We don't often look at hard drive enclosures. Their inherent low price and perfunctory nature means there's often not much to say. You plug the hard drive in, connect the enclosure to your PC and power the thing on. And, if it works, bobs your proverbial. However, every now and again, we see a little innovation that catches our eye, which is precisely what happened with the Coolermaster XCraft 360.
You see, your average hard drive enclosure requires some kind of dismantling, generally involving a screwdriver and a certain degree of cable manipulation, to add a hard drive to it. However, adding a drive to the Coolermaster XCraft 360 is a completely tool-less operation. Just pop it open and drop the drive in. This combined with connections for both USB 2.0 and eSATA and a sleek looking case design makes it look like a real winner. So, let's take a closer look.
Predominantly made of stainless steel, the XCraft 360 has a reassuring weight and sturdiness to it that instils a sense that it will cope well with the trials of a (semi) portable life. The top and bottom panels are lightly brushed then coated in a layer of super smooth lacquer that gives them a beautiful sheen. A quick bit of abuse from a bunch of keys proved the lacquer is quite tough as well, so the finish should also stand the test of time. Just to make sure, though, four little rubber feet on the bottom stop the XCraft sliding around on your desk, further reducing the chance of scratches.
The sides have perforated panels running down them to provide a bit of ventilation for the roasty-toasty hard drive inside. However, there's no fan to boost the cooling power if things do start to get too hot. Indeed, during out testing I checked the temperature of the outside of the enclosure then quickly whipped the drive out and checked its temperature and the drive was 10 degrees Celsius hotter than the enclosure. That said, the metal body of the case provides a substantial area to dissipate heat and the likelihood of the drive becoming critically hot are very slim.
Of course, the flip side of using a metal case with open grills is the complete lack of noise reduction. If you put a noisy hard drive in this, you'll hear it in all its glory. If this is a major concern, you may be best opting for a so-called silent enclosure but these are likely to run hotter than the XCraft, which could lower the lifespan of the hard drive.
A small plastic stand is provided in case you want to stand the hard drive on its side - a move that in itself will help to cool the enclosure further. It's a pretty simple plastic affair, with a couple of rubber feet that stop it slipping around, but it's quite tough and does the job. A quick wobble test also showed it to be surprisingly stable despite its simplicity. In the box you also get both a USB cable and an eSATA cable, a little cloth for wiping off finger prints, and a small box to keep the other bits in.