Brando 2.5 & 3.5inch SATA HDD Dock with USB Hub Review

Storage/Other by jmke @ 2008-06-24

Brando SATA HDD Dock allows you to hotplug any 3.5 or 2.5inch SATA drive in a nifty external device. No more screwing around to get that external hard-drive installed. Just push it into the HDD Dock and start copying files.

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Temps & Conclusion

Performance : Temperature

Anybody who has ever connected a HDD outside of a case knows that these devices can get quite hot ; they require some kind of active cooling to keep temperatures low. The SATA Dock offers no cooling whatsoever, so it was interesting to check the temperatures of the HDD after several hours of usage.

Madshrimps (c)

The hottest part of a hard drive is the side, in a ~22°C ambient room the HDD side measured 47°C, getting quite toasty.

Madshrimps (c)

At the top it was 45.2°C, not much cooler. The temperature reader we used was this infra-red temp reader from Scythe. Its accuracy is within ~2°C of models which cost $100+.

Conclusive Thoughts

At the time of writing the product we, SATA HDD Dock with Hub costs $82 , the model without USB hub only $69, while the eSATA model costs $79. An alternative model with USB/eSATA and card reader costs $79. The top of the line unit though is priced way higher, for $183 you get USB,ESATA as well as Firewire400/800. In short Brando offers a wide range of these SATA HDD Docks to fit the need of their customers.

Comparing price and functionality, you’d be best of with the latest entry, the $79 USB/eSATA model which offers 2xUSB 2.0 ports in front as well as slots of the most popular memory cards.

Madshrimps (c)

Performance wise when hooked up to USB you’ll be maxing out the interface with any old SATA hard drive. The read/write performance is the same as if you were using an external USB HDD.

One thing worth mentioning is that the HDD temperatures in such a device might be troublesome if room temperatures go higher up, while at an ambient of 22°C there was no reason for worry, at a summer ~30°C the HDD will be running near 55°C under load. We hope Brando would consider adding a low RPM 40x40x15mm fan at the base which blows cool air up inside the bracket and cools the HDD, it doesn't have the be a fan running at high speed, nor big size, all it needs is just a little bit of airflow to remain cool.

Overall the Brando SATA HDD Dock goes further where the Thermaltake BlacX stops, offering a wider variety of extra options for USB sticks/memory cards as well as USB/eSATA/Firewire connection. These do come at an increased price as the most basic model is more expensive than the Thermaltake offering.

Recommended for

We have really found this Brando product an innovative approach to external storage, and if you are in the IT business and want to quickly access data from a customer’s HDD or need to recover information, this gadget will simplify your life!
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Comment from jmke @ 2008/06/25
Sharkoon is also selling these units here in Europe; The vanilla version is €25, the Pro adds eSATA and USB/Memory card reader for €37 in total; sharp pricing!