We have 300 words to tell you about the wonders of SilverStone’s DS351 external hard drive enclosure, but we need just four syllables: me-di-o-cre. It’s not that the enclosure is overwhelmingly slow, broken, or impossible to manage, but the device dips its toe enough into each of each these categories to make for a less than stellar experience.
First, there’s the installation. The DS351 comes with a drive bay of sorts that you have to separate and remove from the unit before you can fill it with storage devices. Up to four drives go in the bay; the fifth drive attaches directly to the enclosure. Removing the bay requires the use of a long-necked screwdriver. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but once you’ve run through your house and realized that all you have are smaller, stouter screwdrivers, you’re hosed. Seriously, SilverStone—there are better ways to hold hard drives.
Firing up a RAID array is easy once the drives are in place. The included software is straightforward, and you don’t even have to muck around in Windows’s drive-management screens or initialize any drives. You pick your RAID, apply the change, and that’s it—done and done.
The performance of said RAID, however, leaves something to be desired. When we connected a single Western Digital Raptor drive to the DS351, we found that the enclosure’s speeds matched the performance of the same Raptor drive connected directly to the motherboard via SATA. Two Raptor drives in a RAID 0 array on the DS351 ended up being faster than a single drive but didn’t offer the absurd jumps in speeds we’re used to seeing in these comparisons—perfectly evidenced in the DS351’s poor RAID 1 performance.
Like a baloney sandwich, the DS351 will get you by, but it won’t be all that tasty—we’ve devoured far better enclosures.