Big Storage devices
IntroductionStorage can be a complex thing with its variety of enclosures, connectivity, and brands. Wiebetech offers a far simpler solution with DriveDock. By reducing the concept to its component parts, the DriveDock provides a simple flexible storage solution for any situation.
A normal external hard drive consists of three parts: the drive itself, the enclosure, and the interface. The DriveDock (top right) connects directly to the drive without using an enclosure at all. This means that the drive is exposed to the world, but it's also as small as a drive can be.
The underside of a hard drive is where the circuit board is, so it wouldn't be wise to leave it exposed. Wiebetech include a blanking plate to protect its tender underside, so the circuits are safe and sound.
The interface is a simple box that connects to the ATA drive with a power lead to supply the juice. A FireWire cable is all you need to connect the drive, though you can get an additional power supply if you want to power it separately.
Putting the DriveDock together, screwing on the plate, and sticking the little feet on it, is reminiscent of my old Meccano set. It looks a bit technical, but is easy enough for anybody to do. I found it quite fun.
The interface uses the industry-standard Oxford 911 chip set, so the drive performs as well as any normal enclosure. It doesn't have the benefit of a fan, and the operating temperature can get quite high, but that didn't seem to affect the performance.
We tested the DriveDock with the latest Western Digital Caviar drive (below right), a 200GB monster disk. This is a state-of-the-art EIDE drive that costs a paltry £200. It incorporates an 8GB buffer, which helps it deliver data faster than other drives in its class.
Working together, the DriveDock and Caviar drive are a reasonable match. They generate rather a lot of heat, but that's pretty normal.