If you’re in search of a quick way to read the contents of a 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch SATA drive, then StarTech has a desktop dock offering that may meet your needs. The unit, a top-loading dual-bay desktop dock that connects to your computer via USB 3.1 Gen 2, affords fast access to the contents of up to two SATA drives in a convenient package.

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Features

  • Dock two 2.5- or 3.5-inch SATA SSD/HDD drives
  • USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gbps) connectivity with UASP
  • Dual-drive docking station with SATA I, II, III (up to 6 Gbps) support
  • Large drive capacity of 12TB (6TB per bay)
  • Top-loader with eject button for easy access
  • Independent power buttons for each drive
  • Backwards compatible with USB 3.0, 2.0 and 1.x

Inside the box

  • USB 3.1 dual-drive dock
  • USB cable
  • Power adapter
  • Four power adapter plugs for various regions
  • Instruction manual

Video walkthrough

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Once you connect the power and USB cables, using the dock is easy. Simply slide a SATA drive — either a 2.5-inch or a 3.5-inch model — into one of the two slots.

The dock plays nice with both standard HDDs or SSDs. To test out the dock I connected a 3.5-inch traditional spinning hard drive, along with a 2.5-inch SSD to examine connectivity and performance. The results were largely as expected, as the USB 3.1 Gen 2 bandwidth is more than enough to accommodate the maximum 6Gbps SATA III speeds of the drives housed inside the dock.

It should be noted that StarTech only includes a USB Type-A cable in the box, hence, you won’t be able to connect at the full 10Gbps on machines without USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A female ports. I happened to have a USB Type-B to USB-C cable available, which allowed me to connect to my iMac’s Thunderbolt 3 ports for full 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen 2 I/O.

Connectivity is easy, and because the unit lives on the desktop, it allows for quick insertion and removal of SSDs and HDDs. Drives inserted into to the unit are treated like any other external USB drive, so connecting and removal is simple. I was even able to connect two previously-configured RAID 0 drives using both bays, and it worked perfectly.

Upon inserting one or more drives and pressing the power button, you’ll notice a couple of activity lights on the right side of the display panel. The indicator lights denote activity for each of the drives, and obviously drives should not be ejected while activity is occurring.

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Before ejecting a drive, you’ll want to unmount the disk from your computer via the OS. After the drive is removed, a firm press on the physical eject button found on the left side of the dock will cause the drive to eject.

Conclusion

My biggest gripe with the StarTech dock is the large StarTech.com logo emblazoned on the front of the unit. The logo is unsightly, and unnecessarily large for a device that’s meant to dwell permanently on the desktop.

Other than issues with the logo, I’m largely satisfied with the dock. In my hands-on experience, it works just as advertised. For those of you who need to regularly interface externally with standalone SATA drives, and don’t mind the $70+ asking price, it may be a better choice than using a decidedly more temporary-looking SATA to USB cable adapter.

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