Having a dock to plug in what are normally internal hard drives makes it easy to access data on the drive without the hassle of having to open up the case and insert the drive – especially if the SATA ports are not hot-swappable which would require a reboot. There are a host of such docks on the market with an array of interfaces and connectors. StarTech.com is offering up a somewhat unique version that connects to the PC via USB 3.0 and connects to drives via SATA II or IDE interface. Today, we’ll be having a closer look at the dock and giving our impressions of how it performs and ease of use.
Found online for right about $64 online, it’s priced competitively with similar docks on the market. StarTech.com also offers a number of other docks but this one is configured to support two drives – one via the SATA II interface and another via IDE as mentioned. It doesn’t matter if these drives are of the 3.5″ or 2.5″ form factor as it can accommodate both. The brains of the operation within the dock is two-fold. First is a 1.5Gbps capable JMicron 20330 PATA to SATA bridge chip for the IDE interface and the JMicron JMS551 USB 3.0 to SATA bridge chip which is capable of supporting speeds of 3Gbps.
Accessories are many as illustrated above. In addition to the typical documentation, the packaging contains a 40 Pin + LP4 to 44 Pin IDE cable, a IDE 40 to 40 Pin Cable, a USB 3.0 cable, the power cords and accompanying transformer. Everything you need to get started.
Having a look at the dock itself, on top the two drive bays are the most prominent features with spring-loaded covers that have cut-outs for the 2.5″ drives. There are power switches and mechanical eject buttons for each bay as well.
On the front, the StarTech.com logo is prominently displayed. On the next page, we’ll finish the product tour and have a look at the test system.