The vast majority of older and a significant proportion of new computer cases are equipped with 5.25″ drive bays. However, in the desktop segment, these slots were rarely used for anything other than installing removable laser CD drives. Now, with the transition of most users and publishers to a digital distribution system and the development of broadband Internet access, the relevance of 5.25″ slots has completely disappeared. However, there are still quite a few interesting devices that can be put there in addition to rare optical disc readers. We would like to talk about one of them, namely, a hot-swap pocket for 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives in this review. So, what is the hero of our review — Thermaltake Max 5 Duo?

Thermaltake Max 5 Duo

Specifications

Manufacturer Thermaltake
Manufacturer’s site thermaltake.com
Model Max 5 Duo
Material Plastic (front panel) / steel (body)
Color Black
Front panel format 1 x 5.25″
External connectors 2 x USB 3.0
1 x 2.5″ pocket
1 x 3.5″ pocket
Internal connectors 1 x USB 3.0 (20-pin connector)
2 hours
1 x SATA power supply
Transfer rate SATA III — up to 6 Gb / s
USB 3.0 — up to 5 Gbps
Supported interfaces SATA I / II / III
USB 1.1 / 2.0 / 3.0
Software Not
Dimensions, (L x W x H) mm 193 x 150 x 43
Weight, g 475
Additionally 2.5″ pocket wrench, two SATA cables, Molex-to-SATA power adapter, four mounting screws, power switch, two dot drive activity indicators
Average cost, $ 50

Delivery and equipment

This docking station comes in a small neat box. On its front side there is a photographic image of the product, and on the back side there is a short description of its main advantages and a table with technical characteristics.

Thermaltake Max 5 DuoThermaltake Max 5 Duo

In addition to the device itself, the package includes instructions and a leaflet with information about the warranty, two SATA cables, a Molex-SATA power adapter, a triangular key and four screws.

Thermaltake Max 5 Duo

Appearance and design

In the vast majority of cases, the only part of the Max 5 Duo that the user will be constantly watching is the front panel. And its layout is very dense. On the left side there is a two-position drive power switch, on the top and bottom of which there are two dot LEDs that display the activity of the drives. They glow blue when the drive is in its pocket and connected to power, and blink purple-red when the system is accessing the drives. By the way, the LEDs are very bright when you look at them directly. Most of the panel is occupied by 2.5″ and 3.5″ hinged doors, on the left side of which there are red handles that double as latches. In the upper right corner are two USB 3.0 ports — a nice addition for those who do not yet have such connectors on the case. The company logo is printed on the right side of the 3.5″ bay door.

Thermaltake Max 5 Duo

The 2.5″ pocket door is equipped with a lock that can be opened with a triangular key. This measure is more necessary to prevent accidental ejection of the disc during operation than to counteract theft. And a natural question arises — why is the 3.5 ″ compartment devoid of such a fuse?

Thermaltake Max 5 Duo

Both doors open to the right. With the help of special rods, they are connected to levers that push the drives out of their pockets when the covers are opened. And when closed, thanks to the internal shape of these panels, the drives themselves fall into place. The whole process of removing and installing a disk is unlikely to take more than 10 seconds, even for an unprepared user for the first time. The main thing is to know which side to insert them into this pocket correctly. Hint — so that the contact connectors are oriented inside the compartment and are at the bottom.

Thermaltake Max 5 Duo

On the left and right sides of the device there are metal mounting strips with four screw holes.

Thermaltake Max 5 DuoThermaltake Max 5 Duo

What is especially nice: the bars are not rigidly attached to the docking station, but through a double-sided rubber damper that can dampen the transmission of vibration from the hard drive to the PC case. It is rare to find such concern for the acoustic comfort of the user these days.

Thermaltake Max 5 Duo

Both pockets have standard signal and power ports for connection. The green printed circuit board at the back of the 2.5″ bay is the controller that responds to the disk status alarm, its shutdown with the appropriate button, and allows you to use one common power connector. Apparently, he does not interfere with data processing. Two SATA ports are connected directly to the motherboard connectors.

Thermaltake Max 5 Duo

The USB 3.0 connection is also implemented directly — through a standard 20-pin connector.

Thermaltake Max 5 Duo

At the bottom of the pocket is completely open, therefore, the temperature regime of the hard drive in it will be acceptable if there is a fan somewhere nearby.

Thermaltake Max 5 Duo

Testing

The following configuration was used to test the Thermaltake Max 5 Duo docking station:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-2600K (3.4@4.4GHz, 1.330V);
  • cooler: Zalman CNPS10X Performa;
  • motherboard: Gigabyte GA-Z77MX-D3H TH (Intel Z77);
  • video card: ASUS R9270-DC2OC-2GD5 (AMD Radeon R9 270);
  • Memory: Kingston KHX24C11X3K4/16X (2x4GB, DDR3-2133, 10-12-12-27-2T, 1.65V);
  • Solid State Drive: Crucial M4 CT064M4SSD2 (64GB, SATA 6Gb/s);
  • hard drive: Western Digital WD2000JS-00MHB0 (200 GB, SATA 3Gb/s, 7200 rpm);
  • power supply: be quiet! Dark Power Pro 10 (550 W);
  • thermal interface: Noctua NT-H1.

The SATA ports on the Max 5 Duo were connected to the SATA 6Gb/s connectors on the test motherboard. After the first cycle of checking the speed of drives in my pocket, the drives were connected directly using the same cables. As you can see, what’s in your pocket (first picture), that when you turn it on directly (second picture), the speed of our SSD drive practically did not differ. Somewhere a little faster, somewhere slower, but the difference was within the mathematical error.

Thermaltake Max 5 DuoThermaltake Max 5 Duo

The same picture was observed when testing the hard drive. Virtually no difference. The user does not have to worry — when installing drives in Thermaltake Max 5 Duo, they will work in the same way as when they are directly plugged into the ports of the motherboard.

Thermaltake Max 5 DuoThermaltake Max 5 Duo

We did not check the speed of the USB 3.0 ports, since there is no controller between them and the motherboard, therefore, there can be no difference in data transfer speed.

Results

The Thermaltake Max 5 Duo Hard Drive Docking Station is a smart and convenient device that allows you to quickly replace 3.5″ and 2.5″ drives without degrading their write and read speeds. In addition, the buyer of this pocket will also receive two modern USB 3.0 interfaces, which will be especially nice when upgrading an old computer case. The scope of this device is quite wide and varied. It can be extremely useful for anyone who works with large amounts of data that needs to be quickly copied and transferred between different PCs.

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