Dressed in brushed aluminum with stylized perforations, Jetdrive HDD enclosures will instantly catch your eye with their attractive aesthetics while at the same time give you a strong sense of déjà vu. Today, we check out two such aluminum enclosures from Jetdrive – the X9 Pleiades S2 and X9 Pleiades Taurus.
The X9 Pleiades S2 from Jetdrive takes its cue from Apple with its brushed aluminum finish and even its perforations and styling will remind one of Apple's Power Mac G5. The X9 Pleiades S2 is quite the standard no-frills HDD enclosure though, as it lacks some of the more cutting edge RAID and NAS features, though its eSATA support should still give power users adequate flexibility other than the USB 2.0 connection.
The interior of the X9 Pleiades S2 is rather stuffy and with a hard drive mounted, there is little room near the base for the drive to 'breathe'. We wouldn’t recommend using this for extended periods of time, especially when there is no active exhaust built in. The enclosure itself doubles up as its own passive heat dissipation system, but with full sized disk drives, it would probably still get quite hot.
Another grouse we have is the metal base stand which can be a pain to remove – a screw driver is required, making it extremely inconvenient if you're bringing it on a trip. With its plain vanilla features, the X9 Pleiades S2 is slightly pricey at US$61(~S$95). Users will probably be paying for the premium looks of the enclosure plus eSATA functionality than anything else.
The X9 Pleiades Taurus is another enclosure that will seem extremely familiar to those who have been following developments in the HDD enclosure market closely as it is in fact, a clone of the Iomega Triple Interface UltraMax Hard Drive.
Its design, aluminum finish, unit dimensions and even the screws used are identical. However, a closer look does reveal minor variations such as a more elaborate base stand, one lone FireWire connector on the front bezel, but also a fewer choice of ports. Perhaps in a bid to save cost, only two FireWire-800 ports and an USB 2.0 port are found on the X9 Pleiades Taurus, in contrast to Iomega’s offering, which has four USB 2.0 ports, one Firewire-400 port and two Firewire-800 ports.
Opening up the X9 Pleiades Taurus, we were glad to find an exhaust fan for cooling as it would be risky having two hard disks in such close proximity otherwise. Steel is used for the hard drive cage, meaning this enclosure is not entirely aluminum and may rust after a while. However, we felt that this is a minor issue as Jetdrive has cleverly kept the unsightly steel parts out of sight, plus having a stiffer and stronger enclosure isn't a bad thing.
Similar to the older Iomega 640GB Triple Interface UltraMax Hard Drive, the Jetdrive X9 Pleiades Taurus only offers RAID 0 striping and spanning, which is our biggest gripe. If Jetdrive had only included RAID 1 support like the recently updated 1TB Triple Interface UltraMax Hard Drive, it would have been the perfect blend of looks and performance. Nevertheless, it still offers a great amount of value for its RRP of US$106 (~S$165), hard disks and software not included of course.
Despite the relatively unknown Jetdrive brand, we soon took a liking to these enclosures, especially the X9 Pleiades Taurus. Generally well-constructed, aesthetically pleasing and packed with decent I/O options, these Jetdrive HDD enclosures are perfect for those looking for a no-frills deal*. With aesthetics that match Apple’s Power Mac G5 down to its 'cheese grater' front bezel, Apple fans will also be glad to know that these enclosures can fit right in.
*Take note that Jetdrive does not offer any software or bundle with the enclosures.