Finally went ahead to purchase this hardware – USB 2.0 to IDE / SATA Adapter. At about $15 (RM45) it is probably not comparable to say a portable hard drive or an external powered hard drive that you can get for about $33 (RM100) with more storage capacity. I have been thinking of getting this hardware for some time now. My brother passed me an old Pentium III box and I deemed it too slow to do anything useful even if I donate it to some charity. I may as well cannibalize it for parts. One of the useful parts includes the old hard drive.
After looking at several brands on display, I decided to go for VZTech USB 2.0 to IDE / SATA Adapter. In the box, there are two main parts, the power adapter to power the 3.5″ or 5.25″ desktop hard drive and the IDE / SATA connecter to connect to the various types of hard drive.
Setting up was easy, just plug in the various components to the PC and switch on. Voila! There you have it, an external portable hard drive minus the nice casing and many cables running all over the place!
I could even boot to the hard drive. I had an Ubuntu Linux installation in the old drive and thought I gave it a spin. No problem. Took awhile for Ubuntu Linux to figure out the new PC configuration before giving me the login screen. Nice! But it was time to blast the ext3 filesystem to a Windows Fat32 filesystem for easier access to more PCs.
My Windows 7 has no problem with this adapter and shows up as a hard drive in the Computer windows of drives list. Didn’t really do a heavy duty test of transferring data files but I bet it should be no problem. Since my old hard drive only got 20GB it wasn’t very big but still sufficiently large enough to store lots of stuff.
Decided to test and see if the NAS Dongle (aka Wanser-R) could read off it. Brought it along to my office the next day and plug in the VZTech IDE/SATA adapter onto the NAS Dongle. To my dismay, it didn’t work. The NAS Dongle could detect the hard drive but could not read / write onto it. I guess the adapter did not change the way data is transferred and not all USB linkable equipment like the NAS Dongle would be able to read off it. [Update: I finally managed to get the NAS Dongle to read/write to it. Turn out all I needed to do was to format the hard drive first to FAT 32 and voila! It works! It still meant the NAS Dongle is not all crack up like it suppose to be. It has a build it hard drive formatter to format drives to FAT 32 and it was not working. Really buggy software! Anyway for the price paid, I spied nowadays the router/modem/wifi boxes are coming with a USB port to act as print server and attach storage as NAS. As an all-in-one modem/router/wifi (I got the Aztech DSL version which was half the price of Belkin Share model) it certainly is more cost effective than getting this NAS dongle!]
I guess I will just use it as an external back up drive for my office PC instead. One thing about this old Maxtor hard drive of mine. It sure is noisy! It gives off a high pitch whir which can be rather grating. Fortunately I can place it under the table and away from me so that lesson the sound impact.
There are some extras on this VZTech USB2.0 to IDE/SATA adapter. There is a one touch back up button. I pressed it and nothing much happens. I guess it needs a special driver or software for this to work. Anyway I don’t have any real need for it. The main thing was a connection from my old hard disk to my desktop PC without having to open up the PC and assemble it. This gives it a certain amount of convenience and sort of take over like those external hard drives like the WD My Book that I have. Plus if in future I have more hard drive lying around here and there I could use those too on this USB 2.0 to IDE / SATA adapter. I think there is a USB 3.0 version out there somewhere, but for now, this USB 2.0 IDE / SATA adapter works just fine for me for now.