SilverStone TS11-C USB 3.1 Docking Station Review

Introduction


We have tested quite a few of SilverStone’s storage solutions in the past and while the new TS11-C external hard drive docking station might look like previous models, it is special as it comes with the newest technologies. In the past, we have been limited by the USB 3.0 protocol and its maximum 5Gbps transfer speeds even though we connect a 6Gbps capable drive to the docking station. SilverStone’s new TS11-C should make up for this as it uses the USB 3.1 connector for a transfer speed of up to 10Gbps.

SilverStone’s TS11-C is an external hard drive docking station that is made to accommodate either a 2.5-inch or a 3.5-inch drive at speeds up to 10Gb/s with its USB 3.1 Gen2 capability and it also features the new Type-C connector. Since USB is plug and play, as long as you have your USB drivers installed, which also means that this docking station is plug and play. You don’t need any additional drivers to get going, just plug it in, add a drive and turn it on. It is almost a given with a docking station like this, but it’s still worth highlighting that the TS11-C supports USB Attached SCSI protocol (UASP) which allows much better transfer rates in systems that support this compared to those who don’t.

The body itself is gold coloured and made of aluminium. This aids the passive unit itself to stay cool, but it also helps the inserted drive to dispose of its heat. This isn’t as much an issue when used with solid state drives, but mechanical drives need quite a bit of cooling. The cover itself is made of plastic to prevent your drives from being scratched. The top slot cover is a two-piece item that automatically folds back as you insert a drive. The small gap for 2.5-inch drives also helps with the positioning on top of the connector.

The docking station is built around an ASMedia ASM1351 chipset that provides this unit with its USB 3.1 Gen2 capability with speeds up to 10Gbps through the Type-C connector. The included USB cable uses a normal type USB connector which also makes it easy backward compatible with USB 3.0, 2.0 and 1.1. The internal SATA3 interface is also backward compatible with SATA2 and SATA1 drives, as it should be.

With an external device like this that is highly portable, you might want to take it on the road with you too in order to connect extra storage to your mobile devices such as laptops and modern smartphones. SilverStone thought of this too and added a power adapter with exchangeable plugs to be used in pretty much every place on earth no matter what plug type or voltage available.

Feature Highlights

  • USB 3.1 type-C connector with Gen2 up to 10Gb/s super speed transfer rate
  • Supports UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) function for even faster performance
  • Aluminum body with tool-free and tray-less design
  • Supports all 2.5 and 3.5-inch SATA drives up to any capacity
  • Plug & play with support for hot-swapping
  • Multinational adapter socket included

Specifications

The specifications are taken directly from the manufacturers information and might as such be subject to changes in possible future revisions of the product.

Package and Accessories

The box uses the same gold colour as the device and is overall a great looking product packaging. The front shows how the docking station looks and tells you what it is.

The rear of the box contains the specifications and a few more details about the docking station and what drives it can take.

Inside the box, we find a USB 3.1 Type-C to Type-A connector, a user manual, and the multi-regional power adapter next to the docking station itself.

Sharkoon Releases USB 3.1 Docking Station and Add-In Card

There can be many reasons why you would want to add some external storage to your system and there are about as many different possibilities as there are reasons. One of the easiest ways to connect storage to your system is via a USB docking stations. Whether you have a notebook or stationary system, this allows you to connect any normal internal drive to your system externally.

Sharkoon just released a new docking station that can do this with ease and it is one that also sports the newest type of USB connection: USB 3.1 Type-C. The new docking station is literarily called what it is as it is called Sharkoon QuickPort USB 3.1 Type C. While the docking station itself features the tiny and reversible Type-C connector, it connect to any normal sized Type-A USB port on your system by the included cable.

Whether you want to use 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch SATA drives in this docking station, it’s covered and it will work just as well as you can connect the docking station or older USB ports such as normal 3.0 or 2.0. Both SATA and USB are backward compatible which allows you to connect this modern enclosure no matter what hardware you have – but you naturally won’t get the impressive 10Gbps speeds possible from the USB 3.1 or the 6Gbps from the SATA3 when you connect slower drives or use an older connection standard. But it is great to have the option.

Should you not have a system with USB 3.1 yet, then Sharkoon fittingly also introduced a new add-in card to give you just this. The new host controller features both a Type-A and a Type-C USB 3.1 connector on the rear and plugs into your normal PCI-Express x4 or bigger slots.

Both new Sharkoon items are built around ASMedia’s controllers and that is a company with a lot of experience in the field. The docking station is powered by an ASMedia ASM1351 bridge controller while the add-in card is powered by an ASMedia ASM1142 USB host controller.

Both new Sharkoon USB 3.1 devices are available now. The docking station has a suggested retail price of €39.99 while the host card is a little cheaper with a suggested retail price of €29.99.

