Top slot-loading hard disk docking stations have been around for some time, and once in a while they come with increased functionality over just being a docking station. These days we need the fastest transfer speeds possible with the ever growing user-base that facilitates solid state drives. At the same time, it has to stay as easy and compatible as it always has been. Inateck created the FD2002 Dual HDD Docking station with off-line cloning feature, that is a device that should give us everything mentioned above.
The Inateck FD2002 comes with SATA 3.0 ports connects through a USB 3.0 connection for maximum transfer speeds. USB 3.0 is in its basic version only gives real-world speeds up to around 250 to 300MB/s at the best of times, that is until UASP came into play. UASP stands for USB Attached SCSI Protocol and is designed to address the failings of the classic USB BOT drivers by adding command-queuing and out-of-order completions, among other things. With the use of the UASP, we can archive raw speeds up to and around 450-500MB/s, a thing that just isn’t possible without.
Where most manufacturers would have stopped here and had the users rely on software options, Inateck took it one step further and added a copy and clone function to the docking station. And best of all, it doesn’t even need to be connected to the PC to this function to work.
The clone function is for pure offline-mode usage as a USB connection will interrupt the process. If you wish to be able to have it connected at the same time, Inateck has another model that supports connected duplication. It however requires more internal hardware and Inateck have thought about that and is giving you the choice to get just the right item for you.
The FD2002 supports both 2.5 and 3.5 inch drives. Small drives plug in right through the opening while bigger 3.5-inch drives will push the lever aside when inserted. Plug and play as it should be. The docking station also supports hot-swap and no drivers are needed besides your systems normal USB drivers. The tool-less design makes it both easy and fast to switch drives.
The LED indicator on the top displays the progress of a running duplication process as well as drive activity and connection. There is only one button to use for the clone function, but it requires a bit more than a touch to activate. A good things, as we wouldn’t want to start a duplication by error.
Security is another thing we all like and we want to keep our drives safe from physical damage. The Inateck FD2002 comes with overvoltage, leak currents, short circuits, peak voltage, interference and disturbance protection to guarantee safer data transfer and access.
The unit is listed as compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8, Mac OS and Linux, but it should work with any USB capable device.
The Inateck FD2002 comes with both a USB 3.0 cable and a 12V 3A power brick for steady power to even the most power-hungry of drives.
There are two things we are interested in when testing an enclosure like this. We want to know how well it perform by means of total speed possible as well as how big an effect the adapter will have on the transfer rates.
To be able to test both these things I’ve picked a Solid State Drive that outperforms the maximum speed possible on the USB 3 bus while reading and at the same time stays within the speed margin when writing data. After benchmarking the enclosure on a UASP enabled USB 3 port, I’ll take the drive and attach it directly to the SATA port and run the same tests again.
This will help me to achieve the two goals mentioned above. The read speeds will tell us how close we can get to the possible maximum while the write speeds will give us a direct view of the performance impact due to the conversion from SATA to USB3 and the natural limitation that comes with USB.
When looking at the coming pages and speed comparisons, you need to keep in mind that USB3 is naturally slower than the baseline SATA speeds.
- Gigabyte Z79X UD5H-BK
- Intel Core i7-4790K
- Sapphire Radeon R9 290
- Corsair Vengeance Pro 16GB 2400MHz
- OCZ Vertex 4 256GB SSD
- CoolerMaster Silent Hybrid 850W PSU
- AIDA64 Disk Benchmark
- Anvil’s Storage Utilities 1.1.0
- AS SSD Benchmark 1.7.4739.38088
- ATTO Benchmark 2.46
- CrystalDiskMark 3.0.3 64-bit
AIDA64 is a streamlined Windows diagnostic and benchmarking software for home users. It provides a wide range of features to assist in overclocking, hardware error diagnosis, stress testing, and sensor monitoring.
It has unique capabilities to assess the performance of the processor, system memory, and disk drives and is compatible with most Microsoft Windows operating systems. It also has a disk benchmark tool, and that is the one we’ll be using.
Read and Write Tests
The Linear Read and Write tests measure the sequential performance by reading or writing all sectors without skipping any while the Random Read and Write tests measure the random performance by reading or writing variable sized data blocks at random locations on the surface of the drive. The Random tests are actually combined tests of both speed and access times as it moves the position before each new operation.
Average Access Times
The Access time tests are designed to measure the data access performance by reading or writing small 0.5KB data blocks at random locations on the drive surface.
Anvil’s Storage Utilities
Anvil’s Storage Utilities is a new benchmarking utility that is completely free to download and has the ability to test mainly hard drives and solid state drives, but also any other form of storage medium that you can throw at it. As well as testing the drive in a variety of benchmarking tests, it also has a drive endurance test that consistently reads and writes data to the selected medium to give days, months and potentially even years of use in a shorter period of time to see how the drive copes in the longer term.
