Review: WiebeTech SATADock v4

A solution for storing individual projects and backups! (June 26th, 2007)

MacNN Rating:


Product Manufacturer: WiebeTech

Price: $169.95 US

The Good

  • Small footprint -fits in a pocket. Very rugged and solidly made. Includes all necessary cables. Informative LEDs. Works with FireWire and USB2.

The Bad

  • Expensive.

Recently, I found myself back in the role of video editor, this time on my MacBook Pro. When I first began working with Final Cut Pro, the de-facto standard for external storage and video capture - and really only acceptable solution - was an IDE hard drive with a FireWire interface. When Apple pioneered FireWire as the standard for video capture, the marketplace was deluged with vendors offering various FireWire solutions. WiebeTech, who has been around since the turn of the century (2000), boasts some of the longest experience in this arena. In addition to offering a number of external storage solutions, they also offer more creative solutions, such as their DriveDock Products, reviewed here.

About DriveDocks

A DriveDock is essentially a way to use a normal internal hard drives externally, without putting them in a full case. WiebeTech's DriveDock products include Docks for every kind of internal drive, including 3.5," 2.5," IDE, and SATA. The Dock is about the size of a deck of cards and you only need a drive, power, and a FireWire or USB2 interface cable to plug and play.


I tested the SATADock V4, which works on Serial ATA (SATA) 3.5" drives. It is expensive to invest in a new external hard drive every time you need more space or want to use a unique drive for a client's project, so this is a great solution.

The SATADock v4 has LED lights that let you know the when FireWire or USB cord is attached, or when the +12V input jack is active, disk drive power input jack is active, and +5V/+12V out is operational. I've been using a WiebeTech IDE DriveDock for a couple of years and have never had any problems with it, and the SATADock seems just as reliable. It is great that I can grab an internal drive and mount on my Mac in a matter of seconds. I find I backup more often because this solution is so convenient and the price of the drives is dropping everyday, so it is also inexpensive in the long run.

Mulitple Ports

Since the DriveDock's emergence into the market, other solutions are also available. We previously reviewed the Newer USB Universal Drive Adapter on MacNN. While that solution is a good one for some purposes, it doesn't offer a FireWire interface and USB2 is just not fast enough for video editing needs. The SATADock V4 offers two FireWire 800 ports, which are compatible with 400 to 800 FireWire cables, and one USB port, so you can choose the speed you need. Additionally, the WiebeTech DriveDock allows the drive to spin down into sleep mode when not being used for a period of time.

Solid Product

The SATADock V4 is a solidly constructed piece of hardware and doesn't feel flimsy or cheap in any way. The V4 update adds a sporty blue color and the power control features mentioned earlier. It ships with an AC adapter, a FireWire 800 and USB cable, plus the plate and screws to use to attach a drive. WiebeTech uses the very reliable Oxford 924 bridge chip set also. The DriveDock series of docks are certainly not inexpensive, the SATADock V4 retails for $169.00, which is probably more than most of the drives you plug into it. If you need the flexibility that the Dock offers, especially when you need to access a number of internal drives externally, the SATADock V4 pays for itself and offers a great solution.

Although I'm currently using the SATADock V4 for storage, backup, and video capture, it is also be a fantastic solution for anyone in a tech support or IT role who needs to repair or recover computers and their associated hard drives. All of WeibeTech's DriveDocks work on both Macintosh and Window computers and have helped me recover data from numerous old machines and drives.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Joshua Wachs


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