Accutower Flash XL2800 USB Duplicator Review

By · Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Accutower Flash XL2800 USB DuplicatorIt doesn’t seem all that long ago when the Accutower Flash XL2800 28 Port USB duplicator was released, promising lightning fast duplication and an easy to use interface. The question remains, just as it is for almost every piece of equipment, can the Accutower XL2800 live up to the hype of its promises or is it just blowing smoke? I recently got the chance to spend quite a bit of time with the duplicator tower in the effort of trying to answer that very same question.

Packaging and Appearance

Appearance is a minor note, after all beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I like to think that if I am going to make something look awesome, my pieces of equipment should look equally impressive.

I first started by opening the duplicator from its box, but to my surprise, inside the box was another box. This duplicator comes double boxed! Definitely an advantage especially if you order one online. I opened the second box to find the whole duplicator surrounded in protective packaging and quickly pulled out the tower. The tower was exactly the same as the images on the website; came with a monitor, mouse, and keyboard as advertised. The duplicator’s weight wasn’t too bad as it only weighs 29-33lbs depending on if it’s in its shipping box or not, so you may need someone to help you lift it out of the box.

Appearance wise, I loved the Accutower. I have seen many USB duplicators before, usually all black or beige and in what appears to be a late 90’s computer case. But this Accutower came in a blue/black case, mesh front with 25-in-1 card reader, DVD/CD drive, power/reset buttons, two front USB ports, 1 E-SATA, and audio input/output. Needless to say, the late 90’s tower was nowhere to be seen.

Setup

With the Duplicator out of the box, I began the setup process. The Accutower Flash XL2800 USB Duplicator comes with a Quick Start Guide to help you get started. I first started by plugging in all the necessary cables, hooked up the monitor, keyboard, and mouse. I then hit the power button to let the testing begin.

The duplicator fired up very similar to any other duplicator or PC I have used in my life, but I was shortly greeted by the “Master USB Command Center”. This non-Windows, stand-alone, duplicator earned huge brownie points in my book as I no longer had to worry about Windows ability to only recognize a total of 26 individual storage devices. A blue progression bar soon appeared overlapping the Master USB Command Center background visually displaying how much till the duplicator was ready to use. Once it was finished, the interface loaded, and I was ready to start copying!

For my tests, I decided to use two main methods. The first method would be to copy from a master to target USB drives directly. My second method would be to copy my files from a master, to the duplicators 250GB internal hard drive, then copy my files from the hard drive to the target USB drive.

USB Copying & OperationCopying and Operation

First Method – My first test, and probably the easiest and most common was to copy from one master device, to multiple target USB drives. My files totaled 953.94 MB, with some being rather large, and others being really small.

I started my procedure by first inserting my Master USB drive, and once it was recognized by the system, selecting it as a source. As a note, when the duplicator recognizes your master sources, they will be highlighted “Grey”. You must physically select with your mouse the source; which will then be highlighted with a “Blue” color instead of Grey. I then inserted my 28 target USB drives one by one; which promptly turned grey on the monitor.

Once my source was selected, I hit the “Copy” button and the duplicator went straight to work. The target drives turned blue while the duplicator was checking each individual drive for any problems, and then they turned yellow; which indicates that all the drives passed and data transfer has begun. It took an average of 31 seconds to successfully copy nearly 1GB of information to 28 different USB drives from a USB Master. Once copying was completed, each target drive turned “Green” signaling completion.

I repeated this process several times ensuring that each copy was successful, and that they were accurately copied. To my surprise, everything went smoothly all the times I tried it without a single failure.

Second Method – My second test was to copy information from a master onto the internal hard drive, then transfer the data to the target USB drives. I started this process like method one, selecting the source. I then selected Image Manager>Create/Load New Image; which allowed me to save a new image of my master source onto the hard drive for future use.

Note: The hard drive is big enough to save many images of information, naming them appropriately helps with remembering which image is which.

I then proceeded to click Select image under “Select Source” to choose my information. Selecting my image is very similar to selecting any other master source. I then promptly hit “Copy” again and away the duplicator went. Everything after this point was identical to my first test; drives turned blue upon mounting, yellow signaling copy had begun, and green when copy was finished.

Like method one, I repeated this process several times looking for anything that may indicate a problem or an unsuccessful copy; but had no such luck. I also used multiple master sources such as SD cards, Smart Cards, Etc. to ensure that you can copy from one kind of master source onto multiple USB drives.

Common Problems/Mistakes

While testing the Accutower Flash XL2800, I happened to encounter several common problems and personal mistakes that I kept making during the duplication process. The first problem I encountered was inserting the USB drives into the duplicator. Several of the USB drives were coming up with a “Black” color after being inserted; which the manual says could be a bad partition on the individual drive, or that it was inserted incorrectly. Of course my inserting skills had failed me and every single USB drive that turned “black” was in fact inserted incorrectly. A simple fix later and all USB drives were operational.

The other small mistake I made and the reason for the “Note:” above was because I named data images incorrectly. I found out that while testing and simply naming my images as “Data 1”, or “Data 2”, made it hard to remember which data set was from a USB, and which was from a SD card or any other form of master input. Naming the images relevant to what they actually are is recommended: Example: BFG Corporation- USB.

Accutower Flash USB DuplicatorFinal Thoughts

Overall the Accutower Flash XL2800 USB Duplicator far exceeded my expectations. It came double boxed for added protection through shipping, setup was super easy, and the stand-alone design allowed me to put it in anywhere I wanted. The duplicator was quiet, fired up in a short period of time, and copied from multiple master sources rather quickly.

Giant “Thumbs Up” goes to the XL2800 for being a stand-alone, non-Windows using, duplicator. These two giant advantages help keep this duplicator from being infected with spyware, malware, and other forms of computer viruses. It also allows more storage devices to be connected to a single tower as well; as compared to PC required duplicators.

Perhaps my only little pet peeve with the Accutower Flash XL2800 USB Duplicator is during the copying process, a dialog box saying “Copying in progress…” doesn’t appear. This is simply a minor inconvenience and really is only noticeable when copying large amounts of data, but still caught my eye.

For more detailed information about the Accutower Flash XL2800 USB Duplicator and where to buy, visit PremiumUSB.com

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