“You can never have too much RAM or too much storage space.”
Or so the old computing adage goes.
I am what you would call a digital data packrat.
Every internal drive bay on my Mac Pro is filled. External hard drives are hanging off the SATA ports. And then there are the thumb drives. I have a slew of them.
Clearly, I have an addiction to storage that can’t be quenched.
During a recent attempt at spring cleaning, I came across my trusty old PowerMac G5. I wanted to retrieve data off the drives inside it and put them back into circulation. Instead of buying a separate hard drive enclosure for both drives, I opted to go with the Sabrent USB 3.0 SATA 2.5″ & 3.5″ Dual Bay Hard Drive Docking Station (or Sabrent Dock for short). Though it retails for $70, you can purchase it online for about $40 or so.
The Sabrent Dock is both Mac and Windows compatible. I’ve been using mine for over a month. It’s connected to an early 2008 era Mac Pro, equipped with an Inateck USB 3.0 PCI card. If you don’t have USB 2.0 ports, it’ll still work, but the data transfer speeds will dial down accordingly. Sabrent makes a few different versions of their dock product. The version that I ordered features a USB 3.0 interface with data transfer speeds up to 5Gbps, and allows for up to two drives to be connected simultaneously. You can mix or match two 2.5″ or 3.5″ SATA drives.
Think of it like a toaster, but with hard drives instead of toast.
Before we take a look at how the Sabrent Dock performs, let’s take a look at the packaging.
The Sabrent Dock comes with the dock station, a power brick, power cable, a quick-start guide and a USB cable. The packaging is clean and minimal; just the way I like it.
The Dock itself is made of a sturdy feeling plastic. It’s solid to the touch and feels durable. (I didn’t perform the customary drop kick test, to be fair.) To install the Sabrent Dock, connect the power cable from the unit to some AC power and make the necessary USB connections. Power the Sabrent Dock by pressing the circular button on the side. Pop in a drive. Boom.
You’re up and running.
(Bear in mind, if you’re plugging in a brand new drive, you will need to format it in order to use it.)
The Sabrent Dock allows you to duplicate / clone an existing hard drive without the use of a host computer system. NOTE: I have not tested the device in this capacity, so I can’t comment on how well that aspect functions.
My main purpose was to use this device to occasionally access data from bare SATA drives. In that capacity, the Sabrent Dock performs well.
Popping drives into the Sabrent Dock is a piece of cake. Simply place the drive inside and it’s connected. No special adapter needed. There is a separate lever for each drive, making ejecting a drive a breeze. Press the lever and out comes the drive. That’s it. (Of course, on a Mac you’ll want to unmount the device from your desktop before hitting the eject button.)
In my experience, the drives do get quite warm to the touch when plugged into the Sabrent Dock. And while I didn’t perform rigorous benchmarking tests, I did run Disk Speed Test for giggles and noted an average 58.5 MB/s read and 50.3 MB/s write on a drive that was over 6+ years old. It’s not super fast, but in my view, it’s not noticeably slow either. Performance is about mid-tier.
I think so. For $40, you can plug up to two drives in and have simultaneous access to both. The Sabrent Dock is well-built, easy to set up and works fine under OS X. It doesn’t need any fancy shmancy driver. It’s literally plug and play. Plus, the Sabrent Dock comes with a 1 year warranty. Time will tell as to how reliable this unit is, but so far, I’ve been pretty pleased with Sabrent’s offering.
P.S. If you don’t need the extra drive bay, consider looking at the Thermaltake BlacX SATA docking station that I reviewed here about 4 years ago. That device is still serving me well in its role as a back-up clone / Time Machine for my early 2008 Macbook Pro laptop.