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Written by Aidan Moore   
Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Table of Contents: Page Index
INEO I-NA321U PLUS Docking Station
Closer Look: INEO I-NA321U PLUS
INEO I-NA321U PLUSPerformance
INEO I-NA321U PLUS Conclusion

INEO I-NA321U PLUS Performance

The first thing you will notice is that the I-NA321U PLUS is shipped without any software or drivers. This gives an indication of the simplicity of installation, as the operating system automatically recognizes the presence of the unit when powered on with a hard drive present in one of the slots.

The one-button disk cloning feature is straightforward, and is clearly described in the included user manual. The drive slot towards the rear of the I-NA321U PLUS is clearly labeled "Source" and the front drive slot is labeled "Target". With the device powered off, the source drive should be placed in slot A and the target drive in slot B. It is important to remove the USB cable connected to the PC during this process. At this point the I-NA321U PLUS is powered on while the clone button is held for approximately 4 seconds. The source and target lights on the top of the device begin to blink, indicating that a clone process is in progress. Those progress LEDs on the front of the I-NA321U PLUS start to toggle from left to right as the cloning process proceeds from start to completion.Obviously the destination drive must be equal to or larger than the source drive.

The one-touch drive cloning feature was tested using a system SSD and a larger mechanical hard drive as the destination. The 160GB system drive was easily duplicated by using the one touch copy function to clone the drive to the larger hard disk drive. The entire process only took about 6 minutes and the duplicated drive performed as expected. It should be noted that because it is an exact copy, the partition size on the larger hard drive will remain the same size as the source. It is then a very simple process to use the disk management tools in Windows to change the partition size to the maximum space available.

One of the questions that arises when a dual docking station is available is whether or not both drives can be accessed simultaneously. Simply streaming video from the "Source" drive while making random read and writes to the "Target" drive worked successfully, but errors were displayed when an attempt was made to stream from both hard drives. This is especially obvious if a benchmark program such as CrystalDiskMark is used to perform a simultaneous benchmark on both drives.

The I-NA321U PLUS was then benchmarked using both a 6Gbps and a 3Gbps solid-state drive for comparison. The solid-state drives were first benchmarked using CrystalDiskMark 3.0.1 to obtain an average read and write speed while connected directly to the motherboard SATA ports. The SSD's were then removed and the benchmark was performed with the SSD's in the I-NA321U PLUS.

Test System

  • Motherboard:ASUS P9X79 Deluxe
  • System Memory:G.Skill F3-12800CL10D 32GB
  • Processor:Intel Core i7 3930K
  • Audio:Creative SB X-fi
  • Video:NVIDIA GeForce GTX 590
  • Disk Drive 1:Intel SSDSA2M160G2GC 160GB SSD 3Gb/s SATA
  • Disk Drive 2:Samsung SSD840 250GB 6Gb/s SATA
  • Optical Drive:N/A
  • Enclosure:CoolerMaster HAF932
  • PSU:Corsair 800W
  • Operating System: Windows 8 Professional

The first benchmark below shows the performance of the 3Gb/s Intel SSD in the motherboard SATA port. The second benchmark shows the same Intel SSD in the I-NA321U PLUS. It is obvious that there is a slight hit on the sequential read performance, while the 512K performance actually improves in the I-NA321U PLUS. Once the queue depth is increased to 32, there is a significant drop in performance.

3GSSD_3GSATA.jpg

Intel 3Gb/s SSD in SATA port

3GSSD_INEO.jpg

Intel 3Gb/s SSD in I-NA321U PLUS

Taking a look at the performance of the 6Gb/s Samsung SSD, the benchmark below shows over 500 MBPS sequential read available from the motherboard 6 Gb/s port. Placing the Samsung SSD into the I-NA321U PLUS shows the impact of the 3Gb/s SATA port in the Ineo device. However, performance is still quite respectable and clearly demonstrates the value of the USB 3.0 interface .

6GSSD_6GSATA.jpg

Samsung 6Gb/s SSD in SATA Port

6GSSD_INEO.jpg

Samsung 6Gb/s SSD in I-NA321U PLUS



 

Comments 

 
# INEO I-NA321U PLUS Docking Stationkzinti1 2013-04-08 13:34
This is a really nice little device! Other than the 3Gbs. limit, the only other con would be no dust covers for the drive slots. All I can think of is to put it back in the box when not actually in use. Surely there's another option? No matter what you do to stop it, it's quite dusty, inside and out, here at the beach.
COMMENT QUESTION: What would you use the Ineo I-NA321U PLUS for?
Copying a smaller drive to a larger one when I run out of space is the only thing to come to mind ATMO.
I'll have to think about some other uses while I'm waiting for a 6Gbs. version. If there is one.
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