SilverStone Releases TS11-C USB 3.1 Docking Station

SilverStone has quite a few external docking solutions for both SSDs and HDDs, but they newest of them that’s just been released is the fastest of them all. This is at least the case when we exclude the external RAID solutions. The new external docking station from SilverStone is called the TS11-C (SST-TS11G-C) and it comes with a USB 3.1 Type-C Gen2 connector with up to 10Gb/s super speed transfer rates.

Besides the connection options, the TS11-C is a pretty ordinary desktop styled docking station for hard disk drives and solid state drives. It can take SATA drives with a 2.5-inch form factor of any height as well as 3.5-inch drives. Just plug them in from the top and turn the docking station on. The docking station supports plug-and-play as well as hot-swapping of the drives for even easier usage.

The body of the TS11-C itself is made of aluminium while the top cover is made of plastic-ABS. The top is black while the rest of the unit has been gold coloured. A fitting colour for a premium docking station like the TS11-C is. While it comes with the newest standards in both USB and SATA, it is backwards compatible on both to previous generations. The operating system support is specified to Windows 7, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 10, and future releases of Mac OS 10.5 or above.

SilverStone made sure to use a controller chip, the ASM1351, that supports UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) for the fastest possible transfer speeds and prevent bottlenecks on the USB connection.

A 2.5-inch SSD will easily get enough power through a USB connection, but a 3.5-inch hard disk drive will draw too much power. For this, the TS11-C comes with a 12V DC adapter and it also has a very convenient power button that allows you to have it connected all the time without actually using it.

SilverStone’s new TS11-C will be available on January the 28th for a recommended end user price of $53.35 USD (excl. VAT). We will also have a review ready for you on just this docking station very soon, so stay tuned for more.

Kensington SD4000 Universal USB 3.0 Docking Station with 4K UHD Review

Introduction


For today’s review I’m venturing a little bit out of my normal area of storage, network, and server components and take a closer look at a very useful gadget for everyone that has a laptop of some sort. Kensington might be most known for their locking system that is present on almost any electronic device, but they do make a lot of different products too. Today I’m taking a closer look at the SD4000 Universal USB Docking Station for laptops.

While a docking station like this would work with any system and as such isn’t limited to portable ones, it will be a rare scenario that someone will connect it to their desktop. That said, it could still provide some beneficial uses there too.

While most laptop manufacturers also provide docking stations for some of their models, they are usually very expensive and only compatible to very few models. The use of a universal docking station like this opens a lot more options and best of all, you can take it with you to any other system that you might upgrade to in the future.

The Kensington SD4000 Universal Docking Station connects to your system via a single USB 3.0 host port and in return it offers you three USB 3.0 connectors, a DVI port, a DisplayPort or HDMI, a Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port, and headset connections. Those are all useful connections to have, especially on ultrabooks and netbooks that barely have any native connections at all anymore.

The Docking Station doesn’t just serve as USB hub, it also enables 4K Ultra HD resolutions, even when your laptop doesn’t have a graphics card that supports these resolutions. You can connect a single 4K monitor or TV via an HDMI or DisplayPort connection for Ultra HD resolution at 3840 x 2160 pixels.

4K Ultra HD resolution sadly only works with one monitor connected, but you can run up to 2K when using dual monitors. Ideal for users not ready to make the transition to 4K, this option can support the typical two-monitor setup with 1920 x 1200 and 2048 x 1152 resolution for each screen.

Speedy charging for power hungry devices such as tablets is also supported thanks to the 2.1 AMP fast charging USB port labeled with an extra lightning character. The Gigabit Ethernet port is also one that’s often missing on netbooks as they rely solely on wireless.

Features

  • 4K Ultra HD resolution (3840×2160) to one monitor via an HDMI cable or DisplayPort connection
  • Enables 4K UHD even if laptop does not have 4K graphics card
  • 2K resolution (1920×1200/2048×1152) for two-monitor setup via DisplayPort or HDMI/DVI
  • 3 universal USB 3.0 ports for seamless productivity with your accessories
  • 2.1A fast charging port to power up a tablet or smartphone
  • Gigabit Ethernet port for wired connectivity to the Internet
  • Includes speaker port, microphone jack, Kensington Security Slot
  • Compatible with Windows 8.1/8/7

Specifications

  • UPC: 085896339830
  • Best For: Convertible and 2-in-1 Laptops, Laptops, Ultrabooks, Windows Tablets
  • Compatibility: Windows 10, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1
  • Connections: 1 x RJ-45 Ethernet (LAN) Female, Host Interface: USB 3.0, Host upstream link: USB (B Type)
  • Female, HUB downstream link: USB (A Type) Female
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Features: Extended Display, Kensington Security Slot, Mirrored Display, Power Indicator (Blue), USB Hub Link
  • Indicator (Green)
  • Dimensions: 7.71” x 3.34” x 1.08” (19.5 cm x 85 cm x 2.75 cm)

Packaging and Accessories

The package of the SD4000 Universal Docking Station comes in s a simple yet elegant wrapping. It shows what it does on the front without much extra.

