Additional Storage, a USB Hub, and Charging, Too, All in One Handy Box

Exercising our ever-growing stash of aging hard disk drives is necessary to ensure accessibility. Once every year or so our HDDs can benefit from spinning up and mounting on a desktop to ensure the mechanical integrity of the drive and its controller. Think of it like taking your classic VW out for the occasional spin. It’s good to keep the joints and fluids moving. This same logic applies to all of our drives, including solid-state ones.

A stash of HDDs

All drives need a little exercise once in a while to stay in shape. That means, say, once a year, we should make it a point to exercise our archived stash of HDDs and SSDs to ensure accessibility and long life. Besides the AV Pro 2’s enhanced storage capacity (up to 8 TB) and its advanced functions as a USB 3.0 hub and AC power supply, the enclosure provides a straightforward, way to exercise our archives.
Barry Braverman

CalDigit’s new AV Pro 2 enclosure is an economical, straightforward way to spin up that pile of 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives we all have languishing somewhere in a box. Leave the AV Pro 2 enclosure on your actual desktop and let it perform its range of duties. Use it to spin up and power the HDDs/SSDs from your archive, house terabytes of additional storage, charge a laptop, or connect to many peripherals via any vintage of USB and Thunderbolt 3.

AV Pro 2 charging a laptop

The AV Pro 2 integrates well into our way of working, providing a generous 1.5A/7.5W of charging power to a laptop, which is 133% faster than a standard USB 3.0 port. Desktop charging via the AV Pro 2 obviates the need for Apple’s AC charger/power supply.

The CalDigit AV Pro 2 Storage Hub is a single-drive enclosure that can accommodate pretty much any laptop or computer, Mac or PC. Aside from its Mac-like look and finish, CalDigit’s v2 enclosure offers advantages beyond the additional outboard storage and capable USB 3.0 hub. As a standalone device, it can provide up to 30W of power to charge a laptop, obviating the need for Apple’s charger/power adapter, which can then go to serve other pressing purposes. The high-speed data transfer and power/charging function are enabled via a single USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 cable connection.

AV Pro 2 back-panel view

CalDigit’s AV Pro 2 features an array of ports for maximum connectivity.

Apple USB SuperDrive

Interestingly, the versatile hub even supports Apple’s USB SuperDrive – a boon to content creators, especially overseas, still outputting to CD and DVD media.
Barry Braverman

The AV Pro 2 features a common USB Micro B port and two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, which allow easy connecting of most peripherals, including, quite interestingly, the Apple SuperDrive. CalDigit’s AV Pro 2 is said to be the only USB hub on the market that offers this compatibility.

Teardown graphic

The CalDigit AV Pro 2 is constructed of machined aluminum to help dissipate heat and provide structural integrity. The familiar look offers Apple diehards a degree of solace and consistency.

Notably for shooters, the CalDigit AV 2 Storage Hub allows the offloading of camera memory cards directly to the enclosed drive, a potentially significant time-saver when working long hours late at night under the strain of heavy data loads.

Cooling diagram

The AV Pro 2 operates silently in normal use. The cooling fan runs only when the nominal maximum operating temperature of 131º F (55º C) is exceeded.

Another time-saver contributing to a more efficient workflow: the AV Pro 2 Storage Hub employs the latest USB-Attached SCSI Protocol (UASP), a dramatically improved system that seriously increases transfer speeds and performance. UASP enables USB storage devices to queue multiple commands in series and execute them in any of order in both directions. Formerly, the Bulk Only Transport (BOT) protocol allowed only single, unidirectional commands and could not perform them out of order. UASP’s improved efficiency, combined with SSDs greater speed, allows the AV Pro 2 to achieve a very high level of performance in single-drive configuration.

AV Pro 2 tray guides close-up

The AV Pro 2 tray guides are shipped dry from the factory and need a bit of grease or WD40 from time to time to operate smoothly.
Barry Braverman

Close-up of drive bracket

The screws used to secure the drive are awkward for applications that may require mounting and dismounting of multiple drives in succession. A more efficient drop-in tray should be designed to facilitate and encourage periodic exercising of our drives.
Barry Braverman

The AV Pro 2 accepts both 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives. The slide-in modules are compatible with previous generation CalDigit devices like the AV Pro, T3, and T4 RAID. While this compatibility is admirable, the modules themselves — using traditional drive-mounting screws — are clumsy and unnecessarily time-consuming to manage, especially if one must change drives frequently for exercising of one’s archive. A simple, compatible, drop-in design should be adopted in a future version.