I often upgrade or migrate PCs (e.g. I’ll be upgrading to Windows 7 soon from Vista) and transferring all the data about (even over a 1Gb link) can be slow. I also have hard disks laying about that I need to reformat, work on etc. and I’ve tried hot-swap containers but they never worked very well since you had to screw the HDD into the tray and were very noisy.
The QuickPort (right) is an external desktop device that accepts either 2.5" or 3.5" ‘raw’ SATA hard disks. (And yes my desktop does have that many wires floating about on it).
The cool thing about QuickPort is that this has an eSATA connector which means it’s exactly the same throughput as a normal SATA drive would be if it were plugged into your PC.
I plugged both a new 2.5" 500GB Seagate Momentus and a 3.5" 2TB WD EcoGreen drive in, and was able to get over 100MB/sec transfer speed on both using DiskMark. I copied a 1.3Gb file in 12 seconds as a test. Try that with your external drive and it’s USB2 connector.
If you have the QuickPort Pro (like mine) it also adds a couple of desktop USB ports and an integrated SD/MMC card reader too.
I also have some older 2.5" and 3.5" IDE (PATA) drives I needed to work on, one for an old IBM Thinkpad that has no CDROM or floppy and does not support boot from USB-connected drives. I can now pre-install an OS onto it’s 2.5" HDD from my main workstation, and then swap it into the laptop. That would make a nice little Ubuntu test box. The only way to load new software is to install the disk onto another machine and set up the boot loader, or at least some CDROM drivers for my external CDROM drive.
This is where the DriveLink (left) comes in. It has a 2.5" and 3.5" PATA connectors, and also a SATA connector. So it can connect to almost any type of HDD. Better still, it has two USB plugs (one black, for data and one red, for HDD power), so it can even power the drive.
This is especially useful as it means DriveLink does not need an external power supply for the drives, and can be used to quickly back up or image a laptop. Alas as it’s USB2 it’s not as fast as my QuickPort.