The Least Reliable USB 3.0 SATA Disk Enclosure I've Encountered With Linux
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 30 October 2016 at 02:34 PM EDT. 28 Comments
HARDWARE --
While in 2016 one wouldn't think that a USB disk enclosure would be much of an issue under Linux when they have generally worked well going back more than one decade, but this week I encountered a popular 2.5-inch SSD enclosure from Amazon that doesn't seem to work well.

In need of a new USB 3.0 2.5-inch SATA enclosure, I ended up ordering the Sabrent USB 3.0 to SSD / 2.5-Inch SATA External Shockproof Aluminum Hard Drive Enclosure from Amazon. Surprisingly, it didn't get along with any of the three solid-state drives I tried when connecting to Ubuntu 16.04 and Fedora 23 systems.


Most of the time I didn't even see anything reported via dmesg when connecting the enclosure with SSD attached while some times it would see it but then in dmesg I would see Read Capacity(10 failed messages. But then sometimes when re-connecting it, I didn't see any kernel messages at all. Tried both USB 2 and USB 3 ports on two different systems.

Obviously when connecting the SSDs to the system via SATA they worked fine and when trying to connect the enclosure to my wife's Mac it worked fine. Perhaps I just had some random defective enclosure? When looking up Linux mentions on the Amazon product page of the customer reviews, there is someone else who also had issues, "Did not work with Ubuntu 14.04.4 64 bit LTS GNU/Linux. Chucked it." While a review from last year mentions he had it working on Linux, "The drive I put in this case is running Xubuntu Linux 14.04. Even though it doesn't list Linux as a compatible OS, I've had good luck with it."


Long story short, just a quick warning of potential problems if you find yourself on Amazon (or any other online store) searching for a cheap USB 3.0 SATA enclosure and happen to come across this Sabrent enclosure for $14 USD. I'll try again when time allows in a few days to see if it happens to work on Linux 4.9 Git, otherwise I'll end up just getting a different enclosure. I think this is the first time I've encountered a Linux USB enclosure issue in probably eight years or more.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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