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Convar BytePac review

Mike Jennings
3 Apr 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
34
inc VAT

The BytePac is a well-designed and environmentally-conscious way to store and use hard disks, even if it's not particularly fast over eSATA

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Specifications

N/A hard disk, eSATA / USB / USB3, 39 x 132 x 196

Hard disk enclosures are usually made from metal or plastic, but BytePac's enclosure is 100% recyclable cardboard. It's designed as an environmentally friendly way to archive data-filled internal hard disks while leaving them still ready for use in a matter of seconds.

Convar BytePac

You'd be forgiven for thinking that BytePac's enclosures were flimsy, but the multi-layered cardboard feels surprisingly strong. The enclosure is sensibly designed, too; the power and SATA socket is hidden beneath a little flap, there's a specific area for labelling the drive, and a flap at the bottom folds out and is used to prop the box up at an angle to give you easy access to the ports, as well as open a hole to cool the hard disk. Once problem we had with the design was that the sleeve isn't secured to the disk caddy inside, so your hard disk could slide out onto the floor if you don't hold it correctly.

Convar BytePac

All the cables you need to connect to your PC or Mac are included. You can connect over eSATA, and the kit comes with a USB adaptor. Convar also sells a SATA to IDE adaptor for £14 to let you use older hard disks. A complicated-looking all-in-one connector caters for both data and power connections to your hard disk - you plug the AC adaptor and the data connection to your PC into a breakout box, which then plugs into the power and data connections on the back of your hard disk.

There are various pricing models to suit your needs. £34 (or £45 for USB3) gets you three empty BytePac boxes and the connection kit, three sleeves and label kits and a 2.5in adapter for SSDs or laptop hard disks. You can also buy three empty boxes (without the connection kit) for £12. You can also buy boxes with various designs - there's a range of colourful boxes on Convar's website, and you can also put together a custom design if you get in touch with the company directly.

Convar BytePac

The trade-off for this versatility, though, is speed. We installed a Patriot Pyro SE 120GB SSD in the BytePac and ran our speed tests, but found that, even over eSATA, performance took a hit. When connected directly to our test machine the Patriot wrote large files at 165MB/s and read them at 301MB/s. When connected via the BytePac adaptor, large file write speeds were unchanged but large file read speeds dropped to 234MB/s.

The gap was closer in our small file tests, but the BytePac still slowed the Patriot down when reading files. The Pyro SE disk originally wrote and read files at 74MB/s and 54MB/s. When plugged in over the BytePac's eSATA connection write speeds were again unchanged, but read speeds dropped to 51MB/s. When using the USB adaptor, we saw large file write and read speeds of 31MB/s and 32MB/s, and small file write and read speeds of 16MB/s and 20MB/s - fairly standard for USB connections.

Read speeds are not the BytePac's strong suit, but it's a neat design which should appeal to those who need to archive large amounts of data but still have it easily accessible, such as video and photo professionals.

Basic Specifications

Rating****

Storage

Hard disknone
CapacityN/A
Formatted capacityN/A
Price per gigabyteN/A
Disk sizeN/A
InterfaceeSATA / USB / USB3
Power connectorSATA
CacheN/A
Seek timeN/A
Weight59g
Size39 x 132 x 196
Power consumption idleN/A
Power consumption activeN/A

Buying Information

Backup software includedN/A
Price£34
Warrantyfive years RTB
Supplierhttp://shop.convar.com
Detailshttp://shop.convar.com

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