Cooler Master X Craft 350 eSATA Enclosure Review

Features

The X Craft 350 comes in three versions – a USB 2.0, Firewire 400 and an eSATA version (the latter two include USB 2.0 for use with computers that do not have a Firewire/eSATA port). It also includes a 2 port USB 2.0 hub (one can never have enough USB ports within arm’s reach) and a honeycomb-design cooling mechanism.

Among the more unique features are the one-push backup feature (provided you install the associated software) and a completely tool-free installation, which I’ll describe later. The one-push backup only works with the USB connection, which is a bit of the downer, considering a big feature of the enclosure is the eSATA capability. The backup utility only enables when it detects an ‘Initio’ (the chipset I presume) drive, which is completely bypassed when using eSATA.

Push and Go Backup Software

The 2 port USB 2.0 hub also only works when the enclosure is connected through USB. This may seem logical since the USB chipset on board isn’t being used when in eSATA mode, but is still disappointing as the enclosure will be used with eSATA for most of the time. On the other hand, I will be connecting it to my laptop through USB and USB ports are typically more scarce on a laptop than with a desktop.

Installation

Cooler Master touts the tool-free install of the X Craft 350. In practice, the system actually works pretty well and should make for painless swapping of hard drives. To open the casing, just push in the lock button and slide back. Once fully slid open, just remove the top of the casing. Instead of screwing in the hard drive, the X Craft features 4 spring-loaded pegs that you line up with the mounting holes and rest your hard drive on. I presume these springy pegs serve to 1) absorb some vibration and 2) force the drive up against the thermal pad that is found on the inside of the top of the casing.

Cooler Master X Craft
Mounting Springs

One peculiarity is that Cooler Master seems to have mixed up the ordering of the power and SATA connectors on the PCB. When placed in the enclosure, a SATA drive will have its power connector lined up with the enclosure’s SATA connector and vice versa. This could very well be due to the placement and routing of components on the PCB, but whatever the reason, makes for some interesting twisting of the cables.

Once the drive is properly installed, it’s just a matter of putting the casing back on and sliding the whole thing shut. It should lock in place and you’re all set to go. Overall, the installation went smoothly – much more so than the Vantec (model number here) who’s mounting holes didn’t line up with the hard drive ones.

COMMENTS

6 Replies to “Cooler Master X Craft 350 eSATA Enclosure Review”

  1. Extract from my letter to Cooler Master:

    I am terribly disappointed with your cabinet X Craft 350. You are saying in your advertising that using the cabinet will “increase hard drive lifespan”. That would have been true if the disk would could spin down when idle, but that’s not the fact with your cabinets. Your cabinet forces the disk to spin continuously as long as the power is on. (This has been explained to me by your tech support.) This is really old-fashioned, like 1984 or so.

    The reason I bought a Coolermaster cabinet was that I thought that it would have the standard functionality of ordinary, much cheaper cabinets + good heat dissipation. Now I paid twice as much for your cabinet WITHOUT getting the standard functionality that all other cheaper cabinets have.

    I also think that it is not acceptable having to wait 1.5 months for getting an answer from tech support.

  2. Cooler Master’s website does not state that their product is compatible with Vista. Have you had any issues? I read that some had issues with the one-touch backup in Vista, but can the software operate without the one-touch?

    Regards,

    Marty

  3. I haven’t run into any problems with Vista – it gets detected fine, assuming you have the appropriate drivers installed for the eSATA – connecting via USB will work fine with whatever Vista decides to install for it.

    I haven’t been using the one-touch backup software. Any backing up has been done manually, so I can’t comment about the compatibility of that utility with Vista. I’m not sure what you mean by using the software without the one-touch feature. The one-touch backup is the software.

  4. with xp sp2 i’ve it detected normally on my laptop, but on the desktop it says “external” is found but can’t find the drivers.
    How could i solve it?
    Thanks
    Paul

  5. Paul – The best idea I can think of is to try the things that Coolermaster lists here, but Windows XP should pick it up as a mass storage device, if you’re using USB.

    If you’re attaching it using E-SATA on your desktop, then you may need to install the appropriate SATA drivers.

  6. Paul

    Your hard disk is not initialized. Try Management – Storage drives and right click on ur external drive n initialize it n then do ur partition plus format…

    hope this works

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