8 Best HDD Docks | March 2017

Whether you are looking to be able to perform some simple data migration or need a solution that will enable you to clone a whole hard drive easily and save its data and organization to another drive, one of these HDD docks will be perfect for the job. We've included docking stations that offer fast transfer speeds, budget pricing and up to four bays. Skip to the best hdd dock on Amazon.
8 Best HDD Docks | March 2017

Overall Rank: 4
Best Mid-Range
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
Overall Rank: 2
Best Inexpensive
There are plenty of things right with the Thermaltake BlacX Duet eSATA ST0014U dual hard drive docking station, such as its ability to read and write to different drives simultaneously. And there's really nothing wrong with the unit save for a high price point.
The Anker USB 3.0 eSATA external hard drive docking station is a fine choice for easy access to multiple hard drives, ranging from 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch drives to advanced solid state drives. It isn't cheap in terms of price or quality and comes with free tech support.
With the SISUN IDE SATA HDD docking station, you not only get an external dock that can handle two hard drives at once, but you also get a handy card reader hub that can accept SD cards, XD cards, and more. This unit makes it easy to access data of all types and sizes.
This Inateck Dual-Bay Hard Drive docking station makes data transfer an easy, breezy, and expeditious experience, and it even offers an Offline Clone Function with which you are able to clone a whole hard drive, easily saving its data and organization to another drive.
  • built-in over voltage protector
  • sleep mode after 30 minutes of idling
  • cloning does not work with some drives
Brand Inateck
Model FD2002
Weight 1.3 pounds
The StarTech USB 3.0 SATA III hard drive dock station allows for data read speeds up to 70% faster than a traditional USB 3.0 connection when paired with a UASP-enabled host controller. It can also allow for write speeds as much as 40% faster than most USB 3.0 connections.
  • great for data backup
  • outlet adapters come included
  • slightly overpriced option
Brand StarTech
Weight 1.6 pounds
The Sabrent USB 3.0 SATA dual bay external hard drive docking station can support standard desktop hard drives measuring either 2.5 inches or 3.5 inches. It is a "hot swappable" and plug-and-play unit, with no software or drivers required to support its function.
  • backwards compatible with usb 1.1 & 2.0
  • led indicates power and activity status
  • good reviews from users
Brand Sabrent
Model EC-HDD2
Weight 2.2 pounds
If you need easy, reliable external access to a single hard drive, the Cable Matters SATA Hard Drive docking station is a fine choice. It's affordably priced and A/C powered for reliable operation. It connects via a USB 3.0 cable and allows fast transfer speeds.
  • compatible with all major drive brands
  • cost-effective for data migration
  • supports some linux kernels
Brand Cable Matters
Model 202019
Weight 1.7 pounds
With the Mediasonic 4 Bay HDD Dock you can connect your computer to as many as eight terabytes of data, and you can enjoy access speeds exceeding six gigabytes per second. This dock is the perfect choice for the feature film editor or die-hard gamer.
  • individual bay slot design
  • suction cup feet for stability
  • smart power sync energy saving function
Brand Mediasonic
Model HFD1-SU3S2
Weight 3 pounds

Hard Drives Versus Solid State Drives

When one buys a new laptop today, the store's customer service representative might ask them if they want a model with a hard disk drive (HDD) or a solid-state drive (SSD) storage unit. One of the main differences between an SSD and an HDD is that an SSD has no moving parts. An HDD stores information inside of a rotating platter. A read/write head sits just above that platter and when it spins, it reads and writes the data. It looks slightly similar to an old record player. An SSD, however, stores data inside of tiny microchips, and the storage unit does not need to move at all to deliver information to a computer.

The still nature of an SSD is what makes it faster than an HDD; the user can access information instantly through the SSD’s embedded processor, rather than waiting for an arm to read and analyze it. Computers using HDD’s are, however, catching up in speed to SSDs. The speed of an HDD depends on how quickly its platter spins and many computer manufacturers today are creating ones that boast up to 7,200 rotations per minute. Some server-based HDDs have platters that spin up to 15,000 rotations per minute.

One might wonder what the advantage is of one of these types of storage units over the other. HDDs are typically less expensive than SSDs. Many laptop hard drives come with around 1 Terabyte—or 1,024 gigabytes—of storage, but ones with SSD storage generally come with 512GB or less. Prices are always changing, but an HDD-based computer may cost fifty percent or less of the price of a similar model with solid state storage of the same capacity. That being said, through the use of NAND flash technology, SSD-based computer manufacturers are hoping to increase the storage capacity of their product while keeping their prices low in an attempt to be more competitive with HDD-based computers.

History Of Hard Drive Disks

When hard drives first came on the market, they were very expensive. IBM produced the first one in 1953 and released it in 1956. It was called the IBM 305 RAMAC and held 5 megabytes of data and cost $10,000 per megabyte. The RAMAC was enormous, using 50 24-inch platters to store data. A few years later, IBM created the flying head that floated over the magnetic platters of a hard drive, reading and writing the information. It wasn't until 1963 that IBM released the first external hard drive, which was significantly smaller than their original model. This removable hard drive was composed of six 14-inch platters, and could hold half of the data of the first model.

These primitive hard drives were very clunky, and moved slowly, so in 1973 IBM put out their Winchester hard drive, which had lubricated spindles for quicker file access, and low-mass heads that didn't take up as much space. IBM was the only major producer of hard drives until a company called Seagate Technology started making them in 1979. After that, IBM and Seagate seemed to be in a race to put out a better, faster product. In 1980 IBM made its first gigabyte hard drive, and in that same year, Seagate introduced the first 5.25-inch hard disk. Other hard drive manufacturers came on the market around this time, including Western Digital, Shugart Associates, and Rodime.

Shugart created an interface that would become the first small computer system interface (SCSI) in 1981. 1988 saw the emergence of the 1-inch by 3.5-inch hard drive, which is still standard size for desktops today. In 1991, IBM made the first drive with film magnetoresistive heads (MR) and in 1992, Seagate stole the show by releasing the first 2.5-inch hard drive, which has become the standard size for laptop HDDs. Seagate would again shock the technology world when it put out the first drive capable of 15,000 rotations per minute in the year 2000.

What Makes A Hard Drive Dock Unique

There is a total of nine internal hard drive sizes, but the only two that are currently active are the 2.5 and 3.5-inch ones. Some hard drive docks have the ability to read both of these sizes. Many hard drive docks even have readers for SD cards and XD cards, making them useful for almost any computer task from gaming to photo-viewing.

Some people have internal hard drives that they want to keep protected inside of their computer at all times. A docking station makes it so they do not have to remove their internal hard drive in order to work with an additional one. Internal hard drives can also overheat and crack inside of a computer. Docking stations allow the user to periodically back up these internal drives, so they don't lose all of their data in the event that they are destroyed.

Most docking stations can also read one hard drive while they write to another. So the user can both work on files contained in one hard drive on their computer, while simultaneously adding data to another one. Some models even have offline cloning technology that allows the user to perfectly duplicate the data and save it to another drive, without ever removing data from the original one.

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Last updated: 03/28/2017 | Authorship Information