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Appeared on: Monday, November 05, 2007
Spire MegaPodIII


1. Specifications

Spire is well known for their cooling solutions. They also manufacture other PC accessories such as Power Supplies, PC Chassis, and enclosures. Their new Spire Megapod III enclosure appears to be a mature product, and in this review we plan to find out its strengths and weaknesses, if there are any.

- Spire SP151 MegaPod III IDE

The MegaPod III offers excellent build quality and a sleek design that makes it stand out in the crowd. The MegaPod III is made of aluminum and appears very durable.We were also impressed with the ivory-like white tray-bezel in the front that just makes it a little more beautiful. The packaging includes a USB-cable, a printed manual and an additional power cord.

Main Features:

- Specifications

Application External Hard Drive enclosure
Certifications CE, TUV, UL, CSA
Colors Silver
Dimensions 420*355*380MM (l x w x h)
Features Hard drive support up to 800GB, USB easy plug and play installation, hot swappable,
led lighting, fanless operation
Input AC 100-240V, 50-60hz
Interface USB2.0 (backwards compatible with USB 1.1)
Material Aluminum
OS support Win 98/ME/XP/VISTA, Mac OS 8.6/OSX
Other models Other Versions Available with USB, SATA & eSATA
Output DC +12V/1.5A
Package Includes Aluminum enclosure w/LED Light, Power Cord, USB Cable, Installation Manual,
CD-ROM Driver, 5* Screws
Power External Power Adapter universal auto-switching

2. Inside the box

Spire's MegaPod III comes in a small box that includes all the necessary items and all the information in order to set it up without any difficulties. The retail price is around US$31.95 (+shipping).

Opening the box, unveils the MegaPod III enclosure.

The MegaPod III is made of aluminum with an ivory-white tray-bezel in the front. While the case looks very good, it easily collects dust and fingerprints, but later on that in this review.

On the back are all the main connections: the USB 2.0 interface, the power input, and of course the on/off switch.

On the bottom edge, we find the screw you'll have to remove in order to gain access to the interior of the enclosure to install your HDD.

On the front we find a small ventilation hole and a blue LED which indicates the read/write status of the HDD.

Below are shown all the included accessories, power supply, USB2.0 cable, mounting screws, installation guide, and USB drivers (for Windows 95/98 only):


3. Benchmarks

Let's now see the installation procedure. First, you have to remove the mounting screw located on the bottom and then pull the rear end out, as shown in the picture below. This will extract the mounting plate.

Nothing fancy here, just a plastic base, I/O circuitry board and the IDE and Power connectors.

For our purposes, we will use a 200GB Western Digital drive.

Take some care with the installation of the drive. It must sit correctly, otherwise you won't be able to insert it back into the main enclosure body.

You use the supplied mounting screws to screw the HDD to the assembly. Use the mounting holes located on the side of the HDD for this. Once secure, you can slide it back into the enclosure.

- Tests

To test the enclosure's performance, we fired up HD Tach v3.0.1.0 and executed the full bench test. What we want to see here, is whether the enclosure adversely affects or hinders the HDD's performance.

The full bench test scans the entire capacity of the HDD and displays a graph of its average reading/writing performance:

The performance is very good and is very close to the performance of the drive when connected directly to the motherboard's IDE interface. We logged 80MB/sec reading speed at the starting point, which gradually dropped to 40MB/sec, resulting in an average speed of 66.7MB/sec. The Burst Speed is also very good as you can see. Lastly, the CPU % usage is very low, at only 4%.


4. Summary

Today we reviewed an external IDE enclosure with USB interface from Spire. The MegaPod III is a well made external enclosure at a low price. The aluminium case does look good, but it also attracts some dust and even fingerprints after some use. I guess, we'll just have to dust our test labs more often :-).

Moving on to the performance, this case simply rocks. With a 200GB HDD, it showed superb performance and overall, we didn't have any complaints in either reading/burst or CPU % usage figures. The retail price for this external case is around US$31.95, so there's no reason not to buy such a very good and well priced product.



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