Fast External Drive with Swappable Storage

Review by Erik Vlietinck

CalDigit sent me their latest single-drive solution, which has a replaceable drive module. If the drive fills up, you can just swap it for another. My test unit was a 4-TB AV Pro 2, although drives are available up to 6 TB, as well as a 2-TB SSD. The unit features both active and passive cooling systems that allow the hard drive to stay in nominal operating temperatures at all times. I left the AV Pro 2 on continuously and, while the drive was located right behind my iMac’s 27″ screen, I couldn’t hear it. In fact, it’s the only drive (so far) that I can stand having so close to my ears without going nuts over the soft whine most of them produce.

The AV Pro 2 has two ports: one USB-C 3.1 and one Micro B USB 3.0. The latter is great for use with laptops that don’t support USB-C yet. Using the AJA System Test, the USB-C connection gave me a 200-MB/sec speed on both read and write tests. The USB-A connection still managed a decent 170-MB/sec write speed and 195-MB/sec read speed on my mid-2011 iMac.

If you connect the AV Pro 2 to a Thunderbolt 3 laptop, it will charge with up to 30W without connecting your factory AC adapter. Finally, the built-in storage hub includes two USB 3.0 Type-A ports that allow you to connect USB peripherals, including Apple SuperDrives. They also feature fast standalone charging at 1.5A (7.5W), even when not connected to a computer.

After having used the AV Pro 2 for a week, using ShotPut Pro 6 to offload to both the Thunderbolt 2 T4 RAID and the AV Pro 2 via USB 3.0, it struck me how fast it really is; the two systems finished offloading in almost the same time. ■