Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

iStarUSA T-5 SS HDD Reader

Storage Accessories For Easier HDD Handling

Product Type: HDD Reader for Fast Drive Mounting

Cost: ~ $28

Product Information:

iStar’s T-5 SS is a rather unconventional drive installation bay, as it works without needing the hard drive to be attached to or installed into any frames. Instead, 3.5” hard drives are directly inserted into the device like cartridges. The connection is passed through by the T-5 SS to your host controller via two different connectors. We particularly liked the fact that the device accepts either Serial ATA or Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) hard drives, but iStarUSA’s implementation requires some attention.

Be Careful With SAS Cabling

The yellow connector is used for SAS, the black one for SATA.The yellow connector is used for SAS, the black one for SATA.

iStar decided to support both SAS and SATA, which is easy to do on the hard drive side: SAS requires one connector that holds both the data pins and the power supply wires. SATA drives can always be plugged into SAS connectors, but not vice versa. A SATA-only version of this product would not be capable of supporting a SAS drive for mechanical reasons at the connector.

The controller side of the T-5 SS is not very conventional, though. While a SAS drive would feature a SAS connector (power and data merged into one connector), this product simply comes with one SAS port and one SATA port, which you have to wire correctly. Power is supplied via a standard four-pin power connector. Since most SAS controllers come with standard SAS cables, you might have to get fan-out cables that allows connecting a single data port to a SAS multilane port on the controller.

Proper Cooling, Easy Handling

Once you have mastered the installation, using the T-5 SS is simple. Open the lock and the front door, insert a SATA drive and you’re ready to go. All AHCI SATA or SAS controllers are hot-plug capable. We also liked the fact that the device comes with a powerful fan—although it can be noisy, it is necessary in case you need to insert a 10,000 RPM or 15,000 RPM 3.5” SAS drive. Unlike mainstream SATA drives, these enterprise drives still get rather hot, and require active cooling. We used a Fujitsu MBA3174RC, which worked fine.

Display all 13 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 4 Hide
    nihility , July 31, 2009 7:34 AM
    We really need USB 3.0 for external hard drives.
  • -7 Hide
    alagadnidonald , July 31, 2009 11:02 AM
    will Crysis run off these? ^_^
  • -1 Hide
    Glorian , July 31, 2009 3:06 PM
    We really need USB 3.0 for external hard drives.

    we'll get there soon.

    Its too bad the Unitek Docking Station wasn't on a faster interface, but its still a great piece of hardware, I might actually invest in it.
  • -1 Hide
    cadder , July 31, 2009 3:41 PM
    Do all of these allow you to plug in and later remove a SATA drive while the computer is powered up? Do you do the same "Safely Remove Hardware" step with a SATA drive that you do with an external USB drive?
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , July 31, 2009 3:56 PM
    "However, the build quality was so poor that we had to open the device and relocate the SATA connectors....."

    is it because Made In China?
  • -1 Hide
    XD_dued , July 31, 2009 4:34 PM
    Imagine a usb 4.0 that will eventually replace SATA ^.^
  • -2 Hide
    xsamitt , July 31, 2009 11:49 PM
    All together now,

    On the 1ST day of Christmas my true love gave to me,a harddrive"
    On the Second day " "
    Think you get the idea
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 1, 2009 1:02 AM
    "All together now,

    On the 1ST day of Christmas my true love gave to me,a harddrive"
    On the Second day " "
    Think you get the idea"

    That was soo terrible I think it gave me cancer
  • -1 Hide
    patvs , August 1, 2009 3:42 AM
    I can recommend the Sharkoon Quickport PRO (which looks remarkably similar like the HDD Docking Station by iStarUSA). I thought my 3 yr old SATA Maxtor harddrive had died: I couldn't hear it spin, a Windows installation bootcd wouldn't detect the drive... and hooked up inside a different computer in Windows it was unable to read/copy any data. However the Sharkoon docking station (with eSATA) had no problems reading it whatsoever and I could save all the data. :-
  • 0 Hide
    matt87_50 , August 3, 2009 4:15 AM
    the gigabyte ex58 ud4p came with this cool io bracket, it let you convert 1 or 2 internal sata ports into e-sata ports, and more importantly, convert one internal molex power plug into 2 external sata power plugs, came with all the cables you need, and you could use it in any computer.
  • 0 Hide
    mman74 , August 3, 2009 4:30 AM
    idunno"However, the build quality was so poor that we had to open the device and relocate the SATA connectors....."is it because Made In China?

    China assembels everything from iPhone to even Sony LCD panels. Production location has nothing to do with it. Price points do. You pay for crap or buy dodgy unbranded items thorugh US-importers who markup unscrupulously, then guess what - you end up with crap. Look at all of your electronic items - including the branded "quality" items. Most are made in China.
  • 0 Hide
    Humans think , February 1, 2010 2:22 AM
    A friend of mine has bought the "iStarUSA HDD Docking Station (xAGE-N99-SAU Drive Dock)" and he lend it to me to use it for a while.

    I did not notice the eSATA plug problem and it was very fast as the benchmarks showed. The whole black appearance is very sleek and it does what it says for a very small price.

    When comparing to Unitek model, I would go for the iStar for 4 reasons:
    1) It is cheaper
    2) Most people already have card readers or USB hubs or simply at least 6 USB ports.
    3) Subjective comment: Who cares about one touch backup and additional software, I personally don't
    4) Subjective comment: I wouldn't put this ugly thing on my desk :p 
  • 0 Hide
    CTB1 , April 3, 2013 7:31 PM
    I've had my iStar xAGE-N99-US/SAU Toaster for years without problem, didn't remember the make or m/n so I did a search and found this page. Forgot it was an iStar and that it had an eSATA connection. Looking for another toaster with the same features.