SilverStone TS431U 4-Bay External Enclosure

Storage
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AUDIO RECORDINGS

These recordings were made with a high resolution, lab quality, digital recording system inside SPCR's own 11 dBA ambient anechoic chamber, then converted to LAME 128kbps encoded MP3s. We've listened long and hard to ensure there is no audible degradation from the original WAV files to these MP3s. They represent a quick snapshot of what we heard during the review.

Each recording starts with ambient noise, then 5~10 second segments of product at various states. For the most realistic results, set the volume so that the starting ambient level is just barely audible, then don't change the volume setting again while comparing all the sound files.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The SilverStone TS431U is a basic a 4-bay enclosure, not a server or a NAS with RAID functionality for sharing data with multiple systems. It's a dumb box for local storage only, suitable for on-site backup or if you simply need to expand the storage of a desktop or a laptop that stays mostly in one location. Build quality is easily its biggest strength as it's well-built with a tight fitting frame, a snazzy aluminum door, and a surprisingly secure drive mount/release system.

The power supply built into the back of the unit leads to a few different issues. Its takes up a considerable amount of space inside the chassis, making the enclosure unusually deep. The power supply also isn't as efficient as a quality class V external brick like the one included with the Mediasonic ProBox. Its presence further restricts the front-to-back airflow path and requires cooling, so the exhaust fans have to pull double duty. Without it, the chassis would be much smaller and they could have employed lower speed fans. The fans are fairly loud and while they can be replaced or modified, it would take some work due to the use of 2-pin connectors.

While I adore the SilverStone TS431U's tool-less drive mounting system and overall construction, it's hard to beat more affordable competition like the Mediasonic ProBox. The ProBox is sleeker, more efficient, and most importantly, it's considerably cheaper. The TS431U sells for about US$150 while the ProBox can be had for a mere US$90. Unfortunately, the TS431U doesn't offer enough value or any killer feature to justify the extra cost.

Our thanks to SilverStone for the TS431U enclosure sample.

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