To test the Sandberg USB / E-sata docking station I will be using the following PC.
AMD Phenom 9750.
BFG 8800GTS 320mb.
4GB OCZ Titanium.
Samsung 160gb x2.
Akasa infiniti zor.
Arctic Cooling Fusion 550R.
Sandberg HDD docking Station
To test the performance of the Sandberg USB / E-sata docking station I will be installing a 500GB Samsung Spinpoint F1 sata drive into it. It will be tested as per a “normal” hard drive caddy by running a little application called HD Tune to find the data transfer speed, access time and data burst rate of the drive. This will be done via both USB and E-sata. I fully expect the E-sata performance to be comparable with a “normal” hard drive fitted to an internal sata port. Time will tell though.
Once the hard drive was slotted into place, which took all of a couple of seconds, I powered the Sandberg docking station up connected it up via USB, Vista did its thing and auto detected it and installed it and it was up and running within a matter of seconds. So I set about testing it using the USB connection first then via E-Sata.
Usb Results as follows.
No real surprises here the Usb results are typical for a caddy / docking station.
Onto the E-Sata results, I powered my pc down reconnected the Sandberg docking station via E-Sata rebooted and resumed testing, let’s see if they too are what I would expect to see
The results are more or less along the lines of what I was expecting, if somewhat erratic, again I ran the test several times and the above were typical of the results I achieved each time. To satisfy my own curiosity I connected my test drive up internally and reran the tests again, they were a little “peaky” for lack of a better description but nothing like the E-Sata results so I can only assume the erratic nature of the results is in fact down to the Sandberg Docking Station.
Internal Sata Results:
Results charted below for comparison.
As you can see using the Sandberg docking station via the E-Sata connection offers a significant boost in performance, which could be a major plus point for some users. Due to the rather poor performance from the USB connection I strongly recommend installing the E-Sata bracket as using it via USB returns some fairly poor results. That said comparing it to the results gained from the same drive connected to an internal Sata connection I was surprised to see a significant difference in the burst speed though this probably wouldn’t make a whole lot of difference over all.
All things considered pretty much what I expected from both the E-Sata connection and from the USB connection.
With the performance tests out of the way it was time to check out the bundled software.
The software for the Sandberg docking station comes on a mini CD and is very simple to install, run the set up program click next / install and that’s pretty much it.
The software is called PCClone EX Lite and seems to be the software of choice for most hard drive caddy manufacturers as I have seen it a few times whilst doing various reviews on caddies / docking stations that offer back up facilities.
Once installed I ran it and the first screen you come to is as follows, the Quick Launch screen, it thoughtfully lets you know the last time you backed up, no idea where it got the date from though as I have never run this software before?
The next screen is where you choose the files you want to back up via the Back Up button on the Sandberg Docking station. You may have noticed there is nothing selected to back them up to as, apparently, this can only be done via USB. MOST annoying and a MAJOR issue, as its USB performance is low by comparison. So I had to power down remove the E-Sata connection and reconnect via USB. Once I had done this sure enough the docking station appeared and I was able to do a “one touch back up” albeit slower than necessary.
Once I had selected what I wanted to back up you just need to press the button on the top of Sandberg once to start the backup and a second time to confirm, 2 touch back up to be precise.
Once you have your files backed up restoring them is basically the reverse of what you did to back them up, instead of pressing the button on the docking station though you click the restore icon (middle icon of the three at the bottom right of the below picture, the others are back up and minimise). Simple as that.
The next screen is a normal file manager, much like widows explorer. Drag and drop is the key to this one though.
The final screen is the settings screen, from here you can set things like what you want the pc to do after it has finished backing up, what, if any, system folders you want to backup rather than finding them and selecting them manually whether you want all files to be backed up from the selected ones or just the ones that have changed, which could save a whole lot of time considering its done over USB.
All things considered the software is OK but I do find it very annoying that you HAVE to use the slowest available connection for “one touch backup” the normal file manage part sees the Sandberg Docking Station so why doesn’t the other part of the software?
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