Categories: FeaturedStorage

SilverStone DS222 External Dual-Bay RAID Enclosure Review

Introduction


Today I am taking SilverStone’s new DS222 external dual-bay RAID enclosure for a spin in my test area and this is one enclosure that stands out from the rest in its basic design. RAID setups are great for redundancy, speed, or capacity increase over a single drive and in my opinion, it isn’t something that should be limited to internal drives. This is where an enclosure like the DS222 comes into play.

Being able to take a redundant drive array with you and connect it to any system without further configuration or drivers is a big convenience. It is as simple to connect as any other portable drive thanks to the way SilverStone built the DS222. The enclosure connects to your system through a high-speed USB 3.0 connection which makes the enclosure perfect for mechanical drives that won’t hit the performance ceiling the same was as SSDs would. That doesn’t mean that you can’t set up SSDs in the DS222, you can, and they will work just as great and give you the same options for redundancy.

SilverStone’s DS222 is a tiny unit with a footprint that isn’t much larger than a 2.5-inch drive and I really love how it was designed. The enclosure looks more like a tiny NAS/DAS unit than the average external enclosure, which makes it unique and ingenious. I’ve really fallen in love with this tiny unit, it’s just so adorable.

You can configure the DS222 in multiple ways to get the setup needed from the two drive bays. Whether you need the BIG (JBOD) mode, RAID 0, RAID 1, or you’d rather run them as two single drives, the DS222 has you covered. The mode can easily be set on the rear of the unit where you’ll find two DIP switches and a confirm button for the mode selection.

A USB 3.0 connection should provide plenty of power for the unit, but it is also backward compatible to USB 2.0 and USB 1.1 connections where power delivery could be an issue. Well, that would be if SilverStone didn’t think of that. But they did think of it and added both a dual-USB power cable with the ability to draw more power from a second USB port. But what if you only have one spare USB port available? Nothing to worry about there either, as the DS222 also features a dedicated 5V power connection through a micro-USB port. That makes it as simple as using any old phone charger or similar power supply to get all the power you need for this unit.

Despite not being advertised as such, the SilverStone DS222 supports the USB Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP). UASP generally provides faster transfers when compared to the older USB Mass Storage Bulk-Only Transport (BOT) protocol drivers. This is due to the JMicron JMS561 controller supporting the UASP Rev. 1.0 specifications.

SilverStone also added a few more things besides normal drive and RAID features. The DS222 comes with a useful alarm buzzer that will warn you of failure as well as general notification sounds such as power-on. Should that annoy you more than you find it useful, then that is not a problem either – you can simply mute the buzzer by use of a hardware switch on the front.

The DS222 supports plug and play hot swapping of your drives and the entire enclosure uses a tool-free design for extra convenience. The front pops off with easy through a slider on the bottom and the drives don’t require any mounting at all; you just push them in and close the DS222 back up again.

Features

  • 5Gbps SuperSpeed USB 3.0 connection
  • Configurable RAID 0, RAID 1, BIG (JBOD), and Non-RAID modes
  • Supports Plug & Play and hot swapping
  • Supports two 2.5-inch SATA HDD or SSD
  • Tool-free design

Packaging and Accessories

The package is a beautiful one for the SilverStone DS222. All the relevant details are present right on the front and they’re easy to spot.

The side of the box has all the details and specification listed with photos and text.

Inside the box is the enclosure itself, a product manual, four rubber feet with adhesive, and a USB 3.0 Y-cable.

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Bohs Hansen

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