Enermax Jazz

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Enermax Jazz

For a device called the Jazz, Enermax’s newest USB and eSATA external 3.5” hard drive enclosure isn’t much of an improvisation in the ho-hum world of storage containers. In fact, we can only think of one major differences that set this device apart from most every other enclosure we’ve tested: you can see through it.

The non-descript enclosure eschews fancy lights and colors, opting instead for an all-black mesh grill wraparound. It’s an interesting look with a hidden agenda. The holey exterior does double duty--it looks great, and it lets air move around the drive without requiring a noisy fan. But what you gain in aesthetics (and air circulation), you lose in anxiety: spill anything near this guy and you’re screwed. We can’t help but think that this open container, as it were, is also a prime magnet for dust, dirt, and debris – any number of things we wouldn’t want near our shiny new hard drive.

We’ll give Enermax the benefit of the doubt for trying to do something fresh and unique. For all the design-work, we were surprised to find that the Jazz enclosure is rather simplistic when it comes to actually installing your drive. Mounting the drive is as easy as sliding the top of the Jazz backwards a little bit, popping it off, slapping a drive in (making sure it aligns with little retention pegs), and attaching the driveto the combined SATA power and data connector. Easy as pie.

We had a wee bit of trouble getting the top of the enclosure to actually slide back over the drive. As it turns out, we didn't fit the drive squarely on said lower retention pegs. We made this minor adjustment and were met with success: the enclosure closed perfectly. We flicked the locking mechanism with our thumb, set the enclosure in the provided stand, and flipped the little guy on for benchmark testing. All in all, you could hold your breath and change the drive, secure in the fact that you'd be able to complete your task well before you pass out. It's that easy.

Speed-wise, the Jazz enclosure does nothing to boost or hinder drive performance at all. It's the same speed as the same drive in an internal configuration. It’s an unsurprising note, given that all straight-up enclosures we test tend to perform the same way. For the most part, the big band of external enclosures is all about looks, connections, and installations. And the Jazz hits every note of its solid, but mildly unintersting, solo.

A NIGHT IN TUNISIA

Sophisticated look, doesn't hinder transfer speeds, sturdy mounting mechanism.

MELODY LOUNGE

Hard to close, nondescript front, only two of three possible connection options.

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BENCHMARKS
  USB eSATA SATA*
Burst Speed
37.6 MB/s
126.3 MB/s
134.0 MB/s
Random Access
8.6 ms
8.1ms 8.0 ms
CPU Usage
2% 2% 1%
Average Read
36.7 MB/s
75.5 MB/s
75.7 MB/s
All benchmarks recorded using HDTach 3.0.4.0. A 150GB Western Digital Raptor drive was used for all testing. SATA measurements reflect the drive's basic, out-of-enclosure connection to the motherboard.
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