Zalman ZM-MH200 U3 Dual HDD Dock Review 6

Zalman ZM-MH200 U3 Dual HDD Dock Review

Use & Performance »


You will not get much besides the bare necessities with the Zalman ZM-MH200 U3. A fairly long USB 3.0 cable is all that is required to connect the dock to your system. As it draws power from an external power source there is no need to worry if two hard drives would tax the USB 3.0 connector too much. A manual is also part of the box, but the dual dock is pretty self-explanatory. Interestingly enough, Zalman includes two additional rubber feet, which seems to suggest that the ones already on the device may come off easily.

A fairly compact power brick has also been included, as the two drives will draw more power than the USB 3.0 port can offer. It has a Zalman label on it, but this is by no means a retail product from the company. It outputs 12V at 3A, which is appropriate considering that you can power two drives with it instead of one.

A Closer Look

A plastic lining has been placed on the "piano finish" surface of the circular dock to protect it from scratches and finger prints in the factory. A brushed plate - which may or may not be Aluminum - has been placed on the top while the underside holds a simple sticker with the model name and serial number of the device. There are five screws holding the device together over which small rubber feet have been placed.

Zalman has placed every connector in the rear of the unit. There is an on/off switch, the expected USB 3.0 plug, a reset button, a pair of DIP switches to set how the drives are to be configured and the plug to connect the power brick to. As you can see, there are four modes possible with the red DIP switch:
  • Dual: Both inserted drives show up as seperate, independent drives in the OS
  • JBOD: The drives show up as one big drive in the OS
  • RAID0: The drives are set up in a performance configuration as both are accessed in parallel for up to 2x the performance. If one drive fails or is disconnected, the data stored on the remaining drive is lost
  • RAID1: The drives are set up in a mirroring configuration. One drive shows up in windows while the other is used as an automatic backup. If one drive fails or is disconnected, all information is still accessible on the remaining drive.

There is no reason for you to take the docking station apart, but we want to check what makes the unit tick. The five rubber feet are indeed really easy to peel of the underside so it is good that Zalman has included additional ones. Once the five screws are gone, the unit falls apart and the black PCB can be seen.

While the top of the PCB naturally does not have any vital components exposed, as the drives are pushed down on the SATA connectors, the underside is where the interesting part is hidden. Zalman utilizes the JMicron JMS551 IC, which is a "SuperSpeed USB to SATA II 3.0G Bridge Chip". As there is no other large IC present, the JMicron one seems to take care of the RAID functionality as well.
Next Page »Use & Performance