Vizo Luxon Advanced ED

Drives, Reviews

Vizo Luxon Advanced ED Enclosure Review

Introduction

External hard drives are being used more frequently now because of the new digital era and the fact people are now – – at last – – starting to backup data. Prices for external hard drives have also fallen massively, with prices ranging from as low as £50 for a 320GB model. However, if you have an old PC which you are not using, you may be able to use the hard disk from that, this will mean you will just need to buy an enclosure, costing as little as £20. If you haven’t guessed already, we’ll now be reviewing a hard drive enclosure. Introducing the Vizo Luxon Advanced ED.

About Vizo

VIZO Technology Corporation is a leading global manufacturer and designer of computer peripheral products serving customers around the world. Established in Taiwan in 1992, VIZO has expanded and now operates in the market completely reorganized and prepared to meet the demand for high quality products which are “Made in Taiwan”.

Features

  • Compatible with 3.5″ SATA Hard Drive
  • Supports 480Mbps High Speed USB 2.0 and USB 1.1
  • Supports 3.0Gbps High Speed external Serial–ATA (eSATA)
  • Real 3 GB/s Chipset for eSATA speed
  • Aluminium housing for excellent heat dissipation
  • Side vents improve convection for better system cooling
  • LED light indicates working status and file transfer
  • Stylish outlook with sleek design
  • Supports plug and play & hot swappable

Specifications

  • Case Material: Aluminium
  • Host Interface:
    480Mbps USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 Compatible)
    3.0Gbps High Speed external Serial–ATA (eSATA)
  • HDD Type: 3.5″ SATA Hard Drive
  • Indicators: Blue for Power on / Purple for file access
  • Available colours: Black, Blue, Silver
  • Weight: 400 g (without HDD)
  • Dimensions: 210(L) x 125 (W) x 34 (H) mm

Packaging

The Vizo Luxon Advanced arrives in a nicely styled blue and white cardboard box. On the front of the box are some short features which the Luxon entails and a large graphical image of the drive. A sticker is placed in the corner of the box – – highlighting the colour of this particular enclosure.

Vizo Luxon Advanced ED Enclosure Review

The back of the box has a product description of the Luxon and the features, specifications, system requirements and what the package includes all listed neatly. There are also some small photos of what the Vizo looks like in all three flavours of colours: Black, Grey and Blue.

Vizo Luxon Advanced ED Enclosure Review

There certainly is alot of information on the packaging about the Vizo. However, I was a little surprised to find it was all in English.

After removing the outer packaging, there is another box inside. The next box is made from thicker cardboard and is completely white on the exterior. This box ensures that the Vizo cannot encounter any damage.

Vizo Luxon Advanced ED Enclosure Review

Inside the box, you will find the following, most of which are in plastic bags:

  • 3.5″ HDD External Enclosure
  • Plastic Stand
  • USB Cable
  • ESATA Cable
  • Power Cable
  • Screw Fitting Kit
  • Cleaning Cloth
  • English User Manual
Vizo Luxon Advanced ED Enclosure Review

On the bottom of the stand are small rubber feet in each corner to stop the hard drive from vibrating and to stop it from slipping. Many external hard drives do not have anything to dampen vibrations, so I’m glad Vizo have paid attention to this. Also, there are transparent pieces of rubber seated in the inside edges of the stand, this again, helps to stop vibrations from the enclosure and stops it from moving around inside the stand.

Another nice feature is the supplied cleaning cloth. As you probably know, fingerprints show up very easily on aluminium – – especially glossy black spray painted aluminium – – and it’s not always simple to remove them. Therefore, including a micro fibre cloth was a very good idea.

The manual for the Luxon Advanced ED is all in English. To be honest, I wouldn’t really call it a manual as it’s merely an A3 sheet with six installation stages. However, it’s very easy to follow due to lots of diagrams and photos being used with the text – – that is, if you can read English.

The screw fitting it is just six cross head hard disk screws and six Allen key screws – – which secure the outer part of the Vizo to the ‘frame’. Also included with it is a small Allen key screwdriver – – very useful if you don’t have Allen keys at hand.

The USB and eSATA cables are black and around 90cm in length so should be long enough for most people.

Vizo Luxon Advanced ED

This product is made from sleek black aluminium. On the right hand side of the Luxon is some sort of graphic made from silver squares and there are labels for the ports: DC Jack, Power, eSATA and USB.

Vizo Luxon Advanced ED Enclosure Review

On the left hand side of the drive, there is no graphics, just a sleek black panel. I was hoping that there might be some rubber nipples on this side to stop the drive from vibrating when laying the drive horizontally.

Vizo Luxon Advanced ED Enclosure Review

Along the bottom edge there are vents to allow air to reach the hard drive. From this photo you should be able to see how thick the aluminium is, around 2mm.

Vizo Luxon Advanced ED Enclosure Review

The paint finish on the Vizo Luxon is certainly something Vizo should be proud about. It’s really shiny, to give you an idea, look at the photo below – – this baby is like a mirror! Also, the paint is actually quite thick. I tried scratching away some of the paint at the edges with a metal ruler and it took a good few minutes to scratch away even the first layer.

