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Date: December 14th, 2010
Article by: Jackie Mueller (Hardware Reviewer)
Edited By: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Vantec
<--CLICK FOR DEALS ON A VANTEC NEXSTAR NST-D400S3 HARD DRIVE DOCK IN THE US
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PRODUCT PICTORIAL AND WALKTHROUGH (cont'd)



The included USB 3.0 cable is three feet long and seems durable enough to hold up to frequent use. Note that a USB 3.0 cable will only work with a USB 3.0 device; you can't mix and match USB 2.0 equipment with USB 3.0 equipment.

 

PRODUCT INSTALLATION AND TESTING



No drivers are required for installation. Just insert the hard drive(s), plug in the USB cable and AC adapter, and you're done the OS will take care of the rest. Keep in mind that for the best performance, you'll need to use it with a USB 3.0 port.


This unit, like all USB 3.0 devices, is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1. You can take this dock and plug it into a USB 2.0 port and it will work just fine, although you won't see USB 3.0 speeds. Regardless, it's good to know that you can buy this product and use it with just about any modern PC.



For testing, I first transferred a 4.35GB DVD .iso file between two SATA II drives in my test PC running Windows 7 Home Premium (all updates applied). The file transfer took 1 minute, 27 seconds when recorded with a stopwatch.


With that in mind, let's compare how long it takes to transfer the same file to and from a Seagate 1TB drive inside the Vantec dock.

 
The first test will be a file transfer using USB 2.0. Here are the results:


4.35GB File Transfer (USB 2.0)

 

Time (minutes:seconds)

Write to external drive

2:06

Read from external drive

2:01


And here are the results using USB 3.0:


4.35GB File Transfer (USB 3.0)

 

Time (minutes:seconds)

Write to external drive

1:30

Read from external drive

1:28


These results show pretty clearly how much faster USB 3.0 is than its predecessor. Theoretically it's up to 10 times faster than USB 2.0, although real world speeds will be more in line with the test results shown here. Regardless, it's still a huge improvement in speed and is about equal to speeds demonstrated by the SATA II interface. Impressive!


One of the few caveats with a product like this is that hard drives are exposed to the elements while docked. This means some extra care is necessary while using one since an accidental spill of a drink or bump to the floor can result in inaccessible data.

 

 


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