It doesn’t matter if you got the new Apple Macbook with just one USB port or any other system, you always have too few, especially on your portable computers. The Diamond DS3900 Ultra Dock Dual Video USB 3.0/2.0 docking station enables multiple USB devices, monitors, and a network to be connected to the computer using a single USB3.0 cable. It doesn’t matter if you want to connect to your large screen displays, stereo speakers, external hard drive, optical disk drive, printer, USB keyboard, mouse or any other USB devices, the DS3900 has it covered.
Any laptop, Ultrabook, MacBook, just as well as any other PC, can connect to the Diamond DS3900 Ultra Dock docking station, eliminating the need to plug in all USB peripherals and external monitor every time you come into the office or go back home. Just plug in the one USB 3.0 cable from the docking station to any USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 port on the laptop and your displays and accessories will be activated in seconds.
Most laptop manufacturers also build some sort of docking station for their systems, but they usually come with a pretty hefty price as well as being limited for use with specific models. Not so with Diamond’s universal solution. One of the big advantages of having a docking station at home, is that you don’t need to connect every single cable when you get home, a single one will do the trick and all your hardware is hooked up. Even audio is covered.
The single USB 3.0 uplink provides two USB 3.0 ports where one of them supports quick charge (BC1/2 battery charging function) for iPad and iPhones. Further, it has four USB 2.0 ports as well as an IEEE 802.3, 802.3u, and 802.3ab compatible RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet port with full support for IPv4 and IPv6, full-duplex, and flow control. Just like it should be.
On the video side of things, the DS3900 is using a DisplayLink DL-3900 chipset and it supports 1080p HDMI and DVI dual digital video output. Extend or mirror your display onto another monitor or set an external connected monitor as your default one, you won’t notice any difference between the use of this docking station and a native connection. It supports High Resolution up to 2048 x 1152 and the entire unit is DisplayLink certified. Audio connections shouldn’t be left out, and they aren’t. It has two 3.5mm stereo jacks for audio output and microphone input.
The Diamond docking station measures 234 x 86 x 33 mm and weighs just 450 grams, light enough to make it portable as well. It does require Windows 7 Mac OS X, and newer versions to work, 1GB of memory, a 1.2GHz or faster SSE2 supporting CPU and 30MB free space for the installation and 10MB hard disk space for the drivers.
Besides the large rubber foot underneath the docking station, it also features a vertical stand for different optics and a smaller footprint. The metal foot is heavy enough to give the station a sturdy stand, even when heavy cables are connected to it. The rubber foot can be slid off and then you just hang the station onto the stand. Very simple and it looks awesome.
Diamond created a what looks to be a solid docking station, one where you only need to connect one cable to your system and in return you get full connectivity including dual display, audio, network, and USB 3.0 speed.
The package includes everything that you need, including a DVI to VGA adapter, power supply, vertical stand, USB cable, manuals, and driver disk.
Setup Procedure & Testing Method
Connecting and setting up the Diamond DS3900 is as easy as plug and play, well almost. You do need to install the drivers first, but that only takes a couple of seconds and only needs to be done once. Other than that, just connect it to an USB port and start connecting your monitors, printers, storage, and input devices to the docking station. It couldn’t be any easier.
- Supermicro C7Z97-OCE motherboard
- Intel Xeon E3-1230Lv3
- Excelleram EP3001A 2GB PC3-10666
- Kingston HyperX 240GB SSD
We would like to thank our sponsors for supplying us with the equipment needed to perform these tests.
- PassMark PerformanceTest Suite
- LAN Speed Test
- AS SSD
The graphic part of the Diamond DS3900 Docking Station is at it is, it works like a charm but there isn’t anything to benchmark. The USB and LAN is connections is however something that I can test. I will be connecting my trusty Angelbird SSD2go Pocket 512GB USB 3.0 SSD to the docking station and benchmark how it’s doing there. Then I’ll disconnect the Docking Station and connect the drive to the same USB connector on the motherboard that the hub previously was connected to. This will give us a great view on performance impact, if any, happening from the USB hub. We should expect a minor fluctuation, but it is to be seen on the next pages how it will hold up.
The LAN port is another thing that I can test, and in a much similar way as I did with the USB ports. I will of course not be using my SSD in this case, but rather connect the system through the LAN port on the DS3900 Docking Station and run a couple of my network benchmarks. Afterwards I’ll be connecting it to my onboard Intel LAN connector instead and run the same benchmarks. Again, this will give us a great comparison of performance impact through the conversion, if any.
