We have mentioned in the past that any computer enthusiast that builds and/or upgrades their own systems should have a dock/clone solution on hand. Something that is going to last for years and help them easily get to drives with minimal to no system reboots when possible. It not only speeds your work up so that your can be on your way faster but it allows for less things to go wrong (like you losing your mind). The only thing that has driven some users away from buying one is price more than anything, but that has changed since there are a number of solutions now that won’t break the bank while still providing you with the functionality to make your life easier.
Today’s candidate is Orico’s 2-Bay USB 3.0 Hard Drive Dock with Standalone Cloning functionality, which hits that niche right on target. Now only does it allows you to quickly access any internal “SATA” drive (3.5-in or 2.5-in) you have laying around but will also allow you to clone the drive without having to connect it to a computer to accomplish the task. This latter feature benefits you by not having to install the drive first, boot into your OS, download cloning software (possibly having to pay for said cloning software), clone it via the software which may or may not require an additional reboot, and then the shutdown/reboot and removal of the original drive if it was the OS drive. Instead, you shut down and take the original drive out, slap it into the dock with the new target drive, clone it, install the new drive and boot into your OS–done. No multiple reboots, no software, no blue screens of death (BSOD) while cloning (ie, driver conflicts). Just slap the drives in and hit clone.
The dock itself is for the most part pretty basic. There isn’t much weight to it since they kept it to simple plastics and parts. It won’t be the most durable or fancy looking dock available on the market, but it sure does accomplish wonders with price. The price tag is around $26.99 on average, which even beats the price of the Kingwin dock we like so much for the exact same function (and have spoke about in the past). It’s a simple no bells or whistles dock that does only what it needs to–dock and clone.
Black on all sides, it features a near-oval shape with the two HDD/SSD slots located top-side along with a few LEDs for status, and connectivity and controls on the back. Each drive slot is labeled source and target so that you know which drive goes where. The LEDs give you the status of the cloning process when using the dock in that mode. The connectivity features two simple connections, one for power and one for USB 3.0 connection to your computer.
The controls include three options beginning with the power button that powers up the dock (to be done once you have already inserted the drives and are ready. If you are using it simply to dock your drive(s) to your system, then you are done. As long as it is connected via USB to the system, it will function like an external USB hard drive. When finished, you should always unmount the USB drive like you would a thumb/flash drive to minimize any chance of error.
If you are looking to use it to clone a drive to another, you would then insert the original drive into the source slot and then the new drive into the target slot (although that part should be obvious). Then you would flip the switch on the back from “PC” to “Clone” and then power it on with the button. This mode does not require the USB to be connected as it operates on its on via this mode/function. Now you simply press “start” when ready and sit back (or preferably walk away to do something else) as the LEDs on top will guide you through where it is in the process of cloning. Once all the lights are solid through 100%, you are ready to power the dock down and remove the drives.
I mention walk away since the cloning process does take what feels like forever. Anytime you clone a drive anymore, you are faced with this due to the capacity of today’s drives. We found that on average it took around a few hours for every 0.5TB of data that is being cloned. So if you are looking to clone a drive, it’s best to find something to do to pass the time with. Travel a bit, go for a hike, play a game or simply find another project to make use of your time with. Once the drive is finished, you will be happy that it didn’t require any of your effort to make it happen. Now you have a perfect sector for sector clone of your source drive and you are ready to move on.
Getting a look at transfer speeds of the dock (when in PC/Dock mode), we saw speeds that ran all over the place, but we were able to find an average by testing between an average modern 5400rpm drive and a much older 200GB drive (Maxtor) to see if we were able to get a noticeable advantage with a modern drive and this dock. We also threw in a few random drives to challenge our results with. We found that on average the write speed fell around 65MB/s regardless of the drive in use. We expected to see more since it is making use of USB 3.0 connectivity, but it seems to be a stalemate. Read speed is where we found variation with the older drive falling around 65-70MB/s and the newer drive(s) climbing as high as 132MB/s. So it isn’t the best drive when it comes to transfer speeds, but it does at least get the job done without random disconnects or other odd troubles. We have tested docks that deliver better transfer speeds, but I can’t think of a single one within this price range.
It is important of course to point out that when you are trying to dock a fresh drive that isn’t formatted, that you have to initiate/format is first before your OS (ie, Windows) will list it openly as an accessible drive. In Windows for example, you would want to first go to Disk Management to initiate the disk and choose your format. Then it will appear in your main drive list to access
No drivers are necessary to get the dock working on a system assuming you have a relatively modern OS installed. For Windows, we had success via Windows 7 through 10 for example. Very plug and play and user friendly. It does not come with any software however, so if you are looking to use it for backing up data to drives within the dock, you will have to venture out into the internet for a good software solution such as Acronis.
Price is everything when it comes to this one. Coming in less than $30 was a great approach by Orico, making it available to literally anyone. It seems to clone well and functions just fine as an external dock solution. The slight lack in transfer speed is the only thing drawing it down in a score a little but it bites back well when it comes to reliability, user-friendliness and price.
|Buy from Amazon|
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
- Output: USB3.0 Type-B
- HDD Supported: 2.5/3.5 inch SATA HDD and SSD
- Data Cable: 1M (3.3Ft)
- Supported Capacity: Up to 8TB (x2)
- Built-in Cloning: Yes
- Power Supply: 12V3A
- Supported OS Systems: Windows/Linux/Mac
Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.