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StarTech UNI3510U2EB external hard drive enclosure
StarTech InfoSafe UNI3510U2EB is an eSATA/USB to SATA/IDE external hard drive enclosure
Rear view of enclosure. The top cable is plugged into the USB 2.0 port. The open port is the eSATA. We absolutely love the quick-release latch shown at the top of the rear. Push it up and the case opens easy. No screws with which to fumble.

Review and evaluation of StarTech Infosafe eSATA/USB to SATA/IDE hard drive enclosure

by Dillon Flynn

The Case for Going External

The StarTech InfoSafe UNI3510U2EB is an eSATA/USB to SATA/IDE external hard drive enclosure. Here are a few of the reasons why this enclosure may be a perfect fit for your data storage needs:
• The enclosure is designed to handle massive, state-of-the-art hard drives of up to 2 Terabytes (TB) in size.
• Buying a bare hard drive and installing into an external enclosure works every bit as well as a pre-packaged, branded external hard drive. You will just save a lot of money.
• Once a hard drive is installed into an external case, it is fully portable. This comes in handy when you need the data on-the-go for presentations, data transfer, tech support, and more.
• The InfoSafe features compatibility with two different hard drive interfaces (SATA and IDE/ATA), giving you twice the convenience of an enclosure with just one interface.
• When upgrading your computer with a new internal hard disk, you can slip the old disk drive into an external case, adding to your PC's or laptop's existing storage space.

Function

The InfoSafe UNI3510U2EB enclosure offers dual compatibility with hard drives that feature either Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) or Serial ATA (SATA) interfaces, a helpful and uncommon attribute for external enclosures. IDE and SATA are both interfaces by which the disc drive of a computer communicates with its motherboard. SATA is the most up-to-date system, capable of transferring information at around 3 MB/sec versus IDE's 1 MB/sec. For consumers looking to switch between hard drives that use both interfaces, this enclosure serves two functions for the price of one.

Additionally, SATA is still a new technology, and most computers manufactured more than two years ago use an IDE interface.  Today’s hard drives offer as much as 2 TB of space on a single disc, but home computer users running an IDE-enabled system who are seeking to upgrade their disc space to anything exceeding 750 MB must do so using a SATA Interface or they run the risk of damaging their system.  Rather than forcing consumers to dump thousands of dollars into purchasing an entirely new system, the UNI3510U2EB lets the computer run the hard drive with a SATA interface externally.  And of course, the dual compatibility means that this enclosure also works with systems that are already running SATA the same way that any hard drive enclosure normally would.

StarTech InfoSafe UNI3510U2EB is an eSATA/USB to SATA/IDE external hard drive enclosure
Front view of the enclosure with nice, glowing green LED power light and switch.

We installed a 3.5” 2 TB hard drive from Western Digital into our StarTech enclosure.  The unit also supports many other brands of hard drives, including Seagate, IBM and Hitachi.  We installed the hard drive simply by snapping into the enclosure; no screws or tools necessary.  Once the installation was complete, we tested the UNI3510U2EB on a 2006, Sony VAIO FE series laptop running Windows Vista.  The enclosure is also compatible with Windows 2000/XP and Macintosh OSX.  The InfoSafe did not feature compatibility with our VAIO’s FireWire port, but it connected to our computer through the USB 2.0 dock without any hiccups.  The unit will also run seamlessly through an eSATA port (which our VAIO does not feature).  The enclosure ran quietly other than the light whir of the fan, and our laptop had no problems recognizing the new hard drive instantly.  In a few minutes, we had increased our laptop’s formerly 100 GB hard disc space twenty-fold with no noticeable changes in the computer’s speed or performance.

Next to the unit’s on/off button is a “one touch backup” button, which can be programmed to perform automatic backup in a single step.  After configuring the feature, the often-tedious process of backing up files became a breeze.  We simply highlighted the file or folder that we wanted to backup, pushed the button, and an image of the file was created on our hard drive with no additional steps necessary.  This setting was quick to configure and saved us a lot of time when backing up specific files in cluttered folders.

Design

Measuring 2" x 8.3" x 5.5" and weighing a little less than two pounds, the UNI3510U2EB is extremely compact and perfect for travel. The front display includes a bright green LED to let you know that the unit is running. The on/off button and backup button are large and easy to operate. The left face of the enclosure contains a self-operating cooling fan to avoid overheating your hard drive, an especially important feature when running hard drives exceeding 750MB in space. The fan works efficiently, and after hours of operation, our enclosure remained cool to the touch. The casing of the UNI351OU2EB is a smooth, black aluminum, which helps to protect your installed hard drive against damage from falls or other accidents. Its design is visually pleasing overall, for its smooth and curved edges and compact size. We were also impressed with the model's snap-in installation. Not having to deal with any screws was a relief, and the hard drive that we used fit snugly and securely into the enclosure after installation.

StarTech InfoSafe UNI3510U2EB is an eSATA/USB to SATA/IDE external hard drive enclosure
Top view of the inside of the case.

StarTech InfoSafe UNI3510U2EB is an eSATA/USB to SATA/IDE external hard drive enclosure
Front view of the rails that snap to hold the hard drive in place.

StarTech InfoSafe UNI3510U2EB is an eSATA/USB to SATA/IDE external hard drive enclosure
Side view of the rails that snap to hold the hard drive in place.

Overall

The StarTech UNI3510U2EB eSATA/USB to SATA/IDE External Hard Drive Enclosure accomplishes everything that it sets out to do. The dual compatibility between SATA and IDE is great when swapping out hard drives of different interfaces. People in the IT industry would likely find it particularly useful for tech support purposes. It is a wonder that more producers have not made this feature a standard for external enclosures. Using our InfoSafe, for a fraction of the cost of a new machine, we made a three-year old computer into a state of the art digital storage center in just a few minutes with a technophobe-accessible installation that was literally a "snap." All of this when partnered with the one touch backup button made this enclosure not only highly practical but also particularly user-friendly. We highly recommend the UNI351OU2EB to any consumer looking for an affordable and reliable external option for their hard drive.

MPN: UNI3510U2EB. UPC: 065030833219

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