Most of our readers probably know how to install a hard drive: open the computer case, locate an available 3.5" drive bay, insert the drive, screw it tightly, and attach power and data cables. UltraATA hard drives require a jumper to be set, while Serial ATA (SATA) hard drives only need to be connected to a SATA port.
Well, that's the theory anyway - if only life were really that simple! In fact, our everyday life throws all sorts of surprises at us: we sometimes find ourselves trying to install a 2.5" drive into a larger drive bay, researching options to implement unusual setups, trying to recover data from a hard disk, or simply attempting to put the wife at ease by dampening PC noise.
I did not specifically look for storage accessories to write this article, nor were there any products that we'd consider indispensable. Yet we decided to write about five useful products that happened to arrive at our test labs. Some of them we requested for different project-related reasons, while others were just sent to us. All of them serve a specific purpose, and should you be in the situation of taking on one of those everyday surprises, you will learn to appreciate them rather quickly.
When we took a look at Addonics' CardBus adapter to upgrade notebooks with eSATA capabilities, the firm also sent us a robust removable frame called Mobile Rack. It is a valuable product if you have to exchange hard drives all the time.
Have you ever considered setting up a RAID array with three or four tiny 2.5" drives to improve throughput while reducing noise? When we requested an external storage product from Enhance Tech we also received a 5.25" unit, which powers up to four 2.5" hard drives in little removable frames.
Then there is Scythe's Kama Connect, a flexible USB 2.0 to SATA/UltraATA adapter. We learned to appreciate it because it connects any ATA hard drive to your system via USB 2.0 without requiring an enclosure. It came with a different product, the Scythe Quiet Drive HDD silencer, which, I'm sorry to say, we only ordered because we needed a SATA extension cord in the first place. It's really worth the money: we found that it dampens the noise of a 10,000 RPM WD Raptor while providing adequate cooling.
Finally, as we started benchmarking 2.5" hard drives for our Interactive HDD Charts, we obtained one of Upgradeware's PCI slot adapter cards to comfortably run a 2.5" hard drive.
Now, let's look at these gadgets in more detail.