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.
Addonics unveiled their latest add-in card and this time it is an SATA host controller, more specifically an eSATA host controller. The AD4ES6GPX4 uses a single PCIe 4-lane slot and in return it provides you with 4 separate eSATA ports and a total throughput capability of up to 20 Gbps. That should be plenty of speed for a controller like this, considering that each SATA port in itself only perform up to 600 Mbps.
The Addonics eSATA host controller supports all SATA-based drives, from SSDs over optical drives to mechanical hard disks. You can also attach more than four drives when connected to port multipliers as those are fully supported by the controller chip. That means that you easily could attach four external hard disk towers to this single controller. With that in mind, there’s basically no limit to how much storage you can attach with this.
The controller supports software RAID based on your operating system, but it doesn’t come with its own hardware RAID function. The card is fully plug-and-play and will work with Windows, Mac, Linux, and most other operating systems with built-in AHCI driver. The card is a full-height PCI card which is the only downside, limiting you from the use in SFF systems with half-height slots. It is however due to the natural limitation and physical size of the four eSATA ports.
The USB 3.1 has been out for a while now, but we haven’t seen that many sides adopting it yet. It has mostly been for the people getting a new system, with a few mainboard manufacturers refreshing their current lineup with the new standard. But there is good news for those who wish to add USB 3.1 capabilities to their current system too as Sharkoon released a new USB 3.1 expansion card as well as a new external drive enclosure to match.
The QuickStore Portable USB 3.1 enclosure provides is an elegant housing for a 2.5-inch SATA HDD or SDD and connects via an external micro-B type port. The top is made from black brushed aluminium and gives the enclosure a nice touch.
The USB 3.1 Host Controller Card supports PCIe 2.0 and PCIe 3.0 and provides your system with two external USB 3.1 type-A connectors. The maximum transfer rate amounts to 10 Gbit/s, but that of course requires a drive capable of performing the same
The USB 3.1 case supports Windows 8 UASP and offers a maximum transfer rate of 10 Gbit/s to match the expansion card. You can install drives with a height up to 9.5mm, and the enclosure is entirely tool-less and screw-less thanks to the slide-lock.
Both the external USB 3.1 Hard Drive Case and the USB 3.1 Host Controller Card are available for an MSRP of €34.99.