by Lyle Smith

CalDigit AV Pro 2 Storage Hub Review

The CalDigit AV Pro 2 Storage Hub is the newest generation of the company’s single drive solution line designed specifically for Thunderbolt 3-compatible computers. The AV Pro 2 supports both full size 3.5" and 2.5” solid state drives, which can easily be removable via the hubs module design so users can seamlessly expand their systems as their storage needs change. Though the AV Pro 2 is marketed for use with Thunderbolt 3 machines, it can also to connect to laptop or desktop via its USB-C port while supporting USB Micro B connectivity. These ports also allow users to connect USB peripherals--including external drives, card readers, and Apple SuperDrives--with the ability to also daisy chain to another AV Pro 2.

One of its more intriguing features is its ability to simultaneously charge the Thunderbolt 3 laptop it is connected to. Users get 30W of charging power without using the factory AC adapter by simply plugging the AV Pro 2 into the power outlet and then connecting it to a laptop. This is a unique feature that helps to eliminate annoying cord management when on the go.

Users can also download the free CalDigit Docking Station Utility, which allows users to safely eject all attached devices with just one click.

Backed by a 3-year warranty, the AV Pro 2 Storage Hub goes for roughly ranges from $200 dollars (3TB drive) to $430 (6TB drive).

CalDigit AV Pro 2 Storage Hub Specifications

  • Interface            
    • 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port
    • 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Micro B port
    • 2x USB 3.0 Type-A Hub ports     
  • System Requirements: Latest version of Windows 7, 8, 10 Mac OS X 10.8.4 and above
  • Power Supply Adapter: AC Power Adapter Full range
  • Output: DC 12V, 5A
  • EMC: CE, FCC, UL, BSMI, CCC, RCM, EAC, UL AR, S-mark, PSE       Environment:
    • Operating Temperature: 5°C ~ 55°C (41°F ~ 131°F)
    • Storage Temperature: -40°C ~ 70°C (-40°F ~ 158°F)
  • Dimension and Weight:
    • Height: 5.8 inches (147 mm)
    • Width: 1.8 inches (45.5 mm)
    • Depth: 9.5 inches (241.5 mm)
    • Weight : 4.37lb (1.98kg)
  • Box contents:
    • 1 x CalDigit AV Pro 2 Storage Hub
    • 1 x Drive Module
    • 1 x USB 3.1 type-C to type-C Cable
    • 1 x USB 3.0 type-A to micro B Cable
    • 1 x AC Adapter
    • 1 x Drive Key
    • 1 x Drive Stand
  • Warranty:

Design and build

The CalDigit AV Pro 2 sports an all-aluminum build, making this sturdy storage hub quite heavy. This thing won't budge once you place it on your desk.

Most of the front panel real estate is taken up by the removable drive module, which is secured by a lock and PIN release. Those looking for quick-and-easy access will find this a bit of a chore, as you have to insert the drive key into the lock (and turn clockwise) to unlock the drive module. Users will then have to insert the drive pin into the pin release until the handle of the drive module pops out. Those looking for extra security will welcome this functionality, however. On the far left of the front panel is a very pronounced power button/drive access button, which blinks when the AV Pro 2 is being accessed.

Turning the unit around reveals all the connectivity: the AC power adaptor port, a USB 3.1 Type 3 port, a USB 3.0 Micro B port, two USB hub connectors, and a smart fan. On the far left is the Kensington lock.

The AV Pro 2 is also equipped with both active and passive cooling systems, enabling the storage hub to keep the temperature the installed hard drive in optimal operating temperatures. Additionally, CalDigit indicates that its ambient temperature-controlled smart fan runs only when needed, meaning that the AV Pro 2 is ultra-quiet when temperatures are low.

Performance

To test the CalDigit AV Pro 2 Storage Hub, we connected it to the HP Z640 workstation via a USB 3.0 port and analyzed at its performance during a large file 2MB transfer benchmarking test (in both sequential and random scenarios).

Looking at sequential 2MB performance, the AV Pro 2 was able to reach 100.61MB/s read and 54.17MB/s write when populated with the 3TB Toshiba HDD that it shipped with (model DT01ACA300). In random 2MB performance, the CalDigit AV Pro 2 hit 60.74MB/s read and 59.68MB/s write.

Conclusion

The AV Pro 2 Storage Hub is a solid release by CalDigit. This rugged single-drive, module storage solution supports both full size 3.5" and 2.5” SSDs, allowing for seamless small-scale upgrades when users’ needs grow. It also supports both Thunderbolt 3 and USB connectivity--including USB, Micro USB--and gives users the ability to daisy chain and expand their AV Pro 2 by using the two USB hub connectors. Moreover, the AV Pro 2 also offers a unique charging feature where users can simultaneously charge the Thunderbolt 3 laptop. This works fairly well and would be ideal for professionals on the go and those who looking for a smaller, scalable storage solution.

As far as performance goes, the AV Pro 2 we tested it using the USB 3.0 interface and it gave us 100.61MB/s read and 54.17MB/s write in sequential 2MB and 60.74MB/s read and 59.68MB/s write in random 2MB. This performance was tested with the supplied 3TB Toshiba HDD. Switching the drive to something faster, or an SSD, would most likely increase performance.

Bottom Line

The CalDigit AV Pro 2 is a good option for consumers looking for a single-drive storage hub that can be seamlessly upgraded and serviced.

CalDigit AV Pro 2 on Amazon

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