauntlet features a USB 3.0 connection for fast read and writes, but it also has a backup button on it to allow you to instantly backup your data to the external drive.
Product Name: Gauntlet USB 3.0 Enclosure
Author: Kristofer Brozio
Provider: Patriot Memory
With an elegant all aluminum design and high quality craftsmanship, the Patriot Gauntlet SuperSpeed USB 2.5″ enclosure merges the speed and performance of USB 3.0 technology with portability. Gauntlet works with your 2.5″ SATA I/II HDD or SSD, offers 5Gbps transfer rates and hot swappable plug and play connectivity. Installation of your 2.5″ HDD or SSD is simple and transforms your drive into a high-performance portable storage solution for use with desktop/notebook computers and USB enabled media players. Use Gauntlet to save and transport critical data or to transfer data from an old HDD when upgrading your system. A built-in One Touch Backup (OTB) button provides an easy way to backup data when used with the included data backup software application.
-Maximum transfer rates up to 5Gbps
-Backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1
-Supports all SATA I/II 2.5″ Hard Disk Drives or Solid State Drives up to 9.5mm height
-Hot-swappable Plug & Play connectivity
-LED activity light
-Compliant with Universal Serial Bus 3.0 Specification
-Supports HDD and SSD up to 500GB capacity
-Supports USB Mass Storage Class Bulk-Only Transport, Revision 1.0
-SATA I/II interface
-All Aluminum Design
Like most any review we start with the box shots. The packaging for the Gauntlet is nice looking, it’s a box with a sliding cover over it actually.
Getting everything unpacked you’ll find the enclosure, user manual, software CD, USB 3.0 cable and an extra USB power connection if needed. The USB 3.0 cable has two standard USB connections on the ends, one for the enclosure and one for your computer.
The Gauntlet enclosure itself is very nicely made, it’s solid aluminum making it durable, lightweight and it helps to keep the drive cool.
On the back of the enclosure you’ll see connection for USB 3.0 and power, along with a backup button and and LED that light up blue when powered on and blinks with hard drive activity.
To install a hard drive in the Gauntlet you just just remove two screws and then pop the back off. Inside you’ll find a small PCB board with the SATA connections for power and data there. You just slide the hard drive into place and then re-attach the back piece.
When I put the hard drive into the Gauntlet, it fit very snugly. The drive doesn’t move around, it stays put.
So that’s the Gauntlet itself, but how does it perform? We know it’s USB 3.0 so I expect it will be rather fast, but to take advantage of that speed you’ll need a speedy hard drive. I’m using a Seagate Momentus 7200.4 7200RPM drive with a capacity of 500GB. To really achieve the speeds of the USB 3.0 the optimal choice would be to use an SSD, I don’t have one handy and I think most people won’t be using one with an external enclosure anyway. The idea of an external enclosure for most people is that it would be used with a spare drive they have floating around for some extra storage to take with them, chances are that spare drive isn’t an SSD right?!
I’m also comparing the Gauntlet to some others I have on hand. They are the Seagate Freeagent GoFlex 500GB USB 3.0, Seagate Freeagent Go 500GB USB 2.0, OCZ Enyo 64GB SSD USB 3.0 and a regular external enclosure from a company called Siig. I like the Siig enclosure myself a lot as it’s tool-less, you just pop off the front part, slide the drive in and then replace the front. I should mention that I opened both the GoFlex and the Freeagent Go and found a 5400RPM drive inside of both.
So for testing I’m using three programs, ATTO, Crystal Diskmark and SiSoft Sandra 2011. I ran three tests from SiSoft Sandra, Physical Disks, File Systems and the Removable Storage Benchmark.
First up is ATTO, it’s a common test that is used most places that shows read and write speeds. The results of the tests are ordered faster to slowest, you can click on them for a larger view if you’d like but I have the top speeds listed below.
The results show top speeds of:
Enyo: 142MB/s Write and 257 MB/s Read
Siig: 102MB/s Write and 103 MB/s Read
Gauntlet: 101MB/s Write and 103 MB/s Read
Freeagent GoFlex: 77MB/s Write and 79 MB/s Read
Freeagent Go: 30MB/s Write and 34 MB/s Read
Of course the Enyo is the over the top fast, I knew that going in but included it just as a reference for comparison sake. As expected the USB 2.0 drive is the slowest, and even the USB 3.0 GoFlex is rather slow but I believe that’s because of the 5400RPM drive inside of it. Looking at the Gauntlet we see it’s very close to the Siig, I don’t think anyone would even notice the 1MB/s difference that there is. I would say it performs fairly well overall.
The next test would be Crystal Diskmark, it’s a similar test but goes into a bit more detail.
CrystalDiskMark is a disk benchmark software.
We have pretty much the same results here as with the ATTO test. Not much to say here really.
There’s more, I’ve got three more tests from SiSoft Sandra starting with the Physical Disks test.
Benchmark hard disks (i.e. the disk itself, not the file system).
As the test measures raw performance it is independent on the file system the disk uses and any volumes mounted off the disk.
Drive Score: is a composite figure representing an overall performance rating based on the highest read or write speed across the whole disk. Thus the higher the better.
Access Time: is the average time to read a random sector on the disk, analogous to latency response time. Thus the lower the better.
In this test the Gauntlet performs very well, about the same as the Siig. Really no difference here I would say.
Benchmark mounted file systems (i.e. volumes).
This is not the raw disk performance that other benchmarks test – but the speed of the volume itself that depends on many more factors like file system, operating system cache, position on disk, etc. Thus this is the performance you get at the file system level.
Drive Score: is a composite figure representing an overall performance rating based on the average of the read, write, and seek tests, and file and cache size. It is intended to represent drive performance under typical use in a PC.
No surprises here at all, basically the same results.
Benchmark removable and flash devices
Combined Device Score: is a composite figure representing an overall performance rating based on the average of the Combined Score figures over the four file sizes. (Higher is better, i.e. better performance)
Endurance Factor: is a figure representing the Wear and Life Expectancy of flash devices; this is obtained by dividing the average performance (normal condition, i.e. sequential write) to the lowest performance (high-stress condition, i.e. same block re-write).
It measures the relative improvement of endurance caused by the wear leveling or flash management algorithm; the absolute endurance of a device (i.e. its expected life-time) is directly dependent, in addition to this Endurance Factor, on the nominal manufacturer rating of maximum erase/reprogram cycles, which is typically 100,000+ for SLC and 10,000+ for MLC devices. (Higher is better, i.e. longer life-time for the device)
In this test we see a rather large jump in the difference between the Gauntlet and the Siig where it actually seems to comes close to the Enyo SSD amazingly.
The performance is decent, but that’s not all this drive has going for it. Included as well is a button on the back for virtually instant backups. You’ll need to install the software on your computer to allow the button to do its job though. The software is called PCClone EX Lite and it’s a fairly common program that’s included with many enclosures like these. It’s basic, and it’s easy to use and it gets the job done.
The performance of the Gauntlet is very good indeed. The enclosure itself is well made and it will protect your drive, while the aluminum pulls the heat away to keep it cool.
The speeds are comparable to other USB 3.0 enclosures out there.
Installation is fairly simple, a couple screws and you’re down.
Backups are important and the Gauntlet allows you to quickly do them and protect your data with the help of a little button right on the enclosure.
+Fairly easy installation
+Backup built in
|Scores::||10 out of 10|
|Value / Price:|
Disclosure:This product was given to Review the Tech for review by the company for review purposes only, and is not considered by us as payment for the review, we do not, and never will, accept payment from companies to review their products. This product may have also been bought by us for review purposes and does not influence the review.