The rear of the package explains what type of connectors it has, what’s in the box, and what it is compatible with. Everything you’ll want to know before you purchase.

Inside the box, we find a power supply with both an EU and UK replaceable plug, a setup guide, a USB cable to connect it and the docking station itself.

Inateck FD1005 Top-Loading HDD Docking Station Review

Introduction


Inateck probably has the widest array of docking stations and enclosures for hard drives and solid state drives and today I’m pleased to be able to take a look at another sweet looking on. The Inateck FD1005 is a single-bay top-loading docking station for SATA hard disks that connects through USB 3.0 and supports UASP for maximum transfer speeds.

Top loading docking stations are probably the easiest to use, especially if you switch your hard drives a lot. The Inateck FD1005 allows you connect a hard disk or solid state drive to your computer by simply plugging it into the docking station and turning it on. It couldn’t get much simpler than that. When you then also get top transfer speeds on top of that, then we have something worth considering.

Creating backups of large amount of files across multiple hard disks can’t get much easier than this. The Inateck FD1005 supports the newest SATA 3 hard disks with up to 6TB capacity, so storage limitation isn’t a thing that you’ll run into either. The dedicated 12V power connection ensures that the drive always has both enough power and a general stable power supply. The power button helps you to securely unplug your drives better by powering them down before you plug them, but it also allows you to just turn it off when you don’t need it for a while, without the need to unplug everything.

The power button helps you to securely unplug your drives better by powering them down before you plug them, but it also allows you to just turn it off when you don’t need it for a while, without the need to unplug everything.

Inateck’s FD1005 is a very compact one-bay unit and as such it needs a stable footing. Mechanical hard drives aren’t light, especially not when we deal with those that are packed with full with platters. Inateck added four tiny rubber feet on the bottom to prevent it from sliding and gave it additional weight by adding a metal block inside.

And the two work great in conjunction. I tried placing the enclosure with my WD RED 6TB hard drive on a surface with an angle and it stayed right where I placed it. Running several HDD benchmarks to bring the drive into vibration didn’t change this either.

The cover has a small static opening fitting for a 2.5-inch drive while the rest of the cover folds back when a drive is inserted and springs back into place to cover and protect the opening when the drive is removed again. In the photo below, I used a DVI protective cover to keep it open while taking the photo.

Inateck used the ASMedia ASM1153E chip which is a one-chip solution with embedded USB and SATA controller, as well as its own memory. Previously I’ve mentioned that the enclosure supports up to 6TB drives, but that’s only because that’s the biggest I can test with right now. Theoretically, the only limitation for a docking station like this is the GPT limit of 18 exabyte (although Windows file system is limited to 256TB per drive), meaning that future 8 and 10TB HDDs shouldn’t be a problem either.

Club3D Multi Streaming Transport Hub and Docking Station Review

Introduction


There is no doubt that playing games and working is filled with a lot more joy and pleasure when you have more than one monitor connected. You need to use ALT+TAB a lot less to view everything, can have source code on one screen and the result on another, or just keep an eye on your instant messages and emails while you’re gaming. It’s all possible and once you got used to it, then you’ll miss it immensely when you don’t have it.

It can however end up costing you even more that you need a graphics card with just the right amount of outputs and connectors to match your monitor and this is where Club 3D comes to your rescue with two devices in the Sense Vision series. The MST-HUB is a multi-stream transport hub that morphs your one DisplayPort into three and the Y-cabled Docking station that takes one mDP and one USB 3.0 port and turns it into two mDP ports, three USB 3.0 ports, and one Gigabit Ethernet port.

The number of supported displays depends on the bandwidth available. The MST hub is using the ST Micro STDP 4320 which supports DisplayPort 1.2a specifications with support for up to 21.6Gbps of bandwidth. How much you have depends on your output device. With this kind of bandwidth at your disposal, you can easily run four full HD monitors at 60Hz and 32-bit colour depth and still have extra bandwidth to spare, and that from a single onboard connector.

The Club 3D MST hub can help with more, for example if you got a 4K monitor of the cheaper kind that only can do 30Hz. You can use the MST hub and resolve this by combining two screen resolutions of 1920×2160 at 60Hz to obtain a native 3840×2160 60Hz resolution by using two DisplayPort cables. This is particular useful of you only have one display port out to begin with and no way to attach two DisplayPort cables to your system, doesn’t help if the monitor has it.

Even if you don’t have a DisplayPort capable monitor the MST hub can help you, but you will need adapters to connect them. The Club3D MSTY Hub is a DP++ device which means that it can actively convert the DisplayPort signal to other types of display interfaces. An active adapter isn’t required, a passive is enough with this hub. Just keep in mind that passive adapters have a resolution limitation of 1920×1200.

