Unimpressed by the spaghetti cabling of cheap USB to SATA adapters on eBay? Check this one out!
I had one of those kludgy USB to SATA and IDE adapters. I used it so much that some hard drives would no longer spin up on it, and finally no 3.5″ drives would at all. So, I decided to get something a bit beefier and less clunky to deal with. So, I read various reviews and settled on a Tripp-Lite U339-002 USB to SATA Dock/Cloning Station.
Now, you might be thinking that Tripp-Lite is sort of like Belkin in that they aren’t necessarily leaders in any given area but very good at providing cheaper knock-offs. However, in my experience with Belkin, you sometimes pay for it in others ways. Tripp-Lite, though, and especially in this case, goes beyond emulating leaders like BlacX and provides even higher ease of use.
I should stress that I have had this unit for a while. I should also stress that cloning drives is not the main reason I purchased it. I bought it primarily to wipe multiple drives at once, and it has succeeded quite well in that regard. Of course, that is not all of its functionality, and other than the sturdiness, it doesn’t necessarily impress in that regard.
Some drives are not SATA, of course, so I also purchased a StarTech SATA to 2.5/3.5 IDE hard drive adapter, part number SAT2IDEADP. I was a bit nervous about this, seeing as it was not advertised to be compatible with this Tripp-Lite model, but it was advertised to be compatible with a similar one, so I bit the bullet. It comes with mounting screws and such, but nothing I need is that permanent, so I never used them. However, it will stand on its own temporarily in the unit and works just fine like that for my needs.
Still, I admit that nothing I’ve written is exactly something to write home about. That changed recently when I purchased a larger drive for my laptop.
Since I was doing SATA to SATA, I did not need to use the software that came with the unit. I did have to hook up the new drive in the unit and connect it to the computer long enough to format it. This is the part that is string, IMO. In order to clone a drive, you have to format the destination.
Anyhow, once formatted, I unhooked it from the computer, turned off the unit and plugged in the other drive. You must be sure to get the “master” in slot A and the “slave” in slot B, terminology that sounds odd in respect to SATA, and does not mean the same thing as it means in the IDE world. “Source” and “destination” might be better terms.
Now, the drive is encrypted, so a backup to a USB drive takes about 12 hours. Encryption messes with compression, so it takes seemingly forever since it must do sector by sector. Therefore, I was not expecting it to be done in one night.
I turned on the unit, pressed the clone button until the blue light came on and pressed it again. It began flashing, which indicated that it was working. I did not wait up for it, but I did get up later in the night about 4 hours later and checked on it. Believe it or not, it was done!
I was impressed, which is something that technology does not do for me every day.
There just plain don’t seem to be a whole lot of cons to this unit. I described some nitpicky things like terminology, but at least the instructions were clear. I really wish I could write more positive reviews like this one.
I should mention I purchased the unit and the adapter both through Office Depot. Unfortunately, they would not do store to store, which annoys me because it could have been closer to the job site I was initially going to use it at. Aside from that, shipping was pain-free, which for some reason also does not seem to be a given in this wacky world where FedEx would rather return a package than do their job, follow directions, keep their promises and deliver it.
I should also mention in this cynical world that I have received no compensation for this review, as is the norm.