We've looked at several USB 3.0 drive enclosures and realize the enclosures are not the bottleneck limiting transfer speeds to around 200MB/s. As it stands right now, the promised USB 3.0 bandwidth claim of 5Gbps is a sham since the bandwidth from the USB 3.0 controller is limited at the motherboard level. Until we get more PCIe bandwidth dedicated to USB 3.0 we are stuck at around 200MB/s. USB 3.0 will one day offer over 600 MB/s, but until things change at the motherboard level we aren't going to see anything near that mark.
At this point, benchmarking USB 3.0 drive enclosures over and over again is a giant waste of time for both us as reviewers and you as readers. Just about every USB 3.0 drive enclosure is going to perform the same as long as they have the same hard drive in the enclosure. Because of this, bare enclosures (ie. ship without a hard drive preinstalled) will be reviewed in the Quick Review format hereon. This will allow us to educate our readers about new enclosures and not bore you with performance data that is redundant.
ineo Technology has sent us several of their products over the last couple of months. The company is new to most enthusiasts and casual computer users alike. We are really starting to like ineo products since they are priced very low and the build quality is the same as products that cost nearly twice as much. ineo Technology is quickly taking over the budget sector of the computer accessory industry and the quality of the products being produced make us feel obligated to tell you about them.
The ineo Technology I-NA215U Plus is part of the iPile Series of products and can also be referred to as the USB 3.0 External Hard Drive Enclosure. As the other name on the box suggests, this enclosure uses USB 3.0 for connectivity and holds a hard drive.
This diskless enclosure uses 2.5" form factor hard drives or SSDs. Most users will simply install an old, or replaced SATA 2.5" notebook drive into this type of enclosure. Some users will search and purchase a low cost 2.5" HDD for this low cost enclosure, but the best way to get the system up and running is to simply recycle an older drive.
After looking around we were able to find the ineo Technology I-NA215U Plus at Buy.com for 27 Dollars shipped in the US. The price is actually only 22 Dollars before shipping, so ineo is sticking to their budget ways and undercutting the storage accessory market once again.
During my search I also learned that ineo is starting to gain acceptance in the e-tail market. A Google product search showed 27 online stores were carrying the I-NA215U Plus; this is nearly double the amount of e-tailers carrying ineo products from our search just a month ago. ineo is growing and growing rapidly.
When it came to testing the ineo Technology I-NA215U Plus, we found the enclosure was able to deliver the full 200MB/s read speed and 178MB/s write speed. In ATTO the enclosure performed exactly like just about every other USB 3.0 enclosure we tested. To keep the tests fair, we test all diskless enclosures with the world's fastest solid state drive, The Crucial RealSSD C300.
The C300 allows us to overwhelm the USB 3.0 interface as it is now, but performance under a standard platter drive will be limited by your hard drive. Most 2.5" platter drives deliver 100MB/s or less, so your experience will vary depending on the drive you choose for the I-NA215U.
The real world performance of the I-NA215U Plus was in line with the other USB 3.0 enclosures we tested. The ISO test had data transferring at nearly 90MB/s which is very good for a real world test. The Program test that is a mix of small and large files ran at just over 70MB/s which is also very good.
The ineo Technology iPile Series is made up of several different pieces and everything we've looked at so far has performed very well and had a very low price. ineo Technology is an up and coming company that is on the right track. The I-NA215U Plus follows the same formula and is excellent value while delivering performance that equals products costing twice as much.