StarTech UNIDOCK3U Hard Drive Dock Review

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One Dock To Serve Them All

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.

StarTech.com USB 3.0 to SATA IDE HDD Docking Station

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.

StarTech.com USB 3.0 to SATA IDE HDD Docking Station

StarTech.com USB 3.0 to SATA IDE HDD Docking Station Features & Specifications:

  • Warranty: 2 Years
  • Interface: USB 3.0
  • Number of Drives: 2
  • Drive Size: 2.5in & 3.5in
  • Drive Type: SATA & IDE
  • Drive Installation: Removable
  • Fan(s): No
  • Chipset ID: JMicron – JMS551
  • Drive Connectors:
  • 1 – IDE (40 Pin; EIDE/PATA) Male
  • 1 – LP4 (4 pin; Molex Large Drive Power) Male
  • 1 – SATA Data & Power Combo (7+15 pin) Receptacle
  • Host Connectors:
    • 1 – USB 3.0 B (9 pin; SuperSpeed) Female
  • Maximum Data Transfer Rate: 5 Gbps
  • Type and Rate:
    • USB 3.0 – 5 Gbit/s
    • SATA II (3 Gbps)
  • RAID: No
  • Max Drive Capacity: Currently tested with up to 4TB 5400 RPM 3.5″ hard drives and 1TB 5400 RPM 2.5″ hard drive
  • Insertion Rating: 15,000 Cycles (SATA)
  • OS Compatibility:
    • Windows XP(32/64-bit)/ Server 2003(32/64-bit)/ Server 2008 R2/ Vista(32/64-bit)/ 7(32/64-bit)/ 8 (32/64-bit)
    • Mac OS 10.4/ 10.5/ 10.6/ 10.7/ 10.8
    • Linux
  • Color: Black
  • Enclosure Type: Plastic
  • Product Length: 5.5 in [140 mm]
  • Product Width: 5.1 in [130 mm]
  • Product Height: 2.8 in [70 mm]
  • Product Weight: 21.5 oz [610 g]
  • LED Indicators: 1 – Power and Drive Activity
  • Power Adapter Included: Yes
  • Input Voltage: 110 ~ 240 AC
  • Output Voltage: 12 DC
  • Output Current: 3A
  • Center Tip Polarity: Positive
  • Plug Type: M
  • Operating Temperature: 5C to 80C (41F to 176F)
  • Storage Temperature: -40C to 70C (-40F to 158F)
  • Humidity: 8% ~ 90% RH
  • System and Cable Requirements: Available USB port
  • Shipping (Package) Weight: 2.9 lb [1.3 kg]
  • Included in Package:
    • 1 – Universal Hard Drive Dock
    • 1 – 40 Pin + LP4 to 44 Pin IDE Cable
    • 1 – IDE 40 to 40 Pin Cable
    • 1 – LP4 Power Cable
    • 1 – USB 3.0 Cable
    • 1 – Power Cord
    • 1 – Power Adapter
    • 1 – Instruction Manual

    StarTech.com USB 3.0 to SATA IDE HDD Docking Station

    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.

    StarTech.Com USB 3.0 to SATA/IDE HDD Docking Station Closer Look & Use:

    StarTech.com USB 3.0 to SATA IDE HDD Docking Station Top

    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.

    StarTech.com USB 3.0 to SATA IDE HDD Docking Station

    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.

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