Inateck FE2006 hard drive enclosure review

Inateck FE2006

Inateck of Germany supplies a range of useful empty enclosures for holding your choice of SSD or laptop hard disk. Five of the six available are billed as tool-free, including this latest FE2006 model. The product's official name may not tell you much but it's a lot easier to say than Inateck's other description of Intelligent USB 3.0 Enclosure with UASP and Automatic Sleep Mode. (See all storage reviews.)

The FE2006 is lightweight plastic shell comprising two pieces – a tray that supports any SATA drive of 7 or 9.5 mm height, and a detachable cover that secures the drive in place. The top simply slides on moulded rails before snapping closed to make a neat, integrated pocket drive measuring 130 x 82 mm, and 14 mm thick. See our group test: What's the best SSD?

The empty enclosure weighs just 63 g, and if you add a lightweight SSD as we did to test it – here a Samsung 840 EVO itself weighing onlu 52 g – then the result can be something almost too insubstantial. There are no rubber feet so the complete enclosure is also liable to slide around the desk.

Get past the plasticky semi-matt ABS finish and you may find one of the best performing USB 3.0 drive solutions currently available.

Note that Inateck does not support Windows 7 with this enclosure, so while the drive will operate, it will only do so without the benefit of UASP mode. The UnAttached SCSI Protocol is required to unlock speeds above 300 MB/s and native command queueing (NCQ), which greatly increases small-file throughput speed. See also: best portable hard drives 2015 UK.

Inateck FE2006 review: Performance

In our tests with the Samsung SSD inside, using CrystalDiskMark 3.0 as benchmark software, we saw sequential read speeds up 413 MB/s. That puts this enclosure and SSD combination in good company, if a little short of the best USB 3.0 storage we've tested, such as the Axtremax Micro SSD and Samsung T1, which got closer to 440 MB/s.

Where the Inateck FE2006 pulled ahead was in its sequential write performance. The fastest we've seen to date has been just short of 400 MB/s, at around 395 MB/s. Tested on an Asus laptop with Windows 8.1, the FE2006 with its Samsung SSD delivered 424 MB/s.

Small random reads and writes were relatively quick too, at 67 and 53 MB/s respectively, although these figures are only a guide to show that UASP was working, as the internal SSD or HDD will ultimately decide final results.

Tested in Mac OS X, the FE2006 and Samsung 840 combination set a new record for write performance – 427 MB/s sequential writes, averaged with data from 20 MB to 100 MB.

Sequential reads were very good at 431 MB/s. And taking the average of small files (4 kB to 1024 kB), random reads were 192 MB/s and random writes 201 MB/s. See also: best portable hard drives 2015 UK.

Inateck FE2006

Inateck FE2006: Specs

  • Empty enclosure for 2.5-inch SATA SSD or HDD
  • accepts drives 7 mm or 9.5 mm
  • USB 3.0 with UASP
  • JMicron JMS567 chipset
  • USB 3.0 cable
  • 130 x 82 x 14.0 mm
  • 63 g without drive
  • Empty enclosure for 2.5-inch SATA SSD or HDD
  • accepts drives 7 mm or 9.5 mm
  • USB 3.0 with UASP
  • JMicron JMS567 chipset
  • USB 3.0 cable
  • 130 x 82 x 14.0 mm
  • 63 g without drive

OUR VERDICT

Your choice of drive will dictate final performance, but in our tests this enclosure gave the fastest write speed of any USB 3.0 drive we've tested. The FE2006 is a simple, no-nonsense way to house a loose laptop disk or SSD, and at the affordable price of £15.99 it comes highly recommended.