Wiebetech RTX-100H-QThe hard drive enclosure market is cluttered with offerings, most of which are barely differentiable from each other except in looks. 

So what makes Wiebetech’s RTX series stand out from the crowd? 

DigitalReviews gets to try out the RTX-100H-Q enclosure thanks to Wiebetech.


First impression
The RTX-100H-Q, a bit of a mouthful, is the hardened version of the standard RTX series offering.  The "100" denotes single bay and "Q" designator for quadruple interface.  The enclosure is a slick all metal design with a matt black and silver finish, the simple aesthetics appeals to my taste.

The size of the enclosure is roughly the standard size for handling a 3.5" drive and solidly built.  Like the Wiebetech eRazer which was reviewed earlier this year, the RTX enclosure came comprehensively bundled with cables for all supported connections.  The quadruple interfaces are eSATA, dual FireWire 800, FireWire 400 (via included converter cable) and USB 2.0.

Spindle up
Bomb bay open.This particular unit did not come shipped with a drive however adding a drive cannot get any simpler.  There is no mounting tray, screws or tools required.  It is just a matter of opening the enclosure door, slide a 3.5" SATA drive up to 1 Tb in size into the slot and close the door.  That’s it.  Done.  All that is left then is to decide which interface to use and plug the power in.

The door to the enclosure pushes the drive firmly into place.  There is no rattle or movements from inside the enclosure even when the assembly is tilted at different angles.  The feel of the entire assembly feels just right.

Many factors affect the access speed of drives.  In this particular scenario the drive I had in the RTX enclosure is a Seagate SATA II NCQ (ST3500320AS), 7200 rpm with 32 Mb of cache.  Windows XP had no problems picking up the enclosure as expected.  With my USB2 port it was not going to set the world on fire, but that was no serious lags in the data access.  With so many interfaces on tap, the RTX enclosure makes for a very versatile unit for doing system backups.

Host interfaces: eSATA, Dual FireWire 800, FireWire 400 (via included converter cable), USB2
Data interface speeds: eSATA 3.0 Ghz (up to 300 Mb/sec), FireWire 800 Mbps (55 Mb/sec), USB2 480 Mbps (35 Mb/s)
Drive type support: 3.5" SATA1 and SATA2 hard drives up to 1 Tb
TrayFree technology: Yes
Shock absorbing bays: Yes
Lockable bay: Yes
Operating system requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Mac OS X 10.2.6 or later, Linux distributions using kernel v2.4 or above (USB only)
Shipping weights: 900 g (2 lb) without drives, 1.46 kg (3 lb) with drives
Dimensions: W 177 x D 270 x H 54 mm (7" x 10.6" x 2")

Inside the RTX case.The Wiebetech RTX-100H-Q gets both thumbs up from me for the best external drive enclosure I have had the pleasure of using to date.  Coming from a technical background I appreciate the simplicity of this enclosure where I can just pop the door open and have a drive connected and ready to go in less than 10 seconds.  Having a glut of interfaces to chose from just adds icing on the cake.

The Wiebetech RTX series is available here.  External enclosure only (RTX-100H-Q) priced at USD$219.95, 500Gb at USD$387.95 and 1Tb at USD$569.95.  Non-hardened, multi-bay and internal versions are also available, check website for a very comprehensive list of variants.