Do you have a pile of unused hard disk drives sitting in your cupboard, and want to quickly check what data is stored on them? You could go to the trouble of installing them in a PC’s drive bay, or even building your own external hard drive using an empty HDD enclosure. Now the Storage Depot has the very thing to make quick browsing through ophaned disks a lot easier.
The Storage Depot's SI-7908 USB Docking Station is a simple one-trick pony – you connect it to a computer via USB 2.0, drop in a SATA hard disk through its top slot, and the drive will mount on your computer like any normal external USB storage device.
This docking station comes complete with an external power supply, a two-pin European type, and a three-pin UK mains adaptor is included which just about screws over these pins.
The caddy can take either 3.5in or 2.5in drives, but only recent Serial ATA (SATA) types; older IDE drives are unfortunately not catered for here.
In use the SI-7908 USB Docking Station worked flawlessly, happy to accept a full-size 3.5in drive by holding fully open the spring-loaded top slot, before clipping the drive into the waiting terminals below. For a 2.5in drive, a suitably sized cut-out on the sprung flap accomodates a 9.5mm-thick laptop drive perfectly. The latest 12.5mm high-capacity 2.5in disks should work too, although you might need to keep the flap partly open.
We appreciated the fact that the unit is quite weighty, about 620g, so will not easily topple over on your desk.
There’s no other ornamentation, except two LEDs behind an oval-shaped window on top. Blue shows that the caddy is switched on, while blue and red together denote disk activity.
We tried the USB version – also available is a model that adds an eSATA connector, enabling potentially faster read/write speeds than we measured: 35.5 and 29.4MB/s respectively, using a 7200rpm Toshiba 200GB notebook drive. With eSATA connections, it should also be easier to boot a PC from an outboard hard disk.