Final Touches on ATA: Hard-Drive Accessories Roundup

Beyond Data Storage: Hard Drive Accessories Roundup

In your average home multimedia PC, the hard drives are attached more or less permanently. But once your memory needs go a little beyond what your PC can offer, some special equipment is required. Want to monitor your operating parameters? Looking for a way to easily swap out drives? Need to maintain your entire RAID array without shutting down your server? No problem - there's a product out there for you.

We've recently had some really exciting products come into our test lab. The gamut stretches from a multifunctional box to drive enclosures and hot-swap modules right up to a hard-drive box for up to four ATA drives in a RAID array.

In the battle for supremacy, ATA standards are beating the SCSI interface on the price/performance ratio front, to the extent that any professional-quality component based on the ATA standard can be bought. Even better, these accessories are delightfully inexpensive, although in some cases very low prices still means low quality. In this article, we look at how much this quality difference affects the products' usability.