Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Storage Accessories For Easier HDD Handling

Storage Accessories For Easier HDD Handling

Enthusiasts are quick when it comes to replacing old hard drives, or when they need more storage capacity. The older hard drives may still hold important data you need to access, though, or you may need to urgently copy something onto a drive for other reasons. This is when quick and dirty storage accessories are just what you need. We looked at four solutions that allow users to access hard drive data in unconventional ways.

 Storage Goes External…

One of the most important storage trends for consumers and small businesses has been the extraction of storage out of the conventional PC and into more convenient solutions. Just a few years ago, users had no choice but to exchange or install hard drives inside their PCs, but now more and more people purchase external hard drives and other versatile storage solutions. USB 2.0, FireWire, and especially eSATA have made it possible to conveniently access self-sustaining storage devices that don’t require installation or complex maintenance.

… and less Predictable 

However, the failure of external storage solutions is also difficult to predict. What do you do if the power supply of your external hard drive dies all of a sudden? What if the network connection to your NAS server fails due to a broken switch? What if it’s just the dog biting through the only cable you have for your storage product? More versatile solutions may also result in a wider variety of issues.

Being Prepared is Easy

Luckily, many of these issues can be addressed easily, especially if you prepare for worst-case scenarios. But it’s more appropriate to call them use situations, as many issues can be solved by getting direct access to the hard drive itself. We received a few products that all focus on providing access to popular 3.5” and 2.5” hard drives, mostly using the Serial ATA interface. An investment of $30 to $50 will give you nice flexibility, even if you’re not a hardware guru. Let’s look at the products.

Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the Reviews comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

Display all 13 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 4 Hide
    nihility , July 31, 2009 7:34 AM
    We really need USB 3.0 for external hard drives.
  • -7 Hide
    alagadnidonald , July 31, 2009 11:02 AM
    will Crysis run off these? ^_^
  • -1 Hide
    Glorian , July 31, 2009 3:06 PM
    We really need USB 3.0 for external hard drives.

    we'll get there soon.

    Its too bad the Unitek Docking Station wasn't on a faster interface, but its still a great piece of hardware, I might actually invest in it.
  • -1 Hide
    cadder , July 31, 2009 3:41 PM
    Do all of these allow you to plug in and later remove a SATA drive while the computer is powered up? Do you do the same "Safely Remove Hardware" step with a SATA drive that you do with an external USB drive?
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , July 31, 2009 3:56 PM
    "However, the build quality was so poor that we had to open the device and relocate the SATA connectors....."

    is it because Made In China?
  • -1 Hide
    XD_dued , July 31, 2009 4:34 PM
    Imagine a usb 4.0 that will eventually replace SATA ^.^
  • -2 Hide
    xsamitt , July 31, 2009 11:49 PM
    All together now,

    On the 1ST day of Christmas my true love gave to me,a harddrive"
    On the Second day " "
    Think you get the idea
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 1, 2009 1:02 AM
    "All together now,

    On the 1ST day of Christmas my true love gave to me,a harddrive"
    On the Second day " "
    Think you get the idea"

    That was soo terrible I think it gave me cancer
  • -1 Hide
    patvs , August 1, 2009 3:42 AM
    I can recommend the Sharkoon Quickport PRO (which looks remarkably similar like the HDD Docking Station by iStarUSA). I thought my 3 yr old SATA Maxtor harddrive had died: I couldn't hear it spin, a Windows installation bootcd wouldn't detect the drive... and hooked up inside a different computer in Windows it was unable to read/copy any data. However the Sharkoon docking station (with eSATA) had no problems reading it whatsoever and I could save all the data. :-
  • 0 Hide
    matt87_50 , August 3, 2009 4:15 AM
    the gigabyte ex58 ud4p came with this cool io bracket, it let you convert 1 or 2 internal sata ports into e-sata ports, and more importantly, convert one internal molex power plug into 2 external sata power plugs, came with all the cables you need, and you could use it in any computer.
  • 0 Hide
    mman74 , August 3, 2009 4:30 AM
    idunno"However, the build quality was so poor that we had to open the device and relocate the SATA connectors....."is it because Made In China?

    China assembels everything from iPhone to even Sony LCD panels. Production location has nothing to do with it. Price points do. You pay for crap or buy dodgy unbranded items thorugh US-importers who markup unscrupulously, then guess what - you end up with crap. Look at all of your electronic items - including the branded "quality" items. Most are made in China.
  • 0 Hide
    Humans think , February 1, 2010 2:22 AM
    A friend of mine has bought the "iStarUSA HDD Docking Station (xAGE-N99-SAU Drive Dock)" and he lend it to me to use it for a while.

    I did not notice the eSATA plug problem and it was very fast as the benchmarks showed. The whole black appearance is very sleek and it does what it says for a very small price.

    When comparing to Unitek model, I would go for the iStar for 4 reasons:
    1) It is cheaper
    2) Most people already have card readers or USB hubs or simply at least 6 USB ports.
    3) Subjective comment: Who cares about one touch backup and additional software, I personally don't
    4) Subjective comment: I wouldn't put this ugly thing on my desk :p 
  • 0 Hide
    CTB1 , April 3, 2013 7:31 PM
    I've had my iStar xAGE-N99-US/SAU Toaster for years without problem, didn't remember the make or m/n so I did a search and found this page. Forgot it was an iStar and that it had an eSATA connection. Looking for another toaster with the same features.