RogerBW's Blog

Anker SATA dock 09 March 2016

I've had a general-purpose IDE/SATA connector for a few years, but it runs into a 2TB limit with modern large drives.

Most SATA-only connectors have a 2TB, or don't mention what limit they may have. The key feature of this one is that it claims to cope with drives up to 6TB (though a label on the bottom says 4TB); I've tried it up to 4TB, which is what I'm using in the current fileserver, and not had any problems.

Connectivity is USB3 or eSATA. I've only used USB, and it seems happy to saturate a USB2 link.

Rather than using a free-floating connector, drives are inserted into a slot on top of the machine, onto a connector protected by a dust-shutter.

Why it's not exactly cuboid (yes, the top does slope, and the drives aren't inserted on the vertical either) is a question for the designers; if one had several of these side by side there'd be a fair bit of wasted space. But it could be worse.

Any dock/connector ought to work without hassles; I'm recommending this one because it's solidly built and at least a bit of thought seems to have gone into the design.

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  1. Posted by Owen Smith at 02:14pm on 09 March 2016

    I have a similar device that takes two drives. It has eSATA and USB2 interfaces being about 6 years old, and claims to handle drives up to 2TB (not unreasonable 6 years ago). I always use it with eSATA, and it can handle both drives at once over it. Mine also has a standalone drive cloning feature where if you put two drives in and press and hold a button for a couple of seconds, it does a raw copy of one drive to the other. Very handy for drive upgrades, I've used it a lot. So long as the destination is bigger than the used space on the source it works, the sizes don't have to match.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 03:36pm on 09 March 2016

    I don't think I've ever had occasion to copy one disc directly to another. Fascinating, the things we don't do. (Similarly I came late to GigE networking since I really don't have any need to shift data that fast.)

  3. Posted by Owen Smith at 12:34am on 10 March 2016

    If you're a Windows user (I know you're not but others are) and you have an OEM licence, then you often don't get install media. So to upgrade to a larger and/or faster hard disc, the only viable option without buying a new Windows licence is to clone your existing hard disc onto the new one. There is various software to do it but I've tried two and found them lacking, a raw hardware hard disc clone is so much more likely to work eg. it copies all the Windows drive signatures and crap that software often forgets.

  4. Posted by RogerBW at 09:09am on 10 March 2016

    Ah, of course - you're supposed to buy a whole new computer and therefore get a whole new licence.

    One employer noticed that when we moved to free software we could free up the entire team whose full-time job was "keep licences up to date" to do something productive instead.

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