Thermaltake BlacX 5G Hard Drive Docking Station

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Product(s): Thermaltake BlacX 5G Hard Drive Docking Station
Provided By:
Thermaltake
Price:


Introduction: 

It's been a while since we took a look at a hard drive dock here at BCCHardware, but to day we're looking at the new USB 3.0 dock from Thermaltake, The BlacX 5G HDD Docking Station.

The last hard drive dock we took a look at was the Thermaltake BlacX Duet HDD Docking station (full review can be found here). The similarities between the BlacX Duet and the BlacX 5G are abundant, however the big feature of the BlacX 5G is the addition of USB 3.0 which should significantly improve performance and it will be very interesting to see by how much performance is increased.

The BlacX 5G is USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 compatible, in this review we will test using both interfaces and show you just how much more performance USB 3.0 can provide over USB 2.0.

 

First Impressions:

There really isn't anything too out of the ordinary to note with the Thermaltake BlacX 5G hard drive dock, when compared to other docks from Thermaltake its pretty similar in looks.

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Packaging
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Packaging


As you can see in the pictures below this docks is compatible with both 2.5 and 3.5 inch hard drives.

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Top View
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Rear View


The accessories included with the BlacX 5G are also pretty standard (pictured below, right). The only thing our of the ordinary is the inclusion of 2 rubber hard drive "jackets". I'm assuming these "jackets" are supposed to help protect your drive while inserting and reducing the drives into the BlacX 5G dock, however chances are good that you'll use them a couple times and then put them in a drawer as they are kinda annoying to be putting on your hard drives (especially if you are using multiple hard drives into your dock on a daily basis).

Everything else included with the BlacX 5G is pretty standard and is everything you need to get started.

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Bottom View
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Accessories



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Drive Installed
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Drive Installed


In the pictures below you can see the silicone (rubber) "jackets" that come included with the Thermaltake BlacX 5G HDD dock. I'm guessing most people will probably not use these jackets due to the annoyance of having to install and remove them every time you want to use another hard drive in your dock, but for someone who only uses a couple drives in this dock it might be a nice bonus feature that might protect your drive from a small accidental drop.

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Silicon Jacket Installed
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Silicone Jacket Installed


So there we go, that's what the Thermaltake BlacX 5G Hard Drive Docking station is all about, let's move onto the next section of our review.


Thermaltake BlacX 5G Specifications:

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All specifications taken from Thermaltake.com

 

Features:

  • Supports USB 3.0 SuperSpeed – Maximum Transfer Rate up to 5.0 Gbps.
  • Backward-Compatible with USB 2.0 (Max: 480 Mbps) & 1.1 (Max: 12 Mbps).
  • Premium Shielded USB 3.0 Cable – Corrosion Resistant Plating & Heavy Gauge Wires for Years of Reliable Use. .
  • Plug & Play Installation – Ready to Work in seconds, No Software needed.
  • Supports 2.5" & 3.5" SATA I/II/3.0 & SSD Hard Drives up to 2 TB.
  • Hot-Swap Capability for Rapid Multi HDDs Access & Exchange.
  • Trendy Docking Station Design maximizes Heat Dissipation & Exhaust.
  • Windows & Mac OS Compatible. Windows 7 – 32 & 64-bit Ready !
  • Supports SATA III (6 Gb/s) Hard Drives with maximum speed up to 5.0 Gb/s (maximum theoretical speed offered by USB 3.0).

 

 

Detailed Specifications:

Enclosure Interface   
  • SATA / SSD to USB 3.0
Transfer Rate   
  • USB 3.0: up to 5Gbps
HDD Compatible   
  • SATA I / II / III & SSD
HDD Capacity   
  • All Standard 2.5” or 3.5” SATA & SSD Hard Drives
OS Compatible   
  • Microsoft Windows 7 / Vista / XP / 2003 / 2000
    Mac 10.3 and later
Material   
  • ABS Plastic
Power   
  • Input: 100-240V / 50-60Hz ; Output: 12V / 2
Dimension   
  • 136 (W) x 73 (D) x 88 (H) mm
    5.35 (W) x 2.87 (D) x 3.46 (H) inch
Accessory   
  • USB 3.0 Cable
    Power Adaptor (CE, FCC, GOST R Certified)
    HDD Silicon Jacket - 3.5" (x1) & 2.5" (x1)
Fan   
  • N/A
Weight   
  • 312 g / 0.69 lbs
Special Features   
  • *Supports SATA III (6 Gb/s) Hard Drives with maximum speed up to 5.0 Gb/s (maximum theoretical speed offered by USB 3.0).

 

 

 

Thermaltake BlacX 5G - Testing:

Testing of a hard drive dock is pretty easy, install a hard drive and run some tests to see just how good it performs. The performance differences between hard drive dock brands is going to be pretty similar, but we are more interested in seeing just how well a USB 3.0 hard drive dock can perform when compared to USB 2.0.

In all of our testing we used a Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB hard drive.

In this first test we've done our testing the old fashioned way, we transfered files and timed just how long it took us. This should give us a pretty good idea of "Real-World" performance.

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Click on image for larger view.


Unsurprisingly we found that USB 3.0 destroyed USB 2.0. When doing larger file transfers (7 GB file size) we found that times decreased from 5:32 all the way down to 1:24 which is pretty significant. The improvement in performance was visible in all of our tests.

In this next chart we'll take a closer look at the transfer speeds of USB 2.0 and USB 3.0.

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Click on image for larger view.

 

Once again we see that USB 3.0 offers significant improvements over USB 2.0 and for anybody that uses a hard drive dock like the BlacX 5G and isn't using USB 3.0 will probably want to consider moving to USB 3.0 as there is a huge increase in performance and you'll probably be able to save a significant amount of time waiting for file transfers.

 

Final Thoughts:

The Thermaltake BlacX 5G Hard Drive Docking Station is a great upgrade over previous version thanks to the addition of USB 3.0. The performance of USB 2.0 is decent, but if your computer has USB 3.0 capabilities you will most definitely want to be getting a USB 3.0 dock like the Thermaltake BlacX 5G.

Overall the Thermaltake BlacX 5G HDD dock is good and I really have no complaints against it. Everything works like advertised, performance was good (thanks to USB 3.0) and it feels like its built well enough to stand up over the long haul.

The BlacX 5G has a MSRP of $49.99 USD, however I'm pretty sure you'll be able to find this model online for ~$40.00 USD which makes this pertty comparable to most hard drive docking stations on the market today.

At the end of the day its pretty easy to like the BlacX 5G Hard Drive Docking Station and if you're still using an USB 2.0 hard drive dock you'll probably want to make an upgrade to the BlacX 5G (and USB 3.0). The performance, build quality, and ease of use make the Thermaltake BlacX 5G easy for us to recommend and helped it gain our "Editor's Choice - Gold" award.

 

Pros:

  • USB 3.0 = Good
  • Easy to use
  • High Quality Construction

 

Cons:

  • Nothing Major

 

BCCRating

Gold 
 

 

I'd like to thank Thermaltake for sending us the BlacX 5G HDD Dock. If you have any questions, comments, or general feedback, please leave it at the "Comments" link below.