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  • TrackSmart - Tuesday, September 06, 2011 - link

    Neat product. There are a number of times that I could have used this when helping family members or friends transfer data to a new HDD or computer. Unfortunately, my experience with HDD enclosures from companies StarTech, Bytecc, etc has me wondering if it would turn into an $80 paperweight after using it a few times. Your comments about fragility certainly don't bode well either. Reply
  • Googer - Thursday, September 08, 2011 - link

    That's goes along with my concern.

    This duplicator may be fast, but more importantly is it ACCURATE and dependable? Can it clone a whole TB drive with out errors or quitting?
  • GeorgeH - Tuesday, September 06, 2011 - link

    I use devices similar to this and they're definitely nice to have, but on the whole I've found their reliability to be pretty hit and miss. At this point my first instinct is to use a power brick->SATA power adapter and a SATA<-<eSATA cable, then try something like this through USB if that isn't feasible.

    From my perspective that's actually the weakest point of this gadget - I'd recommend getting a SATA power extension cable and a SATA<->eSATA cable as well. That way if the data part fails to work you can still use this device as a power supply and connect a drive directly to an eSATA port.
  • ckryan - Tuesday, September 06, 2011 - link

    I was just cloning some SSDs now.

    I actually kinda wish I had this at the moment. Lately I've been using cloning as a primary backup method, and I could see this as being very useful to me... Not $80 useful, but more like $50 useful.
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, September 06, 2011 - link

    It is available on TigerDirect for the price you mention.

    The Bytecc model (not sure if it uses the same chip / has the same performance) is available in both Microelectronics and Frys for less than $40. (Also on some online websites)
  • Reikon - Tuesday, September 06, 2011 - link

    Another poor article from Anandtech. Seems like they keep increasing. Don't be like poor quality sites where reviews are half quotes/info verbatim directly from the manufacturer with no added insight. And do we really need to a bulleted list of pros and cons? Seemed like the site was above doing stuff like that, not to mention all the info is basically right above it on the same page. Reply
  • Jedi2155 - Tuesday, September 06, 2011 - link

    While the number of insights is limited (i.e. it performed better than advertised), it did provide some of the usual Anandtech qualities such as overview of system i/o of how the unit operates. This is in contrary to most poor reviews where the reviewer merely discuses usability and performance. I'd say its an "adequate" review while not up to Anand's usual in-depth article, it definitely does provide some useful details about a product that is usually reviewed by far poorer websites. Reply
  • FH123 - Tuesday, September 06, 2011 - link

    I must confess I haven't read this article, but I would agree there's no point in repeating features or other information you can get elsewhere. On the other hand I've had multiple AKASA external drive bays that plain didn't work, causing reproducible CRC errors reading known good Ghost images. This can be very insidious. A colleague of mine used his AKASA enclosure to play MP3s and, while he noticed dropouts in the music, never put that down to the enclosure. A different, Sharkoon, adapter of mine, while not introducing errors, hangs every so often, which is a big deal when you're imaging a disk for several hours. A lot of these products seem to be made with JMicron chipsets, the same company that produced the early SSD chipsets that would cause drives to freeze. Anand's investigations of such issues are some of the most valuable insights that I come here for.

    I also own a StarTech eSata dock that has a different issue altogether, a strong acrid smell from manufacturing that just won't go away. Wasn't planning on buying from them again until I get confirmation of neutral odor ;-).
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, September 06, 2011 - link


    Thanks for the feedback. In my opinion, the list of pros and cons make an ideal summary of the piece for people reading the review in a hurry.

    This is a very basic gadget. Can you let me know what more insight can be provided into this basic bridge device? I am open to suggestions.
  • Reikon - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    I'm not saying there's more insight to provide on this gadget. I'm saying we don't need information/quotes directly from the manufacturer if there's nothing insightful you can say about it. It just looks like padding for the review -- a technique that lower quality sites like to use. I mean seriously, do I need to know it comes with the instruction manual? I mean sure, if it doesn't come with one and isn't intuitive, mention it. Otherwise, I don't think people care.

    As for your pro/con list, it seems to fall into the trap lots of sites make nowadays that cater to the tl;dr crowd. A summary paragraph is much more professional. Your list includes a lot of obvious things or things mention right above it anyway. For example, "Multipurpose gadget with both eSATA / USB dock as well as clone mode." That info is already in the product name! Most of the info is already in the tables above or doesn't really need to be stated. You can just write a short summary paragraph about its strengths and weaknesses instead of padding out a list.
  • Nickel020 - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    I didn't know such a product exists, and I'm now considering getting one. I like it that AT now occasionally does short reviews like this. As long as the lon reviews keep coming, more is better.

    To omit information because the reader may assume it is a terrible practice. I always like reviews that are very detailed - if they're well structured, they can still be enjoyable to read. I should not need to go to the manufacturer's homepage for further info after reading a product review.

