iStarUSA xAGE HDD Docking Station 5

iStarUSA xAGE HDD Docking Station Review

Use & Performance »

A Closer Look

The appearance of the dock can be a two-sided coin. The unit features a matte black finish and is constructed entirely of plastic. There is nothing added for excitement in the looks department, the design is simple and gets the job done. The average looking yet sturdy docking station features a power and HDD activity indicator on the front of the unit. The top of the unit has a spring loaded flap which allows access to 2.5" and 3.5" SATA hard disks.

The connectors are located on the back of the unit. Starting at the bottom is the DC-IN for the power adapter, followed by the On/Off power button, then the USB connector. The top connector is for eSATA which is unavailable for this unit. On the bottom of the docking station there are six rubber feet which keep the unit planted firmly on a desk with good anti-vibration capabilities. The label on the bottom of the unit contains the model designation and serial number.

To take apart the unit, all that was required was removing four of the rubber feet from the bottom, and removal of the four screws. Inside is all the necessary circuitry to make the docking station work. The unit gets its sturdiness from the metal slab that is screwed to the bottom. The INIC-1606L chip features a USB mass storage controller, a SATA controller, and a 8051 8-bit processor with 24k embedded ROM and 2KB SRAM. I could not find this chip on the inic website, however the INIC-1610 is listed here.
  • Integrates USB 2.0 PHY IP core.
  • Data transfer rate of up to 60 MB/sec on USB side, 150 MB/sec on SATA side.
  • Integrated internal Turbo 8051 uP with 16KB embedded SRAM.
  • Program Flash In-Line (Firmware download mechanism, USB direct for MFG Test, write .bta file.
  • Local Bus Interface to Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) Flash Only.
  • Support HID.
  • Up to 9 GPIO pins.
  • The option of using only one external crystal.
  • Provide software utilities for downloading the upgraded firmware code under USB.
  • Supports SATA (bridged SATA) Hard Disk drives, CD-RW devices, DVDs, Removable media devices
  • USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 compliant.
  • USB Mass Storage Class Bulk-Only Transport Specification Compliant.
  • SATA specification 1.0 (1.5 Gbps), SATA II and eSATA Compliant (Hot Plug is supported).
  • Support SATA to SATA pass through.
  • Supports SATA NCQ.
  • Supports 3Gbps SATA host and 3Gbps SATA HDD connection to internal 1.5Gbps SATA Phy.
  • Support ATA/ATAPI device DMA and PIO mode.
  • 4k bytes of data buffer for data transfer.
  • One SATA channel support.
  • On-Chip 3.3V to 1.8V regulator.
  • 64 pin LQFP
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