AMD created Eyefinity with up to 6 displays, but Club 3d takes it to the next level as you only need a graphics card with two DisplayPort connectors and two of these MST hubs to achieve just that, being able to connect 6 monitors for the ultimate multi-screen setup.

Ultrabooks and notebooks also become more powerful with each generation, but the often only come with one display port. With the MST hub, you can easily connect multiple monitors to those and best of all, you only need to unplug one cable when you take your system with you on the go.

Features

  • Standards compliance/support:displayport v1.2a, displayport v1.1a,VESA DDM
  • Standard,HDCP V2.0,DisplayId,and EDID V1.4
  • Supports main link rates of 5.4 bps(HBR2),2.7 bps(HBR)and 1.62 bps(RBR) from source
  • Supports 1/2/4 lanes of main link for RX side
  • Supports three DP++ output port, or two dual-link DVI ports, or the combination of ports
  • For DP 1.2a source,supports DP1.2a MST multi video/audio steams
  • Supports 1.1 source, supports ViewXpand
  • Supports DP-DP Bypass mode
  • Supports AUX-CH enables SBM and I2C mapping over AUX between the source/sink and device
  • Dedicated I2C slave for main processor to access the device
  • Supported output resolution: up to 2560X1600@60Hz each monitor in DP1.2 MST and up to FHD/1080p in DP1.1 or DP 1.2 SST. With DP resolutions up to FHD (4K x 2K) @60Hz, 24bpp, but limited by DP bandwidth).
  • Input pixel data depth 6/8/10/12 bits and supports output pixel format RGB444
  • Advance WideEye SerDes technology
  • Adaptive Sync technology

Diamond DS3900V2 UltraDock Docking Station Review

Introduction


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.

Inateck FD1006C USB 3.0 Lay-Flat Docking Station Review

Introduction


I’ve taken a look at many different drive docking solution lately and today it has become time to take a closer look at the Inateck FD1006C USB 3.0 Lay-Flat Docking Station. The FD1006C offers UASP support for maximum USB 3.0 transfers speeds as well as support for large capacity hard drives.

The FD1006C is designed to work with both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch SATA hard disk drives and solid state drives to offer speeds close to the theoretically 5Gb/s that the USB 3 bus has to offer. The serial USB protocol allows for more commands to be issued at the same time, resulting in an overall improvement of up to 70% compared to non-UASP systems.

The FD1006C comes with a top cover to protect the drive from unnecessary dust and other dirt, a great addition that protects your drive better especially if it stays in the enclosure for longer periods of time.

Due to the Plug and Play nature of USB, the enclosure is widely compatible with everything from Windows 2000 over Linux to Mac OS 9.1 and above. It also supports hot-swapping of the drives

While solid state drives easily will get enough power directly from the USB 3.0 connection, mechanical hard drives require more power. Inateck included a power adapter to make sure that enough and stable power is provided to the plugged in drive.

The use of a full-sized USB 3.0 connector on the drive further aids in stability and security. This bigger connector is a lot easier to handle and plug-in as well as being more sturdy than a micro type connector – and there is enough room on the FD1006C to use the full-sized B-type connector.

The tool-free design allows you to both easy and quickly add, remove and replace drives in the enclosure without the need for any tools or mounting screws.

Two LEDS will show when the device is powered and when the docked drive is being accessed. An ASmedia ASM1153E USB to SATA bridge chip takes care of the internal transfers between the two connections.

Addonics Announces Ultra DigiDrive Multi-Purpose Docks

Addonics Technologies announced the Addonics UDD25, a family of four readers/writers for 2.5-inch HDD / SSD, M2 card, mSATA SSD, CFast card or CF cards. The docks provide fast data transfer rates of up to 6 Gbps in both internal and portable versions and also come as write-protected models that work read-only readers.

The portable Pocket UDD25 and Internal UDD25 work with 2.5-inch SATA drives or storage media up to 9.5mm height and the internal UDD25 is designed to mount directly into a standard 3.5-inch drive bay. Both models can connect to any system via an SATA or USB 3.0 (USB 2.0 compatible) port.

The Read Only versions have the same functions and media flexibility with the added ability to block write commands. The Write Protect feature ensures absolute protection to the storage media from virus contamination or data tampering. The Read Only models essentially treat any hard drive or SSD as read-only storage in a similar way an optical medium is treated.

 

The Addonics UDD25 is completely Plug and Play and no software or drivers are needed. Media is hot swappable and can be used as a boot device and is compatible with any OS that supports SATA or USB mass storage devices. The MSRP starts at $45.00 for the portable models and $49.00 for the internal versions.

Thanks to Addonics for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Addonics