The Anvil write tests show clearly how little effect the enclosure has on the transfer speeds. While it didn’t score quite as high here as some the previously tested enclosures, the differences are marginal at best.
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 1GB 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 of one of the operations he’s going to do many times.
Speed and Copy Benchmarks
Compression Benchmark Test
AS SSD is a funny benchmark application to work with, at least at times. We saw the Inateck FD2002 perform better sequential write speeds than the native connection, but the 4K tests and access times have a natural disadvantage due to the USB bus.
The ATTO Disk Benchmark is a performance measurement tool is for Microsoft Windows. It measures your storage systems performance with various transfer sizes and test lengths for reads and writes. It has multiple options to available to customize your performance measurement including queue depth, overlapped I/O and even a comparison mode with the option to run continuously. ATTO Disk Benchmark can be used to test any manufacturers RAID controllers, storage controllers, host adapters, hard drives and SSD drives.
Enclosure USB3 Speed
Baseline SATA3 Comparison
ATTO is the favourite benchmark application for many manufacturers, and we can see why. Always pushing the maximum numbers possible out of connected devices and drives
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.
Enclosure USB3 Speed
Baseline SATA3 Comparison
CrystalDiskMark shows the same results as we’ve seen in the other benchmarks of the FD2002, a great performing UASP enclosure.
Offline Clone Function
The offline clone function works like a charm and is just as easy to use as pressing a button, because that’s all you have to do. Insert the two drives into the FD2002 cloning station where drive A is the source and drive B is the target. Make sure your USB cable is unplugged and power on the device. Press a the clone button and it’s running.
Actually you have to hold the button until the light turns on and then press it again before the light turns out. An added safety against accidental cloning of drives and potential data loss due to it. The LEDs will flash as it progresses and turn solid when each step is completed. You can power down the FD2002 and safely remove your drives once the 100% light is solid lit.
First I tried it with a couple 250GB 7200 RPM server drives to get a quick result, and it was flawless right away. The next obvious test was with my 6TB WD RED NAS drives as the large capacity is supported. It took quite a long time for the process to finish, but it worked like a charm once again.
Don’t be fooled by the ease of use, thinking that the process is just as fast as it is easy. It takes quite some time to clone a drive, sector by sector. So the speed really comes down to what the inserted drives can handle and the result is a flawless copy each time.
There are some restrictions when it comes to cloning. The target will need to have enough capacity to store the data and as mentioned the docking stations can’t be attached to a USB port when the process is running or it will be interrupted.
The Inateck FD2002 Dual SATA HDD Docking Station with Offline Clone Function is cheaper than you might think. Amazon has them in stock all around the world and UK readers can get it for £37.99, Germans can get it for €39.99 and US readers will have to pay $39.99.
The Inateck FD2002 isn’t just an easy to use dual docking station with USB 3 UASP support, it also brings along the very useful cloning function. Cloning software can be a real pain to use and often requires you to boot out of your normal operating system and into a special created USB drive. All that is history when you get yourself an FD2002 Docking and Cloning station. And the best of all is that it only takes the press of a button and some patience.
The tiny footprint of the unit allows you to have it around without it getting in the way of other things on your desktop. It’s however still big enough for a stable performance, even when loaded with as heavy drives as my WD RED 6TB are.
The design is simplistic as with all Inateck products, something that I really like. Gadgets need to work and otherwise blend in to be forgotten when not in use. It’s simple, and it’s effective.
I didn’t have any compatibility trouble at all with this docking station, it accepted any disk I presented to it. From SSDs to HDDs and SSHDs. The box says that it’s compatible up to 4TB, but it also supports 6TB and most likely also 8TB and bigger drives. Rule of thumb, if 3TB or above is supported, then you can use any available drive.
You should pay attention to where you place it when using it for longer periods of time. Depending on what drives you use, they may run very hot after some time. There isn’t any cooling solution in a top-loader such as this, and you wouldn’t want your drives to take any damage.
The performance of the FD2002 was great when loaded with SSD drives. We saw UASP supported speeds up to 440MB/s while reading and barely any performance loss when writing, besides the natural USB throttling in access times.
- USB 3.0 with UASP support for up to 440MB/s
- Dual Docking
- Offline Cloning function, at full speed
- More power than needed for more stable performance
- Variety of drive protections in place
- Would have loved to have an eSATA connection on it
“The Inateck FD2002 Dual Docking and Cloning station is just perfect for anyone that switches drives a lot or just wants to be able to attach drives the easiest way possible. The Offline Cloning function works like a charm and creates an even more valuable tool to have at your disposal.”
Thanks to Inateck for providing this review sample