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Plug and Save: 15 Hard Drive Enclosures and Adapters Reviewed

The Wiebetech Combodock Offers An Aluminum Enclosure With An IEEE1394b Connection

If you can use both USB 2.0 and FireWire (IEEE1394), Wiebetech has the right adapter. The Combodock, for example, converts the signals from the IDE interface to USB or IEEE1394b. Wiebetech has packed the whole thing in a sturdy aluminum enclosure with its own power supply. Handling, however, is a chore, as it uses a non-standard connection to IDE hard drives and the space between the interface and the power socket varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. The position of the Molex plug is flexible so that the Combodock can be used with all hard drives.

This doesn't only make it difficult to plug in the adapter but you also have to take care not to snap the cable when removing it. A better solution would have been a more flexible connection, via an extension cable to the IDE interface, for example. The Wiebetech adapter showed what it is capable of in the benchmark tests. Using USB 2.0, we measured an average 25 MB/s and an impressive 36 MB/s with FireWire 1394b. We also wanted to know whether the Combodock could also deal with an IEEE-1394a interface. Several tests showed that the FireWire interface had problems with IEEE 1394A. However, the data transfer rate at 10 MB/s was a slow affair. Exchanging the test controller didn't improve matters either. Combodock failed to respond to any CD/DVD drives.

Sturdy metal enclosure

Sales packaging

Fiddly to connect, hazardous to remove