Obviously, when using the Thermaltake Blacx Duet docking station, you are going to see the best performance using the eSATA connection but there is a small catch when using two drives. Your eSATA controller must support the Port Multiplier feature in order for two drives to be seen and used simultaneously. Many of the newer motherboards with eSATA do support this but if it doesn’t you will have to defer to the USB 2.0 connection which does support that feature. However, splitting the already meager bandwidth of USB 2.0 between two drives will slow performance to a virtual crawl so check with your motherboard manufacturer first.
Other than that little caveat, I have no complaints at all about this device. It couldn’t be easier to set up and the flexibility of use is superb if you have a stack of drives you continually swap out. Be aware that since the drives are bare and more or less exposed, you will get a fair amount of noise during drive operation.
I will voice a word of caution regarding the process of physically swapping the drives. Be very careful about sliding the drives in and ejecting them out. The SATA connectors are not known for their durability and can snap off easily if you have not aligned things properly and try to force the drive in.
Some other words of wisdom: when ejecting, turn the dock off, wait ten or more seconds and hold the drive with one hand while pushing the eject button with the other to keep it from popping out and falling back on the connectors. Not only could this do damage to the SATA connectors but the moving parts inside the drive may bear the brunt of this shock and lead to drive failure. I don’t see this as a big issue but just be mindful of it as you will be putting your valuable data at risk with oafish maneuvers.
I see no compelling reason to utilize an external drive enclosure when there are docks like the Thermaltake Blackx Duet available unless you really have major issues with hearing the drive noise. Enclosures aren’t cheap and you’ll need one for each drive you have. For $39.98 plus shipping, you can purchase the BlacX Duet and swap out drives at will.
Legit Bottom Line: The Thermaltake BlacX Duet offers the most flexibility available on a hard drive docking station with capacity for two drives and supporting both eSATA and USB 2.0 connections. With Thermaltake’s reputation as well as pricing in the sweet-spot of the product line, the BlacX Duet makes a nice supplement to desktop or notebook PC’s without the hassle of cracking open the case for expansion.