Those building their own PC have to go through a sea of PC components that is often not easy to navigate, not because the specs are hard to read, but because it is virtually impossible to form an opinion on the build quality of PC accessories based on what’s available online. When I started shopping for a drive cage for a new PC I’m building I wanted to have a drive cage that was neat and solidly built. After some research I zeroed in on this particular iStarUSA BPN-DE340SS (DE stands for “dove eye”) so I’m putting this review together so that others may benefit from the experience gathered with this purchase. iStar USA also has bigger and smaller versions of the same design.
Upon opening the box, I got confirmation of what the product description was hinting at: the BPN-DE340SS is a solidly built aluminum drive cage that features four 3.5” disk slots ready to be filled. I tried putting some disks in there and they just slide into the SATA data and power connector like they should. To actually connect the disk to the SATA connector, you actually have to close the door to 2/3. Opening the door more than that will push the hard drive out, which is nice when it is time for a swap. Note that the aluminum built will help dissipate the heat better than a plastic case would. This is important if you want to use a low RPM on the fan which remains the main mean of taking the heat out.
As you can see on the picture, the metallic nature of the drive cage is quite obvious, and I found the quality of the visible elements to be among the best among what you can find in terms of PC components. The colored doors are made of 1mm thick aluminum, which should more than tough enough for this. The door knob with the key mechanism is actually made of plastic and is held onto the aluminum piece with two small screws. Note that the key are there to prevent the accidental removal of a drive, and not to prevent “theft”.
There are also screws all around the case, which suggests that you could open or disassemble it if something got stuck or maybe if you needed to change the fan. I have tried opening it, so I’m speculating on this one, but from the outside, this look possible.
In the back, you will find two SATA power connectors, four SATA data connectors and two little switches that control the LED light (on/off) and the fan speed (high/low). I’m going to set the fan speed to low, but at least, there’s an option for a faster speed if needed. I like having two SATA power connector instead of 4 because it will be a little less messy in terms of cable management.
In terms of internal volume management, this is typically more efficient since my current alternative is to use one 5.25” slot per 3.5” HDD drive. Of course, you mileage will vary depending on what PC case you are using. Right now, I have an Antec 900, an Antec Lanboy and a Cooler Master Wave (that’s an oldie, but still very nice by today’s standards). I plan on using the drive cage with the Antec 900, which has four 5.25” slots. In that space, I’ll be able to put four 3.5” drives plus one optical drive and have room to spare with three more 3.5” slots.
My main reason for wanting this is that I’m going to use file replication either 2X or 3X so that my files can easily survive the crash of one drive, and allow me to easily replace the disk or simply upgrade it when I need more space. I have to admit that I didn’t have to fork $100 to get a drive cage, and that I could have done without, but I guess that I’m willing to pay to have things neatly packed inside my PC. This is one of the best drive cage that I have seen to date.
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