First a big thank you to Thermaltake for providing the BlacX Docking Station for this Review.
Today I get a chance to look at what might be the best external drive setup up I have seen to date.
Before I get into this review I should mention that if you look at the first picture of the box for the BlacX you will notice it says the BlacX can handle drives of up to 1 TeraByte. I received this BlacX quite some time ago and at that time the drives were only in the TeraByte range and hence the labeling on the box. It should be noted that the BlacX can in fact handle hard drives that are up to 2 TeraBytes in size.
Below are the specifications for the BlacX.
-Enclosure Interface: USB 2.0
-Transfer Rate: Up to 480 Mbps (Max)
-HDD Compatible: SATA I SATA II
-HDD Capacity: All 2.5” or 3.5” SATA HDD up to 2 TB
-OS Compatible: Windows Vista / XP / 2003 / 2000 / NT / 98 / 95 Mac 10.3 and later
-Material: ABS Plastic
-Power: Input: 100-240V / 50-60Hz / 1A ; Output: 12V / 2A
-Dimension: 5.12 (L) x 3.55 (W) x 2.56 (H) in.
-Weight: 2 lbs
-Special Features: HotSwap Capability for Rapid Multi HDDs Access & Exchange, Compact Docking Station Design maximizes Heat Dissipation & Exhaust
I have to say when I first seen the BlacX I thought this would be a pretty cool device. In the past I have messed around with other ways to use external drives on systems I have here and to date I wasn’t happy with any drive swapping products I have used.
The first thing that impresses me about the BlacX is the simplicity in the design. You just take any SATA HDD and slip it into the slot and that’s it. You don’t have to mess around with cables or fight with plugs or any of that. Also do to the fact that most of the drive is exposed to the air, heat issues won’t be a problem.
The other nice feature of the BlacX is its hot swapable meaning you can just drop a drive in and take that drive out and put another drive in and that new drive will be seen by the computer. This hot swapable idea means you don’t have to reboot your computer each time you swap a drive in and out of the BlacX.
The picture below is what you get in the BlacX box that the product ships in. As you can see you get the BlacX dock along with the power adapter and also the USB cable.
The next picture shows the top of the BlacX and you can see there is a button in the middle of the Dock and you use this to eject the drive when you want to get the drive to come out of the BlacX. Off to the right of the eject button you see an oval looking thing that looks like another button and this is the power and the drive activity light. When you turn the BlacX on part of the light lights up blue and when there is hard drive access the other part of the light lights up red to let you know the drive is working.
The next picture shows the back of the BlacX and here you can see the power switch to turn the BlacX off and on and you can also see the power cord hookup and the USB hookup to connect the BlacX to your computer.
I decided I would stick a 1 Terabyte drive in the BlacX and see how it would work under Windows XP and as expected the BlacX performed with no issues at all. I even hooked the BlacX up to my Ubuntu Linux system and even there the BlacX performed with no issues.
After using the BlacX for a while there were a couple of things I would have liked to have seen on the BlacX. The first thing I would have liked to have seen would have been a slot for IDE based drives. I have several IDE drives here I would like to be able to access and it would have been nice if the BlacX supported those drives as well. The other thing I would like to see changed is the power chord on the adapter is only four feet long and I would have liked to have seen that at least 6 feet long.
It should also be noted that Thermaltake does have variations of the BlacX and one of those comes with USB and ESATA. You can find more information out about those docks here.
In conclusion the BlacX is a solid option for anyone that has external SATA drives kicking around and wants to be able to access them from time to time in a quick and easy manner. At the time of this Review you could purchase the Thermaltake BlacX for about $40.00 U.S.
Below are a few more pictures of the Thermaltake BlacX.