By Sebastiaan de Jonge, published on Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 09:00

I've purchased this little gadget about a month ago, I'm planning to use it to clean out some of my old harddrives and perhaps use it in the future to upgrade my iMac to an SSD. In this post I'd like to share my experience with this little gadget.

What does it do?

As the title says, it's a universal drive adapter. You can mount pretty much anything on it. It supports IDE and SATA, meaning you can mount pretty much any harddrive or optical drive to it. All it requires is an available USB3.0 or USB2.0 port.

Package contents

  1. USB 3.0 Universal Drive Adapter
  2. Harddrive power adapter, with switchable power cord (mine came with a EU version and a US version). It also includes a handy power switch.
  3. USB 3.0 connector cable
  4. QuickStart Guide
  5. ATA connector cable
  6. SATA connector cable

Connecting a drive

Connecting a drive to the adapter isn't very complicated, it takes a bit more time than your standard plug-and-play device though. In order to make the drive accesible you will probably need adjust your jumper settings. The manual describes setting the drive jumper to "master". However, in my case "cs" or "cable select" seemed to be required for one of my drives.

The jumper settings usually depend on the drive's manufacturer, most manufacturer offer specifications on jumper settings. In this case, Google is your friend. Some drives even have the jumper settings printed on them.

My experiences

During my tests I have connected 2 different drives. The first one was a Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 80GB ATA/133 HDD, from 2005. This drive gave me some issues, which are most likely related to the drive itself rather then the UDA (Universal Drive Adapter).

On the first connection my drive would show up and be accessible. However after I eject the drive and reconnect it, it no longer shows up in Finder or in Disk Utility. 

After some back and forward communications with OWC's tech support and some trying out of my own, I discovered the problem is triggered when ejecting the drive. I could solve this problem by, after I disconnected the UDA, connecting a different USB drive on the same USB port. After which I could successfully eject that and reconnect the UDA.

Now my second test went a lot smoother. I managed to get my hands on a different drive, this time it was a Western Digital Caviar Green 1.0TB SATA HDD from 2009. This was an extremely simple case of plug-and-play. The drive worked instantly and I encountered no problems when ejecting or reconnecting the drive.

Customer Support

During my troubles with the adapter I contacted Newer Technology's customer support in hope they could shine some light on my problem. They responded within 24 hours (on a Saturday) and I have corresponded several times with them. Unfortunately they couldn't give me the solution, but nevertheless they were kind and helpful. Thumbs up to them!

Pros

  • It's universal, you can connect almost any device to it
  • It's fast, it supports transfer rates up to 500 mb/s (of course depending on your drive and the connecting computer)
  • Supports drives up to 2TB
  • "Simple" plug and play
  • No driver installation needed
  • Works on both PC (Win 98 SE and up) and Mac (8.6 and up)
  • It's cheap (in my opinion), I got mine for approx 33 EUR ($40)

Cons

  • It's a temporary solution, however Newer Technology offers some silicone sleeves for your drives if you use them like this more intensely
  • You have to be careful with the drive, it's out in the open and it might get damaged by static electricity if you are not careful.
  • Not so easy to buy within Europe (I found only 1 store)

Conclusion

Besides the little hick-up I had with my first drive, the device seems to work very well. It's quick and easy to setup, universal and fast. If you are upgrading your drive, or you have some old drives you would like to clean out or anything this is a tool that can make your work easier. I would definitely recommend it.

And about that hick-up, it's most likely drive related. During the data copy process I encountered quite some read and IO errors, pointing me to a drive that has reached the end of it's lifespan.

Comments