Review: StarTech's flash drive duplicator, eraser is fast and simple

The eSATA/USB Portable Drive Duplicator also provides DoD standard flash drive erase capabilities

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If you want to erase the drive (i.e, reformat it) you place up to two drives in the target ports, press start and the box will automatically detect the capacity of the drives and format them using either FAT16 or FAT32 specifications. The capacity of the drive dictates the format; if the capacity is less than 2GB, it will format to FAT16.

If the flash drive's format is NTFS, Linux or multi-partition FAT, the Duplicator re-formats in favor of FAT.

Another handy function: The duplicator can tell you the performance of your flash drive. By using the up or down cursor buttons, you can select "Measure Speed" by pressing OK. This will give you the megabytes per second I/O transfer rate of the drive. One problem, though: By measuring the performance of the drive, you also risk reformatting the drive and erasing all the data. I see this as a problem in need of a fix.

Unboxing

One issue I spotted out of the box is that the product uses the older USB 2.0 (hi-speed) interface versus the current USB 3.0 (super speed) interface. USB 2.0 has a top data throughput rate of 480Mbps; USB 3.0 increases that by roughly 10 fold to 5Gbps.

That said, you will not notice the difference. In fact, I was impressed by the speed that the duplicator can migrate data between flash drives -- it was faster than copying from my computer, which has a USB 3.0 port.

The StarTech Duplicator provides the option to copy an exact image of the entire source drive volume, or just the data from the flash drive, to two other flash drives at speeds up to 1.5GB per minute. The reason for the high throughput is that like other StarTech drive duplicators, it's all hardware-based, so there's no software overhead to get in the way of a down-and-dirty copy and delete function.

The USB Duplicator has several functions besides just copying data from one flash drive to another. A set of toggle buttons allows you to scroll through a list of four functions. The first function after "copy" is a "compare" function; this checks your drives once a copy has been performed to ensure the copy was successfully completed. On the drives I used to copy, the comparison feature took one minutes and 22 seconds to complete.

The next function is "copy and compare," which is pretty self-explanatory (copy first, then compare). Lastly, the box allows you to perform quick capacity checks on drives. Unfortunately, the capacity check function only tells you total capacity and not the used and free space on the drive. I would think the latter would be more useful, but then I realized it doesn't really matter. Every time you hit copy, it deletes and overwrites everything on the target drive as it copies from the source drive.

The duplicator supports both asynchronous and synchronous copy modes with 64MB of internal memory.

StarTech's Duplicator comes with two copying modes: asynchronous and synchronous. The box has 64MB of internal memory and will automatically check the content size of the source drive before executing the copy function. If the source drive's content size is larger than the system's buffer memory, then it will copy in synchronous mode, if not, it will copy in the asynchronous mode.

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