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Chio Lian Li hard disk enclosure – finally!

July 29th, 2009 | by Alfred Siew

Finally, after the entire world seems to have moved on from buying external hard disk enclosures and slotting in your own hard disks, along comes Lian Li, the venerable aluminum PC case maker, with what are two of the most “chio” enclosures out there.

Spotted on US online shop Performance PCs, the EX-20 is a two-bay enclosure that supports eSATA as well as USB 2.0, while the EX-30 is a three-bay device. Both use a Silicon Image chip to handle the transfer between the hard disk’s SATA interface and the external eSATA and USB interfaces.

The hard drives can be hot-swapped by simply sliding them out after unlocking the well-ventilated front panel. The hard disk connectors, as seen in pictures online, appear to be the same used in Lian Li’s new cases, which means a smooth fit.

More importantly, check out the build. I have not seen such excellent shock-killing feet – common, of course, in high-end PC cases – in a small hard disk enclosure. The smooth, black aluminum finish is another welcome sight.

For the EX-20, there is a 60mm ball-bearing fan, while the the EX-30 comes with an 80mm fan. Both run at a quiet 1,500 rpm and should do away with the persistent hum on many other external enclosure.

Surprisingly, the package also includes a PCI Express eSATA card, which can be slotted into your PC if  you do not already have a connector. Unfortunately, such extras help bump up the price for this nice Lian Li package to the usual “extreme” levels – US$134.95 for the EX-20 and US$159.95 for the EX-30.

That is way too much for my wallet right now, even though the temptation is definitely strong to put two leftover 160GB hard disks in an EX-20 just to see the chio enclosure sit regally on my desk!

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