Kingwin DockMaster USB 3.0 HDD Dock
Author: Zahn Funk
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 04-22-2010
Provided by: Kingwin

The Kingwin DockMaster comes in three varieties, both a single and a dual drive USB 2.0 models and the USB 3.0 version. The product ships in an attractive retail box with relatively few accessories: a user manual, USB 3.0 cable, AC adapter and the dock itself.

The manual is a full color foldout that gives installation instructions and general usage tips. The USB 3.0 cable is noticeably different from your average USB 2.0 connector. Although the wide end looks like a standard USB male "A" type, it is slightly longer than a regular one. The opposite end is definitely not like a typical "B" type connector, it has stacked contact sections now that are totally incompatible with older USB 2.0 "B" style jacks. The reason for this difference is that USB 3.0 signaling uses twice as many conductors and twisted pair wires inside. The cable is also thicker as the jacket and shielding has been improved to handle the extra bandwidth.

The dock itself appears like many other similar products, featuring a squat, wide base with a vertically oriented drive slot. There does appear to be space enough for dual drives, in fact the Kingwin DockMaster DM-2536 looks identical to the 2535U3 in shape and dimensions, but with the exception of two openings on the top. A fold-down flap provides the necessary offset for installing a 2" notebook drive or SSD while still allowing a regular 3" desktop drive to be inserted. The rear of the unit holds only the USB 3.0 type "B" receptacle, power jack and a push-button on/off switch.

The DockMaster seemed rather large until I dug out the EZ-Dock 2 dual drive dock I reviewed last year, which has a considerably larger footprint. The weight is what gets me though, the DockMaster feels like it weighs as much as two or three of the EZ-Dock 2. I'm not sure if Kingwin made it heavier on purpose to provide extra stability and prevent accidental tip-overs, or if there really is that much more electronics built in to support the USB 3.0 standard. Shown next to a standard 3" desktop hard drive we can get a better idea of the exact size of this device.

Next let's install a drive and do some testing.

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