Vizo Luxon Advanced ED Enclosure Review

At the back of the Advanced ED there are the following ports:

  • USB
  • eSATA
  • DC Jack

There is also a power switch. All these are clearly labelled and the trading standards labels are also shown.

Vizo Luxon Advanced ED Enclosure Review

The front of this external hard drive enclosure has a transparent plastic strip which is about 8cm long. When the drive is on, this strip lights up blue and when the drive is in use (transferring data) the strip lights up purple. This light comes from an LED which is built into the unit.

Vizo Luxon Advanced ED Enclosure Review

Here is the frame of the Luxon removed from its aluminium shell. The frame is unfortunately made from a silver coloured plastic – – not so good for thermal dissipation. To secure the plastic frame inside the Vizo’s shell four Allen key screws are installed – – one at each edge.

Vizo Luxon Advanced ED Enclosure Review

Installation

Installing a hard drive in the Luxon is a very simple process – – if done correctly. For this review, we’ll be installing an 80GB SATA Hitachi 7K160.

On the PCB inside the plastic frame there is a single socket which provides both power and a SATA connection to your hard drive. This means that you will have no trailing wires inside the enclosure.

Vizo Luxon Advanced ED Enclosure Review

Carefully aligning up your hard drive with the single socket, you should be able to clip your hard drive directly into the socket. Once connected, the hard drive should be firmly held in place.

Vizo Luxon Advanced ED Enclosure Review

After connecting up the drive, you need to screw the drive in place. This is done by screwing four of the included hard disk screws into the hard drive from the base of the frame. The hard drive should then be safely in place.

You could just leave the hard drive out like this now and start using it. However, it might look a bit better with its outer casing installed. To install this, you simply align its screw holes up with the ones on the frame then screw it in place using the included Allen key and Allen key screws.

That’s it. Now just connect the drive up to your computer using either the USB or eSATA port.

Testing

To test the performance of the Vizo Luxon Advanced ED we’ll compare the average read speeds, random access time, burst rate and CPU usage using three different connection methods: USB, eSATA and SATA. This will enable us to compare the performance of the hard drive with the performance of that of the enclosure using the two connection methods.

To make the sure that it’s a fair test. We will reboot the computer after each test and make sure that the same background programs are running for every test – – so the CPU usage starts at the same percentage for every test. Only one factor will be changed throughout all the tests, that is, the variable (connection method).

Test system configuration is as follows:

Processor Intel C2D E6750 @ Stock
Motherboard Asus P5K Premium 775
RAM Corsair XMS2 6400 2GB (2×1GB)
HDD Western Digital SE16 500GB SATA
Graphics Card XFX 7900GS 256MB
Operating System Windows Vista Home Premium (32bit)

The HDD used with the Luxon: 80GB SATA Hitachi 7K160.

Below are all of the results from the four different tests. As you can see, the eSATA and straight SATA connection beats the USB connection by a considerable amount in all tests, although, it shares the same random access time with a straight SATA connection.

  Average Read Speed (MB/sec) Burst Rate (MB/sec) CPU Usage (%) Random Access Time (ms)
eSATA 59.8 127 6.9 13.2
USB 33.3 27.8 12.4 13.4
Straight SATA 53.2 171.7 3.0 13.4

The CPU usage from the USB connection was a big let down at a massive 12.4%, that’s four times the amount of the straight SATA and double that of eSATA.

The read speed results were a little weird; I thought that straight SATA maybe faster than eSATA, but it seems the reverse. The eSATA beats straight SATA speeds by 6mb/s – – this isn’t a huge amount, but a large enough amount to make and tell a difference. Unfortunately, USB speeds stay averaging at 33.3mb/s – – this is a similar speed to the flash drive we tested a few days ago.

Another area which was a big let down was the burst rate. The USB connection only achieved 27.8mb/s, whereas eSATA averaged at 127mb/s and straight SATA scored a massive 171.7mb/s.

I have sorted the data into graphs below, to make it easier for you to compare results.

Results for Vizo Luxon Advanced ED Results for Vizo Luxon Advanced ED

We have found from these results, eSATA really does kick ass. We didn’t expect better results from USB speeds as most USB enclosures gain similar results, so it’s certainly not the Vizo’s fault – – just the USB connection altogether.

Conclusion

The Vizo Luxon Advanced ED is a really sleek looking enclosure. Its hard aluminium shell with mirror black finish looks more than just hot.

Not only does this enclosure look stunning, it also performs very well. The eSATA speeds from this drive are overwhelming, with it beating the read speeds of a straight SATA connection and having a 0.2 second advantage in random access time. However, it doesn’t perform too well in USB operation, but we cannot blame this on the enclosure as nearly all USB enclosures achieve similar speeds through this sluggish connection method.

So to conclude, if you’re thinking of buying an enclosure, the Vizo Luxon Advanced ED is a great buy, but for goodness sake, don’t use this drive on the old tired USB connection, when eSATA speeds with this enclosure simply rule.

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