BlacX is a USB 2.0 SATA hard disk drive enclosure for you to install your hard drive outside your computer. O.k., you’ve 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.

Thermaltake BlacXFigure 1: Thermaltake BlacX.

As you can see in Figure 1, contrary to other HDD enclosures around, BlacX is opened, so you install your hard drive by just inserting it on the available slot – imagine installing a cartridge on an old video game console, it is the same thing. This slot allows both 3.5” and 2.5” hard disk drives, as it has a retractable frame to make 2.5” drives to fit the slot. BlacX only accepts SATA hard disk drives.

Thermaltake BlacXFigure 2: The connectors inside the slot.

Thermaltake BlacXFigure 3: BlacX with a hard disk drive 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 and the USB A/B cable that come with the product.

Thermaltake BlacXFigure 4: Rear side.

Thermaltake BlacXFigure 5: Power supply and USB A/B cable.

BlacX 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).

The only problem with this unit is that it uses USB 2.0 interface, which is limited to transfers up to 60 MB/s (480 Mbps).  For users that need to copy a large amount of data on a regular basis eSATA interface is a better option, as the hard drive achieves the same performance as if it were installed inside the computer.

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.