Thermaltake BlacX Duet HDD Docking Station Review

Hardware Secrets Golden Award


BlacX Duet is a hard disk drive enclosure for you to install up to two hard disk drives outside your computer. You probably have seen hundreds of devices like this before, but what makes this Thermaltake product really unique is the fact that it is a docking station, allowing you to install and remove hard drives with the computer turned on and without needing to open the device to install your hard drive – just insert your hard drive on the available slot on the docking station. In fact hard disk drive installation with this unit remembers the installation of cartridges in older video game consoles. Sounds interesting? Read on.

We have already reviewed the previous incarnation of BlacX. What is new on BlacX Duet is the presence of two bays instead of only one and also an eSATA-300 port, which allows you to access you hard disk drive at its full speed, just like if it were installed inside your computer. As you may know, USB 2.0 limits the maximum transfer rate from the hard disk drive (and on this review we will show you by how much). The new USB 3.0 with its 5 Gbps (500 MB/s) should solve this issue, but we will need to wait until motherboards and hard drive enclosures based on this new standard become more popular.

Thermaltake BlacX DuetFigure 1: Thermaltake BlacX Duet.

As you can see in Figure 1, contrary to other HDD enclosures around, BlacX is opened, so you install your hard drives by just inserting them on one of the available slots – imagine installing a cartridge on an old video game console, it is the same thing. The available slots allow both 3.5” and 2.5” devices (we are saying “hard disk drives” all the time, but you can also use SSDs, of course), as it has retractable frames to make 2.5” drives to fit the slots. BlacX only accepts SATA hard disk drives.

Thermaltake BlacX DuetFigure 2: The connectors inside the slots.

Thermaltake BlacX DuetFigure 3: BlacX Duet with two hard disk drives installed.

Since the hard disk drive is exposed this device doesn’t need a cooling system for the hard drive.

In Figure 4 you see the rear side of the unit and in Figure 5 you see the power supply, the USB A/B cable and the eSATA cable that come with the product.

Thermaltake BlacX DuetFigure 4: Rear side.

Thermaltake BlacX DuetFigure 5: Power supply, USB A/B cable and eSATA cable.

BlacX Duet supports hot swap, so you can add and remove hard disk drives with your computer turned on (don’t forget that you need to “eject” the drive first in Windows by right clicking it and choosing “eject;” another way to do this is to use the “Safely Remove Hardware” wizard that appears next to the Windows clock).

Author: Gabriel Torres

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.

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