With all the fun stuff out of the way, we have to take a break and look at the boring benchmarks...
As far as drive performance goes, our single platter Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 SATA drive performed within expectations for a USB connected drive. HD Tune results gave us a maximum transfer rate of 28.6 MB/s with a high average of 28.4 MB/s. Clearly, the drive was not limited by the dock, but rather, the USB interface. The only thing that really sucked was the high 22% CPU utilisation.
To address the weaknesses, which are the high CPU utilisation and the capped performance of the drive on USB, an eSATA and Firewire connection should be made part of the package. As mentioned earlier, Thermaltake did quietly release a part that adds in the eSATA interface, but adding in the Firewire interface would also help out those Mac users as the dock does support the Mac OS and would be beneficial for those users as well.
Thermaltake has given us a hard drive experience that is interesting again. With all those boring hard drive enclosures out on the market, I was truly happy to see such an innovative product hit the market. Although the product does have its merits, it does give us room to improve. For example, the addition of an eSATA and a Firewire port would increase performance and provide a real alternative to breaking open the box and having to install a new drive. The other improvement I would make is to just create a mechanism to cover up the back of the drive. This would provide some added "moisture protection" just in case butter fingers is near your computer with that can of pop or cup of coffee.
Overall, the Thermaltake BlacX SATA USB Hard Drive Docking Station is a great product that is both innovative and fully recommended for any user that wants easy access to their data in a truly plug and play fashion. If Thermaltake can make the improvements I've suggested and maybe throw in something of their own, they'll have a real winner on their hands.
- Easy to use and setup
- I'm so happy to see something that ISN'T just another Hard Drive Enclosure
- No eSata and Firewire limits potential performance
- The exposed back of the drive could be a problem for "spilly talkers"
Overall Rating: 9.0 / 10.0
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