The drive used for testing, a Seagate 500Gb 7200.10, slides easily down into the slot, folding the flap cover out of the way. Since the slot is positioned far to the front, presumably so a second slot can be added to the rear while still utilizing the same overall enclosure design, the unit does feel a bit top and front heavy. Possibly this explains the DockMaster's seemingly excess weight, to prevent it from tipping forward. With the AC adapter plugged in and the dock turned on, the Kingwin logo on the front lights up with a dim blue glow. The same LED flashes brighter when there is disk activity.
The Kingwin DockMaster USB 3.0 was installed on the following system:
AMD Phenom II 965 X4 BE
Swiftech H2O-220 Compact
2x2Gb Crucial Ballistix Tracer DDR3-1600
Asus HD4890 TOP
Thermalright HR-03 GT
2x74Gb WD Raptor RAID0
500Gb Seagate 7200.10 (benchmark drive)
Optiarc 24x DVD+/-RW
SilverStone Decathlon DA750
Cooler Master HAF 932 AMD Edition
The 500Gb Seagate 7200.10 test drive was then run through three popular disk benchmarks, with the drive first connected via SATA, shown on the left, followed by the Kingwin DockMaster connected via USB 2.0 in the middle, and via USB 3.0 displayed on the right. In both SATA and USB 3.0 series of tests the drive itself should be the limiting factor when it comes to performance, as both interfaces are theoretically capable of much greater sustained throughput than the drive is.
ATTO Disk Benchmark shows a slight advantage to using the drive in a SATA configuration vs. USB 3.0, particularly on the smaller size file transfers. Although USB 3.0 does achieve roughly the same throughput on larger files. Both are clearly superior to USB 2.0 transfer speed.
HD Tune read benchmark however shows nearly identical performance. The average throughput of 61.3MB/s was achieved equally on both SATA and USB 3.0 drive interface types. Additionally minimum and maximum transfer rates were the same and access time was only off by one tenth of a millisecond. Burst on the SATA-connected drive however was nearly double that of the USB 3.0 rate.
CrystalDiskMark also showed very similar results, with the two sets of SATA/USB 3.0 scores within around 5% or less of each other and not indicating any consistent advantage to either connection type. Both obviously surpass USB 2.0 on all but the very small random read/writes, which become limited by the access speed of the drive itself.
Let's wrap up with some final thoughts and conclusion.