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Granite Digital USB to SATA/IDE Adapter

© December 2006 Anthony Lawrence


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:

2.5 inch hard drive connected to MacBook Pro

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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-> Granite USB to SATA/IDE Adapter


Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

Take Control of Upgrading to El Capitan

Take Control of the Mac Command Line with Terminal, Second Edition

Take Control of Parallels Desktop 12

El Capitan: A Take Control Crash Course

Take control of Apple TV, Second Edition

More Articles by © Anthony Lawrence

Tue Dec 5 20:55:02 2006: 2693   TonyLawrence

Frank from Granite Digital added this:

"Another use is that this is an easy way to buy a
bigger drive, copy your data from your boot drive, and then install it
into your computer...."

Good point..

Fri Nov 13 00:03:37 2009: 7537   anonymous

Hi!! I have a usb to ide/sata adapter that I would like to use with linux Fedora but the external hard drive connected to the adapter doesn't show up in linux as a drive. Anyone have any help with this?

Fri Nov 13 03:13:40 2009: 7539   TonyLawrence

You sure? You'd be looking for a usb drive.

Fri Nov 13 14:38:13 2009: 7544   JoelRugullies

Ya..it picks up a SATA drive connected to the adapter but not an IDE..does yours pick up IDE? Maybe it's the manufacturer of my adapter.

Fri Nov 13 14:42:50 2009: 7546   TonyLawrence

The drive in the picture was IDE - but this was OS X, not Linux (Linux on the IDE, but accessing it through OS X in this case).


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