Inateck FE2005 2.5" USB 3.0 Drive Enclosure

Back in December 2014, we had a look at Inateck's FE2006 USB 3.0 drive enclosure and later tested the FD1006C SUB 3.0 enclosure. We found that each performed very well and priced very inexpensively for those looking to pop a 2.5" drive in and get some speedy external storage. Today we're looking at the FE2005 model which is very similar to the FE2006 with a few small differences that we'll get into more detail about later. Like the other drives mentioned, it leverages the relatively new USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP) which really allows the interface to reach its full potential. As such, this is nicely suited for SSD drives rather than hard drives which would not be able to generate enough performance to saturate the interface and thus be a bottleneck in performance. Inateck FE2005 For the testing, we'll be using an OCZ Vector 180 2.5" SSD to ensure we have plenty of horsepower to test the throughput of the enclosure. For just $16.99 it can be found from various e-tailers which makes it a very economical way to put a spare drive to good use. For those with an Xbox One or other gaming system that supports external drives, this is a super easy way to add a speedy SSD to the system to improve game load times. Inateck FE2005 Ports The 130mm(L) x 82mm(W) x 14mm(H) enclosure is made of hard plastic that feels rather durable and not cheaply made. No tools are needed to get this working, just slap in a drive, plug it in and away you go. The USB 3.0 cable supplies the power along with being the data conduit so no extra power is needed. On the FE2006 model, there's a 5V input for extra power should it be needed (we never saw a need) and you can see that it isn't present here on the FE2005. The only external features are the USB port, the operation LED and a sliding lock mechanism to ensure the drive remains secure in the enclosure and not slide out inadvertently. The LED has two color modes. It indicates USB 2.0 operation by glowing white and USB 3.0 will glow blue. Both pulse to indicate activity. Inateck FE2005 Open One other difference between this and the FE2006 model is that the end piece slides out slightly and swivels down so you can insert the drive and swivel it back to cap it in. The FE2006 was designed for most of the top of the enclosure to slide off. Neither mechanism really has an advantage over the other but personally I like this design better as the cap is always attached to the enclosure whereas the FE2006 piece comes off completely and is a little more finicky to fit back into the grooves to reattach. Inateck FE2005 Contents The drive comes in a relatively plain cardboard box along with an instruction manual, USB 3.0 cable, and a foam spacer to minimize any play in the drive once enclosed if you are using a 7mm z-height drive. It's not really needed for a thicker 9.5mm drive. Inateck FE2005 Components Taking a look inside the enclosure, we find the brains of the operation being a JMicron JMS567 Super Speed USB 3.0 & SATA III 6.0Gbps Bridge Controller for conversion from SATA III to USB 3.0. As mentioned, it supports UASP which is key critical to performance as it leverages queuing to boost performance. The other notable features on the PCB is a 3.3V converter on the left and a 25 MHz crystal clearly marked on the right. Inateck FE2005 Block Diagram The diagram above shows the simple design for a SATA III to USB 2.0/3.0 controller. Dual PHYs handle connectivity USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 separately and are buffered by some SRAM which also separates it from the SATA III PHY.

Test System & Comparison Drives

We are currently using a Z97 based motherboard with the ASUS Z97-A motherboard for us to use for our testing. All tests were performed on a fresh and up-to-date install of Windows 8.1 Pro x64 with no other applications running with UASP enabled. Synthetic Benchmarks were run with the OS loaded on a Seagate 600 240GB SSD. In between every test, the test drive was secure erased using an instance of Parted Magic. As such, all results should be indicative of optimal performance. Power saving modes, sleep and hibernation are all disabled and all components were set to their default/optimized speeds in the BIOS (1304) and are listed below.

