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TekGems 2.5 USB Box

Portable storage is a great idea, however with all the competing ideas on how to manage portable storage can be overwhelming. I love the idea of portable hard drive storage, however most external storage devices need external power and are bulky, heavy and cumbersome to lug around in our over stuffed “Travel Bags.” Today we look at an external 2.5” USB2 Drive Enclosure. Thanks to Tekgems for sponsoring this review.

Tekgems Box

Features:

Complies With USB2
Supports 480 Mbit/s “High Speed” (HS) / 12Mbit/s “Full Speed” (FS)
Can be used with 2.5 Inch IDE Drives (14mm Max thickness)
Support for Win98SE/ME/2000/XP and MAC OS 8.6 or higher
Hot-Swappable, Plug and Play
Bus Power or Self Power Design
Complies with ATA/ATAPI-6 Specification Rev 1.0 (PIO Mode 0~4, DMA Mode0~2, and UDMA Mode 0~5)
Supports 16-bit multiword DMA mode and Ultra DMA mode interface (Ultra 33/66/100)
No Max Hard Drive RPM
Case Dimensions: 130X79X20MM (LxWxH)
Easy to Open Design

Tekgems Stuff

Included Hardware:

Vinyl Carrying Case
USB Cable (A to B)
User Manual
CD-Rom Driver
PS/2 Power Tap Cable

As you can see below the size of the drive is very compact and as such is very portable. I purchased a padded portable CD player bag to use for protecting the enclosure while in transport. I have found it a great tool for storing all my software installations and updates.

Tekgems Size

The back of the drive has the optional AC Power / PS2 power plug, and LED and the USB plug. The LED has 2 colors Red for power and Green for when the drive is being accessed. I would have liked the LED on the front of the box but the enclosure does have an LED.

Tekgems LED

Installation:

Installation was quick and I liked the easy access to the enclosed drive. Thus changing the hard drive out for a different model is a snap. As shown below there are 2 screws that screw into the bottom of the drive and through the vinyl carrying case. The screws are then covered up with the rubber padded feet, which I never used. The 44 pins on the 2.5” hard drive are what hold the other end of the drive as well as 2 large rubber pads that stick to the top of the enclosure.

Tekgems Insides

As we all know, extra cables always seem to get lost in the “extra cable drawer”. This drive is bus powered and those “extra cables” are not required. The max power a USB port will provide is 500mA. Most 2.5” hard drives below 20 gig meet this requirement. I did find many drives that were very close to the power requirement spec, coming in at 550mA. I also noticed that the newer drives were smaller and required less power.

Tekgems Insides

In this picture you can see the first drive I tested, an IBM Travelstar 6 Gig drive. I also tested 5 other drives, including a 10 Gig Travelstar, 12 Gig Travelstar, 20 Gig, 40 Gig, and 60 Gig drives. The larger capacity drives were manufactured in 2003 and seemed to be smaller in height and consumed less power.

Since I was testing, I wanted to see if I really needed to use the included PS2 power connector on the drives that required more power than the max power supplied by the USB Bus. The 60 Gig drive required 550mA. When I hooked up the drive, I did not hear the drive spin up. I immediately thought I had damaged my USB sub-system, but I then I saw the system tray showing the newly found hardware and I knew it was ok. I do not suggest you run any electronics over the suggested power rating, but it did work and I was able to move around 25 Gig of data over the USB2 connection.

Tekgems Drive

I was annoyed with a couple of issues. There is no on/off switch. And I certainly do not like shutting down my computer to remove the PS2 power connector. And finally, the instruction sheet contained no information on where I could purchase a 5V power adapter.

Most reviews have some sort of benchmarks that test the equipment; however I have not included any since these would vary widely with the different drives this unit is compatible with and as such aren't particularly useful. At this time Tekgems is currently sold out of this product however they do have many other similar devices to the one reviewed here.

Conclusion:

Overall, I really liked this drive enclosure. My only issues being power related, I feel this drive enclosure is a great deal and very useful. I have begun using it as a replacement to my USB Powered Zip250 drive. It is smaller than a zip drive and its capacity is much larger.

Pros:

  • Small footprint
  • USB2 enabled
  • Bus powered
  • Easy open

Cons:

  • IDE LED on the back
  • No On/Off switch

Added: March 3rd 2004
Reviewer: KingKash
Score: 9  
Hits: 7791
Language: english

  

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