The Astone ISO Gear 481U3 external enclosure for a 3.5" disk with a USB 3.0 connection is the replacement for the USB 2.0 based Astone ISO Gear 481E.
- Mains power supply
- USB 3 cable 0.9 metres (3 feet)
- The plastic frame with the electronics on board
- Two metal covers with air filter cloths inside
- Bag of bolts
- User manual
There are four plastic bags in the box. One bag is resealable for reuse and one is marked for recycling. They need to change the other two bags to recyclable. There are two foam end pads that could be replaced with recyclable cardboard. The plastic carry handle is marked for recycling. All the other packaging is recyclable paper or cardboard.
You do not expect spare parts in this type of kit. I found one spare disk mount bolt and two spare case cover bolts. Neat.
You need the standard Philips head screwdriver for the four disk mount bolts and a small Philips head screwdriver for the eight case bolts.
The manual tells you some rubbish about the minimum systems requirements and they include some operating systems that do not have USB support plus some that do not have USB 3 support. Their minimum processor speed is fast enough to make full use of USB 2 but not fast enough to make full use of USB 3.
The installation instructions are wrong. First they tell you to remove the screws but the screws (bolts) are not inserted and are in a plastic bag. They tell you to
tighten up four screws from the bezel and mean the disk mount screws but show a photograph of the case cover bolt insertion.
The rest of the instructions are about the the first steps for use in various operating systems. I am using a new disk and the disk will need formatting. I have to decide if I will format the disk as NTFS for sharing between Windows and Linux or as Ext4 for exclusive use in Linux.
I ran a benchmark using a Samsung 2 TeraByte HD204UI running at 5400 RPM for quiet low power operation, the type that best fits an external case. The disk performed faster in a USB 3.0 case than in a USB 2.0 case. There was not much difference for large files. The big difference was copying little files, a situation where the overheads of USB waste a lot of time.
There are more details on the disk at Samsung 2 TB HD204UI quiet low power disk for mass storage.
I also ran a benchmark using a faster disk, a 7200 RPM disk, and USB 3.0 made a huge difference for all disk operations.
The Astone is less expensive than all the name brand equivalents. There is some generic stuff of unknown quality selling at about the same price as the Astone.