StarTech USB to IDE SATA Standalone Hard Drive Duplicator Dock review

Alan Lu
24 Jun 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

More features than you'll ever need in a hard disk cloner, and you'll need to use them all to justify the high price



Startech's Hard Drive Duplicator Dock has a rather long-winded name, so we'll refer to it as the Duplicator. As its name suggests, the Duplicator can copy the contents of one hard disk to another without the aid of a computer. This is useful for people who repair computers regularly or if you're upgrading the hard disk in your computer and want to get back up and running as soon as possible. Unlike other hard disk cloners, the Duplicator works with both modern SATA hard disks and older PATA hard disks, which is a rare capability.

StarTech USB to IDE SATA Standalone Hard Drive Duplicator Dock two Hard Drive connected

There are two SATA ports and two PATA ports – one of each pair is marked as Source while the other is marked as Destination. To copy a disk, plug it into a Source port and then plug a second disk into a Destination port. Then select the Copy menu command on the LCD screen. You don't need matching disk types – a SATA disk can be copied onto a PATA disk and vice-versa. We had no trouble copying a 2.5in SATA hard disk with a hidden recovery partition. The screen displays an estimate of how long the cloning will take, but it's usually a lengthy process best left to run overnight or during a long lunch.

If you need to copy 2.5in PATA hard disks, a pair of adapters is included in the box that allow you to plug them into the Duplicator's full-size PATA ports. Another unusual option is the ability to create a RAID array from two connected disks. Simply plug two disks into any of the Duplicator's ports and choose either the RAID 0 or 1 option on the LCD screen. This RAID array can then be connected to any computer using the Duplicator's USB2 port.

We can't think of many uses for this RAID feature, although if you choose RAID 1, then you effectively have two copies of any files copied from your computer to the array. This could be useful if you're configuring multiple computers in a small office or school lab, for example. There's no guarantee the RAID array will be preserved if you plug it into your PC unless it uses the same RAID controller as the Duplicator, though.

StarTech USB to IDE SATA Standalone Hard Drive Duplicator Dock

There's no doubt that the Duplicator is very expensive – which we suspect is partially due to its RAID controller. It feels very well made, though, with handy rubber flaps protecting the ports when not in use. You also get all the accessories you're likely to need (£18 worth in total) – two 2.5in PATA adapters (£5 each), a pair of PATA ribbon cables (£2 each), a pair of £1 Molex power cables for powering PATA disks and a USB2 cable (£1).

The Duplicator may be a niche product, but it's the most comprehensive disk cloner yet. If you only need to copy modern SATA disks and don't need RAID, the Lindy Docking and Cloning Station is a better buy at £50.



Read more