I’ve got a couple of nice dual SATA drive docks here at the office. They’re from a Taiwanese job builder named Inatek, model FD-2002. Right now, you can pick one up for under US$30 on Amazon (see preceding link). I’ve used them with great success for drives of all sizes, up to and including 8 TB (Toshiba X300 Performance: ~US$176). Right now, I’ve got one of them populated with 2 4TB HGST Ultrastar drives (~US$95). Until yesterday, I had the 8 TB Toshiba drive paired with an HGST Ultrastar 3TB drive (~US$40, a truly great deal price/performance wise). Then the twist came into play.
Turns out there’s a limit to how much storage will work in one of these low-cost dual drive docks. I hit that limit yesterday!
[Click image for full-sized view. Image Source: Amazon.]
What’s the Twist on Dual SATA Drive Docks?
Turns out that the bigger the drive’s capacity, the hotter it runs. Putting the 8 TB and 3 TB drives in juxtaposition worked fine, until I started using the 8 TB drive heavily. Then, all of a sudden, the 3TB drive started popping in and out of service. Not good! I’m not sure if it was an issue related to the power draw to the drive dock (more than it could handle seems pretty likely to me). OTOH, it could’ve just gotten too hot to keep working. When I took the 3 TB drive out of the dock, it was uncomfortably warm in my hands. I replaced it with a 2.5″ form-factor SSD drive and that combination has been running without a hiccup for almost 24 hours now.
Let this be a gentle warning, dear readers! If you want to pair up storage devices in low-budget dual drive docks, you may want to limit yourself to no more than 10 TB of total storage. Apparently, I hit some kind of wall when I attempted to make steady, serious use of 11 TB (8 + 3) in such a device yesterday. I’m tempted to try it again with a fan blowing on it, to see if lowering operating temps will permit it to keep working. If not, I’ll be more or less convinced it’s a power supply limitation. We’ll see!