SilverStone SST-SDP01 6 in 1 Card Reader

Add Your Comments

A 6 in 1 for Home and Away – Brian Berryman

SUMMARY: A 6 in 1 for Home and Away

The good folks at SilverStone were kind enough to send out one of their SST-SDP01
6 in 1 Card readers to take a look at today.

I had the opportunity to review another of their products recently (their
SST-TJ02
mid tower case), and was impressed by it’s construction. A lot of the small components in that case that are usually made from plastic were machined aluminum parts.

This item is built the same way. Like the SST-TJ02, this item has a solid, quality feel to it. It’s a refreshing change to see a manufacturer not skimp out on the product and build things out of
cheezy plastic. The housing on this item is made of aluminum, rather than plastic.

I reviewed another card reader recently, and the one thing that was it’s drawback was lack of USB 2.0 compatibility. This product is USB 2.0 spec, and we’ll see a bit later on how that effects data transfer speeds.

First off, let’s take a look at the item itself, as it’s a very interesting item indeed.

What’s included:

Included

This arrived at my door extremely well packed (the box was almost as big as the SST-TJ02 case…=O ). Included are a driver CD, installation manual, USB connection cable, the SST-SDP01, and a small bag of four mounting screws.

The SST-SDP01 mounts into a 3.5″ floppy drive bay. But, it doesn’t have to stay there, and therein lies the beauty of this product.

If you look again at the opening picture, it sits flush with the aluminum faceplate/housing. Note the small white button to the lower right of the unit. Pushing that button…

Ejected

…causes the unit to eject from it’s chassis…

External

…after which it can be used as an external reader.

Built in, just to the left of the reader, is a nice front access USB socket. The internal connection for the reader and this socket share a small common circuit board right behind
the socket (just visible in the picture above). The internal cable plugs into this circuit board, rather than the reader itself. This is how it is able to connect and disconnect by the
push of a button. A fixed plug/socket arrangement handles the reader’s internal connection.

Looking at the back, we see tucked into the reader’s housing a short USB cable, for external use. Next to it (on the right side) is where the unit connects when installed
in the main housing in the floppy bay. It’s a standard USB “B” type connector. The matching half of this is fixed into the housing.

Visible also in this shot below is one of the two power LEDs. This one can only be seen when used externally. The other LED is next to the Compact Flash slot on the face of the reader.

USB

Physically, the reader itself is very compact, not much larger than today’s cellular phones. Very pocket/purse sized. Perhaps even into the digital camera bag.

Small

Cable

The internal (device to motherboard) cable is 20 inches (51 cm) long.

The supplied internal cable is sufficiently long enough that it ought to reach in any case…full towers too. It’s an easy reach in my full tower Chieftec, which is a very large case.

The supplied cable uses eight individual plugs (one per wire) to connect to the motherboard header. This is somewhat a blessing and curse. While it makes the item universally compatible,
is can be difficult to connect eight tiny leads to individual pins.

Furthermore with this item, the two sets of leads aren’t numbered “1” and “2”. so when you go to connect them, ensure you don’t cross wires from the two sets. Labeling the plastic plugs
“1” and “2” (or 0 and 1) would have been a good way to go.

What I did, was to liberate a pair of 4×1 plugs (inset in picture below) from a pair of old system speakers I had in a box, glue them together, and switch the wires over to that, effectively making it a single 4×2 plug.

Much easier to plug this in.

{mospagebreak}

SST-SDP01 Specifications:

Supported media:

  • Compact Flash Type I / II
  • IBM Micro Drive
  • Smart Media cards
  • Secure Digital cards
  • Multimedia cards
  • Memory Stick cards

Transfer rate: Up to 480 Mbps (USB 2.0 spec)

Power: DC +5v from USB port (self powered from USB connection)

LED indicators: Red; power, green; access

Supported Operating Systems: Win98/98SE/2000/ME/XP, Mac OS8.6 and higher

Hardware requirements: Pentium class or higher CPU, 1 available USB port, CD-Rom drive

Shown here mounted in SilverStone’s
SST-TJ02 case

The brushed aluminum housing matches SilverStone’s other products perfectly.

Performance

I recently reviewed another card reader, that being
Y-E DATA’s
internally mounted 7 in 1 card reader. This is the one I mentioned briefly in passing on Page 1 of this article.

I thought it would be good to match the two up against each other, to see how much of a difference there is in data transfer speeds from USB 1.1 to USB 2.0.

The files I used in the speed testing below were random A/V and text files from an old game CD. I haven’t had this particular game installed in a very long time, so I was certain
these files wouldn’t be found on my system. The same files were used for each different reader. The “Delete” files were simply a couple dozen pictures on my CF card from this and
another article I’m working on.

I ran the speed tests on the SilverStone product first, then reinstalled the Y-E Data reader to take those numbers.

Head to head:

“Y – E Data“ 7 in 1

SilverStone SST-SDP01

Mounts in 3.5″ bay

Yes

Yes

Can be used externally

No

Yes

Reads floppy discs

Yes

No

Reads CF Type I / II

Yes

Yes

Reads IBM Microdrives

Yes

Yes

Reads Smart Media

Yes

Yes

Reads SD cards

Yes

Yes

Reads Multimedia cards

Yes

Yes

Reads Memory Stick

Yes

Yes

USB Spec

USB 1.1 only

USB 2.0

Data Transfer speeds:

WRITE (File from HDD to CF card, 32.4MB)

55 seconds

29 seconds

READ (File from CF to HDD, 33.6MB)

37 seconds

13 seconds

DELETE (from CF card, 23.7MB .jpeg files)

11 seconds

6 seconds

As you can see, there’s a vast difference in data transfer speed between USB 1.1 and 2.0. The SilverStone SST-SDP01 was almost twice as fast across the board, due to it’s
USB 2.0 support.

CONCLUSIONS

This is the second SilverStone product I’ve had the opportunity to review, and I’ve been impressed by both. The quality of construction and materials used is superb. The
use of aluminum over plastic in the housing’s construction not only matches their other products, but gives the feeling that the product is built to last.

The only remotely negative thing about this product is the internal cable connectors. Manufacturers however are stuck with the choice of one plug, and perhaps not 100% compatibility, or
(as done here) 8 individual plugs, one per wire, which ensures compatibility.

I’d like to see the two sets of wires numbered at the motherboard end, if this method is chosen.

Trivial? Perhaps, but not to the fellow who’s never hooked up a USB device to his motherboard. I still receive e-mails about the article I wrote last year on
connecting USB cables.

Versatility is the SST-SDP01’s strong suit.

This item is very well designed, allowing both internal and external usage. Combined with high speed USB 2.0 support, and a (as I write this) very reasonable retail price,
this is a card reader seriously worth considering, if you happen to be in the market for one.

I’d like to thank SilverStone for letting us look at this item.

Cheers!

Email Brian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *