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Latest gadget

When I first learned of the Vantec NexStar external SATA drive dock at ThinkGeek, I had lust in my heart. It looks like a gleaming white toaster into which your disk drives plug like slices of bread.

It works like a charm. The box has a USB cable that plugs into your computer and it works as easily as a toaster in your kitchen. Insert your drives in the slot, set for medium brown, and push down the lever. OK, I lied about those last two steps. The NexStar is actually 2/3 easier to use than your toaster.

This wonderful device does have a few drawbacks. The two-slot model costs US$78, plus shipping on top of that. A single-slice version costs US$40 plus shipping. Furthermore, the device handles only SATA drives. While it will accept drives of multiple sizes – pulled from your desktop or your laptop computers – if you have an IDE drive, you’re out of luck.

These drawbacks sent me looking for an alternative. I found several, but none as cool as ThinkGeek’s offering. All follow the same basic schematic: a cable with a USB port on one side and a head that features multiple hard-drive ports on the other. I settled on another Vantec product, the aptly named SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter. It cost C$25.49 (about US$20) at Newegg.ca with additional fees and handling bringing the cost to a low C$30 – and free shipping!

We have yet to put it to use, but we can’t wait! We have a pile of old drives with who knows what on them.

Bonus apology:

Sorry, Regan. I hope ThinkGeek doesn’t now totally discredit that reference letter I wrote for you.

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