When it comes to being able to duplicate hard drives efficiently StarTech has been on the cutting edge of that technology. I was recently given the opportunity to review StarTech’s new 1:3 Standalone SATA/IDE Hard Drive Duplicator Dock. This dock is perfect for anyone who has the need to duplicate one hard drive onto 3 other hard drives simultaneously. This dock is perfect if you are needing to make 3 exact copies of one hard drive without the need of a separate computer connection. I have not had many times when I have needed to make a copy of a hard drive on 3 others, but I can see where this dock can be handy, especially for computer repair or computer retail shops to make exact copies of hard drives for backup purposes or upgrades.
The top photo is courtesy of StarTech. The other photos in this review can be clicked for an enlarged view.
- SATA Duplicator Dock
- USB 3.0 Cable/eSATA Cable
- SATA to IDE Adapter/40-pin IDE Cable
- 44-pin to 40-pin IDE Cable
- SP4 to LP4 Power Adapter
- 3 Power Cords
- Instruction Manual
The hard drive dock is designed to be rugged and has all the connections you need on the back side of the unit. The unit has dual, variable speed fans for controlling the temperature. The dock is actually quiet; the only noise I noticed was the hard drives being accessed to get the data to and from. On the back side of the unit you have the fan controls to allow you to cool the hard drives at different speeds, the eSATA and USB 3.0 connection and the power connection. All of the ports are laid out nicely with adequate room to access all of them.
The dock comes with adapters to hook up IDE drives as well. I didn’t have any IDE drives to test with this unit, but it appears that everything is included with this kit to allow you to duplicate any hard drive.
Now onto the nitty-gritty details of this duplicator. As you can see the dock can duplicate up to three hard drives at once. Each drive slot has a indicator light/ring, one side lights up blue and the other lights up red. The blue light stays on all the time to tell you that you have power on the unit, the red light only comes on when the drive is being accessed.
Also you will notice a LCD screen on the unit. I am really impressed by this unit’s ability to duplicate drives without the need of a computer. Everything can be done from this one screen; just use the up, down, ent and esc buttons to choose the mode of operation required. Go into duplicator mode, plug the hard drives into the correct bays, and you are ready to go.
The speed of the unit is anything but subpar. I only used a 40 GB hard drive for my testing purposes, but the hard drive had a factory image on it. I was able to duplicate the hard drive onto another drive in 18 minutes. As you can see from the image above, the LCD screen will show you how long it has taken to complete. It also shows you the progress of the duplication. While I was monitoring the speed of the duplicator, I noticed that it started out at 45-47 MB/s and never went below 30 MB/s during the duplication. I ran this test 3 times on the same hard drive and each time the speeds were within a few seconds of each other. After duplicating the hard drive, I then placed the hard drive into the computer and was able to boot from the drive without any problems. Besides being able to duplicate whole drives, you can also use the unit as a external hard drive when you connect to a computer.
This screen shot just shows the progress of the duplication, this is a very nice feature of this unit. This unit can also be used as to access up to 4 SATA hard drives simultaneously. From the LCD screen, you can access the built in quick drive erase and Secure Erase.
This device is a great compliment to anyone needing to duplicate hard drives and not have to hook them up to a computer. This standalone unit is solidly built and has the speed to keep up. If you have the need to duplicate more than one drive at a time I would definitely recommend this unit. I didn’t test the unit in PC mode, the only thing I was interested in was the standalone mode this unit has to offer.