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I'm thinking of buying a drive dock to put my unused large HDD to use. I will also probably use the dock to backup files and swap the drives regularly.

I have a few questions though:

  • Are they noisy?
  • I plan to use them via USB (because I don't think I have eSata connectors), am I gonna want to kill myself every time I backup? (I know it's supposed to be 480 Mbps, but how realistic is this?)
  • Do you recommend a particular model? (I was thinking about this Startech HDD dock)

Thank you

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Hard Drive docks are solid state, they're only as noisy as the hard drive you place in them.

Typically, USB performance is best utilized on a set of many small files. This sounds like most of what you do for backup. The speed should be acceptable.

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I guess so, but I've never heard an HDD out of a case, is it really noisy? – mbillard Sep 8 '09 at 14:08
newer hard drives tend to be much quieter than many early models. – jweede Sep 8 '09 at 14:12
The noise is all down to the hard drive, I have a 10k rpm velociraptor connected to a mac mini on my disk and it's super quiet. I would spend the money on a SATA card with an eSATA connector, you won't regret it. – Tim Desjardins Sep 8 '09 at 14:15
I plan to use the dock with laptops exclusively so maybe a PCI card if I find myself wanting more speed. – mbillard Sep 8 '09 at 14:35
Make sure you get a dock that works on both sizes of hard drives. (I forgot the exact measurements, but it's the kind they put in desktops and the kind they put in laptops.) – Ryan Thompson Sep 9 '09 at 0:06

A good option for a long term storage would be the Data Robotics DROBO

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Interesting, but it costs way more than a simple HDD dock (40-80$ vs 400$). – mbillard Sep 8 '09 at 14:13
@Crossbrowser - With their BeyondRAID and other plug-and-play features, it really does a lot more than a simple HDD dock. Drobo is really poplular in video editing setups. Check out their product demo: – Robert Cartaino Sep 8 '09 at 15:08
@Robert - I know it does a lot more, I'm not arguing against that. However, I don't need all that so paying more than 200$ for something I won't use is ridiculous. – mbillard Sep 8 '09 at 16:12

Typically the docks are silent / just a low speed fan.

The real question is how noisy are your hard drives!

Most docks are not that smart and are powered on at 100% so imagine your current hard drive, but at its noisiest.

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I've been using one called Vantec NextStar hard drive dock for about 2 years now. Paid about 35-40 dollars for it from Newegg, on sale. Never had a problem with it. It's only as noisey as the hard drive that's in it. Look it up at

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$93 for that Startech seems kinda high. Do you really need two bays? I have this model, I have no complaints about it, and it's a third the price.

Also, invest in an ESATA connector like this one (although they can probably be found even cheaper than that). Considering how cheap these connectors are, they're is no reason to limit yourself to USB speed.

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