I really liked the Sabrent USB 3.0 external enclosure. Simply insert a 2.5″ SATA drive, screw it together, and plug it in any USB port. Presto! You have recycled a SATA drive into a portable USB drive!
The Sabrent cases have worked well for me, but I wanted to try a different brand to see if it made any difference in data transfer rates.
After running some benchmarks, it turns out that there is definitely a difference in speed between the two enclosures.
Here are my results with CrystalDiskMark and Disks in Linux Mint 17.3.
The Weme Enclosure
The Weme (however that is pronounced, Weem? WE-may? we-MAY, WEI-mei? WEE-MEE? WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-me?) is a plastic external USB 3.0 enclosure. Model MST-007 ships in a plain brown box and includes a short USB cable.
The Weme is slightly larger than the metal Sabrent USB 3.0 case.
Assembly is incredibly easy. The top slides off. Slide the SATA drive in, and then slide the top back on. That’s it. No screws or other assembly required.
It the Weme Compatible with Linux?
Yes. Even though Linux s not mentioned (that I could find), this is nothing more than a SATA-to-USB adapter. Linux detects and uses it automatically.
How Does It Perform?
At first, you would think that a USB 3.0 enclosure would mean that it would reach USB 3.0 speeds no matter the maker. Not so. If you use a 2.5″ 5400 RPM mechanical drive in a USB 3.0 adapter, you will see the same read and write speeds no matter the enclosure because the USB 3.0 interface far exceeds the throughput of a spinning drive. The real test is with a solid state drive (SSD).
To ensure that the hard drive used inside the case would not be the limiting factor, I used a spare Samsung 840 SSD. This reliable little toy produces 500+ sequential read speeds, but the writes are far lower (~130MB/s).
Using this drive in both the Weme and Sabrent cases (one at a time) connected to a USB 3.0 motherboard in Linux Mint 17.3 and Windows 7, would there be any difference in throughput?
Yes, there is a difference. Which is faster?
I connected the Samsung 840 SSD directly to a SATA 6Gbps port for both operating systems and then compared the USB 3.0 results with that. Let’s start with the CrystalDiskMark benchmark in Windows 7.
Let’s try a mechanical drive using a Seagate Momentus 5400.6.
Gnome Disks Utility (Disks)
Moving to Linux Mint 17.3, I tried an equivalent test with the Disks benchmark. The Samsung 840 SSD was used for all tests.
SATA 6Gbps Motherboard
Weme External USB 3.0 + Samsung 840
Sabrent External USB 3.0 + Samsung 840
The Weme is definitely faster than the Sabrent (~420+ MB/s reads vs. ~280 MB/s reads).
This result was consistent across operating systems and tests. Apparently, not all USB 3.0 external enclosures are created equally–even though I only tested two. At least these two are not created equally.
If you want high read speeds, then the Weme is faster than the Sabrent, and you will be able to take advantage of your external SSD’s potential. However, if you want a slimmer, sleeker, prettier USB enclosure, then the Sabrent wins, but its USB 3.0 performance is lower.
If you are using a mechanical 5400 RPM drive, then it does not matter. Both the Weme and the Sabrent will offer the same performance due to limits with fragile, tender, delicate spinning hard drives.
Once again, my assumptions about USB 3.0 interfaces are dashed. USB 3.0 is USB 3.0, right? Apparently, not. USB 3.0 performance is not the same for every gadget, and there is a difference between manufacturers and USB 3.0 interfaces as shown here.
Regardless, both performed reliably without any sudden disconnections, and external enclosures are useful to have around. Just know the limits of the drive you wish to use, and choose the appropriate case.