Zit Seng's Blog

A Singaporean's technology and lifestyle blog

USB 3.0 to SATA III Dongle

_DSC1751What do you do if you have some extra hard disks on-hand, and need a convenient way to connect them to your computers? One popular solution is to buy a portable hard disk enclosure, which will hold and connect a 2.5″ hard disk via SATA, and connect to your computer via USB. A minimalist version of this solution is a USB to SATA adapter, such as this one from Sedna.

This is a USB 3.0 to SATA III dongle. You just plug in the hard disk to the SATA connector, and connect the other end to the USB port on your computer. It’s simple to use. Your computer will recognise the hard disk just like any other portable or external storage device.

This dongle supports both 2.5″ hard disks and 3.5″ hard disks. This point is worth noting because, apart from the obvious size difference, the 3.5″ hard disks require more power than can typically be supported from USB ports. This Sedna dongle has a DC input jack, and comes with a power adapter, so that the heavier power requirements of 3.5″ hard disks can be supported.

When used with 2.5″ hard disks, also known as notebook hard disks, the Sedna dongle will work without any attached power adapter. This is important, as some adapters always require their own power supply, even when used with notebook hard disks. With the Sedna dongle, you can leave behind the power adapter if you know you’re not going to use 3.5″ hard disks, minimising the need to carry around unnecessary gadgets.

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My main gripe with this Sedna dongle is the shape/positioning of the SATA end. The way it has been designed, the dongle cannot be plugged into a hard disk without lifting the hard disk off the surface at the connector end. There are other dongles that are designed better in the sense that the SATA connector is at the bottom edge of the flat-bottomed adapter, allowing both the hard disk and dongle to rest flat on a table surface.

Perhaps it is no wonder that the Sedna dongle comes with HDD brackets for holding the hard disks off the table. This could also be a good thing, because, that means the vibrations from the hard disks won’t get transmitted directly to the table surface.

In terms of performance, I connect a SSD with this dongle and found no appreciable difference with another similar Syba USB 3.0 to SATA III dongle.

Conclusion

This is a simple, convenient and easy-to-use adapter for connecting any SATA III hard disk to a USB 3.0 port.

Pros:

  • Convenient and easy-to-use
  • Included power adapter will support 3.5″ hard disks, not needed when only using 2.5″ hard disks

Cons:

  • Physical design causes the connector side of hard disk to be lifted off table surface

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