Introduction and Internals
Looking for a really low cost USB 3.0 dock that supports UASP? Inateck has a couple options that fit the bill.
We've seen USB 3.0 in devices for a few years now, but it has only more recently started taking off since controllers, drivers, and Operating Systems have incorporated support for the USB Attached SCSI Protocol. UASP takes care of one of the big disadvantages seen when linking high speed storage devices. USB adds a relatively long and multi-step path for each and every transaction, and the initial spec did not allow for any sort of parallel queuing. The 'Bulk-Only Transport' method was actually carried forward all the way from USB 1.0, and it simply didn't scale well for very low latency devices. The end result was that a USB 3.0 connected SSD performed at a fraction of its capability. UASP fixes that by effectively layering the SCSI protocol over the USB 3.0 link. Perhaps its biggest contributor to the speed boost is SCSI's ability to queue commands. We saw big speed improvements with the Corsair Flash Voyager GTX and other newer UASP enabled flash drives, but it's time we look at some ways to link external SATA devices using this faster protocol. Our first piece will focus on a product from Inateck – their FE2005 2.5" SATA enclosure:
This is a very simple enclosure, with a sliding design and a flip open door at the front.
You simply slide in an SSD or HDD, flip up the front door, and slide the assembly closed.
9.5mm devices are supported, but some may be a tight fit.
At the rear we have the USB 3.0 port, a power / access indicator (blue LED, but not overpowering), and a slide lock to keep the assembly closed once the drive has been installed.
The enclosure can be popped open without removing any screws. The bottom surface is felt lined and the top has a foam pad. Both should be more than sufficient to keep an SSD or HDD reasonably protected during transit.
After removing two screws, the (tiny) PCB can be flipped over to see what makes this device tick. The JMS567 is used to bridge from UASP-enabled USB 3.0 to SATA 6Gbps. Very simple design,with the only other devices needed are a 3.3V converter (left) and a 25 MHz crystal (right).
Finally, here's the controller block diagram. Two individual PHYs handle USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 connectivity. An 8051 handles device identification, etc. Some SRAM buffers between the USB PHY and the SATA PHY. Again, simple.