While this is definitely NOT the way you want to
run an external drive for any length of time, it is
sometimes very handy to have quick access to a bare
drive that you just tore out of something and that isn't
going to have a permanent home again. This can be for
recovery, file transfer, or just sanity checking: if
you are a tech, you want to be able to do this:
The device connecting that naked 2.5" hard drive to my MacBook's USB port is Granite Digital's USB 2.0 to SATA / IDE Bridge Adapter (Tux is standing guard becaause that's
a Linux drive and he doesn't like it being connected to the Mac). The whole kit, with power supply and adapters is just $39.95
As I noted above, this is for techies in the field. If you want
to hook up something permanently, you need a real enclosure (and
Granite Digital sells these also). This is
for temporary use.
While the kit comes with every adaptor you are going to need, some things
just don't work well.. for example if you need to extend the power with
the auxiliary power cable, you may find that the SATA/IDE adapter interferes
with its ears. Better to use the included power supply which has no ears
and will fit nicely (note the 2.5 inch drive shown in the picture above
draws power from the USB bus).
Also, just because you can hook up something doesn't mean your
OS knows how to read it. And if it can read the device itself, it has to
have support for the filesystem that's on there. That's not
necessarily insurmountable, but you do need to be aware of it. For
example, my Mac would not recognize an IDE DVD-RAM drive I hooked
up. Nor does it understand Linux filesystems; when I plugged in this
Linux drive, the Mac offered to initialize it. I probably could
have mounted it with a
Parallels Linux VM though.
You can buy similar devices all over the Web. See Brando Hooks Up (S)ATA Drives To USB 2.0 at Tom's Hardware, for example. Some of the devices you find are
strictly IDE, some are strictly SATA. I like Granite Digital
because they have a wide range of high quality products and very
helpful and very technically knowledgeable staff. These folks know
their stuff - I highly recommend them (and no I don't get anything
out of this except that once in a while they send me something to
review - but I was buying their products and recommending them long before
they ever sent a thing). They also have a techy newsletter (and text and pdf versions of older mailings) you can sign up for at The Granite Digital Storage Pro Newsletter.
Check it out, you won't be sorry.
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