Given the benchmark figures in the previous section, the pros and cons of the StarTech.com SATA / IDE to USB 3.0 docking station must be quite evident by now. Before summarizing those points, let us take a look at the power consumption of the unit. We used a Samsung SATA hard drive (HD103SJ) in this test as well as the Corsair SSD to gauge these numbers for the SATA slot. The table below presents the power consumption under various conditions.

StarTech.com USB 3.0 IDE SATA HDD Docking Station - Power Consumption
SATA Slot IDE Slot Activity Power Consumption
None None SATA Powered On 2.4 W
None None IDE Powered On 3.0 W
None None SATA and IDE Powered On 3.0 W
Samsung HDD None Idle 8.6 W
Samsung HDD None Disk Spun Down 3.2 W
Samsung HDD None 4KB Random Read 10.5 W
Samsung HDD None 4KB Random Write 9.5 W
Samsung HDD None 128KB Sequential Read 11 W
Samsung HDD None 128KB Sequential Write 10.8 W
Corsair SSD None Idle 3.0 W
Corsair SSD None Disk Spun Down NA
Corsair SSD None 4KB Random Read 3.4 W
Corsair SSD None 4KB Random Write 4.7 W
Corsair SSD None 128KB Sequential Read 4.3 W
Corsair SSD None 128KB Sequential Write 5.4 W
None WD EIDE HDD Idle 10.1 W
None WD EIDE HDD Disk Spun Down 3.7 W
None WD EIDE HDD 4KB Random Read 11.4 W
None WD EIDE HDD 4KB Random Write 10.6 W
None WD EIDE HDD 128KB Sequential Read 11.9 W
None WD EIDE HDD 128KB Sequential Write 11.8 W

The unit doesn't have any active cooling, which means it is completely silent. The hard drives are also not in any enclosed space, and as long as the unit is subject to airflow during operation, overheating is not a concern.

Coming to the business end of the review, we can say that the dock is an acceptable solution for users looking to access the data in their IDE drives on modern machines. On the SATA front, the unit faces stiff competition from the host of other cheaper SATA to USB 3.0 adapters. This unit is currently priced at $62 on Amazon. Pure SATA to USB 3.0 adapters are available for as low as $27. IDE/SATA to USB 3.0 combos are available for $40, although the industrial design appears very fragile (similar to the SATA duplicator from StarTech.com that we reviewed earlier). For approximately $22 more, we have a better looking unit which also appears to be more sturdy and saves space by allowing for upright mounting of the drives. However, for this cost, we would expect the USB 3.0 bandwidth to be fully utilized using a SATA 6 Gbps bridge chip. For $27, Vantec seems to be able to offer a SATA 6 Gbps to USB 3.0 5Gbps adapter.

The lack of UASP support which has the potential to increase the storage bandwidth is disappointing. We raised concerns about the fragility of the power adapter cords in the SATA duplicator review, and unfortunately, the dock we are covering today has the same issues. It is also not possible to have 2.5" SATA drives powered over the USB 3.0 port.

StarTech.com has a number of interesting hard-to-find gadgets in their arsenal. The current docking station is one of the few models available which supports both SATA and IDE drives over USB 3.0. In the next iteration, we would like StarTech.com to include full 6 Gbps support, UASP as well as the ability to power 2.5" drives over the USB 3.0 port. The industrial design is perfectly fine and needs no fine tuning.

In conclusion, the dock does fulfill the needs of users wanting to use their SATA hard drives and IDE drives at the maximum possible speed in space-constrained setups. Our main concern is with respect to the value for money. At $62, we feel is it is overpriced for the features offered. We will leave it to our readers to be the final judge.

SATA and IDE Performance Benchmarks
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17 Comments

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  • alacard - Monday, June 18, 2012 - link

    And they work well, highly recommended. (just make sure when you open the box you got a new one (no scratches), the older models have major flaws, and startech will rebox returns and send them out as new). Reply
  • Paul Tarnowski - Monday, June 18, 2012 - link

    I'll have to look it up. I've had USB 3.0 for almost a year and I still haven't a single device for it. This one might just give me the excuse to get one.

    BTW, I've never heard of SCSCI. But I'm guessing from usage that it's a Type-0 Protocol, right?
    Reply
  • Chuck_NC - Monday, June 18, 2012 - link

    The single HDD version with built-in fan that I have has worked very well. It is finicky when used with a USB3.0 hub (random disconnects, noticed on large file copies), and won't pass Smart data to older SATA and eSATA ports. The adjustable fan is loud, but when dialed up to full speed, even keeps the fastest spinning drives cool (tested up to 10K drives). I have tried other units, especially some that use port multiplier technology with severely poor results. Have been very happy with this one on both USB3.0 and eSATA. The eSATA port seems to be faster on most machines that I have. Reply
  • Rix2357 - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - link

    Lots of these USB 3.0 to hard drive adaptors don't spin down the hard drives after inactivity. I care a lot about this because I keep mine attached to the notebook as an almost permanent storage and if they don't spin down, the hard drives get pretty hot after awhile. Reply
  • ganeshts - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - link

    Yes, it does! I have mentioned that in the review also. Reply
  • AstroGuardian - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - link

    Doesn't it have a detrimental effect on the drive life that it's positioned vertically?
    Especially for older IDE drives which were probably placed horizontally for most of their life time.
    Reply
  • sheh - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - link

    I've always been uneasy about that too. Also some of these decks keep the drives in an angle, I think. I wonder not only about used drives but also new.

    I recall reading something about drives being designed to run when positioned straight in any orientation, but it still makes me wonder.
    Reply
  • AssBall - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - link

    I really doubt it will make a difference. I have run drives hanging upside down off a power cable for 4 years without any issues. Run several of them sideways as well, and never could tell any difference in lifespan. Reply
  • Lerianis - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - link

    That is an old-wives tale. Modern hard drives (last 10 years) are meant to be able to run fine when mounted in any way. Stood up, on it's side, sitting on it's top, etc.

    As long as the drive doesn't vibrate and move, the drive should be fine. SSD's, of course, with no moving parts, you don't even have to worry about the drive moving.
    Reply
  • Taft12 - Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - link

    Got a source for that claim? I've not heard it before and many smaller cases have hard drives mounted vertically. Reply

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