The Illinois base company Newer Technology has recently launched the Voyager, a new docking station for SATA hard drives. According to the company, it is the world’s first device that performs this operation using four different interfaces. Moreover, its Plug & Play installation makes it a simple solution for data transfer operations.
Although most users imagine a bare SATA drive as fairly inconvenient to use, there are now products on the market which make it just as simple and user friendly as a memory card. With the Voyager, users can quickly and easily plug in hard drives for instant access and data transfer; another option is using such SATA drives to expand storage capacity. The Voyager is completely “hot-swappable,” meaning users could replace the hard-drive while the computer is turned on. This feature is relevant for consumers who want to replicate a large amount of data in several copies – a library of HD videos, for instance.
The new device supports both SATA standards, SATA I and SATA II, as well as the two common sizes, 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch. Upon insertion, users need to select the fastest of the four interfaces supported by their computer for read/write data speeds; the maximal speed supported is 3.0-gigabit per second (approximately 300-megabytes per second). The device includes a USB 2.0/1.1 Mini-B port, a single eSATA port, two FireWire 800 (1394b) ports, and one FireWire 400 (1394a) port.
Newer Technology promises that like similar products the Voyager requires no configuration, since its installation is simple Plug&Play. As for its user-interface, its drive “eject” button makes inserting, using, and removing SATA hard drives an effortless procedure. Furthermore, the option to ”hot-swap” should be completely safe.
The Voyager features a relatively compact design: it’s measured at 28″ x 3.70″ x 2.68″ and its weight (without drive) is 1.35lbs. It is also a quiet device since no fans are needed, and it will work with both PCs and MACs.
Computer labs or professionals that have a constant need for data backup and recovery might find the Voyager useful since it saves the time required for SATA hard-drive installation. However, other products could offer a similar solution using different means. External hard drives (such as the LaCie 500GB HD, covered by TFOT) offer better portability, while removable media combined with eSATA technology, such as the OCZ Throttle (also covered by TFOT), offer minimal size and even greater mobility. The Voyager’s main advantage is its value: for $99.95, users will get the device with all interface connection cables and a one-year warranty.
TFOT has covered extensively the upcoming emergence of SSD technology in 2009 that will make a strong impact on storage technologies worldwide. Other TFOT related stories include the first 1-terabyte hard drive, unveiled by Hitachi in January of 2007, Toshiba’s 256GB solid state drive, a major enhancement to its line-up of NAND-flash-based solid state drives, and the development of USB 3.0, the next universal standard of data transfer.
For more information on the Voyager, see its website.