Z97 Test Bench

Legit Reviews Z97 Bench

Intel LGA 1150 Test Platform
Component Brand/Model Live Pricing

Processor

Intel Pentium G3258

Motherboard

ASUS Z97-A (BIOS v.1204)

Memory

Kingston HyperX KHX16C9B1RK28 8GB

OS Drive

Seagate 600 240GB SSD

Power Supply

Antec Basiq BP550W Plus-EC

Operating System

Windows 8.1 Pro 64-Bit
Inateck FE2005 LED As mentioned, when operational the white/blue LED located near the lock switch will illuminate and pulse with I/O activity. It blinks three times prior to entering a sleep state when there's data access inactivity for 10 minutes, at which point the enclosure will to go to sleep automatically. Inateck FE2005 - USB 3.1 Boost In order to get peak performance, you must ensure UASP is supported to allow for the boosted performance. We validated using the ASUS tool in AI Suite 3 where the drive appeared as Inateck FE2005 SCSI Disk Device so from here, you can't really ascertain which disk is inside the enclosure.

ATTO & CrystalDiskMark Synthetic Benchmarks.

ATTO v2.47

ATTO is one of the oldest drive benchmarks still being used today and is still very relevant in the SSD world. ATTO measures transfers across a specific volume length. It measures raw transfer rates for both reads and writes and places the data into graphs that can be very easily interpreted. The test was run with the default runs of 0.5KB through 8192KB transfer sizes with the total length being 256MB.

ATTO - Intel Z97 Platform:

OCZ Vector 180 480GB ATTO ATTO USB 3.0 Inateck FE2005 Benchmark Results: We didn't get quite the same performance out of the OCZ Vector 180 SSD via the Inateck dock across the USB interface as we did with a direct SATA III interface but the numbers aren't too far off and certainly faster than you'll get from any hard drive from any interface.

CrystalDiskInfo 6.2.1 Readout:

CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) for the last listed benchmark score. This can skew some results in favor of controllers that also do not support NCQ.

CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3 x64 - Intel Z97 Platform

OCZ Vector 180 480GB CrystalDiskMark CrystalDiskMark USB 3.0 Inateck FE2005 Benchmark Results: Again, not quite the same performance on USB as SATA III especially in QD32 4K performance where the performance gap was tremendous. However, only enterprise type (i.e. server) applications hit this queue depth and other.

Final Thoughts & Conclusions

The Inateck FE2005 USB 3.0 2.5" drive enclosure is super easy to use and can be found at a very reasonable price of $16.99 on the web and is really geared toward using SSD drives with the speedy interface. It's very easy to set up with the drive sliding right in and being plug and play. Probably the most complicated part is ensuring that UASP is enabled and working to maximize performance. The hard plastic design makes it durable, though not indestructible, but it shouldn't have any issues handling the day to day rigors of an external drive. Inateck FE2005 With the JMicron JMS567 chip inside, the same that we saw with the FE2006 enclosure, we expected performance to be a bit better than we saw. Our OCZ Vector 180 drive connected to a SATA III port hit nearly 500MB/s reads and almost 520MB/s writes. While in the enclosure connected to USB 3.0, we saw reads topping out just below 400MB/s and writes getting near 450MB/s. We'd expect to see both reads and writes performing at around the 450MB/s level which we did see with the FE2006 model. We tried using a different SSD, cable, updating BIOS, and even tried running on a different system but all came back with similar results. We did validate that the FE20006 still performed at peak levels on the test bench so we ruled out any issues with our setup. Inateck did state that "results may vary on the PCBA that (a) different manufacturer designed" so it may be that this is the extent of performance we can expect out of this very enclosure but others may perform closer to expectations. Certainly not a deal breaker as performance is still very good and there are a number of other enclosures out there that don't match this performance though competition is growing. Inateck FE2005 All in all, if I were to purchase the Inateck FE2005 2.5" USB 3.0 External Drive Enclosure on my own dime, I'd still be pleased with its performance - especially given the low price. It's very versatile and makes it easy to swap drives in and out in seconds. I was even able to hook it right up to an Xbox One and use it as an external drive with no problem where it definitely sped up load times even though UASP is not being employed (for now, at least). On that note, I definitely recommend using an SSD with this enclosure to get the most out of it. HDDs can also be dicey as an external drive as they are much more sensitive to physical shock due to the fragile moving parts within. With SSD prices ever dropping, anyone can easily spend about $100 between the enclosure and a 240GB SSD and have a very fast external drive.

Legit Bottom Line: For external storage enclosure that uses a speedy USB 3.0 interface while leveraging UASP and priced at a level that anyone can afford, Inateck has a very solid solution with their FE2005 model enclosure.