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Review: Thermaltake BlacX Duet 5G USB 3.0 dock

by Tarinder Sandhu on 27 October 2011, 07:00 4.0

Tags: Thermaltake (3540.TWO)

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How it performs, plus conclusion

Hook it up to a USB 3.0-totin' PC and the plug-and-play nature of the ubiquitous conduit makes the BlacX Duet 5G a foolproof device; your gran could use it. Two drives are recognised instantly and to-and-fro transfers feel swift, especially when using an SSD.

We tested the straight-line speed of the dock by placing a well-used Corsair V128 in the slot. This drive was subsequently connected to a single-drive dock, an Icy Box USB 3.0 and, to evaluate the full potential of the drive, to the Core i5 2500K PC via SATA III. We used AS SSD's general tests and a 3.84GB large-file folder, transferring it from the host Crucial M4 256GB drive to the Corsair.

Neither dock can match the speed of a SATA-attached SSD; the translation to USB 3.0 taking a slight hit for sequential performance. The BlacX is a little slower than the Icy Box, by the way.

There's dock parity in the writing test, but the in-PC drive is around 33 per cent faster.

Moving almost 4GB across is speedy via USB 3.0, taking just 27s on the BlacX. Compare this with 131s when attached to a USB 2.0 port.

The Duet is a straight-up dock and there's no hardware method by which to combine two drives for RAID-like performance. Concurrent transfers max out at a combined 120MB/s when writing to two different-technology drives - an SSD and 3.5in mechanical - indicating that USB 3.0 has plenty of untapped bandwidth.

Final thoughts

Backed by a two-year warranty, Thermaltake's BlacX Duet 5G is a two-drive USB 3.0-compatible dock that does exactly what it says on the tin. Useful for folk who need rapid access to files stored on non-networked SATA drives and don't want to duplicate wires and cables, the £50 box of tricks makes sense. We'd recommend the price drop low enough to discourage users from grabbing two el-cheapo docks, to, say, £40, but there's little else to detract from it.

The Good

Supports two drives, obviously
Super-easy to use; simply plug drive(s) in
Reasonable speed from USB 3.0

The Bad

£50 price may discourage some

HEXUS Rating

Thermaltake BlacX Duet 5G

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Thermaltake BlacX Duet 5G

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HEXUS Forums :: 2 Comments

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I can't stop thinking that someone (e.g. me) might spill coffee on it and ruin everything.
Can someone (not me) design a dock with a flip cover like one of those used for missile launcher in Top Gun?
I bought mine 3 days ago. I use it in USB2. Asus G73JH.
The controller constantly stops to work. Randomly between 5 and 20 minutes. Bang! both discs disapear.

I tryed switching discs, put only one. Nothing works. I hat to get my old Vantec out of dust and do my backups with it.

Someone had any problems like me?