    "A summary paragraph is much more professional. "

    You're not being serious, are you? The purpose of a review is to present original and available information in an understandable way and help make a purchasing decision (not look "professional" and only understandable for elitist users). Pro/Con lists help a lot there from a didactic standpoint. I wish AT would use them more, like JonnyGuru does for example. They make information considerably easier to grasp than a wall of text.
    It's also called a summary for a reason. It's meant to readable stand-alone. Hence the name. Hence the need to re-state information.
  • lpjz290 - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    Reikon, you're talking through your hoop! The purpose of the articles on this well-respected site is to help us make informed buying decisions, not to present to the IEEE or some other research organizations as research papers and the likes!

    In order to keep readers informed,there is a need to repeat what features the products have and what they can do. Otherwise, what's the point of even doing a review?

    The use of bullets is very useful to reinforce what the product is supposed to be good at, or whether the product is worth considering. And if you don't know, bullets do a better job at helping readers digest the huge amounts of information. nobody will want to re-read an entire page of text just to recap!

    If you want to be so elitist and make everything as you perceive to be "professional", please leave this site and start your own.
  • Reikon - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    *sigh* Okay, I might have been a bit harsh to say the article itself was bad. It's just there's way too much useless and redundant information that makes the article SEEM like it's from a site that has nothing to really say.

    I still stand by the pro/con list specifically in this review is almost pointless. The vast majority of the info is obvious (function, size) or is in an easy to read table just a little bit above the pro/con list. He could have easily turned it into a several sentence summary that's still very easy to read, but instead it looks like a padded list to create "content."
  • sleepeeg3 - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    It's an adapter. How much is there really to say? Sheesh. Reply
  • colmiak - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    agreed. quality review just like all anandtech articles.

    this a small product with not much to say and the cons/pros list is great way to summarize a short article. i mean... theres not much more to say :)
  • dhuhtala - Tuesday, September 06, 2011 - link

    The most important thing to me is to be able to manage the size of the partitions - I'm almost always replacing a hard drive with a larger capacity drive. There's no mention here as to whether or not this device supports increasing the size of the target volume. I'm assuming it won't...which makes the device completely useless to me... Reply
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, September 06, 2011 - link

    Volume management needs to be done on the PC.

    For example, when I cloned the SSD to the HDD, all the partitions on the SSD got reflected onto the HDD, but the remaining ~1.7 TB of space on the HDD showed up as unallocated in the Windows Disk Management console. I was able to make this into a separate partition without affecting the cloned data.
  • rustycurse - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    quotes: "However, waiting for more than 5 hours to get a 2 TB drive cloned' & "Product gets quite hot to touch and needs proper heat dissipation when operating" ... least can boil (warm) your cup of coffee (tea).....;)
    Take care...;)
    P.S. Anyway... thanks to all Anandtech team for keeping us informed
  • c4v3man - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    Unless the device is certified as blocking all writes, and making no changes whatsoever to the source disk, then this device will simply DESTROY evidence, not duplicate it. There's a reason why Tableau and other manufacturers can charge $200+ for devices that do less... It's because they are certified, serial-numbered devices that preserve the integrity of the evidence in a repeatable verifiable manner, and are reliable products that get the job done.

    Now for 99.9% of our tasks at our shop, we use similar devices to this Startech unit, and they work very well. Most people don't need to forensically duplicate a hard drive, so this is a good/great product. The article, however, shouldn't claim a use that it's not capable of performing.
  • Spoooon - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    I interpreted it as a list of possible uses for this type of device, not uses specific to this brand and model device. Reply
  • steven75 - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    Why would it write to the source disk at all? That makes no sense... I've never cloned a HDD that in any way modified the source disk, so why would this be any different? Reply
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    I agree that it need not modify the disk connected to the source port in clone mode, but it does send writes to that port when connected to a PC in, say, JBOD configuration.

    Probably, it costs some money to get the certification. I have to say that this certification issue is not something I researched into, as I was more concerned with the technical aspects. Something to keep in mind for future reviews :) Thanks to c4v3man for pointing it out.
  • c4v3man - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    The problem isn't so much that it likely won't write to the source disk, the problem is that it's not tested or provable in court that it could not. The certification is obviously the important part here as you noted.

    Thank you for the reply. With as many drives as we clone (which is rarely ever forensically sensitive) we go through 2-3 of these generic adapters a year. It's still alot cheaper than using our Tableau to the point of failure. It's a shame that the startech adapter isn't USB3 rated...
  • OmniWrench - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    Just curious, were the duplicates compared to the original drives in some way to be sure that the duplication itself was bug-free? Reply
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    The duplicated drive behaved in the same manner as the original drive (i.e, folder and file accesses returned the same data); All partitions in the original drive were retained when viewed in Windows Explorer. I didn't take the trouble to do any further steps to verify exact duplication. Reply
  • jsg11 - Thursday, September 08, 2011 - link

    Just because a folder and files have been copied does not mean that the device has been duplicated. The duplicate must be verified using entire drive hashing. The Tableau device referenced by c4v3man uses both MD5 and SHA1 hashes to ensure that the duplicate is the exact same as the original. A Ghost clone would copy the files and folders, but a hardware device must be able to perform a sector-by-sector copy of one drive onto the other and prove that it copied everything exactly using verification hashes. Otherwise, in the eyes of a forensic examiner, it is not a forensic duplicator.

