Review of the Xigmatek Secure USD01 SATA hdd docking station

Summary: Xigmatek Secure USD01 offers a hard drive docking bay compatible with both 2.5” and 3.5” SATA drives. The great compatibility together with its great connectivity makes this unit one of the most attractive solutions if you are looking for a docking station for internal hard drives.


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INTRODUCTION

You have probably already seen them; the new docking solutions for internal hard drives. Manufacturers figure we cannot make do with normal external hard drives. Before doing this review I really didn’t get the point of these docking stations so I thought to myself; why no test one of these products out?



Before digging any deeper into this (mess), let’s take a look at the specifications:


Xigmatek Secure USD01

Compatibility

USB 2.0/eSATA

Connectors

USB x 1, eSATA (7pin) x 1

Hard disk compatibility

SATA 2.5” (up to 500GB)/3,5” (up to 1.5TB)

Indicators

HD Access and Power

Power adapter

12V/2A AC 100-240V (included)

Operating systems (PC)

Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP, VISTA

Operating system (MAC)

MAC OS X, MAC OS 9

Cables

USB 2.0 x 1 eSATA x 1

Application

All SATA hard disks of 2.5” and 3.5”



You may also want to have a look at Xigmatek’s own product page for the Xigmatek Secure USD01.



FIRST IMPRESSIONS

The Xigmatek Secure USD01 comes packaged in a cardboard box of gray color with some details in other colors. In the front part, there’s an image of the product and the name of the model. The specifications of the product are described in print on the backside of the box as you can see from the images below.



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When I opened the box, I found the Xigmatek Secure USD01 perfectly protected by bubble plastic. The rest of the accessories that accompanied the unit were placed in a separate cardboard box and surrounded by an individual plastic bag. The Secure USD01 bundle includes an AC-adapter, a 12V adapter, a USB cable, an eSATA cable and a brief manual. The manual is only available in English.



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IN DETAIL: XIGMATEK SECURE USD01

The Xigmatek Secure USD01 is made of a matte black color and has kind of a nice touch to it with its round shapes. It looks especially good when it’s running with the orange LED light located in the front of the unit.


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The backside carries all the connections of the Secure USD01. It has one USB 2.0 and one eSATA port. The third connector is for the AC adapter and just above you can see the power button.


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The upper part has a partial cover that moves depending on what drive size you enter in the unit. The docking bay is compatible with all hard drives of the 3.5” and 2.5” inch SATA standards (SATA150 and SATA300). The only restrictions are the size of the drives; for 2.5 inch drives the upper limit is 500GB and for the 3.5 inch drives the limit is 1.5TB. The way the hard drives are inserted has been patented by Xigmatek.



One of the great qualities of the Xigmatek Secure USD01 is that we can connect and disconnect drives “on the fly”, i.e. we don’t have to extinguish the device whenever we want to change discs. This is made possible by the “Hot Swap” technology you normally only see in better rack servers.


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The underside of the product has six rubber supports to give the unit some friction against the surface it is placed upon. The Xigmatek Secure USD01 unit is surprisingly light of only 325 grams.



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INSTALLATION AND TESTS

The use of the Xigmatek Secure USD01 couldn’t be simpler. Whenever possible I recommend you use the eSATA connector for connecting the device to your computer since it has greater bandwidth than USB 2.0.


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I actually tried to confirm if the theoretical difference between USB 2.0 and eSATA made any practical difference. The results can be viewed further down in this review. Here’s a list of the surrounding hardware I used for this review:


Test equipment

Processor

Intel Core 2 Duo E6400, 2.13 GHz + Nexus Low-7000 Heat sink

Motherboard

DFI Lanparty JR P45 T2RS

Graphics card

nVIDIA GeForce 8800 320 GTS MB

Hard disk

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 500 GB

Memory

OCZ Reaper DDR2 1150MHz 2x2GB (5-6-6-18)

Power supply

Tacens Exchange 2 600W



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As you can see from the diagram above; the performance generally increased rather dramatically when I connected the docking bay through the eSATA connector compared to the USB 2.0.


I didn’t experience any heat problems and I shouldn’t since the connected hard drive is mostly surrounded by “free air”.



CONCLUSIONS

This Xigmatek product is a safe bet. It’s easy to install, it works without hassle and the connectivity is OK. Furthermore it’s easy to operate and looks great, especially when it’s running. It’s great that the Secure USD01 is compatible with both 2.5” and 3.5” SATA drives and that it supports both SATA150 and SATA300.


Another good thing is the price of this unit at around 25€ ($32).


But I still don’t get why I need this product as an ordinary user? External drives have many advantages. They are not sensitive to static electricity like internal drives, i.e. every time you are handling an internal drive there’s a chance you wreck it because of static electricity and it also has sensitive PCB electronics which means you will have troubles transporting it “as is”. I can think of many other advantages with external drives but maybe I should stop myself. I guess this type of product is meant for people with specific needs and I am simply not one of those people.



Instead I should evaluate this product with the intent of analyzing its performance and usability for people having a need for it. And in my review I have not experienced any problems at all; it’s basically a great product… even though I have no direct use for it.


Pros:

  • Connectivity
  • Compatibility with both 2.5” and 3.5” SATA drives
  • Hot Swap compatibility
  • Nice looking design
  • Low price

Cons:

  • Why do I need this again?



Xigmatek Secure USD01

Packing and accessories

2/2

Quality and finished

2/2

Connectivity

2/2

Yield

1.75/2

Price

1.75/2

Total

9.5/10



The final score is 95 out of 100 owls, and we give the “Xigmatek Secure USD01” our Editor’s Choice Award.



TestSeek Labs Editor's Choice 2009 Award




 

 

 

Thanks goes out to Xigmatek for letting me review this docking station.



Author: Manuel González Fernández

Translator: Vince Emiloz Sanderson


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