Wired LAN Performance
PassMark PerformanceTest Suite
Passmark has a great network performance testing tool that allows me to set the test conditions and control both the server and client side of operations. I’ll be testing the network connection for a continuous period of 5 minutes, first with a fixed packet size of 16384 bytes and then with a variable packet size ranging from 32 to 16384 bytes. The charts below will show the maximum, average, and minimum speed recorded with the LAN being connected through the docking station as well as through the onboard LAN. This will give us a good comparison if there is any performance impact from using the docking station over an onboard connection.
Fixed Block Size
To test the maximum throughput speed that a connection can handle, a fixed block size of 16384 Bytes is sent from the client to the server over a period of five minutes. The higher block size will allow the transfer rate to stay as high as possible – in the same way that large files transfer from one drive to another quicker than lots of small files of the same total size.
Variable Packet Size
In a real world situation, the blocks of data that pass through a network adaptor are not of the same size each time, so to give a more realistic impression of how an adaptor performs, the adaptor is once again tested for a period of five minutes. This time however, the block size will vary from 32 Bytes up to 16384 Bytes in increasing steps of 148.7 Bytes each time.
LAN Speed Tester
LAN Speed Tester is a very simple tool that pushes files in a given size to a target location, measuring the minimum, maximum and average throughput. A simple way to compare two connections with a static test.
We saw mixed results between the two benchmark apps, although both come to the same conclusion. You will see a little performance impact by using the docking station, but nothing big. The Diamond DS3900 performed very well.
USB 3.0 Performance
As previously mentioned, testing the USB performance of a hub is an easy task. What we’re interested in here isn’t the maximum possible speeds, but rather if it has any impact on the transfers speeds compared to using a direct connection. First the drive is connected to the USB hub and tested with several applications after which it will be connected to the same onboard USB port instead of the hub for a second test. Below you’ll find charts showing you the comparison in any easy way.
ATTO Disk Benchmark
The ATTO Disk Benchmark is a performance measurement tool is for Windows. It measures storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for both reads and writes. It has multiple options available to customize your performance measurement, including queue depth, overlapped I/O and even a comparison mode with the option to run continuously.
ATTO can be used to test any manufacturers RAID controllers, storage controllers, host adapters, hard drives and SSD drives so it is a popular tool everywhere.
The AS SSD software determines the performance of Solid State Drives (SSD). The tool contains five synthetic and three practice tests. The synthetic tests determine the sequential and random read and write performance of the SSD. These tests are performed without using the operating system caches. In Sequential tests, the program measures the time it takes to read and write a 1 GB file respectively. To give a clearer picture of the drives tested, I’ve chosen to include all tests. Special the copy test is one that I think is relevant on the consumer level as it gives the user a view
To give a clearer picture of the drives tested, I’ve chosen to include all tests, also the copy test. While it isn’t the most static test, I think it is a relevant test in the eyes of consumers, giving them a view into one of the operations they’re going to be doing many times.
CrystalDiskMark is a small HDD benchmark utility for your hard drive that enables you to rapidly measure sequential and random 4KB/512KB read/write speeds.
There was a minor reduction in speed when using the hub, but it was less than 1% and could just as well be normal benchmark variations. Diamond did a great job here.
The DS3900V2 sadly isn’t available in Europe yet but it is expected to be available at Amazon in Q3, 2015. In the US, new docking station (DS3900V2) can be had for $109.99 at Amazon.
Diamond has created a great docking station with the DS3900V2. The sleek looking docking station has plenty of connections that your portable computer might lack, or just make the use of static peripherals a lot easier. Four USB 2.0, two USB 3.0, dual graphics output, audio jacks, and an RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet connection, the DS3900V2 has it all. The connection is almost plug and play, all you need is to install 10MB of drivers.
It has a large rubber foot underneath to keep it firmly in place, but also comes with a vertical stand unit. The foot can be slid off and the docking station then clicks onto the metal stand instead, providing a vertical unit. Diamond provides a great accessory package where you’ll find a power adapter, DVI to VGA adapter as well as the previously mentioned vertical stand.
We didn’t see much performance impact when comparing to a direct connection. The USB 3.0 speeds were right on par while the network showed a minor decrease on the transfer speeds.
- Easy to use
- Plenty of connection options
- Fair price
- Vertical stand for more options
“The Diamond DS3900V3 Ultra Dock docking station convinced me. It has great connectivity, is simple to use and looks stylish at the same time.”
Thanks to Diamond for providing us with this sample