LAS VEGAS - FirmTek unveiled its soon to be released SeriTek/SpyderHub earlier this week at NAB, and it sounded interesting enough to warrant a closer look. The pocket-sized FireWire/USB/eSATA box turned out to be small enough and light enough to really travel with, and it looked nice, too.
FirmTek created the device so on-the-go users can take advantage of the higher data throughput speeds eSATA offers via FireWire 800 without the drawbacks that portable gear often has, like latency caused by slower connection speeds. It also adds the ability to use eSATA drives on a MacBook Pro without requiring an ExpressCard adapter.
Its FireWire 800 ports let users transfer data at speeds approaching eSATA, so there shouldnit be much of a performance hit. Since the unit isnit shipping yet, weill have to wait to see how well it holds up under real world conditions.
It includes two FireWire 800 ports, two eSATA ports, and a single USB 2.0 port. MacBook Air users can bridge eSATA through the USB port, but they wonit see the same data throughput that FireWire 800 offers. They also canit use FireWire drives because of a limitation in the bridge chipset.
A nice bonus is the unitis support for JBOD and RAID 0. The hardware-level RAID support means that users should see reasonable RAID performance without the lag that software-based RAIDS sometimes create.
The downside for MacBook Air users is that any data pushed through the SeriTek/SpyderHUB will travel no faster than USB 2.0 allows. Thatis because the MacBook Air only offers a single USB port, so there isnit a way to get data in or out any faster.
The SeriTek/SpyderHUB will be available in the next few weeks, but pricing has not yet been announced.