Thermaltake BlacX Duet ReviewCompxpert - November 26, 2009
» Discuss this article (17)
First of course we have the docking station itself. It isn't too terribly large but ultimately large enough to handle two standard sized 3.5" hard drives. The docking station features a button on the top front on the left which turns both drives on or off. The switch also has two blue activity lights. Note the doors on the top, both of which give away for 3.5" drives and features a hole that hugs around 2.5" drives. On the back of the dock we have our interfaces which include power, eSATA, and USB. The bottom of the dock has a sticker with information describing what exactly the dock is and what it does and also for some reason has a bar code. Also note the rubber feet which I noticed when using it kept the dock in place very well. Finally, we have here some of the cabling that is included with the dock which includes a USB and eSATA cable both of which are a suitable length for me anyway.
Here we have our power adapter which to me seems a lot different then the power adapters I have seen with most docks/enclosures. Ahh but here we have something of interest in the next picture. This piece of paper tells probably the most important thing regarding the dual hard drive feature whilst using the eSATA interface. To sum it up you need a Serial ATA chipset that supports a port multiplier. What is a port multiplier you ask? A port multiplier is much like a USB hub which allows multiple SATA connections on one SATA port. Before this I was never even aware SATA had such a function. Basically you need a chipset that is capable of seeing when a port multiplier is connected to the SATA port. I tested this on quite a few chipsets which included my laptops Intel ICH9M-E/M chipset, ICH10R chipset, and nVidia nForce 780i chipset. None of which were capable of seeing a port multiplier and the Intel Matrix Storage Manager even told me when I connected the dock over eSATA that if what I connected is a port multiplier only port 0 will be seen. I was greatly disappointed until I found that the JMicron IDE/SATA JBM36X included on my DFI motherboards supports the ability to see a port multiplier. Also included with the drive docks is a manual. Finally here we are with the drives connected to the dock. Here you can see the blue LEDS that are used as hard disk activity indicators.
So looks like we have a great product on hand. But how does it perform? Let's find out.