Installing the BlacX SE was quick and painless. Once plugged in and turned, on the drive was immediately detected and appeared in My Computer as a standard hard drive. Above you can see the drive with all the cables hooked up from the front and back with the drive installed.
For testing, I used two programs, HD Tach and HD Tune, to test the write and read speeds of the drive in the dock. For reference purposes, the drive used was a 3.5” Maxtor 320GB, 7200 RPM SATA Drive. During testing, I was curious to see how having USB devices plugged into the hub would affect drive performance as they share the same USB bus to the computer.
As you can see in the results above, there was a 2.6 mb/s difference when I had two flash drives and a USB mouse plugged in (left image) as versus not having anything (right image). Note that no data was being written to the flash drives during this test - they were just sitting idle.
In this test, I wrote files to one of the USB drives while running the hard drive benchmark and we can see a fairly noticeable drop in the graph on the left versus the one on the right during the period of time the files were being written.
In conclusion, I found my experience with the Thermaltake BlacX SE to be quite painless. The dock does everything it's supposed to and looks pretty sharp sitting on one's desk. The addition of the USB hub was a nice touch and makes using USB devices a lot easier. I have listed the pros and cons below to explain what I did and didn't like about it.
- Easy to use design
- Integrated USB hub
- Blue LEDs look good
- Transfer speeds were normal for a USB connected drive
- Works with any 2.5” or 3.5” drive on the market today
- eSATA mysteriously absent
- Drive and hub share the same USB cable
- Dock needs to be powered for hub to work
- Power and USB cables were way too short
- A little bulky
- Packaging could be better.
- A bit expensive
While these issues did detract from the overall experience, the device did exactly what it was advertised to and fills a useful niche. As of writing, the Thermaltake BlacX SE USB Hard Drive Docking Station retails for $47.99 at a popular online reseller.
For doing exactly what it's designed to, the Thermaltake BlacX USB Hard Drive Docking Station has earned the OCIA.net Seal of Approval.