Cirago's docking station good for repurposing an old drive

But it's a cumbersome addition to your desk

If you have a spare hard drive lying around from an old computer and want to recycle it instead of dropping $100 or so on a new backup or secondary drive, Cirago's new CDD2000 docking station might be for you. It offers an easy-to-use, attractive way of attaching a serial ATA (SATA) drive to your computer.

The CDD2000 docking station comes in models that accommodate SATA I or SATA II 3.5-in and 2.5-in drives, but 2.5-in drives can still fit in the 3.5-in station - it's just not as attractive with all that wasted space.

Cirago's CDD2000 SATA drive docking station
Cirago's CDD2000 SATA drive docking station

For me, this docking station doesn't make anything more convenient. I use a 2.5-inch solid-state drive (SSD) attached to my laptop via a SATA cable, and I back up my data to it using Apple's Time Machine, which came with my Macbook Pro.

So I personally don't need an additional piece of hardware on my desk. For one, Cirago's docking station requires an external power source, meaning one more cable on an already messy desk and one less outlet available on my surge protector. For another, the docking station isn't a backup device; it's just a method of connecting a drive to your computer. It doesn't come with any backup software.

However, Cirago does argue that attaching a hard drive using only a SATA cable isn't the most secure method for most people. A docking station provides secure support for a hard drive, especially when the internal components begin spinning.

I can also envision a user installing an SSD in a laptop or desktop and then using the original hard drive in the Cirago docking station. The SSD could then serve as a boot drive - unencumbered by file data - while the external docking station could act as a storage device. Under that scenario, you'd no doubt see quite a boost in your computer's performance.

The docking station uses the USB 3.0 protocol, also known as SuperSpeed USB. That means if you have bleeding-edge desktop or laptop technology, you'll be able to transfer data to an external drive at up to 4.8Gbit/sec. Of course, that's a theoretical speed, but even at half that speed it's still a 10-fold improvement over USB 2.0.

What's not so nice is that PCs today don't come with USB 3.0 ports. But, it'll eventually be here and USB 3.0 is backward compatible with USB 2.0, so you can at least transfer data at 320Mbit/sec. (That's real-world speed, of course, for USB 2.0.)

What I also like about Cirago's docking station is that it's reasonably fashionable, with a modern-looking, reflective white casing. And, it's easy to use. To install a drive, you simply slide it into the vertical slot and off you go.''

Overall, the Cirago docking station is a convenient way to repurpose a hard drive, and, once USB 3.0 machines are available, it'll be that much more attractive for transferring video or other capacity hungry applications to an external drive.

The CDD2000 docking station ships with its own USB 3.0 cable and power adapter for $49.99.

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at  @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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