DeepSpar Challenges:
  – none that I know of, at the moment

Atola Challenges:
–       not very flexible for playing with the configurations
–       when updating the firmware, requires the user to be able to push a button on the unit and start the process at the Windows Console (for me, I was across the room and need the assistance of another person)
–       when the unit drops its network connection, the process stops and the system needs to be completely rebooted and the Windows application needs a forced quit
   –    with the cost of annual updates, the up front cost savings will be lost after 4 years, when the price of this product surpasses the DeepSpar Imager price
GNU ddrescue:
–       can be a pain to get compiled
–       command line can be tough to figure out for a novice user
–       without Linux/Unix knowledge, it is easy to get the devices mixed up


DeepSpar Disk Imager Atola Imager GNU ddrescue
Software Interface DOS (Windows via DRE over a network) Windows Linux / Mac OS / Windows (using Cygwin) / BSD / Unix
System Interface IDE (supplied PCI-E1x ATA Controller) Gigabit Ethernet n/a
SATA Source Yes (with supplied adapter) Yes Yes
IDE Source Yes Yes Yes
USB Source Yes (requires Forensic Edition) No Yes
SATA Destination Yes Yes Yes
IDE Destination Yes Yes (with adapter) Yes
Image Specific Files Yes No Yes (If file system accessible)
Image data areas only Yes Yes (NTFS/FAT) No
Head Map Yes No No
Image by Head Yes No No
Able to switch between specific DMA and UDMA modes Yes No No
Set sector range to mirror Yes Yes (requires multiple sessions that don’t cross reference the same sector map) Yes
Image to file Yes (requires Forensic Edition) Yes (via Network connection) Yes
Skip ‘x’ number of sectors Yes No No
Image to network drive No Yes Yes
Reverse clone Yes Yes Yes
Hardware reset Yes No No
Visible sector map Yes No No
Stored Configuration Data On the destination drive or on a 3rd connected drive. Case management database No
Set Max LBA on Destination Yes No No
Power Oscilloscope Yes (Optional add-on) No No
Time to read sectors Oscilloscope No Yes Maybe (OS dependant)
Head and Media Test Yes No No
Read Ignoring ECC Yes No No
Checksum Calculations MD5 (Forensic Edition) MD5, SHA1, SHA224, SHA256, SHA384, SHA512 No
Set Read Timeout Yes Maybe No
Log of bad sectors Yes Yes Yes
E-Mail Notification No Yes No
Force read in PIO Mode Yes Yes No
Set read block size Yes Yes (the system slows down significantly with smaller block sizes) Yes
Customizable algorithms (Set read response based on individual sector read errors) Yes No No
Disable SMART operations Yes Maybe No
Turn Off “Read Bad Sector” auto reallocation Yes Maybe No
Disable read look ahead Yes No No
Reset HPA Yes No No
Enable/Disable overwrite unread sectors Yes No Yes
System Boot Time 23 seconds 2 minutes 40 seconds Depends on the OS
Write protection Yes Yes (toggle switch on unit) Yes (needs to be setup through the OS)
Wipe destination sector by sector Yes No Yes
Wipe unprocessed sectors Yes No No
Wipe unread sectors on the fly Yes Yes Yes
Set number of sectors to skip Yes Yes Yes
Live sector view Yes No No
Healthy 1TB transfer speed 80 MB/second 100 MB/second 70 MB/second (depends on the system)
Price $3350 USD (world wide shipping incuded) $2890 USD Free
Annual Updates Free lifetime software updates $499/year (1st year free) Free

This review was created based on our experiences.

Created: March 17, 2010
Updated: June 2, 2011

Copyright 2010 Recovery Force Inc