What's small, fast, aluminum, and has a tonne of space and cheap? This does. If you were going to get a 640GB USB 2.0 hard drive, you are looking at $113. I grabbed one of these and with my Hitachi SATA 3GBps 640GB drive lying around, got me a 640GB USB 3.0 drive for $34.

Design


The enclosure itself rocks a sleek totally black design, although I dislike the fact that the text is silkscreened on, rather than just stickers, so you can't remove them.
[quote=Vantec]Attractive Blue LED Indicates Power & HDD Activity[/quote]
Now, Vantec and I, have 2 completely different meanings of attractive, because that LED is BRIGHT! Which makes it kinda unattractive, and unless the drive is active, the LED is running at full brightness. I personally would have had it dim when on, and full brightness when active.

Build


It has reasonably good build quality, with an extruded Aluminum case with 2 plastic end caps [One has the USB port in it]. The only downside, is that the Aluminum case is bowed on one side, and the 2 plastic end caps aren't flush, or fit snugly.

The fact that they include the only tool you need, a screwdriver. Is a perfect touch.

Thermal Performance


Since Vantec's full name is "Vantec Thermal Technologies" you would think a lot of attention went into it's thermal performance, and you would be surprised to see that that isn't really the case. Hard drives under high load generate a lot of heat. Which is why my Western Digital 3TB USB3.0 Hard Drive has grills on the top and bottom of the case, so the hard drive within can have as much surface area exposed to the outside air to cool it. While the bottom of the hard drive has all of it's surface contacting the sled, the top and sides of the drive doesn't have any contact with the case, which means the drive has most of it's heat being trapped inside, since that air gap acts as an insulator. And the part that does have contact with the sled is on the bottom of the enclosure which means the heat that is transferred from the drive, is only transferred to the exterior, through the side that is in direct contact with the surface. Which means the drive can get very toasty.

I would love to give nice pretty pictures, but I don't have a FLIR camera, or $54,800 to put down on one.

The icing on the cake is that there is no stand, to get the best thermal performance this drive should be standing on it's side, raised above the surface, which will expose the most surface area of the aluminum case to the air. Mind you, if you had a Makerbot, you could make one by yourself.

Ease of use


Drop a drive in it, format the drive, and boom you are in business.

How does it perform?


Well it's speed on USB3.0:

Compared to my Western Digital 3TB USB3.0 Hard Drive:


Its performance isn't that bad @ 95.2MBps which seems to be the maximum that the enclosure can give. It looks bad due to the same reason I swapped that drive with a Western Digital 750GB hard drive is that over the width of the drive, it's performance halves.

But, if you're like me and have a poorly built USB2.0 Hub which has no power regulation at all, you can use it on a USB2.0 port. Don't know why you would want to, it's performance is shit.
If I had to give this an subjective score I would give it a 9 of 10.
Surprisingly given it's price point, this drive is amazing, with only minor niggles.
The fact the only thing you need is a Hard Drive, is amazing. All the tools are included!

It is an amazing enclosure, and you should get it.