Startech may not be very well known as a brand but they have been around for about 25 years and have a diverse range of products on sale. They specialise in connectivity so it’s no surprise that we have some of their latest USB3.0 gear to test today, more specifically a USB3.0 to SATA Adapter Cable and a USB3.0 PCIe card.
With the USB3.0 to SATA adapter, it is clear that Startech are targeting those who need to connect different hard drives to their system on a regular basis. Setting it up is extremely simple, requiring the adapter to be hooked into a SATA hard drive and then the leads connected. If you’re after an easily portable solution, though, you should probably look elsewhere as the sizable AC adapter adds a significant amount of bulk when transporting it.
Build quality is acceptable on the whole but the plastic used in construction feels a little on the cheap side. We can’t see it getting damaged easily or falling apart over time, though, so we have faith that it should last a good few years. On top of the adapter there is a power button so you don’t have to unplug it when it’s not being used.
We would imagine that most people who have a USB3.0 capability are desktop users as there are very few laptops on the market with USB3.0 ports built in. Therefore we question why Startech chose to include an extremely short USB3.0 cable with the adapter which is almost useless for desktop use. In fact it would only suffice for users who have front-panel USB3.0 ports and plan to place the hard drive on the top of their system, not on top of a desk.
To test the USB3.0 to SATA adapter, Startech have sent us their PCIe USB3.0 conroller card. This should be compatible with most desktop systems as it requires only a PCIe x1 slot and a 4-pin molex power connection to function. Startech have used the NEC µPD720200 chipset to provide the USB3.0 functionality of the card. Additionally, they thoughtfully include a half-length PCIe bracket inside the box for those who plan to use the card in compact system or HTPC.
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