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Diamond USB 3.0/2.0 to HDMI/DVI Mini Ultra Dock Review

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Diamond USB 3.0/2.0 to HDMI/DVI Mini Ultra Dock Setup and Testing:

Testing for the Diamond HDMI/DVI Mini Ultra Dock was another unique testing scheme as it is not quite a common product, let alone a common product tested here at OCC. I ended up trying the adapter with two different systems: first with a qualifying tablet/PC and then with the usual OCC test bed. I did this to test whether the minimum requirements are valid or whether they should be stretched, especially in the CPU department.

 

Diamond USB 3.0/2.0 to HDMI/DVI Mini Ultra Dock Setup:

The two systems I tried with the Diamond adapter are listed below. Although the promised speed of the first testbed is only 1.33GHz, one might think the peak 1.86GHz might be enough. Besides, day to day I normally see ~1.6GHz. This could easily be your logic if you are justifying trying to add a second monitor or just to connect to a projector. Thus why I felt the need to show it. The second testbed is the OCC Bench, which is quite the beast and far outdoes the minimum requirements. Though I didn't have three of the adapters to try out six monitors, one could imagine this being an alright rig to do so. Between the two, you will at least be able to see two of the approved operating systems. Unfortunately – or fortunately depending on how you look at it – I did not have an Apple testbed running OS X  to test against.

First Testbed: ASUS T100

  • OS: Windows 8.1 
  • CPU: Intel Atom Z3740 (Quad-Core 1.33GHz with 1.86GHz peak) 
  • Memory: 2GB DDR3 
  • USB: One USB 3.0 Port
  • Space: More than 30 MB of free disk space, and more than 10 MB hard disk space
  • Adapter Plug: HDMI

Second Testbed: OCC Bench

  • Windows 7 
  • CPU: Intel Fourth Generation Core i7 4770k 
  • Memory: 16GB DDR3 
  • USB: One USB 3.0 Port
  • Space: More than 30 MB of free disk space, and more than 10 MB hard disk space
  • Adapter Plug: DVI

 

Diamond USB 3.0/2.0 to HDMI/DVI Mini Ultra Dock First Testbed Setup and Results:

So I was expecting things to go a little more smoothly having already used one of the Diamond devices on this tablet before. I had tested the adapter on it for the previous review and had no troubles at all. This time wasn't quite the same deal. I went to the website to grab the drivers/software - that installed just fine, no issues. When I went to plug in the USB connection, well that's when the "problem" started. There's no easy way of putting it; it just didn't work. It wasn't recognized in the control panel device manager; it didn't even show up as a device. Windows just didn't see it. Well, crud. I thought it was a Windows 8.1 problem (which I wouldn't be too surprised with) so I went to play with the second test bed for a bit...

As you'll notice below, it turned out the device just wasn't working with a USB 3.0 connection. I was able to make things work on a USB 2.0 port on the second testbed, but struggeld to ever get it working with the USB 3.0 ports. Sadly the T100 only has one USB port and a USB 3.0 one at that (not really sure that is actually "sad" now that I think of it). So there are no results really for this testbed for the time being. We, OCC, are working with Diamond on getting the issue resolved; there's a chance we may have gotten a dud!

 

USB 3.0 Update: 

So Diamond made things right and sent out another unit after trying to troubleshoot the issue. The second one arrived, I plugged it in, and well, it worked on USB 3.0 ports. Something must have been wonky with either the controller, cable, or something. The tablet only having a USB 3.0 could now use the Ultra Dock, and it happily just worked. The drivers installed themselves as they should and I could easily run a second monitor to the tablet. The Ethernet plug recognized our network almost instantly and gave me access to Google without much effort. Sadly the network just wasn't all what one could expect. With our network I would have expected to see 114 MB/s read and 115 MB/s write speeds (as shown in the first image below). But perhaps we can attribute this to the lowly CPU in this little tablet. Let's go ahead and see what she can do on the regular OCC test bed now that we've got USB 3.0 working!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diamond USB 3.0/2.0 to HDMI/DVI Mini Ultra Dock Second Testbed Setup and Results:

I ended up playing with the second test bed a bit more, considering the issue I had with the first setup. This second setup had a little more to fuss with, being that it has both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports. It is also a Windows 7 setup, which could lead to resolving some issues. Unfortunately, the USB 3.0 issue was not resolved. I will say I was determined to make it work, after getting it set up and working properly on USB 2.0 ports. I did avail to trying it on additonal chipsets just for testing's sake. I tried with no success on a Z68 Etron, a Z77 Intel, a Z97 Intel, and the Bay Trail Intel (T100TA). The Etron at least gave me hope - it did cycle the device on and off repeatedly, but left nothing of fuction to remain. 

But enough about what doesn't work. I'm sure Diamond will help us out and give me a chance to bump this review with good news, so check out below for the USB 3.0 update! It happens to all of us, even reviewers, as sometimes products make it through quality control that just don't quite cut it. I'm not angry or even really disapointed (as long as it works out in the end).

Let us get to the actual working part of it, at least in the as is condition. The USB 2.0 connection worked just fine. It showed up like it should, and quite frankly worked just as one might expect. Connected to this second testbed I decided I'd have a little fun with the newly defined network connection. I plugged in the Ethernet to our Gigabit switch and was up with a network connection in no time. I was able to see our network shared server and was surprised to find it fully capable of streaming HD video with the USB 2.0 connection. I watched a bit of Star Trek: Into Darkness and monitored a bit of the network activity. The movie actually played quite nicely and the audio over HDMI worked and sounded just fine. 

 

I still have faith in this device working out exceptionally well on USB 3.0! 

 

USB 3.0 Update:

Again the device just loaded up when plugged in with USB 3.0 this time. I was happy to see the network connect rather quickly and Google was only a little wait away. With a much better CPU I fired up the same Crystal Disk Mark test in hopes for some good numbers. Sadly, I was again disappointed. The numbers were TERRIBAD for write speeds. Reads were closer to expectation, but writes were ungodly slow. I ensured that I had the most recent drivers for the USB 3.0 on the board, but to no avail the numbers remained low. I moved over to my Z77 board (my everyday rig) and the numbers didn't look any different. I'm not sure why the chipset on the tablet was so much happier. If it had the CPU we could at least see the numbers we should be seeing. I'm more just disappointed that on relatively good/expensive hardware the numbers are very poor. Z97 is on the left and Z77 is on the right.

 




  1. Diamond USB 3.0/2.0 to HDMI/DVI Mini Ultra Dock: Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Diamond USB 3.0/2.0 to HDMI/DVI Mini Ultra Dock: Closer Look Cont'd
  3. Diamond USB 3.0/2.0 to HDMI/DVI Mini Ultra Dock: Specifications & Features
  4. Diamond USB 3.0/2.0 to HDMI/DVI Mini Ultra Dock: Setup and Testing
  5. Diamond USB 3.0/2.0 to HDMI/DVI Mini Ultra Dock: Conclusion
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