Igor Kromin |   Consultant. Coder. Blogger. Tinkerer. Gamer.

I've been looking for a new HDD enclosure or dock recently because the enclosure that I used to build my media server started playing up. I didn't want to spend too much money on a new enclosure because I plan to relocate my whole server setup into a rack mount in the near future, so I started looking for the cheapest USB 3.0 docks I could find. That's when I came across the Maiwo 4 Bay dock on eBay. It cost me $AUD 80.07 which was the cheapest I could see that any 4 bay dock was going for.

A few weeks later (shipping from China) and it arrived. The box was a little banged up for wear but this was only a dock so I wasn't too worried about it being damaged.
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It looked like the back of the box was crushed by something. Inside seemed to be OK.

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All components safe! The dock itself was inside a foam surround and then there was a box of accessories for it below it.
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Besides the dock there was a USB 3.0 cable, power supply, instruction manual and four plastic placeholders for 3.5" bays that convert them to a 2.5" bay. The placeholders were a nice touch. The power supply came with a figure-8 cable with a US plug even though I was ordering to Australia. So I used a spare figure-8 plug that I had lying around.
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The one thing I noticed immediately was all the dust. Everything was covered in it!

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To my surprise the cage part of the dock, the top section that helps hold disks in place was made out of plastic. I was expecting this to be metal but no - it's very bendy and doesn't really offer the disks any support. Those 3.5" placeholders fit very well though.

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So I moved over my two 3.5" disks and the SSD and I was ready to set it all up.
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Power and server plugged in! The LEDs on the front were red which I didn't love. There were two LEDs per bay - the top LED indicated power and the bottom read/write activity. There were also two LEDs for the overall power indicator, I'm not sure why there were two here. There was also the OTB (One Touch Backup) button which I didn't try and my understanding is it's just a trigger button that launches back up software - for me it wasn't of any use. I liked that there was a push button on the back of the unit to turn the device on/off, this is something that a lot of the cheaper units tend to miss.
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So how did it perform? Using standard the Linux cp command gave me around 48Mb/s copying between the SSD and one of the 3.5" drives. Using the Linux dd command gave me a figure of 91.8Mb/s writing to one of the 3.5" drives. Overall it seemed to be performing quite well. I didn't do too much performance testing on this unit because after all for such a cheap unit your expectations should be quite low.

After a couple of days use I noticed that my disks were getting quite hot in this dock. That's not ideal for any drive and there was no way to cool them since there was no fan. I guess this dock is not really meant for 24/7 usage like I am doing. I did come up with a way of cooling my disks - check out this article on how I did that.

So overall I think this is a nice cheap docking station. It performs well enough and looks OK too. I'd recommend it for casual use but not for anything prolonged. For it's price, it's definitely a winner.

-i

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