    And yes, I completely agree with c4v3man, in that this device should not be marketed as forensics device as it yet to be proven to not modify the source device, and I sincerely doubt there are any protections from write accesses by the device to the source drive. Using a device like this to make a copy of an evidence drive would get an examiner torn apart by a good attorney. For anyone interested, here is a link for the tools that have actually been tested for forensics by the US Department of Justice and NIST:
  • 7Enigma - Monday, September 12, 2011 - link

    I'll be honest. I was also hoping for some sort of integrity check moreso than just a "it works". That to me would have been the icing on the cake that would have also quelled some of the poor/undetailed review comments. Reply
  • mariush - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    I'm sorry, how is this a review? It's basically an unboxing... with some speed tests.

    Open it up, show its insides... explain..

    is it made well enough, did they cut corners on something inside?

    is the heat potentially going to kill it (if it's hot and they use 85c capacitors inside the device it's going to die in 1-2 years of use) ?

    is the power supply actually capable of 36 watts without burning your carpet, how's the insides of that as well, is it some Chinese crap or something decent ?

    how is the device handling various devices, will it work well with sata to ide bridges, sata 1 drives, Flash drives connected through some adapters to the SATA

    how well does it handle "sick" drives? let's say I have a drive that at some points it needs a lot of time to read data or it times out at some SATA commands but then recovers - is the device smart enough to send reset commands or does it do plenty of retry commands so that someone could actually use it to duplicate a faulty drive?
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    Unfortunately, this is a screwless device. I tried my best to open it, but realized that it wouldn't be possible without risking some damage to the SATA connectors (since the seam points seem to be wedged against those).

    I think the PSU is a bit of an overkill just to account for some really power hungry SATA drives. It is almost like a laptop power brick.

    As for sick drives, yes, I did test one -- but, the LED for the port came up red instead of green and no further action was possible. So, if the drive is dead, no luck with this device.
  • LoneWolf15 - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    What happens if the device is in duplicator mode and it encounters a bad sector?

    Many of us would like to have a device like this for emergency cloning of a failing drive to another drive.
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, September 07, 2011 - link

    Bad sectors are skipped, so you do get the good data. In case of a failed drive, this is not a suitable product for that (look at my comment in reply to mariush's post above) Reply
  • Samus - Thursday, September 08, 2011 - link

    needs usb 3.0 :( Reply
  • pandemonium - Friday, September 09, 2011 - link

    I'm impressed. Not particularly since this is a nicely done niche product, but the fact that they market the speeds less than what they actually did in the bench. That's admirable. Reply
  • 7Enigma - Monday, September 12, 2011 - link

    Agreed! Nice bit of honest marketing for once. Reply
  • mozozozo - Sunday, September 11, 2011 - link

    Does anyone know of a software HDD Duplicator that can do more than 1:1 cloning, say 1 master to 3 slave etc. I know there are PC independent hardware solutions but they are quite expensive.If the software is available one could built a cheap 3 hdd duplicator with a basic 4 sata port motherboard. Reply
  • jonathan1683 - Saturday, September 17, 2011 - link

    I would like to state my thoughts as well on the article since I have never seen a device like this and it actually made me want one. After the review I really didn't know exactly what it did and I do not agree with the person said that you shouldn't put info that was available elsewhere. I would rather read it in the review so thanks for keeping the info. Maybe if people really dislike it you can have a manufacturer info paragraph so people can decide not to read it. I think it should have given more info on to what it did. I think the article assumed I knew what devices like this do. I understand somewhat what it does, but I still think I need to visit their site to understand completely. I think just the words hard drive duplicator would have been helpful. I thought it was duplicating interfaces to do IDE to USB functions. I also agree with mariush these questions are valid and I would have also liked to know how stable it worked with a bad drive and I would also have liked you to include your personal opinion on the power supply because it was the first thing that deterred me from buying it. If you include info like this in your review it would prompt manufacturers to make smaller devices. Why do they even need power bricks this big for such a small device? The fact that you actually tested the device and thought what we were thinking should give you reason to add it in the review because you had the same thoughts and questions. Also I thought the comment was dumb that someone asked if it could do a function like acronis migrate easy when it cloned data to a bigger size drive because the review said it could use larger drives I assumed it could. I thought it was great, but it actually doesn't and you would have to make a new partition which to me make is not what I would want. The info about the unallocated space should have been included. Anyways this is getting too long. This is my first time on the site and I am reading almost every article. Great site and thanks for the review. Reply

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