The 10 Best SSD Docking Stations
This wiki has been updated 28 times since it was first published in October of 2015. SSDs offer vastly increased speed over HDDs. If you work with memory-hungry applications and need a quick, easy way to access, archive, or transfer large amounts of data from your hard drive, look no further than one of these SSD docking stations. Compatible with multiple operating systems, they allow for rapid speeds while simultaneously ensuring that your files always stay safe and secure. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 01, 2020:
For this update, we've added three new items and removed the Glyph Dock. The Sabrent Lay-Flat is an affordable and fast single-drive solution that comes with cloning software. The Weme Duplicator and the Wavlink Dual-Bay offer the expected functionality of an external dock, but can also copy data from drives without even being attached to a computer.
We've replaced the older version of Inateck Universal with a newer model and also updated the ranking of several of the devices on our list.
As NVMe/M.2 style SSDs continue to gain popularity, we will most likely add some of them to this list, though at the time of this writing, there aren't any available that we feel offer considerable value. If you're interested in external cases for these types of SSDs, make sure to take a look at NVMe external enclosures.
March 08, 2019:
The solid-state drive is one of the most important advancements of the last decade to become widespread. The main reason it's so important is its incredible speed when compared to optical and magnetic storage, so any connection to a computer is going to rely on the connector's bandwidth in order to prevent bottlenecks. The easiest to use are those like the Sabrent, which consist of a solid, plastic body, and one or two slots. Because of their rigid construction, these devices are less likely than some others to inadvertently come loose during operation, which can endanger the entire drive's data. For something a little bit more convenient, look to the StarTech adapter, which lacks the plastic housing, but is much more portable. Clear on the other side of things, the StarTech Backplane Enclosure is meant for installation within a desktop PC, and it allows you to repeatedly swap drives in and out of its two fixed ports. This is ideal for anyone whose job requires top-of-the-line security, or data redundancy, or if they just need to get some work done at home, using the exact data they've been working with all day. The Inateck Universal is notable due to its compatibility with the dinosaur known as the IDE drive, so if you're planning on resurrecting some seriously old information, that one may be your best bet. And the Glyph Dock is an interesting choice if you've got a lightning-fast NVMe drive on hand, and want to use it as the core of a connectivity-expanding laptop docking station. In fact, it's one of the rare and reliable ways to deliver the blazing-fast speeds for which NVMe is known, in an essentially plug-and-play enclosure.
The Evolution Of Solid-State Drives
But as lower cost drum storage units were developed, production and usage of these rudimentary memory units ceased.
The majority of us think of solid-state drives as a new technology, but it actually first started to appear in the 1950's with the development of both card capacitor read-only store and magnetic core memory. These memory units were created during the vacuum-tube computer era. But as lower cost drum storage units were developed, production and usage of these rudimentary memory units ceased.
In the 1970's, SSDs were integrated into semiconductor memory devices for some IBM, Amdahl and Cray supercomputers, but their restrictively high price point meant they weren't often used. One example is Dataram's 1976 Bulk Core solid-state disk, which offered 2MB of storage space and sold for $9,700. With inflation factored in, that equates to over thirty thousand dollars today.
In 1978, a 16KB RAM solid-state drive was introduced by Texas Memory Systems. Just one year later, StorageTek released their own RAM SSD. As the 1980's rolled around, Intel created the 1M bit bubble memory, which was intended to be the new go-to non volatile solid state memory. Unfortunately, their invention proved to be cost ineffective and not scalable, so it quickly dropped out of the market.
In 1984, Tallgrass Technologies created the first hybrid drive. It had a a 40MB magnetic tape memory drive with a 20MB SSD that could be used instead of the standard hard drive. This gave users the ability to store commonly-accessed files and programs on the SSD so they could access them faster.
In 1995, flash-based solid-state drives were introduced. Unlike all previous SSDs, they did not require battery power to maintain data. This was a vital step in allowing SSDs to replace HDDs as a computer's main memory storage system. Since then, a number of innovations in SSD technology have allowed them to become faster, cheaper, and more durable, making them the best option when it comes to computer memory storage today.
Benefits Of A Solid-State Drive
Solid-state drives outperform traditional hard disk drives in a number of key areas. The first thing most users will notice when using a computer with an SSD is how much faster they are. The average HDD takes from 5,000 to 10,000 microseconds to access data, whereas the typical SSD only takes 35 to 100 microseconds. That makes them over 100 times faster. This is due to the mechanical nature of a hard disk drive.
This makes them more mobile friendly, and ideal for those who travel often or need a computer to last all day without having to be recharged.
Inside of an HDD, there is a spinning magnetic disk and an actuator arm. When a computer needs to access a particular program or file, the actuator must lift up and move over the correct spot on the disk before it can read the data. This is one of the main issues slowing down hard disk drives. If the computer is just coming out of sleep mode, it must also wait for the disks to come to speed before data can be read. SSDs have no moving parts and can access data nearly instantaneously.
SSDs are ideal for ultrabooks, as they are smaller and use less power than HDDs. This makes them more mobile friendly, and ideal for those who travel often or need a computer to last all day without having to be recharged. They are also more durable. Another drawback of the mechanical nature of the HDD is that they are more greatly affected by bumps, drops, and other impacts. Anything that can affect the equilibrium of the spinning disk, or cause issues with the movement of the actuator arm, can cause problems ranging from drive failure to increased read and write times. SSDs can withstand greater impacts than HDDs without worry of causing damage. This makes them perfect for users who are constantly taking their computers on the go.
Choosing An SSD Docking Station
When it comes time to expand your local storage space, using an SSD docking station to access your memory is one of the best options. The key is to buy one that has all the features you might need. Many SSD docking stations allow users to access memory from both internal HDDs and SDDs. Even if you don't currently own an extra HDD, there is no reason not to buy a universal docking station. You never know when you may need to access a friend's HDD, or if you may need to expand you local storage space in the future and won't have the cash to outlay on an expensive SSD.
It is also best to look for one that works with both Macs and PCs.
Another feature to look for is one-touch disk cloning. This allows you to clone the entire contents of one drive onto another without needing computer support. Not only is this convenient for those times you don't have your computer handy, but it is also faster than running everything through your computer during transfers.
The more adaptability your SSD docking station has, the better. That said, look for one equipped with multiple connection ports, including USB, HDMI, and DVI. It is also best to look for one that works with both Macs and PCs. Some may also feature Ethernet ports for internet connectivity. For those who plan on taking their docking station on the go, there are pocket-sized models available, which are lightweight and durable.