The Cooler Master X Craft 350 Lite is an external USB (there is an e-SATA version as well) enclosure for 3.5″ hard drives. It has a fairly schmick design and comes with an upright stand, however, if you have more than one, they are designed to be stackable as well.
I picked one up about a month ago along with a 750gb Samsung 3.5″ hard drive to setup as a basic back up system for my Macbook Pro using Time Machine. Since it’s just for back ups, I’m not really worried about the aesthetics of the case, it just needs to do the job, and what attracted me to the X Craft is that it was the cheapest in stock at Umart that was not a generic brand. However, as luck may have it, it’s also one of the nicest looking external enclosures and the design is very reminiscent of many of the Cooler Master computer cases.
The design is excellent and setting it up is extremely easy. The bottom and front of the enclosure are mesh, so the hard drive is well ventilated. The top and sides of the case are aluminium, making it a reasonably good heat conductor. This means the heat from the hard drive is fairly effectively transferred, and the circuitry is well ventilated. If you use the upright stand that puts the enclosure on its side, the vents on the bottom of the case are much more effective. In general it doesn’t get very hot at all.
As I mentioned earlier, they are stackable if you have more then one of them and they look like they should fit together very nicely and the rubber feet on the bottom of them should hold them together well (it sticks to the table nicely too). The stand was a little bit confusing at first since it doesn’t click into place, however once I figured it out, it’s a great idea. It is solid aluminium with rubber feet, so it is very slip-resistent, and both sides of the enclosure have runners along them that the stand slides onto. There are a couple of rivets that hold it in place on the stand once it is on, however, if you need to take it off, its as easy as tilting it slightly to one side and sliding it forward and its straight off. While I don’t have a need to remove it from the stand, I think this is a great idea since you don’t have to touch any screws or even any clips to take it on or off the stand, but nor can you easily bump it out or off of the stand.
Speaking of screws, you don’t even need to use a screwdriver to set it up. On the back of the case there is a button, pushing this will allow you to slide the back panel backwards slightly. Once it is back, you simply lift the aluminium cover off of the top and you are in.You don’t have to screw the hard drive in either, there are four suspension stands that line up with the four screw holes on the bottom of standard 3.5″ hard drives. First off, you plug in the SATA connector and power cable, then you just stick the hard drive on top of these stands, making sure that each one fits inside the appropriate screw hole. If you look at the inside of the aluminium cover, you will see a thermal strip and some rails. Take the covering off the thermal strip to help the heat transfer from the hard drive, and then stick the cover back on. You will notice that the rails sit perfectly around the hard drive and thus hold it in place on the stands. Slide the back panel back in and it will automatically clip on.There you have it, very quick and easy installation.
My Macbook Pro recognised the external drive immediately and allowed me to format the drive and then straight up let me use it as a “Time Capsule” with Time Machine. I’ve been running it like that since.
It has been very stable and very reliable, I haven’t had any problems with the connection, which is particularly important since it gets unplugged and plugged back in on a regular basis as my laptop is regularly coming and going with me. It in general keeps the hard drive quite cool, which is something I was a little worried about since it doesn’t have any active cooling.
Overall, it’s a nice little box and well worth the $38 I paid for it. I highly recommend it if you are in need of a cheap, external case that looks good and runs cool. It is available in black or silver.