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Advice on dual hard drive dock

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 8:53 am
by toki
So I just got a Sabrent harddrive dock and it corrupted 2 drives. I am afraid to use it now. With that said, I could use some advice on something that I can feel confident in using. I have an Orica 1 drive dock that has always worked, one of the best purchases I've ever made, but I'm afraid now after this mishap with the Sabrent. I'm not really finding any good answers on the places I've been looking around at. Any opinions on a good dual hard drive dock?

Re: Advice on dual hard drive dock

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 9:36 am
by meerkt
No suggestions, but I'm curious: corrupted in what way?

Re: Advice on dual hard drive dock

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 9:42 am
by just brew it!
A few questions...
- Did your OS report I/O errors, or did you get silent data corruption?
- What's the interface on the dock - USB 3.x or something else (e.g. USB 2.0, eSATA)?
- If the interface is USB 3.x, what's the chipset on the USB 3.x port you're plugging the dock into?
- Have you tried a different and/or shorter USB cable?
- Were you hot-plugging drives?

A few general observations based on my own experience with dual drive docks:
- 3rd party USB 3.x chipsets on some motherboards can be hit or miss. Use a port that is native to the motherboard chipset if possible.
- Try connecting to a USB 2.0 port instead. Yes, it'll be slow; but it'll allow you to determine whether the issue is with the USB 3.x interface.
- Dual drive docks generally don't like it when you hot plug drives if you're using both slots.
- eSATA based dual drive docks are hit-or-miss because they use something called a "port multiplier", and there are multiple standards for how to implement port multipliers. If the dock's port multiplier flavor doesn't match what the SATA controller supports, you're SOL.
- I've had better luck with Vantec, but none of them have been 100% trouble-free. You probably want to avoid ThermalTake.
- If you're dealing mostly/only with 2.5" drives, you may want to consider a couple of these instead: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00HJZJI84/

Re: Advice on dual hard drive dock

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 10:49 am
by toki
https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0759567JT/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

That is the dock I bought. I was trying to copy files from a drive that I know had bad blocks on it. The drive it was copying to showed that space was down to 1.62tb of 2.72tb left, when I looked again, it showed me that it was 2tb left instead of going down. When it was done and I put in a different drive with the drive that I had copied the files to, both drives were unallocated.

Re: Advice on dual hard drive dock

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 11:02 am
by just brew it!
You may have run afoul of the hot plug issues I mentioned above. Even if you weren't hot plugging the drives, the drive with the bad blocks may have been resetting and temporarily dropping off the bus when it hit the permanent read errors. This could've looked like a hot plug event, and triggered some bad behavior.

I would strongly recommend against using both bays of a dual-drive dock for copying data off of a known flaky drive...

Re: Advice on dual hard drive dock

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 11:18 am
by toki
I'm afraid to plug anything else into the dock after the mishap. Would it be ok if I transferred the files from a drive on one dock to the other drive in this dock?

Re: Advice on dual hard drive dock

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 11:22 am
by just brew it!
toki wrote:
I'm afraid to plug anything else into the dock after the mishap. Would it be ok if I transferred the files from a drive on one dock to the other drive in this dock?

You mean, only use one bay of the dual-bay dock? Yeah, I think that would be safer. Most of the bad behavior I've seen with these docks has been when both bays are being used.

Re: Advice on dual hard drive dock

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:04 pm
by Flying Fox
Vantec used to be my go-to brand before the docks became popular (Had a couple of dongles). For docks, I seemed to have success with Orico's, but single-bay units. I also share concerns with cables and other factors. If the source drive is bad to begin with, then the USB protocol may not mask them very well?

Re: Advice on dual hard drive dock

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:05 pm
by Waco
It's likely what jbi mentioned - a misbehaving drive in the same dock, on the same controller, will likely cause the other drive to also have issues. The dock is probably fine.

Re: Advice on dual hard drive dock

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:15 pm
by just brew it!
Waco wrote:
... The dock is probably fine.

For certain definitions of "fine"... :lol:

While the dock may be working as designed, I've not been terribly impressed with the design of any of the dual-bay docks I've tried.

Re: Advice on dual hard drive dock

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:33 pm
by Waco
I've had bad behavior from all manner of controllers when flaky drivers are introduced - from dual-bay docks to enterprise SAS/RAID controllers. I don't necessarily fault a cheap USB hub for having issues with a drive throwing garbage onto the bus. :P

Re: Advice on dual hard drive dock

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:35 pm
by toki
I loved the Orico single bay dock so much, I just thought it would so much easier to have a dual bay. Even the dual bay Orico's are getting the same complaints. This new dock doesn't even feel as sturdy as the Orico either. It's lightweight and doesn't have the heft of the Orico

Re: Advice on dual hard drive dock

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:38 pm
by just brew it!
Waco wrote:
I've had bad behavior from all manner of controllers when flaky drivers are introduced - from dual-bay docks to enterprise SAS/RAID controllers. I don't necessarily fault a cheap USB hub for having issues with a drive throwing garbage onto the bus. :P

Yeah, but IME with most controllers one bad drive USUALLY doesn't hose OTHER drives. The dual bay docks seem to add an extra dimension of potential failure modes.

(Although I've definitely seen some really horrid behavior from LSI MegaRAID cards, especially on older firmware...)

Re: Advice on dual hard drive dock

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:40 pm
by Waco
If I had a dollar for every time a drive went haywire and hosed access to an entire JBOD full of 80+ disks...well, I'd have a few hundred bucks. :P

Re: Advice on dual hard drive dock

Posted: Thu Jul 16, 2020 1:49 pm
by just brew it!
It is shocking how bad some "enterprise grade" firmware really is.