Review: USB Universal Drive Adapter

Short term solution when a hard drive enclosure is too much! (February 26th, 2007)

MacNN Rating:


Product Manufacturer: Newer Technology, Inc.

Price: $24.95

The Good

  • Easy plug and play. Truly universal connectivity. Economical.

The Bad

  • A bit complex for the non-techie. No carrying case.

When I replaced the 60GB hard drive in my daughter's MacBook with a new 100GB drive, I wanted to transfer her data to the new drive, but I did not have any way to connect both drives at the same time. MacBooks use the new Serial ATA (SATA) hard drives, so I looked for a SATA to FireWire or USB 2.0 enclosure that would have its own power supply and a cable so that I could connect it to her MacBook as an external drive. I discovered that SATA enclosures cost as much or more than a 60GB external drive. I hated to spend so much money for a one-time transfer. The Newer Technology USB Universal Drive Adapter solves the problem and allows me to connect the 60GB drive to the MacBook as an external USB 2.0 drive.

Truly Universal

The USB 2.0 Universal Drive Adapter turns any bare drive into a USB 2.0 external drive that you can plug into any modern Mac or PC. It comes with cables and connectors for every sort of hard drive from MacBook sized drives to full size desktop internal drives. It works with IDE, ATA, ATAPI, or Serial ATA I and II drives from all major manufacturers.

Full Featured Package

The USB 2.0 Universal Drive Adapter package consists of five items: The Universal Drive Adapter with a USB 2.0 connector on one end, and on the other are three separate connectors including:
  • A 40-pin ATA connector for 3.5" ATA drives & 5.25" ATAPI devices (CD/DVD),
  • a mini 44-pin ATA connector for 2.5" ATA drives,
  • a SATA connector for 2.5" or 3.5" SATA drives.
This is a truly universal adapter.

In addition, the package includes four other cables:
  • SATA power cable,
  • SATA connector cable,
  • AC adaptor brick, and
  • a grounded three prong power cord
The five components ship in a cardboard box. A clear poly bag containing the SATA power cable is labeled, but none of the other bags are labeled. Some sort of carrying case with labeled compartments for each of the five components would be a helpful addition.

Only the basics

The Instruction Manual is minimal. Color-coding helps make the connections simple, but some technical savvy is probably necessary for peace of mind. Working with SATA and 2.5" IDE drives is relatively foolproof because the connectors only fit where they belong. Connecting 3.5" IDE and 5.25" ATAPI drives can be more complex if the drive mechanism needs to be reset to Master or Single-drive mode, in which case, Newer offers detailed online instructions.

performs well

The Universal Drive Adaptor is not limited to Macs. It is a good way to transfer data from a PC to a Mac or a PC to a PC. Instead of struggling to connect two computers via Ethernet, transferring data online, or using CD or DVD media, you can just remove the original drive and use the Universal Drive Adaptor to connect it to the destination computer as a USB 2.0 external drive. I used the Universal Drive Adapter successfully with the 2.5" SATA drive from the MacBook, a 3.5" 120GB IDE drive from an external FireWire enclosure, and a 2.5" 80GB IDE drive from my PowerBook.

a toolbox essential

The Universal Drive Adaptor is so useful, that I purchased one for my Macintosh Users Group to make available to our members who need to transfer data. The Universal Drive Adaptor is one of those products that is most appreciated by techies.

To avoid static electricity damage, ground yourself when handling bare drives or your computer's innards. Also, be careful to put the device on static safe work surface. This is a great solution for limited use, but because your drive is unprotected, it is not recommended for long-term use.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Ed Noonan


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